Is Social Media Automation All Bad?

twittersmarter

My recap and answers I provided for the 10/26/2017 #TwitterSmarter chat hosted by @MadalynSklar and guest @AgoraPulse.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST.  Automation may be a time saver, but it is NOT engagement and may actually hurt you.

Q1: Can you really put your Twitter profile on “auto-pilot” with automation tools?

  • You can put your account on auto-pilot, but I do not recommend it
  • Going on auto-pilot removes true conversation with fellow tweeters
  • Auto-pilot could hurt credibility and make you appear to be a bot
  • I schedule tweets, but ALWAYS engage myself

Q2: What types of content or updates can be shared via automation tools?

  • I schedule blog posts
  • I tried to auto-pilot my tweetchat answers, but it did not work out well 🙂

Q3: How often do you repeat content on Twitter? Do you get good results?

  • I post blogs on multiple times and day when I write them
  • I believe it is ok to reuse content, but I try not to over-post the same thing

Q4: Where do businesses or brands often fail when it comes to automating their social media channels?

  • Brands fail when they use canned, generic responses
  • Brands fail when they over schedule and post too much all at once
  • Brand fail when they don’t measure the popularity of their content and keep posting things ppl don’t like or value
  • There is NOTHING worse than an auto-DM with a link to a blog or sales pitch

Q5: What automation tools can help you share content in a relevant, meaningful way?

  • I use @hootsuite to schedule and share my blog
  • I use @tweetchat to follow and participate in tweetchats

Q6: What are your top tips for using automation to increase your traffic and reach?

  • Follow what Google Analytics tell you: best time to post, the content your audience likes – repeat
  • I do utilize an automated welcome email in my community when someone registers – it contains how-to’s & tips

Q7: Are you sick and tired of auto-DMs or do you think they’re a great tool to get more leads?

  • I only DMs ppl I know
  • Canned Auto-DMs are the worst
  • Don’t believe Auto-DMs will yield qualified engagement or leads
  • DMs are good for customer service: private, documented, and allow longer character length

Q8: What is your best advice to find balance between automation and real-time engagement?

  • Automate your scheduling – engage in person

Thank you for reading and hope to see you at the next #twittersmarter chat.  I look forward to your questions and comments.

Cheers,

Toby

 

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#SproutChat: Manage & Amplify Social Media Content

Sproutchat

Good day community managers and social pros, this is my recap and answers I provided for the 10/25/2017 #SproutChat hosted by Rachael Samuels @RachaelSamuels  Join the conversation every Wednesday at 3pm EST.

Q1: What are some best practices for managing multimedia content for social media?

  • Ensure the content is sized and formatted to match each social media outlet
  • Build a library of content used
  • Use the right platform to reach the right audience
  • ALWAYS give credit to the content’s creator if it is not you or your firm

Q2: How do you manage visual content when you’re at a live event with a team? Or on the go?

  • Smartphone
  • Livestream
  • If I am going to attend a show, I let my audience know prior and what hashtag to follow
  • LiveTweet with pictures of yourself (and customers or fellow employees)
  • Ensure you enable geolocation and tag your location when on the go

Q3: What are ways that you can ensure that there isn’t crossover in posting if multiple people have access?

  • Have a plan with responsibilities
  • A social calendar keeps everyone organized: who does what, when
  • Scheduling posts through one dashboard gives visibility and helps prevent duplication

Q4: How do you organize or tag multimedia content for easy lookup?

  • Use the same hashtag as the event it covers
  • Hootsuite allows you to create a content library and you can catalog it there
  • Ensure the tag for the content matches utm code so you can easily track its success via Google Analytics

Q5: Share some best practices for sharing repurposed content for brands.

  • Ensure the content is important to your audience; not just you
  • Ensure the content tells a story

Q6: How do you amplify content among employees or advocates?

