Blog Archives

Latest Reads: Week of March 12

Here are a few of the latest reads for this week. Happy reading!

More than half of consumers ‘overwhelmed by brand messages’ on social media (Ragan’s PR Daily)
I appreciate the top highlights in this study that was published by Ragan. If you read nothing else, here are the findings that were spotlighted. If you are engaged in social media on behalf of a company’s brand, DON’T POST every day, give people something meaningful, and more than anything – keep it simple. 

  • 40 percent of respondents felt that brand promotions are too complex to enter;
  • 20 percent felt incentives are not worth the effort;
  • 75 percent said that one or two Facebook messages per day is too much to receive from a brand;
  • Nearly 40 percent don’t want to share brand interactions with friends
  • 20 percent proactively post messages to brand pages.

15 Most Frequently Asked Questions by WordPress Beginners (WP Beginners)
I love WordPress, and I loved these FAQs! Hope this is helpful! Want a blog or Website?  I enjoy BlueHost’s How To Use WordPress tutorial too! Check out the Playlist.

What People Are Pinning on Pinterest (Mashable)
By now, you know I love Pinterest (Pinterest InfographicWhat’s So Awesome About Pinterest). Well, the latest article shares what eople are posting. Top categories for posting are Home (17.2%), Arts and Crafts (12.4%) and Style/Fashion (11.7%).  No big surprise there! 

A Store in Your Pocket: Retailer Mobile Websites Beat Apps among US Smartphone Owners (Neilsen Wire)

The latest Nielsen study shows that smartphone users prefer to visit mobile sites rather than mobile apps. As more and more companies start thinking about how to use mobile technologies, I always urge for mobile optimized sites, rather than creating dozens of apps! Ask yourself, what makes your app something a user can’t live without. If you can’t answer it, maybe you should wait.

Infographic: How To Train Your Employees To Handle Your Social Media  (MindFlash)
Arming employees to use social media in a way that is safe for the company and safe for them is a critical project for me in my current role. Once I roll out, I’ll be able to share some of our results and best practices on my blog, but for now – enjoy this infographic from MindFlash! 

Appreciating the Anti-Social Side of Social Media Managers

If you’re taken the Myers-Briggs, what are the ABCs of your personality? Well my results always teeter totter on that first letter of those four letter results. Oddly, the others always remain the same. Today and most days, mine is INTJ – I being for introvert. In more uncomfortable moments, I play chameleon and land on E.

For those of us who do digital and social media for a living, the expectation is that we are, in fact, highly social beings. Business requires us to be extroverts, especially those of us in social business, so where does that leave introverts who need time for themselves and do businesses/companies appreciate the introverts who just need a social time out?

In my Sunday morning TED video binge ritual, I came across Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” It left me feeling a little empowered, and yet a little frustrated. Empowered because I want the change, and understand that if you want something, you must demand it and have the courage to not just believe but to act. Frustrated because it only stirs up moments of self-doubt and frankly guilt for my need for solitude.

In January, Forbes published an article entitled, “The Secret Power Of Introverts” highlighting Cain’s book – Quiet. I’ve included a video of Cain’s TED talk below. In the video, she talks about the advantages of introverts, the need for us to share our strengths and talents, and the need for a societal shift to appreciate introversion through behavior and action.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (TED talk)

Susan concludes her talk with these 3 Call-to-Actions:

1. Stop the madness for constant group work
When I graduated from undergrad, I remember the incessant amounts of group work. Yes, we do need to learn the skills of working together, but we also need to learn to work in solitude. As I get ready to start my MBA, I am fully aware that the program will require LOTS of group work. Ideas are often sparked by interactions, but there is supreme value in autonomy and independence – for introverts and extroverts alike.    

2. Go to the wilderness
I love her call for us to unplug. We live in a constantly connected world. I spend approximately 85+ hours of my week engaging and interacting with people, whether online or offline. So, when it comes time for the weekend, especially Sundays, I need a time out! For years, I felt shame and guilt for my need for solitude. Now, I mainly think, “Screw it! I need me-time.” And that’s perfectly okay.

3. Look inside and share what’s in your suitcase.
Many of us forget to listen to our own voice – find time for reflection and deep thought. We’re running. Running here, running there, running off somewhere. But rarely do we make the time to commit to ourselves. I may not come up with genius or innovative ideas or thoughts that I’ll share with the world, but I believe in process. And hopefully, as I process through those ideas and challenges for my company and our world, I may make some sort of lasting impact. So although I may not open my suitcase to everyone, all at once, we introverts can give little peeks.

And, what about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your thoughts on Susan Cain’s “Power of Introverts”?

 

Relationship-Building: Transitioning Online to IRL

Social media is a philosophy. It’s how we engage as human beings. It’s doing the right thing. And it’s being open, honest and transparent. But, it also has its pitfalls. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.

Well, Women’s Health magazine says there are 15 defining moments of a relationship. A relationship online or IRL (in real life) still has milestones we have to reach. But transitioning from online to IRL is not easy. We, as humans, crave deeper connections. Do you consider it dating someone if that relationship has only been online? Honestly, I wouldn’t. It might actually be a little creepy. So, how do you bridge to that — the IRL relationship?

I’m no expert, but here are a few tips I’ve found along the way.

Be at the right place, at the right time.
This is the hardest tenet, but it also means you have to seek out opportunities too. Sure it’s coincidence that you may be on a plane with someone you. Someone wise once told me, you never know who you’ll sit next to on that next flight. And time and time again, I’ve been amazed by just taking out my headphones.

