Five Social Media Tools for Marketers

Social media is constantly evolving as are the tools available for marketers to improve their brand and audiences within their social media channels and campaigns.  Below I’ve outlined the Five Tools I’m using currently using or have my eye on to leverage within my 2017 plans.

1. Tweriod: One of the questions I get asked all the time is how to find out when your audience is online within Twitter, and what the best times to tweet are.  Well, I stumbled upon Tweiod a few years back and have been spreading the word ever since! Tweiod gives you the ability to start tweeting when others are listening by providing you the best times to tweet.  The tool analyzes your tweets and followers tweets and provides a detailed analysis of when your audience is active, and when you should start tweeting for maximum visibility and engagement.  Paired with a scheduling tool this is a marketers dream to amplify engagement and build long term success!

So how does it work? You sign in with Twitter allowing the tool read access to get a list of all of your followers and their tweets.  The tool runs it’s analysis and when finished will Direct Message or Email you an update.  It provides a breakdown showing the most exposure when you tweet over a specific day, weekends, or a combined view.  They provide an upgrade to their premium plan depending on the number of followers you have ranging from $3.99-$15. I run an analysis every quarter or so and adjust my tweets accordingly.

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2. Livestream provides the ability to broadcast live to a wider Facebook Audience.  They announced recently the ability to install the app within your company Facebook page and then choose whether you want to broadcast from your smartphone or computer.  CFA Institute has been working with Livestream since I joined to broadcast high quality sessions from our global events to a wider audience.  We’ve got a channel full of broadcasts we’re always working to integrate these into our social media audience and raise visibility to a wider audience.

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Once you’re live you’ll be able to engage viewers though comments and your users will have the opportunity to engage with each other providing an interactive broadcasting tool.  Following the end of your event your broadcast will continue to be available for people to find and engage with.  We’ll be integrating this into our 2016 Events Strategy and I will report back on how this works within our mix.

3. Click to Tweet: If you’ve visited by blog before (or have paid any attention to this post) you’ve already noticed I’ve included click to tweet buttons within a good amount of my content.  As a content producer my goal is to make it simple and easy for readers (like you!) to share my content across social media (and Twitter).  Click to Tweet is hands down the easiest way to promote, share, and track your content within Twitter.   You login and create the message you want tweeted including hashtags, handles, etc and it generates a basic link for you to paste into your content.  You can simply hyperlink the words click to tweet or develop a visual image to easily drive engagement.

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We recently integrated this into one of our marketing campaigns within an email an saw almost 500 tweet from our click to tweet button in the email within the first 12 hours, a total success for our first try.  The free plan allows your five links with auto shortening and tracking and upgrades range from $5 monthly for unlimited links to $500 a year for an enterprise plan to manage multiple accounts (ideal for a business).

 

4. Rafflercopter: One of the tools I have my eye on to integrate into my social media marketing mix this year is Rafflecopter.  Social Media is all about engagement, and Rafflecopter provides an easy way for you to create a content to get people engaged with your account and build your following.  I’m a sucker for entering any raffle where I have a chance to win something (really, anything!) and this tool keeps popping up within my feeds! I see endless opportunities for brands and marketers to incorporate this into tool into their strategy to mix things up and make it fun.  Hey, after all everyone likes a chance to win something with 51% of US millennials would share information with companies in exchange for an incentive (USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future). Click to Tweet.

It’s easy to get started, signing up takes a matter of seconds and once you’re logged in you can setup a giveaway within a few minutes.  You first choose your prize and decide how people can enter through numerous options (and yes, you can click more than one!).  Next you’ll setup a time parameter and set your contest live! They’ve got a free trial you can easily get started with, and it’s inexpensive to continue with their upgraded plans.

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5. Pablo by Buffer: The human brain processes images 60,000 times quicker than text and 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.  Social Media Platforms and Images go hand and hand for success with research by Twitter sharing that adding a photo URL into your tweet can boost retweets by an impressive 35%. Click to Tweet.

Pablo by Buffer makes it easy to design engaging images for your social media channels within minutes.   The Buffer Blog (one of my favorite sources of content) has a post here about how to get started and integrate into your mix.

