Making the Most of Your Social Media Content

content creation

After all your hard work , you want to make sure that your efforts don’t get lost in the sea of online content. From your regular blog posts to  Tweets, here are some ways you can make sure that you’re making the most out of your social media content:

  • Blog – Writing a post-worthy blog isn’t enough to get your content found. Make sure to fill out the Title, meta description, anchor text, tags with meaningful and relevant keywords before you post. You can also edit the URL of your post to make it shorter and more concise (see: the url of this post vs the title)
  • Images – When you add pictures to your blog or website, always remember to add a title or description. Even if it’s just your brand name or a broad description, these words will go a long way!  My pet hamster made it to the first page of Google Images because I optimized a Flickr photo his name in the title, tags and description.
  • Video– It’s easy to optimize YouTube videos. Properly optimized videos are powerful assets that will benefit your brand in the long run because they have a strong staying power (especially if you get them to rank for a specific location/niche.)
  • Twitter– Keep your messages short and sweet and don’t be afraid to include target keywords and other terms you want to be associated with. A fun part of Twitter is that your responses to other users and retweets also count as content.
  • Facebook– This isn’t the place to blast the same messages over again. Neither is it a place to overtly self-promote. With New Facebook Pages rolling out, you can make your fans keep them engaged and make them feel like they’re part of something exclusive by creating unique, well-timed messages.

What are some other ways you properly optimize your social media content?

Managing Your Online Reputation

As Joan Jett famously sang,”I don’t give a damn ’bout my bad reputation.

If you’re amongst the few with this mindset, there’s always room for improvement. One important aspect of social media marketing is managing your online reputation. And that consists of two basic parts:

1) Staying alert about negative feedback
2) Being ready to respond quickly and appropriately

Social Media Monitoring
There are many different tools and services that can keep you updated on what’s been said abut your business. Good ol’ Google Alerts should be the first on your list and it’s also free. Radian 6 and Monitter are a few others that come to mind.

Regular participation on your social media profiles should also help if you get any customer inquires or direct complaints. (Another reason why you shouldn’t just create profiles and let them sit there.) Remember, these are only tools that will help you be more aware of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Crafting a response is another area to focus on.

Choosing an Appropriate Response

When I see a bad review on Yelp or Facebook, it’s always refreshing to see a meaningful reply from the business owner. Unless, it’s something like this: “Why don’t you come in here and say it to my face?”

As verified business owner, you can respond directly to reviews on Yelp, Google Places or Yahoo! Local Listings. But remember, your online reputation and future business is on the line, so it’s probably not wise to blame or threaten the customer. There are many things you can do in these cases but it’s best to take action first – especially before the complaints pile up. You can invite the customer to a more private mode of communication and help fix their problem. You can also apologize for their experience and invite them to try your products/services again. I’ve seen this happen many times with reviews reversed (from bad to good) when customers are offered a second chance.

Brand monitoring is a key function of social media marketing. Don’t let your little problems snowball into a reputation crisis that you can’t avert!

Tools for Measuring Facebook Engagement and Growth

Measuring engagement and ROI can be tricky topics… but even more so when it comes to your Facebook Page. As of now, there is no definitive answer or “right” way to do it. Luckily, there are many tools and strategies that will help give you a better understanding of the social activity on your Facebook Page.

  1. Facebook Insights – I’m not a very big fan but it does the job. Facebook Insights give you an overview of’ ‘Like’ growth since your Page’s creation, fan demographics, and analytics per post. As Mari Smith puts it, impressions are based on the number of times your post is loaded on someone’s Facebook stream. This isn’t very helpful and also doesn’t take into account unique views.
  2. Google Analytics – If you prefer using Analytics, you can embed a tracking code onto a custom tab on your Facebook Page. Again, it might not be too helpful because it can’t be used to track activity on the Wall.
  3. Manually – Depending on how much time you have dedicated to a campaign, tracking engagement manually can be a cost-effective method.

In the end, Facebook measurements can fall short, so it’s important to avoid getting too caught up in numbers. How do you keep track of your Facebook Page growth?

