Are Your Mistakes Making Your Brand Look Like a Social Media Rookie?
According to the most recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, 55% of customers use social media to inform their purchasing decisions. Whether you like it or not, your business is being judged with every status update and every tweet you publish. The social consumer is savvier than ever, often understanding far more about social media than many executives.
As an early adopter (remember, I’ve been spearheading social relationships since 1992!), I’ve pretty much seen it all. While we would all like to believe that the genius social media campaigns are what people tend to remember, it’s actually the mistakes that tend to live on in eternity. Here are three mistakes your organization can and should avoid if you want to send a message to the world that you have your social act together:
Geo-targeting Facebook Posts
I’ve put this mistake in the first position because it is the social media mistake that boils my blood faster than any other. You’d have to be sleeping under a rock to not know “local social” is white hot. Geo-targeting is one of the features that makes Facebook stand out as a marketing platform. While Facebook has had this functionality for a long time, Twitter just announced last month that it was going to start allowing promoted tweets to be geo-targeted. Yet many brands under-utilize this function, preferring to send out blanket messages to the masses in lieu of creating significant localized results.
Here’s the thing: If I am a consumer in Minneapolis, I couldn’t care less about what you’re doing in Atlanta. But, if you geo-target content to me in Minneapolis that feels exclusive, I inherently feel a sense of loyalty that you cannot replicate in a status update to your entire fan base. Geo-targeting is a great way to reach an under-served demographic while building loyalty and interest.
Further, geo-targeted posts tend to have a higher Edgerank than posts pushed out to the masses. Unfamiliar with Edgerank? Then you should check out my recent webinar on the topic here. It will immediately boost your Facebook performance. In fact, if you try any of the ideas in my webinar and you do not see an improvement in performance over the next 30 days, you can email me directly for a private 15-minute consultation on how your brand can improve Facebook performance.
So all of this is great in and of itself, but here is where geo-targeting can go from being a best practice tactic to a solid gold benefit. Geo-targeting is the best free A/B testing to which you will ever have access. You can geo-target a marketing initiative to one city to see if the idea has legs. You can do a different type of update to another to see how that audience reacts. In other words, you can mine an incredible amount of tangible, authentic data for free, simply by geo-targeting your posts. This isn’t just another focus group of potential consumers. This is a focus group of tried and true consumers who are invested enough in your brand that they’ve already publicly established a social relationship with you.
Learn to Edit for Twitter
Twitter allows you to post up to 140 characters. The genius of this platform lies in the forced self-editing. Some of the best communications messages I’ve ever read have been in tweets. It all comes back to keeping it simple. Beyond simple messaging, however, there are some other ways to create a high-impact tweet:
- Aim for 125 characters total. This allows for 15 extra characters within your tweet, making it easier for followers to RT you without editing the message.
- Position your URLs in the middle of the tweet. Studies show that links in the middle of the tweet have higher click-through rates than those at the end of a tweet.
- Don’t post the same thing on Twitter as you do on Facebook. Twitter is an information network. It allows people to share information though a social platform. The psychology is not the same as Facebook. Tweak it to make sense for the different audience.
- Use the word “via” whenever possible. Studies prove that when you are tweeting from another source, tweets with the word “via” before the “@” symbol enhance credibility with readers and drive engagement.
Mind Your Manners
When it comes to people I aspire to emulate in my career, I can count them on one hand. I love the leadership here at Intrapromote; their style and vision is why I left a cushy gig in social media at a Fortune 50 organization to join this firm.
My former boss, Chris, is also one of the people on the list. He is a visionary who is easily 10 years ahead of any executive I’ve ever met. I’ll never forget when he brought me into a meeting with the C-suite from our company, as well as the executive legal team from our parent company, and the C-suite from that same parent. We were sitting in a big boardroom overlooking 5th Avenue in New York City discussing a global initiative and we were receiving some “less than enthusiastic” feedback about some obvious social media best practices.
Not understanding the power and trust that a brand gets when they simply thank a fan for their comments, these executives were trying to say that we should only be able to talk to fans if they ask a direct question, but never just for a comment or compliment. It was clear they didn’t understand the social medium, how the competition was performing, or that the era of transparency was upon us. They were guided by fear and the lack of success in social at the time made that clear.
He turned and looked at the suits in the room (I can’t say for sure, but I am 98% certain he was wearing Birkenstocks and a flannel) and said, “You mean if someone came into your house and gave you a compliment, you wouldn’t have the common decency to say ‘thank you’?”
Acknowledging all comments is no longer a luxury, it’s a best practice. You have to do it. It builds loyalty and community with the added benefit of building your Edgerank score.
Simply making these few changes will impact your social media performance. The new global currency isn’t made from paper – it’s made of relationships. Invest in those relationships and you’ll see a clear path to determining social ROI. As always, I welcome your questions about social media and I’d love to tell you how we can help. Unlike many big agencies, our social media team is ready to roll out the red carpet and white gloves. Our reputation is only as good as our clients’ performance and believe me, we’re up for the challenge.
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