#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

#Bufferchat: Risks and Experimenation

bufferchat

My recap of the 3/1/2017 #Bufferchat hosted by @buffer.  Join the conversation every Wednesday at 12pm EST.

Q1: If you’re up for sharing, what is a big risk you’ve taken in your life that ended up working out well?

  • Getting married and having children

Q2: What was the last time you tried an experiment, or followed through with a new idea, at work?

  • Being a Community Manager – every day is something new and full of experiments (& new relationships)
  • A risk that paid dividends is handing community keys over to my members; asking for and counting on their help

Q3: What’s your process for starting an experiment (or anything new) at work? What steps do you take?

  • Plan / brainstorm – make my case – get buy in – execute – measure – correct as needed
  • Ensue it aligns with company goals
  • Gather great brains to brainstorm

Q4: How do you know if it’s worth taking a risk at work or in life?

  • What does your inner voice tell you

Q5: When you have new ideas, what’s your advice for getting more support from managers/leadership?

  • Prove with data how is moves the company forward
  • Prove how your idea will make your boss / department look good
  • Ask for their opinion or strategy advice

Q6: What do you do if your ideas/experiments aren’t successful?

  • Don’t whine or pout – understand why it did not fit into the strategy
  • Ask if now is not the time, when would be the time
  • Understand how your idea can be improved then make your case again
  • DO NOT take it personally

Q7: What has been your biggest learning about risk-taking? Any tips to share?

  • There is no reward or sense of personal fulfillment without risk – plan and go for it

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

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

#TwitterSmarter: Tips to Rock Your B2B Social Media Marketing

twittersmarter

My recap of the 1/19/2017 #TwitterSmarter hosted by @MadalynSklar &   Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST.

: If you could have anyone in the world mentor you, who would it be?

Q1: How can B2B companies benefit from incorporating social media in their marketing strategy?

  • Social not only gives B2B reach, but allows companies to show how they are different from their competition
  • It increases knowledge share and creates educated customers
  • Social increases interaction, interaction builds trust, trust = relationships & SALES

Q2: How can social media help B2B companies with their global presence and outreach?

  • Social provide reach that enables you to connect with potential customers
  • Social allows you to easily tailor your message to your customer (no matter culture or platform)

Q3: How can you create memorable content on social media to help your brand visibility?

  • Create content that help your customer use your product better – tips & tricks – best practices
  • Create content that helps your customer before speaking about your brand

Q4: How can social media help you craft your unique brand messaging?

  • Social allows you to listen to what your target (and existing) customers are talking about
  • After listening to and learning from your customers, create content that fills that need
  • Listen to what your customer’s pain points are
  • Social allows your customers to complain to you (think community), rather than rant on a 3rd party platform
  • Social gives your salespeople content to open discussions – rather than: “I’m calling to check in”

Q5: How can you measure the success of your social media marketing for B2B companies?

  • Measure with utm codes within links and track via Google Analytics
  • Measure traffic to your site or electronic storefront – Discussions within your community – Blog subscriptions

Q6: How can social media be a competitive advantage for B2B companies?

  • Many use Social, few use it well
  • Just as you need to prove your brand / product is different – you need to do the same with your Social efforts
  • Don’t use Social because “everyone does,” find and utilize the platforms your customers are using

Thank you for reading – hope to see you at #TwitterSmarter soon and I look forward to your comments.  When embarking on your Social campaign, ensure you have the right lines in the water to balance reach with engagement.  This blog sums up this chat topic.

Best,

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

 

#HootChat – Content creation with limited resources

Hootchat

My recap of the 8/18 #HootChat hosted by @hootsuite & @iraa.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 3pm EST.

Q1. What is content marketing?

  • Content Marketing is customer centric – News they can use
  • Content Marketing is not talking about your brand – it is tailoring information your customers value
  • Content Marketing helps your customers educate themselves

Q2. What are some goals of content marketing?

Q3. Why is content marketing hard for a small team?

  • It takes time to find and create creative and educational content
  • I utilize customer-generated – saves time and is trusted
  • Sometimes a small team is more focused

Q4. What can a small team do to create engaging content?

  • Utilize customer-generated or 3rd party content to supplement your own

Q5. What are audience personas and how should they affect your content creation?

  • Before starting your content creation, better understand what your customers value or you will fail
  • Is your audience the C-suite or the front lines? Best know as it changes the tone and length of your content
  • Audience personas tell you what they value and want to read / learn about

Q6. What can teams do to extend the life of their current content?

  • Update and refresh documents / videos / blogs as needed
  • Utilizing a different Social Channel will help you repurpose content

Q7. Where do teams go wrong when creating content?

  • They focus on their message rather than what is interesting to the customer
  • Forcing customers to fill out a survey or form before they can view the content
  • Using too many Social Channels and not using any of them correctly
  • Not allowing or responding to comments or questions from customers

Looking forward to collaborating with you at the next #Hootchat!

 

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

Blogging to Sell

WastedTime

“I’m just calling to check in.”  

This must be one of the worst and overused opening phrases uttered by salespeople and account managers.  Without valuable, customer-centric news to share you may as well be honest and open the call this way: “I’m calling to look productive, keep my boss off my back, and waste your time.”  Don’t check-in; inform.

“Good afternoon John, you have been using our widgets for years and I am calling to let you know about a blog one of our senior engineers just published because I believe it would be very beneficial to your business.  It highlights three of the most important changes upcoming in our next product release and how they will benefit your business.  I will email you a link to the blog; let’s connect next week to discuss and please feel free to contact the engineer directly through the blog.”

Rather than checking-in, you are educating your customer: this builds rapport, decreases their need to open cases, and increases their use of and loyalty to your solution.

Blog, educate, and increase wallet share.

How are you utilizing blogs to increase customer interactions?

Best,

Toby

 

Think Before You Content

relevance14-510x362

It is important to find the relevance sweet-spot: a message that highlights you or your brand AND peaks the interest of your target audience.  Too often time is wasted on catchy visuals, perfect language and grammar, and over-sharing on social networks rather than what is most important: understanding your audience’s needs and what they value.

Ensure you understand:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What is important to them?
  3. How do they want to be reached?
  4. Is this for brand promotion or something my audience will value?

No matter a marketing piece, blog post, or knowledge base article, your goals should be:

  1. Quality over quantity
  2. Helping my audience

If you are writing with an internal focus or intent, you have not only wasted your time and resources, but your customers’ too.  Think before you content.

Thank you for your comments.

Best,

Toby

Find It, Store It, Share It

cartoon34

We have all been there: during a browsing session you find a great article or blog, but don’t really have the time to dedicate to it right then and there; what do you do?   Have no fear, the tool exists that allows you to not only store it, but package it into a content-specific magazine.

Flipboard is a social media aggregator that brings the content of your choosing to you to your tablet or smartphone, then allows you to easily share it across your chosen social network.  It is not only a sharing tool, but an customer engagement method as well.  Create your own magazine and fill it with relevant content aggregated by Flipboard.  Now you have a content marketing piece to share with others.  Invite customers and brand advocates to curate the magazine with you – keep them engaged with you and your brand.

Here are 2 examples:

  1.  For Social Media Tips & Strategy: “Social Utilization”
  2.  Culinary Fun: “For The Love Of Food (And Wine)”

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

Cheers,

Toby