Content Tips for Social Media Managers Whose Clients Offer Nothing

Can't get content

Photo credit Sean MacEntee

Finding content for your company’s social media accounts is not easy. While some businesses supply social media managers with a steady stream of white papers, blog posts, videos, and ideas, many of us are left with almost nothing.

Even worse: the very people who hire you refuse to participate in anything fun, even as a modest team photo. (It’s called social media, people.) Maybe your client does not have a blog, or your colleagues refuse to write. (Check out Martin’s useful tips for that situation.)

Alas, until AI (artificial intelligence) takes over our job, we must create a lot of content to post on social platforms each day. Make your life easier with these ideas for finding, producing, and tracking content for your social platforms for your B2B clients:

Tried and True

Let’s start with the basics.

  • Content Calendar – This is a must if you manage multiple accounts. A content calendar allows you to see what you’ve done before and plan for the future. These don’t have to be fancy, by the way. I like to use spreadsheets.
  • Google Alerts – As we learned in SMMCP class, Google alerts are a useful way to find blog posts and other people’s content to share on your social media accounts. One idea: get creative with the alert terms so you can find something different from what everyone else is sharing.
  • Evernote/Notebook – Make sure you have a notebook or someplace you can write down brilliant ideas while you’re having lunch. Creativity doesn’t keep to a schedule; keep your notebook on hand. Many of my best blog post ideas occur while I’m trying to fall asleep. (Darn it.)
  • Feedly or other RSS Reader – Who’s got time to read? You do if your client leaves you high and dry. While we know it’s better to share in-house content, you’ll need a strong mix of other people’s links.
  • Basic photo editing software and programs like Canva. With no graphic artist handy, you’re in charge. Find royalty-free images and try out infographic programs so you can produce your own useful, shareable content.
  • A face for video. Or at least the bravery to try it. Join the new video-focused Toastmaster group in Raleigh and start practicing. If your company/client allows you to shoot videos for Facebook (or better yet, go live!), you’ve got one useful way to generate something interesting.
  • Find the one. There is probably one person in the office mildly interested in social media. Chat with him or her. Is he/she willing to help or offer ideas? Follow his/her accounts.
  • The holiday list. Yep, time to drag out the “It’s National Topic that Relates to Our Company Day.” (Curious about those holidays? Check out this podcast episode.)     

Other Avenues

Next, here are some other ideas for finding and creating content. Some of these might not work for all industries. Some brands and companies prefer to stay safe rather than stand out. If that’s yours, best wishes to convince them to be bold! As Ann Handley always says, our biggest mistake is playing it too safe with content.

  • Thrift stores. You don’t have to be a #Girlboss to find a deal at a thrift store. Can you drag a team member in there and take a fun photo? Can you find an item that relates to the business in some way? Can you tell a story of a forgotten, cast aside item and tie that into the business? Can you buy some items and put them in the office for a photo?
  • Art gallery. Or some other interesting place. The idea is to tie it back to your company’s services in some way. Of course, you don’t always have to be “sell, sell, sell,” as we know. But it pays to think hard about the stories you’re telling.
  • Events. Is the company involved in charity work? Are you attending something interesting this weekend you can share? If nothing else events provide a photo opp. A lot of North Carolina’s smaller towns have various fun things happening. If you client is located in one of them, help spread the word about those local events. By using hashtags, you might even gain a few followers in the process.
  • The long story in short segments. Write a blog post or story related to your company, but then divide it up into 140 character statements. Number each one and then spread out those posts on Twitter, labeling each with a number and/or hashtag.

Often the hardest part about content creation and social media for businesses is convincing them it’s OK to be different. Many of the people I work with prefer to stick to the basics. What helped you convince someone to be bold? What helps you create strong content for social media platforms?

Jennifer Suarez is a Raleigh content writer who offers blog posts, social media, and other writing services to small business owners and marketing agencies. She graduated from the SMMCP program in May 2016.

