Social Media Security for Social Media Managers

Social Network SecurityAs Social Media Manager for your client, you hold the “keys to the kingdom”, at least in terms of their online reputation and social messaging. Those keys are very important – how do you protect them? That’s what we are going to talk about.

First of all, let’s make it clear that the security we are talking about here concerns risks to a business reputation and marketing efforts, specifically with regards to controlling and safeguarding access to their social media accounts. Discussion of risk in the social media realm often centers around personal use and related privacy issues; while those are legitimate issues for private users, our primary concern is for business use.

Similarly, we are not covering curation or moderation of content. While this is also relevant to the client’s online reputation, that is a question of content management and is more related to the client’s social media, marketing, and branding strategy than it is to security.

The following are time-tested Social Media Security Best Practices. While the applicability of individual points may vary a bit depending on the size of the organization and scope of social media activities, the following checklist is a comprehensive starting point that will ensure a secure online presence.

Business-wide coordination

  • If not already done, inventory all social media accounts.
    • The results should be harmonized with the online strategy, e.g. eliminate duplicates, add accounts where needed, focus your efforts where they will be most effective, etc.
  • Centralize account control and responsibility for maintaining social media accounts under the Social Media Manager.
  • Define roles and responsibilities for the Social Media Manager – what can they do and where does the client retain control?
  • Establish codes of conduct and acceptable use policies for all social media content contributors. For example, is political commentary allowed? It can be relevant, as some account attacks are politically motivated.
  • Provide education and training on the above for all content contributors and community managers (a role sometimes defined in larger organizations with multiple contributors, often filled by the Social Media Manager).

Account Management

  • All social media accounts should be in a business name, registered via a business email (on the business domain), and not a personal account (private name, private email, etc.).
  • Have a backup person named and given access to the account, if possible.
  • For social media that distinguish between business and private account types, make sure to use the business account (e.g. Facebook business page instead of a personal profile).
  • There should be an access termination and/or turnover plan for changes in personnel, both voluntary and involuntary.

Login control

  • Carefully control passwords!
    • Have a unique password for each social media account.
    • Use strong passwords (follow the usual guidelines, or better yet, use strong, unique passwords generated by password management tools).
    • Use a password management system.
      • In a corporate setting, maintain and control SM passwords using the same procedures and systems as with other important credentials (many larger businesses use a centralized credential control system, which automates many of the features above).
      • In a smaller business, use something like LastPass or similar.
  • Consider using 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) where possible (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer 2FA).
  • Consider using an account aggregator.
    • Third party platforms are available that can create secure logins to manage multiple social media accounts, their users, and the publishing of content (e.g. Hootsuite, buffer, Sprout Social). This can provide a single sign on capability for centralized management of accounts. Of course, a single sign on is a single point of entry to all accounts if those credentials are not properly protected!

Profile Maintenance

  • Review account settings (such as privacy/sharing) and match them to your objective. Even though this mostly affects privacy, they can also have security implications (e.g. do you accept invitations from 3rd party applications?).
    • Keep up with changes to options and settings as they evolve.

Third party extensions

  • Be careful about installing 3rd party extensions on browsers and / or using mobile applications that link with social media accounts. Vet them thoroughly before using them, making sure to understand all access privileges they require and their reputation in the community.

Damage control

  • Monitor social accounts regularly so you know quickly if there is a problem.
  • Anticipate likely scenarios and have a response plan.
  • When a problem does arise, respond quickly.

If you follow the above best practices, you can sleep well nights knowing that the accounts under your control are secure, allowing  you to focus on the content and messaging. Being a social media professional means never having to say you’re sorry for a hacked account!

About the author: Randy Earl is a Senior Business Analyst at AtlanticBT and enjoys helping clients leverage technology to enhance their business. Feel free to connect with Randy on LinedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/randyearl.

Best Social Media Blogs – Social Media Resources for Keeping Up on the Latest News and Trends

Women Stressed trying to keep up with Social Media informationIn today’s fast changing world of social media, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the magnitude of news pouring in on the latest technologies, trends, and best practices for maximizing returns on social engagement. As social media author Martin Brossman describes it, “keeping up with social media is like being on an island with random earthquakes that change terrains. You have to find a way to maintain your balance and focus”.