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The tool provides ready to go templates, images, and quotes for you to use and it makes it fun to style you image adjusting your font or color, switching the photo from blurred to black and white, and adding a line of text or an icon in.  It also allows you to upload an image of your own to overlay with text.  We use this all the time during events to highlight speaker quotes in live time and drive engagement online.   Once you’ve developed your image you can easily share to your social channels, download, or add into your buffer scheduling matrix.  The only downside is they’re desktop only, hopefully a mobile version will come soon for those of us on the go, but to make life better, it’s completely free to use!

What do you think of the tools I’ve suggested? I would love to hear if they’ve helped you at all, and please take a moment and share your favorite tool with me within the comments or send me a tweet!

4 Tips for Building a Social Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand

This September I’ll be speaking with April Rudin during CFA Institute’s Alpha and Gender Diversity: The Competitive Edge Conference in Boston.  We’ll be delivering a pre-conference workshop on building a strong personal brand through social media.   In a nutshell social media is the crucial piece for managing and establishing your personal brand online. Not only is social media free it also provides accessible tools to communicate with infinite “niches” to fit into.  It allows us to stay hyper networked 24/7 while gaining instant access to information.  After our session in Boston we’ll be able to connect with conference delegates and stay in touch and continue conversations in live time.

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So, What Exactly is Personal Branding? Within Barry Feldman’s Blog Post he nailed it: You, my friend, are a brand. Therefore, personal branding is the process of managing and optimizing the way that you’re presented to others.  While self-help management techniques are about self -improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging (i.e. You’re a brand. I’m a brand.  We’re all brands, whether we aim to be or not.)  

Below I’ve outlined a summary of our presentation sharing Four Tips for Building a Social Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand.

Tip #1: Determine Your Area of Expertise

Before you can establish your personal brand it’s important to determine what sets you apart from others.  The world of personal branding is flooded so you just can’t choose a general field like “marketing” or “social media.”  It’s more beneficial to focus on finding a specific niche so you’ll have an advantage to prove that you know what you’re talking about and stand out.  Although your audience might smaller, it will also be much more relevant. Your area of expertise should be something you’re authentically interested in.  After you determine your 1-3 areas of expertise it’s important to prioritize becoming a thought leader-producing content regularly and staying on topic and therefore gaining trust.   Before long you’ll have proof of your expertise!

Tip #2:  Remember that your digital reputation stays for life!  Treat it as if it were permanent

Sharing across social media will help draw others to you and help grow your personal brand.  Although social media can be overwhelming and confusing remember that it was initially setup as a forum to start conversations, providing the perfect forum to add value and drive engagement.  While it’s important to take a proactive approach to generating social media engagement by getting involved within your community.  However, be smart along the way and remember that so much depends on reputation- so you should guard it with your life.

It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have.  Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.- Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk stated it well, it’s important to remember that a reputation is your greatest asset follows you everywhere you go.  The web is permanent, and anything you say is etched into a digital presence that isn’t easily removed.  Being thoughtful in what you publish and engaging others tactfully goes a long way in positioning yourself in the right light.

Tip 3: Assume Everyone Can Help You

Think of being and influencer Like Being an intern, everyone MUST prove themselves.  As you work on building your social media footprint and generating engagement it’s important to remember to always respond and assume that your followers, fans and connections can help you.  Social Media 101 states that engagement and conversation always outweigh self-promotion.  It’s important to have an opinion, ask questions, and follow people back on social media (really…it’s okay!).  When you get unusual followers, specifically the good ones, always reach out with a personal comment/message.   I’ve been fortunate to amass a large social media footprint by actively participating in conversations within my community and taking time out of my day to retweet, share content, and engage with my followers.  Remember, social media has little to do with what we say about ourselves, and has everything to do with what people say about us.

Tip #4: Understand Exactly What NOT to Do on Social Media:

Although this may seem like a given, and I’ve covered some basics of what to do, it’s also important to address what NOT to do within social media.

