Facebook Knows What You’re Watching & Hearing

Facebook Feelings App

As of Wednesday, Facebook launched a new opt-in audio recognition feature to their platform that can identify songs and TV shows that you’re listening to or watching, then help push the content into a post to share with friends.

Although this new app is technically part of Facebook’s recent “Feelings” feature (see photo below) and makes it easier to share what one is listening to or watching, it also allows Facebook to collect data from its fans at an even faster rate. For example, if the tool is turned on but the user decides not the share the post, Facebook still keeps the data. As there have been 5 billion “Feelings” posts in the last year, this new addition will only help the growing platform obtain more and more information about its users.

Facebook Feelings App

Sound scary? It should to a certain extent. Although Facebook has noted that no actual audio will be recorded, nor will your information be shared to company servers or be monetized, it is a creative way to allow fans to share more — and not just with their close friends. As a tip, always be aware of how much information you’re providing others.

This will be a slower roll-out for all users, but keep an eye out for the new tool coming soon!

— Samantha

4 Tips for Better Facebook Posts

Making a Facebook page for you company is one thing. Taking care of it to encourage growth and brand awareness is a horse of a different color! In order to succeed on this mega platform, you have to use some elbow grease and a knowledge of your audience.

Here are a few tips that will put you ahead of your competitors:

  1. Use bold imagery. If you want to get your fan’s attention, use bright, colorful, striking photos. In fact, photos receive 5x more engagement than links and those featuring faces rate even higher. It’s no wonder why Facebook paid $1 billion to purchase Instagram!
  2. Keep copy short & include a CTA. About 70% of fans access Facebook via mobile, so you should be motivated to write short & concise copy. As we’ve seen many brands do, a paragraph of text simply don’t work & you’ll lose your audience before you even get their attention. Try to include a question, fill in the blank or simply request people to ‘watch’ or ‘share.’ Be sure to make it a low barrier so the customer can actually do it with ease.
  3. Figure out what works. Check out your Reach and Engagement numbers (in Facebook Analytics) to gauge what post are doing well — and which are not. After a few weeks of consistent posts, this data should help you figure out what your fans like engaging with so you can do more of that in the future!
  4. Target & boost posts. When you can (& if your audience is large enough), try targeting your post by gender, location &/or language. By doing so, you’re narrowing your target to a specific demographic, which could mean more eyes on your content (versus throwing a ‘big net’ & hoping for the best). Lastly, consider a bit of paid support via boosting posts to counter Facebook’s recent algorithm changes. Do it early — within the first 24 hours — and make sure you’re pushing posts that received high levels of engagement early.

Got a tip to add to the list? Tell us below!

— Samantha

3 Ways to Handle Unruly Social Fans

Delete Facebook Post

As a community manager, you always have to monitor your social platforms. Why? Because no matter how great the content is that you post, there is always one fan who puts down your post, highlights a typo error or continues to spam you wall with angry comments with our without profanities.

Although your first reaction may be to delete the comment or ban the user, here are a few other options to handle those unruly social fans (in a professional manner):

1. Respond to the Comment. Respond to the fan in a timely fashion (the sooner, the better) by thanking them for commenting and providing an answer or another support outlet where they can receive help from your company. By responding to all comments, whether negative or positive, other fans will see that you care and your brand will earn credibility within the space.

If the case arrises when the comment is serious and needs more support than you can provide via social, take the conversation ‘offline.’ Provide a secondary email address that the fan can contact to further discuss the issue at hand. By taking the conversation off of social media in a professional way, you’re not only giving the best service to your customers, but will give your company the opportunity to diffuse the problem in a less public way.

2. Hide the post. Although we don’t recommend doing this unless a comment is offensive (includes profanities, etc.), as a community manager, you must make whatever call is best for the brand. Will this offend other fans? Would the post be considered spam? If so, hover over the right-hand ‘x’ and click ‘Hide’ on the Facebook post in question. When a post is hidden, only the fan who wrote the comment and his or her friends will be able to see it. One can always ‘unhide’ the comment if necessary. Make sure you respond to a comment before hiding it!

3. Delete the post. This is a touchy action that not every digital marketer will agree with. One point that is true? As a representative of a company, you don’t want to get a reputation for deleting user’s comments, especially because their backlash will come back ten-fold which only means bad news bears for you. If it is necessary (and similar to hiding a comment on Facebook), hover over the ‘x’ in the upper right-hand corner and click ‘Delete.’ Once deleted, you can click ‘Undo’ to get the comment in a hidden form, then click ‘Unhide’ to bring it back completely.