Luckily, there are excellent resources tracking and interpreting mountains of data and activities and reporting on key social media takeaways. Before sharing some of my favorites and recommendations from peers, understand that even this condensed list can quickly result in information overload if you’re not purposeful in identifying in advance:

  1. The specific information you’re looking for that, when found and acted upon, can have the biggest impact on your desired result(s).
  2. The companies and industries that are most similar to yours and experiencing big returns on social media engagement
  3. Thought leaders that stretch your thinking and inspire new ideas

Favorite Social Sites

Here’s my short list of favorite sites. Honorable mention goes to inc.com and fastcompany.com

1.     socialmediaexaminer.com

2.     blog.hubspot.com/marketing

3.     mashable.com/category/social-media/

4.     techcrunch.com

I also asked my friends at Blue Flame Thinking, a business building marketing agency located in Chicago/Grand Rapids for their go-to list of recommended resources. After insisting on no more than 4, Josh Stauffer, Digital Media Director and Andrew Swanson, Social Media Manager, reluctantly narrowed down their list to these (you’ll see that they cheated and provided two blogs in # 8):

1.     forbes.com/social-media

2.     thenextweb.com/socialmedia

3.     adweek.com/socialtimes

4.     http://newsroom.fb.comhttp://blog.linkedin.com and https://blog.twitter.com

Others mentioned by the Social Media Management Graduates:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/

http://blogs.constantcontact.com/

http://blog.hootsuite.com/

http://blog.linkedin.com/

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/

https://blog.bufferapp.com/

http://www.nimble.com/blog/

http://www.quicksprout.com/blog/

http://www.postplanner.com/best-people-to-follow-on-twitter-for-social-media-geeks/ 

http://marketingland.com/ 

http://socialmediachimps.com/

http://pegfitzpatrick.com/blog/

http://www.razorsocial.com/blog/

http://www.stonetemple.com/blog/

http://www.andreavahl.com/blog

http://www.mediabistro.com/

http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/

http://www.andybeal.com/blog

These are a few of the Social Media Management Team and Advisors:

http://mysocialmediamastery.com/blog/

http://LinkingIntoSales (Podcast)

http://pronetworkingonline.com/business-news/

http://thesocialmediaforbusinessbook.com

Other news followers and readers:

http://feedly.com/

https://newsblur.com/

Here is a tool for seeing what people are talking about in twitter and Facebook: http://nuzzel.com/

One word of advice—schedule a set time every day, ideally 60 minutes a day scanning your favorite sites for the information that is most critical to your success. Your sole purpose must be to gather the pertinent information you need to take action on your desired outcome. Avoid the temptation to seek more information—there’s too much out there and not enough hours in the day to keep up with it.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know how they work for you. Let’s connect on www.linkedin.com/in/leonrawitz/en

Special thanks to Randy Earl, Maria Drake Stone, Melanie Diehl, Robin Werling, Angela Tripp, Jeanne Munoz, Rick Nipper, Heather CutchinGreg Hyer, Martin Brossman and Karen Tiede  for their contribution of other info resources.

 

5 Social Media Management Platforms for Small Businesses

Social Media Management ToolsSocial Media and Digital Media Managers need effective tools for managing multiple social media accounts whether they are for their own companies or they are working with clients. As tools are always upgrading and new ones continually coming onto the market, managers get comfortable with specific ones. Different tools are needed for different levels of management. It is not always easy to know which to use or try.  As I have tried many of them, I want to mention a number of the major ones that are more affordable to micro and small businesses.

1) Buffer: https://bufferapp.com

Comment: The sign up free version gives you a little taste of how the app works and no credit card is required until you decide to go to the Awesome version. These are both “personal” or 1 business versions.

The free 7 day trial for Business versions requires no credit card which is always nice because at the end of the 7 days if you have decided you do not care to continue with it, it will drop back to the free version. No harm done!

Benefits:

  • Schedule Posts.
  • You can aggregate content from RSS feeds and share content directly from them on the paid business and awesome versions.
  • They have an app for Android and iOS.
  • You can que posts from your email.
  • It posts images as inline images on Twitter.
  • You can use a personal domain for link shortening.
  • Time saving when using to post to social media platforms.
  • Has a built in URL shortener.
  • Has analytics depending on version.

Challenges:

  • You can only schedule posts to TW, FB LI, G+ and App.net. on the free version.
  • Tagging is only available with Twitter.
  • The individual plan can only connect one of each social profile so it is just for sole-proprietors or personal use. This doesn’t give you a good picture of how the social media management side truly works and 7 days of free use for businesses means you have to make good use of those days to see if it is something you really want to pay for.
  • No Dashboard – as in overall view of everything going on with any particular social media account. You have to click on each individual account to see what was posted and it also shows analytics.

Cost:

  • The Awesome version starts at $10/month and includes 200 posts, 12 social profiles and 2 team members.
  • Small business plans start at $50/month and include 25 connected social accounts, 5 team members, unlimited scheduled posts, RSS feeds and rich analytics along with all standard features.
  • They have a transparency policy as far as where your fees go when paying for any business version of Buffer and show you here https://bufferapp.com/business.

Free version or free test period:

  • You can sign up for Buffer and use a very limited versions for free.
  • The business plans have a free 7 day trial.
  • Non-profits get a 50% discount.

