So What About Social Media?

Two businessman connecting puzzle pieces togheter with copy space

What a beautiful landscape! And what about your Social Media Landscape?

So what about Social media? Is your company social yet? Or have you tried it, but didn’t have the time to manage it, and now have some ghost page that gets little to no engagement?

Indeed, social media has now been around for a while but not all companies or professionals are online. More and more, companies want to see value in a network before dedicating a resource to social media. They’re anxious to know how many new leads and customers a post, tweet or update will attract. So where does one start? Or start again, if this is your second time around!

What is your landscape?

Well first things first, where are your customers? And your competition? What about market trends? Start by doing some research and answering these questions — ideally with a social media audit. The key is not to try and be everywhere, but to find the right place. An audit will allow you to have a full overview of your social landscape and identify your strengths as well as your possible area of focus. When doing an audit, work with professionals (like the PROSAR team!) to get insight, feedback and a strategic overview, without having to invest in all the tools. For more info on what an audit includes and how to start, take a look at one of my past articles on the topic: 4 Tips when doing your first Social Media Audit.

 

Now that you see the lay of the land, pick a direction

Now that you have an idea of where you are and where you should be, make a choice. Is it LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Google+? Your audit would have given you an overview of what your competition is doing and how engaged your industry is with social media. Sometimes, it is possible that an industry or market is not using social media or might not yet see the need for it. This should not stop you from being engaged, and can even allow you to innovate in your field, but you will need to choose a particular focus. Do you want to improve communication with your customers? Do you want to reach out to new providers, partners or resellers? Perhaps you are in an industrial or manufacturing industry and want to be recognized as a reference in your field. Depending on your goal, you will be able to determine the best network for you. To start off, let’s take a look at LinkedIn. To learn more about the channels to consider and how to build your, check out our Online Marketing Plan blog.

 

The LinkedIn Landscape

Linkedin is a B2B focused platform. Beyond job searching, it is being used more and more as a way to connect with likeminded professionals and establish new business relationships. It is a place to create mindshare, position yourself as an expert or reference for your customers, and share knowledge through short articles that are then associated to your profile. If you have a strong team that is comfortable in becoming an ambassador for your company, and that you operate in the B2B space, LinkedIn could be a good opportunity for you to extend your reach quickly and start talking to CEOs, executives and other senior managers that are looking for information. If this sounds like your type of environment, here are the main things you need to consider:

  1. Create a company page

If you don’t already have one this is the place to start. Create one so your employees can tag the company in each of their profile. This will also be a good place for prospects to find information about your company and access the website from one central place on Linkedin.

 

  1. Create strong profiles

Profiles are an essential step when starting on LinkedIn. Prospects will click on profiles to learn more about the people and the company. Make sure your team has professional pictures, a good headline and an informative summary with engaging content.

 

  1. Craft your company message

Give your team a 1-2 liner to describe what you sell and your corporate mission. By using the same keywords, the team will reinforce this message and your brand positioning, as well as arm them with the terms they can use to find more info online and better understand your solution.

 

These first few steps will help you build your professional presence online and help you develop ambassadors within your company walls. ‘’Start from the heart’’ to improve your branding and help it reach its potential. Get in touch with PROSAR today to have your first Social Media Audit and an overview of your landscape!

businesspeople on smartphones

Social Selling: More than just a buzz word

Ever since I started my career, I have been an advocate of social. Either social media, social selling, social gatherings or social news. I truly believe in the power of social. But what does it mean exactly and how does it make a difference in the way you sell or communicate?

businesspeople on smartphones

When I first started as a social media consultant, SOCIAL was still a mystery term, a wave of change, the next buzz word on our lips. I remember that most of my customers were asking to setup a Facebook page and start building a following, but that was the extent of their social efforts. Customers were not yet requesting engagement or paid advertising. Pretty quickly (and nobody could predict how quickly) that evolved and online platforms became an even more important part of a marketing strategy and advertising budget. We now rely heavily on social for our networking needs.

I learned, like every other successful consultant how to adapt, change my offer and continue to add value to my customer portfolios. Social somehow remained in the hands of the marketer, while on the other side, more and more sales professional started going online, building themselves a profile and using social media to prospect. But at the end of the day, we all want the same thing:

Drive more business and make our customers happy!

