January 30, 2017
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What the #Resistance Can Teach Us About Social Media

Resistance

Twistance image courtesy of @StollmeyerEU and poster design by Vanessa Whitter

Right or Left, if there has ever been a time where you’ve become jaded to the power of social media, the last 10 days should restore your faith in the power of the medium. It also reinforces a few lessons that individuals, brands, and yes, even governments, should know – at least they should read the manual before engaging.

I’ll be honest, I’ve worked in the social media space for so long, and seen so many trends come and go, that I’d started to become immune to its power, and the reasons I became so passionate about it to begin with. I was sure that Twitter was on its last legs as a platform, and might not make it through 2017 in one piece. I have been known to tell anyone who cared to listen that Facebook was evil, and that it was more concerned about its dominance than for its users.

I still think those things to an extent, but I think the social media deluge in the last few weeks has lessons for these social media superpowers, too, to adjust, survive, and actually maybe thrive.

Let’s take a look at a “10,000-foot-view” roundup of recent Twitter events.

– There’s a POTUS that uses Twitter to express his every thought, every moment he has one.
– There’s an army, for both sides of the political spectrum, using Twitter to press an agenda, taunt the other side, and “trend” topics to present such an array of false information, that no one knows the truth. (Gaslighting/alternative facts.)
– And there’s a grass-roots movement, so swift, so sweeping, that it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, to make sure that there is a #resistance to both of these things.

Then, there’s Facebook. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed used to be useless. Full of “I had a sandwich for lunch today!” and “I’m so important!” or “My life is so awesome and other useless drivel!” that it was my social channel of last resort. A place for photos and sentiment that I put there only so my parents and in-laws could feel connected to our lives many states away. Between photos of everyone’s kids and dogs and these ridiculous graphics that let us quote ourselves so we’ll feel more important, I would dread the daily check in. To quote a recent meme, I’d look to see what was happening aaaaaand I’m now in an argument.

But in recent days, it’s become a place of information. Advice on how to know what is and is not fake news. Voices of reason (thank you Dan Rather) in an otherwise tumultuous assault on my political senses. No longer filled with partisanship, there is a sudden awareness of democracy, the process, and a new urgency from despair that maybe we’d gotten a little too complacent as a citizenry.

I’d forgotten, as I expect the US government had as well, that Facebook and Twitter brought about an Arab Spring. In a few short months, an entire ruling body was brought to its knees by the power of the people displayed through social media.

Even Instagram, my recent social media channel of choice and serenity, has taken on a new tone. It’s still full of engaging photos and visual moments, but those moments have become much more visceral, much more personal, and much less a carefully curated existence.

What can Twitter and Facebook (the current landlord of Instagram) learn from all of this?

For Twitter, I think they should note that is their real-time nature where lies their strength and sway. From moment-to-moment protest information to breaking news, Twitter is directing an entire movement from place to place, hour by hour, even minute by minute.

I remember vividly now how I knew that pop-icon Michael Jackson had died about a half hour before the traditional news media aired their first broadcast, so this should be no surprise. Twitter, I think, has tried to become something it’s not, becoming too concerned with advertiser drivel and paid emojis (which they denied to POTUS and he still resents – again, WRONG FOCUS.) There’s a place for that, but not if your audience abandons you before you figure it out.

For Facebook, it all centers around community. The ability for users to come together around a common enemy or cause, and join together, stronger as one voice than as separate shouts. Mobilizing with moments, and allowing one side or the other to drown out the propaganda and post real stories from real people.

What can brands and businesses learn from all this? I think it comes down to a few key points.

1. Authenticity drowns out marketing. This is why I fell in love with social media from the very beginning. It allows for one-on-one connections, a way for people to filter out the noise and find their own truth (true or not.) I think that perhaps the current administration, in all their love for a medium that allows them to carefully stoke an undercurrent and craft an alternative universe, forgot that social media makes the world a much smaller place than it is. Individuals have a voice, and they can use it. They ain’t buyin’ what you’re sellin’ – it applies to more than politics.