Support:

  • Unknown.
  • On the free version support is reached either through Tweeting to them or through an internal email.
  • They have quite an extensive FAQ page for general assistance also.
  • They have several “how to” videos on their YouTube Channel.
  • Support appears to be all email.

 2) Hootsuite: https://hootsuite.com/

Comment: For $9.99 a month a social media manager for small businesses can maintain several social media accounts and see how the platform really works. Their 30 day trial also gives you a good amount of time to try either the Pro or Small Business Plans.

The free version only allows posting to three platforms, making that basically for the casual user.

Benefits:

  • Schedule posts.
  • You can aggregate content from RSS feeds and share content directly from them on the paid business and awesome versions.
  • They have an app for Android and iOS.
  • Geo targeting for Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
  • It has an app directory with a collection of extensions and applications business professionals can add to their Hootsuite dashboard to create a customized experience. http://appdirectory.hootsuite.com/
  • You can use a personal domain (vanity url) for link shortening.
  • Time saving when using to post to social media platforms.
  • Has a built in URL shortener.
  • Has analytics depending on version.

Challenges:

  • You can only schedule to 3 platforms on the free version.
  • Due to LinkedIn changing their API frequently, Hootsuite tends to drop connection with those accounts off and on.
  • It posts images as inline images on Twitter only from the Pro paid version or above.

Cost:

  • The Free plan allows up to 3 social profiles, no team members and 2 RSS feeds.
  • The Pro Plan costs $9.99/month with  50 social profiles, 1 team member and unlimited RSS feeds.
  • Their Small Business Plan is $49/month includes all Pro features with extras like One hour 1-on-1 dashboard setup and training session, 1 additional Enhanced Analytics Reports, Enhanced technical support and Hootsuite University on-demand training.
  • Hootsuite offers a discount to non-profits.

Free version or free test period:

  • They do have a free version for personal use.
  • They have a 30 day free trial on the Pro Plan and Small Business Plan.

Support:

  • Good.
  • They offer you to send them feedback to any of their many social media channels.
  • They offer support through their Twitter Account and you can contact sales at another one of their Twitter Accounts.
  • They also have an online Help Desk that seems to have good search capability.

3) TweetDeck: https://about.twitter.com/products/tweetdeck

Comment: Tweetdeck is currently owned by Twitter. In my observations, when the social media platform owns a posting or photo platform, those are the ones you tend to give better results with.

Tweetdeck is an online / mobile app, which differs it from Hootsuite which is an internet based platform.

Benefits:

  • Scheduled Tweets.
  • TweetDeck is set up to use Twitter to it’s fullest capabilities via searches, listening and more.
  • It posts images as inline images on Twitter.
  • You can add multiple Twitter accounts.
  • Tweet, monitor and follow new accounts from all—or just one of your accounts.
  • You can set up alerts.

Challenges:

  • This is a Twitter Specific posting platform. It does not post to any other social media accounts.
  • If you use TweetDeck it would be in addition to whatever other platform you are using to post to your other social media accounts.
  • You need to use Google or another URL shortener if you wish to shorten links.
  • No analytics – you need to use Twitters analytics or another product.

Cost:

  • Free

Best Use:

  • If you want to schedule your Twitter posts and want them seen as if you posted them directly to Twitter, this is the app to use.

Free version or free test period:

  • As TweetDeck is free you can test it all you would like.

Support:

  • Unknown
  • If you wanted to forward an idea to them for improvement or have an issue with the app, they have an account on Twitter along with Twitter itself has a Support account to be reached at too.
  • There are many tutorials on YouTube by others on how to use TweetDeck.

 4) SocialOomph   https://www.socialoomph.com/

Comment:

They can automate their Twitter accounts to automatically send welcome DMs to their new followers. This is an intrusive way to welcome people on Twitter. It should be done through the feed. It takes several steps on Twitter to opt out of this.

Benefits:

  • Monitor many social media channels all in one place.
  • Schedule posts.
  • You can aggregate content from RSS feeds and share content directly from them on the paid business and awesome versions.
  • Could not find if the have an app for Android and iOS.
  • Time saving when using to post to social media platforms.
  • Integrate blog and social media updates
  • Has a URL shortener.
  • Has analytics depending on version.
  • Employees can email tweets.

Challenges:

  • In the professional version it has many automated items you may not want. I’m not sure if you can turn these off and on easily.
  • You have to use their in-house URL shortening service, dld.bz.

Cost:

  • The Free version only handles up to 5 Twitter accounts and no other social media channels.
  • The Professional version starts at $35.94/month billing $17.97 every two weeks.
  • If you need to connect more than five Twitter accounts, then their SocialOomph Twitter Unlimited subscription is your solution at an additional $6.97 every two weeks.

