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Social Media

Tiger Escaped

Infamy is all about being famous for all the wrong reasons.

Previously, we’ve looked at businesses who made themselves Twitter infamous.

You don’t want to do that, right?

Here are two simple steps you can follow to make sure your sterling reputation remains intact. As it should be.

Verify Before You Share

News spreads fast on social networks. These days, stories often break on Twitter before they hit the headlines. It’s well known that journalists scout out social networks to find stories.

The trouble is, rumor spreads as fast as news.

Back in 2011, London was engulfed in riots. The streets were in chaos, with vehicles and buildings being set on fire. Rioters smashed open stores and looted their stock.

London-based DJ Twiggy Garcia decided to play a prank in the midst of all the rioting. He tweeted:

#LondonRiots hearing reports that london zoo was broken into and a large amount of animals have escaped. Too far! Thats not cool :-(

Thirty minutes later, Twiggy’s friend Ty Evans Akingbola followed up the prank by tweeting a blurry photo of a tiger accompanied by the tweet:

The story was retweeted, and spread at lightening speed. It was even picked up by a Russian TV news station.

Eventually, the story was exposed as a fake. The picture was a 2008 photo of a tiger who’d escaped from an Italian zoo.

So, remember: verify your sources. If in doubt, don’t publish.

As Abraham Lincoln once said:

“The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.”

At least, we think he might have done.

Put Out Fires Before They Spread

According to a survey by J.D. Power, two thirds (67%) of consumers have used social media to receive customer service.

In the same survey, 87% of consumers said their interaction with a brand online “positively impacted” the likelihood that they’ll make another purchase from that brand.

You’d think the message was clear. Get onto social media, look for complaints about your brand, and deal with them.
Here’s the shocker. Seventy percent of businesses ignore customer complaints on Twitter.

Make sure you’re one of the good guys. Put out the fires before they spread.

That’s what’s good for your customers, and ultimate it’s good for your brand.

Facebook Tips from the Masters

Want to rock it on Facebook?

You can’t go far wrong by following these ten tips we’ve collected from ten of Facebook’s finest.

We’ve linked to sources, because that’s the right thing to do, and so you can dig deeper and find even more goodies.

1. Write Posts Like You’re Talking to a Friend

Amy PorterfieldCheck out your last 10 Facebook posts. Ask yourself, “Do I sound like I am talking to a friend or do I sound a bit stuffy and corporate in my posts?” Also, ask yourself, “If I saw this post in my news feed, would I want to like, share, comment or click?”

If you don’t feel compelled to engage with your own post, I can guarantee your fans won’t either!

Amy Porterfield, The Risks of Running a Business Without a Facebook Marketing Plan.

2. Grow Your Professional Network With Graph Search

Joshua WaldmanPreviously, it was very difficult to know what companies were represented in your network and extended (friends of friends) network. Now you can see what companies you have connections to, locations you might have acquaintances in and even brands your network prefers.

So if you are targeting a company to work for and want to know if people in your network (friends or friends of friends) work there, you can. And with Facebook’s pay-to-message feature, you can pay to have your message delivered to their inbox.

Joshua Waldman, How to Use Facebook’s Graph Search to Supercharge Your Professional Network.

3. Post Outside Peak Times

Kevan LeeInstead of posting when the majority of your audience is online, try posting when the majority of your audience is offline.

[This is called] the late night infomercial effect. Basically, it works on the assumption that when there’s little else being shared online, your content is more likely to stand out.

Kevan Lee, The Complete Guide to Growing Your Organic Facebook Reach.

4. Ignore Reach and Escape “Reach Fury”

Jon LoomerReach means very little because it is rarely a good indicator of success.

If you’re an advanced Facebook marketer (and I know you are!), you measure things like traffic to your website, leads and purchases that came as a result of your efforts on Facebook.

If you follow your metrics closely (and I know you do!), you know that a high Reach doesn’t guarantee these things.

Jon Loomer, Why Our Obsession with Facebook Page Post Reach is All Wrong.

5. Make the Most of Audience Insights

Ben HarperIf you’re running Facebook campaigns, it’s time to forget about how you’ve run them in the past. Audience Insights allows you to put data first and truly understand your audience in order to target in the best way possible. By understanding your audience at a new level of depth you can begin to analyze what else they are interested in, how likely they are to buy online, and their brand affinity. This lets you find targeting opportunities that are less competitive, and more relevant for the audience you most want to capture.

Audience Insights, if used correctly, should lead to an overall reduction in cost per click rates, and a reduction in cost per acquisition figures (from an increase in conversions) as you are using the new data to hit the right audience first time.

Ben Harper, What Facebook Audience Insights really means for advertisers.

6. Re-Cycle Your Top Performers

John HaydonYour content strategy doesn’t have to only include new content; you can also recycle your most successful posts to reengage fans.

To find and reframe your top-performing posts, you need to know post engagement rates—the percentage of people who saw an update and liked, commented on or shared it.

To find post engagement rates, go to your Insights and click Posts. Scroll down to the All Posts Published table, and click the Engagement column to quickly sort your posts by engagement rate.

To really get a feel for which updates your fans loved, export at least six months of post-level data and study it.

John Haydon, 18 Ways to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Performance.

7. Get Into the Media Spotlight

Maggie PattersonJournalists rely on Facebook to source stories and Facebook itself actively promotes the platform as a “Rolodex” with 1 billion contacts for reporters.

Where your company may have relied on a press release in the past, you can now share your story on Facebook. It provides a low-friction way to report the facts in the case of breaking news or to provide comment on emerging issues that will help get your story to the media and your public faster.

Maggie Patterson, quoted in Six Facebook Marketing Tips From the Pros.

8. Share Photos to Maximize Engagement

Mari SmithYour photo should make people laugh, cry, or go “awww!”

