The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Ignore Bad Social Media Advice

There’s plenty of advice out there about social media.

Some of it is brilliant.

Some of it’s meh… okay.

And some of it is downright awful.

If you ever come across any of these tips, run away as fast as your legs will carry you…

1. Facebook’s the Only Place to Be

Facebook is the world’s most popular network. It’s on course to hit 1.5 billion active users anytime soon.

Does that mean your business needs to be on Facebook? Perhaps.

If you sell to consumers, then Facebook is a great place to be. But if your customers are other businesses? Then other networks will be far better for promoting your products or services.

The key here is to choose the social networks that are right for you and your brand.

2. Email is “Old Hat”

Yes, email was around before many of Generation Y were even born (that’s why we call them digital natives). But that’s no reason to dismiss email.

Rather, email’s long life – and the fact that everyone uses it – is a big reason to embrace email.

Did you know that for every dollar invested in email marketing, the average return is over $40?

Email’s here to stay – so make sure it’s integral to your social strategy.

3. Ignore (and Delete) Negative Comments

You think that ignoring the mud-flinging makes you look professional and detached?

Then you’re wrong.

Consumers are increasinly turning to social media with complaints. And they expect a response.

So make sure you know how to use social media as an effective customer service tool.

4. Never Let Your Employees Anywhere Near Twitter

This is a “helpful tip” you’ll probably hear from a lawyer. Their heart is in the right place. They want you to avoid a lawsuit.

The problem is, lawyers think like lawyers. They don’t make great marketers.

Nowadays, people want to engage with businesses. They want to see that you’re human and vulnerable – and (horror of horrors!) you sometimes make mistakes.

Yes, letting your team loose on social media is risky. And you should always train them first. But it will help you engage with your customers and ultimately be good for your marketing.

5. You Should Never Automate Updates

Some people argue that your social media accounts are only authentic if you’re sitting at your computer (or on your smartphone) when you post updates.

We call baloney.

Scheduled updates are vital to any sensible social strategy. They give you a social presence around the clock without the need to constantly sit at your computer. If you did that, you’d never get anything else done!

Of course, you should make sure you have time to go live on social media from time to time. We recommend logging in for 15 minutes a day. That gives you time to engage with your followers without sacrificing your calendar.

6. The More Social Networks You Use, the Better

Here’s the spirit behind this advice: spread your net wide, and you’ll catch a ton of fish.

The truth? Spread yourself thin, and you’ll struggle to have any impact. Plus, you will burn out.

Social media is constantly changing. New networks are coming on the scene all the time. It’s good to keep track of trends, so you can stay ahead of the crowd.

But jump on every bandwagon, and you’ll be taken on so many rides you’ll have no time for your core audience.

What’s the right way of doing things? Find the networks where your customers are most likely to hang out, and use those.

7. You Need Thousands of Followers to Succeed on Social Media

Having thousands (or millions) of social media followers is a huge asset for your business. We’d never deny that.

But far more important than a big audience is the right audience. Quality trumps quantity any day.

Your ideal followers:

  • Are in love with your brand
  • Have similar values to your brand
  • Are engaged – they read and respond to your updates

In other words, they’re your true fans.

With just a handful of like this, you’ll go way further than with thousands of zombie followers.

8. Only Post at Optimal Times

We’re somewhat guilty of proliferating this advice. One of our most popular posts is The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Networks.

You might guess that you should only post at the best times, when your audience is most likely to be online.

It’s certainly true that you should be posting at your best times. But you should also be posting at other times too.

Sometimes you’ll get the best engagement during downtimes, when only a few people are online.

9. Social Media is Great Because it’s FREE

Social media is brilliant because you can reach a huge audience without sinking a ton of money into it.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s free. To get your voice heard on social media, you’ll need to devote a significant amount of time to updating your feeds and engaging with your followers.

You will also need to make the most of your creativity. To be a success on social media, you need to draw on your smarts.

On top of that, using social media effectively can cost money. Investing in ads, scheduling tools and analytics tools can be money well spent.

10. Always Keep it Professional

Yes, you should have a professional approach to social media. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reveal who you really are.

In fact, it’s really important to share your brand’s story, to let your personality shine, and to let people see beneath the hood of your business.

Small Business Facebook

Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, with over 1.3 billion active users.

That means if you want to connect with your customers, then Facebook’s the place to be.

Here are three ways you can make the most of Facebook as a small business.

1. Make Your Business Into a Community

We all want to belong and be part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s human nature.

Facebook lets you build a community around your brand. At its heart, business is about people, so in many ways Facebook is about getting to the roots of business.

By asking your customers to be part of your community, you invite them into your brand’s story. When they’re part of your story, they’ll want to share what they’ve found with their friends.

Building a community is also a great way of finding inspiration…

2. Get Inspired by Your Facebook Fans

One of the advantages of being a small business is that you have control over your creative decisions. You have input on everything from product development to marketing to pricing.

The problem? Being the go-to person for everything can leave you burned out. There’s only so much creativity that you and your small team can muster.

