Category Archives: social media

Social Media in Pharma

Social media is such an integral part of our everyday lives. It allows us to exchange ideas and opinions and build communities across the globe. Within healthcare, opportunities to engage communities are only rising, and yet it is still not widely used in the pharma communications industry. There is confusion about when and how best to use it – this can be attributed to the restrictions of adhering to compliance codes and the risk of reputational damage.

Red Sky Vision in association with the HCA and PharmaPhorum has produced a film about social media in pharma. The film features key players in healthcare and healthcare communication who provide unique insights, discuss challenges and offer solutions to the industry as a whole.


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5 Ways to improve your Facebook Engagement

Having trouble engaging your Facebook audience? If your fans are not interacting with your brand and sharing your content, what value are they?

In this article, you’ll discover how to get more likes, comments and shares. I’ll reveal five strategies for Facebook posts that get your fans buzzing.

#1: Keep Your Updates Short

Research repeatedly shows that the longer a post is, the less engagement it will receive. Blame it on Twitter, but people don’t have the time or patience to read anything over 140 characters anymore.

Results vary, but research shows that 100 characters or fewer seems to be the sweet spot. This will also allow for easy cross-posting on Twitter.

Want even more engagement? Let a photo do the talking.

Posts with fewer than 140 characters combined with bold, beautiful photos get the most response.

Posts with fewer than 140 characters combined with bold, beautiful photos get the most response.

According to Facebook, posts that include a photo album, picture or video generate about 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement, respectively.

Starbucks is a great example of a brand combining short posts with beautiful photos. Their posts generally fall within the 100- to 140-character mark and elicit thousands of likes and comments.

#2: Don’t Use URL Shorteners

A recent study by Buddy Media found that engagement rates were three times higher for Facebook posts that use a full-length URL, rather than a link generated by a URL shortener like bit.ly.

Converse fans may have liked this post, but how many actually clicked on the link? Generic bit.ly URLs are less likely to drive traffic to your site.

Converse fans may have liked this post, but how many actually clicked on the link? Generic bit.ly URLs are less likely to drive traffic to your site.

Converse fans may have liked this post, but how many actually clicked on the link? Generic bit.ly URLs are less likely to drive traffic to your site. Why is this?

The likely explanation is that Facebook users want to know where you’re taking them. This makes even more sense considering the fact that Facebook users are increasingly accessing the social network exclusively from their mobile devices (20%, or 102 million and growing).

A shortened URL does not indicate what type of website you’re taking them to, which is a deterrent to mobile users. But didn’t we just learn that longer posts have lower engagement? Yes, but a URL doesn’t seem to count in this instance. If you’re worried about post length, use a brand-specific URL shortener that lets users know you’re taking them to your website.

For example, Victoria’s Secret uses
http://i.victoria.com/wSl
instead of this crazy-long link:

http://www.victoriassecret.com/shoes/whats-new/studded-suede-pump-betsey-johnson?ProductID=68804&CatalogueType=OLS&cm_mmc=fb-_-stores-_-status-_-suedpump090512.

Get more clicks by using a brand-specific URL shortener. Fans want to know where you're taking them.

Get more clicks by using a brand-specific URL shortener. Fans want to know where you're taking them.

#3: Post at Times Ideal for Your Fans

Getting your post at the top of fans’ newsfeeds is paramount for engagement. So how do you do this? For one, make sure you post at the right times. Recent data from bit.ly shows that the optimal time to post on Facebook is between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, when Facebook traffic peaks.

Links posted between 1 and 4 pm get the highest click-through rates, with Wednesday at 3:00 pm being the best time to post all week. Links posted before 8:00 am and after 8:00 pm are less likely to get shared.

Another thing to consider is the TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) factor. As office burnout peaks toward the end of the week, more people will be escaping to Facebook.

Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursday and Friday than other days of the week, according to Buddy Media. Engagement rates fall 3.5% below average for posts Monday through Wednesday, when people are more focused at work.

If your goal is likes, not comments, Dan Zarrella of HubSpot found that Saturday and Sunday posts get the most likes.

Don't forget about the weekend. Saturday and Sunday posts get the most likes.

Don't forget about the weekend. Saturday and Sunday posts get the most likes.

Finally, make sure you post enough content to stay visible in the newsfeed without annoying your fans. The key to walking this fine line is to know your posts’ lifespan. The average Facebook post lifespan is 3 hours, although this varies by page. A post is considered “alive” when it’s occupying the newsfeed or is a Highlighted Story and receiving a continuous stream of engagement. A post is considered “dead” when its engagement stops growing more than 10% per hour. Never post while another post is alive or you risk losing engagement.

