A1. As covered in the previous Q&A your social media policy should cover such eventualities. If the account and its content is in clear conflict with your business you can request that it is deleted or amended to suit the firm. If they refuse check your social media policy – it should offer the firm the option of dismissing staff who breach the rules however allow time for the matter to be resolved before taking hasty action. Very often staff are not aware of the commercial sensitivities and competitive issues involved in running a business. If the reason for concern is raised in a reasonable manner and time granted for any suitable action to be taken you should resolve most matters quickly and easily.
Where the firm has acted reasonably, there is a clear conflict and yet the staff member has refused to co-operate you would be entitled to take appropriate action.
You will require an up to date social media policy and evidence that staff have been made aware of the rules and consequences of any breach. If in doubt consult an appropriately experienced employment lawyer before taken direct action.
A. Video is an excellent medium for promoting your business but in my experience too few are using it to best effect. We have moved on from the simple written word and hyperlinks to an increasing use of images as a form of visual branding. Video moves the message on a stage further where both the impact of moving images and sound can exponentially increase the reach of your message.
There is therefore a growing role for video as an effective mechanism to promote your company and social media platforms can significantly increase the audience reach of such content. The video may be beautifully produced, excellently articulated and worded to aim at your key customers but simply uploading to your website will not deliver the audience it deserves.
Examples of video best practice;
Overall I would recommend experimenting with video but be careful not to damage the firm’s brand with an overly amateurish production. Smartphones are actually powerful enough to create good video footage but investing in sound enhancement equipment and editing software will be money well spent.
Experiment, see how they work measure results and decide on future investment. I’ve used several and the best so far has been Facebook. Facebook works for me because it provides access to a significant depth of demographic data which helps tailor campaigns. If you’re looking more to a B2B over a B2C campaign I would suggest LinkedIn but again tread very carefully before committing £££. I’ve had mixed results with LinkedIn and the jury is still most definitely out on whether it can deliver over time for a variety of prodct/ service offerings. Most LinkedIn users are acutely aware and wary of in platform advertising and promotions.
My advice is to treat any advertising expenditure on LinkedIn or other social platforms like that of TV, Radio or Press. You want a return on your investment you’re not simply investing in the channel hoping it might work.
On the upside I have found LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to be very supportive when issues have arisen. Now is a good time to experiment with this area of advertising as, (a) Not many are using the medium to advertise (b) The platforms are very keen for their ad propositions to work and ergo, happy to help and respond if it goes poorly.
Typically it’s the last thing considered but it is so important in deciding the demand for future investment and resource. Twitters own in app package is actually very good, Hootsuite can produce tailored reports LinkedIn is useful when looking at the tracking of post activity and e-mail apps such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor also help. There’s the daddy of drilling into data,Google analytics but I’m not going to lie, it can be difficult to identify the specific data set that you need,
My advice, unless you have an analysis ninja to hand is to keep it simple and focus on the key metrics of engagement, brand profile, reviews, comments and ultimately client acquisition. Nothing simpler than asking a new client what brought them to you, where they heard of you and had they been aware of your social media accounts, if so which ones. Old fashioned? Yes Effective? Most definitely.
This concludes the four part Q&A social media management for professionals. If you have any questions not covered by this series of articles feel free to connect and ask me directly or comment below.
Facebook owned Instagram is capitalising on the massive popularity of GIFs through the introduction of a new App called Boomerang.
Specifically designed for the smartphone Boomerang enables users to take a photo burst of 5 pictures that become looped as they in Vine but for a much shorter period.
Why might this work for business?
Photos, videos, Gifs, animation are all hot methods of engaging with eyeballs online and specifically the increasingly cluttered world of social media. Historically for the untrained and impatient amongst us creating a Gif was rather a faff. Now you can do it with one click.
Finding a creative use of moving images, even if it is as brief as 1 second can help make that business stand out from the crowd.
It’s very new, having only launched 22nd October yet major brands have immediately seen the benefit of the app. Timberland and Elle both showed flicking through their content whilst the Rugby World Cup social media team scored and converted with their early adoption and 1 sec clip of South Africa’s Schalk Burger before their clash with the Kiwis.
