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? Read more
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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 »
A rant from an angry customer or a weird tweet from a CEO can quickly become a PR nightmare if it’s not handled correctly. At Expion‘s Racing Ahead 2012 social business summit, social media experts discussed worst-case scenarios and how to prevent them.
Altimeter‘s Jeremiah Owyang said that problems tend to erupt on Saturdays, when people are home for the weekend and have nothing better to do. Although the drama usually lasts only a day or two before trailing off, it sure doesn’t feel that way to the people who are stuck cleaning up the mess. “Like a car crash,” he said, “time slows down.”
In a morning keynote, Owyang (pictured right) presented some key findings from his research report, ”Social Business Readiness: How Advanced Companies Prepare Internally,” which was based on input from 140 social media program managers at companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Most people seemed to feel that social media crises were on the rise. Although some situations were doomed from the start, Altimeter’s research showed that 76 percent of the social media disasters the companies reported could have been avoided if the companies had been better prepared. The biggest problem, participants said, was a lack of infrastructure. The solution? Here were the best options:
- Fix Internal Processes – 59%
- Empower Crowd to Respond to Each Other – 44%
- Streamline with New Technologies – 33%
- Hire More Staff – 29%
- Outsource to Agencies – 15%
- Respond to Fewer Conversations – 7%
Because many Facebook pages are a hybrid of personal and corporate accounts, it’s hard to tell “who owns what,” said Owyang. It’s important to take inventory of every page that your company owns and to be mindful of pages that may have been set up by fans or other third parties.
In today’s market, “every company is a media company,” said Owyang. Corporations in all fields now have professionals with titles like “content strategist” or ”editor-in-chief” who unify the company’s voice across multiple channels.
In general, companies should have a governing body that authorizes other departments or branch locations to have their own pages – a sort of “hub and spoke” model. The average social media team, the study found, has 11 employees, consisting of corporate social strategists (1 – 2), social media managers (2), community managers (3), social analysts (1), web developers (1 – 2), education managers (0 – 1), and business unit liaisons (1 – 2).
These people can divide up what Owyang said will become the most important tasks in social media management: intense response, social broadcasting, platform campaign marketing, distributed brand response, and tailored service and support.
In an afternoon panel, Warner Bros. direct to consumer marketing VP Michele Edelman described a situation far worse than an irate customer. On July 20, a gunman disguised as the Joker opened fire on unsuspecting moviegoers at a midnight screening of Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, CO, killing 12 people and wounding numerous others.
Although the social web erupted with comments and photos in response to the tragedy, the studio pulled back, allowing local authorities and news reporters who had rushed to the scene to do their jobs. ”‘Dark Knight’ wasn’t a [social media] crisis,” Edelman said. “It was just a crisis.”
But she was proud of how her company handled the public. When director Christopher Nolan issued a statement, he focused his heartfelt message on the victims and their families, which Warner Bros. posted on the Dark Knight Rises Facebook page and other web properties to share with concerned fans. Remembered Edelman, “People said it made them cry.”
Read the full article; How Do You Handle a Social Media Crisis? »
Social media can give your company many different benefits. It can increase awareness and introduce you to new people. It can be used to help customer service, and follow-up with disgruntled customers. It can also be used to get the elusive, but effective word-of-mouth marketing. But it can’t sell. At least, that’s what people say.
Market research giants Forrester Research and GSI Commerce looked at online retailer data in 2010. They were trying to determine how many actual retail sales came from social media visits. The results aren’t pretty.
Less than 2% of all orders were from social networking shoppers. (Conversely, search and email marketing converted the most).
The most common objection to using social media is, “What’s the return-on-investment?”. And when you try to come up with an ROI, you get results like these (dismal, to say the least).
So what’s the solution? Give up entirely? Or should you just look a little more closely…
How a Toy Maker Used Social Media to Increase Revenue by 300%
The direct ROI of social media is usually dismal. But then again, so is almost every offline advertising method like TV, radio, print and billboards. However they obviously increase sales. They just aid indirectly, so it’s difficult to measure a direct conversion rate. Just like social media.
Try telling toy maker Step2 that social media doesn’t drive sales. Here’s a quote from the Wall Street Journal:
Step2′s use of PowerReviews and Facebook together provided some measurable gains. [Online Marketing Director] Tena Crock claimed sales from Step2.com increased 130 percent year-over-year after PowerReviews added loyalty and badges for reviewers and buyers in February 2012. Since October 2010, Step2 has recorded a 300% boost in revenues from visitors who arrive at Step2.com via the Facebook Connect button.