With the option to delete, comes the power to report the content and even ban the fan. For those posts that are too aggressive or provocative, these options may be best for you.

When reporting content, you’ll have the option to flag the post as spam, a personal attack, hate speech, violent or harmful behavior or sexually explicit content — then it’s up to Facebook to decide what to do with the user. When you ban a user, they’ll be able to see the page, but will not be able to comment or post on any content. Note that a CM can ban and un-ban users from the admin panel. Note: If you don’t ban a fan permanently, be aware that they can go back and Like your page again.

Ban a User on Facebook

Bottom line: You’re always going to have problems with some fans who are negative people or simply don’t like your brand — it’s inevitable. Do you best to handle the situation in a professional manner and be confident that if it gets really bad, you can delete comments and even ban a user entirely. Good luck!

— Samantha

Best Metrics for Social Media Reporting

Measuring Social Media

No matter if you manage a small or large community on social media, one question always remains: What’s the most effective way to measure growth and effectiveness of one’s social efforts?

As any community manager knows, engagement and ROI is often difficult to measure. If you decide to focus on only one metric to measure success, you risk it fluctuating and negative results can occur with subsequent reports. When social platforms change, so do the way we need to measure them. Here’s what you should focus on:

1. Engagement: Although it shouldn’t be the only metric to measure, it’s definitely a good place to start. Engagement represents users (and/or current customers) interacting with your content and brand. By tracking overall engagement (comments, likes, posts, RTs, mentions, etc.) manually or with a program, you can determine how well your brand is doing within the community.

2. Sentiment: Often thought of as a difficult metric to measure, sentiment is very helpful to understand and could ultimately better your customer service efforts. “Social listening” is a hot phrase in the social world, but truly understanding what your customers are saying about you online can help you determine how your brand is currently being viewed and where you could improve within the community in the future.

3. Conversion: This metric is very important because every business wants to determine how their social efforts are translating into actual sales. Typically, social managers use Google Analytics and other tracking measures (query strings, etc.) to see how visitors find you and ultimately purchase products. Creating unique coupon codes or links to specific website pages will only help you stay organized.

4. Leads: Leads are measured because they will (hopefully) evolve into conversions for your company. Being able to predict future conversions from the tentative leads you’ll receive will help shape your overarching digital strategy. Don’t forget to also focus on measuring traffic from social media sites to help count such leads.

Tell us: How does your small business report social media? 

— Samantha

5 Social Media Tips NOT to Follow

Danger, Turn Back!

As social media strategists, we always talk about the best practices to implement — but rarely do we discuss which not to follow when executing a digital program. Here are a few tips to stay away from to be as successful as possible on social media:

1. Place all of your attention on one platform. Although it’s suggested to focus on the larger social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to reach the largest audience, neither one is the end-all, be-all. Instead, take the time to find out where your audience is and try various platforms to determine where your business will be the most successful.

2. Have a presence on every social platform. We encourage you to try new platforms, but they may not all be the right fit for your company. Instead, choose a few that you see the most engagement on and be mindful not to spread yourself too thin. Remember: it’s quality versus quantity!

3. You should automate all of your posts. We’re all for scheduling tweets or posts to help make your life easier, but the majority of your content should be done in real time. Why? Because your company will come across as being more authentic, which will translate positively across platforms to your audiences, creating more brand loyalists.

4. Delete negative comments to protect the company. It may seem natural to delete not-so-flattering commentary about your business to save face, but it actually makes your brand look less transparent. Embrace all comments from users and react in a polite manner to increase the chance of changing a fan’s opinion, instead of pushing them away.

5. You don’t need to pay a cent with social media. Yes, many social platforms are free to use, but don’t be fooled! A successful digital strategy typically includes having a budget (whether small or large) that support an individual or team to monitor and engage with fans on multiple platforms, obtain analytics to measure ROI better and fund advertising or sponsored posts to get your message to the largest number of fans possible.

Tell us: What other tips would you recommend brands NOT to follow on social? 

— Samantha & Mike

Small Business Growth Through Digital Media

Social Media & Small Busines

In today’s world, small businesses must accept and embrace digital media.  Having said this, there are often limiting factors (from financial to a lack of knowledge) that can impact companies from figuring out how to successfully integrate a social strategy with an already existing more-traditional marketing strategy.

