Category Archives: Social Networks

Ding Dong the Social Media Manager is Dead (?)

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According to Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, more than 50% of consumers now use Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media tools such as to contact companies with questions or complaints. Yet, according to Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, the Social Media jobs market has undergone a marked decline behind which the slowdown ‘in Social Media managers is a sea change in the way that Social Media itself is used within organisations’.

The paradox however is that integrating Social Media in the workplace is hampered by a skills shortage. Social Media as a phenomenon and marketing skill hasn’t been around long enough for that. In other words, the demand for Social Media managers is there but as part of another role for which there aren’t yet many candidates. Companies more and more are expecting job applicants to already possess the skills, perhaps because of a misconception of how Social Media is and/or should be used for business. Whilst I have always been an advocate of the premise that websites are about a business and Social Media gives you an insight into the people behind the business, there’s a big difference between being a regular user of Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, and using language and vocabulary effectively to communicate your business’ marketing messages and brand awareness through a Facebook Business Page, for example.

“The notion of a single person who spends their entire day on Twitter creating hashtags is dead”, says GigaOM. Being social is “part of everyone’s jot, or soon will be”. So much so that it could almost be seen as the people’s platform in that Twitter, Facebook and the like are no longer the almost exclusive domain of online pundits, rather they are gradually becoming everybody’s responsibility.

One could argue the positives of this, in that it means organisations are finally seeing the integral role Social Media plays in an organisation’s overarching communications and marketing strategy rather than an obligatory annoyance that gets in the way of the day job but which they either haven’t got the funds to finance somebody else’s management of or they lack the time and inclination and instead offer a lacklustre and ill-thought out series of messages and communication to their followers. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review survey revealed that just 12% of companies using Social Media felt that they actually use it effectively *.

This is why, if are considering your business’ Social Media in-house, is to source the right training provider. And it may not be as simple as just hiring a specialist who is ‘good at Social Media’ or seeing one or more of your employees on a workshops in how to use Social media, but perhaps thinking about engaging with a niche specialist. Somebody who say, specialises in Social Media for accountants or solicitors if that’s what your business is, who has the testimonials and the case studies to back up this specialism. Using Social Media does not equate to using it well.

This can however be attributed to what I like to term the problem with Social Media being Social Media. In that it is an umbrella term many feel is not attributable to their line of work, i.e. the words Social Media are for them not synonymous with business. People like to put labels on things and perhaps a rethink of the job description ‘Social Media manager’ is also now necessary to ensure that whilst the role itself remains of paramount importance and vital to many businesses, it does not become obsolete or extinct because the terminology has got lost in translation.

Katherine Hanson is Owner & Managing Director of Soci@lite who provide Social Media Management & Training solutions for businesses.

5 Social Media What Not To Dos

These days, it can be hard not to feel bombarded by Social Media, what with 900 million active users on Facebook and 200 million plus on Twitter. The majority of the small business owners I train or work with certainly feels a heightened sense of obligation and urgency to navigate the Social Media landscape. But, in the rush to, they invariably end up making critical and costly mistakes for their businesses. Check out these five common mistakes and Soci@lite’s suggestions for how to avoid them:

1.  The Best Things Online Aren’t Free 

Social Media does not cost anything other than in time and effort. It’s free to join Facebook, create a Twitter profile or set up a blog – fantastic news for small businesses, right? Not once you factor in the constant commitment that Social Media demands, from updating your channels with fresh content to engaging with your followers and industry peers, not to mention keeping tab on your competitors.

Potentially, it could be taking you or a member of your staff (if you’re doing well enough to have one) as much as ten hours a week to manage all of your Social Media accounts – you do the maths! Consider outsourcing your monthly Social Media activity to somebody with the time, the tools and the inclination.

2.  Don’t Compare or Compete with the Giants

If you’re running a small business, the hard earned money you’ve allocated for your own marketing budget is merely a drop in the Atlantic for the likes of Coca Cola and Starbucks and there is little if anything you can do to change this. The good news however, is that your business doesn’t need to even attempt to keep up with the big brands, particularly when it comes to contests and campaigns.