I believe the social in sales is what will make us all work together. As a consultant, I didn’t realise that I was using social to sell my services and find my next contracts as it seemed like a natural thing to do. And it was, as I was simply selling my services online through social connections and my network instead of just broadcasting and pitching, while hoping for the best.

So if you are new to social selling, here are my top 3 reasons why you should consider this strategy:

 

  1. Always stay top of mind

The social in selling represents a whole new network of potential prospects. Of course, you will continue to meet them offline, but you can now connect with them instantly and maintain the relationship online. Social media platforms and social selling helps you combat the ”Out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. You can always be in sight with the latest piece of content that you shared with your network or a smart comment in your group where your next potential prospect may be to seeking information.

 

  1. Direct touch to decision makers

Another reason for social selling is the difficulty to reach a business owner through coldcalling. A LinkedIn report stated that 90% of decision makers will not answer a cold call. This same difficulty was stated in my colleague, Dave Auten’s blog post. The business world is changing and it might be easier to reach a C-suite execs through an InMail on LinkedIn that he will receive directly on his smartphone.

 

  1. The more people you know, the better

More and more companies are delegating major investments and big purchase decisions to a committee. Expanding your social network and building a strong profile will help you interact and connect with as many people as possible — who knows what committees your new contacts are on. As well, a referral can come from anyone in a company, so the more people you know, the better for you.

Social media selling may pose some risk, but sitting on the sidelines and not getting involved is the greatest risk of all.

 

So, if you are a sales professional, be social! If you are a marketer, be social! Regardless what industry you work in, remember that you are always selling yourself and being social can help you make the right connections to reach your goals faster.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Nomophobia: The Reason Why Your Business Should be Mobile

You heard it first! Nomophobia!

Now before you start wondering what that is and how it impacts your business, just quickly look to your left, and now to your right or at the most, in your pocket. Did you find your smartphone yet?

women looking at phone in misty woods
gpointstudio/Thinkstock

Like 73% of people, if you don’t find your phone immediately or don’t feel it at hands reach, you might start to feel panicked or a little nervous and worried while trying to remember where it is. This fear of not finding your phone is called Nomophobia and as you can see, close to three quarters of your customers might be victim of the same faith. Now, how does that play in your favor? That means that more than half of your audience are always or constantly on their smartphone browsing the Internet to find new products, deals and the latest provider for their required service. If you are not mobile yet, this is the time to join the trend.

Nomophobia aside, 1st Aerial created an infographic that puts into perspective the importance that we place on our smartphone and main arguments why your business should be mobile friendly and offer a mobile adapted website. To see the full infographic, click here.

Now why should your business consider this statistic:

4.77 billion of mobile users worldwide

There are 4.77 billion people worldwide that own a smartphone. The statistic goes even further by confirming that more people own a smartphone than people that own a toothbrush. That is a massive audience that cannot be ignored. Although these people are still regular customers in your store or online on their laptop, the fact that so many people today own and use a smartphone can only mean more potential customers are moving their purchases online and will be getting a first impression about your brand through a phone screen instead of on a computer or in person.

crowd using cell phones
Michael Blann/Thinkstock

Without necessarily offering an app or bringing your entire business onto mobile, there are advantages of adapting your website to be mobile friendly and offer a great experience to your customer every time they look you up on their phone. My colleague, Claire Phillipowsky, also covered the topic of mobile friendly websites in The New Mobile-Friendly Website Imperative: What all Top Businesses Already Know.

 

83% of internet usage is mobile

It is a fact that purchasing has moved online and more and more people will go into a store to evaluate an item but will most probably go online to find a great deal and complete their purchase. Now, on top of that already challenging step in the customer journey, nearly 83% are doing most of their internet searched on their mobile. This number clearly examplifies the current behavior of your customer and is a very good reason to be online and to easily be found when your name gets typed in to a search. As a business, you might already be investing in Adwords and online search advertising but make sure with your agency that mobile searches are being included in your potential reach.