How do you find your average post lifespan? EdgeRank Checker Pro analyzes your post engagement on an hourly basis (found in the Post Grading section at the bottom of your page analysis).

EdgeRank Checker Pro lets you know your average post lifespan and the best time to post again.

EdgeRank Checker Pro lets you know your average post lifespan and the best time to post again.

It also tells you the best time to post again. Once engagement has fallen below 10%, your post is considered dead and it’s safe to post new content. If your average post lifespan is 3 hours, then wait at least that long before posting again.

#4: Use the Right Words for Higher Engagement

What you say—or don’t say—on Facebook matters. Certain words elicit more engagement, while others will leave your post dead in the water. Buddy Media found that action keywords like “post,” “comment,” “take,” “submit,” “like” or “tell us” are the most effective. Be direct in your request, and fans will listen.

Want your fans to do something? Tell them! Fans respond well to specific instructions.

Want your fans to do something? Tell them! Fans respond well to specific instructions.

On the other hand, if you’re running a contest, sweepstakes or other promotional offer, fans don’t respond well to direct or aggressive language. Softer-sell keywords such as “winner,” “win,” “winning” and “events” will make fans excited rather than feeling like they’re being sold to. Aggressive promotional keywords like “contest,” “promotion,” “sweepstakes” and “coupon” will turn them off.

#5: Ask Questions

Asking a question is a surefire way to elicit comments, but not all questions are created equal. How and where you ask a question matters.

Place questions at the end of posts to increase engagement.

Place questions at the end of posts to increase engagement.

Questions placed at the end of a post increased engagement by 15% over questions placed at the beginning. “Where,” “when” and “should” drive the highest engagement rates, with “would” generating the most likes. Avoid asking “why” questions, which have the lowest like and comment rates.

Beauty retailer Sephora has mastered the art of when to use action keywords, promotional keywords and questions to get fans engaged.

This Facebook post generated 38,028 likes, 2,188 comments and 4,778 shares.

Combining action keywords like "shop" with soft-sell keywords like "score" will encourage fans to take action. End your post with a question to get 15% more engagement.

Combining action keywords like "shop" with soft-sell keywords like "score" will encourage fans to take action. End your post with a question to get 15% more engagement.


Read Full Article: 5 Ways to improve your Facebook Engagement »


5 Key characteristics every Social Media Community Manager should have

Social media is an effective tool to engage your target audience, drive website traffic and, ultimately, boost sales; so why do so few companies employ a social media community manager? You know, the person that manages the whole thing?

It seems crazy, in the midst of a global financial crisis, to suggest that companies should go to the expense of hiring a community manager to oversee their social media presences. But at our company, Tomorrow People, we’ve been developing our community management team and processes to real effect over the past 16 months. I also know that HubSpot invests in employees dedicated solely to managing their social media presence, as well as many other companies we work with — and they’re all seeing great results from it. So how do you make the leap? This post will tell you everything you need to know about integrating a community manager into your marketing department.

First, what are the benefits of having a community manager?

By employing a team of full-time and part-time community managers, we’ve cut down on the number of sales people we need to employ because the inbound leads we’re producing are highly qualified. We’re doing the same for our clients, such as LinuxIT and Workbooks; by engaging effectively with communities online, their sales teams are more efficient because they’re receiving far more qualified leads.

We’ve also noticed that employing a community manager drives approximately 30% more traffic to our website every month. Additionally, our average visitor-to-lead conversion rate for our B2B clients is 8%. Some of our clients even have no sales people, as they sell online: so the community managers are driving their sales directly!

For us, it has made sense to hire a community management team, but it may make sense for other companies to retain these skills — it’s all about finding people with the right skills and enabling them to develop a community for you in the long-term.

Where does the community manager role fit?

Building efficiency into our process to generate more leads, we apply the lean manufacturing continuous improvement methodology Six Sigma to our internal processes, assuming the leads are the final output. We use HubSpot to measure our traffic and social media engagement.

We have packaged the model into a 5-step methodology we call Zoober: listen, create, engage, transform, grow. This is a process of continuous improvement, where we constantly measure and amend our approach. Our community management team delivers the ‘Engage’ stage of this model — telling people what we’re doing and bringing them to our website.

What are a community manager’s roles and responsibilities?