Whilst incentivisation via giveaways and competitions is one of the most effective ways to generate new likes and improve overall engagement, small businesses should not feel pressurised to offer flashy prizes that are well beyond their budget. Instead, consider giving away one of your services or a free e-Book instead of a free iPad. This may not the sexiest prize and is unlikely to generate universal interest amongst your potential followers, but whoever does participate is already a captive audience, enthusiastic ambassador for your business and a potential client.

3.  Value of Exchange versus Hard Sell 

images (7)  This is perhaps the most difficult lesson for the small business owner to learn and take on board without a large marketing budget to spend. Whilst it is a marketing channel, Social Media requires an altogether subtler approach, in other words no Buy Me Now buttons or blatant promotional copy.

If your Social Media strategy is purely about marketing or sales then you need to rethink it NOW. Whilst it holds true that you can increase your sales figures from Social Media, this should not be your focus 100% of the time. As a general rule of thumb, only 5% to 10% of your status updates, Tweets, etc. should be selling.

Social Media is all about building relationships and growing trust, from answering questions to providing helpful information, to acting as a trusted resource and an industry authority. These are the activities which will grow your bottom line in the long run, albeit it in a slower fashion.

4.  It’s Not About You! 

Other business owners often comment to me that they don’t want to put what they had for dinner on Twitter. And my response to this is always the same – you wouldn’t walk up to somebody at a networking event and tell them what you had for dinner last night or what you watched on TV, so why do it online?!  And there’s nothing more irksome than being on the receiving end either. We’ve all been stuck at an event or dinner party with the self-absorbed person who talks at not to you and only about themselves to boot.

To be liked online, you’ve got to be a good listener, genuinely interested in what others have to say, gracious about constructive criticism and not dominate the conversation. Ask questions and encourage participation and comments, engage (within reason) with everybody who posts on your wall and share great content of others in your industry, in fact anything that you think will resonate with others or be interest or use to them.

Put simply, the same etiquette you employ offline applies online – don’t do or say anything you wouldn’t in person and you will be fine.

5.  Quality not Quantity 

Linkbaiting imageThere will always be some new up and coming network threatening claiming to be the next Facebook or Twitter and unless Social Media IS your business, you will never be able to keep up with it, but guess what? Nor should you.

Doing Social Media well does not mean being anywhere and everywhere. Instead, it’s about choosing one or two of the most relevant and effective channels for reaching your customers and focusing on them.

It is better to have no Social Media presence at all (although highly unadvisable!) than a neglected account as this will reflect badly on your business and, rightly or wrongly, result in a perception.  And let’s face it; online more than anywhere else, perception is everything.

Again, if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage and participate on your Social Media channels, consider outsourcing your monthly activity to somebody with the time, the tools and the inclination.

I hope that you have found this article useful – please feel free to leave me comments or questions. In closing, it’s important to remember that the business principle of 50 years ago still ring as true today – doing business with those that know like and trust you will make you money, Social Media is merely the platform. Keep these principles in mind when planning your Social Media activity and you will be a guru before you know it!

Whys & Wherefores of a LinkedIn profile

Many professionals see LinkedIn as ‘a place they keep their CV online and maybe have some connections with people they know professionally…not as a place to get business intelligence, to research problems, to establish an online presence where other people in the network can find them’, commented LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman recently. Nevertheless, LinkedIn has now established itself as one of the leading Social Media channels and is an interface for professionals who want to find out more about you – use it to benefit from the buzz about your business.

A LinkedIn profile helps you to:

  • Showcase your skills and experience
  • Be found for new opportunities
  • Stay in touch with colleagues and friends

LinkedIn is very different from more casual social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and the language used to communicate with fellow LinkedIn members more formal. As LinkedIn is a professional network, offer business discussions, events and opportunities instead of personal Updates. Be mindful of the purpose of LinkedIn – although it is great to share what is important to you on LinkedIn, achieving a balance is equally crucial.

