Communities ARE Social Media

SocialandCommunity

There is confusion about the relation between these two and the misunderstanding that communities are not social media.  Not so.  Social Media is a form of electronic communication that consists of different platforms; communities are one of those platforms.  How do you want to engage?

Social Media defined by  Merriam Webster:

Forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.

Online Communities defined by  CommonCraft.com:

An online community is a group of people with common interests who use the Internet (web sites, email, instant messaging, etc) to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time.

Social networks like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook are fun and sexy: they are used for social listening, brand promotion, and limited customer engagement.  Communities are electronic Town Halls that enable conversations and deeper engagement: customers provide feedback, comments, and questions; brands have obligation to respond.

No matter brand promotion, customer service, or customer engagement, you must understand your audience: what networks are they using, and where you are comfortable engaging.  As with anything: you need the right tool for the right job.  For social media, you need the right network to reach customers and have the right conversations. Communities are social media.

Where do your conversations happen?

Cheers,

Toby

 

 

Give Back – Pay It Forward

GiveBack

Last weekend I had the pleasure of returning to my high school alma mater, Pomfret School, to participate in their Career Expo.  I spoke to students about networking and the importance of building and protecting a social brand.  It was wonderful to share a topic I am so passionate about and give back to a place that has given me so much.  Eyes popped open.

Many use social networks and most of them do not realize the important of their personal brand and how easy it is to destroy it.  Your social media brand is one without context: a third party gives you a look and makes a decision based on the pictures you post and the comments you make.   I am not going into my entire presentation, but here are two of my slides that I believe offer some fantastic social guidance.

Brand

social

I would love to discuss any and all aspects of social media and personal branding with you; please contact me.  The larger point of this blog is to give back to people and organizations that have touched you.  Writing a check will always be appreciated, but your time, knowledge, and experience is much more valuable.  Give back & pay it forward.

Best,

Toby

The Community Manager – Metrics

web_analytics_metrics_lifecycle_process

This is the third installment in my Community Manager series.  I believe in managing people over spreadsheets, but without defined measurements, you will not know if you are on the way to meeting your goals or what corrections to make.  In this blog, I will discuss setting and measuring goals for your community as well as Twitter.

Size vs Collaboration:

It happens all the time, no matter a community or Twitter account, too much attention is given to membership size rather than engagement.  You may have a community of 200k; if they are not asking and answering each other’s questions, you have a group of individuals, NOT a community.  The same goes for Twitter Followers: without engagement, you have the modern equivalent of a failed email distribution list.

Active Users:

How many of your members are active each month or quarter? Active users are those who are participating: they have logged in, asked a question, contributed to a discussion, liked a comment or discussion topic, or provided an answer or or marked an answer correct.

Answer Rate vs Engagement Rate:

As you build your community, you will be generating the majority of the content as well as providing the answers.  As your community matures the content flow will shift: members will not only start discussions, but will also answer questions.  For each month and quarter, how many questions have answers that have been marked correct?  For each question asked, how many get a response; not just answers, but clarifying questions?  Engagement rate is more important than correct answer rate: answers may not always be marked as correct by the original poster, but you want to ensure when a question is asked, a response has been provided.

Measuring Engagement – Twitter

  1. Likes and Like-Ratio
  2. ReTweets
  3. Replies
  4. Lists

Social Promotion

Successful tweeting is more than casting a wide net via multiple tweets.  What are the best times of day to tweet, how many times week should I tweet?  Google Analytics and UTM codes can help you.  These four are indicators of both traffic and engagement:

  1. Sessions
  2. New Users
  3. Pages / Session
  4. Ave. Session Duration

How are you measuring your community?  What tools do you use?  Thanks for commenting.

Cheers,

Toby

My Workstyle – Lead & Inspire

Simon

I often get asked: “What makes you tick and how do you motivate others?”  These are my four principals; I would love to discuss them further with you.

Collaborate, Question, Understand

  • Ask: Is this the best way and why?
  • Remove silos & work towards a common goal
  • Understand goals, expectations & what equals success

Manage people not spreadsheets

  • Encourage and empower
  • Ensure my message is understood
  • Numbers are easy to manage, people are not
  • Metrics are guardrails that ensure you are on track

Be a customer advocate

  • Have a win-win outlook
  • Do not hide behind bad policy
  • Help them navigate your processes
  • Be their partner and make life easier

Engagement over membership

  • Rather than 100,000 members, achieve a 90% answer rate
  • 75% of content / answers are customer driven
  • Without engagement, you have a list, not a community

How do you manage, motivate, and keep your team on track?  I welcome your comments and questions.

