Conversation Builds Your Network

tweet

Having conversations, being present, and engaging on social media are more important than Follower count and are the keys to success.  Tweetchats are a fantastic way to find great people to have these conversations with; this blog will discuss some of my favorite tweetchats.  Please give them a look, jump into a conversation, and build your network.

#ContentChat – Monday 3-4 pm EST hosted by Erika Heald @SFerika: This chat brings together content creators and content marketers to share their challenges and best practices for solving them.

#BufferChat – Wednesday 12-1 pm EST hosted by Buffer @buffer: Join this chat to discuss social strategy, platforms, and growing your audience.

#SproutChat – Wednesday 3-4 pm EST hosted by Sprout Social @SproutSocial and Vera Flores @sproutvera: Discussions around relevant topics and challenges that social media and community managers face.

#TwitterSmarter – Thursday 1-2 pm EST hosted by Madalyn Sklar @MadalynSklar: As the name suggests, this chat is about all things Twitter and Twitter marketing.

#HootChat – Thursday 3-4 pm EST hosted by Hootsuite @hootsuite: From tools, to strategy, and best practices – all things social media.

I participate in these chats because they are hosted and attended by knowledgeable people and relevant to my career.  If these do not interest you, don’t worry, there are many chats out there; do some research and find those that do.  No matter which one you choose, I recommend using TweetChat to follow and participate.  Hope to chat with you soon; I look forward to your comments and questions.

Best,

Toby

 

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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

 

#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

 

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

 

 

Get Your Business Blog Off The Ground

Blogging can deliver enormous business value: customer engagement, thought leadership, SEO; the list goes on, but how to get started?  Every business has different goals and resources; I am not going to discuss strategy: I am going to provide a workflow and some best practices.

BlogFlow

  1. Select Topic: Companies often focus on thought leadership (which is important), but you must also deliver content your customers value.  Talking about yourself or brand may help with SEO, but it will do nothing for engagement; engagement builds trust, loyalty, and may uncover a sales opportunity.
  2. Research: Build your case and assemble the supporting documents, graphics, video, etc.
  3. Compose:
    • Grab readers with your headline.
    • Write in your own “voice:” let your personality come through.
    • Links to supporting sites are great, but like hashtags, don’t overuse them.
    • Stick to 600 words and consider a multiple part series for complex topics like new product features.  Provide enough to inform, but keep some back to encourage questions: think appetizer, not entree.
  4. Post:  Where will this blog live and how will your customers learn about it?  Will this blog live on your website or within your online community?  Once you post, utilize Twitter to announce the blog and drive people to it.
  5. Respond:  DO NOT blog without responding to customer comments or questions; these are golden opportunities.  Encourage questions, ask for feedback, and thank readers for them.

Now that you have a foundation, start planning, start publishing, start educating, and start engaging.  I look forward to and welcome your comments and questions.

Best,

Toby

#TwitterSmarter: Mastering Real-Time Content Curation with Twitter

My recap and answers I have provided for the 9/28/2017 #TwitterSmarter chat hosted by @MadalynSklar and guest @Ross_Quintana.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST.

twittersmarter

Q1: What Makes Twitter Important as a Social Platform for Brands?

  • Twitter makes it easy to find and connect with thought leaders & customers
  • Twitter will aid with SEO and drive traffic to your site or community
  • lists & a dashboard makes is so easy to socially listen and engage

Q2: How has Content Curation Evolved on Twitter?

  • You only have 140: be efficient, use graphics or video, & URLs with utm codes
  • Using lists makes it easy to send the right content to the right audience

Q3: Why does the Real-time Nature of Twitter Matter to Your Content Strategy?

  • Real time is great when attending conferences and trade shows – helps create a buzz
  • Twitter makes it easy to engage with customers when they reach out to you

Q4: What are Many Businesses Failing on Twitter and Why?

  • Business fails on twitter: 1) Too much brand talk 2) Not engaging customers 3) Not relevant tweets
  • Twitter fails: 1) Not measuring via utm codes 2) Tweeting too often 3) Arguing in public
  • Not using pictures, graphics, or video in tweets

Q5: What Types of Content Should I Curate and What Format Works Best?

  • Depends on your audience. For example, a B2B – best practices & how-to’s can work best
  • If you are a restaurant: what are your daily specials? Include pictures
  • Experiment and measure – keep what works, change what is not

Q6: What is Anchor Content and How Can I Use It?

  • Anchor Content = a custom url with your brand name in it
  • Anchor content is your brand’s tweeting backbone – what will help your customer / audience the most

Q7: How Much Self-promotion Should I Do and What are the Best Ways to Do It?

  • Brands do need to promote & show thought leadership, but 70% should be customer-centric
  • Write a blog with a customer who uses your product – about you, but with a trusted endorsement
  • If you are providing trusted, customer valued content, THEY will promote it for you

Q8: How Can I Optimize My Content Curation Efforts and Be Data-Driven?

  • Add utm codes to your url and let Google Analytics tell the story

If #Twitter is part of your business, and it better be, please join #twittersmarter to interact with fellow professionals and learn some great Twitter tips.  I look forward to your questions and comments.

Best,

Toby

Engagement Before Membership

As a Community Manager, I love interacting with my members as well as talking shop with my fellow CMGRs.  We agree that creating a supportive environment that encourages problem solving and knowledge sharing is the most rewarding part of our job.  We are also metrics junkies always seeking the quantitative data that helps us tell our stories.  Which to you think is more valuable: total membership or engagement?  It is true that the greater your membership, the greater potential you have for reach and engagement; too bad one does not guarantee the other.  No matter your social network or community, without engagement and collaboration your large count is just a list of individuals. Social media networks and communities are about interaction and the sharing of knowledge; the more members / followers who contribute, share, and collaborate with each other, the more valuable the network.

The charts below are from a personal foodie community I created, manage, and am very proud of: We Love to Cook (and Eat) : stop by, ask a question, post a picture, or get hungry.  This group is 564 members strong, very engaged and responsive to one another.

In the last 28 days, 416 of the 564 members are active, that’s 74%!  From the 2nd chart: for 136 posts, there are 426 comments and 1,609 reactions .  Numbers like this make me proud: not only are members active (4.85 posts per day), but they are engaging with and responding to one another.  No matter your social network or community, without engagement and collaboration your large count is just a list rather than an asset.

How can engagement make a positive impact in my B2B community?

  1. A better educated customer
  2. Reduced volume of formal cases
  3. A knowledge base of solutions and best practices
  4. Problems get solved by other community members (customers)
  5. A consistently growing volume of keyword rich content boosts SEO
  6. Company participation builds trust, rapport, and loyalty with customers

In short, build your community and engage within it; membership is easy, but engagement provides value.

I look forward to your questions and comments.

Cheers,

Toby

Please note: Facebook defines Active Members as: Members who viewed, posted, commented on or reacted to group content.