LinkedIn is all about connections and nurturing your network so you should really be asking yourself what you can do for your contacts, instead of requesting that they do things to benefit you. Much the same as Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, you can ‘follow’ your favourite or similar companies to your own and receive automatic Updates in your LinkedIn feed. Read their pages and the profiles of their members – what keywords do they use? What LinkedIn groups do they belong to? What connections do you have to these people?

You are your Brand

Users with 100% complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn, which will not only open avenues to more connections, but demonstrate that you actively wish to participate and are ready to engage with fellow users.  A 100% complete profile (a prerequisite of which is a minimum of 50 connections), also automatically ranks you higher in search results because the more information you input with relevant keywords, the easier it is for people to find you which in turn influences how high up you appear in a search result.

Katherine Hanson - Soci@lite

Use a professional, clear and current photograph of your face which is appropriate for business. We are visual creatures and your photograph will be the first thing people notice before even looking at your work experience or qualifications, so first impressions really do count particularly if you have never met in person.

Choose a custom URL for your public profile, e.g. www.linkedin.com/in/katherinehanson. Google is more likely to display your name in a search and you will appear more reputable (assuming your profile is also complete of course). You can also better control what people see when they search for your name on search engines which will also return the most recent information about you.

Click here for a copy of my LinkedIn ebook:

LinkedIn Profiles & Company Pages ebook

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Soci@ite's Social Media Training image

LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn Company Page logo

A LinkedIn Company Page is a very effective way to showcase your business, products and services and will encourage sharing of your content. You can also take advantage of a Company Page to increase engagement and ensure your company provides the most tailored and relevant messages, such as adding a logo and clickable URL and videos to make your Page more dynamic and interactive.

More than 150 million professionals are following 2 million or more companies on LinkedIn. Who are these followers?

They are job seekers, employees, potential customers, purchasing managers, current clients, or interested observers. They follow companies to stay in the loop on new developments, compare products and services, track potential business opportunities and keep an eye out for job openings. Members are not­ed of such developments via network updates or emails. When members want to know more about your company, they look to your Company Page on LinkedIn

A Company Page is comprised of five main sections:

1.      Overview

This tab provides a friendly introduction to your business. It’s a place companies can start spreading their message and opening up the conversation with members. Members will see:

  • A high-level overview of the business
  • Company posts on topics ranging from company announcements to product releases to industry news
  • Friends & colleagues who are connected to the business
  • Careers: This tab is a way for companies to interact with millions of passive and active job seekers on LinkedIn. The Careers tab requires a paid subscription by the company

2.      Products & Services

This optional tab can be made visible by company. It is used to highlight products or services. Members will see:

  • A showcase of products & services
  • Recommendations from LinkedIn members
  • Links to the members making the recommendations

3.      Follower Statistics

This tab shows total followers, impressions, new followers in the last 7 days, etc.

4.      Page Statistics

This tab shows page views, unique visitors, page clicks over the last 7 days. It also shows page views by tab, page visitor demographics and more.

LinkedIn Company Page Analytics image

5.      Insights

This tab shows employees with new titles, departures, where employees worked before and after and most common employee skills.

LinkedIn Company Page Insights image

LinkedIn Insights

This tab is only visible to administrators of the Company Page. Analytics help understand who is following the company, who is viewing the page, and what content appeals to them. If you check the stats that appear on your posts about 24 hours after your status update goes live, you can see what types of information and links create the most Likes, comments and clicks

LinkedIn Company Page Insights image

source: www.linkedin.com

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To read more about LinkedIn visit http://www.social-ite.info/services/linkedin.

Google+ Communities: for all the people you ought to know

Google-Plus-ShipGoogle Plus is the New Social Media Kid on the Block – it has only been in operation since June 2011 and is already the fastest-growing Social Network ever launched. More than 500 million people have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google and 135 million are active in just the stream.

Google Plus is now hot on the heels of the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and even added its own Company Page feature in addition to a Google Plus profile to rival these. Although Facebook is still the clear leader of the Social Media platforms for businesses, Google+’ USP is the ability of Google to synchronise search and Social Media into one package and give the other big Social Media players a run for their money.