 

Photo credit Sean MacEntee https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/

How do I set up Multiple Google Places for Clients

Multiple Google Places for Business

Multiple Google Places for Business

There’s no doubt about it; Google has forever changed our lives and our businesses. This is especially true when it comes to Google Places. Google Places is one of the best and cost effective ways to be found online. After all, not only is it free, it also integrates with Google maps, so people can physically find you, and the Google search engine, so people can find you online. Google Places also offers a section for images, videos and customer reviews so future customers can learn more about your business.

Small business owners with only one or two locations find it easy to use. But what about large business owners, the ones with many locations? Can they get as much benefit from Google Places? The answer is yes. Google has recently unveiled their bulk listing manager and uploader, which promises to be a real boon for large businesses.

Not that every business qualifies for a bulk listing or even a Google Places listing at all. The types of businesses that qualify to do bulk listing are the ones with physical locations. Because everything is integrated with Maps, Google Places does not accept virtual businesses or businesses where the provider comes to you without having a storefront.

For example, a REALTOR® who works out of their home without a public office is not eligible for a Google Places listing of any kind. However, a REALTOR® who is affiliated with a company or has a walk-in office is eligible. It’s important to note that the agent’s location has to be the physical office, not the area they service.

Google Places is great for any kind of retail, restaurant or storefront with many locations. Ten locations is what Google considers ‘bulk’. If you have nine or fewer locations, each one has to be handled individually.

The first step for bulk management is getting verified. There is a link for “verify for bulk” in your Google dashboard. Once you are verified, it’s a simple matter of filling out the form and waiting. When filling out this form, give Google the business email of the person who will be managing these listings. Google prefers that there be only one email to manage all of the listings included in a “bulk” package.

Verification can take up to a week. Google checks out your business to ensure its legitimacy, that all the contact information is correct, and you do have the authority to create these listings. While you wait, you can start working on your bulk listing immediately. However, the listing won’t go live until after verification has been completed.

Bulk uploading enables you to upload a spreadsheet with all relevant information on it for each location. Typically, this spreadsheet contains name of business, phone number, hours of operation, websites and more. Google makes this process as easy as possible for you by providing a spreadsheet template for your use. It also has a guiding feature to point out errors and to help you correct them.

Once you’re verified and your listings go live, the person who logs in with the given email address and login makes any changes that need to be made. You can add or close a location at any time. You can even do another bulk upload without going through verification again. In fact, the only time you need to go through verification again is if your places account sits inactive for too long.

Now that all your locations are uploaded and live, it’s time to have some fun with them. Even franchises like McDonalds don’t all look alike or have the same features, though they do all sell the same food. While it’s important that you brand yourself consistently, you also have the ability to customize each listing to bring out its best features.

It all starts with the photo. Each location needs its own photo of the building. This helps differentiate multiple locations. It also helps the customer when they are in your area looking for a special location.

Next, comes the description. Even though your stores will be similar, each one should have its unique description. This gives you the opportunity to optimize for location specific keywords, excite the customers in that area and create the original content that Google loves to show.

Providing different images or videos of each location is another way to differentiate your locations. This helps fill out your places page, encourages interaction, and delights your future customers as they can now see which location is best for them. Sometimes, it’s not always the closest one.

Google Places has a section for promotions, contests and special offers. Google allows you to post special offers that are available at some locations, but not all. This is a great way to drive traffic to an underperforming location or to celebrate a special location’s specific event such as a grand opening or anniversary.

Google Places is one of the easiest, most cost effective ways to be found online. Not only does it benefit “small,” it also gives large businesses a chance to brand themselves as “small.” Even when people know you’re part of a larger company, differentiating each location through Google Places gives each location a more ‘small business’ feel and helps make it an important part of the community.

See our other post for Social Media Managers at:
http://mysocialmediamastery.com/blog/ and learn more about our Social Media Management Certificate Program at: http://mysocialmediamastery.com/

By Martin Brossman and Karen Tiede

Research by Mercedes Tabano II

Social Media Management Reporting for Social Media Managers

Social Media ReportingAs a Social Media Manager for a micro, small and large business, you may be asked to produce regular reports to justify the investment in Social Media.  Real social media management involves up-front organization, a streamlined system for ongoing maintenance, and measurable results. Below, we’ll offer some guidance for forming social media management reports.