The apps key strength is its simple straightforward use, it is pretty much idiot proof…even I could immediately get the app working although my target subjects were not so easy.
It’s also incredibly easy to share the new moving content via a variety of platforms, obviously Instagram and Facebook plus Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ etc..
You can find the app in your devices store under Boomerang from Instagram. Download, have a play and see how it might add some all important interest to a product, service or topic you want to highlight.
One of the great benefits of social media is its instant connectivity and accessibility to so many individuals across the globe. This benefit however can become a distinct disadvantage when things are not all rosy in the social media garden.
Let’s just look at a few examples. Staff with the responsibility of posting content on behalf of your business decide to boost the reach of your messages by tapping in to a popular hashtag #. It can be harmless and often look unprofessional, more akin to jumping on an overburdened bandwagon. One such recent example is #PlutoFlyBy .
Nice pun from the bathroom accessory guys…
Space is all over the news with the#PlutoFlyby, so let us help YOU save space in the bathroom
Or this one from a US Italian restaurant chain…
Have a breadstick on us, Pluto! You’ll always be a planet in our eyes. #PlutoFlyby
Mmm… awkward and looks a little desperate however it’s not malicious and no one is harmed in the hijacking of the hashtag.
Moving on to corporations creating their own hashtag and it backfiring; now that can be an interesting spectator sport.
#MCDStories McDonalds marketing team expected nothing but genuine “nuggets” of wholesome stories, instead they created a McFlurry storm of negativity as tweet after tweet tried to out-score the other on their terrible experiences. Ouch!
Even classy supermarket Waitrose hasn’t escaped the hashtag howler brigade. Their #Waitrosereasons campaign generated a stream of pretentious and pompous tongue in cheek tweets that played on the expense of shopping at the store. This included a tweet suggesting the shopper always transferred shopping to tesco bags so neighbours didn’t know they’d won Euromillions!
Yes we can laugh at the big brands getting it wrong but what if it happens to you and your business. We are all vulnerable to attack as soon as we “put ourselves out there” but how do we respond if someone genuinely takes against your business or someone who works in it.
Examples that hit the media spotlight often involve high profile individuals. Kevin Pietersen brought a successful claim for defamation against Specsavers when their Facebook and twitter advert suggested the ex- England cricketer tampered with his bat.
But it’s not always possible to hit the troublemakers for six. Bed and Breakfast owners Martin and Jacqui Clark failed to win their case against TripAdvisor after they had received very poor reviews on the rating site. The Judge refused to reveal the identities of those making the post which had caused the Clark’s to lose business.
This leaves something of a hole in the world of social media where trolls can continue to inhabit and inflict their pain without fear of retribution. In my view this should be addressed rather swiftly as the proliferation of rating sites has led to many attempts to “game” the sites for competitive advantage. If a review is fair the reviewer should have no fear of being seen. If they are allowed to remain anonymous the opportunity to post false and defamatory messages is made far too easy.
What Should You Do
There has been a great deal of media attention around high profile cases of social media based defamation including Kevin Pietersen, Lord McAlpine and Russell Brand. As a result there’s been a threefold increase in cases across the country as more of us gain an appreciation of our rights. The numbers are still pretty low, only 26 matters 2013-14 but the year before saw only 6 cases. Source: Thomson Reuters – Practical Law
One of the biggest problems a victim of social media trolling can face is the challenge to find anyone to listen. The huge social media corporations are notoriously oblique in their “face to face” relations with users. Facebook, Twitter and Google have layer upon layer of FAQ’s, help forums and suitably straight-jacketed reporting processes. If, as many find, your problem doesn’t tick the right box you’ll have a merry old time attempting to get a sensible answer or swift resolution.
If you find yourself in such a situation please drop me a line. Over the years I’ve had a number of successful outcomes for clients dealing with Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter.
Make an enquiry here:-
Pick up a copy of a business magazine, webinar, SEO whitepaper, workshop agenda or open one of those hundreds of marketing tip e-mails [not all such e-mails are the same of course 🙂 ] and the chances are you’ll not go far before the word “content” is mentioned.
