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

 

 

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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

#TwitterSmarter: Manage Your Productivity and Time on Twitter

My recap and answers I have provided for the 9/1542017 #TwitterSmarter chat hosted by @MadalynSklar and guest @WriteOnLinline.  Join the conversation every Thursday at 1pm EST.

twittersmarter

Q1: How important is setting time for content creation, blogging and networking on Social Media, including Twitter?

  • A social calendar is priority one – too much is going on during the day to “wing it”
  • Setting times for content creation and publishing must be build into your content / social media strategy

Q2: What are steps to consider when setting goals for your Twitter activities (content creation, promotion, engagement)?

  • What % is Twitter in your overall plan? Is it the top, do you also manage a community?
  • How are you using Twitter? Social listening, customer service, blog / community promotion
  • How are you managing twitter – Hootsuite, Sprout, TweetDeck – How many on your team
  • What is your triage plan for questions

Q3: What are your best tips for managing your time on Twitter and staying on top of your Social efforts?

  • Build dashboards () from your lists
  • Set notifications

Q4: How can you build a Twitter Strategy that maximizes your efforts, your time and drives results?

  • Ensure you are measuring your efforts to know what works, what needs to be improved. UTM codes – Google Analytics

Q5: What are some tools that can help you manage your time and be productive on Twitter?

Q6: What are your favorite hacks to stay committed to keep consistent with execution and engagement on Twitter?

  • Twitter lists of people by specialty.
  • Social done well is about engagement and building trust, not something you “do.”
  • Define success and measure your efforts
  • Tweetchats

Q7: What are some simple techniques to balance real-time conversations and scheduling?

  • I have never use auto tweets are replies – respond and make it personal
  • Be authentic and share who you are
  • Balance scheduled content with real-time interactions
  • Balance personal content with 3rd party content

Q8: What’s your advice for anyone who’s starting out with Twitter & finds it challenging to be productive on a daily basis?

  • Don’t try to read everything in your feed
  • Ask a few questions and remember to thank people for their answers
  • Join a tweetchat and network
  • Lists and dashboards help you organize, consume, and respond

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

 

#TwitterSmarter Recap: How Small Businesses Can Use Twitter to Drive Business

twittersmarter

: Besides Twitter, what other social network do you use the most and why?

Q1: How can Small Businesses benefit from their Twitter Presence?

  • Easy way to social listen to their brand: customer service, new leads, network
  • Twitter is a great way to expand your brand
  • Twitter makes is easy to spread the word about your brand and drive traffic to you blog, website, online store, or community
  • Twitter shows the world your brand listens AND responds to customers

Q2: How does Twitter fit into an overall social media marketing strategy for Small Businesses?

  • Twitter is the broadcast tool for your blog, promotions, how-to & best practice docs
  • Twitter is a powerful, scalable, and trackable customer service tool – some SMBs cannot afford a large CRM
  • Twitter helps SMBs find and engage with customers

Q3: What are some pro-tips for getting started with Twitter effectively to maximize your efforts?

  • The easiest way to get started is to get started 🙂 Get Tweeting
  • Find and follow competitors
  • Find and follow potential customers
  • Find and follow industry thought leaders and relevant hashtags
  • Join and participate in tweetchats
  • Don’t forget to create twitter lists
  • DO NOT AUTO DM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Q4: What are some best tips to use Twitter Analytics to Increase Audience Engagement?

  • Learn all about utm codes – make the most of your url
  • Measure and correct as needed
  • Important Google Analytics metrics: Pages per Session and Ave Session Duration
  • Google Analytics and utm codes will tell you the content your customers love

Q5: How can Small Businesses leverage Twitter as their customer service channel?

  • Along with easy engagement, the transparency of Twitter builds trust with customers
  • No phone queue or hold music on Twitter
  • You can engage on Twitter then direct a customer to a private chat when needed
  • Social listen and each out to unsatisfied customers – sadly, not everyone complains to you
  • When 2 parties follow one another, Twitter allows full and private conversations

Q6: What are Twitter tools that can help you boost visibility and attract new customers?

  • If you consider it a tool – tweetchats
  • Pinning tweets to your profile is must
  • Using a tool like to schedule your tweets is a time saver
  • Use to broadcast and network
  • Twitter Lists and a Hootsuite dasboard
  • Set up a branded url for your tweets

Q7: How can Twitter help Small Businesses to track conversations relevant to their services?

  • Hashtags and lists
  • Don’t forget the hootsuite dashboard

Q8: What type of content on Twitter drives best engagement and conversion?

  • Ask questions
  • I tweet out customer content from my community: how-to’s, best practices, product solutions
  • Infographics are catchy and make the content easy to digest

I hope this information is helpful – see you next week at #twittersmarter

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!

 

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