3 Ways to Build a Brand Personality

It’s been said again and again: A successful business must differ itself from its competitors on social media. Determine who your audience is and speak to them accordingly. Be present on social media so your customers can find you.

BUT, a company needs much more than just a presence on social platforms. A successful company will have a brand personality that draws a customer in and keeps them engaged to retain them as a loyal fan of the brand.

Here are 3 ways to build a brand personality online:

1. Know who you are. 

You, above everyone else, needs to know what your brand represents. Take a day and discuss the following: What is our unique selling proposition? What specific demographic are we targeting? Where is our demographic on social media? What content would our demographic want to engage with?

By getting to know your brand BEFORE setting up a social presence, you’ll be on the right track to creating a personality that will resonate with your fan base on a deeper level. This foundation is key to any company hoping to infiltrate and stand out among the millions of other messaging on social media. Plus, it’ll give your fans a connection to your company that they’ll remember.

2. Have a strategy.

Once you’ve established who you are a brand, it’ll make strategizing that much easier. At this point, take time to document a solid digital marketing plan. Then, think about how you can incorporate a successful content marketing, social media and paid support strategy.

Remember that these documents are not final. They should always be evolving as your company, brand and product evolve. Having said this, each strategy should be thoroughly thought through and executed as accordingly to who you are as a brand.

3. Hire the right team.

Don’t wing social media, especially with a brand new personality. Trust us, it won’t end well. If this is not your strong suit, trust someone with experience to handle all digital marketing so that you can focus on other things.

Who can you hire? A social media director, a digital strategist or a community/brand manager will do the trick. There are so many names for people who do the same type of work that it’s dizzying. No matter who you go with, make sure that they’re comfortable on social networks, can create quality content to help your brand stand out and know how to read metrics to understand what’s working and what’s not.


No matter if you’re a newbie or highly experienced within the space, building a brand personality is key to running a successful company online. With knowledge of who you are as a brand, an overall digital strategy and the best team to help execute your ideas, you’ll be well on your way.

Tell us: Does your business have a brand personality? If so, what is it?

– Samantha

3 Quick Tips to Be Successful on Tumblr

1. Be Authentic. Although this is nothing new, it is a good reminder for brands who try to push to many brand-centric messages to their fans. Instead, try to be real with people!

2. Test and Learn. Another important piece of all social and digital marketing, but one that is not implemented as much as it should be. Don’t fall in love with one idea — or get upset when something doesn’t work out as planned. Be flexible, learn & move forward.

3. Focus on Images. Although having great copy is always a must, making sure your images are just as amazing is important as well. Make your creative interesting, unique and eye-catching to get people to truly engage with you brand.

–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

How to Use TweetDeck

TweetDeck Screenshot

Need an easy platform or management tool to help you juggle multiple Twitter accounts at the same time? Try TweetDeck by Twitter. No only does it make it easy to multitask, but there are options to schedule tweets and track multiple keywords/hashtags, etc.

TweetDeck has a new version which boasts a better layout and backend framework that is truly derived from the Internet. Now, you can access TD through multiple browsers including Firefox and Google Chrome and can be obtained for Windows 7 or OS X (versus only limited options previously).

Want a log in right now? Head to http://web.tweetdeck.com to start your own account.

Getting Started:

As soon as you’ve created your own log in, you can add multiple Twitter accounts to the dashboard by clicking on the (+) Add Column button at the top of the screen. Each column on the dashboard will keep one feed of information visible and will be set based on your own preferences. We prefer to keep columns like the Timeline (similar to the typical Twitter newsfeed you see at Twitter.com), Interactions (to see who has recently mentioned us), Messages (to track direct/private messages) and several unique #’s to make sure that we’re staying up to date with current conversations that are happening around us.

Scheduling a Tweet

The best part about TweetDeck is the ability to schedule updates at specific times. This function will allow you to queue up your tweets for the upcoming day or week (or month), so that you have time to do other important things! Keep in mind: We don’t recommend scheduling tweets too far in the future as you still want your content to remain relevant with your audience.

To schedule a tweet, simply click the blue icon in the upper right (or left) hand corner which will let type out your tweet and subsequently, change the future posting settings. Be sure to double check the date and time of your intended scheduled tweet before clicking the “Tweet” button to set the tweet.

TIP: Add another column to your dashboard that contains future tweets. This way, you’ll be able to easily delete, add or change scheduled tweets.

And there you have it! A simple platform to use to help manage all of those interesting accounts that you’re using — or following! We use TD daily and believe that it helps us stay up to date with the hottest conversations taking place around the world and more easily allows us to tweet succinctly and successfully to our target audience(s).

Tell us: What management system do you use to organize your social accounts?

Samantha & Mike

 

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

Three Ways Brands Successfully Use Vine

When Instagram introduced their video feature, many thought Vine would soon be on its way out. While Instagram may have the advantage when it comes to number of users, we still see great opportunity with Vine, especially for brands. Vine offers a fantastic platform for brands to connect with their audience in a whole new way. Below, we have highlighted three such ways brands are successfully tapping into their Vine following.

1) Announcing New Products

New product promotion is always incredibly important to a brand. After all, whats the point of developing the latest and greatest if nobody knows about it? Here are two examples from Twitter and Puma of how to effectively promote a new product in six seconds:

2) Behind the Scenes

People love seeing behind the scenes footage. Whether it’s from the Super Bowl or the Grammys, audiences love exclusive material that the average consumer might not get. Here is a Vine from a Kate Spade fashion shoot and one from an XBOX event:

3) Straight Up Entertainment

One of the best ways to succeed in social media is simply create content people want to share. Regardless of topic, the more people linking your content, the bigger audience you reach. Here is a cool video from Urban Outfitters on glow-in-the-dark body paint and another one from Oreo, who may have just revolutionized your ice coffee:

-Mike & 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

Choosing Which Platform is Right for Your Brand

Jumping into social media can be a scary thought for any brand. There are so many options these days, from Facebook to Pinterest, where do you start? For example, you want to do some research like identifying where your customers are. This is not a new concept, just like in print advertising, you want to go where your target audience is. If you are selling custom NFL grill covers, it is probably not a good idea to advertise in People Magazine. Just like magazine readers, certain demographics gravitate to specific social media platforms.

There are a lot of factors to consider before setting up your social media presence. Just because social media is mostly free, that doesn’t mean you should take it lightly. After all, you would never start an expensive print ad campaign without doing extensive research first. Choosing that social media platform that is right for you is paramount, but how do you know which one is right? Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Who is my target demographic?
  • What are my objectives? (Improve SEO, Increase site traffic, Increase brand exposre, etc)
  • What platforms are my target demographic using?
  • What skills do I have that I can leverage on social media? (Copywriting, Graphic design, Photography, etc)

Now that we have you thinking a little more in-depth about social media and how it can help your business, take a look at this infographic by Social Barrel. Take it step by step and figure out exactly what platforms you can leverage for the best results.  Don’t waste your time and resources by investing in the wrong platforms, if you can successfully grow and cultivate your social presence, the results can be exponential.

how-brands-can-choose-the-right-social-media-platforms-for-their-goals-infographic

 

-Mike