Customer service is hard. Just walk down the hall to the CSR “wing” and listen in to a couple of calls throughout the day. Customer service on social media platforms, however, adds a whole new level of drama to the experience simply by taking place in a public forum. Social media marketing allows for a direct line of communication, hitherto unavailable to the common consumer, and it’s public- suggesting that the user holds great leverage over the actions of the brand. Sometimes these public posts are legitimate inquiries regarding products/services. Sometimes, however, users just want to stir the pot. Here are a couple of guidelines to follow when determining whether or not intervention is necessary.
Here are three tricks of the trade when managing customer service on social networks:
1) Don’t feed the trolls. This cannot be mentioned in community management/customer service class enough times. As University of Central Lancashire lecturer Claire Hardaker so eloquently points out at the bottom of this infographic, the only way to combat trolling is to ignore it.
2) Elongate the conversation. This simple practice will weed out the trolls after your first or second response (trolls are too busy for an actual conversation). A good way to do this is to institute a character limit on yourself in your responses. You won’t be able to provide the full detailed resolution in your first 100 characters, which will allow you to carry the conversation over multiple comments during the resolution process.
When responding to legitimate inquiries (read: not trolls), always include a question to finish your response. 90% of the time (strong estimate) you, or the customer, do not know what the inquiry actually is. Don’t assume that the customer is entirely familiar with your product or your brand. This simple practice will cover most bases when managing your page; extracting all details, determining validity of the claim, showing personal attention in a public forum, etc.
3) Assume a “first name basis” with everyone. Always use the inquirer’s first name in your response. You will surprise yourself at how disarming something this simple can be, and the respect given will show throughout the conversation. It is not recommended, however, to use your own first name when representing the brand publicly. Use initials publicly, and your first name when responding in private messages.
Incorporate these three tricks today, and your community will silently thank you!
Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day! Being a community manager is a tough job. You are on the frontlines as an advocate for both the brand and the consumers. Dealing with issues, complaints, and positive and negative experiences can be tiresome. Having to post original, clever content on a daily basis (at least) can get difficult. In honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day, I’ve created a list of the top 5 ways to be a wonderful, fantastic Community Manager!
Looking at the community as a party, the community manager must act as the perfect host. As a host, the community manager must make sure everything is running smoothly, maintain conversations, and solve any problem that comes up. Party hosts must acknowledge all of their guests just as a community manager must acknowledge all their fans/followers/commenters. While a community manager does not need to make sure the chips and dip don’t run out, it is important to make sure there is always new information being shared with the community to encourage them to return.
Be a Bodyguard
While working as the community manager for a brand, it is very important to protect the brand’s online reputation. It is easy for negative comments to spiral out of control if not dealt with immediately. Acting swiftly when dealing with reputation issues is always the best method. Community managers are not only charged with protecting the brand’s reputation, but also protecting the community. Community managers are wonderful advocates for the brands’ fans. Having a direct line to a company’s consumers provides a great opportunity to notice any problems that may need to be brought to the attention of the management team. When working on issues between the brand and a community, it is important for the community manager to stay unbiased and work towards a solution for both parties.
Always Stay Cheerful
When dealing with a community of outspoken individuals, it is easy to lose your positive outlook and let negative comments get you down. Don’t let it happen! Keeping a cheerful, positive attitude is a wonderful way to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Keeping yourself positive will make it easier to work out solutions and problem solve. When managing communities, it is important to not let negative comments or experiences get you down. Having a friendly, cheerful community manager is a great way for community members to feel comfortable in sharing their experiences. I’m a big fan of exclamation points!
Being creative and “thinking outside the box” is one of the most attributes of community managers. Creating and posting clever, informative content on a daily basis can get difficult. A community manager needs to get to know his/her community. By knowing what types of posts will do well and what won’t do well, you will have the ability to set up a content calendar of successful posts. Unfortunately, the only way to get to know your community and what they will respond to is through a lot of trial and error. By “thinking outside the box”, community managers are able to share information and engage with their community in new and fun ways. Who doesn’t love a good “Caption This” or “Fill in the blank” post (when used as part of a content plan)?
Being patient is without a doubt, the hardest attribute listed here. When dealing with a community, it is often easy to get overwhelmed by community members who spam the page or continuously post about the same issues over and over. The key to being a patient community manager is having the ability to stay positive with both the community members and the brand. Being a community manager means having a strengths in both listening and working towards solutions.