Step2 is seeing impressive online revenue growth, due in large part to their integration of social media. So who’s right? Does it drive sales, or doesn’t it? Or is it all in your approach?
How to Drives Sales with Social Media (Even if You Can’t Track It)
Social media doesn’t drive sales directly. But it significantly impacts sales indirectly. So here’s what you should do instead.
- Increase Awareness: The first step in marketing is to get your prospect’s attention. Selling is difficult for most companies online because… no one’s ever heard of you. And no one’s going to buy without recognizing your brand.
Don’t use social media to sell, but to get attention initially. Promote content, run contests, and create an identity in your industry. And then think of fans and followers as leads, and nurture their trust over time to accelerate first-time purchases.
- Establish Trust to Accelerate First-Time Purchases: Email marketing is consistently one of the best performing marketing channels. But it’s not because companies are exceptionally good at it. It’s because following up with leads consistently over weeks, months and years builds trust and recognition. Just like seeing television ads over years or finding your brand logo on a sports team’s jersey.
You can accelerate purchases with social media by providing information to drive need awareness, interact to overcome objections, and use authenticity so prospects pick you over the competition.
- Increase Purchasing Frequency: Netflix has built a thriving business on $8 a month. They’re successful because they can predict the average lifetime value of each customer. Most people don’t just sign up for one month. The average person may be a Netflix subscriber for 36 months… or longer. That predictable, recurring revenue is a powerful income stream.
Marketing 101 says it’s cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer, than to acquire a new one. And using social media is an easy, effective way to increase your profitability by increasing the lifetime value of a customer. People will buy more products and services, or simply buy more often.
Social media can drive sales… but it does so indirectly. People find you in social media through serendipity… they don’t typically go actively looking for products and services to buy.
So your social media strategies need to gain attention, inspire trust, and then increase profitability. It takes a little longer to get started, but it can pay off significantly in the long run.
Read full article: Why you can’t sell with Social Media (and 3 things to do instead) »
1. Understanding Twitter Search Results
Twitter search results are divided into sections. On the left, you can toggle between these categories: Tweets, People, Videos and Images. These results are determined by Twitter’s search algorithms, as are the “top” tweet results.
In Twitter’s words, “We’ve built an algorithm that finds the tweets that have caught the attention of other users. Top Tweets will refresh automatically and are surfaced for popularly retweeted subjects based on this algorithm. We do not hand-select Top Tweets.”
For this reason, if you’re looking for an at-a-glance look at a topic, Top Tweets is the way to go. If you’re carrying out a more stringent search, be sure to click “All.”
2. Remove Retweets From Results
You can get retweet-free search results by adding the minus sign search operator. Simply enter -RT to see a list of original results — handy if you’re searching for a popular term.
3. Location-Based Search
You can look for tweets that come from or are near to a certain location. Type near:NYC within:5mi to return tweets sent within five miles of the Big Apple.
4. Search For Tweets With Links
If you want to only see tweets that contain links, add filter:links to your search phrase.
5. Search for Tweets From a Certain User
If you want to carry out a keyword search for one particular person, type from:username to search within his or her stream.
6. Positive, Negative and Questions
If you want to look up results based on sentiment, simply add :) or :( to your search.
Similarly, you can look for tweets that pose a question by adding a question mark ‘?‘ to your search query.
7. Search Up To/From a Date
It’s possible to search Twitter for content up to and after certain dates.
Typing since:2012-09-20 will show tweets sent since Sept 20, 2012, while until:2012-09-20 will show those sent up to the same date.
8. Search for Tweets From Certain Sources
If you’d like to see tweets sent via SMS, or from a particular Twitter client, you can use the “source” search operator to do so.
For example, source:txt will bring up tweets sent via SMS.
9. Save Searches
Did you know you can save up to 25 searches on Twitter?
Simply enter the search term you’d like to save, hit enter, then click on the cog icon at the top-right of your screen.
Hitting Save search means you can access that query again simply by clicking in the search box and selecting from the drop-down menu that will appear.
10. Bookmark Twitter’s Advanced Search
Finally, if you don’t think you’ll remember all the search operators, there’s an easy fix. You can just bookmark Twitter’s Advanced Search page, where many of these search elements are templated for ease of use.
Read full article: 10 Tips and Tricks for powerful Twitter Search »