  • Don’t complain about your job, co-workers or your boss (hint: see tip #2)
  • Don’t share too much information- think about how you can separate your digital & personal life
  • Don’t have an incomplete social media profile (if you’re not going to take the time to set it up then why bother keeping it active)
  • Don’t have an inappropriate, blurry, logo, or unprofessional photo (hint: a selfie or photo of you with drinks isn’t suited for your LinkedIn profile)
  • Don’t reference illegal activities- anything you wouldn’t do or say in front of a police officer shouldn’t go on social media!
  • Don’t be too self-serving or phony- remember You eventually become who you are who are on social media…You can only fake it for so long.  If you are a pain in real life, you will be a pain on social media. 

Conclusion: Hopefully these tips have been helpful in thinking about how you present yourself online. Establishing a personal brand on social media is something anyone can do, start small, stay focused, and drive engagement through your actions.  Social media is a powerful way to amplify your message, whatever that message may be, whatever the audience.

I would love to know which of these tips might work for you, leave a comment below or send me a tweet @marissapick.  As a reminder, you can follow the conversation online during CFA Institute’s Alpha and Gender Diversity: The Competitive Edge Conference September 14-15th by following the #CFAWomen hashtag.

Does Social Media Rule Publishing? #Yes.

The emergence of social media has had a tremendous impact of how digital news is produced, consumed, and specifically around how the journalists behind the stories are pressured to re approach and modify their craft.  This month, Edelman Media Network teamed up with two start ups NewsWhip and Much Rack and surveyed 250 working journalistsrevealing that more than three-quarters of them feel increased pressure to get their stories shared on social media.

This research revealed that:

  • More than 75% of journalists say they feel more pressure now to think about their story’s potential to get shared on social platforms.
  • To make their stories more shareable, journalists are infusing their stories with five key ingredients: video/images, brevity, localization, more use of human voice and a proximity to trending topics.
  • Nearly three-quarters of journalists are now creating original video content to accompany their stories. However, very few journalists (13%) are relying on sourcing consumer-generated video and only 3 percent are using corporate video.
  • Journalists see five key trends impacting their profession this year: more mobile friendly content, faster turnaround times, more original video, smaller newsroom staff and social media growing in influence.

Employers are becoming increasingly dependent on social media for traffic.  In September 2013 Shareaholic reported the eight biggest social referrers drove 16.4% of traffic to publishers’ sites, and a year later, that number had nearly doubled, to 29.5%.  As the study revealed, journalists are now feeling the pressure to write “sharable & digestible” stories surrounding topics which are already trending and focusing on ways to develop headlines which demand attention.

Journalists are also being called upon to leverage their individual social media profiles and adjust how they approach their stories to aide in getting the stories the most possible shares across social media.  82% of survey respondents said they use images to make stories more searchable (click to tweet).

It’s a fact that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visually based (click to tweet), and the human brains processes images 60,000 times faster than text, a stat which I often share when discussing leveraging visual content within social media.

It’s no surprise the facts revealed within the study, and how social media has redefined journalism and publishing.  As social media continues to become more prevalent many traditional media companies continue to struggle to keep up. Employers are becoming increasingly dependent on social media or traffic, and roles such as mine are here to help journalists, and the rest of the business stay up to speed with trends in social media.  I think the study shares some great stats,  and raises a great issue faced by journalists. What do you think? Please leave me a comment or tweet me your thoughts.

The Social Domino Effect

According to new research from the University of California in San Diego sharing an uplifting quote or status update on Facebook or other social media platforms can be contagious.

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Emotions expressed online both positive and negative can be contagious. Researchers reviewed the emotional content of 1 billion Facebook posts and found that the language used can influence the words your friends choose, creating what’s known as a “social multiplier.”

And researchers found that positive emotions spread more than negative ones. Make sure to think for a moment before you craft your next Facebook update, since it’s contagious after all!

Four Critical #SocialMedia Mistakes to Avoid

Social media can be of a great benefit to a brand, however it can be detrimental if not handled property.  Still many companies are flocking to social media platforms for the one simple reason: not incorporating social media into their marketing strategy would be a loss to connect with potential customers while strengthening bonds with existing customers.  As social media has become the most popular online activity, companies need to be careful and mindful of how they’re using social media to avoid simple mistakes which can lead to the demise of customer engagement across their social media platforms.  Here are four critical social media mistakes for brands to avoid:

1) Using social media for selling, not conversing or engaging: Social Media is a place to build a personality and enhance a deeper relationship with your audience.  Social media users often don’t respond well to a hard sell.  Make sure your social media is a channel for starting a conversation, and engaging with your audience.  Building up trust and a repertoire is crucial and from there the only thing you need to sell your customers on is that you’re going to include them in the conversation.