1) Sets Up and Manages Profiles – Nothing makes your company look like it doesn’t care like half-filled in, out of date employee and company pages on LinkedIn or Facebook. Our community management team sets up and manages our company and employee social media profiles and groups. This involves setting up the content within our social media publishing tool — we use HubSpot, but just transfer this step to whatever tool you use — and ensuring profiles are standardized and present the company in a professional light.

2) Listens to the Buzz – A good community manager should listen to the buzz already online — finding out what groups your target audience is joining on LinkedIn, for example, and who they’re following on Twitter. What are they talking about? Who are your rivals? What are they interested in? When are they most likely to read a tweet, or an update? Are they aware of your brand? Who are the key influencers within your industry who you should develop a long lasting relationship with?

Community managers should also investigate the various social media automation tools available, and stay up to date with technology, marketing, and industry news.

3) Grows the Network – A good community manager should then grow your networks by engaging every day online (via forums and owned communities) and offline (via events, conferences, and meet ups). They should also, of course, craft status updates, posts, and tweets — because like most of your other marketing channels, social media also depends on sharing excellent content.

They should also increase your Facebook fans and quality Twitter and LinkedIn contacts. Quantity is important to establish reach, but your community manager should also focus on creating a larger base of high quality social media fans and followers. A thousand Facebook friends from the wrong industry may not be as valuable as 20 very influential friends with the right connections.

4) Distributes Content – Your community manager should promote your blog and website content to your network. They should help your company foster meaningful business discussions that will allow you to reach your target audience and gain more clients. It’s about dialogues, not monologues.

This should include blogger outreach, too — finding the right person to get to know and ask for guest blogging opportunities. You could also consider reaching out to the publications, forums, and Q&A sites your target audience uses.

5) Joins the Conversation – This involves replying to online questions and comments immediately, giving your brand a face, and creating a relationship with prospects. The community manager should represent the client’s voice, but should also be able to get their individual personality across. Especially in blogger outreach, conversation should come naturally to them — they shouldn’t be struggling to find a voice when contacting strangers.
What does the community manager not do?

A community manager isn’t responsible for:
– Marketing strategy
– Content creation
– Email marketing
– Lead nurturing

These tasks detract from the central role, but are all too often lumbered on community managers.

Is it worth it?

It’s definitely worth the effort for us — and we’re sure it could be worth it for you, too! Too many companies don’t bother with social media engagement, or engage with it in an ad hoc fashion. Simply asking your copywriter to tweet every now and again, or getting the intern to update your company LinkedIn profile, won’t cut it; you need people who can focus on this role strategically and consistently to engage your online audience effectively. The benefits are clear — but the process requires a professional.

You should also remember that while hiring a community manager is certainly an expense, you could save money hiring sales people or in other marketing hires. Develop a process or methodology to ensure you continually improve your social media results each month, and document & review those processes every month. Give your community management team great tools & remarkable content to get the best results. Managing social media communities is a highly skilled, challenging role — which is why we’re amazed how many companies think they can get their intern to do it in their spare time.


Read the full article: 5 Key characteristics every Social Media Community Manager should have »


5 Better ways to network on Twitter and LinkedIn

Social media is like a professional cocktail hour — a way to connect, share and interact with others beyond the confines of your cubicle. But now, it feels more like an epic college kegger — the kind where you find yourself wandering in a sea of red cups, the clamor of rowdy partygoers drowning out any real conversation and eliminating the chance to forge relationships that don’t involve tacos at 3 a.m.

So, how do you bring that party back down to a reasonable size, and actually connect with people you want to talk to? Half the battle is being able to sift through the noise. Here are a few easy ways to identify and jump into the right conversations with the right people for you and your professional interests.

1. Find the Authors of the Content You Read – Who are the social influencers in your area of expertise? Identifying these people is particularly useful in seeking out great conversations. One of the best places to start is the blogs or websites you go to for content. Check out the authors — people who contribute to online publications usually have a social presence, too. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and take the time to let them know what you think. Comment on their articles or blogs, then take it a step further and tweet some feedback. Giving a compliment with some added insight on the topic goes a long way.

2. Become an Author Yourself – There’s no better way to join the conversation in your field than by writing on the topic — either on your own blog or for industry publications. Not only will you have something to readily share and discuss on your social networks, you’ll likely have people in your field reach out to you with comments and ideas of their own.

If you don’t consider yourself a wordsmith, stick to what you know. Think about what questions you get asked most often about what you do, and write down your thoughts. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised how much you truly have to say.

