#Bufferchat: Building Your Social Media From Scratch

Bufferchat

My recap of the 3/22/2017 #Bufferchat hosted by @buffer and @TrafficJamMedia.  Join the conversation every Wednesday at 12pm EST.

Q1: If you could only start off by investing in one social platform, how do you decide which one it should be?

  • Look at features and reach
  • If determining a community platform: features and cost vs free
  • What platform does my target audience use?
  • What analytics are built in, will you need a 3rd party tool?

Q2: How much time should someone expect to spend on social media per week?

  • Depends what you are using social for: marketing, customer service, social listening…
  • If you are on Social, you better be engaging when customers reach out
  • Using a content calendar and scheduler tool will help streamline your efforts & make you efficient
  • I monitor a community as well as social media – 2/3 hours per day

Q3: How do you find great content to share on your social media profiles?

  • To find content I utilize my community, Google Play Newstand, LinkedIn Elevate, Twitter
  • Through tweetchats, I have met thought leaders – followed them – share their content
  • I participate in discussions on online communities with fellow Community Managers & Social Media pros

Q4: What are good “rules of thumb” for how often to post on various social platforms?

  • I am posting and responding within my community every day
  • I post to once a week
  • I post to Elevate a few times a day as it gives content to fellow employees to share
  • I am on A LOT

Q5: What are some things to avoid when just starting out on social media?

  • Trying to be everywhere ie using too many profiles
  • Not having consistent brand identity across different platforms
  • Not responding to questions
  • NEVER USE AUTO DM’s or canned responses – tailor your answer
  • Not utilizing utm codes and

Q6: How can you start to measure the business value of your social media activity?

  • Measure the increased traffic to your web site, your online store, knowledge base
  • You can measure ROI in Knowledge Base Views / Correct Answers in your community – these equal case deflection
  • In – look at Sessions – Pages per session – Ave. Session Duration – all should be increasing
  • Look to your CRM for cases before social, then cases after social – formal cases should go down
  • In my community – I look for increases in: Questions – Engagement Rate – Correct Answers – Active Members

Q7: What’s your #1 piece of advice for brands just starting out on social media?

Thanks again @buffer – see everyone next week!

Cheers,

Toby

#SproutChat: Social Media Listening vs Monitoring

sprout

My recap of the 3/1/2017 #SproutChat hosted by @sprout_sarah  & @SproutSocial   Join the conversation every Wednesday at 3pm EST.

Q1: What’s the difference between social listening and monitoring?

  • Social Listening leads to engagement – monitoring is simply seeing what is out there
  • Social monitoring can lead to trouble: why are ppl taking about my brand this way? Engage and find out
  • Social Listening will help you improve your product, service, and customer trust
  • No matter listening or monitoring – you should wonder why ppl are going to 3rd party places rather than talking to you

Q2: Why is it important to go beyond just monitoring brand mentions and responding reactively?

  • Responding builds customer trust
  • Responding uncovers product improvement and sales opportunities
  • Engagement creates happy customers and happy customers talk positively about you
  • Most brands make it hard to speak with someone – Engage and be a champion

Q3: How can a brand surprise and delight customers when providing social customer care?

  • The fact the brand actually engaged
  • Problems happen – brands that engage and solve them create and keep loyal customers
  • Reply within 1 hour – Show empathy – Admit fault in public – Confirm resolution and satisfaction
  • Do not use canned responses – make them personal and show you have actual people who care within your organization

Q4: What are some good ways to keep track of ongoing conversations with members of your community?

Q5: What are some creative ways to use Twitter boolean (advanced) search to find opportunities to engage?

  • Have not used it 😦 Love to hear more
  • Answer from @sprout_sarah – Here’s a comprehensive cheatsheet on Advanced Search for Twitter, SUPER helpful: Twitter Search

Q6: What are the best ways to keep track of trends while listening on social?

  • I use a board – makes it easy to classify and find ideas
  • Follow people and add them to lists – then you can add the list to a dashboard to easily monitor it

Please stop by the next #SproutChat and join the conversation.  I look forward to your comments and collaborating with you.

Cheers,

Toby

 

#Bufferchat: The Art of Storytelling

bufferchat

My recap of the 2/8/2017 #Bufferchat hosted by @buffer.  Join the conversation every Wednesday at 12pm EST.

Q1: In your opinion, what are the fundamentals of a great story?

  • A great story is one that others can relate to and are inspired by
  • A great story teaches a lesson & inspires

Q2: Why infuse storytelling into marketing?

  • Add storytelling to marketing to help build a bridge to the customer – help them relate to you
  • Storytelling helps customers take the journey with you
  • Storytelling differentiates your brand from the pack – you are not simply pushing info or broadcasting brand info

Q3: What kind of content can you create to tell stories? What forms can stories take?

  • Video, video, video
  • Infographics are great storytellers that are easily digested
  • Tweetchats allow participants to contribute to the story

Q4: What are tips for making sure your brand voice is heard through your storytelling?

  • Don’t simply tell your story, respond to comments and engage
  • Tell a story how your brand helped a customer succeed – or better yet, invite a customer to do it

Q5: How can you involve your audience/customers in your storytelling?