If you want your website to be a successful shop window for your company you need it to be well furnished with content, lots of it, all shapes and sizes, colours, creations and categories……or do you?
Call me an old cynic…but when I start to sense a trend forming and a bandwagon being jumped on I have a natural inclination to run in the opposite direction. Sure SEO is important but what if you produce masses of poor content? All that will prove is that you’ve created a big website full of “stuff” that nobody is going to read let alone share. Surely the idea with this facet of marketing is to produce quality, focused material that appeals to those who you have identified as your target audience. Badly written and presented content will have the adverse effect. I would argue that even if you did rank higher as a result of your prolific production once anyone clicked on it they would be more inclined to bounce straight out again. This would only create a negative impression.
Ok back to basics, what is “content”? Does anyone really know or is it just another “buzzword” that sounds good but has little thought behind it.
Content varies from the obvious written word, blog, news update, article to more visual and increasingly popular sources such as infographics, webinars and other video based productions such as YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Meerkat and Periscope.
Just for starters WordPress report that there are 42.6 million blog posts per month. Now imagine how that number is going to escalate with the buzzword of the year “content” driving marketing activities. Add to the written word the growing trend of video posts and you’ve a very busy and somewhat cluttered space in which you’re trying to make a name for yourself.
A) You can just see the common scenario developing where a young marketing manager, having read all the latest guides, asks the MD to produce a blog for the company. The MD is very busy but she knows this buzz of blogging and “thought leadership” is the thing she really should be doing…so she writes one. It’s not great but it is her first effort. The marketer doesn’t feel that they can correct the boss so is left with no option but to post it. No one comments on it, it’s only read by staff internally who universally agree the MD should stick to running the business.
B) Or what about a situation where no one in the business has the time to write an article or blog so they look around for help. Now for the purpose of balance I must advise that yes, there are excellent copywriters, journalists, wordsmiths who have both the intelligence and skill to produce high quality “home grown looking” material that is both informative and easy to digest. Unfortunately given the “content” Goldrush we have no shortage of prospectors panning for nuggets but finding fool’s gold, those who look the real deal, talk a good game but simply don’t understand enough about the business and the best way to communicate with their target audience. In this example the business spends a large chunk of their annual marketing budget on an agency who simply fails to connect with the client and produces low grade results albeit in large quantities. The company sacks the agency when the MD asks a few pertinent questions at a board meeting such as “Do they own a dictionary” “Have they met our production team” “Why are the web visits up but the engagement down?” The result, the agency blames the client and the resultant lack of business demonstrates the importance of having a well thought through strategy that involves communications that connect with the target audience.
So what should you be doing?
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog please contact David Laud via twitter @davidlaud or call 08456 446624
Consultants, coaches, business advisers and circuit speakers can frequently fall into a trap when handing out advice as they touch on subjects that they’ve lost touch with. In the current cauldron of technological innovation and digital dependence that’s not all too surprising because they rarely have time to stop and revisit their thinking or more importantly put their theory into practice.
Just because advice sounds plausible, logical and possible doesn’t make it a cast iron sure bet to work. My view is that we must accept we can’t possibly stay at the sharp end, understanding latest trends, tips, wrinkles and methodologies, without being self-aware and putting those golden nuggets of advice to the test to establish their true value. Instead of sticking with ideas that are possibly past their “sell by date” or untested put yourself in the position of a client. Rather than act as an adviser seek to prove those ideas, strategies and actions by applying them to a real situation.
How to generate new business is one of the most regular questions posed by clients and for obvious reasons. Winning new customers is essential to growth and sustainability and over time owners, directors and managers can become complacent, lose focus and need a guiding hand to put the company back onto a positive footing.
Luckily for me I’ve recently had an ideal opportunity, which was literally very close to home, to test the theory of business generation in a very contemporary field of marketing, social media.
My wife decided last year that it was time, following years of looking after the family, to take up the challenge of running her own ballet school. Being the true professional that she is, my wife ensured that she was fully up to date with syllabi and best practice according to the Royal Academy of Dance. Whilst I had every confidence in my wife’s capability as a teacher I could see as a potential hurdle with her previous steadfast view that she did not “do social media”. No personal Facebook page, no twitter and certainly nothing as exotic as Instagram or Pinterest.