 

More than 60% of people are more sociable with their mobile than real people

The survey showed that 35% of people admitted to looking at their phone when they are in public or have nothing to do. And another 33% said that they pretend to be busy in a restaurant or a bar by browsing through their phones instead of talking to people around them. So over 60% of your customers and potential customers are using their smartphones as an excuse to keep themselves occupied and not look bored. A great way to do that is to shop on their mobile, look up their next purchase and plan their next trip thanks to your mobile friendly website, your latest app or your SMS filled with tips.

two people using cell phones facing each other
Image Source Pink/Thinkstock

Out of sight, out of mind, so make sure to be present in your customers mobile experience and help them choose you as their ideal provider, partner or simple marketplace! For more advice about how to bring your business forward and add a mobile component to your marketing, meet with a PROSAR team member today.

Video: Now a Must and no longer a Maybe

YouTube_crazy.jpgAs a marketer, of course, I believe in video and integrating it into my overall marketing strategy. But as a project manager with a budget to manage, whenever something had to go, it would also be the video topic that would be postponed or assigned to later ”when we have more money”.

Although video is a must in any content strategy, it is also difficult to startup and even more, to maintain. Yes, you will read many blogs, especially these days, that state: Video is a MUST! 2015 was even proclamed as the year of video with 50% of online videos accounting for 50% of all mobile traffic.

Here are my top 3 tips on how to do video the right way and for the right reasons…Not only because you read a blog about it or because you want your company to be YouTube famous!

 

Tip 1: Be Authentic

No matter what you do, remain true to your brand. Yes, video can be your way to do something different, test the waters or think outside the box but whatever the strategy, remember your brand. No need to be boring if you are the head of marketing at a stuffy and conservative company but also no need to be making a dance video and having your staff make a lipdub to look cool. Take the time to think about your message and the goal of your video project:

– What is your message?
– Who is your audience?
– What emotions or values do you want to express in your videos? And how can you do that?
– What do you want to put forth? Your Customers? Your Product? Your Service? Your Staff?

 

Tip 2: Be Proud

Invest the money and produce good quality. It is that simple. I have recently gone through the experience of searching for an agency and realized that depending on the quality you want, prices can vary. But remember to keep it simple and be proud of what you produce.

If you don’t yet have a Hollywood budget than don’t look for a Hollywood storyboard!

Sometimes, we get overly excited by what is being proposed and forget what is the purpose of the video project or, other times, we are so focused on costs that we start producing shaky and cheap  videos with no intro or exit animations although we want to communicate our company’s professionalism. Can you see the confusion or possible misinterpretation?

– Take the time to go through the thought process in tip #1 and look carefully at the proposals you receive.
– Call and talk to agencies to invite the right ones to your bid and avoid being disappointed or
– Start with a good freelancer and test him out to see what he is capable of…you might be surprised and it might be enough for year 1.

To learn more about content marketing and how to keep up with the ever increasing speed of content generation, read up on the Marketing Process with my colleague Scott Vetter.

Tip 3: Be a Game-Changer

What I mean here is not to want to go viral over night or make an impact in the YouTube world but more to make a difference for your customers. Are you adding value to their overall experience? And remember to centre their needs in the goals of your project.

– Your customers are asking how to use your product? Create clear and concise tutorials that look professional, are helpful and clear.
– You want to become a reference in your market? Get your customers in front of a camera and share their best experiences with your new potential audience. It will also reinforce your business relations and add credibility amongst your partners.
– Your want to put show your great service? Share the spotlight with your staff and talk about all the great work they do in a day for your customers.
– You want to become a thought leader in your market? Interview your CEO and discuss important topics in your industry. Create content that will be shared and that can be used for years to come, by anyone.

 

The only way you will make a difference is by being transparent, honest and real. Produce content that you would also be proud to share and promote and remember to stay true to your brand.

To be or not to be Social? That is the question

When I first started working in Social Media, it was still an option to be or not to be social. Some companies chose to remain off the radar in social media (and might have suffered, let’s remember the Toyota recall crisis) and others like Starbucks, went all out on social and offered any possible fun thing to do to their customers. Nowadays, it is no longer an option not to be on social media. Although some have tried (and failed) to take down Facebook or offer another alternative, like Ello, it has become an apparent truth, in the last year, that social media, and its advertising, are here to stay and have become an important part of any online strategy.

Last year, I wrote an article about what to prepare when doing your first social audit. Since then, I have worked with different clients in different industries and one thing constantly came up: Managers all want to do the audit and recognize its value but have no time to look over competitor accounts and the hundreds of posts that are being published and shared. Another thing that became obvious was that a social media audit cannot only be done once at the beginning but should be part of a strategy and an exercise that is done throughout the year.

