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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

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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.

Join the Social Media Party

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There are several reasons social media attracts the enthusiastic interest of marketing professionals. First and foremost, its where you find huge audiences—literally billions of people. Additionally, you can target populations based on demographics as well as individual interests. Social media campaigns aren’t difficult to carry out, either; tweeting or posting a Facebook message doesn’t require tons of technical expertise. It’s also relatively inexpensive; you won’t need a giant marketing budget to effectively promote your messaging.

Interactivity and immediacy of social media also makes it a very attractive marketing option for businesses. You’ll know when a message has been received by your audience and you can also get a feel for the reaction through “likes” and shares or comments. Best of all, when you succeed in getting consumers to carry your message for you, it becomes highly credible in the estimation of their friends and family.

So, social media marketing makes sense … but what specifically do you want to accomplish? Think of it as going to a party.

Mingle (brand awareness) – You’ve seen wallflowers at a party—maybe you’re one of them—who stands off alone or at best interacts with a very few people. They arrive and leave with barely a ripple. Social media is an easy way for your company to stand apart from the background.

Make a good impression (public relations) – You’re telling people about yourself—getting them to enjoy your company (pun intended). But just as importantly, you’re showing interest in the other guests and letting them know you share their thoughts and concerns.

Let others show you around (create advocates) – If you’re an interesting party guest, others will want to introduce you as someone who can help them with an issue or who is simply a fun person to meet. Be the in-demand guest!

Get a real feel for the room (market research) – If there’s one thing you can say about social media, it’s unfiltered; people have no hesitancy about saying what they think. Such market research is invaluable in helping you develop and position new products, solutions or services.

Meet people you’ll be glad to know (lead generation) – It’s always great to turn strangers into friends—especially the lifelong variety. That doesn’t happen by sitting alone, at home. Think of every person you meet on social media as a potential customer, and the value of marketing here becomes obvious.

Online Reputation Management Refresher

For many years, we have helped brands build and maintain their online reputations. The key has been consistency and doing a few things well, as opposed to trying to do everything poorly. Taking control of your online reputation is more important today than it has ever been. The amount of people relying on the internet for research and reviews continues to grow every year.

It’s no longer acceptable for your business to have no reviews or testimonials. If your company is having problems getting online reviews, just ask clients. And keep asking because 90% of the people in a large survey use the internet for research on products and services and 88% of them trust positive online reviews, treating them like personal recommendations.

The Bad Review

In 2014, over 2/3 of the people in a large survey said that they base their purchasing decisions on online reviews. Negative reviews can turn away 22% to 70% of a company’s potential business, depending upon how many bad reviews show up in the search results.

The process to address bad reviews has not changed. All negative comments should be addressed quickly and directly. Communicate with the reviewer, if possible, to rectify the situation or find some common ground. Then, write a blog about how these problems were addressed.

Dealing with Social Media

Social media faux pas still top the list for most frequent and destructive actions to reputations. Last year, the recently fallen YouTube vlogger, Kian Lawley, made racist comments which forced Fox and other companies to pull the plug on all of his film and television projects. The same thing can happen to small and midsize companies, which is why protocols need to be in place for all social media marketing.

Once the News Hears About It…

Over the years, news and entertainment media have increased their coverage of social media activity—from the President’s quixotic tweets to sports and television stars. Social media has become newsworthy, especially when it’s negative.

No one is immune to this trend. Even worse is when mistakes go viral, like the epic social media fail for a store in northern Minnesota, because local media outlets cover local businesses and someone, anyone can pick the story up and share it.

Everything Contributes, Not Just Social Media

Reputation management has a good mix of everything. Social media is a large part of that reputation, but it isn’t the only thing that matters. Keeping content fresh and up-to-date is also important. Businesses can go back and erase negative or outdated posts. This includes website content, like blogs, articles and case studies.

It’s also important to follow websites that post client and customer reviews. Many will have a policy for retracting negative reviews. All of this is part of a reputation maintenance plan, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

In some cases, you may need a bit more help with smoothing over your bad review or a publicly smeared reputation. In these situations, Pinstripe Marketing can help! Contact us for assistance.

 

 

 

 

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