2. It’s all about trust. Edelman should pay me a royalty for how much I reference their annual trust survey information. I don’t know if the last year helped the gap of trust to grow to such proportions, or if it’s been cracking for a while now (I suspect a bit of both), but this year’s survey showcases how untrusting we are. People are far more trusting of their networks of friends, family and colleagues than they are of a brand (or government.) This is why if you are right-leaning, your Facebook feed will be filled with those like you, and the same for the left-leaning. But I think again, what the current climate is filled with, is distrust for anyone in power. Heck, even employees in the latest numbers are trusted by 16 points more than the CEO for cripe’s sake!

Brands, take notice. You are spitting in the wind. If your customers, your employees and your influencers aren’t authentically (back to number 1) saying what you’re marketing, you’re wasting your money in the end.

3. Storytelling for the win. Sweeping generalizations are becoming marketing noise, and individual stories are now the currency of social media. If we take, for example, the latest uproar around the perception of a #MuslimBan, it is the individual stories that have compelled a response. Individual detainees in airports have seen their stories become national news. One former US soldier (through about 20 Tweets) made a case for a refugee who he thought faced certain death by helping his squadron in Iraq. From Olympians to scientists studying diabetes, it’s the story that sways perception, not the Twitter posts of a failing PR machine.

4. If you try to silence your critics in social media, you actually empower them to be louder. In trying to control perception, the US government has actually empowered a new kind of voice – the ALT government account movement, I’ll call them. To battle a stream of alternative facts, they became the home of the TRUTH (all caps for effect.) These ALT accounts (the ALT EPA, the ALT National Park Service, etc.) have been empowered to become the voice that was being drowned out. It’s the same for brands and businesses. The minute you try to remove a bad review, or don’t respond to a genuine concern out of fear for your PR machine, you allow these voices to become louder than your own, and take on a life of their own. You’re far better off by responding authentically (there’s that number 1 again) and admitting mistakes than trying to PR your way out of something. What’s to stop the next Alt-Uber, or Alt-Google, or ALT-your-business?

I don’t think we’ve learned the last lesson of social media. In the coming days, the #resistance may teach brands even more about a world where each person has a voice, and can create insta-celebrities out of regular people. The lessons mentioned here are not new, but rather re-affirmed in a brave new world.

January 3, 2017
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Taming the Wild West of Snapchat Metrics

Snapchat. Its the shiny new social media toy, but it scares the bejeebers out of a lot of brands and social media managers because – let’s face facts – it’s not very intuitive for metrics. Some folks feel that if you can’t measure it like Twitter and Instagram, you shouldn’t focus on it.

WeAreCisco SnapcodeI’m here to tell you that you CAN measure it – I measure it for the WeAreCisco Snapchat account (follow with the Snapcode below.) It DOES provide you with an idea of your Return on Investment (ROI.) You just have to understand what makes it different, what makes it the same, what makes it challenging, and what options are available to you.

I recently had the honor of speaking at the PRNews Snapchat Bootcamp in Washington, DC on this exact subject (where I was a finalist for the 2016 Social Media Professional of the Year award!) Here’s a condensed version of the goodness they got.

What makes it different?

No doubt, Snapchat is the honeybadger (doesn’t give a S&&T) about what you’re used to measuring. To appreciate it, you have to understand what makes it different.

  • There are no native analytics. (At least like you’re used to seeing with something like Facebook Insights.)
  • Follower counts? Fuhgeddaboudit. If you were vigilant and ever-present in Snapchat, you might, MIGHT be able to get an accurate count of followers. Get over about 100 at a time? Not possible, because Snapchat won’t give you a number.
  • Metrics disappear when the Snaps disappear. Its 24-hour cycle makes it cool, and also a bane of the social manager’s existance.

What makes it the same?

If you’re a decently trained social media manager, you’ll recognize and appreciate Snapchat’s focus on engagement. There’s no follower count, but engagement counts on the platform.

