8 Ways to Spruce Up Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

Social Media marketingRunning a profitable operation presents its own set of challenges for small business owners. And if they’re not in an industry that’s appealing to the masses, chances are they’ve struggled at some point or another to successfully market their unique products or services. Fortunately, social media presents the opportunity to increase brand awareness in a fun and engaging manner.

Here are some ideas to consider along with ways in which certain companies have used social media to expand their reach.

1. Post Useful Content

Your followers are crunched for time, so you must post content that captivates their attention and adds value to their lives. Otherwise, they will simply overlook future posts or unfollow your company page. Identity theft protection, for example, isn’t necessarily a sexy industry, but LifeLock has a sizeable social media following because their posts provide useful tidbits of wisdom regarding identity theft and ways to protect yourself. And with identity theft rates on the rise, who wouldn’t want to have access to this pertinent information?

2. Skip the Sales Pitch

Consumers dislike the idea of being sold. Instead, they prefer to be in charge of the purchasing decision and move at their own pace. But if you’re constantly shoving sales pitches down their throats via social media, they may become irritated and take their business elsewhere.

3. Encourage Feedback

Even if you’re in an industry that may not be exciting to the average consumer, loyal supporters take pride in knowing you value their opinion and want them to be a part of the conversation. In fact, Starbucks has taken the solicitation of customer feedback to another level by creating @MyStarbucksIdea, a Twitter page solely dedicated to customer experience.

4. Switch It Up

Not only should you avoid posting identical content across platforms, but what you post should also be diverse. Some followers prefer videos while others take a liking to infographics. The idea is to provide a little something for everyone. And don’t forget to share useful content from other pages.

5. Mascot or Spokesperson

It doesn’t take a massive marketing budget to implement a mascot or spokesperson into your branding strategy. To effectively do so, consider creating a Twitter and Facebook profile for your new symbol and infusing it with a dose of humor so your followers can connect with it. Just think of Mayhem from AllState, who not only serves up a good dose of amusement via television but has his own Twitter and Facebook pages where he keeps the laughs going.

6. Infuse a Little Humor

There’s not much one can say about toilet paper beyond its texture, but that didn’t prevent Charmin from creating a strong social media presence. The clever Twitter hashtag, “tweetfromtheseat,” has soared Charmin’s following to new heights and changed the way consumers nationwide view toilet paper.

7. Product Giveaways

Host a contest or giveaway to attract new customers. But remember, the key is to get participants to spread the word about your brand as a condition of entering to win. Encourage customers to do so through a testimonial, product review, or simply by sharing the company page with friends.

8. Consistency is the Key

If you’re crunched for time or considering ditching your social media efforts altogether, take a step back and develop a posting strategy. Once you’ve done so, use a social media management platform like HootSuite to Tweetdeck to schedule your posts in advance to ensure you remain on schedule. It may take several months to see results, but the effort and hard work won’t be in vain.

What are your ideas for sprucing up your brand? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @suereynolds. I’d love to hear from you.

Social Media: The BEST Oscar Party Ever

Before the award ceremony, I challenge myself each year to see EVERY single film that’s been nominated for an Oscar for best picture. It’s typically a race against the clock (or the weekends) and I usually come up short by at least one or two films. But still, I try. My big dream is to host an Oscar party with wine, expertly-made hors d’oeuvres a-la Martha Stewart and glamour. Yes, the attire is formal. I’d put out a red carpet and make little Oscar name tags for everyone and serve Oscar-themed cocktails.

Get real.

My family lives in another state and my friends are scattered all over the country. This is never going to happen. I’m ok with that though. I can be part of the biggest Oscar party ever on social media.

Why I think Social Media makes the BEST Oscar Parties

Why I think Social Media makes the BEST Oscar Parties

The Oscars: Facebook Versus Twitter

I typically post to both throughout the event, but they are decidedly different experiences. Here’s what I’ve noticed.

The Oscars: Twitter

I love Twitter for events. Last year’s Ellen DeGeneres photo (above) that actually broke Twitter, taking down its servers for several minutes, is an example. All of us watching were part of that in real time. It allowed us to be present for the event in a way no medium, other than the first broadcast of the Oscars on television in 1953, has ever done. Following the event on Twitter is like being at the world’s biggest Oscar party, snarky comments and all. I, like everyone else at the party, tweet out my opinions and cheer on my favorites throughout the broadcast, or at least the part during which I’m still awake. I do have to work in the morning. It’s also where I watch what other brands are doing, some of which are doing great things.

I’d love to say I get tons of engagement on my tweets, but really I don’t. I’m never going to break Twitter. My tweets are a blip in the feed, which runs faster than I can refresh. Where do I get my engagement during events like the Oscars?

