July 21, 2016
by admin

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
by admin

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

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.

December 11, 2015
by admin

We’ve gone to Blab!

There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies, Space Balls, “They’ve gone to Plaid!”

Now, they’ve gone to Blab! That is, my social media friend and colleague Casie Shimansky and I have gone to Blab.

Blab is a new-ish social platform that allows for live video streaming, video calling, chatting and kind of podcasting all in one.

We’ve hosted 3 now, as the #SocialGeekGrls – here’s the latest recorded Blab. Let us know what you think!

December 11, 2015
by admin

3 Reasons Why You Should Rejoice Over Twitter’s New Image Changes (And 1 Reason You Shouldn’t)

Yesterday, I got a text at dinner from a fellow social media geek (Thanks Casie!), telling me the best Twitter news since, well, Twitter.

For social media managers, this means one less thing to get frustrated with our business partners about. Before, it was all about the 2:1 ratio rectangular image (which so many people either didn’t understand, or chose to ignore.) 1024×512 px – I will hold those dimensions in my social media brain for years to come.

This was a unique-to-Twitter image size. It didn’t matter as much on desktop (though it still drove me crazy there) but on mobile, were 80-90% of Twitter users enjoy the social media platform, it meant that if you didn’t use this image size, the pictures usually looked terrible.

This was me before the news, when it came to telling people to STOP posting non-Twitter-friendly images.

This is me after the news. Mainly because I can cross this particular pet peeve off my list.

Here are 3 things (I’m hoping) this Twitter news will change.

1. No more cut off heads. I never understood why people insisted on Tweeting images directly from their phones that weren’t taken in landscape mode or cropped to the Twitter wide image size. Because every vertical photo in the history of Twitter (that may be a stretch, but you get the point) was sure to have a line up of smiling, happy people doing something fun except THEIR HEADS WERE CUT OFF!

The new Twitter image announcement should mean that we can stop the beheadings and actually see Tweets with faces again!

2. No more quote graphics where we only see three words of the quote. The same principal applies here. All those wonderful square quote graphics you see on Facebook? They’re square. Until yesterday, they were cropped into Twitter size, meaning rectangular. It was like reading a redacted bulletin from the government. Now, they should be more readable.

3. Better, quality engagement for brands. When you’re looking at total engagements or engagement rate on Twitter, someone clicking on an image counts as an “engagement.” When images were cut off, clicking on an image was the only way to see the full graphic. That meant, if your goal was getting someone to click a link, reply to your post, etc. you were diverting engagements away from your real goal. This way, the whole picture is there. If people are clicking on an image, they’re really interested, because they’ve seen the whole image before clicking. That SHOULD mean they’re extra engaged, more clicks, more replies, etc. I think I hear the hallelujahs already.

There’s on downside, mostly for me, personally, and social media purists. It just means that brands who handed social media off to the “youngsters” or the interns, or to old-school marketers who didn’t understand how to effectively use Twitter can continue in blissful ignorance of how they were shooting themselves in the foot and giving their followers a less-than-social experience on the platform.

They can still continue to post not-engaging photos, blurry pictures, pictures taken of a panel of people from the back of the room — things that this new Twitter change won’t affect at all. Plus, there are other social channels, like Instagram, that marketers can focus on ruining.

May 19, 2015
by admin

Can Good Content Still Reach Fans at “Facebook Zero?”

Can good content survive Facebook Zero?Social media managers have been talking about the “Reachpocalypse” for nearly a year now. Over the past months, Facebook has tweaked their algorithm time and time again to get us to the current state of affairs – Facebook Zero.

Facebook Zero is the result of Facebook making it harder and harder for brands to achieve any organic reach at all on newsfeed. If you want to play for eyeballs, you have to pay. For the Facebook user in me, who has her Facebook news feed curated like the Smithsonian, I see less “junk” in my feed, so I see the benefit. For the social media manager in me, it’s taken all the fun out of Facebook.

During the earlier part of my career, part of what I thrived on was seeing how many fans we could get and how many would engage with the content I created. Only just a few years ago, I increased organic engagement 30% quarter over quarter for more than a year. What a rush it was to play with the content, tweak it, create graphics and get those shares.

For a while now, it’s been hard to feel that content high. What was killing it before is now merely a “meh” in the content-verse. For the past six months, it’s been like pulling teeth to get even the tiniest organic reach on any content. Companies started giving up on Facebook completely as early as last year, because Facebook played the old “bait-and-switch” — encouraging them at first to spend mega bucks and mega time to grow an organic fan base that is now unreachable unless you spent more.

In my social media heart, I moved on as well. The strategy was to still post Facebook content, but as an extended version of content created for other channels. Twitter became my favorite channel, because while their algorithm has changed some, good content could still get me that reach “high.”

Then, something happened. There was an organizational change and a new mandate to “take some risks” with social content. That put some of the fun back in “fundamentals” and I took a new look. Then, something like a magical kitten riding a rainbow unicorn happened. Our reach on Facebook increased by 4-5X. It wasn’t a fluke, because the reach has maintained the increase for a few weeks now.

I will say the reach is nowhere near where it would’ve been a year ago, but it was an interesting mini case-study. Can good content combat against the chains that is Facebook Zero? Yes — and no. It’s probably more important than ever, and we did see an increase in organic reach. However, a paid strategy is still in order to make the content investment worthwhile. I’m wagering that the content that showed organic reach will kill it with a paid boost, as it has in the past.