It’s the same, because if you appreciate quality over quantity, you’ll understand that no amount of followers will make a difference if they don’t engage with your content. Talking to yourself, anyone?

What makes it challenging? (In addition to different.)

There are a lot of things social folks are used to looking at to get engagement metrics. But Snapchat holds out.

  • There are no link outs – no way to look at click through rates using your standard tools.
  • There are no hashtags to track. Snapchat is anti-hashtag. It won’t even allow them in your paid geofilters.
  • There are no likes. No shares. No ReTweets, No “faves.”

So if engagement is so important to Snapchat, how do you track it without these things?

Your options for measurement.

You have two options here. You can find metrics manually, or you can save yourself from wanting to poke your eyeballs out and go with a paid tool.

Manual metrics. Pros: it’s free, and if you can do a modicum of math it’s not hard. Cons: you spend a lot of time pulling numbers, adding stuff up, keeping excel spreadsheets, etc. The biggest con to me, is that it’s all about timing. If a Snap disappears after 24 hours, you have to set a reminder 23 hours and 50 minutes after each Snap to go and check the numbers the closest you can get without going over. It’s like the Price is Right for social media.

Tool metrics. Cons: it costs money. But what is your time worth? How about your sanity? Pros: the time restriction is gone – you can go check the metrics whenever you damn well feel like it. There’s no monkey math – it’s all in the tool presented so nicely that you can pop in for 10 seconds, scan, and get out. Charts and graphs are done for you, too. Snapchat makes it hard for these tools as well, so in 2017, we’ll see if Snapchat joins the metrics club.

What can/should you measure?

  1. Total unique views. Look at your first Snap of the day. See the eyeball and the number? That’s your unique views. Don’t add up all the view on all your snaps. Those aren’t UNIQUE views. Generally speaking, you’re not starting a Snap story in the middle.
  2. Total completions. Look at your last Snap of the day. Eyeball. Numbers. That’s how many people viewed the whole story kaboodle.
  3. Completion rate. This is my favorite engagement metric. This is a percentage of how many people started and completed your story. Take your total completions, divide it by total unique views (last Snap views/first Snap views) times 100 to get a percentage rate. Higher is better, lower means re-evaluate your content.
  4. Screenshots. This is the one engagement metric where someone takes an action on your content. Look for the green screenshot icon and add up all the numbers. Here’s the kicker, if you didn’t ask for screenshots, you don’t want to freak out if you don’t get any, because it’s all about . . .

It’s all about your goals

I wish I could say that this isn’t new information, but sadly, many social media managers/teams don’t first stop to think of goals/expectations before starting a new channel.

Without clear goals, you will never be able to show clear success.

  1. Who is your audience? If you’re looking for retirement age, Snapchat ain’t for you.
  2. What do you want your audience to do? Example, if you want them to screenshot, and you ask for screenshots, measure screenshots.
  3. What are your expectations? Are you trying to sell a product? Grow awareness? You look at different metrics for those goals on other platforms, why not social?

The moral of this story is, that Snapchat is the SAME as other platforms, because you should start the SAME way (with goals.) It’s also different, so you need to understand and appreciate what makes it different, and embrace how you measure that difference.

August 1, 2016
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5 Strategies for Branding on Instagram

My best social bud Casie Shimansky and I wrote a guest blog post on my best talent brand bud Ed Nathanson‘s Red Pill Talent blog. The post is entitled 5 Strategies for Employer Branding on Instagram – The Moments That Matter.

But I repost it here, because I don’t think the strategies are limited to Employer Brand. I think these are strategies that any brand should follow.

One of the things that really “gets my goat” about marketers is that they think they can create whatever content they want and broadcast it on every social channel they have. That’s not how social works, or at least, how it works best. Content that is crafted specifically for the platform on which it’s showcased is what gets the best engagement. That’s what the moral of this particular story is. 🙂

—————————————————

Casie Shimansky and Carmen Shirkey Collins work for Cisco’s Talent Brand Team, Casie as a social media manager and Carmen as the social media lead for the team. Follow along with the WeAreCisco adventures on Instagram (WeAreCisco). (They’re on Snapchat, too! Username wearecisco.)

