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Pinstripe Answers: Is LinkedIn Live Something We Should Do?

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

In the world of online business marketing, LinkedIn is a behemoth. Even though it was late to the social media party, it has solidified its niche as the premier online interface for B2B. Now, they have something new—LinkedIn Live. It’s actually been around for over a year, and it’s nothing different than what the other social media sites have been doing for several years. As a matter of fact, YouTube has been doing this for over a decade. So, what makes LinkedIn Live special, or different, and is it relevant for B2B?

What Is LinkedIn Live?

Short answer: live streaming video available exclusively to LinkedIn audiences. This service gives businesses a familiar way to present important events that foster real-time engagement.

LinkedIn’s mission is to make professionals more successful, which means they don’t want the fluff. They want their members to share advice and help others in order to grow their network: for businesses, about businesses. That means it’s a perfect place for B2B networking.

However, because this is LinkedIn, there are restrictions in place to ensure that the content hitting the site is relevant. They want everything to have a professional context that maintains a trustworthy platform. This is a very different mindset than the other social media sites that focus solely on entertainment.

There’s a Caveat

Going live on LinkedIn is not easy. First, you need to apply. It’s not a long or involved application, but it does require processing time. They say it takes up to two weeks, but it could take longer. Some organizations have applied multiple times before getting accepted. It’s a subjective process, and LinkedIn isn’t sharing its criteria.

Once accepted, you’ll need to use a third-party broadcast tool:

  • Socialive
  • io
  • Wirecast
  • Switcher Studio
  • Wowza Cloud
  • Stream Yard

There are more, and the best one depends upon you whether or not you’ll be mobile or in a studio. These are typically subscription-based services with different levels and fee structures.

Finally, it’s suggested that multiple people work behind the scenes for each live broadcast:

  • Presenter(s)
  • Commenter
  • Technician

You’ll need someone to answer comments as they come, which allows the presenter(s) to stay on script. You should also have someone capable of handling video and sound problems if they occur. These maintain LinkedIn’s brand identity as a professional portal.

As you can see, a LinkedIn Live video is more time-consuming and requires more preparation and thought than an Instagram or Facebook Live video. If you have the resources for this, it’s worth the effort to produce higher quality videos that will represent your business in a more professional way.

People Prefer Live Video

Live video is more engaging than prerecorded video or video-on-demand. People will watch live video up to 8 times longer than other types of video. There’s more emotional engagement with a live feed because it’s less polished and more real. People are more forgiving if you make a mistake. Plus, anything can happen in real-time, which can be used to your advantage.

So, if you’re looking to engage directly with your target market, then LinkedIn Live is an excellent way to do it. Just remember that you’ll need more resources to do it and a content schedule to maintain the frequency you need to attract more people. At Pinstripe, we are experts with video production. We can help you get set up for success on LinkedIn Live and design a content schedule that connects with your audience. Contact us today to develop and execute a successful plan.

Quick Tip: Posting Consistently to Social Media Does Matter

Posting Consistently to Social Media_featured

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

Over the past 5 years, there have been countless articles regarding the “optimal frequency” for posting on social media. Unfortunately, many of these are flawed and misleading for B2B because they are solely based upon user activity. While this seems great for exposure and impressions, it does little for engagement that generates interest or leads for your business. It still matters when you post, but the focus should be on quality and consistency. Both will compensate for poor timing when you miss those optimal windows for posting.

 

The Magic Formula Doesn’t Exist

Before talking about frequency, we need to remember that what engages audiences matters. Knowing your audience will get more engagement, which leads to more exposure and impressions outside of your network. More clicks, more likes, more engagement equals greater exposure. It’s how the algorithms work.

This all happens organically, so you don’t need to “boost” those posts if you’re doing it right. So, focusing on what people want to see should be your main goal. There’s no magic formula for this. Some say social media should entertain. Others believe educating works better. A mix of both is always a good plan.

 

Consistency Matters – Not Frequency

Complex algorithms decide what the viewers should see. Not necessarily what they want to see, but it’s really close. Because of this, active profiles get more attention. When you think about it, it’s a way of rewarding the content generators for the platform. Without those posts, it would be boring. Posting during windows of opportunity will make you a regular feature in your clients’ news feeds. Being consistent means sending out the right message at the right time.

