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.

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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!

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

Get LinkedIn to the right Social Networks!

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.

Despite this, LinkedIn has now established itself as one of the leading Social Media channels. Here are some of the features you can take advantage of:

  • 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)
  • Much the same as Facebook’s ‘like’ button, you can ‘follow’ your favourite companies and receive automatic updates in your LinkedIn feed
  • Create a Company Page (free) to increase engagement and ensure your company provides the most tailored and relevant messages
  • Utilise ‘Updates’ to build new connections and discover what people in your industry are sharing
  • Use LinkedIn Groups to promote and track your industry and competitor activity
  • Export your connections to a spreadsheet and add them to your Marketing list or Newsletter

LinkedIn is an interface for professionals who want to find out more about you – use it to benefit from the buzz about your business.

Contact Katherine on 01202 798270 or katherine@social-ite.co.uk if you would like assistance with setting up or enhancing your LinkedIn profile or to book one-on-one or group training.

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linkedincoLinkedIn Profile & Company Page Training

Need to create a Company Page, jazz up your page or increase your activity but not sure where to start? Come along to my training session at 2pm on Tuesday 12 June and see how it’s done at a fraction of the price you’d pay anywhere else!

Don’t live locally? Take advantage of my Telephone & Video Training – contact me for further details.

Facebook Fanpage Workshop – limited places available!

 

Tuesday 14 August 2012 from 10am to 1pm at Basepoint Business Centres, Aviation Business Park, Enterprise Close, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 6NX

Sign up TODAY for my Fanpage workshop and sit back and relax!

Facebook may be the nation’s Social Media Sweetheart but on Friday 30 March our Fanpage experience changed forever! And it’s still got businesses hot under the collar with the Timeline changes and new navigation. Having said that, Facebook Fanpages are crucial for all of us – from SMEs, entrepreneurs and freelance professionals to large corporations, we can all benefit from a Facebook Fanpage.

So what does this mean if your business doesn’t have a Fanpage at present? It’s going to be even more complicated now, right? Not if you are in the business of engaging with your audience & better brand awareness! Come along to one of my workshops and you will leave with a stunning Facebook Fanpage which proudly expresses your business’s USP and identity through new features such as bespoke cover images, Newsletter sign-ups and Twitter tabs – embrace the changes and you will reap the benefits of better fan engagement!

Are you good at DIY? Then download this FREE Facebook Fanpage checklist. Prefer to leave it to the professionals? Don’t want to get your work clothes dusty? Then book one of my Facebook Fanpage workshops today.

Four Simple Steps to Solid Social Media Relationships

When it comes to establishing and maintaining relationships via your Social Media profiles, there are really only FOUR STEPS:

 

Find people interested in your products or services
1. Find people interested in your products or services
Post content not adverts, e.g. articles, blogs, comments, etc.
2. Post content not adverts, e.g. articles, blogs, comments, etc.
 Capture information with an ethical bribe for their name & email address, e.g. a free e-book
3. Capture information with an ethical bribe for their name & email address, e.g. a free e-book
Stay in touch and create a valuable exchange with Newsletters, webinars, how to videos, etc.
4.  Stay in touch and create a valuable exchange with Newsletters, webinars, how to videos, etc.

LinkedIn Reveals "Follow Company" Button | Social Media Today

LinkedIn is now offering users the ability to “follow” their favorite companies

In a blog post Monday, LinkedIn revealed the new rollout complete with a video explaining how the new feature works. Much like Facebook’s “Like” button, when a user follows a brand they will in turn receive automatic updates from the brand in their LinkedIn feed.

Mashable notes, “in 2010, LinkedIn introduced a “share” button that let users share articles they like with people in their network. Later that year, the social network rolled out a “recommend” button that brands could install on their websites. The launch of the “follow” button seems a likely addition.

LinkedIn has been moving towards a strategy of “positioning itself as a marketing platform.” In the last year, LinkedIn has quietly established itself as one of the premier social networking communities on the web.

What was once used as a site for networking with colleagues and posting resumes is now used as full fledged social community complete with a newsfeed, photos, videos, and advertising platform.

The addition of the “follow” button is yet another way in which individuals and companies can take advantage of LinkedIn’s growing SEO presence.

A LinkedIn rep says the new button “marks the first phase of LinkedIn’s follower ecosystem strategy that will unfold over the coming weeks,” according to Mashable.

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