3. Leverage Twitter Keyword Searches – Twitter can be a great source of information, but it can also be one of the “noisiest” places on the web. So a great way to find people, filter tweets and join a conversation is to search for keywords related to the topics in which you are interested. For example, if you work in social media, the most obvious place to start would be a keyword like “social media.”

It seems simple, but this isn’t a perfect science, and it requires some trial and error to see which keywords get you the results you want (for example, you might try “social media marketing” or “Twitter marketing”). Play around with different versions, and join the conversation when you find something of interest. Reply to people’s tweets and give your feedback or comments. Did someone link out to an article and give her opinion? Tell her that you agree or disagree and why.

4. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups – LinkedIn groups are great forums for career-related discussions — members often share articles, ask questions and start online conversations with each other. Do a quick group search on LinkedIn, and you’re likely to get a long list of niche groups within your field. That said, do your research to make sure that any group you’re looking at is a good fit for your goals and interests before you request to join. (If you work in healthcare marketing, for example, a general marketing group might not be the best fit.) If the group is open (vs. invite-only), take a look around at the discussions and members to get a feel for the content and makeup of the group and see if it’s a good fit.

5. Meet the People Who are Looking at You – Even if you haven’t upgraded your LinkedIn account, if your settings allow others to see who you are when you look at their profiles, you should be able to see who’s looking at yours. Scan this once a week and take a peek at who has viewed your profile.

When it’s appropriate, connect with these people, thinking about why they might have taken the time to look at your profile. Are they in your field? In your community? A recruiter? Reaching out to engage in conversation not only shows you’re paying attention, but also shows you’re open to forming new professional relationships.


Read full article: 5 Better ways to network on Twitter and LinkedIn »


10 Creative ways to use Instagram for Business

Are you thinking about putting your business on Instagram? Are you looking for content ideas for this increasingly popular mobile social platform?

Read further to discover how you can use Instagram to give your business extra visibility and better engage with the Instagram community.

What Is Instagram?
Instagram is a free mobile photo-sharing app with 80 million users and counting. It has seen many changes lately. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012, launched a redesign on iOS that includes a new “Explore” tab and is rumored to be developing a web presence (so that users can see photos online, not just on the mobile app).

Social media management platform HootSuite also recently announced the addition of Instagram to its app directory. This gives HootSuite users access to almost all of Instagram’s features, which include searching, viewing and liking content, adding comments and sharing photos to other social platforms.

Clearly, Instagram is an up-and-coming photo-focused social platform not to be ignored. So what can your brand do with it? Here are 10 creative ways your business can use Instagram.

#1: Show Your Products
Everyone loves to browse products, so let your followers do some mobile window-shopping! Show off a collection of the products you offer, share a photo of a new or lesser-known product or zoom in on a product and engage your Instagram followers by asking them to guess what it is.

Got a service-oriented business? Show off some of the equipment and supplies that play a role in the services you provide. For example, fitness trainers could show off their favorite workout equipment, photographers could reveal their most prized camera lens and mechanics might give us a look at their most sophisticated diagnostic equipment.

Rogue Ales, a craft brewery based in Newport, Oregon with over 3,000 Instagram followers, shared a photo of its many varieties of ales, porters, lagers, stouts and spirits, effectively reminding fans that they have something for everyone.

Rogue Ales shows off its beer selection.

Rogue Ales shows off its beer selection.

#2: Show How It’s Made
The longevity of the show How It’s Made is a testament to our curiosity about where our manufactured goods come from. Let followers in on the origins of their favorite products with snapshots taken at various points in the manufacturing process. If that process is a long one, you might consider making it a multi-part post that follows the process from planning to production to delivery.

Bloomington, Indiana-based Oliver Winery used another app such as PicStitch or PhotoGrid to create a collage of photos to demonstrate how its wine goes into its bottles.

Oliver Winery takes its Instagram followers through its bottling process.

Oliver Winery takes its Instagram followers through its bottling process.

#3: Go Behind the Scenes
Getting ready to launch or promote products and services is hard work, but presents many opportunities to get some great content for Instagram. Doing a photo shoot for a catalog or ad? Filming a commercial? Getting made-up for a media interview? Or getting ready to step out on the red carpet? These are moments that very few people get to experience in real life. Think of Instagram as a way to give all of your followers an exclusive backstage pass!

The fashion-forward retailer Nordstrom treated its 27K Instagram followers to a rare look at what goes into the production of its catalog.

Nordstrom takes fans along on a photo shoot.

Nordstrom takes fans along on a photo shoot.