 

Photos are one of the best ways to tell a story. They can communicate a moment instantly. They can allow someone to identify and say “I was there. I was a part of something.”

That’s what makes Instagram a great social media channel for telling your employer brand story. Aside from having 400 million monthly active users and the key demographics where 90% of Instagrammers are under 35 it’s the perfect place to tell the #LoveWhereYouWork story.

Last summer, Cisco’s Talent Brand team took on the Instagram challenge. As when starting any new social media platform, we wanted to optimize the content we were posting for the channel on which we were posting it.

Our Chief People Officer, Fran Katsoudas, talks all the time about the importance of moments that matter to employees. In employer branding, we’re sometimes even talking about the moments BEFORE the moments that matter. But it’s that idea of visually communicating the moment that makes Instagram the perfect channel for highlighting culture. Take a look at Instagram’s video about using their platform as a business. The whole video is about the moment that matters.

Our strategy for Instagram?

 

  1. Strong photography. Instagram is the only social media platform that is all about the visual. Text on images? Put those on Facebook. That’s not what distinguishes Instagram as a way to tell the story. Instagram is all about the photography, and it has to be dynamic, engaging, and ‘play nice’ within the established Instagram community. .Text on images looks like marketing. Instagram is your portfolio of images and your scrapbook of moments. Would you want someone marketing to you in those places? Both Instagrammers and Millennials can smell the scent of marketing and inauthenticity a mile away – and go running.

 

Cisco Insta 1

 

  1. UGC – user (in this case employee) generated content. Instagram isn’t about the polished corporate graphic. Save that for Twitter. Nor is it about sharing all the images, all the time. It’s about being in the moment, and experiencing life as it unfolds through the eyes of others – creatively, humorously, and vibrantly. Can you say what you want to say with just an image? Even if you didn’t fill out any text or hashtags, does that image speak a 1000 words all on its own? No? Then you should rethink your Instagram strategy.

 

Cisco Insta 2

 

  1. Videos that were MADE for Instagram. Talking head videos are useful employer branding assets, but best when used on a Website or a job description. Instagram video is a separate asset (just as all social video should be.) Only recently did Instagram open up their video requirements and allow for 60-second videos, over the traditional 15-second limitation. However, remember that Instagram is also a social media channel that is almost 100% mobile. You can NOT upload a photo from a desktop. That means you’re dealing with a mobile attention span, in that you’ve probably got less than 15 seconds. It’s also one of the few channels where video apps allow you to create specific types of video. Boomerang (a looping 3 second clip,) Hyperlapse (a sped up video;) these match the platform. They are specific and engaging.
  1. Engagement. If an employee tags #WeAreCisco or @WeAreCisco, we see it. We respond. We ask for permission (rather than assuming we can use it) to post the photo. And we don’t use Repost. We publish each photo organically, tagging the respective employee to give them significantly more exposure. And employees love their 15 minutes of fame.
  1. Voice. If you look at any WeAreCisco social media channel, you’ll see we “talk” like a human being. Like a coworker. If the employees aren’t backing up what your culture presents to the world, you can’t be authentic. People on Instagram especially want to be a part of a community and constantly connecting, not looking at marketing.

 

Cisco Insta 5

 

 

Is our strategy working?