  • Invite them to tell a story – how did you help them be successful
  • Invite customers into community focus groups to discuss products, issues, and solutions
  • Make the customer the star of the story, rather than your brand

Q6: Which companies or personal brands do a great job at telling stories, and how?

Q7: What makes someone a great storyteller?

  • They build trust right away
  • You can relate to them
  • A great storyteller DOES NOT lecture or talk down to you – you feel engaged

Here is a video example of storytelling content from my community: the customer telling their amazing story.  Boston Engineering – Reverse Engineer 20 Million Years of Biological Evolution:

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

Cheers,

Toby

Your Utility Infielder & Company MVP

cmgr

I am often asked: “Under what department does a community belong?” As you see from my simple slide, the Community Manager supports and contributes throughout the company.

Social Media, Customer Service, Technical Support, Marketing, Product Development – these are essentials your community can deliver. Setting up a community and choosing the right platform is a different discussion, but before doing either, start with a qualified Community Manager.

Where does your community live?

Cheers,

Toby

 

You Need A Clubhouse

Clubhouse

Online communities have proven value and you need one:

  • A low cost and trusted customer service channel
  • A focus group that will yield better results than a survey
  • A way to interact with and build trust with your customers

Great. Let’s build that clubhouse, but where?  What are the features we want?  How can we provide a great user experience?  How much will it cost?

If you are looking to do this on the cheap, LinkedIn Groups or a G+ Community (yes Google Plus is still around), are fine options without any cost to you.  The snag with both is limited or no reporting regarding community health as well as cataloging / recalling conversations.  Check out both by joining group on both platforms (before starting yours) and make notes of what you like and what you don’t.  Maybe you do have some money to spend.

If paid options don’t scare you, I recommend Jive and Lithium.  Both of these platforms are easy  for your customers to use and can be utilized for internal and external communities.  There is quite a bit more set up required for these options, but the reporting and user experience is much better.

No matter your budget, do not go forth without a Community Manager, clear goals for your community, and metrics that define success.  Building a community takes time and I am happy to discuss that too; first decide where you want to build your clubhouse.

As always, your comments and questions are most appreciated.

Best,

Toby

Sticks, Stones, and Advocates

Trolls

If you are a blogger, community manager, or simply spend time on social media, you have had a run in with a troll.  Rather than using their experience to help others, trolls concern themselves with asking “gotcha” questions or starting arguments with other others for the purpose of attention.  It is important to have an engagement plan of how to deal with them.  Here are some simple guidelines to get you started:
If the post, tweet, or comment is a legitimate complaint:

  • Your response should come within the hour
  • Apologize and show empathy
  • Answer the question or provide a resolution
  • Confirm resolution, satisfaction, and thank the customer
If the subject seems to be a troll’s rant:
  • Your response should come within the hour
  • Ask the poster to define his expectatiions
  • Offer a private engagement channel like phone or email (NEVER argue with troll in public)
  • Fighting with a Toll will only encourage him to continue – sometimes ignoring or deleting the comment is best

Before responding, step back and remember there are objective third parties who see the difference between a legitimate customer complaint and a troll’s rant.  If the post is a legitimate complaint: excellent, you have an opportunity on your hands because all brands encounter problems from time to time – the great ones acknowledge and overcome them.  It is not always what is said about your brand, but how you respond to it.  People follow you on Twitter or join your community to learn from and engage with like minded folks; they do not want to be bullied or read fights.  It is often best practice to not respond to trolls, but sometimes these folks can be transformed in to brand advocates.

As always – I welcome you comments.
Best,
Toby

Managing a Community Team

Calm

I recently participated in a discussion with fellow community managers about managing a community team as well as social efforts.  Here are my tips; I hope you find them helpful.

I have 10 engineers who assist within our community. Their prime responsibility is helping increase communication and interaction levels within the community as well as promote and confirm knowledge so answers can be provided to customers in a timely manner.  It is important they concentrate on engagement and asking questions rather than providing answers for two reasons.

1.  Communities work becuase people want to help others and share their knowledge; if we simply rushed to provide answers, members and power users who wish to contribute would stop coming.

2.  Athough they are not providing answers, being part of conversations shows we have a company presence within and care about what our members have to say.

I hold weekly meetings with the team to discuss:

1.  Traffic

2.  Their activity: log-in, comments made, comments they made marked helpful by community members

3.  Training and best practices with examples from within the community

Best practices for online behavior are:

  • Read twice, post once.
  • Write in the first person.
  • Stay on point; keep discussions relevant and germane.
  • Some conversations need to be moved outside of our Community.
  • Remember that you represent the company / brand as well as yourself when you engage.
  • Allow Community members to answer first, then confirm the solution.
  • Offer value, avoid redundancy, and be sure to read the other comments first.
  • Keep discussions professional; never resort to insults, slurs, or obscene language.
  • Protect your credibility, correct your mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so. Transparency is key, and expected.

Regarding Social: I use twitter and LinkedIn to drive traffic to specific discussion within my community and track progress with Hootsuite, utm codes, and Google Analytics.

I look forward to your comments, additions, and suggestions.

Best,

Toby