2) Avoiding Controversy and Complaints: Let’s face it, social media is the perfect channel to vent and let our frustrations out.  Mistakes happen and as a brand you need to own up to them and let your customers know what you’re going to do to ensure they won’t be repeated.  Ignoring complaints shows you’re going to do your own thing, and that as a brand you are backing away.  Own your mistakes and man up! Make sure you have a plan in place for worst-case scenarios, and a social media disaster, it can’t hurt to be prepared!

3) #Getting #Hashtag #Happy on #SocialMedia: Using hashtags is a handy and effective tool, however sometimes they need to be used in moderation.  Using too many hashtags within a tweet or an Instagram post can come off too pushy. We’re already limited to 140 characters on Twitter so utilizing an image and text should speak volumes and stand alone, with a hashtag as a supporting entity.  Hashtags are fantastic for running promotions and enhancing searchability, however when used too often they can limit your ability to really amplify your message. 

4) Lacking a Strategy with Clear Business Objectives: If you’ve ever read my blog you’ll understand that i’m a firm believer in understanding that what you decide to do is JUST as important as deciding what you’re not going to do.  Make sure your brand has clear objectives set for utilizing social media, with a strategy for each social channel to help you achieve your goals.  Creating a strategy should include having distinct and measurable goals, thinking through your brand’s voice, and planning out a content calendar with clear goals in mind.   Setting a strategy and agreeing upon clear business objectives are the first two step’s in social media success.  

Social Media is About Reach and Engagement, see past the Dollar-Value Returns — Here’s What Marketers Should Measure Instead

A fantastic article published by John Heggestuen in Business Insider reinforces the idea that Social Media Marketing isn’t always about the dollar value returns, but should be focused toward new metrics that evaluate social media strategies in terms of audience-building, brand awareness, and customer relations. It’s important to have clearly defined business objectives and realistic expectations before launching a social media strategy, and the points below really emphasize the larger picture of what marketers should be measuring.

The recent Business Insider report, In-Depth Research On What Matters In Digital reviews how social media strategies are involving:

  • The decline of ROI metrics: Between 2010 and 2013, the percentage of marketers using a revenue-per-customer metric on social media dropped from 17% to 9%, according to the February 2013 CMO survey. The percentage tracking conversion rates also dropped, from 25% to 21%.
  • Even as the vogue for ROI indicators fades, social media budgets are ballooning. On average, top marketers expect to devote 9% of their budgets to social media spend in 2014, and 16% by 2018, according to the same survey.
  • Exceptions: Of course there are exceptions to the move away from ROI. Some social commerce applications and direct response campaigns will achieve measurable results on Facebook, or other social networks. And the end of the ROI-fever definitely doesn’t mean that all metrics can be thrown out the window.
  • The metrics to watch are audience reach, engagement, and sentiment. On Facebook, it’s always important to remember that due to algorithmic filtering, brand or business posts will only be seen by an average 16% of their fans.
  • Facebook shares are particularly valuable, because normal users’ posts are seen in a relatively high percentage of friends’ news feeds (compared to posts by brand pages); between 29 and 35% according to one study.
  • Improving the most common metrics: Insights, Facebook’s built-in analytics tool, offers great basic data for measuring reach and engagement. We show you how to transform those numbers into richer and more valuable metrics.
  • Post reach is the most fundamental indicator of reach on Facebook, but it’s important to track it relative to number of page fans and enrich it with complementary indicators. We show you how, and include screenshots.

The report also emphasizes the importance of reach and engagement as well as other benefits of social media below.  It’s a great report to reinforce that in order to embrace social media you must see past the immediate revenue and dollar value returns, and see the larger picture!

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Please leave a comment below, or tweet me @Marissapick with feedback, enjoy!