Tag Archives: content marketing

Social Media Tip #5: Post When The Time Is Right

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This post features more excerpts from our ebook The Little Book of Social Media: 60 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience.  The Amazon version is on sale this week! You can also download the PDF from our site.

Having great content is promote is only half the battle. How and when you deliver that content is just as critical. But how do you know the best times to post, tweet, or pin? It depends on the audience and the platform you’re using.

If your goal is to get the most customer engagement (measured by views, likes, shares, etc.), here are the ideal times (based on studies from Argyle Social, KISSMetrics, TrackMaven, and HubSpot) for some of the most prominent platforms:

  • Facebook: Sundays or weekdays before 9am and after 5pm
  • Twitter: Mondays-Thursdays from 9am to 7pm
  • Pinterest: Saturday mornings
  • LinkedIn: Early mornings (before 9am) and immediately after work (6pm)
  • Instagram: No one day dominates, although Mondays-Saturdays perform slightly better than Sundays.

Remember to also utilize each social site’s metrics to further refine the best times for you to promote content. For example, on YouTube, you can look at your views by day and determine what your specific audience’s viewing patterns are.

Remember time zones
If your company is based in the Mountain or West time zone, remember that 80% of the U.S. population lives in the East and Central time zones. Adjust the timing of your posts accordingly, whether your customers are mostly US-based or global. If you have a dedicated cadre of European, Australian, or Asian customers, make sure some of your content is arriving during their respective peak viewing times as well.

Schedule content according to your audience’s priorities
Too often, businesses schedule and release their content based solely on their own priorities–quarter-end revenue goals, capital campaigns, or product launches, for example. Obviously you must do that sometimes to achieve your business goals, but you will be most successful if you think about how you can maximize your timing to best help your customers. For example, if you’re a tax advisor, plan to provide additional content from January through April, when people are more focused on taxes. If you run a blog devoted to fans of a TV show, you post content right before, during, and/or after each new episode airs (or live blog the entire episode). Use your customers’ priorities as a guide to help you provide the content when they are most likely to benefit from it.

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Announcing The Little Book of Social Media!

I’m so excited to announce that The Little Book of Social Media is now available!
tlbsm-book-cover

Every day, more small businesses and non-profits are realizing the benefits of social media. Social media provides an amazing opportunity to build brand and product awareness, attract new customers, and increase sales — and it does all of these things at a substantially lower cost than traditional marketing.

But before you dive in, you need to know the ground rules so you can protect your brand and your customer relationships. This ebook outlines those ground rules in an easy-to-understand, accessible way, with 60 quick tips that you can use immediately.

You’ll find tips on how to:

  • Create a social media strategy
  • Leverage sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram
  • Identify the sites and platforms you’ll want to use
  • Create a content pipeline
  • Protect your reputation
  • Measure success, and more!

To help you start using these tips right away, we’ve also included two downloadable templates that you can customize — a social media strategy and a social media calendar.

Get The Little Book of Social Media now (downloadable pdf).

You can also buy it on Amazon.

Coming soon to the iBookstore!

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10 Ways to Protect Your Reputation on Social Media

Here’s another excerpt from our upcoming eBook, The Little Book of Social Media, coming out at the end of the month.

Misusing social media can severely damage your brand. You must be vigilant. Here are 10 ways you can protect your brand and safeguard your reputation.

1. Respond quickly.
Be on constant watch for questions directed at your Twitter user handle or posted to your Facebook wall. Respond to each one. It’s not just about the people you are interacting with; it’s also about all the other people who are watching how you interact. Use tools like HootSuite or HubSpot’s Social Inbox to help you monitor your social media feeds and make sure you are not missing any mentions or comments. You can also create Twitter lists of your customers and search them for words like “help” and “support.”

Image courtesy of Chris Waits

2. Don’t ignore negative feedback or complaints about bad service.
You are always better off responding quickly to a bad review or a complaint. If you don’t, others will fill the gap – and their messaging won’t be positive. You should respond even before you have an answer, just to let your customers (and the people who are watching your exchange) know that you’re listening and will work to address the problem. As soon as you’ve acknowledged the concern, take the issue out of the public eye by contacting the customer directly. If the customer is a lost cause, at least you will show that you tried to right a wrong, regardless of what the consumer decides to do.

3. Admit mistakes immediately, but don’t delete them.
This seems obvious, but many companies take far too long to apologize for their mistakes when they post something inappropriate. Every minute that goes by increases the possibility of bad PR. If your company made a mistake or showed poor judgment, do not delete the mistake (people will circulate screenshots of the deleted content, so your deletion will seem sneaky or even cowardly). Instead, immediately acknowledge that you messed up, and promise to do better. Take responsibility for your content and what you put out there.

4. Hire and train professional, quick-thinking people.
This may seem like another obvious tip, but you’d be surprised how often a company hires someone to manage their social media based solely on the criteria that the person knows how to use social media. While it’s helpful to already know all the tools and to be immersed in online culture, it is even more important to have the right skills to effectively engage with customers. Not every intern is cut out for social media management! Your social media manager is one of your company’s most public voices, so he or she needs to be professional and cool under fire. They also should have a sense of humor and the ability to deal with customers without acting defensive or passive aggressive.