In one year on Instagram, WeAreCisco has

 

  1. Grown our followers from zero at launch, to over 10,000 followers. Only after reaching a significant number of organic followers did we even consider paid advertising. And even then, if you look at a paid “ad” and an organic Instagram post, you’ll see that there’s not much difference. We don’t market, we amplify an authentic employee viewpoint as our culture story.
  1. Maintained and exceeded engagement rates. As we’ve grown our followers, we’ve kept and exceeded average engagement rates. Our employee base audience has allowed our engagement numbers to maintain even through Instagram launching an algorithm that would hurt engagement for most brands. If your goal is only increasing follower count, or you have to pay for engagement, to use a social meme saying, you’re doing it wrong. You could have 100K followers, but if you’re engagement rate is below 1% of those followers, you’d be better off on a different social channel.
  1. Developed a content calendar that is filled with employee content two months out. Employees love tagging their photos with #WeAreCico and #LoveWhereYouWork. So much so that we encouraged more of it with an all-employee contest. Even after the contest was over, we spend a lot of time looking at the hashtags and engaging. We developed trainings that helped to show our employees what we’re looking for, and even how to take better pictures. As a result, our content calendar is now entirely user generated content.
  1. Driven clicks to our career site. Instagram is tricky. You can only have one clickable link on your profile. We made that link our careers site. Whenever we run a boosted post, we link to the careers site. While our main goal is engagement and followers right now, we’re driving significant traffic to our jobs.

 

 

Cisco Insta 3

 

 

July 29, 2016
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Taking Cisco’s Employer Brand To Snapchat

Snapchat collage

If I had to name the one thing that I’ve worked on in my social media career that has been the most rewarding, it has got to be bringing the ‘wearecisco’ Snapchat account to life. And I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff in the past. Some pretty cool stuff even at Cisco (like growing our Twitter account from 2K to 20K in one year.)

What follows is the story, the journey of how we came to be on Snapchat, how we paved a path for Cisco, and how we’ve seen success on a channel that most brands shun. Originally published on the Cisco blog.

————-

Snapchat. It’s the new shiny social media platform. It has the most marketing-sought-after age group as it’s primary user base (that would be millennials and Gen Z) and it’s all anyone in social media can talk about.

As the social media lead for Cisco’s Talent Brand Team, I know that our team has been talking about it for over a year. How could we take Cisco’s awesome culture to Snapchat while staying true to the platform? How, as a brand, would we take the personal connections with our employees and our technology, and tell the stories with their voice so that we could attract more great employees? This mission has served us so well on other social media channels, like Twitter and Instagram, but Snapchat is like no other social media channel. We didn’t want to be “marketers,” we wanted to be “coworkers.”

Finally, the time for talking had passed. It was time to jump on the Snapchat train, or else watch it leave the station without us.

Our answer was right in front of us.

Snapchat collageThrough our social media listening, and connections with employees that we’ve made in finding stories for our Life at Cisco blog, we realized that we had some pretty awesome talent brand ambassadors already at our disposal.

So the social team set up a meeting to bring them all together. They were excited just about the meeting – it was a way to connect in person (and on Webex) for the first time with other like-minded individuals. They felt like they were a part of the “inner circle” (they were) and referred to the meeting for weeks as the Cisco Secret Society.

Little did we know at the time, but they became the Kitten Rainbow Unicorns/KRUs – (everything that is awesome about the Internet.) We asked them if they’d like to have the keys to Cisco’s first Snapchat channel, (username wearecisco) to highlight the culture and their voice to the world. They said, “um, YEAH!”

As you might imagine, this was a little bit of a scary proposition, we were innovating in true Cisco fashion, and sometimes, that’s not an easy thing. We realize now we shouldn’t have worried. The wearecisco Snapchat channel is just as awesome as the employees that give us the content for it.

How’d we do it?

Snapcode WeAreCiscoWe launched the account in May of 2016.

The Talent Brand Social Team manages the account logistics and provides enthusiasm and opportunities. We have a shared calendar where the KRUs can sign up for whatever day/topic they would like. As my manager, Director of Culture and Talent Brand Macy Andrews says all the time: “We didn’t over-engineer what they could post. We let them be them, authentic and raw and wonderful.”

They had to sign Cisco’s employee social media policy and know how Snapchat worked. (We helped with tips and tricks, but we didn’t provide any formal training, as Snapchat isn’t terribly intuitive and it’s a platform where doing it “your own way” is preferred.)