Launched just last week (6 December 2012), Google+ Communities is the search engine giant’s newest tool:

From photography to astronomy (and everything in between), Google+ has always been a place to crowd around common interests and meet new people. What’s been missing, however, are more permanent homes for all the stuff you love: the wonderful, the weird, and yes, even the things that are waaay out there. With Google+ Communities there’s now a gathering place for your passions:

  • Discussion categories to find the conversations you care about most
  • Public or private membership for groups – from local neighbourhoods to regular poker nights
  • The ability to share with your community from any +1 button across the web
  • The option to start hangouts and plan events with community members

Google+ was launched with the aim of making online sharing as meaningful as the real thing, because the boffins at Google felt that online tools often miss the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions – this ethos has now followed through into live hangouts, the sharing of awe-inspiring photos and inner circles of friends, among others, which ‘help bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software’.

To try out the new Google+ Communities simply click on the left-hand side of your Google+ profile page

Google+ Communities

Email Marketing still packs a punch

Soci@lite has had many conversations recently about the merits of Email Marketing, which some consider already to be a dying art. But we would like to challenge that perception. What, because you’re emailing me, I hear you ask? No, because any online marketing activity, be it an Email Campaign, Social Media profile updating, blog posting or the next new-fangled medium to motivate the excite the masses should all be treated as part of a business’ overall marketing and communications strategy to enhance both their on- an offline activity, not as a separate entity they can ill-afford the time and inclination to devote attention to.

Email Marketing in particular has suffered a poor reputation for many reasons, not least because of archaic design tools and web standards not being adopted by email providers to name a few.

Communication is King and always will be and you are never going to please all the people all of the time. My advice would be to employ a number of different mediums for Online Marketing because even for every say fifty to one hundred contacts who do prefer engagement via email, that’s potentially hundreds of people that they could then forward your email to if they like what they read and your content resonates with them.

Whether or not you still consider Email Marketing to be a useful tool for your business after reading this, email remains the main form of contact for most of us – just look at these statistics:

• 96% of internet users’ main reason for being online is email
• 53% of business users check their email six or more times during the working day
• 42% of business users check their business email while on holiday
• 34% of internet users check their email continuously throughout the day

I shall leave that thought with you – if the content I have written resonates with you and you find it interesting, feel free to forward it to a like-minded friend or contact!

Tweet your way to Triumph with my Training!

Twitter TrainingCome along to my next Twitter Training session and see how it’s done at a fraction of the price you’d pay anywhere else!

Not sure if Twitter is right for your business? Check out these statistics:

1.  34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter
2.  55% of us access Twitter via our mobiles
3.  There are over 100 million active Twitter users worldwide

You will learn how to:

  • Post messages of fewer than 140 characters using blog links, news, events,  etc. to reiterate that your business is an industry authority
  • Measure your Twitter success by analysing how followers engage with your content via free metrics to help you make best use of your time
  • Integrate Twitter with your website to display at-a-glance information to drive traffic
  • Create a bespoke background in your Twitter profile
  • Use Socialbro to explore your Twitter community and discover the best time of the day and week to tweet and real-time analytics to see who is using Twitter at the same time as you, etc.
  • Use lists to promote and track your industry and competitor activity
  • Use #Hashtags to make your Tweets more searchable
  • Find your Facebook friends on Twitter
  • Insights into what makes people Retweet (RT)
  • Decipher the main Twitter jargon
  • Use Linkedin to increase your Twitter presence and no. of followers
  • Use scheduling tools – which remember to post content even if you don’t!

Click here to Book your place receive a 10% Earlybird Discount if you do so by Tuesday 31 July!

Details: Tuesday 14 August 2012 – 2pm to 4pm: Basepoint Business Centre, Aviation Business Park, Enterprise Close, Christchurch BH23 6NX

Other Options:

  1. One-to-one Training – at your desk (or at here at my offices if you work 10+ miles from BH6 5AF)
  2. Remote Training – don’t live locally? Take advantage of my one-to-one Telephone & Video Training – contact Katherine for further details