So, instead of going through the steps again, I have some new advice and reasons why you should follow it!

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Top Tip of the Day (and only one today):

BE ON SOCIAL MEDIA and

seek help to do it right!

Now, here are the top 3 reasons why you should choose that route:

 The landscape is always changing

My number one tip is always to look at the competition and what they are doing when starting your social media audit. The only difference that I am adding in now is that your competition is not stupid and will also be adapting their strategy. I have often seen a competitor that wasn’t doing much on social turn it around almost overnight and you feel that by the time you give your report, the information in it is just not right anymore. Now, of course you cannot predict what your social landscape will look like but when dealing with a Social Media Consultant, they have been on the networks for a while and can pick up on certain trends or know what to look for when looking at your competitors. They can provide you with social media best practices based on what your competition is doing right and could be doing better or that could help you stand out from the crowd. And as a professional, even after the first look, you keep a close watch on the accounts you’ve been auditing to see if there are any surprising turn of events or a piece of content that went viral. Indeed, I spend my days on social networks, following the news, looking for the trends and managing my communities. Those many hours spent online give you a certain edge and a different perspective or approach when looking at a new landscape for a client. As a business owner, you are constantly in your industry and not always able to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes and compare it to other industries and their best practices.

 Data, data and some more data

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We live in a world where every click, post or word can be analyzed and compared. We have so much data available to us that we honestly don’t know what to do with it. In a recent article, Vala Afshar from Salesforce, was stating that companies were analyzing less than 1% of the data available to them. In that same article, he also quoted that 90% of the world data was created in the last 12 months. All in all, you could try to look at your Google Analytics on your own and interprete the many conclusions that can be extracted but you might want to make sure you still have someone running your business in the meantime because it might take a while and you might not be able to stop once you’ve started. The advantage of finding an agency like PROSAR to help you not be too overwhelmed is that they will have an entire team looking at different sets of data and making it all a little more accessible to you. I always like to say that they translate all the data into human terms!

 There is so much that you can do

Finally, one of the main reasons why you should be on social and seek help for your audit is because there are so many options available to you and so much that you can do. Before, it was easy. Whatever would come up in the audit, you could almost predict that there would be some blog posts recommended, social media accounts being opened and a first step into the world of social. In that sense, the audit would help you determine the best topics for your client’s audience to meet their goals. But now, you could be looking at blogs, forums, moving images, videos, webinars, podcasts, soundbits, social media posts, advertising, influencers, lookalike targetting and the list goes on.

So how can you know what’s best? Or what will work? Here is where the perfect PROSAR solution can be a great start. We will work with you to better understand your industry and explain to you what is going on in your own personal social media landscape. You will be involved every step of the way so that the final result is a plan that takes into account your own business goals and has traits of your own personal flair. Because no matter what, on social, the best way to go is to produce content that is true to you and your company values. And we will help you get there!

The 3 A’s to Business Networking Online

Recently, I have been looking up different ways to maximize online strategies to connect with potential partners and networks. I mostly found that articles don’t explore as much the idea of social media as a networking environment and focus mainly on reaching the end-user. Now, when I say networking, I mean mainly to interact and connect with other businesses and services that will help you promote, distribute and eventually, generate sales. To help you remember what you need to consider when thinking of such a strategy, check out my 3 A’s to Business Networking Online.

 

Achievement

Every good strategy has a goal or an objective. This is what I call an achievement. Although, you have not yet achieved it, this is what you want at the end of your networking efforts.

Important to note, contrary to a B2C approach, you will not be speaking directly to the end user. You will be connecting with like-minded partners, peers and other parts of your industry. So what do you want to achieve at the end of it all? Here are a few examples of achievements you should work towards:

– Position yourself, or your organization, as an expert in your field
– Find partners that are willing to work with you to push your message or cause
– Generate leads to grow your distribution channels

Like any worthy destination, these achievements will take some time and effort to reach. Which also means your networking strategy needs to be on a longer timeline than a simple social media campaign to promote a new product or make a quick sale. Best to set achievement goals that will push you to connect, network and create relationships over both the short and long term, but remember that time will be required to gain significant traction. To find inspiration, and check out what other businesses might consider a priority, check out Scott’s article on a recent HubSpot survey: Only 8% of Sales Leaders Prioritize Social Sales.