Posting too much actually has a negative effect on your audience. High frequency overwhelms the audience, causing disengagement and apathy. Here is a list of how frequent B2B companies should post:

  • Facebook = 1 per day
  • LinkedIn = 1 per day
  • Instagram = 1 or 2 times per day
  • Twitter = 3 to 5 times per day

There’s the frequency. Twitter’s tweets have a short lifespan, which requires frequent posts to get noticed. Now, let’s look at when you should post.

  • Facebook: The best time to post is 9 a.m. Or, you can also post between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. (based on EST). Why? Because your clients have Facebook open while working and will check it frequently throughout the day. To dig deeper into your audience’s unique footprint, look on your company’s Facebook page under Insights > Posts to see a graph of “When Your Fans Are Online.”
  • LinkedIn: Between 10 a.m. and noon. The best day to post is Wednesday.
  • Instagram: During lunch and at the end of the day, so around noon and 5 p.m.
  • Twitter: Spread your tweets out throughout the day, starting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. At a minimum, that’s every 4 hours. For maximum effect, you should post 5 tweets every two hours.

 

Adapting to a Changing Environment

Social media is always changing the way users get and see content. Plus, newer platforms, such as Tik Tok or Caffeine, provide innovative ways for users to consume content. Fortunately, social platforms haven’t changed much for B2B industries, but there have been some significant changes in the way people want to get their content.

Currently, video leads the pack because it’s easy to use, and you don’t have to watch the video to get the content you need. Anyone could listen to a video and get the same message. Video should definitely be part of your mix for content. Just remember that it has to be either entertaining or educational to attract attention.

We’ve noticed a trend in written content – people love bulleted lists, especially those with action items. Try to incorporate some lists into your content calendar to capture some attention. This content itself is usually helpful in work or life. Articles like “10 Productivity Hacks” or “Preparing for a Video Interview” contain a collection of actionable items that readers can follow to make their lives easier. Who doesn’t love time saving or insider tips?

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their social media and video production needs. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the content you envision.

Social Media Campaign Management Secret Sauce

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A social media campaign for business, whether large or small, is more than just posting photos, ideas, industry news or funny quips on your page. Save that for your personal Facebook page, although you still need to be conscientious here (more on this in another article). A business social media campaign needs to be carefully thought out, align with your business goals, and possess an authentic voice that is considered trustworthy by your readers, followers, and clients.

Planning your social media campaign should take the form of several steps to begin with, but of course you will probably need to adjust over time as your business goals change, your products change, and the business environment itself changes. As always, being agile and adaptable is an advantage when managing your social media accounts. Below are some steps to follow to get you started:

  • Define your target audience – who are your readers, followers, and ultimately, your clients? Start with determining this so that you can formulate a voice that speaks to those people authentically.
  • Set goals – do you want to drive more traffic to your site, a particular product or service page, or just raise general awareness of your business?
  • Create a keyword list that defines your business and appeals to the audience you want to reach – this list will inform everything you write, post and say on all social media accounts.
  • Create a timeline/calendar – how often do you want to publish blogs and post to social media? Create a calendar so that you always know when it’s time to post and the earlier you can define what it is you want to post, the better. This way you are not always scrambling to come up with something the day that you are supposed to post it.

This is the framework of your social media campaign. Once you have an understanding of all of these items and your calendar is in place, you can start gathering your content. Business social media is all about sharing content, stories, case studies, and ideas that are relevant, useful, and/or helpful to your audience. It’s not only about promoting your business. There is no better way to lose your audience’s interest than to constantly post about your products and why someone should purchase them, or even posting coupons or sales. People want information! We recommend a ratio of 10-15% business promotion and the rest is all content that the reader can actually use. In some cases that may even be giving away some of your business’ “secret sauce.”

A great example is this very blog and, in fact, most of the articles on our blog. We are experts in social media marketing and many of our clients hire us to do just what we describe in this article. Why would we give away these secrets? Because we sincerely want to help. If this information is useful to your company and can help you run your social media campaigns more efficiently, then we are happy to have impacted your business in a positive way. However, we also realize that taking the above steps can become time-consuming, and many business owners quickly realize they are in over their head. If that’s the case, we exist to help you in this way as well – to fill in the gap you have in social media marketing so you can work on your business. If that’s the case, please contact us and we can come up with a social media management plan that will fit your business and budget!