Making sure that you have a clear base line produced by your in depth 360 survey including: screenshots showing engagement on social media platforms, analytics from the website, and level of sales when you start, restart or take over a social media program.

Step 1: Organize your social media efforts.

Producing a quality social media report hinges on three main areas:

  • Brand (# of mentions, shares, voice and other key insights)
  • Engagement (# of tweets, likes, shares, campaigns & engagement scores)
  • Service (# of inquiries, response times and sentiment)

As a social media manager, you are responsible for creating regular reports that demonstrate how you are implementing your social media plan. Decide what data you want to include in your reports and how frequently you want to report to your client(s). On average, most social media reports are generated weekly, quarterly and/or annually to help track and measure success.

Step 2: Deliver evidence of return on investment.

Come up with a list of measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

There are numerous ways to track the growth of your social presence, and many social networking sites actually have their own reporting that you can customize to look at certain KPIs more closely. Examples of KPIs may vary across social channels, but they may include:

  • # of followers
  • # of comments
  • # of likes
  • % engagement with posted content
  • # of re-tweets or shares

Determine which social media measuring tools to use, if any.

Today, there are countless tools available on the web to help you make sense of your social data. Not only can this be helpful; it can save you hours of raking through data manually to find what you’re looking for. The following are are a few of the online tools worth considering:

Step 3: Put your KPIs into a presentable format/report.

There are a number of ways you can pull together a report, such as:

  • Visual
    -Powerpoint presentations
    – Infographics
    – Graphs, etc.
    – Prezi.com
    – Mindmeister.com
  • Data Driven/Analytical
    – Excel spreadsheets, etc.
    – Google Docs, Spreadsheet

When presenting your information, determine whether you will be showing weekly or monthly data. Determine if you need to include comparative information on competitors, and be sure to note any week-over-week and/or monthly changes in your data reporting.

Below are some examples of different ways in which social media managers have organized their information into reports.

Social Media Report Examples:

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Social Media Report Example #1 [source]

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Social Media Report Example #2 [source]

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Social Media Report Example #3 [source]

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Social Media Report Example #4 [source]

Develop the muscle to capture as you go! 

– Always have a screen capture program active on your computer.  When you see a big win or something you may want to do in the future get a capture of it. One Manager in our class did not know their superior was deleting past posts of some of their best work on Facebook. going back in  If they had screen shots, they could have evidence of their good work. You can use Dropbox, Google Drive or even Evernote to capture this information.

In the end, responsible social media management reporting begins and ends with organization – from assessing which social media sites to build a presence on, to researching, establishing and tracking KPIs, to formulating highly organized, structured data to present to clients in a way that will reveal online social trends, success, and places for continued improvement.

The key thing is make sure you take the time to set the baseline when you start with screenshots, sales and analytics from the website. As a Social Media Manager, you are responsible for communicating the value you are creating.  Make sure you get all the key information from the beginning (which can be a challenge a times).  We go into this more extensively in our Social Media Management training but I hope you got a few ideas that are useful and would love to hear your comments below.

by Martin Brossman and Karen Tiede 

Learn more about the Social Media Certificate Training at http://MySocialMediaMastery.com 

Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

Social Media Marketing PlanSocial media plays a critical part of any successful online marketing plan. Learning how to efficiently structure your social media plan can help you increase brand awareness while driving customer engagement. Below are some tips to help you get started on customizing your own plan of action.

Understand What Social Media Is

Often times, executives and business owners struggle to understand the value of social media and the positive effect it could have on their business as well as their bottom line.

Today, social media plays a more central role in online marketing strategies. “Social” can engage a business’ target audience, increase brand awareness and generate publicity. Social media marketing can also be used for brand building, reputation management, customer feedback, community building and customer conversions.

Social media, when done with intention, is about having meaningful conversations. By starting and maintaining a dialogue with your target audience, you can better serve them.

Know the Vision and Mission of the Business and Make It Come to Life

What is the business about that will other people would want to talk about? Beyond making money, what else are you here for? An ideal mission statement is clear and simple enough to keep alive. For example, Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. A guiding statement is kept alive by the owners referring to it and leading from it.