 

Audience

When thinking about the audience you want to reach, remember that every company has individual people in it. This being said, your message needs to be focused to achieve your goal, but accessible enough to be noticed by a broader audience. Typically, it will be be an employee, community manager, or even a CEO, looking on social media for like-minded partners that will find you and initiate the conversation.Looking for ideas on what to achieve? Prosar can help

To start that process, you will need to decide, what part of your industry you want to network with and why. If we adopt the three goals listed above, this is what could be considered:

– Position your company in the industry: you will want to connect with researchers, experts, other companies that are pushing the development of your industry.

– Find like-minded partners: you will be connecting with potential competitors, associations, organisations, partners in other countries, companies that can collaborate or recommend you.
– Generate leads and grow your distribution channels: you will connect with other parts of your supply chain, partners in new markets you want to reach, prospective customers.
Creating a dialogue with these people and nurturing relationships builds a network for referrals, feedback, advice and industry/competitive information. In many cases, these contacts become more intimate than in typical B2C social networks, where the relationship can be more generic.

 

Avenue

Here, I am referring to the different channels, platforms and media that are available to you. From a social standpoint, the main ones to include are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Now within each of those platforms, here are certain avenues to consider for your networking efforts:

  • Facebook: Does your industry have any specific Facebook groups you should be apart of? If not, maybe you should be the one to create it.
  • Twitter: Are your industry experts, researchers and partners online? Do they participate in certain Twitter chats? Are they on certain lists? If not, you should perhaps host a chat to regroup your like-minded partners.
  • LinkedIn: What groups should you be in? What kind of messages are your peers posting? What kind of knowledge do they want to receive? Can you contribute in any way?
  • Forums: Does your industry have its own topic? If so, than find those forums and see what the conversation is all about. Can your company help find solutions in any way? How can you get involved?

Transform online connections into offline business with ProsarAnd let’s not forget the offline avenues! Lasting connections can be initiated and nurtured online but often offline conversations will reinforce those relationships and help you generate leads or references. Here are a few avenues to consider:

  • Events: What events can you go to? Can you be a guest speaker or host a workshop?
  • Publications: What publications should you be in and how can you contribute a piece of information instead of a simple ad?
  • Direct Contact: What companies can you meet face-to-face with and how can you connect with them directly?

These suggestions based on the 3 As (Achievement, Audience and Avenue) are meant to serve as pillars when building your online networking strategy. To start your journey and add the right elements into your plan, include these considerations!

Social Media is NOT a Numbers Game

Google Analytics, ROI, CTR, traffic to site and followership. We try by every means possible to measure our impact on social media but somehow forget that social media is a social interaction and not a measurable, predictable one. Simon Kemp, from We Are Social, recently said on stage that as marketers we too often focus on the ”media” in ”social media” and not enough on the ”social”.

Just as a friendship or any relationship we have, social media is a channel to create those kinds of interactions. As a business, you or your customer wants to know:

How much am I getting out of it?
How much does each post cost me?
How many customers or sales do I get out of this social media strategy?

Which as a business, don’t get me wrong, are fair questions to ask. But if I apply the social logic to them and compare them to a human interaction related question, would we ask ourselves the following in life?

How much money am I getting out of this friendship?
How much does each phone call or text or dinner with my friend cost me? Is it worth the investment?
How many new friends or gifts to I get out of this relationship? Do people like me more?

All of a sudden, doesn’t sound so right, does it? So then, the discussion continues, so what can we measure in social media and how do I know if my strategy or tactic is successful or not?

Followers do not mean Customers

Now, number of likes or followers or hearts are numbers that are often measured and used to see if your presence online is improving or not. Your followership can be an indicator of the level of interest your audience might have for what you are selling but their engagement is what will be the key to your success. Facebook offers an engagement rate in their analytics that can be of use but still has to be considered with other factors.

An example of that can be noted in a recent contract I had.

I was working with social media specialists in different countries. The company has a presence on Facebook and one of their community engagement specialist in France wanted to attract new customers with contests online. One of her first efforts brought in big with a Facebook contest that attracted over 1,000 participants. She thought that whatever she had done, worked, so tried to repeat the experience but following contests attracted an average of 300 participants. In that sense, were her efforts more successful the first time?