Best Use:

  • Social Media Monitoring and post scheduling
  • Software created heavily around Twitter Use

Free version or free test period:

  • Free Version for Twitter only
  • 7 day free trial on Professional Level

Support:

  • They have a forum.
  • They prefer to correspond by email. They favorite reply is We will need to investigate further.
  • 302-261-5717 Number Listed but it is noted – (Please do not call this number for user support, questions, or inquiries. You will get much faster response by submitting a support ticket using the link above.)  support@socialoomph.com
  • Self help center only list basic questions.
  • YouTube how to videos done by others.

5) Send Social Media: – This is first hand experience a few months ago. It may have or have not improved since.   https://sendsocialmedia

Comment:

Send Social Media is a very robust social media management platform. Small to mid size companies and social media managers would find this platform exceedingly useful in monitoring, posting, analytics and much more for their social media channels / clients.

Benefits:

  • Supports 30+ networks.
  • Create SMS Text campaigns.
  • Email auto responders.
  • Monitor your brand / reviews across the internet.
  • Manage accounts for multiple clients and assign to team members.
  • Monitor many social media channels all in one place.
  • Schedule posts.
  • You can aggregate content from RSS feeds and share content directly from them.
  • Has mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows7.
  • Time saving when using to post to social media platforms.
  • Integrate blog and social media updates.

Challenges:

  • You have to purchase additional credits to use the email and SMS features.
  • There is a learning curve as this platform can do so much.
  • Starts at $39/month for up to 100 profiles at Bronze Level.

Best Use:

  • Social media scheduling and keyword monitoring.

Free version or free test period:

  • They give a 14 day free trial on their plans.

Support:

  • Poor customer service.
  • Phone number is an answering service. I never received a return call.
  • They have submit a request via email on their site.
  • They have a YouTube channel with “how-to” videos.

 A Couple of Other Helpful Sites:

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo has all types of great plans to pull alerts and mentions and much more. But they have a free one that you can create and account and use to manually search. You can find any type of top content or influencers and see what is getting top shares and on what sites, use it to manually post to your sites and see who has shared the information. It is a really strong site for the free version to help you find content to share or to blog about.

Cyfe

This is an all in one dashboard that gives you at-a-glance statistics on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.  Cyfe markets itself as social media, analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure… monitor everything! I believe it can if you purchase the paid version which is only $19/month.

There are so many apps and programs on the internet now to help you manage your social media and to be used in managing clients’ social media it is hard to even begin to list them. It can be really confusing filtering through all of them; believe me I know. I search through them daily.

The ones I have listed above are some of the main ones used for micro and small businesses, along with social media managers that have a small number of clients they are working with.

There are many robust platforms that run in the hundreds of dollars a month for large companies and corporations. You may have run into some when looking for one for yourself. This is why I wanted to get this information out to small businesses to let them know that there are many that don’t have to break the bank, but that work really well, and others to watch out for.


Colleen Gray and the Social Media Management Certification Class – Boomerang Social http://Boomerang-Social.com

52 Ways to Increase Facebook Engagement on a Facebook Business Page

How do I get more people to interact with my Facebook Business page? Here are 52 ways for Social Media Managers – and anyone that manages a Facebook Page – to increase Engagement.

 

How do I get more Engagement on Facebook

52 Ways to Get More Engagement on Facebook

When in Doubt, Test it Out

1) Change the types of content you post – test different formats (photo, video, links) to see which yields the highest comments, shares and reach.

2) Run Facebook Ads to existing customers and potential customers. Increasingly Pages are running ads just to be seen in their Fans’ Newsfeed as the result of Newsfeed changes.

3) Alter when you post. Test different days and times to learn when your content will receive more Fan Engagement.

4) Schedule your posts ahead of time directly in Facebook, instead of with auto content schedule tools like Hootsuite or Buffer. Facebook favors posts sent within its platform.

5) Test the length of text in your posts to see if it has an affect on the response you get. Being succinct is best.

6) Make sure your Page has two to 10 high-quality posts your customers will value, before running a Facebook Ad. Customers are willing to put up with an ad – even welcome it – if it leads them to useful content.

7) Test out contests and giveaways. Review Facebook’s contest and giveaway rules first to ensure fairness. Make sure you follow through on prizes or it will hurt your reputation.

What do I say?

8) Share blog posts occasionally, selecting ones that speak to your Facebook customer demographic. It may be a blog from your business, it may not. Describe one nugget you got out of it and ask a thoughtful question, urging your customers to weigh in.

9) Spontaneous posting is ok occasionally. Look at trending hashtags and post something relevant to your business using that hashtag(s).

10) Ask your fans to share their weather photos and stories of snowmen, downed trees, etc., on your Page. Remember to like, thank and comment on the photos they share.

11) Feature a question from a Twitter follower and answer it on Facebook. If you don’t have another social media platform, quote a customer who asked you in person. Ask them permission to quote them or make it a general attribution.