Face to face / voice to voice.
That first phone call is a little unnerving. Reacting in real-time and in more than 140 characters. As we would online, listen first and invest in the relationship. Working with bloggers and customers, what I’ve learned is take more time listening to how their day went, what they are looking for and then working to propose a solution.

Don’t force it.
I admire the people who can just walk up to someone and talk to them. But often when I stick around, I’m turned off by the cut to the chase mentality. Don’t walk into a room thinking what can you do for me, but what can I do for you. The key here is to be genuine and a little self-less.

Be open to expanding your network. 
The key is – be open. I’ve met some incredible people through networking online – primarily Twitter. From chatting about my favorite TV show (insert plug for Fringe here), learning social media trends and best practices, or professional career coaching – I’ve been floored by the broad network of people.

Commit and invest.
You get out what you put into it. So spend the time and invest in those relationships. I know we get busy, hell – I haven’t posted for months, but when you can, carve out some time to invest. That one person you worked with on one project for a client, may end up being a lifelong friendship. Use the tools to maintain the relationship. I use Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with both my online and IRL friendships.

Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Engagement Does Matter: Twitter

This post was originally published on March 24, 2011. 

Last night, I participated in #pr20chat and one of the questions asked was how much brands should schedule tweets? The questions sparked some great discussion, but it also got me thinking about how companies should approach Twitter, and the need for engagement and two-way dialogue.

So, what’s the perfect mix? @Andrew_ShipPR and I shared it should be a balance of 25% scheduled and 75% organic or engagement types of tweets. The 75% could include retweets, @replies and relationship-building tweets. Sometimes there might be some flux, but it shouldn’t surpass 30% of scheduled content. This enables us to build relationships, while sharing some promotional content. Rationale? There are three key things we need to remember:

There is such a thing as too much. Moderation is key. Automated tweets make you sound like a machine, and no one wants to talk to a machine. Well, maybe if you were Rosie from the Jetsons. (I loved her.) If we use scheduled tweets as a crutch, we won’t actually be on Twitter. Or worse, since we rely on scheduled tweets we also miss out on conversations that may be happening in the community or beyond. For example, you might have had a light and humorous post about your weekend plans, during the Japan earthquake. Mistakes happen, but being online and active minimizes the likelihood of an oops.

Engagement is essential. I recently read that engagement doesn’t matter in health care social media, but I have to admit that I disagree. Yes, engagement for brands is being available when customers need them, but it also means that in order to be available – people have to know what value brands bring. Engagement from a brand means sharing valuable content – content your audience will find useful or actually use. That means you have to know your audience before you can just start blasting messages. It also means you have to be listening to your community to find engagement opportunities to share resources and information (aka valuable content).

You can’t automate customer service. As more and more brands leverage Twitter as a customer service outlet and opportunity, it’s important to watch, listen and respond to members of your community. There’s no automation to this. You can’t walk away and say, “Okay, they’ll just call my 1-800 number.” Proactive customer service takes time, energy and yes, money. However, Ernan Roman, author of Voice of the Customer Marketing, reminds us that it’s 7 to 10 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to sell an existing customer. So, it’s worth the investment.

Seeing a theme here? Listen. Listening is crucial to any sort of engagement. And listening happens throughout the process. But it’s also to remember that there is a distinct different between listening and understanding (as Beth Harte shared today – check out her post here).  So, don’t just watch what’s happening, pay attention and understand the context of the conversation.

What are your thoughts on the mix of scheduled tweets versus organic ones?

You’re Popular, So What?

Courtesy of StuffosaurusYou’ve met these folks. The ones with 2 million followers, 1.2 million people who like them on Facebook. And those with a Klout score 5 times higher than you. Cue the musical medley. Do you hear it? It’s the sound of Kristen Chenowith … ah yes, that’s “Popular.” But really, what does it all mean? Should we measure our worth by the number we wear?

Last month, I attended a KC/IABC program on ROI. In this discussion, one of the presenters exclaimed, “Measurement is easy! Social media measurement is easy!” The room fell silent, as we all said to ourselves, “Well, if it was easy, 60 other people in this room wouldn’t be here.” Measurement is not easy, and social media measurement is especially in question. There is no consistent model and no one is right, meaning no one is completely wrong. So, what do you do if you’re implementing or thinking about implementing social?

For me, social media should be measured by engagements and the impact they have on conversations and traffic, not the pure volume of friends you bought or happen to accumulate over time. As we sit down and talk to clients about ROI or ROE, we have to look at two distinct things – our outputs (activities) that lead to our outcomes (metrics). The importance of viewing your social media participation through these lens is to get a tangible grasp of what we can measure, which we hope will answer the question of “Why are we doing this?” Popularity goes beyond simply being the loudest person in the room. And to be honest, we should go beyond trying to be popular, and try to find purpose in being a credible, valuable resource.

A ROE/ROI example can be found below, showing the output versus outcome discussion, shared above.

Output Outcome Results
Tweets you send Increased number of followers Increased word-of-mouth exposure
RTs you share 1:1 engagement Increased word-of-mouth exposure
Responses and conversations via social 1:1 or 1:few engagement Increased word-of-mouth exposure
Blog posts you publish Shared content, content liked by others, comments Sentiment; Blog traffic; monthly unique visits, page views
Facebook posts you share Shared content, content linked by others, comments Sentiment; increased traffic to Facebook; increased traffic to other sites

How are you looking at measurement and engagement? Do you use a similar model or a different model?