And before I forget, here are some great (free) tools that you can use to track your social media marketing campaigns:

Social Media To-Do List for 2011

It’s the start of a new year, what do you have to show for it? Instead of making useless resolutions that you probably won’t keep, take some time to consider some meaningful ones for your social media plan:

Defeat randomness: It’s tempting to be random because of the social nature of these sites. But don’t!
Start off with a plan and develop objectives that you can stick to. Just like failing with your New Year’s resolutions, you start off by falling off on one day of working out, then three, then weeks and months go by! This is why you see so many abandoned Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages.

Avoid over reliance of social media – Instead of trying to branch out all at once, it’s easier and more effective to focus on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, depending on your industry. Do a few things at a time so that you can do them well. You can always add more sites later if needed.

Another thing: if your site, products and services suck, do you really expect a handful of tweets to fix that? Think of social media as an extension of your brand’s image.

Invest in the biggest asset of time – Research and training will help you effectively carry out your social media objectives. It will also give you a better feel of the changing social environment and possibly build more more genuine online reputation. The main problem is that of time and many business don’t have the want or patience to invest.

What are some of your social media resolutions for 2011?

Social Media and Shameless Self Promotion

“Magic Mirror on the Wall, who is the Fairest one of all?”

Your social media profiles are an online representation of yourself and your brand. This is why it’s so important to remember NOT to go overboard when it comes to self promotion. Not only will it annoy your customers but it can also drive them away.

But I’m Just Networking…
It’s unbelievable actually. Can you believe that some people still think shameless self-promotion is synonymous with “social networking” or even “social media marketing”? Instead of looking at it from only a sales perspective, you also need to consider that it helps to create brand buzz in your specific industry. It’s also helpful to improve customer loyalty and perception of your brand.

How to Avoid the Narcissism
This isn’t very easy as the nature of social media is pretty narcissistic. With phrases like “Follow Me on Twitter” and “Like Us on Facebook”, it doesn’t get any more self-serving. You can put your own spin on it: how about “Join” or “Connect”, instead? Ask your fans and followers questions and appreciate their input.

Things to Remember
It’s very cheesy but customers are number one. Instead of using social media all the time for self-promotion, think of it as a way to build connections so that fans can trust you before they buy.

Do you have any good examples of brands that shamelessly self-promote?

Facebook Pages & Places: Is Merging a Bad Idea?

I’m not a real big fan of Facebook Places. You may have seen some check-ins in your Facebook feed after friends have checked into a venue. I don’t get the big whoop because it basically just shows a map of the place. Powered by Bing, wow.
At least with Foursquare, you can see users who are currently at the location and other tips. Not to mention the “fun” aspect of collecting badges.

After seeing many negative comments, I think that it’s a BAD idea for most businesses to merge their Facebook Page with a Facebook Place. Here are some reasons why:

  • No custom tabs. By default, your users will be greeted with a map of your business location.
  • Difficulty with sharing. Most users are accustomed to a traditional Page and might get confused when they don’t see your Wall upon arrival.
  • No more Page Insights. Can you imagine losing this information? You won’t be able to see Fan analytics or demographics once your Page is merged.

If you’ve spent a lot of time, money and resources building up your Facebook Page and fanbase, I’d highly recommend against merging your Page and Place.
Check out the hundreds of Pages and business owners who warn of the process. Do you think it’s a bad idea?

Facebook Ads Gone Wrong

bad Facebook ads

What’s wrong with these ads? A LOT, considering that I’m a 23 year old female.

It’s no wonder Facebook ads aren’t wildly successful. I stumbled across this article where a small business owner ran up a bill of nearly $300 in Facebook ads for “nothing”.  Perhaps, Max got it wrong when he assumed that simply creating an ad will generate customers or even calls. Take this as a lesson before you attempt to create a Facebook ad campaign. Here are some takeaways:

Targeting the right demographics: These ads clearly got it wrong when it came to consumer demographics. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t willingly advertise dentures or hip replacements to me. So it’s either a) they don’t care b) they didn’t bother to specify the demographics. From age, location, interests, you can specifically target how your ads show up.

Keep an eye on your budget: Don’t be a Max. Setting up an ad campaign for the first time can be complicated. If you’re just starting out, make sure to set a daily or lifetime budget. I’m sure if Max did this, he wouldn’t have ran up that $300 bill. Also pay attention to CPC (pay per click) and CPM (pay per 1000 impressions).