From a numbers perspective, the answer would be yes. Her first contest was more successful but from a social standpoint, my opinion is that she now knows that she has an average of 300 participants that will interact with her contests and online efforts which is a pretty good number. The ultimate goal is that an engaged community will eventually start using the company’s service on their own because of their engagement with the Facebook page.

So why so many participants the first time? Many factors can be accounted for. Maybe it was a good day, maybe she hit a peak time in France for shopping online, maybe the colours of her ad where enticing, maybe people had nothing to do and had time to participate, maybe exfoliating cream is a popular prize in France and maybe something else. It is important to remember that it is still a human being sitting in front of the screen and making a conscious decision of commenting or liking or sharing a post or not. We can influence that decision, but we cannot predict the outcome.

Quantity is not Quality

So what about content? There is a general belief that if we are able to put more content out there, we will eventually get someone to click on it. Right? Wrong!

Although content is important, you have to remember that quality remains a key factor. Scott Vetter of PROSAR, clearly explains the potential ”con” in not structuring your content properly. Check out his post: Is there too much ”con” in your content? And his take on this approach is dead on. I recently worked with a client that could not see past the number of keywords in the text or the number of content we were pushing out to their audience instead of focusing on the relevance of the keywords used and maximizing the content pieces to offer their customer a meaningful journey through their website.

Indeed, if we want to put that into numbers, even if you have more content out there, if it is not relevant, your bounce rate will still be high and your time on site will remain low as customers won’t find what they are looking for once they have clicked on this so-called ”content” that you published. Social media is a two-way street and no longer a one-way as traditional marketing used to be. It is all about having a conversation or creating a long-lasting relationship, which also require time and effort, just as a normal relationship with a real-life customer would.

And as for frequency, SocialBakers did a study about posting frequency that showed that posting more than 2 times per day would not necessarily help you increase your engagement rate on your Facebook page. And all articles indicate that your content has to be relevant to spark an interest. Keep that in mind.

Finally, remember that social media is about socializing. The great viral successes or popular companies online have often done their share of traditional marketing to build their brand recognition online and offline. Social media will remain an important channel for marketing in the future but has to be seen as a place to converse with your customers and new potential customers and create an interest for your company. No one knows what exactly makes a social success actually a success and each audience will have their own preferences which need to be tested, tried, retried, tweaked and changed again. Stay alert, listen in and see what your audience is telling you instead of trying to tell them what to do. And to understand all of that info, do not hesitate to ask your PROSAR agency about interpreting that feedback and having an expert help you answer all your questions!

Top 3 Tips to Find a Great Social Media Manager

MillenialsWhen in need of a social media manager or community manager we often assume that if we hire a person born after 1990 that they should automatically be qualified for the job. I don’t mean this as a good or bad thing, but simply as an assumption that we make, myself included. Now that I am in charge of coaching and managing a junior team of community managers I realize that they need as much support as any other role within a company. To help you find the right fit for your team, here are a the top 3 tips to find a great social media manager, rookie or experienced.

When I started consulting in social media I realized that being familiar with the platforms and knowing how they work was not enough to truly help my clients build a strong online presence and maximize their business socially. I worked hard to improve my knowledge of each channel; the advantages and disadvantages of each, their main messaging, their focus and what kind of audience they target. I also improved my skills in content marketing and did a lot of tests to see what works. I looked at competitors in different industries to pull out best practices that could be applied in a variety of fields. Although I am not here to share my experience with you, here are a few pointers to take into account when looking at a resume.

 

Tip #1: Ask questions!

The best advice that I can give you is to ask questions. Although you might not know much about social media, ask your candidate about potential social media strategy for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Give them an initial case in which they need to explain to you how they will increase your engagement rate by 50%. Even if you may not know all the answers, you will be able to observe their reaction.

Answering-hard-questions-during-a-job-interviewAre they confident in their answers?

Are they stumbling over their words?

Are they rambling?

Do they seem to know what they are talking about?

Also, listen to their words and see if they are mentioning any previous projects and examples of how they implemented the approach they are proposing. My colleague from PROSAR, Jenn Jefferys, wrote a great article on how to hire an inbound marketer and what to look for. You can apply many of these tricks to your search for your next social media manager.