Being a community manager is a tough job but with a good attitude, a willingness to help, and some creativity, it is also very rewarding. Solving problems and turning negative experiences into positive experiences are the things that community managers live for.
Now that you know what it takes, go thank your Community Manager for all of their hard work!
With 2012 over, we are going to start being bombarded with Top “whatever” of 2012 lists. Let me be one of the first to present you with a list of what I believe are the top 10 social media moments of 2012. These moments/events are not in any particular order.
1.) In March 2012, Invisible Children created a video showing the struggles of people in Africa and what they have been doing to stop it. Overnight, this video was shared millions of times, and #KONY2012 and #STOPKONY became international trending topics. Celebrities, like Oprah, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Bill Gates all began tweeting about the cause. At the time of writing this blog, the Kony 2012 video has 95,317,759 views on YouTube after being up only 9 months.
2. ) Oreo had a big year in social media (nice job, Oreo community manager!). With multiple viral messages, Oreo became one of the top brands on social media for showing personality.
My favorite example of brands having fun and showing personality was the conversation between Oreo and AMC.
With over 500 retweets, it’s always nice to remember that there is a person with a sense of humor behind the brands online. Oreo took a stand on June 25th by posting a picture of an Oreo cookie with rainbow layers of crème with the caption “Proudly support love!”. This support of Gay Pride Day caused quite the stir for Oreo, even after threats of boycotts, Oreo stood by their post. Today, the post is still gaining engagement with over 297,000 likes, 60,000 comments, and 90,000 shares.
3.) When Chick-Fil-A president, Dan Cathy, announced that he was “guilty as charged” of donating to anti-gay charities, the popular restaurant saw an explosion of posts on its social media properties. To try to fix the problem, Chick-Fil-A posted a response (that was more of a non-response, if you ask me), to Cathy’s remarks. This response fueled the fire and created multiple boycotts and angry responses. Without an official press release or responding to Cathy’s remarks, Chick-Fil-A paid the price for popularity on social media accounts.
4.) Hurricane Sandy or “#Frankenstorm” was one of the first large natural disasters to be documented on a variety of social media sites. Homeland Security, cities, and government agencies used social media to quickly get the word out about the state of the places hit and where people could receive help. During Hurricane Sandy and the following days, Instagram saw ten image uploads per second with a Hurricane Sandy related hashtag, which quickly spread to Facebook and Twitter. Users uploaded more than 800,000 images to Instagram using the hashtag, #Sandy. The website Instacane.com popped up to chronicle the disaster through images from Instagram. People began sharing their experiences with others through Facebook and Twitter. By sharing their stories in real-time, many people gained a comfort in social media knowing that they were not alone.
5.) 2012 was a big year for new social media platforms. Anyone, who has read any of my previous blogs or knows me, is aware that the biggest social media moment in my life in 2012 (other than beginning at Intrapromote, of course) was the discovery of Pinterest. Pinterest and Instagram became mainstream platforms that many people visit daily. Pinterest has passed LinkedIn as the third top social media site and is now competing with Twitter and Facebook. Pinterest hit 10 million unique United States visitors faster than any website has in the past. Instagram has taken off in 2012, as well. After being acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in April, Instagram now sees 7.3 million daily active users. More than 5 million images are uploaded to Instagram every day. It’ll be exciting to see how these platforms continue to grow and improve in 2013!
6.) On October 15, Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet above Earth to land on the ground in New Mexico. This event, which was sponsored by Red Bull, was called “Red Bull Stratos”. With YouTube live streaming the event, approximately 8 million viewers watched Felix plunge towards Earth. This YouTube/Red Bull event has the most concurrent live streams in the history of YouTube.
7.) The entire 2012 Presidential Election could be followed through a variety of social media platforms. Memes, videos, and images filled our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts leading up to the big day.
On Election Night, Twitter erupted with election and voting trends. Throughout the day, Twitter received 3,000 tweets/minute about people voting. At 10:16 PM on the night of the election, Twitter peaked with 20 million tweets about the election. This made the 2012 election the most tweeted event in U.S. political history. Top trending topics for that day regarding the election were #Election2012 and also #Stayinline. When President Obama announced the news of his victory, his “Four More Years” tweets had over 128,000 re-tweets within 10 minutes of being tweeted.
8.) Mars Rover, Curiosity, provided the world with the first real-time look at Mars. It has also been providing us with FourSquare tips, as it explores the planet! When the Mars Rover checked in on Mars, it became the first check-in ever on another planet and the second check-in in space.