12) Ask your fans a fill-in-the-blank question like “My favorite hot dog condiment is ___.” This type of question is less intimidating to answer than an open-ended question. You might get question ideas to use later on, based on their answers. Please this type of question sparingly.

13) Post photos that pull on the emotions of your fans. You may choose nostalgia for the “good ‘ol days” or cute animals that you tie-in to your business. Eliciting ohhhs and awwwws is ok…but don’t overuse.

14) Re-purpose your content, pointing out a new and unique aspect. Examples: Share a link to a blog post, highlighting a new insight… or how about “Christmas in July” – re-sharing Christmas content in July.

15) If no one has responded to your post yet, reply to your own post with valuable comments that might spark responses…do sparingly and only once per post.

16) Depending on your fans’ social media savviness, giving tips on how Facebook works might be useful to them. You might say “To see our updates on xyz go to your New-feed and click ‘Most recent stories.’ “

The Event Angle

17) When there is a big event or major weather going down, more people will be on Facebook than usual. See if you have something useful to add. One example: post a picture of snow at your bed and breakfast during a snowstorm. Another idea – post updates the news is not providing in your area.

18) Test out the Event app for your events, especially social ones and not seasonal sales. Encourage fans to invite other fans to join them. Create it in advance of the event and post updates there regularly. This gives the event time to build momentum.

19) Post a podcast, video or blog by an event headliner in advance to get your audience excited and create a buzz about the speaker or performer.

20) Drum up nostalgia on holidays and past events like anniversaries. Here’s one example: “This day in 1975 we were ____, where where you?”

21) Post about an event (before, during and after) with photos and without photos and see the difference in responses.

22) Share photos or a video during an event. Make it a single quality post that conveys the event’s “spirit,” helping fans feel like they’re there. Only select the best and don’t overdo it.

Strategy: Thinking Big

23) Write in first person instead of third person. Your business should have its own “voice” – i.e., a certain tone and consistency. Maybe develop this “voice” into a persona that your company uses as a guideline for how to write on social media and other media.

24) What is your competition is doing? Think of different things you can do to stand out.

25) Pay to promote all or key posts to your followers by bidding $1 to $5 dollars. This promotes it directly into your Fan’s Newsfeed, using Facebook.com/ads (different than boosting a post).

26) Use hashtags to make your posts more easily discoverable. Choose some for branding, some for emphasis and some for reference to connect to other content like yours.

27) Curate quality content with a comment of why it is worth your customer/prospects time to look at. Pull out an idea that gave you an “ah-hah” moment and explain why.

28)  Intersperse your content, ensuring a variety of posts. Sales pitches for a whole week doesn’t cut it. Aim for posting certain types of content on a regular basis, like a video once a month, a sale coupon, a link to your blog, etc.

29) Have clearly defined personas, avatars or profiles of customer types you are talking to. Decide the percentage of each type you have and create content (blogs, photos, video, etc.) in that percentage.

29) Plan holiday-related posts ahead of time, especially holidays that are big for your business.

30) Daily review your Newsfeed to see what you can like, comment or share as your business. For a quick view on your interaction with other Pages, view your Page’s Activity Log in your Admin settings.

31) Whatever you do, do it in high quality not quantity, your customers’ attention is expensive to them.

Empower Your Team

32) Let board members, employees and other stakeholders know the value of sharing or commenting on content that speaks personally to them.

33) Create and share a Facebook content schedule with your stakeholders (board member, employees, etc.) in order to 1) have a backup 2) collaborate 3) idea dump before it’s ever scheduled to be posted.

34) Consider developing your business avatars or personas in detail with other people on your business team. This fosters in-house collaboration and helps you write future social media content with your audience in mind.

Stories Rule

35) Share your business stories and pictures/videos of the past. Build out the past over time on your timeline all the way back to “the beginning.” See this example of Big Mill Bed and Breakfast and look at the earliest date: https://www.facebook.com/bigmillbedandbreakfast “Born in February 1922” Is there a story about how the business came into existence? If so, share it.

36) Tell relatable stories and include pictures/videos of the owner’s connection to the business.

37) Ask your employees to share authentic stories and pictures/videos of their passion for the business. Make it a regular feature, like once a month, for planning purposes.

38) Occasionally do a spontaneous post related to an event, local good events and local or national tragedies. If your business knows of an organization or individual affected by an event, tell that story as soon as possible while it’s still on everyone’s mind.

39) Answer questions customers ask – on social media or face to face at your business – by linking to your blog with a more extensive answer.

Show How Good Your Company Is

40) If your business is sponsoring a nonprofit event, comment on their event posts leading up to, during and after the event. Don’t forget to share these posts on your Business Page wall with a note on how to support the event to your Fans.