This team self-organized – they talk to each other, hand off Snapchat duties like they’ve been doing it forever, and check in with the social team along the way to make sure they’re “doing it right.” (The answer is always yes, by the way. We couldn’t construct it any better if we tried.)

While we keep the Snapchat group small to help us manage and insure account security, we have now rolled new Snapchatters into the program. Each month we add a few more people in more geographies (we’ve covered the US, Canada, Israel, UK and Ireland so far) to keep the story fresh.

We’ve also been honored to have Snappers who are located in our San Jose headquarters who have managed to have several of our executives make guest appearances – and were thrilled when both Executive Chairman John Chambers and our CEO Chuck Robbins appeared on the channel with our employees.

How do we know it’s working?

While Snapchat doesn’t have analytics in the traditional social media sense (which is okay with us, because social media folks know that it’s not about the quantity of followers, but it’s also about the quality) we work with an analytics partner to track our success.

We’ve had 600% follower increase week over week since launch. We’ve seen 70-80% rate of story completion (clicking through from start to finish on each story) and our reach continues to grow.

What do our Snapchatters say?

Does YOUR company trust you to be their voice??? Mine DOES!!  This has been and continues to be one of the best experiences I have had at Cisco and one that I think will be very rare among my peers at companies across the globe. – Stephanie Mosher, Executive Assistant, Cisco Austin

Sharing the Cisco interns has been really fun – they are all super excited to meet who is snapping for Cisco for the day, follow our channel (or tell me how they are already following) and share their excitement to a Cisco employee. – Carla Leigh, HR Manager, Cisco San Jose

Using the WeAreCisco Employee SnapChat account has been an incredibly fun experience and is instrumental in understanding and connecting with fellow colleagues globally. I feel proud that Cisco allows us the opportunity to show off our playful side and why we #LoveWhereYouWork at Cisco! – Rehana Rehman, Business Operations, Cisco San Jose

And those are just a few of the comments we hear!

What does it mean to me?

Working with this group of KRUs has been one of the best experiences of my career. They make my job exciting every day. They make me proud to be a fellow Cisconian. And they make Cisco and Cisco’s Talent Brand look good. Every time I see how they use Snapchat to interpret life at Cisco, I’m left with a huge smile on my face. To honor Cisco’s new brand campaign, I would say there has never been a better time to be a part of the #WeAreCisco tribe.

July 27, 2016
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WeAreCisco Snapchat Discussion on the For Immediate Release Podcast

Recently, I wrote a blog post on the Cisco blog about the Cisco Talent Brand and how we launched Cisco’s first Snapchat channel – all about the Cisco culture.

The folks over at For Immediate Release Podcast Network picked up the story and ran it on their blog. Where I posted a comment. Then they said “let’s do a podcast interview!” and I said “sure thing!”

Here is the Podcast interview, where we talk the how, the why and the what’s next for WeAreCisco on Snapchat. Follow us with username ‘wearecisco’ or the Snapcode below.

Click play to listen. 🙂

Snapcode WeAreCisco

July 21, 2016
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The 3 M’s of Instagram Marketing

Instagram imageEveryone in marketing is trying to figure out how to represent on Snapchat right now, but I kind of think that you should learn to walk before you run all over yourself. That means mastering Instagram first.

Marketers don’t get that. They see a new platform with a bunch of shiny younger users and wonder “How can I use the content I’m creating and splash it all over every social media channel??” WRONG QUESTION.

What’s the right question? It’s the difference between marketers and social media marketers.

What is the story I’m trying to tell, and how can I use each social media platform to do it to reach that particular audience.

Don’t be a marketer, be a social media marketer.

I’d like to ask everyone to stop for a moment and think of how you, yourself, personally use Instagram. (Wait, did you say you don’t personally use Instagram? Then why are you trying to market on a platform you don’t understand?)

First, you use it on MOBILE.

Instagram is a mobile-only game. Can you view on desktop, yes, but why? It’s USED on mobile.

Let’s think about how people scroll through their Instagram feeds. They use their thumb. They scroll and scroll and BOP! they find something that catches their very limited attention span. They use their thumb to BOP! stop scrolling and ingest that content.