It’s just that now, I’m feeling a little bit of my Facebook groove coming back. 🙂

March 10, 2015
by admin

3 Tips for Writing Social Media-Friendly Blog Posts

I’m going to get very meta and write a blog post about writing a blog post. However, there’s a blog post, and then there’s a socially-optimized blog post.

There’s the standard wisdom, which bears repeat mention. Write about what you know. Be conversational, not preachy. If it’s not helpful or enlightening, don’t write it. Evoke some kind of emotion. (Humor, anger, excitement, an ah-ha! moment.) Spell check. Use proper grammar and sentence structure.

However, if you want to have your blog post (or LinkedIn post) be social-media-friendly, here are some extra insights.

1. Socially-optimized blog tip #1. Use lists, and craft your headline around them. <Click here to Tweet this tidbit.>
See my headline for this post? It’s 3 tips. Maybe you write about 5 pet peeves about resumes. Or 7 great gifts for social media geeks. There’s a reason David Letterman has a top 10 list every week on his show. Lists are a great way to organize blog content, and they’re also highly shareable.

While writing this post, I saw an article about a study BuzzSumo performed, and they found that lists are the second-most shared content, only behind infographics. It’s nice to know that data backs experience. 🙂

2. Socially-optimized blog tip #2. Allow readers to share your blog content in bite-sized bits as well as the whole shebang. <Click here to Tweet this tidbit.>

So we’ve said that using lists is a great way to organize and display content. It’s also a great way to break up your thoughts into 140-character shares. (Perfect for Twitter.) There’s this great site called Click To Tweet. You type in the message you want to share (in this case, the list item) and it gives you a link. Use the handy embed code or WordPress plugin for your post, and boom! Easy sharing.

(This is an excerpt of a post written on LinkedIn Publisher. View the full post here.)

March 2, 2015
by admin

Let’s Get Visual! Let Your Social Media Graphics Talk

Let’s tell the story of social media visuals, with social media visuals. 🙂

There has been some debate about the origins and the number of 60,000X, but I included it here and made the caveat not because of the number itself, because of the vast amounts of science that indicates the principal of the number.

Describe a circle in a sentence. Then show them a circle. How much faster did the concept resonate? It’s an important principal as we move forward.

Think of how fast the world we live in moves, especially on social media. One minute we’re all worried if Kim Kardashian’s butt will break the Internet, and the next we’re wondering what selfie we’ll post after lunch. The human attention span is getting shorter and shorter, thanks to technology and social media. Down from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013 (so says the National Center for Biotechnology Information.)

So now think of how fast we thumb through our Twitter feed, or our Facebook timeline when we’re on mobile. And when we’re on mobile, we’re usually only using half of that 8 second attention . . . . wait, squirrel! (You get the point.) We’re walking. We’re shopping. Hopefully we’re not driving. So how do you, as a brand, as a small business, as an influencer, stand out in a sea of Tweets and posts? With visuals.
(This is an excerpt of a LinkedIn Publisher post. Click here for the full post.)

February 24, 2015
by admin

2 Magic Answers to the Social Media ROI Question

“How is social media going to drive results for this project?”

All social media managers have a (*wink*) magic keyboard button that gives the answer to this question. It’s next to the “create a viral video” key.

Joking aside, this might be the most frequent, and frustrating, question that social media practitioners hear. I recently attended a social media conference with 400 other social folks from big brands, and this is the one area where everyone had a gripe, and an opinion.

There are two answers to this question to help you work your social media mojo. What makes these questions magic? They are answers in the form of questions.

Magic Answer #1: What is the goal?
There is no shortage of data in social media. In fact, there is an abundance of it, but you have to know which goal you’re driving towards in order to sort through all that data.
Different goals mean different data points. Where on the marketing funnel are you trying to make an impact? Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Goal = awareness. In this case, you’ll want to talk about reach (how many people saw the social post) and engagement (how many people took an action. Engagement rate, which is reach divided by engagement will also be helpful here, to show you if it’s awareness, or QUALITY awareness.)
  • Goal = site traffic. Here, you’ll want to track click through rate, along with reach and engagement. Of course, you will optimize your social post for clicks (for example, engagement on Twitter also includes clicks on images, hashtags, your user name, etc.) and use tracking codes along with metrics from your shortened url.
  • Goal = leads. Of course, you’ll still want awareness and engagement, but this is a much more finite number. How many emails did you get from the white paper download, for example. Suggested strategies are that you focus on paid campaigns for better results.

(This is an excerpt of a post written on LinkedIn Publisher. View the full post here.) 

February 18, 2015
by admin

Stop Doing This on Social Media Right Now!

I have a big social media pet peeve. This one thing that drives me crazy. I see it a lot. Please, for the love of all that is #Holy, stop doing this right now.

Stop optimizing your social media profiles and status updates to look great on desktops.

Those of us that do this crazy social media thing for a living are likely posting status updates and such from a desktop or laptop, but that’s not the way social media consumers are accessing it. If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s not the way social media professionals access it either. (At least, when we’re in our real lives.)

Business Insider says 60% of social media time is spent on a mobile device. When last I got a report from Twitter, the reps had the number closer to 80%. You can’t even POST to Instagram from a desktop. Regardless of the source, the story is the same.

Statistically, most of your social media audience is on a mobile device. So why isn’t your profile mobile-friendly? <Tweet this!>

(This is an excerpt of a post written on LinkedIn Publisher. View the full post here.)