That’s why social media is so helpful. Your customers care about your business – especially if they like your brand on Facebook. They want you to succeed, and they want you to develop the products they need. When you need their advice or help, they’ll be willing to give their input. You’ll be surprised at how generous people can be with their ideas.

Of course that doesn’t mean you should rely on your customers for your creative drive or vision. But it’s good to know they’re there if you need them.

3. Target Ads at Your Ideal Customers

Let’s say you run an online boutique selling handmade baby clothes for newborns. Your ideal audience is made up of moms to be. Facebook lets you target ads so that only expecting moms will see them. Neat, huh?

You can target dog owners, cat owners, people who like gardening, fashionistas – if you can think of a particular group of people, you can most likely target them on Facebook. You can even advertise to people based on their favorite TV show, movie or baseball team.

When your ads are this carefully targeted, you can be sure your marketing budget is being put to good use. Of course, you’ll need to monitor whether your ads are converting. And if they’re not, then you’ll either need to tweak the ad, or rethink who your ideal customer really is.

topsy search

For your online marketing to perform at its best, there’s a ton of stuff you need to do. Track your social metrics, connect with influencers and curate awesome content to name just three.

Fortunately, this needn’t be as much of a headache as it sounds. Especially when you’ve got Topsy to hand.

Topsy is the Swiss Army Knife of Twitter. You can use it to check your social stats, hook up with influencers, find some of the best content online, and much more.

Here are 4 ways you can use Topsy like a pro.

1. Check Your Blog’s Performance

Want to see how your content is performing on Twitter? Twitter’s own tools only allow you to do this in a limited way. That’s because when you run a Twitter search for your website, it only shows the latest tweets linking to your site. And you have to run a separate search for each page you want to check the performance of.

With Topsy, you can check the Twitter performance of your whole site with a single search.

You do this using the search term site:yoursite.com. For example, we’d search for site:lorirtaylor.com.

When you do, you’ll see a result like this:

TOPSY IMAGE 1

It includes:

  • The total number of tweets for a specified time period (1 hour, 1 day, 7 days, 30 days, or a custom range)
  • A list of your top trending tweets
  • A chart showing your Twitter performance

What’s the best way to use this information?

First, you can track your performance over time. Check your stats each week, and note them down. That way, you’ll see whether your Twitter shares are going up or sliding down.

Second, you can compare how you’re doing with other sites in your niche. Just search for one of your competitors to see how many social shares they’re getting.

Talking of beating your competitors, you can also…

2. Get Ideas for Top Performing Content

Topsy shows you which of your blog posts are the top performing on social media. When you see which of your content performs the best, you can create more content like that.

Now for a sneaky tip. If you’re stuck for ideas of what to write about, you can also run a Topsy search for your competitors’ blogs. Then you’ll see which of their content is top performing. Of course you should never copy, but you can use this as inspiration for your own blog.

Getting ideas for content isn’t the only way you can use Topsy to keep your social schedule full. You can also use it to…

3. Curate Top Notch Content in Your Niche

Need help filling up your Twitter feed? Then run Topsy searches for relevant terms in your niche.

For example, we might run a Topsy search for “social media marketing”, like this:

Topsy Image 2

You’ll see the most popular articles on social media marketing over the past 8 hours. Again, you can choose a period of time for your search to cover (1 day, 7 days, 30 days or a custom range).

How does this help?

  • You can add the content you discover to your Twitter feed – and other social media feeds.

You can also use it to come up with your own content ideas (as in point 2, above):

  • You can riff off the articles you discover when you’re coming up with new ideas, because you know the topics of the articles are popular.
  • You can check out the articles and write a response. By joining a popular conversation, you’re putting yourself in the firing line for traffic.
  • You can quickly find the most popular new stories in your niche. Then you can provide your own angle on each story on your blog.

Finally, you can use Topsy’s analytics tool to compare the relative popularity of different areas in your niche.

For example, we ran a search for “social media marketing”, “content marketing” and “blogging” and found that they all have a similar level of popularity on social media:

Topsy Image 3

4. Discover Your Influential Fans

Getting in touch with the right influencers can have a huge impact on your business.

That’s because influencers have a big following and people listen to what they say.

You’re probably aware of some of the influencers in your niche. But the fact that you’re aware of them could mean they’re not the best influencers to know? Why? Because the more widely known they are, the less likely they are to have time to help you.

Instead, the best influencers to know are those who are already on your side. How do you discover these?

Run a search for a recent article you’ve published to your blog. Use the URL link to the article, rather than the article title. It’s best to choose an article that you know had a lot of social shares.

For example, we ran a search to our article 25 Social Media Tips from the World’s 5 Biggest Power Users (What Do They Know that You Don’t?).

Once you’ve run the search, you’ll see the option to select “All Tweets” or “Influential Only”. Yup, we’re interested in the influential tweets. So go ahead and click “Influential Only”.

You’ll end up with something like this:

Topsy Image 4

These are influencers who have already shared your content. So if you’re looking for people to connect with and ask for help from, you can’t go far wrong starting with these.

Over to You

Have you ever used Topsy to run a pro search? What did you discover? Let us know your Topsy tips and hacks in the comments section, below.