Facebook.

The Oscars: Facebook

Our personal Facebook feed is a closed group of friends. Mine is filled with people I know, many of which I would actually invite to my fantasy party if they lived close by. Yes I overshare on nights like tonight and yes, I’m sometimes snarky. But I get engagement and comments on my posts. Because these are my actual friends and family.  They, like me, have a personal investment in the relationship, if only digital.

If I were to really ramp it up, I’d start a private Facebook event for tonight, invite my friends and then agree to all meet there and share photos, comments and more. What fun! Maybe next year.

Public Posts

For those posting, like me, on Facebook, remember if you have the ability for people to follow you turned on and you make your posts public with a hashtag, they will be visible to everyone in the hashtag feed, even people outside your friend list. If you’re posting on Twitter and don’t have your tweets protected, then everything is public.

So tonight I’ll be watching and sharing my unsolicited opinions. If you want to follow me on Twitter, you can @suereynolds. If you want to be part of my community on Facebook, you can follow me there. My comments will be public and part of the hashtag feed.

Let the snarkiness begin.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the Oscars and other events?

Social Media: Getting the Most out of Your Content

getting the most out of your social media content

Use a social media plan to get the most out of your content

You’ve taken several hours to write a blog, create a new Slideshare presentation, research and design an infographic or shoot and edit a video.  The content is compelling and on brand. You feel good about it. I don’t have to tell you that creating your own content is hard work and time consuming, so of course you want to get the most value and reach. If you’re like a lot of people, here’s what you do. The content is live and you post it to social media using a nicely worded Facebook post, a tweet, perhaps a post on Google Plus or LinkedIn and, if you have great images, you probably pin the best one to Pinterest.

Then you sit back and wait for the likes, shares and comments to flood in.

And you’re very often underwhelmed, right?

Here’s what I recommend to get the most out of that content, using social media of course!

Facebook

The first day your content is live, post it on Facebook. Plan on posting this content several more times over the next week or so, but make sure to craft the posts so they look different. Use a tool like PicMonkey or Canva to create a graphic to go with your post and change out the image. If you’re using a quote, try Quozio, an easy quote generator with several style options. Be sure to word each post differently. Watch and see what types of post engage your audience the most and use that information to craft future posts.

Twitter

Twitter’s audience is more tolerant of repeat content, most likely because the average interest decay of a tweet is about two hours. The first day you’re safe to tweet three or four times if that’s part of your normal twitter pattern. Also, as soon as you publish your post, craft a month’s worth of tweets, the number depending on how often you typically tweet per day, and use a scheduler like BufferApp, Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule them out over the month. Similar to Facebook, each message should be different, using different hashtags and copy.

Pinterest or Instagram

Your blog should contain one or two high quality images that are pin and/or Instagram worthy.  As soon as you hit publish, pin those images and include descriptive content including keywords. Keep these image heavy platforms in mind when you’re choosing the image for your blog and you’ll get better results. Use Instagram to generate engagement around your posts as well, as Instagram tends to receive higher post likes and comments than other platforms.

Google Plus

I still recommend using Google Plus as a viable platform for sharing content. It allows you to post long form status updates or a short post with a link back to the content. Each post to Google plus is actually a separate webpage, showing up in search depending on the plus 1s and sharing it receives. This is a perfect platform for sharing content from your own website, as the link juice from those plus 1s and engagement is passed back to the content itself. Share the content from your personal Google Plus profile if appropriate, which also allows you to email everyone following you there. Share to your company page as well. As you do for Facebook, post several times over the month using different images and copy, and try making one post the full copy.

LinkedIn

Your strategy for LinkedIn posting can be similar to your Google Plus strategy. Share your content on your own personal LinkedIn profile, as you’ve most likely developed a professional network on the platform that sees you as a thought leader in the content area. If you have a company page that’s appropriate for the content, share it there as well. Then craft several different posts, each time with different lead in copy. Add an opinion as to why you thought this content was a good share for your network. LinkedIn also allows you to share content in a long-form post on the platform through LinkedIn Publisher, and similar to Google Plus, allows you to share the entire post in blog-like format.  Look for the pencil icon in the status update section to create your long form content.

LinkedIn long post

Use the pencil icon to write a long form blog in LinkedIn

All in all, a good rule of thumb is to create around 20 different posts as soon as you’ve published your content, as the main ideas and language and still fresh in your mind. Don’t forget the non traditional platforms such as StumbleUpon, Tumblr and Reddit as well. Spend some time creating supporting images, then use a content calendar to plan your posts. Then remember to analyze the results.

How do you typically share new content? What are your favorite platforms for spreading that content on social?

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