Social Media Protocol for the Professional

social media protocol for business_news

We see people misbehaving on social media all the time. This can have consequences for associated business social media accounts that may range from small waves to downright devastating. Below is a list of items to consider when posting on your personal social media account as a professional.

-Even if you aren’t managing the business’ social media account, you are still connected and as a result you represent that business, on social media and wherever you go.

-In effect, your behavior on your personal social media account is indirectly (and in some cases, directly) associated with the business itself, whether or not the content of your posts refers to the business in any way.

-Knowing this, your conduct on social media may be scrutinized, particularly as an associate of the business, so any negative, lewd, ignorant, blasphemous, or otherwise irresponsible behavior can reflect poorly on the business, in turn cultivating a negative opinion of it.

-Think before you post – if your post is even remotely controversial, ask yourself if it’s worth blasting out to the public or if it’s something better discussed privately with close friends or family.

Example: An employee of a mid-sized law firm is annoyed with the company’s slow adoption of technology. He thinks of the partners in the firm as “dinosaurs” who are stuck in an age of paper and pen. One day he decides to post a meme on Facebook that features photos of seven of the attorneys alongside surprisingly similar looking dinosaurs with the caption, “A dinosaur a day keeps the technology away.” While his friends and some of his family find this extremely funny, one of the firm’s largest and longest-standing clients happens to see the post and is offended, as he has been working with the firm for as long as it’s been around, and thus is, by proxy, a “dinosaur” as well. He contacts his attorney at the firm to complain.

This is only the beginning for this incident. Depending on how leadership handles the complaint, they may lose the client, fire the employee, or they may be able to gracefully apologize and set the record right. Either way, their staff most likely needs some training from a marketing firm like Pinstripe. We do public relations and communications training on a regular basis.

Employees Are Also Brand Ambassadors, Not Just the Executives

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Pinstripe has seen, all too often, the mistakes people make when posting on social media. Everyone makes mistakes. We get it. Some mistakes are minor, like the usual typos and a forgotten word or two, while others take on a whole other dimension that can cause a firestorm of negative feedback. Then, even worse, it goes viral.

For the most part, these mistakes are somewhat ridiculous. However in some circumstances, they can have negative consequences for nearly everyone connected. Unfortunately, the individual’s employer could be attached to their profile, and in turn cause customer backlash.

Employee handbooks have whole sections devoted to these issues. Plus, more companies are adopting them. So, why don’t companies turn something that’s perceived as negative into a positive? Encouraging employees to post the great things about the company can have a huge advantage in the social media race.

In the Past…

Bad things said about a company or it’s employees were talked about among family and friends and were rarely found in the papers, which only had a regional effect. However, because of technology, the word-of-mouth systems of old have taken on a whole new meaning. So has the phrase “spreads like wildfire.” Anything posted on social media has the potential to do this. There are so many social media outlets today that monitoring them in order to defend a company’s reputation has turned into a growing industry.

Education and Training

The trick isn’t monitoring, it’s educating. This goes beyond company policies on proper etiquette. Think about creating a brand ambassador program to educate and train employees on how to accentuate the company’s marketing efforts. Instead of having a neutral social media policy with do’s and do not’s, you are creating a positive force of brand ambassadors.

Below are some very basic steps to setting up your employees as brand ambassadors. The possibility of a substantial return on this investment could exceed your expectations.

Communicate the Plan

Informing employees about expectations and repercussions will let them know exactly what the company’s vision is and how social media can highlight the company in positive ways. GE’s brand ambassador plan is a great example of how a company can increase customer engagement through employee engagement.

Provide Guidelines

Your employee handbook should already have social media policies against inappropriate posts. So, they need to know what they should post. Examples are an easy way to answer questions about content before they’re asked.

Permission and Content

You’ll need to reassure them that there are no repercussions for posting positive info and pictures. A little trust will go a long way. To help them along, you can have hashtags available and URLs for quick access on a company page.

Maintaining a Positive Reputation

When employees post good things about their workplace and services, people will take notice. This is especially true when bad things happen and the company goes into crisis management mode. If an overwhelming amount of positive information is out there, then that leaves very little for negativity to thrive on. A positive reputation is easier to uphold in the social arena, and employees as brand ambassadors are a great way to achieve and maintain it.