  • LinkedIn Elevate is a great way to share content internally
  • Feature customer created community content in Twitter feeds
  • I always let the employee or customers know I am going to feature them
  • Ask employees or customers to lead a discussion in your community
  • Ask employees or customers for content they would like to see on your Instagram
  • Feature customer Tweets or Instagram posts on your account

If you work in social media, #SproutChat is a must attend.  I hope to see you there and welcome your comments.

Cheers,

Toby

 

#Bufferchat: Team Collaboration

BufferChat

 

My recap of the 10/25/2017 #Bufferchat hosted by @buffer.  Join the conversation every Wednesday at 12pm EST.  No matter your profession, collaboration and communication are keys to your success.

Q1: How many people are on your particular team? Does your team have a name?

  • As a Community Manager, I collaborate across all departments
  • Team names: Community – Customer Advocate – Utility Infielder

Q2: Who do you work most closely with on your team? How do you work together?

  • I Collaborate with Marketing, Social, Tech Support, Web – utilize community groups and WebEx
  • I work the closest with my community members – we collaborate in public discussions and private groups within the community

Q3: Anyone have great tips for structuring meetings or brainstorms with your team? What works really well?

  • Private Groups within a community makes it easy to meet, exchange ideas, and store the knowledge
  • When time zones are great, WebEx to the rescue
  • Shared boards make it easy to track tasks and their stages of completion – You can also add due dates
  • Another great collaboration and tracking tool is – everyone on the same page
  • Last tool – – very easy to take and share meeting notes

Q4: What are some awesome tools that support team collaboration, and how?

Q5: What’s your advice for working through conflicts within a team?

  • Set and confirm expectations
  • NEVER make it personal
  • If there seems to be miscommunication, pick up the phone or meet in person to confirm and align

Q6: What are some ideal ways for a team to get to know each other and build trust?

  • Dinner
  • Team trip to Vegas 🙂
  • A weekly lunch with the team is a great team builder
  • Go see a relevant speaker or influencer like Seth Godin

Thanks for reading – hope to see you at the next #bufferchat and look forward to your comments and questions.

Cheers,

Toby

 

Twitter is a Community

Illustration of social people network community

Online communities are still misunderstood: people narrowly define them by network or platform in which they live rather than the conversations themselves.  A company’s support community, a LinkedIn or Facebook group, are obvious communities, but Community is more than location: communities are places where people meet to discuss common interests, share knowledge, and help others with their problems.

Twitter is my favorite social network and is teeming with communities.

  1. Lists help me organize people by what I learn from them.   For example, I can open my list of Community Mangers to see what they are taking about – within this community, I can search for answers, ask a question to a specific person, and answer a question someone else may have asked.  This link will take you to my Twitter lists by topic: https://twitter.com/Toby_Metcalf/lists
  2. Tweetchats are weekly discussions that focus on specific topics.  I join these to listen to and network with thought leaders and judge the success of the chat by the amount of side conversations I have going.  I have made some of my strongest and most helpful networks through tweetchats.  Some of my favorites are: #Custserv #Bufferchat #Sproutchat #Twittersmarter #Hootchat – I hope to see you there.

No matter the platform, it is the people and the conversations within the platform that makes the community.  Please let me know if you have questions about Twitter or Tweetchats.

Best,

Toby

The Power of an Engaged & Organic Social Audience

Engagement

Follower / membership count is a misunderstood and deceptive social media metric.  It is possible to purchase thousands of followers, but these will certainly be bots or fake accounts and will not return business value . Your online community may have 200,000 members, but how many are actually participating and contributing?  If followers are not organically grown through engagement, you do not have an audience; you have a list.

One of my social mentors, Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman), and I regularly discuss this phenomenon: it’s called “social media,” why do so many only push content and ignore discussion?  Ask a question, provide an answer, share personal insights; social media is about conversations.  In addition to thought leadership blogs and company announcements, genuinely respond to your customer’s questions and actually engage them.  Engagement will positively impact your business.

Customers turn to social media to research a company’s culture as well as for trusted peer opinions and product insight.  What is the tone of your Twitter feed, what types of content are you sharing?  Does your company have an online community: what is the activity level, do members interact with one another, are employees participating?  No matter the platform, an engaging social strategy builds customer trust, differentiates your brand, and most importantly, creates advocates.