9.) 2012 was the year of viral music videos and parodies. In March 2012, the world was graced with the musical stylings of Carly Rae Jepson and her hit “Call Me Maybe”. With 364,354,474 views on YouTube, this video went viral fast with thanks to social sharing. This video was not only shared throughout social networks like wildfire, but it also sparked many parodies. Everyone had their own take on this video, from the Harvard baseball team to the U.S. Olympic swim team.
Another video that spread quickly by means of social media is PSY’s “Gangnum Style”. The video was the first to hit 1 billion views on YouTube. Like “Call Me Maybe”, “Gangnum Style” has provided us with many parodies, including a few political versions done just in time by the popular humor site, College Humor.
10.) The 2012 Summer Olympics will forever be known as the first social Olympics. The International Olympic Committee put strict rules on Olympians on what they can publish regarding their Olympics experience. Even with the strict rules, many athletes saw their social media followings explode. Gabby Douglas’ Facebook fan count grew from around 14,000 to 600,000 in two weeks. When Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 200m final, Twitter saw 80,000 tweets per minute immediately following the race. Popular swimmer, Micahel Phelps’ Twitter followers grew to over 1 million throughout the course of the Olympics. When McKayla Maroney received the silver medal, instead of the anticipated gold, the image of her on the podium went viral quickly with the caption, “McKayla is not impressed”.
2012 was a great year for social media. Who knows what 2013 will bring!
For most marketing directors, the ROI question as it relates to social media budgeting continues to loom as a conundrum. Here is an extremely simple way to place value on your social media users to better budget and plan.
Step One: Identify your conversion.
Are you looking for leads, sales, or walk-ins? All three are applicable when valuating your users. For leads, ensure that you can place a dollar amount on your average lead count during a month-long period. Your sales and walk-ins will already have an inherent dollar amount attached to them (hopefully).
Step Two: Create a social promotion.
The promotion should be able to capture all lines of your business. If that seems unreasonable, go ahead and plan multiple promotions. Ensure your promotion is on-par with promotions your have held in the past. You do not want to specialize this one at all.
Make sure you have tracking tools for the results. With lead generation, make sure you create a specialized landing page for click throughs from social media. Do not publicize this URL anywhere other than your social media platforms.
For sales, make sure you are utilizing a custom segment within your analytics service that will only report on traffic that comes from social media URLs. This, coupled with a discount code within your Ecommerce platform, will accurately depict direct sales from social users.
Tracking walk-ins is a bit more tricky, but leaning on the discount code in the form of a digital coupon will go far in tracking results.
Step Three: Assign the value.
The preferential treatment for assigning value is to base it on the engagement that occurs during the promotion online. For instance, for a Facebook-only promotion, you will want to assign a dollar value on each individual “Engaged User” (column L in Facebook Insights) during the promotion period. On Twitter, you will want to count mentions during the entire promotion period, and divide your total net sales from the promotion by that number. Example below:
- Promotion: 25% Off Entire Catalog for Facebook Fans!
- Promotion Period: 14 days
- Total Engaged Users during Promotion: 1500
- Net Sales from Promotion: $50,000
- Facebook User Valuation: $33.33 per Engaged User
Keep in mind, $33.33 per Engaged User would be absolutely incredible, so don’t be too disheartened when it turns out to be $1 or less. Remember, conversions are the last step in a well-built strategy. If you aren’t satisfied with the numbers, feel free to contact Intrapromote to build a strategy that will return some results.
Now you have a valuation for your Facebook fan base, and a good way to project future sales and determine ROI. You’re welcome.
Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest. Are you sick of it yet?
Maybe. But most of the stuff you’re reading about is probably about how you can get more traffic from Pinterest. In this article, I take a step back and discuss some ways Pinterest could get more traffic from Google.
In a sense, these are two sides of the same coin. After all, if Pinterest gets more traffic from Google, you stand to get more traffic from Pinterest. But in terms of your own Pinterest accounts, some things are beyond your control, and you’ll need to wait for the site itself to make some decisions.
The following sections discuss ways that Pinterest could make some fairly minor changes and improve the signals it’s sending about its growing catalog of content.