What makes for these thumb-stopping moments? The answer is in the question, and it’s the second M of Instagram.

It’s the MOMENTS that matter.

If you look at anything that comes from the fine folks at Instagram (like these best brand examples), you will see that the platform is all about the moment. It’s the moment, captured in photography. Curated with filters and found with hashtags. What stops that thumb is someone saying “I can see myself in that moment with you,” “I can relate to that moment because it’s happened to me,” or “I wish that was MY moment, too.” (These are some of the emotional reasons for engagement.)

StoptextonIGThumb-stopping for a finely crafted marketing graphic with text that you can’t read on mobile in an instant happens WAY less often. Or an animated video that you put together with your agency. Or a PR announcement on a background. Stop all this nonsense. Is that what YOU stop with YOUR thumb on?

Also, most moments are not frequent. A moment is fleeting. It doesn’t come around 5-10 times a day. Once per day, or if you’re really lucky, twice. A study released by TrackMaven proves this out. Brands have the most engagement when they publish less often. Makes sense, because brands are usually posting a lot of non-moments.

Use the platform as it was intended. Publish moments, make your marketing into moments, and you’ll see more Instagram success, and you won’t get blocked or unfollowed for clogging someone’s feed.

Instagram has tried it’s best to tell you this. It has an entire site that shows this. Why aren’t you listening? I’m all for taking risks on social, but in the right way.

“Businesses do best on Instagram when they share well-crafted content that’s on-brand and driven by a clear objective. Tell your story through captivating images, videos and captions.” – Instagram

“well shot, interesting to look at and artistic. What you create should draw people in and keep them wanting more.” – Instagram

(And this thing, where you post a bunch of pictures to make one big picture on the Instagram page no one uses? Stop it. Same principal. 6 pictures to make one moment is not a moment. That is a stunt, and it’s 6 non-sensical photos in someone’s feed who is now going “What is THAT?”)

The last M = Millennials

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Millennials consume their information a little differently. They want different things. They see marketing coming a mile away (they’ve been inundated with it their whole life) and they tend to avoid it.

So if around 50 million of them are using a social platform, you need to speak their language. Talk their talk. Roll with how they roll.

They consume visuals. They consume them fast. They consume them on their terms, not yours.

They share their moments. On mobile. That’s how you reach them.

(Originally posted on my LinkedIn Publisher page.)

January 26, 2016
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Stop the Twitter Bots!

Stop the botsY’all. We have a bot problem. A Twitter bot problem.

I’m a social media manager, so I understand the need to automate some things in social. Maybe you have a great post idea at midnight but you want to post it when people are actually awake, so you schedule it. Maybe you manage 5 different channels on a daily basis, so you use a tool to push out your calendar.

All that is fine, as long as your posts are authentic, written by you, and convey that a person is behind them.

However, we need to start a campaign to #StopTheBots. This movement could be as big as Occupy Wall Street if we just all band together.

By Stop the Bots, I mean those automated programs that write tweets on your behalf and spam your followers with unauthentic information. Things that look like this:

“My most engaged followers this week were @SOMEBODY and @SOMEBODY. Thank you. Via @WhateverBotYouUse”

“There are 200 people who don’t follow me back. Via @WhateverBotYouUse”

“I got 3 new followers this week. Via @WhateverBotYouUse”

“Curated Tweets by @WhateverBotYouUse.”

Are these things that YOU should care about when you look at your Twitter follower analytics? Yes. Are these things that your followers care about at all? NO! Are these things that you should spam your followers with? NO! Stop it!

Some of you will say about one of the bots above, “But I want to thank my engaged followers!”

“As you should,” I’ll say back. BUT you should do it in a unique way each time and in a way that seems like it’s more about thanking them than bragging about yourself.

Then there’s the most dreaded bot of all. The “thank you for your follow” Direct Message Bot. When you follow an account, you get an automated thank you. When it happens to me, you also get a non-automated “unfollow” and a very human “delete.” There are people all over social complaining about this, yet it seems like more and more people are doing it.