5. Don’t talk to trolls.
Trolls are people who purposefully post inflammatory and often extreme comments in an effort to get others riled up. Attention is what they want, so don’t provide it. Don’t defend yourself from them and don’t engage in snarky comments about them. Simply enforce your community guidelines and delete any comments that don’t meet those guidelines.

6. Think twice before you sponsor or leverage a hashtag.

Twitter monetizes its service in part by offering companies the opportunity to sponsor hashtags or tweets. Make sure the hashtag you are sponsoring is not too vague or does not have a double meaning; in either case, trolls will jump on the opportunity to turn it into a bashtag (remember the #McDStories debacle?). Similarly, make sure you know why a hashtag is trending before you jump on it as an opportunity to promote your company or product — I bet CelebBoutique wishes they had done that.

7. Tweet from the right account.
This mistake is easy to make, but its effects can be hard to undo. Several companies, including KitchenAid and StubHub, have learned the hard way that it is critical that their social media managers be vigilant about keeping work and personal social media accounts separate. Each company had to issue a public apology when their social media teams posted personal (and offensive) tweets from their corporate Twitter accounts. A mistake like this really exposes your brand to not only negative attention but also a sense of mistrust – who is really behind your tweets and are they the nice people they seem to be?

8. Don’t talk politics or religion.
It’s the same golden rule we abide by in the workplace and with people we don’t know well: don’t talk about politics or religion. Unless you are an organization with a known political or religious affiliation, stay away from these touchy subjects. Regardless of your views, you will alienate many of your customers.

9. Have a plan for reacting to national events and negative PR scenarios.
Think through possible scenarios and document a plan for handling each one. Review the plans with your team. Examples might be a national emergency or disaster, a market downturn, a product recall, a scathing customer review, etc. When it comes to national or international events, your best bet is either to say nothing or to offer a simple message of condolence to those affected. Having a plan in place certainly would have helped Epicurious, the company that unwisely responded to the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013 by suggesting that people try their cranberry scone recipe.

10. Make it easy for customers to get in touch, and be available around the clock.
Provide a connection to customer service right through your social media team. Don’t make your customers go looking for customer service, and don’t send them to a 1-800 number. It will mean more work for your team, but that is better than having a customer post a complaint about not being able to reach you. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your accounts and your account management tools (such as the aforementioned HootSuite) around the clock. Divide the off-hours responsibility among team members so nobody is “on call” to check your social media management accounts and management tools every weekend. You don’t want a customer to post a question at 4:59 p.m. on Friday and not get an answer until Monday morning.

For more tips on how to create a great social media experience for your customers, look for The Little Book of Social Media, to be released on July 31st.

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Writing Content that Customers Want

Image courtesy of Kheel Center for Labor Management, Cornell University

The following is an excerpt from our upcoming book, The Little Book of Social Media: 60 Ways to Create an Amazing Customer Experience. I’m excited to say that we will be launching the book next month! In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of one of our tips:

Tip #26. Give them what they want!

Certain content types tend to be more popular with users. Here are some tried-and-true options:

Solve a problem. Is there a common issue your customers face? For example, if you are a pest control company and it’s mosquito season, can you post some tips to help your customers combat mosquitoes or film a video showing customers how to pest-proof their yard?

Teach or educate. Help people learn about something they’re interested in. For example, if you’re a history-related organization, talk about a historical event that happened on this day 100 years ago. Or if you sell foreign language software, post a new vocabulary word or translation each day.

Provide a list. Everyone loves a list (articles that  are made up of lists have become so popular that they have a nickname – “listicles”). Sites like Buzzfeed deal almost exclusively in lists. For example, you might post an article called “5 Ways to Save Money on Your Car” or “The 10 Best TV Comedies.”

Interview someone. Whether your subject is one of your employees or a famous person in your industry, interviews tend to be popular because people are naturally curious about other people.

Use statistics and quotes. Readers often respond to quick, easily digestible facts like statistics about your industry (or about something fun and trivial). Inspirational quotes are also popular.


More stories to share with your fans and followers:

  • Causes or charities your organization supports, and why those causes are important to you.
  • Stories that customers have given you permission to share with others (for example, inspirational stories about overcoming personal adversity or ingenious new uses they have found for your product).
  • Experiences that have inspired your team to be creative or have taught you valuable lessons.
  • Profiles of pioneers in your industry.
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The Little Book of Social Media – Coming Soon!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been working  (with my husband Brian) on our latest eBook: The Little Book of Social Media. This book is the culmination of many ‘tricks of the trade’ we’ve practiced, learned, or witnessed in our many years of managing interactive projects for various companies and clients.

In the course of my work and my recent experience teaching a college seminar on content strategy, I realized that there was not a short-and-sweet, user-friendly book on the topic. There are some great longer, more marketing theory-focused books on social media and content marketing, and many informative blog posts. But we wanted to create a quick and accessible guide that people could start using right away. The book will also include some templates that readers can download (via our website) to help them get started on their own social media strategies.

Our audience is the small business owner or non-profit worker who might not have a lot of resources, but wants to do this right, and the corporate soldier who is looking for some guidelines to help his or her company get up to speed on this important outlet for marketing and communication. Our book will help these folks understand why social media’s important, what sites they should evaluate first,  what they need to do before they ever tweet their first tweet or pin their first pin, and how they can measure success.

We’re working hard to launch by July 8 – everything is in the editing phase right now. I hope you’ll watch this space for a launch announcement soon!

Happy weekend!

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