Reports from the National Small Business Association’s 2013 Technology Survey state that one in 10 small companies do not have a website and about 30% of them don’t use social media.

Thankfully, there are many options for small business to engage with their customers, partners, etc. through digital media. Whether it includes Facebook posts, tweets or videos, the options are endless — and quite easy to execute if the right strategy is developed beforehand.

Small Business and Social Media

For those who don’t believe in the benefits of social media or don’t believe that they have enough time to entertain such ideas, they’re missing out on wonderful marketing opportunities. If used correctly, small businesses can not only grow their own communities and overall brand awareness, but their sales as well

According to PQ Media, “digital media usage among U.S. consumers is estimated at nearly 15 hours per week. By 2017, it’s expected to hit 19.30 hours per week” (USA Today article). By these numbers alone, it’s clear that to be top of mind for the consumer, one must be active within social media. This doesn’t mean you have to bump an important project off the books, but instead think of it as a benefit to the company (rather than a burden). By taking a little time each day to be active (monitor what people are saying about you, post interesting updates, form relationships with the audience, etc.) you can create brand loyalists that can take your company to the next level.

It will take time, but it will be worth it. Here are a few ways to get started!

  • Find out what others are saying about you. Google or Bing your company and be 100% aware of what you find as a result. Turns out, your customers (both current and future) are doing the same thing and it’s critical to know what people are finding.
  • Market your social presence everywhere. Add social information (like Facebook and Twitter links) on business cards, your website and within emails so as many eyes as possible see your digital efforts and can later connect with the brand online.
  • Insert your company into the conversation. Don’t post company-centric information only. Instead, find out what your fans are talking about and post/tweet with something that relates! For instance, if you’re own a exercise company, try posting lifestyle-themed content like healthy recipes or exciting workout tips to keep your audience engaged and wanting more.
  • Be successful on mobile. Over half of the adult population owns a smartphone, while slightly less own a tablet as well. Because of this, your company website, social presence, etc. must show up clearly and work properly for those who are not on a desktop computer.

Tell us: What is your small business doing to enter the digital world?

— Samantha

5 Ways to Make Successful Social Content

Create Successful Social ContentLet us break it down for you: Here are 5 ways to make successful content on social media. Although we could come up with a handful more, we think these will help your company get on track — fast.

1. Create reasonable social goals. Goals are important for any marketing strategy to be able to measure success — and discover areas for improvement. Coming up with goals that are attainable is a totally different story, so make sure yours are possible to reach!

We suggest coming up with goals (regarding analytical data) for each piece of content created. Start with X number of Likes on Facebook, increase number of RTs on Twitter by X amount, have X number of people share your piece of content per day/week, increase engagement on social platforms by X amount over the next month, etc.

2. Get to know your audience. Fully knowing who you’re talking to is key to creating the best content to promote your brand. Start by completing research on your target audience and determining what they find interesting and sharable.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, enter the conversation that your fan base is already having. Track hashtags, search keywords and truly practice “social listening.” With this data, you can more appropriately create content that will inherently fall into place with what your audience is currently interested in. Therefore, your brand will be pushing creative that feels natural and approachable.

3. Make valuable content. After you determine what makes your audience passionate, come up with content that is useful and/or taps into people’s emotions. By providing content that adds to a fans life, such as helpful tip or funny joke, your fan will not only share it, but they will most likely come back for more. Don’t forget to switch it up! Try images, videos, true or false questions, fill in the blank, etc. to keep your audience engaged.

Manage a restaurant? Try sharing an easy, delicious recipe that your fans will want to try. Run a cleaning business? Try giving your fans a useful, unique tip for picking up around the house. Own a baby clothing company? Tap into the funny moments when raising a child to evoke emotions that most parents may feel.

4. Be consistent. You’ll hear us talking about consistency a lot. Why? Because creating consistent content better defines who you are as a brand within the social space and keeps your fans loyal and interested (versus disloyal and confused).

If you use Instagram to create your imagery, make sure that you stick with similar filters for each post or tweet. Do you speak to your fans with a specific tone of voice? Make sure that you define it completely and continue to use it across all platforms.

5. Keep your content easy to share. We all want our content to go “viral,” but the first step is making sure that content is easily sharable. Make sure social buttons are visible on your website, blog, etc. — especially above the page break on a website. If posting or tweeting, your copy should be short and concise so people are more inclined to share on their wall or with a friend.