Engaging customers and cultivating them into advocates should be a priority.  Advocates are loyal consumers who help you meet revenue goals.  Advocates talk about your brand, increase awareness, and provide trusted reviews to potential customers. Advocates share your content with their networks which improves your SEO.  Advocates answer the majority of the questions within your community which lowers customer service costs.  Simply creating an account or community and pushing content will not yield advocates, advocates are nurtured through honest engagement.

It’s called “social” media.

Cheers,

Toby

 

 

Do You Have The Right (Support) Bucket?

Capture

Customer service and support is continuously evolving and great service differentiates brands and turns customers into advocates.  This blog will discuss three service buckets and how an online community can benefit your company while providing your customers an outstanding service experience.

The First Bucket: Phone Queue

Something we are all familiar with, but often hate using.  Because there such a high staffing cost to companies, customers are often burdened with lengthy menus or unhelpful automated responses.  To add further irritation, it is often difficult to reach the rep with the right level of knowledge leading to transferred calls, the need for a customer to start over; a horrible experience.

The Second Bucket: Self Service

Convenience and speed are appreciated by customers and allowing them to help themselves is very popular.  YouTube videos,  or a knowledge base created from solved customer problems are very helpful to customers and will free up support rep time, but what if a customer has a question?  If there is no way to ask a question or if comments are not monitored, the problem still exists and the customer remains frustrated.

The Third Bucket: Online Community

An online community offers customers many things they are seeking: speed of answers, access to a knowledge base, and most importantly, the ability to ask questions about their unique issue.  Like a knowledge base, a community cuts costs by documenting solutions and providing self service; both reduce demand on support reps.  Furthermore, most community solutions are provided by customers: a cost savings for the company, and trusted by peers.

An online community will deliver trusted and targeted support to your customers in a timely manner while reducing costs for your company.  If you have not done so, it is time for your community!  I look forward to your questions and comments.

Best,

Toby

#SproutChat: Managing Online Communities

SproutChat

Good day Community Managers, this is my recap and answers I provided for the 10/4/2017 #SproutChat hosted by Vera Flores  and guest Meagan DeMenna @SocialMeagan Join the conversation every Wednesday at 3pm EST.

Q1: What is a digital community? How do you define this?

  • Digital community: an online place where ppl can gather & trade knowledge & interests
  • The community is online and ppl share common interests and answer each other’s questions
  • A tweetchat is a great example of a digital community

Q2: What are some first steps to building a digital community? Where can these communities live?

  • Determine what your community will do: peer to peer support, marketing, internal, external, product development
  • Communities can live on Facebook or LinkedIn (free) – or (paid)
  • Determine what features you want – analytics you need – what is the customer experience?
  • What resources do you have: financial and personnel
  • Determine if your community and its content will be open or private
  • I believe community content should be open (for SEO), but you must register to participate

Q3: How do you identify community goals? And how do you measure the success of your community?

  • If for peer to peer support: Question volume (increasing or decreasing), Engagement Rate, Answer Rate
  • Rather than overall membership, focus on activity: members creating content, reacting to it (and each other)

Q4: How can you use content to fuel your community?

  • Content IS the fuel
  • Content: Answers, Best Practices, How-To’s, Blogs, Videos – these are why ppl come
  • Along with content, it is important for your to respond to and engage with your members

Q5: What are some tips for engaging and encouraging conversation with a community?

  • If you put out a blog or video, ask for questions AND respond to them
  • If there is an unanswered question, ask a Power User to chime in and answer
  • Acknowledge members by thank them for their answers and contributions
  • Identify your power users / MVPs, acknowledge them and recognize them in front of the community

Q6: Share some of the communities you belong to

This was a fantastic chat about Community and I thank you  @SproutSocial  @sproutvera ‏  @SocialMeagan for hosting.  Please let me know if you have any questions about building and managing online communities as well as Community platforms.  See you at the next #SproutChat.

Best,

Toby