That’s the whole problem with bots. They’re sucking the humanity out of your accounts. They’re showing your followers that maybe there’s not a real person behind that account. Maybe they shouldn’t pay attention to your important posts, either.

Stop the bots! Long live the humans!

January 5, 2016
by admin
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Facebook, I Wish I Knew How To Quit You

Facebook dislikeI’m not sure if it’s okay for a social media manager to say this, but I really don’t like Facebook. I would like to shut down my account and never grace a Facebook news feed again. Why?

1. My Facebook friends are mostly not my friends anymore.

I would say 20% of my Facebook friends are my friends. The others are people I went to high school with that I haven’t seen or spoken to in (mumble mumble) years. Former co-workers that I wasn’t terribly fond of when we worked together. My realtors. My hair salon person. Clients.

I miss when Facebook friends were about 20 people and they were really friends that I wanted to get updates from.

Instagram is to me now what Facebook was to me five years ago. Though Facebook now owns it, so I’m sure they’ll ruin it, too, momentarily.

2. Facebook makes me feel guilty.

Every time I try to purge my friends, I get this twang of guilt. Despite the fact that I’ve gone from 500+ back down to under 100, I still have these arguments with myself about whether or not I’ll hurt someone’s feelings with an unfollow. They comment on my posts, they like some of the things I say. Which is great. Here’s the thing. I don’t care about THEIR stuff. I’m a heartless person, possibly. But seriously, if I haven’t talked to you in (mumble mumble) years, I have no emotional attachment to you.

Or, when Facebook tells me its one of these folks’ birthdays. If I don’t say happy birthday on Facebook, I am a pariah. Or, when the birthday is that of a friend that has is no longer with us, and I feel sad for the reminder.

3. I have to tell Facebook the same things over and over.

Perhaps if I could somehow organize my newsfeed.

Oh wait, I can. But I have to do it over and over again.

I spent hours once telling Facebook who I wanted to see the most from and who I wanted to see less from. And yet, Facebook conveniently “forgets” with each update. My best friend has tried to tell Facebook what to show her and Facebook thinks she doesn’t want to see updates from me (her sister, too!) Either she’s lying about our bestie-ness for the last (mumble mumble) years, or Facebook is evil.

I also tell Facebook I don’t want my newsfeed littered with things my “friends” like. The “So and So liked this” picture of somebody’s kid that I don’t even know. Don’t care. Stop it, Facebook. I chose the “see less from” this person option, and mysteriously, that means to Facebook to show more from this person.

Didn’t we cover this in a previous culling? YES! Did Facebook totally ignore my preferences? YES!

4. Facebook knows more about me than the government. 

And continues to throw it in my face when they show me what I was doing on this day 5 years ago (which occasionally, is a reminder of something horrible, like my cat’s passing. Thanks a lot, Facebook.)

I can’t quit Facebook, though I desperately want to.

Why? Oh why can’t I just leave? There are a few reasons.

1. It took me five years to get my family on Facebook. I might as well give up on getting them to Instagram.

The only way I can share moments with my parents and my in-laws from 6 states away is on Facebook. And what I post on Instagram and Twitter is quite specific, so cross-posting isn’t generally an option.

2. My aforementioned best friend refuses other social platforms like the plague.

Even though she’s hidden my posts, I can still tag her directly with things I want her to see/comment on. I can also tag her in our photos, so she can share with her friends. One day, Facebook will again organically show her stuff from her bestie (I hope.)

3. Occasionally, I still want to brag about something cute the cat did, how awesome our new house is, or something of the sort, even to people I haven’t spoken to in (mumble mumble) years.

4. I work in social media. I have to understand the users I’m trying to engage with.

Perhaps, one day soon, I’ll be able to end my addiction. But for now, I will continue to suffer in not-so-silence, and continue to express my disdain for the channel, while hypocritically managing the channel for brands.