41) If your employees volunteer for a cause on company time, share a photo of them on Facebook, tagging the nonprofit and commending your employees. Do this as timely as possible.

42) Share nonprofit posts on your Page before, during and after an event your business is sponsoring. Let people know how they can get involved in it and why you’re sponsoring it.

43) Do your employees volunteer, but not on company time? Ask them permission to share their story and photos, in the same spirit as “Employee of the month,” but call it something else.

Recognition is Right

44) Ask questions that you think your customer would enjoy answering, and include a related photo. Have a fan ready to respond to “prime the pump” – it will encourage others to answer too.

45) Say “thank you” when people comment on your posts. If you can, add a comment in your reply, mentioning them with the “@” symbol. This recognizes them in a way they know you are talking to them.

46) Spend a good 1/3 of your time, as your business, commenting, liking and sharing key ally posts. Key allies may include other businesses, vendors, your chamber of commerce, and nonprofits you support.

47) Help fans feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Ask them for input on a project you’re working on.

48) Follow up with a photo of the finished project, thanking fans for their input as soon as it’s completed.

49) Mention your strategic allies in posts and blogs in ways that may also be of interest to your customers, as well as prospective customers.

51) If someone posts a negative comment, step up to the plate and show how you can take the high road by responding, not ignoring or deleting it. There are exceptions with fake Facebook accounts and other inappropriate spam responses.

52) If someone gives your business a bad review and the review hints at why, address it in a post or blog and share the link on Facebook. It could be others have similar issues. Turn it into useful information for your customers.

As a Social Media Manager or manager of any Facebook Business page you are always looking  for creative ways to get more of your customers/prospects to like, share or comment on your posts. We hope this was helpful for you. Let us know what you found useful or other ways you have gained more engagement below.

by Martin Brossman and Ellen Hammond

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

Special thanks to the following people who contributed ideas or inspired ideas for this post:
Heather Cutchin Evans – http://www.linkedin.com/in/heathercevans
Colleen Gray – http://Boomerang-Social.com
Jay Izso http://www.internetdr.com/
Joel McClosky https://plus.google.com/u/0/109893483113029960788/posts
Drew Becker: http://conveymediagroup.com/

 

Customer Avatars in Marketing: Know Your Audience

What's My Line

“Know your audience” is something you often hear when it comes to speakers, lecturers and politicians but as a marketing content creator, having a feel for who you are speaking to is just as important.  Whether you own the company and need to know your customers better or work for a company as their marketing voice (both in-house or contractor), you cannot create relevant content unless you know who you are speaking to, what is important to them and what they are looking for. This is why creating customer personas / profiles / avatars is so critical prior to creating a marketing campaign.

Avatars

So, who is your audience?  Every organization is different but take a look at some of these possibilities:

  • Customers / Donors
  • Potential Customers or New Market Segments
  • Partners
  • Sponsors
  • Suppliers
  • Current Employees
  • Highly talented potential employees you would love to recruit (i.e. “We’re a great company to work for!”)
  • Investors

Each time you write, blog, post, tweet, etc. you are speaking to one of these. Now within categories we must delve deeper and identify subgroups, and write a “bio” of each fictional person.  You may start with assumptions but back that up with research.

Researching Avatar Characteristics

Data can come from several sources like: Focus groups

  • Old Fashioned Observation
  • Social Listening
  • Interviews
  • Census Data
  • Reviews

Here is a quick example for a hotel or conference center:

Meeting Planner Patty

Hello, I am Patty, a meeting planner for ABC corp.  In addition to organizing meeting space, hotel rooms, flights, airport transportation, speakers, entertainment, printed programs and name tags, (phew) I want to make each event memorable.  My goal is to get everyone in the company excited about attending the meeting, engaged while there and talking about it years later.  I’m looking for unique venues for off-site events, one-of-a-kind experiences and unique ways to get employees to connect face-to-face.  If I can’t make that happen, they all might as well have an online conference call and get right back to work, right?  My job is to share the company message, create company loyalty & motivation and facilitate an atmosphere for employee synergy that more than justifies the expense and time off-site.

Personally, the long hours and travel can be tough on my family so I make a point of either bringing something special back or arranging for them to meet me the day after the event for a quick getaway.

I have zero patience for poor customer service, rude employees and broken partner agreements.  With everything on my plate, who has time for those things? So, Patty is a desirable customer type because she has a respectable budget.

If we were to write a blog post with her in mind we would NOT mention how affordable we are, or our central location.  Instead we would discuss all the unique things to see and do in our destination.  Also, a spotlight on employees who exceeded customer service experiences would be of interest. See how a persona or avatar helps us decide what to share and what not to share?  If we had not taken the time to consider this specific customer type’s expectations we would waste our time (and money) communicating on and on about our holiday special but no one may be interested in that topic.  Or, even worse, we would attract the wrong customer (not profitable) with all that “economical” content.