Photos on Facebook have always gotten a slightly higher EdgeRank score, which means better visibility in the News Feed. But, don’t necessarily use an image on every single post; keep it interesting by mixing in links, videos, questions (app), and text only updates.

Mari Smith, 7 Ways To Craft Your Facebook Posts For Maximum Shares.

9. Re-create Local Community

Jeff BullasLocal stores are threatened by competition not just around the corner but in the next suburb and across the world. There is one thing the local store can do that a pure online store cannot do and that is provide that local sense of community that combines and synergizes both on-line and offline. Put up local news and provide information on your Facebook page that is relevant to your town or suburb and crystallizes your local community behind you.

Jeff Bullas, 15 Tips for Selling on Facebook.

10. Lay Off the Hashtags

Julia BorginiAre hashtags useful on Facebook?

In a word, no.

EdgeRank did a study on hashtags, analyzing more than 500 Pages that posted both with and without hashtags. After looking at 35,000+ posts, they found only 6,000 had hashtags. That’s only 17% of the posts on Facebook.

When they dug deeper into the numbers, they found that hashtags didn’t have a positive impact on the brand’s engagement levels on Facebook.

Julia Borgini, Are Facebook Hashtags Worth The Effort?.

Marketing Mistakes

Marketing is part art, part science. There are few hard and fast rules.

That said, if you’re making any of the following blunders, your business is probably falling short of what it could be.

Are you messing up in any of these nine ways?

1. Seeing Competitors as Enemies

When you play a game of Monopoly, you don’t see the other players as your enemies. So why should business be any different?

Your competitors aren’t out to get you. They’re not trying to destroy you. They’re just playing the business game, in a similar space to you.

Having competitors is actually a good thing, for two big reasons:

  • Healthy competitors show there’s a strong market for your products or services.
  • You can learn from your competitors. Iron sharpens iron.

In fact, your competitors might even be willing to help you out. This is exactly what happened to entrepreneur Steve Cody. He explains:

When I launched Peppercomm, I knew my nascent firm wasn’t a threat to the giants in my industry, so I made a point to ask the big firms’ CEOs to join me for a drink. My goal was twofold: to let them know I’d started a business, and to ask them on bended knee to send any prospect my way that was either too small for them or that they perceived to be a conflict. Several large competitors did just that and ended up sending me hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business.

2. Not Knowing What You’re Selling

Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. You’ve told me you run your own business.

“That’s cool,” I say. “What does your business sell?”

How do you reply?

Can you explain your product in a couple of sentences? If you can’t do this in everyday language, then you need to get that fixed.

The power’s in keeping it simple.

Want another way of looking at this? Then answer the question:

How does your product or service improve the lives of your customers?

3. Buying Your Own Hype

Entrepreneurs have to be positive and forward-looking. It’s how we get investors and new customers on board.

Likewise, your marketing messages show the best of your products and services. You polish up for the cameras, and that’s okay. No one wants to air their dirty laundry.

The problem comes when you start to believe your own hype. It’s vital to have a realistic assessment of your business, and tackle problems as they arise.

4. Burying Your Contact Information

To sell to people, you’ve got to communicate with them. Hopefully, your website does a great job of this. But what if people want to know more?

Be easy to get in touch with. Don’t hide your contact details in an obscure section of your website. Make them easy to find, preferably on your homepage.

Worried that you’ll be inundated with queries from people who’ve already purchased? Remember that good customer service is a form of marketing. And if you’re genuinely scared about receiving a deluge of complaints, then your product or service needs work.

5. Failing to Measure ROI

We’re big on tracking your metrics here at Social Caffeine, and that’s not just because we’re math geeks. Fail to measure the results of your marketing, and you could be throwing away good money.

Yes, you’ve got to spend money to make money. But that’s not the whole story. Spending money doesn’t automagically make money. You’ve got to spend money wisely. And metrics give you that wisdom.

When you’ve found what works through the numbers, follow through on your discovery.

Freakonomics author Steve Levitt tells the story of how he once encouraged an international retailer to test the results of its newspaper ads. After testing, they found that the multi-million dollar ad campaigns made no difference. But they wouldn’t pull the ads, because that’s how they’d always done things.

You’re smarter than that, right?

6. Spamming Your Pitch

Business is all about knowing the right people. And we live in an age when it’s easier than ever to make connections with the right people.

That’s great, as long as you show respect for the people you’re making connections with. Treat people as people, not as a means to an end.

People can tell if you’re sending them a copy-paste email. You’re wasting your time and their time.

When you want to connect with someone, take time getting to know them. Cultivate the relationship. Then when you’re ready to work together, you’ll have a firm foundation in place.

7. Trying to Do it All

Yes, in an ideal world you’d have a limitless marketing budget. But you live in this world, the one you’re sitting in right now. And in this world, money, time and resources are tight.

Try to do everything, and you’ll spread what you’ve got too thin.

Instead, focus on what works. When it comes to your social media marketing, that can mean limiting yourself to one or two networks.

8. Failing to Follow Through

You’ve come up with a top dollar marketing strategy. You’ve started to implement, but it’s not delivering the results you hoped for.

Do you switch it up? If it’s a total failure, maybe. But it’s possible that it just needs time, and some careful tweaking.

Don’t change things around just for the sake of it. Do it for a reason.

This is especially true when you’ve got a winning formula. Remember when Gap changed their logo back in 2010? Okay, maybe you don’t. That’s because the new logo lasted all of two days.

When you’ve found what works, stick with it.

9. Telling Your Story

Okay, we admit, we’re joshing with you here. At least a little. Telling your brand’s story is a great idea.

That said, you should always focus on your customers when you tell your story. Tell your story to engage, not to stroke your ego.