Here was an excellent opportunity for me to not only help my wife achieve her ambition of running a successful school but to also put those many theories to win business through digital channels to the test.
It’s often said that it can be a dangerous, potentially painful process working with your other half but in our experience it proved pretty much straightforward. I know nothing at all about dance let alone ballet and she knew very little of social media and marketing matters.
My first concern was to have a website and to ensure that it was given the right treatment to appear in search terms, to also provide the essential link to sites such as Netmums and Yell.com but also as its essential when creating social media accounts. The website also needed to be fully responsive, smartphone and tablet friendly.
The key target audience for the ballet school is mothers of children aged from two and a half to teenage so my first piece of advice was to establish a solid Facebook page. Starting from scratch it was also going to be important to get matters moving quickly and create a steady flow of enquiries. As with many businesses the primary customer activity when looking for this service/ activity was to go online. A google search for “ballet school” on google would automatically bring up schools that were registered and verified with the search site. To do this the school needed to have a Google account and for the best chance of high profile recognition an active Google+ account.
It was essential that the school became verified and that the map engine within Google had Mrs L’s business linked to the address. That way the school would show up listed with other verified schools and the closer to the target location the higher the ranking. Simple but so many businesses miss his very important step.
After Google+ and Facebook we created twitter, Instagram and Pinterest sites to add breadth and visual impact to the school’s brand.
I suggested that my wife needed to create a regular dialogue with our local community and that was through a localised, gender and age specific “like” campaign for Facebook and a daily news feed of curated stories relating to the art form on twitter simply called “Ballet News”. The latter news update has been a huge success. Why such a success? Mrs L’s attention to detail and regular posts have created an expectation of consistency, entertainment and information which her community greatly appreciate. In response to my prompt on the importance of engagement on Facebook Mrs L launched a regular ballet related picture post and specifically once a week “Tutu Tuesday” featuring a new outfit each week. I take only a very small piece of credit, the genius of the creative idea and execution was entirely down to the proprietor…not me. That signified a watershed moment, the owner of the business owned their media and understood it enough to capitalise on its power.
And what of the results of this test of social media guidance and marital relationship?
Well no divorce…quite the contrary. A thriving business that since launch in April has grown to over 40 regular students and 3 to 4 new enquiries each week 90% either via the website, fed by twitter and Instagram accounts or directly from the Facebook page.
Of course it helps that my wife is a talented teacher and has great rapport with students and parents alike but for me it proved the power of social media. Mrs L has commented that she doesn’t know how she could possibly have managed without Facebook or her website. Interestingly we experimented with more traditional marketing – the results were mixed. The local paper proved the most expensive investment and produced nothing whilst a magazine targeting primary schools more than covers its costs. By far and away the most successful medium for promoting the school is Facebook and the website, searched for on Google.
All of the above and the ongoing success of the school proves that there are advantages in having a strong, well-articulated digital presence aligned to a good product.
Key Social Media Steps for a Start Up
I’m not ready to don the tights and show you my arabesque but I’m very happy to help you grow your organisation be it in education, retail, manufacturing or the service sector if fact any business that thrives on generating new customers.
Drop me a line via the contact form below.
David Laud @davidlaud
The dust is starting to settle after the initial rather mixed response to the Face “book” lift applied to twitter accounts.
You get a rather gentle prod by the platform to decide if you really do want to give it a go but I suspect like many the temptation to see what the fuss is about mixed with the nagging fear of being left behind drives users toward the new look layout.
Personally I don’t mind it, I think it’s a natural evolution but it’s also strikingly similar to many other sites and for a great number of twitter fans it’s a step too far.
But what exactly is all the fuss about?
Is it progress?
My personal view is that it adds certain useful features, in particular the pinning of tweets to the top of your profile page. One problem I see with the changes is the proliferation of smartphone and smaller tablets and their use over PC and laptop. You can now take photos and post so easily from these devices that they are quickly taking the place of the traditional methods used for online interaction. As it stands the new changes have not migrated fully to mobile device formats but no doubt it’s just a matter of time before they do.