Lastly, remember to brand your images. When your logo is on your creative, your brand will be shared when your content is shared. Note: keep your logo/branding small, so people are more inclined to share the piece of content and don’t feel as if they’re simply promoting your brand.

Got more tips? Share them with us below!

— Samantha

Esquire’s 9/11 Social Media Fail

9/11. No matter where you were in the world, people took a moment (or more) to reflect on the terrible events that took place 12 years ago. And when it came to social media, many brands decided to run their own relevant stories or ‘thoughts and prayers’ for all of those involved. Others decided to go “dark” and not post any content in honor and remembrance of the lives lost on that fateful day.

However, not everyone handled the situation with poise, including several large brands like AT&T and Esquire Magazine. Specifically speaking, the social media ‘fail’ that came from the popular men’s magazine, Esquire, was the apparent mistake of running a story of the infamous ‘falling man’ from 9/11 — next to copy that read “Make your morning commute more stylish: Look good on your way to work.”

Esquire Magazine Screenshot

Almost immediately, people took to Twitter to show their anger for the insensitivity of the magazine’s layout. Fortunately, the brand responded with an apology for the editorial mess-up. Unfortunately, the brand did so in a manner that enraged fans even more.

Esquire Magazine Apology Tweet

Although I’m only an opinion of one, I think this was a very inappropriate way to respond to those who were upset. By using the word relax, Esquire implied that the Twitter community was overreacting. Instead, I would’ve recommended genuinely owning up to the mistake, making sure to leave all “judgmental” statements to the side.  Even though an apology was included in the tweet, the impact of it was lessened by the lead-in.

Sadly, this type of insincere communication happens all of the time on social media between brands and their communities. Whether it’s copy that could be easily misinterpreted or content that comes across too promotional in the wake of a tragedy, brands must be 100% aware of what reactions could come about from fans and what to appropriately say in the case that things do go awry.

As a former community manager for several major consumer brands, my team and I handled PR crises with much more sensitivity, as we knew how quickly brand loyalty could be washed away in a blink of an eye with one wrong or insensitive response. I hope that the community manager in charge of the tweet learned from this mistake and will do better in the future. I also hope that the team behind the magazine’s digital strategy will put in a better checks and balances strategy in times of high sensitivity, so a simple reactionary tweet like “Relax, everybody” will be reviewed before going live in the future.

— Samantha

DO’s & DON’Ts for Community Managers

Community managers have created a true strategy for word-of-mouth marketing, but there are certainly rules to this type of work. Those that follow them can successfully grow their brand. Those that don’t, can wind up in a boatload of customer service trouble — and much faster than you think thanks to socially savvy consumers.

Originally, community management was done by young interns, who did not have the full ability to run a brand online. A study completed by Social Fresh in 2013 stated that the average age of community managers has increased to those in their 30s. Additionally, the pay has increased to an average of $60k which competes with many mid-level jobs within the marketing industry. (See below for a infographic from Social Fresh for more details!)

Having said this, the last few years of experience have evolved community managers into a true voice behind a company. With every post and tweet, they represent the business and should embody its exact personality and tone. When one has this much power and those on the outskirts are watching, it’s imperative that a CM’s actions 100% reflect the brand’s messaging and beliefs to create a seamless extension of the business throughout the online space.

Community managers must be creative, flexible and willing to go above and beyond. Most importantly, CMs must be consistent. And because they’re “virtually visible,” they automatically gain more responsibility. Everyone (customers, competitors, etc.) online can see their responses 24/7.

Here are some general DOs & DON’Ts for community managers:

DOs:

  • Be an expert of your company (or product).
  • Monitor, consistently.
  • Encourage engagement by genuinely interacting with fans.
  • Respond in a timely manner.
  • Be a friendly, approachable personality!
  • Listen to your fans and build relationships.
  • Don’t be afraid to take some conversations offline to better help a fan.
  • Truly resolve issues with the greater team to build a loyal community.
  • Thank your fans and show appreciation!

DON’Ts:

  • Be rude, sarcastic or defensive.
  • Delete comments, posts, tweets, etc.
  • Ignore people who are asking for help or answers!
  • Be ambiguous with your responses to fans.
  • Respond too quickly to those who may detract from your brand.
  • Use your social presence to blatantly ‘push’ products or services.

Comment below to add any DO’s & DON’Ts that I may have missed!

— Samantha

Community Manager Report 2013