Review feedback and consider other alternatives: Facebook ads are known for having relatively low CTR (click-through rates). This means people aren’t interested in ads on Facebook or you just have bad ads. Perhaps, if you have a small business, you’ll benefit more from pay per click ads or even free means of promotions.

In the end, I think Facebook ads work best to get people to Like your Page. If your Page is engaging and has a lot to offer, people will click Like as if it were a badge of honor to show off to their friends. Looking for computer repair services in a certain area? Not so much… What’s your take on Facebook ads?

Ecommerce Sites Benefit from Sharing

Funky Sofa Marilyn

Social media is now a must-have, even for ecommerce sites. By looking at big brands like Zappos and Amazon, you can incorporate some useful sharing strategies for your small business or ecommerce site:

What do your customers care about?: With Funky Sofa, we take this as an opportunity to also showcase design inspiration and interesting furniture products from other retailers. This also allows us to stay up to date with competitors in the industry and to see what they’re doing.

Share interesting content: An onsite or offsite blog can also be an interesting way to share content. Funky Sofa often posts behind the scenes photos of the making of their products and furniture. Not much of a writer? Take a look at some retailers have boosted sales by incorporating video marketing.

Social Sharing Buttons Help with Engagement: Adding a “Like” or “Tweet” button to your site is easy. Take a look at the Marilyn sofa above. 41 people Liked this product and a blurb was published on their Facebook wall so that all their friends are also exposed to the Funky Sofa brand.

With Christmas time around the corner, ecommerce sites can benefit by sharing in the right way and without seeming overly self -indulgent. Remember, it’s not ME, ME, ME but YOU, YOU, YOU (we’re talking about the consumers here).

Check out some more on important ecommerce trends via Search Engine Land.

How Does Online Media Consumption Affect Our Lives?

Social media is used for work and personal matters and even for fun. Have you ever wondered how it’s affected your everyday life?

Foursquare mayors: If you’ve been in a battle for a mayorship or know of anyone, it’s a BIG deal. People often change their daily routines to make an extra check-in to keep the Mayor title of… let’s say Hooters? Battles have gotten so intense that Foursquare has had to change its rules to compensate for cheaters. Businesses can also now oust these cheaters.

Shopping on Facebook: Businesses like Threadless now give customers the option to shop straight from Facebook. This is pretty cool since you can also update your Facebook status about a product and share it with all your friends.

Working during the holidays: Despite stress and other complaints, a study shows that 59% of people will check their work email over the holidays. I guess feeling interrupted on your break is better than feeling left behind and having to catch up – 42% of the people in that study feel the same way.

Reacting on Twitter: Here’s a story from last week about Bill Nye the Science Guy and his speech at USC. Bill apparently fainted several times during his speech and experienced slurred speech. Even after a fainting spell that lasted at least 10 seconds, no one came to his help. A Trojan senior had this to say, “Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.” REALLY, now? This is disgusting, that people could be more connected to their Twitter accounts than to actually helping a human being. I really hate to think it but sometimes, I’m afraid that Idiocracy has foreshadowed our future…

Late night usage: And of course, there’s those late night texts that we can’t avoid. Texting and video games not only affect teen’s sleeping cycles but can also cause more serious problems such as depression and  anxiety.

In many ways, online media enriches our everyday routines but this doesn’t come without negative consequences. How has it affected you?

Retailers Use Social Media to Promote Black Friday Sales

Many experts predict that consumer spending will rise this holiday season. As if email promotions weren’t enough, retailers are now using social media to push their Black Friday ads.

On Monday, the #blackfriday hashtag was a sponsored tweet that retailers used to share their deals. At first, I thought it was a little early but it makes sense for consumers who are planning to make big purchases. You can check out the ongoing mentions here. If you have any special  promotions going on, don’t forget to use the hashtag!

Many businesses are also using Facebook to unveil their specials long before Black Friday or Cyber Monday. How else can retailers get customers into stores? Last Saturday, GAP offered 40% off for customers who checked in using Facebook Places. Many are doing the same thing with Foursquare checkins.

Instead of a one day “special”, Black Friday seems to be growing into a month long event – which is a good thing for both retailers and consumers. Good luck if you’re braving the crowds this weekend!