An Avatar in the Movies

A hilarious example of “walk a mile in the customer’s shoes” is the 2000 movie “What Women Want”.  Mel Gibson plays an ad executive who realizes he cannot effectively create an advertising campaign for female products that he knows nothing about so he brings home a few of the products (pantyhose, wax, lipstick, etc.) to try them out and get a customer’s perspective.

Now it’s your turn (no guys, you don’t have to wear the pantyhose).  Can you think of three to six distinctive types of people who are current or potential customers?  Let’s go beyond “Soccer Dad Duane” and consider different generations, geographical backgrounds as well as marital status and family types.  Or perhaps you offer various products and services and you want to create an avatar for each. Let’s consider: Demographics

  • Values / Beliefs
  • Needs / Wants
  • Objections / Issues / Problems
  • Questions

Avatars for the City of Raleigh

Here is a fantastic real life example from the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau where they have identified seven visitor personalities and offer tourist suggestions according to those interests: http://www.visitraleigh.com/visitors/id

Creating personas takes a great deal of time and research but can be worth it when you realize how much more effective it will make the marketing, content creation and social media efforts going forward for a small local business, non-profit organization or a big corporation.

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 Job Titles Defined

Social Media JobsSix Social Media Roles: Is This a Position For You?
The vast world of social media offers several different roles depending on business size. Understanding the business audience is the first step in developing a solid social media plan and then fleshing it out with content. But whose job is it to determine audience type and who develops content? Who manages the business’ social media platforms and ensures a consistent message is bringing a positive return on investment (ROI)? Who reports to business leaders?

Online Community Manager:
The primary voice of the company to the outside world is the online community manager. Outreach may include press releases, blogs, website content, social media content, review sites, and forums. By awareness of a company’s online reputation, you will address complaints professionally and timely, and voice appreciation of positive remarks. You will either define the voice of the company or take a predefined voice and ensure consistency and professionalism. Part of your job is to shape the interaction of people within a community, such as matching a support person with a consumer who needs help.

To be successful you will work closely with the company marketing director to align online goals with overall business goals. You will generate relevant reports to deliver to business leaders to show ROI. Relevant reports will change based on the business. A company heavily invested in customer support will need to see customer satisfaction, number of complaints received and resolved, and ideas for future innovation. However a company more invested in sales will see reports based on lead generation, website visits, and interaction with potential consumers.

Social Media Marketing Manager:
Are you very familiar with the most popular social media platforms and able to easily navigate their never-ending changes? Do you collect social media key performance indicators and analyze that data to measure results? Are you able to responsibly delegate tasks and oversee execution of those tasks in a professional manner? You may fit best in the role of social media marketing manager. You may work closely with a marketing strategist or social media strategist to design a plan based on an event or timeline. You will be in charge of providing content to reach event goals and also evaluating data to monitor results. Understanding your business audience is a must, including the specific social media platforms that they use.

You need to be a creative person, proficient in developing content as well as researching and repurposing relevant content, and excel in engaging consumers online. You will follow the style guidelines of the business to provide consistent voice, style, and “feel” to the created content. You should be comfortable working with a variety of individuals inside of the business including IT (for help with computer needs and potentially website needs), business leaders (to ensure business goals are recognized and met and that the appropriate voice is being used) and employees (for content creation and ideas).

Social Media Strategist:
A social media strategist develops a strategy for compelling content for online audiences, including content on social media, blogs, websites, and press releases. Simply posting cute kitten photos will not convert viewers to buyers on your social media; the content needs to direct people to your website or store front and encourage them to make purchases. You will design a plan based around business goals. As the brand ambassador, you present the company’s brand on social media platforms to engage and generate leads.

What makes a good social media strategist? They are usually goal-oriented people who understand social media audiences and their behavior, and are able to communicate clearly and succinctly with those audiences. You also communicate to business leaders ROI for social media plans, and have a deep understanding of social media data, with a way to track results inside the business.

Social Media Marketing Coordinator:
A social media marketing coordinator could be a combination of a social media strategist and social media manager. You must be adept in designing social media campaigns and developing content for those campaigns which elevates the business brand. Having an intimate knowledge of the social media landscape and an ability to learn new social media platforms as needed is required. You need to thrive in fast paced environments, learn quickly, be self-motivated to learn new things, and be team-oriented. You will work closely with many members of the business to garner ideas for content and you will need to have an excellent ability to listen to consumers and deliver to their needs and desires. You may also be providing photos and videos for your social media accounts.

 Social Media Marketing Consultant:
Are you more interested in working for yourself and consulting other businesses on social media? Do you love the challenge of designing new plans based on each company’s needs and goals, and enjoy working with a wide range of professions? Do you have a excellent understanding of the various social media platforms to develop a solid plan for any type of business? Then social media marketing consultant may be the profession for you!