Best,

Toby

#TwitterSmarter – Score Better Results

twittersmarter

My recap of the 2/11 #TwitterSmarter chat hosted by @MadalynSklar.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST and learn how to optimize your Twitter game.

Question: Which social media network do you get most of your business from?

Answer: On line communities with Twitter the close 2nd

Q1. What is Social Media success?

  • Social Media success is defined my connecting and establishing relationships with your target audience
  • You may also define it by establishing an ideas and solutions network
  • Rather than the size of your networks or followers; how engaged are they? Think participation

Q2. How do you divide the time spent managing social?

  • First I ensure I don’t have too many lines in the water
  • I utilize Google Alerts, my Hootsuite dashboard, and my community to listen
  • A Content Calendar to keep posting on track: what do do when
  • At the end of the week, check analytics; without measurement and analytics, you are on a road without guard rails

Q3. What are the best platforms to focus on?

  • There is no BEST platform: where is your audience?
  • You need to pick the right tackle to catch the right fish
  • Know your audience: don’t rock Facebook if your people are on Instagram

Q4. How do I save time on a day-to-day basis?

  • No matter or , schedule those tweets
  • LEARN your tools and how to use them – make the content / comments come to you
  • Calendars are you friend! When to post and to keep you on track during the day

Q5. Which tools are absolutely essential?

Q6. Is automation a good idea? What do I automate?

  • The only automation I do is scheduling tweets
  • I get automated alerts, but respond in time and in person
  • I am not a fan of auto-response, IFTTT for example

Q7. What is the one thing I can do for maximum impact?

  • Respond to comments – Be yourself – Know your audience – Fish where the fish are
  • Share content for your audience rather than your brand; will they find it helpful

Q8. What type of content will travel faster?

  • Content that adds value – solves a problem – relieves a pain point – makes someone laugh

See you at the next #twittersmarter

 

The Community Manager – Part 2

Content

In part 1, I introduced the community manager’s role in setting standards and mindset; this blog is about content creation.  If yours is an SMB size firm, you may be responsible for social media efforts in addition to your community responsibilities.  A larger firm may separate Social from Community, but you best understand the tools for listening and sharing as well as what makes content valuable to customers.

As a community manager, you engage with community members as well as socially listen to what others say about your brand: what do your customers like and care about, where are their pain points?  Don’t post to post; as a community manger, your focus is providing value.

No matter if it is internal or third party content, you should find and share things your customers will value.  A knowledge base article or YouTube video that solves a technical problem, a blog about upcoming product changes and what has been improved for their benefit, a piece written by a third party thought leader discussing industry trends.  Find and share things that help and educate them rather than simply promoting your brand.

Don’t push content… connect.

Looking forward to your comments.

Best,

Toby

Driving Traffic with Twitter

Twittersmart

This is my recap of the 2/4 #TwitterSmarter chat hosted by @MadalynSklar.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST and learn how to optimize your Twitter game.

Question: What are your fave apps that help you shine on Twitter?

Answer: – all equal twitter success

Q1. Is Twitter still a great platform to drive traffic? Why?

  • Twitter not only provides targeted reach, but efforts can easily be tracked via Google Analytics
  • By utilizing hashtags, Twitter helps new users find you
  • Twitter is not only great for engaging – remember to socially listen too

Q2. How is driving traffic different today compared to a few years ago?

  • With better listening tools and measurement analytics, it is easier to know who to target
  • More tools available to tweet smarter
  • With all the helpful tools, sadly there are more bots and spammers too 😦

Q3. Who are the best people you follow on Twitter? Why?

Q4: How can Twitter help you generate new ideas and drive more traffic?

  • The more you participate, the more knowledge you find & contacts you make
  • The more you socially listen, the better you can target content (hashtags)
  • The more you engage, the more relationships you build & they will share your content
  • Ask questions, give answers, say thank you, like and retweet other’s content

Q5: How can you tell if your Twitter efforts are working or not?