A clear mission statement will serve as a beacon and touchstone for all marketing efforts, and in particular, for designing your presence on the social platforms.

Know Your Goals and Milestones

The start of any successful social media marketing plan is outlining your goals, or the problem to be solved.
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to use social media for customer service? Are you trying to network with other companies? Do you want to use social media to help re-brand your business?

Taking the time to think through specific goals will help you lay the groundwork to social media marketing success.

Know Your Target Market and Define Avatars

Social media allows you to market directly to your target consumers on the same social channels that they use every day.  Do you know where your customers spend the most time online? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?

Take the time to develop avatars of several types of clients or prospects (3 to 10). A clear example used in politics is Soccer Moms vs Hockey Moms. An ideal avatar is defined so clearly that someone else could identity your customer at a party after talking to them a few minutes.

You also need to know who your negative-customer is as well. Who do you want to repel or send to the competition? Who are the people that complain easily and consume 80 percent of your time? If you can define avatars for these customers, you can design marketing that will NOT attract them to your business.

Post engaging, unique or other shareable items that your target demographic would find appealing, and don’t forget to engage with the people who comment on and like your posts!

Know Your Budget

A solid social media marketing strategy requires two things: time and money. Exactly how much of either depends on the size of your business as well as the size of the audience you are trying to reach. Consider the following:

Time

Who will be maintaining your social accounts? Consider how much time will be required to invest in the ongoing management of the various social media accounts that you create. Will you have this much time, or would it be better if you hired an outside social media marketing expert?

Money

Is your business big enough to hire a social media professional?

If you’ve determined that you don’t have the time to manage multiple social media accounts, consider hiring an expert. Outsourcing your social media marketing may save you both time and money as well as help you meet your social marketing goals.

Look at your budget and establish how much money you have to spend on marketing. How much can be invested in social media?

Know Your Social Networks

If your company is mainly a B2B firm, focus on LinkedIn, Google+, and Slideshare. B2C companies often focus on Facebook and Pinterest. Both sides of the business divide need to pay attention to Google+ and the Google Business Pages.

Determine a Frequency for Posting

How often should you post new content to social networks?
Posting too much to your social networks is almost as bad as not posting enough. In the beginning, it will take some trial and error to figure out how much is too much versus too little.

Use cues from your audience to see what sorts of content resonates (ex: people ‘liking’ or commenting on posts or re-sharing). Look for content posting patterns that may have led to unlikes or unfollows.

Consider the timing and who will see your posts

Most platforms offer analytics information that can help you determine when your followers are on-line and more likely to see your posts and updates. 50% of your exposure on Facebook, for example, happens in the 30 minutes after you share. If your viewers aren’t online at that time, they won’t see your updates.

Create a calendar

Putting together a content calendar is one of the best ways to organize your total social media marketing plan as well as keep track of what things you’ve tried. A content calendar can also serve as a sounding board, helping you come up with new ideas to better market the business.

There is no one way to write up a social media content calendar. However, some of the basic things you’ll want to include in your calendar are:

  • Months, noting special events, seasonal information, and holidays that matter in your business.
  • Blog Post Titles
  • Content Titles
  • Date and place where content was published
  • Social Sites, along with an indication of what type of content was posted to each social site

Get as detailed as you want with your calendar. For example, some companies will stratify their information even further to include line items such as: keywords, title tags, names of authors who wrote content, who content was last approved by, and other detailed information.

When going through your social media content calendar, be aware of where you are publishing information as well as what type of information you are publishing. For example, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are predominantly visual, so images may get more engagement than written content. If you do post written content, be sure that it is connected to a relevant image.

Measure Success

In addition to having a social media marketing content calendar, you should also include a separate spreadsheet to formulate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are formulas that help you measure success in your marketing efforts.
It’s not enough to join a social network and post information. You need to have a way to measure how this information is (or isn’t) reaching its intended audience.

Ideally, you should have KPIs that are quantitative as well as qualitative. While quantitative results are important, make an effort to look at qualitative results as well. These results will show you how people feel about your brand and the information you are posting.