A consultant is able to step into any company, from arboretum to zoo, bank to hair dresser, and develop a social media plan to help them grow. You need to be a good listener and observer, able to navigate intricacies of each individual business to find things that make it stand out in its area. Working closely with the business manager, owner, or marketing specialist, you provide training on social media platforms from the bottom-up, sometimes creating the business pages for the company and educate on content creation and planning. A consultant’s gig may last for just a few hours, providing a company with ideas and solutions, or it may last a few weeks while the consultant transforms the company’s social media presence. A consultant may also present social media to a group of individuals, such as classes Martin Brossman and Karen Tiede offer.

 Blogger/ Social Media Copywriter:
This position may be included in one of the above or may be a stand-alone, depending on the business size and needs. A social media copywriter writes, reviews, and edits materials such as social media posts, blog posts, website content, press releases, and more. You will work closely with team members across a business to understand goals and the target audience. Superb written and verbal communication skills are required as well as project management and organizational skills. A blogger has to work well under pressure to meet deadlines and adapt quickly and efficiently to the business needs.

As the blogger/copywriter you will likely be providing photography or graphs for your content. Start compiling your stock photography now and treat every day like a photo shoot. Label and organize your photo files so that you can easily recall a photo for content. A basic understanding of a photo editing software is helpful and understanding of a graph developing software, such as Microsoft Excel, is important.

A blogger creates content that engages and attracts readers, often redirecting them to the business website in order to generate leads.

 It is apparent that there are many different types of social media jobs. Depending on the size of the company all or just one may be needed to successfully manage the company’s online presence. If you are knowledgeable in social media and you’re interested in taking your career to the next level, start researching companies who are hiring for these positions to see if it’s a good fit for you. You may also benefit from many classes taught by Martin Brossman and Associates.

by Heather Cutchin Evans – learn more about Heather at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/heathercevans

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

Bilingual Social Media Online Marketing Manager

Spanish Speakers in North America

Spanish Speakers in North America

The last US census conducted revealed an astonishing large number of Spanish speakers living within the United States: 53 million. With this number quickly growing by an average 2.2% per year, speaking Spanish has moved from an interesting trait to a mandatory skill. As the Hispanic population in the United States grows, the international love affair with social media simultaneously expands. While the growth of the two is independent of one another, there’s no doubt that there’s a large interaction between the online community and the Spanish-speaking one. As such, the services I can offer you as a bilingual social media manager are invaluable.

Cultural Acknowledgement

As a bilingual social media manager, I bring more than just language skills to the table. Rather, my translations extend beyond simple vocabulary to understanding cultural appropriateness, norms, and expectations. While anyone can look up words in an online translator or dictionary, I can provide your business or organization with the skills necessary to promote a positive relationship with clients and customers. This relationship, that recognizes and incorporates cultural diversity, is essential in creating and maintaining a connection between a business and its consumers.

Essential Skills

In addition to providing culturally relevant information to consumers, I possess the essential skills to getting the job done right. By having fluency in both English and Spanish, I am able to focus on:

  • Creating enticing and shareable content for various social platforms;

  • Integrating social, community-based media business strategies;

  • Creating, monitoring, analyzing, and reporting on social media trends within the Hispanic community; and

  • Acting as a liaison between communication teams, online influencers, and Spanish-speaking communities.

In addition to these cultural and lingual-specific skills, I also have all the know-how of an experienced social media manager. I fully recognize the benefits of guiding and executing strategic social media initiatives, developing and managing viral campaigns, creating and maintaining high-profile channel accounts, understanding how to grow a brand’s social presence through paid and organic means, and maintaining an influencer-level profile across key social media platforms.

Conflict Resolution and Improved Communication

A bilingual social media manager is beneficial within the workplace–not only can I help you to create a business culture that recognizes and appreciates diversity, but I’m also an effective tool in conflict resolution and communication improvement.  With a bilingual social media manager, miscommunication and misunderstandings are no longer a cause for concern. When there is a problem in the workplace, the problem can be exacerbated by a language barrier. I can help to coach clients and employees through conflict resolution, as well help promote direct communication.

Translating between English and Spanish

Translating between English and Spanish

 

Additional Benefits

A bilingual social media manger acts as the social media voice for the organization or business, and cultivates new communities and manages branded online communities. By running reports and translating metrics and data into useable information, I’ll help to guide the overall communication strategy of the brand. Additionally, I promise to engage in and lead a community of social media followers across all platforms. In conclusion, a monolingual social media manager can no longer be considered the most effective means of creating and maintain meaningful social media; rather, a bilingual social media manager provides the cultural expertise and language know-how to accomplish the task at hand; I will provide your organization with both.

by Olga Santo Tomás Monroe   919-604-0104   olgamaria3@aol.com