  • Via Google Analytics: Sessions – New Users – Pages / Session – Ave. Session Duration
  • For Twitter: Likes and Like-Ratio – Retweets – Replies – Lists

Q6. Do you have any secret methods to drive more traffic using Twitter?

  • Be yourself – let your personality come through – share what your audience finds valuable
  • Thank people for Following you, Retweeting you, adding you to their lists
  • Retweet the content you find interesting
  • In business, tweet things that help your customers rather than promote your brand
  • Add pictures to your tweets

Q7. Should automation be used as part of your strategy to drive more traffic on Twitter?

  • The only automation I use is pre-scheduling tweets, not a fan of auto-responses
  • I am very careful with automation: I want to be efficient, but authentic as well

Q8 What do you think Twitter should do to get more users and remain competitive?

  • DO NOT expand the 140
  • Keep improving tools and analytics

Hope to see you at the next #TwitterSmarter – Look forward to chatting with you.

Collaboration

Bufferchat

This is my recap of the 2/3 #Bufferchat hosted by @buffer.  Join the social conversation every Wednesday at 12pm EST and discuss all things Social.

Q1: Why collaborate?

  • There is NEVER 1 way to do something
  • Smart people understand the power of many & surround themselves with smarter people
  • Collaboration is fantastic for team building
  • Collaboration combines past knowledge with new ideas

Q2: What are the key aspects of great collaboration?

  • The willingness to ask AND listen
  • Tear down silos first – focus on the goal or problem to solve
  • Clarify the goal and choose the right tool to share & document solutions
  • A moderator or sponsor who keeps the discussion moving and focused on the goal

Q3: How can you know if you’re a good match with a potential collaborator?

  • No way to know until the ideas start flying
  • Are members of the team willing to focus on the goal rather than their department?
  • You are both invested in the problem’s resolution

Q4: Is there such a thing as too many collaborators on a project?

  • More than too many collaborators, are you able to sort through & prioritize the solutions?
  • Depends on the project / goal – size of business impact
  • This is why a moderator / leader is needed for large group collaboration
  • Options are great, but avoid analysis paralysis – planning without action will sink you
  • There can be too many cooks; if some on the team do not collaborate, it may be time to let them walk

Q5: Have you ever had a bad collaboration experience? How did you work through it?

  • I explained to the person that we work for the same team with the same goal – forget about department
  • I cannot stand providing ideas without getting feedback or the team taking action

Q6: What are some unexpected collaborations that have worked really well?

  • Working across multiple department lines to find the right solution and deliver it on time to the customer

Q7: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about collaborating with others?

  • Keep an open mind; you never know where a solution will come from
  • One person does not have all the answers

See you at the next #Bufferchat

The Community Manager – Part 1

be-nice

What does a community manager do?  What skills are required?  This is the first in a multi-part series written to answer those questions.  This post will discuss setting standards and having the right mindset.  Imagine Dalton not as a Cooler, but a Community Manager…

“Be Nice”
A Community Manager’s job is to build relationships, listen to and help community members, and steer discussions; all while staying positive.  It is important to set standards and be firm, but be nice.  Make your positive attitude contagious.

“Nobody ever wins a fight”
It can feel good to get the best of a troll, but there will always be another.  Never get caught up in the anger of someone who only seeks to throw bombs or attack others – delete the post, block the troll, and move on. Community members look to you to set the tone: if you are rude and attack others, they will too.

“I want you to remember that it’s a job. It’s nothing personal”
Never let a troll get the best of you by invading your head.  No matter the community, members will have opinions about the way do do a job or solve a problem: as the Community Manager, it is your responsibility to see that conversations stay on track and remain professional.  You brand or company is not a damsel in distress that needs to be saved; allowing objective disagreement builds credibility.  Stay on topic and NEVER let a discussion become an argument.

“People who really want to have a good time won’t come to slaughterhouse”
No matter your community: business / hobby, internal / external – members join to learn from one another, to share best practices, and help each other solve problems.  No one wants to read personal rants or get attacked for their opinions: a bad environment will not only hinder discussion, it WILL destroy your membership.

Be fair, Be firm, Be nice
I welcome your comments.
Cheers,
Toby