Tip #2: Check them out online!

The advantage of today’s social networks is that you can look up anyone online. Simply Google your next candidate and see what comes up. As a social media or future community manager, they should have started to build their online reputation with a LinkedIn profile, a topic driven Twitter account and even a blog. If they have a blog take a look at the articles and their style of writing and the level of language.

SM_PROSAR_-_findIs their written form grammatically correct?

Does the article have a good flow?

Are you captivated by it? Or bored?

And do they have any guest posts? Are they writing for another website? Or publishing on LinkedIn?

Another way to check them out is to take a closer look at their LinkedIn profile. Many profiles today have top skills that are endorsed by others, recommendations that are added to a profile and even the option to see one’s portfolio. Another way to help your search is to directly post your job opportunity on a network like LinkedIn. You will probably get a candidate that has an active profile and that looked you up online as well. It has been proven that a post on career-oriented social media generates more than 60% of referrals towards the homepage of your company.

Tip #3: Follow your channels!

Here’s some advice if you believe you have found a great social media manager and that they are the right fit for your business. Although you trust their resume, their credentials, and what you have seen online, it might be to your advantage to become a little more active online and on your own channels. Get involved in your own social media strategy. If you have an existing network then start following your company Twitter account, LinkedIn company page or Facebook business page. Without being a micro-manager, your engagement will help you understand the advice your social media manager is giving you and maybe learn a thing or two about your company, your customers, and what is being said about you online.

You are making an investment in social media as an advertising, brand awareness and distribution channel. Follow the content that is being published, the customer feedback that you are receiving and the increase in the engagement that you observe. Finally, like any great strategy, it’s always great to have an overview from an expert.PROSAR has worked with many companies to help them setup their social media efforts and coached their internal specialists to implement tactics that work. Why not guarantee social media success with results from day 1?

3 Important Considerations for Engagement

There are certain words related to social media that people tend to use without really knowing what they mean. Working within an international setting these days, I have come to realize that certain words can become unclear or lost in translation. ENGAGEMENT is such a term

We all want to engage our community, we want to increase our engagement online, or what about that engagement statistic on Facebook, what does that mean?

engage_cartoonAnd what does engagement represent?
  • Will it drive more sales?
  • Will it create a community of loyal customers?
  • Will they spread your brand and promotions like wildfire?

The short answer is probably not. But… why not?

Although I am a strong believer in social media, engagement and community, I have come to realize that other factors need to be considered in order to build the right strategy. Here is my list of critical components: Your Customer, Your Offer, Your Goal and Your Industry.

 

Your Customer

Let’s be fair, not every customer will be the ideal profile to engage online.

Although age is only a number, their Internet behavior will help you better position your engagement.

INTERNET-CANADAOverall in Canada, more than 35 million people have home access to the Internet. Out of that group, 86% of 18-34 year olds have a social profile and 62% of 35-54 years olds. Very significant numbers that should be considered in an overall strategy.
From a channel perspective, Facebook remains the strongest with 59% of users but an interesting study from Forum research shows that Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn can be better channels for your customer base depending on their education, location and finally, your own objectives.

 

Your Offer

I believe you can create engagement around any topic but the nature of your offer will help you determine how much effort it might take. For example, if your business is customer service driven it might be easier to start a dialogue with your customers online. But then you have to be prepared to foster engagement by offering a quick response and have content ready for a diversity of questions and feedback to nurture a dialogue.

feed---backAnother example could be that you have a new product and want to get feedback from your audience. In that case, you might offer a free sample, use a social network like Facebook to create a forum, or ask your audience to spread the word by sharing pics on Instagram.

 

Your Goal

if you are in the service business, you, no doubt, use your online network to share info about and promote your service. However you may not be seeing any return. And that is often becauase ther isn’t a clea objective to shape your strategy. Evaluate what you want from your network and how will you leverage the information you gain.Engaging for the sake of engaging will not serve your end goal. Here are a few options to start your thinking process:

You want an engaged community

  • You will need a dedicated Community Manager that is interacting with your community on a daily basis. This person will be building your community, increasing your followership, posting relevant content on a high frequency to determine what are your community’s preferences and pain points.
  • You will need to provide content to your community. Get your employees in the habit of sharing their daily activities, their best moments and customers highlights.
  • You will need to create a discussion. The concept of “build it and they will come” does not apply here. Work hand-in-hand with your Community Manager to find discussion topics, questions to ask and elements for which you would like feedback.
  • Remember, this will take time and effort to create but once it is built, it will become a powerful marketing tool!