Some social networks produce their own metrics, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Once you’ve established what your KPIs are, create a spreadsheet, and decide how often you’ll update it with metrics. Some companies may choose to update their KPI spreadsheet on a weekly basis, monthly basis or even quarterly.

Don’t forget to take advantage of Google Analytics to see which social sites are top referrers to your business. Google Analytics can be a wealth of information for any business to help you see what is or isn’t working with your social media marketing plan.

Have the flexibility to change the plan and update it based on events and feedback you gain.

We welcome your comments and response. What have you learned about having a Social Media plan? What have you learned by not having a Social Media plan?
by Martin Brossman and Karen Tiede
Learn more about our Social Media Management Training at: http://MySocialMediaMastery.com

Repurposing Content and Content Curation

Repurposing Content and Content CurationWe live in a digital age, where information is no longer found through the phone book or word-of-mouth; rather, people get their information from the Internet, primarily using search engines such as Google. Because of this Internet phenomenon, having an online presence as a business is the best possible strategy for marketing your company and services. However, not everyone is a natural writer and not everything needs a blog post. Repurposing content and content curation can be a great way to share valuable information to your customers and prospective customers through your website. Here’s how to create meaningful content that’s been repurposed:

What Exactly is Content Curation?
Content curation refers to the process of finding already existing content and organizing that content in a way that’s relevant to your customers or potential customers. Oftentimes, content curation can involve using very similar content but on a new medium, hence the name “repurposing” content, or giving the content a new purpose. Creating high quality repurposed content involves more than just using already existing content, though; high-quality content will also add new information, a new perspective, or new relevant questions.

What’s the Point of Content Curation?
Content curation is a marketing tool that’s used by companies for their blogs or websites. The point of content curation is to provide valuable information to your customers or potential customers by cutting down the time they spend sifting through useless information. By using content curation, you create content that provides important information to site visitors that’s easy to find and navigate.

 How Does Content Curation Work?
Content curation has three primary aspects that go into its creation, which are filtering, analysis, and social rating. Each of these three things can be done either manually or automatically, depending upon the technology that you have access to.

Filtering: Filtering is exactly what is sounds like—choosing material (either through personal preference, votes and views from a social community, or due to the information’s relevance) that should be included in future content based on its current effectiveness.

Analysis: Semantic analysis is the process of looking at a problem and finding information and relationships between existing information that answer that problem. For example, if the problem is “How do I explain my product?” then semantic analysis looks at content to ensure that it’s solving the problem by examining the relationship between statements, facts, and sources in the content.

Social Rating: Social rating simply means that the content that you choose for repurposing was chosen based on the fact that it received a high social rating. This is usually used for social media sites, like Facebook.

When you’re attempting to repurpose content for your own blog or website, the most important aspect you should focus on is filtering already existing information, and adding new, relevant content, too. Use hyperlinks, incorporate multimedia, address the problem, and make a schedule for yourself of when you’ll be posting.

Why You Should Repurpose and Curate Content

Copying and pasting old information into a new blog post simply for the sake of having something on your website isn’t helpful—it doesn’t provide customers with any new information whatsoever.

What is helpful, however, is taking bits and pieces of old information and making it new and exciting for those who visit your site/blog. A great example of repurposing content was Martin Brossman’s Hangout-On-Air with David Amerland about “What’s Beyond Interruption Advertising?” When Brossman went to put the information on his blog, it would have been really easy to just transcribe the dialogue. Instead, though, Brossman added new, free content and ideas that he learned in the interview, and organized it in an easy-to-navigate and relevant fashion.

Essentially, your job is to find content that you think is meaningful, and then to explain why it’s meaningful to your customers. By doing so, you’ll be creating a website or blog with a strong online presence, you’ll drive more traffic to your site, and you’ll be providing customers and potential customers with what they need.

by Olga Santo Tomás Monroe   919-604-0104   olgamaria3@aol.com    Social Media Marketing and Management
Connect to me on G+: https://plus.google.com/+OlgaSantoTom%C3%A1sMonroe/posts

Learn more about the Social Media Management Certification Program at: http://MySocialMediaMastery.com