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

Marketing

Flamers and Trolls

You want your engagement with your followers to be sizzling hot and to buzz with excitement.

So what’s the deal with flaming? Doesn’t that heat things up, get the conversation moving?

It might do. But unless you’re a brand that’s all about controversy, then flaming’s probably not for you.

What is Flaming?

Flaming, according to Wikipedia is:

The act of posting deliberately hostile messages on the Internet.

Or:

A hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users

Wikipedia adds that flaming is “used mainly by trolls.”

We’ve all seen debates get heated on the internet. They rarely turn out well.

What should you do if your brand is flamed, or a flame war breaks out on your Facebook page?

Step 1: Remember, Prevention is Better than Firefighting

Sometimes people are perverse, and you’ll get flamed out of the blue for no reason. If this has happened to you, you can move on to the next step.

Most of the time, however, flaming happens for a reason. People will flame your brand because they’re frustrated with you. Something’s gone wrong, and it hasn’t been resolved. Just look at what happened to Amy’s Baking Company.

So, put out the fire before it happens. Make sure your social listening is up to speed and that you’re catching all brand mentions. When people raise problems about your brand on social media, jump in and solve it as quickly as you can.

Note: When people criticize your brand, it’s best to assume they’ve got good intentions. Treat their complaint at face value, rather than assuming they’re trying to flame you.

Step 2: Always Act Calm

Flaming burns. It’s painful. Flamers flame because they want to hurt you and provoke a reaction.

Whatever you do, don’t display your anger. Remain as calm as you can.

Remember this maxim: lose your temper, and you’ve lost the argument.

Step 3: Don’t Feed the Trolls

It’s not always easy to tell if someone’s got a legitimate complaint, or if they’re just trying to flame you.

Obviously, if someone is clearly trolling, you’re best to ignore it and delete it.

But what if things aren’t clear? We recommend responding to a potential flame once. Stay calm and professional in your response. This should cool things down, at least for legitimate and reasonable complainants. Flamers will continue to heat things up. If this happens, then it’s okay to disengage.

Step 4: Know that You’re In Charge

Social media is for the most part a public space. But you do have control over various aspects of it. You can decide whether to delete a flamer’s post on your Facebook page. You can decide to block an internet bully.

If you do this, you haven’t lost the argument. You’ve made a healthy choice for you and your business.

Engaging with trolls can cost a lot emotionally, so it’s best to leave them well alone. Then you’ll have more energy and buzz to focus on what matters.

Over to You

What are your top tips on dealing with flamers and trolls?

Twitter Chat

Want to meet likeminded people from the comfort of your office?

Perhaps you’d like advice from a veteran in your niche. Maybe you want to grow your network and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’d simply like to touch base with some interesting folk.

Whatever your reason for reaching out, Twitter Chats are a great way of doing so.

All you need to get started is a Twitter account. Let’s take a look at how you can get involved, starting with the basics.

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter Chat is a group of people who get together on Twitter to talk about a specific topic.

There are Twitter chats about pretty much everything you can think of, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Fashion
  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Spirituality and Faith
  • Music
  • TV shows
  • Learning foreign languages
  • Job hunting (and networking with recruiters)
  • Publishing and writing
  • Leadership
  • Local issues

Chats take place on a regular basis, usually weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, at a specific time, and usually for one hour.

During the chat, people taking part use a specific hashtag so that everyone who’s taking part in the chat gets to see their tweets.

Why Take Part in a Twitter Chat?

Twitter is the networker’s social network. It’s the perfect place to reach out to new people and grow your network.

Twitter Chats are one of the best ways of meeting new people, not least because the people taking part in the chat want to talk to you.

You can use Twitter chats to:

  • Network with other business owners and leaders in your niche. As you get to know people, you can share ideas, contacts and useful information.
  • Meet other people with similar interests to you. Whatever you want to talk about, there’s likely a Twitter chat for it. And if there’s not, you can always set one up.
  • Educate yourself. Twitter chats are good entry points if you want to expand your knowledge on a particular subject. They’re a good place for asking any questions you have. So why not take the plunge into a completely new niche or topic using a Twitter chat? You never know where the journey could take you.

How Do You Find a Twitter Chat?

There are many different ways of finding Twitter chats. These include:

Looking out for the chats your friends are taking part in. If your friends are part of the conversation, then it must be a cool chat to take part in, right? Also, you have the added benefit of knowing someone who’s in the chat “room”.

Running a Google Search. Type “Twitter chat” and the topic you’re interest in into the Google search bar. You’ll find all kinds of relevant chats.