Canonicalize the Mobile Site
As of this writing, Pinterest has 250 million indexed pages at Google. That’s only about 10% of the number of indexed Twitter pages, and about 5% of Facebook’s index count. But let’s at least give Pinterest a little credit for “fast mover” status. Most of that indexing has occurred in the last 12 months, and that’s a horrific pace. To paraphrase Googlebot:
Of those 250 million pages, however, over 30 million are from Pinterest’s mobile site. It’s terrific that the mobile site is getting that much indexing attention, but ideally, those pages should be canonicalized to their desktop equivalents, and right now, they’re not. (The actual “pin” pages are canonicalized to their desktop counterparts, but the “boards” pages are not.) Why is this important? Because without canonicalizing, Pinterest is making your boards compete with themselves — desktop version vs. mobile version — for rankings. Google does a decent job of knowing what version is appropriate, but Pinterest is not helping anything by ignoring this easy signal.
Hey, check this out:
It’s a dog! Jumping! In the snow!
More accurately, this is a specific “pinned image,” or distinct URL on the Pinterest site. Visually, here’s the link:
Now contrast this link, for example, with these other links:
Same dog. Still cute, but the same dog.
The bottom line is that every “repin” produces a duplicate of the URL being repinned. So this adorable purse (which, sadly, eventually points to a spam site), currently with 150 repins, lives on 151 different Pinterest URLs — each one with a canonical tag pointing to itself. While I believe boards have greater potential ranking power than individual pins, some sort of pin consolidation (perhaps with a cloud of the various tags and comments attributed to that pin by its repinners and likers) could turn a popular pin into a formidable force.
Meta-Boards and Better Tagging
Consider the following cloud, which represents the sorts of terms that Google auto-suggests when you begin a query for [pinterest]:With (as discussed already) boards and pins being so dramatically fragmented, it would be smart for Pinterest to consolidate some of these ideas into pages that collect and feature boards — sort of a “boards about boards” feature. For example, consider that over 1600 Pinterest boards are related to “brownie recipes” in some form or another. Individually, none of these really stands a significant chance of putting a dent into the SERP presence of AllRecipes.com, the Food Network, and various manufacturers like Duncan Hines. But together? That’s a possibility, assuming some smart consolidation measures are taken.
The point of Pinterest isn’t organic traffic, I suppose. It’s more about vision, passion, and amazing, inspirational quotations. But whatever hassles will come with making changes now, they’ll be exponentially higher when the brands come a-marching in en masse and the site wants to get serious about making money.
Like most things, Pinterest comes with a set of rules to ensure its success and safe use for everyone. A few months ago, there was a lot of talk over Pinterest’s change in its Terms of Service. With a platform that was created around the idea of sharing other’s images, it can be difficult to keep track of copyright infringements, so the Terms of Service helps clarify some of that confusion. For those that can’t dedicate the time to dig through the Pinterest legalese, I’ve broken down a few important pieces to think about while using Pinterest.
- First of all, you can’t steal another companies’ name. When opening an account with a business name, you become
authorized to use that name. However, if you are not an employee of the company, then that is against the rules. Basically, don’t create false accounts. Easy enough.
- In Pinterest’s list of things not to do, which can be found on the Acceptable Use page, it states that users are not allowed to download User Content or Pinterest Content to use on their own. This includes automated scripts, spiders, robots, etc. It is also mentioned that it is against Pinterest’s policy to save and story personal information about Pinterest users. This rule was to prevent bots and automated programs to collect data throughout Pinterest about users and protect privacy in many cases.
- Recently, spammers, who have thousands of pins and boards, have invaded Pinterest. In short, the easiest way to identify a spammer is if they have a seemingly normal pin with a completely unrelated caption accompanied with a shortened or otherwise indiscernible link.
- One of the most controversial pieces in Pinterest’s Terms of Service is that the user must agree not to post User Content that is harmful. From Pinterest: “…creates a risk of harm, loss, physical or mental injury, emotional distress, death, disability, disfigurement, or physical or mental illness to yourself, to any other person, or to any animal”. This was portion was created in part to address a pro-anorexia group within Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. With the ease of posting pins, these social networks banned together in an attempt to “outlaw” the viral “thin-spo” (thin-spiration) craze. There have also been groups with racy images that have been banned from Pinterest. Rule of Thumb: keep the pins G/PG.
- One of the most important things to realize about Pinterest’s Terms of Service is that once you’re gone, you’re gone FOR LIFE. So don’t get banned, because then you’ll have to hire a wedding planner.
There you have it! A few of the many Pinterest regulations broken down, but there are still a lot that have not been covered. Please check out Pinterest’s Terms of Service to make sure you knows exactly what is and isn’t allowed!
If you’re still not sure about this whole Pinterest thing, check out The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pinterest Marketing written by Christine Martinez and Barbara Boyd and edited by Intrapromote’s Director of Social Media, Annalise Kaylor! This book will be available for sale on November 6.