#4: Show What Your Products Can Do
Sometimes our imagination only takes us so far. Use Instagram to create demand by helping consumers imagine new or novel uses for what you offer. This is also a perfect opportunity to invite user-generated content. Have fans submit their own photos demonstrating creative use of your products and pick the best ones to post on Instagram.

If your business provides a service like makeup or hair design, landscaping, decorating, auto body repair or interior design, show your Instagram followers the impact of your work with a shot of your subject before and after you work your magic. The side-by-side comparison will add the wow factor to your Instagram content and maybe even get you a few new customers.

Cosmetics retailer Sephora used Instagram to spotlight an unusual product that most of us do not have in our makeup bags, giving followers a better idea of how it might look out of the package and on someone’s lashes.

Sephora helps makeup enthusiasts imagine what it would look like to don lashes with spots and highlights.

Sephora helps makeup enthusiasts imagine what it would look like to don lashes with spots and highlights.

#5: Give a Sneak Peek
Everyone likes to be the first to know… well… anything. Make your Instagram followers feel special and give them exclusive previews of products and services, or virtual tours of your new stores, production facilities or offices in the making. Things never seen before make for particularly shareable content, so be sure to publish the post to Facebook and Twitter as well, since Instagram does not yet have a sharing or reposting function.

Makers of rugged bags and footwear Keen posted a picture of its future headquarters in the midst of construction to satisfy the curiosity of those who might be wondering where their favorite shoes will be coming from.

Keen shows off its future home.

Keen shows off its future home.

#6: Show Your Office
People who follow their favorite brands on social media have probably asked at one time or another, “I wonder what it’d be like to work there?” Well, show them!

Post photos that provide a glimpse of a-day-in-the-life at your office—work areas, the corporate gym or play-field, decked-out cubicles, brainstorming meetings in progress, training sessions, employees at lunch, employees at play—the opportunities here are countless. If you’re hiring, be sure to point people to your online job postings in the caption.

Beloved online shoe store Zappos shows fans that even its employees work in cubicle-land, albeit a very fun, colorful one that matches its friendly brand personality.

Zappos shares a glimpse of its colorful workspace.

Zappos shares a glimpse of its colorful workspace.

#7: Take Us With You
Going to a trade-show or sponsoring an event? Use that as an opportunity to take your Instagram followers with you wherever you’re going. Followers in those locations will be tickled to know you’re in their neighborhood. Folks can also get a better feel for your brand by learning about the events or causes you attend, support or sponsor.

Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders gave fans an off-field glimpse of its players doing something quite ordinary, standing around waiting at an airport with luggage in hand.

The Seattle Sounders soccer team takes its fans along to LAX.

The Seattle Sounders soccer team takes its fans along to LAX.

#8: Introduce Your Employees
Humanize your brand by using Instagram to introduce your fans to the people who make your company what it is. Spotlighted employees will enjoy the recognition (and a few seconds of fame) and Instagram followers will get a chance to see the people behind the brand. You might even want to make this profile an ongoing campaign that takes fans around the office to meet staff serving a variety of roles within your company. Be sure to punch up the post and share a little about each employee in the caption.

Keen put a human face to its brand with a shot of a spreadsheet-wielding employee.

Keen employee at work.

Keen employee at work.

#9: Share Celebrity Sightings

Let’s face it. We live in a society that is crazy about celebrities—we know who they’re dating, what they’re eating and where they go to vacation. Cash in on celebrity cachet and share pictures of them interacting with your brand, whether they’re signing autographs at your sponsored event, speaking, visiting your office or even using your products or services. These posts will be sure to get followers talking.

Sony Electronics shared a photo from a celebrity appearance at an Xperia event to grab the attention of Maroon 5 fans on Instagram.

Sony shares a shot of Maroon 5 signing autographs at one of its events.

Sony shares a shot of Maroon 5 signing autographs at one of its events.

#10: Share the Cuteness
There is no denying the appeal of animals in social media. Lolcats, Cute Overload and the countless other awwwww-inducing blogs out there are proof that there is capital in cuteness.

Whether they’re pets visiting the office, starring in your ads or animals sporting your schwag, never miss an opportunity to get a snapshot to share on Instagram. Our furry friends can be counted on to get likes and comments from followers.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gave its followers the warm fuzzies (and collected many likes) with a photo of a dog sporting an SFMOMA t-shirt.

Canine decked out in SFMOMA schwag.

Canine decked out in SFMOMA schwag.


Read full article: 10 Creative ways to use Instagram for Business »


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