You want to generate leads

  • You will need to provide incentives to your fans or followers: contests, prizes, free samples, rewards, etc. By enticing your community to register for something, you will be able to gather their email address and build a database of potential leads.
  • Your incentive can also be GREAT content. Think about sharing tips, how-tos on how to use your product, current news if you are in a news driven industry, education on using your service, etc.
  • As you grow your database, use your social media to continue to engage your customers. Once they are in the habit of coming to your page or account for contests, prizes and samples, continue to promote to them to generate referrals and eventual sales. For this purpose, you will need to adopt a CRM tool with automated marketing capabilities such as SharpSpring to maintain your newly built relationships.

Your Industry

Finally, take a look at the your industry. What are your competitors doing to create engagement with their users? Are there any best practices that you can leverage?

Important to note that this should not be the only element to consider. It is not because your competition is there that you should be as well. Take the time to really look into their content: are they doing any storytelling, or only sales driven promotions? And what is their level of engagement? Determine which channels will reach your target audience and fit your needs the most. If it seems overwhelming, an agency can help you answer this question and give you a full overview of your market.

Online Communities: How Do You Decide with Who You Want to Be Friends?

cafeteria

Do you remember your first day of school, standing on your own in the playground? Or the first time you walked in to the high school cafeteria and had to decide where to sit? In life, there are many groups of people offering us different kinds of communities. Social media is the same.

In the social world, you have many groups of people that share interactions, interests and information. They will each use different platforms that offer its members different advantages.

When creating your online community, it is important to think about your customers: What do they want? Knowledge? Advice? A quick sale? A quick laugh? A connection?

Here are five online community types that you can keep in mind when building or improving your community:

1. Its all about business!

Promoting your business it probably one of most popular reasons for starting an online community. Nowadays, every marketing strategy includes a social platform. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, an online presence for your business is a crucial key to your success.

If this fits your intentions then use your SEO opportunities wisely. Know your keywords and maximize their usage in your content. Put forth your products and promotions and interact with your audience about product and services. Get their feedback and be available to answer their questions.

2. I want to be entertained!

Pinterest and YouTube are top online social communities for entertainment. If your goal is to help your audience relax and tune-out, use this fact to your advantage and create a community around people’s down time. Add video to your blog posts, or comment on a popular TV series, movie franchise or book to launch your community. If entertainment and/or leisure describe your online community type, post consistently and several times a day. Any excuse is a good excuse to be distracted!

kid_laughing1

3. I want to improve!

Who doesn’t want to improve! Online coaching, self-help videos and ebooks are all over the web. Everyone wants to be happy and feel good about themselves. If you can help your customers, community members or colleagues reach that goal, then why not? Whether you are sharing leadership advice, life coaching tips or entrepreneurship opportunities, make your page friendly, welcoming and warm…just like a good hug! Think about offering ebooks and online video sessions to interact with your online community. Post quotes of the day or advice that is accessible and useful.

4. Let’s make a connection!

You have customers online and in real life. The main reason for your customers to seek you online is to share their feedback, ask questions, give a review or show you appreciation. This type of community could be useful if you are a scholar, a researcher, or a company wanting to regroup a number of people from your industry into one forum. Use hashtags on Twitter to host chats and host a forum, if that fits best.

5. I have a problem and need a solution!

help_online

How many times have you went on Google to look for a solution to your problem? The Internet has become our easy-fix, our reliable solution finder, our mom with her crazy tips, or the replacement for that manual that we lost or threw out when we got our dishwasher. If you want to establish yourself as a reference in your field or a page to look-up when your client has a problem, then create an accessible online community that provides knowledge. Position yourself as an expert or create a question and answer forum for similar issues – washing and cleaning tips, travel and vacation ideas, health or nutrition related issues, real estate, dry cleaning or home brewing tips…the possibilities are endless!

No matter what, remember to have fun! Social media is all about interacting and getting to know your audience better. Remember to be one of your members and not just that mystery person behind the curtain answering their questions!