Using a Twitter chat database. A number of different websites collect databases of popular Twitter chats. Our faves include:

Got your own favorite place for finding Twitter chats? Let us know in the comments, below.

What Should You Do in a Twitter Chat?

The best way to get involved in a Twitter chat is just to take the plunge. Find a Chat on a topic you’re interested in, turn up on the day, and type the hashtag into the Twitter search bar. By doing this, you’ll be shown a stream of all the tweets in the chat.

When you’re ready to join in, send out a tweet that includes the hashtag. If it’s a busy chat, you’ll likely be surprised at how many replies you receive.

Other than that, just be a decent human being, don’t do (or say) anything your momma wouldn’t approve of, and do your best to stay on topic.

Want extra guidance? Then keep reading…

  • Many chats have a moderator – this is someone who’s in charge of keeping the conversation on track. When you join the chat, drop them a message to say hello and include the chat’s hashtag.
  • Remember that whatever you say in the chat is public and forever. All your Twitter followers will see your contributions to the chat.
  • Want to get the attention of another participant in the chat? Then retweet something they say, or ask them a question. Retweeting is always a way of showing agreement with what’s been said.
  • Most Twitter chats are not places for self-promotion. You will meet fascinating new people, who may become useful business contacts. Never try to sell in Twitter chats.

Make Twitter Chats Simple With These Tools

Taking part in a Twitter chat is easy enough. You just log-in to Twitter at the right time, and enter the chat’s hashtag into Twitter’s search bar.

However, there are tools that make chatting on Twitter even easier than that. These include:

  • Tweetchat. This tool creates a chatroom for any Twitter chat, so you can keep up easily and take part in the chat without constantly re-typing the hashtag.
  • Twubs features a schedule of popular chats, and also provides a chatfeed so you can follow any live Twitter chat.
  • TwChat allows you to create a chatroom for any hashtag.

Start Your Own Twitter Chat

After you’ve taken part in a few Twitter chats, why not start your own? When you do, you can:

  • Start with a launch party. That way, you’re not committing to regular chats. A launch party allows you to gauge interest, and (if lots of people show up), start with a bang.
  • Get your chat listed. Once your chat is up and running, make sure you get it listed in all the major chat directories (see above).
  • Invite guest interviewees. Inviting guests grows your community (many of them will come back for other chats), and it keeps things fresh and interesting.
  • Be strict on yourself in keeping to the schedule. If you need a break, pass on responsibility for organizing the chat to someone else.

What’s Your Chat Experience?

Have you taken part in a Twitter chat? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments section, below.

If we’ve inspired you to go out and find a Twitter chat to take part in, let us know about that too.

LinkedIn Profile Tips

When it comes to social marketing, LinkedIn is often overlooked in favor of Twitter or Facebook.

For most businesses – especially those in the B2B market – that’s a mistake.

If you’re not yet using LinkedIn as part of your social strategy, then you’re likely missing out on incredible opportunities.

The first thing to do when you join LinkedIn is ensure your profile is up to scratch. Here’s how to do that.

Give Yourself a Custom Profile Link

When you join LinkedIn, your profile will be given a default URL with nothing special going for it.

However, LinkedIn gives you the option of creating a custom URL. Make this URL your name, and it will look good on business cards. It will also make it easier for people to find you when they put your name into a Google search.

To change your profile’s URL, click here, then select Customize your public profile URL.

Create a Keyword Rich Profile

We all know the vital role keywords play in making your website visible on search engines. To put it simply, if you want to be found, you’ve got to have the keywords on your site that people are searching for. Otherwise, you’re effectively invisible.

The same is true on LinkedIn. Want your profile to be found? Then you need to include search keywords in your profile.

You can include keywords in your headline, summary, job titles, and job descriptions. A keyword-heavy headline is particularly effective at drawing a crowd.

Collect LinkedIn Recommendations

As anyone in the world of marketing knows, social proof is one of the most effective weapons when it comes to selling anything.

What is social proof? It’s endorsements of your brand by real people. This could be testimonials from customers published on your website. It could be having thousands of Twitter followers. Or it could just be that people are talking about your brand, passing on their positive experiences of your company by word-of-mouth.

Think of this way. Everyone expects you to toot your own trumpet. So any claims you make about yourself are likely to be treated with an element of caution. When when others toot your trumpet, then people sit up and listen.

Recommendations are how you build up your social proof on LinkedIn. You can ask any of your connections to write you a recommendation. Or, just start writing recommendations for others. Many people will respond in kind.

Over to You

What are your best tips for improving a LinkedIn profile? Let us know in the comments section, below.