Posts

building authority online

How to Use 5 Types of Content to Grow Your Online Authority (Recap of My Live Talk for #SocialMediaBootcamp in Austin, Texas)

Last week on Friday, I had the honor of speaking at Jessica Campos’ event, a Social Media Bootcamp right here in Austin, Texas.

It was exciting for two reasons: for one, it was at The Capital Factory, a dream speaking venue in downtown Austin. For another, I had a fantastic host: Jessica is the founder of Marketing for Greatness and a well-known local marketer here in Austin, Texas. She worked hard at putting together a memorable event, and invited me to come and speak personally. Jessica hosts many networking events locally, and is a great person in real life just as much as she is in marketing. I love being around her.

I said yes to Jessica’s invitation, and the rest is history! This amazing lady worked her network marketing magic and sold out the room – we had 50 seats, and more than 50 in attendance! It was my largest live audience yet.

We had a packed room for #socialmediabootcamp!

I’ve had the idea for a session on how to build authority online using the five foundational types of content for a while, and I decided to explore that for Jessica’s bootcamp. It was the perfect complement session to her opening talk on holistic social media marketing practices.

This talk was born: Building Authority Online & Where it Begins: 5 Types of Content You Should Be Publishing to Grow Your Brand.

julia mccoy speaking

After my talk, it was exciting to hear terrific real-time feedback from attendees.

Two senior-level marketing executives that worked in Austin came and found me to tell me how much my talk resonated with them.

“Everything you were saying about content made SO MUCH SENSE! Our ads aren’t working, nothing has been working, and we know we’ve needed a new channel for a while.”

It was clear they were excited to find a way out from old practices that weren’t working. That was a thrill to me to hear! I loved knowing I’d been able to make a difference for someone.

In today’s blog, I’m recapping the talk I gave, including the most important takeaways and lessons. Buckle in!

Check out @JuliaEMcCoy's recap of her talk on building #authority online through #content, live at @capitalfactory in #ATX for @jessicamcampos' #socialmediabootcamp 🔥 Click To Tweet

Social Media Bootcamp LIVE in Austin, Texas (Hosted by Jessica Campos)

Here’s a look at our fun day in Austin at Jessica’s bootcamp, put together by my designer in a collage. Keep scrolling for top takeaways, a recap of Jessica’s and my session, and some special shoutouts!

social media bootcamp

Jessica Campos: Social Media Practices That Bring Real Results in Your Business

Jessica Campos started off Friday’s Social Media Bootcamp with a fantastic, action-packed session.

She talked about the reality of “marketing” on social media, and how it’s not okay to just “turn to the person next to you, and ask, Would you like to lose ten pounds?” — and she had the whole room nodding and laughing. If it’s not okay to do in a waiting room, why do it on social media? She shared with us the typical journey of one of her warm leads: the person left her website open in their tab for days, closed it, came back through a Facebook ad and then clicked over to the blog, left the site again and came back to the contact page in another few days. And repeat.

I relate! We cannot predict our buyer’s journey. Jessica shared how the marketing funnel is dead, and what’s replaced it: the loyalty loop. (As most of you already know by now, I completely agree that the funnel is dead. I’ve written about that here.)

Jessica also shared how to discover your audience using tools like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics’ user behavior, two great tools for finding out real information about your audience.

jessica campos

Using the whiteboard to write out the frameworks she shared, Jessica covered several areas that made up a “sandwich,” or “burger” to help us remember how to build a solid social media marketing strategy:

  • The importance of data and knowing what your leads and ideal audience is actually doing and thinking of
  • Building avatars to represent and get to know your ideal audience
  • Creating a culture to attract your tribe and people
  • Writing a manifesto to represent who you are with a brand voice to differentiate yourself from the masses
  • Focusing on growing your influence online to attract people to you and your brand

jessica campos marketing for greatness

Jessica also did a real-life marketing analysis with one of the attendees, Lori Stinson, an agent and owner for logistics and supply chain company DSV. It was awesome!

With Lori next to her, Jessica built avatars to represent Lori’s ideal audience, an experienced, established company out in California. One method I loved was when Jessica told Lori that LinkedIn was going to be her best bet to earn social media leads from. Several members of the audience also shared terrific ways Lori could create fun marketing campaigns to pull in the eyes and ears of her ideal people.

lori stinson Agent at DSV Road

Around noon, Jessica wrapped up her session, and we all had a lunch break. Then, it was time for my session.

Special Shoutout to Jeff at Chubby Diaries & @YoungMommy (Christine Young) on Twitter

I want to take a quick moment to give some well-deserved shoutouts.

Jessica asked Jeffrey Jenkins, a local entrepreneur, travel influencer, speaker, and the founder of ChubbyDiaries.com, to attend and record media for us (as content creators, Jessica and I are all about maximizing our event presence). He took our photos and the raw video (coming soon to my YouTube channel!). Special shoutout to Jeff, who was a fantastic help!

Another shoutout to Christine Young, supermom to 7 and blogger at FromDatestoDiapers.com, for live-tweeting during our event! She captured some fantastic takeaways live during our bootcamp.

Building Authority Online & Where it Begins: 5 Types of Content to Grow Your Brand (Recap of My Live Talk)

I started my session with these important facts about today’s buyer:

  • 81% of U.S. consumers trust information and advice from blogs. (BlogHer)
  • Email remains an incredibly effective channel at driving purchases. In 2018, 17.75% of clicked-through emails resulted in a purchase. This stat has been increasing every year. (Barilliance.com study)
  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (DemandGen)
  • Good content is becoming the foundation of good marketing.

I also shared the astounding results from Amanda Bond’s recent Facebook ads study, which I’ve blogged about before.

Bond studied the results from over $10,000,000+ in Facebook ad spend across seven and eight-figure brands for months, and discovered that from 2016 to late 2018, the ROA (return on advertising) for a traditional ad funnel plummeted from 11.8x all the way to .6x. On average, marketers are now losing money on ads. Crazy!

Then, I went into the five types of content to build to see real results online, starting with the important foundational overview:

Build consistent content on your website (your online house), AND: start list-building, getting visible on social media, and be intimately familiar with the what and how of creating content that works.

5 Types of Content to Build

The five types of content I recommended to attendees for a strong online presence are these:

  1. Blogs
  2. Site Content (Web Pages)
  3. Email
  4. Social Media
  5. List-Builders (Downloadables: Lead Magnets, Free Ebooks)

I talked about these two goal areas for your blogs (which I explain more in this blog):

  • Goal of SEO rankings in Google, inbound traffic, and list-building: Create long-form (1000w-3000w) blogs
  • Goal of brand awareness, event sharing, news/launch: Short-form (500-800w) blogs

I also shared the importance of scannable content over readable content. Scannable content goes a step further. It’s when you focus on crafting content that contains zero fluff. When you format properly, with H2s, H3s, and strong sectioned-out content. I shared the structure of a good blog, taking inspiration from one of the world’s best bloggers: Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger.

Specifically, I shared one of his top-shared blogs, which is also top #10 in Google for ‘how to become a freelance writer.’ This is an example of a terrific blog for these reasons:

  • It starts with a story that ‘hooks’ the ideal reader into a situation they dream of or wish to be in one day.
  • Then, Jon tells them the story can come true with statistical proof as to how big the industry is, and how much freelance writers are needed.
  • Then, he adds tons and tons of value to the reader’s life, in a 3,000-word monster blog.

jon morrow example

I also shared a few methods on how to create great headlines. A study by BuzzSumo spanning over 50,000 pieces of content found that these top headline phrases worked the best:buzzsumo headline starters

I also “spilled the secrets” about one of my all-time favorite headline tools, the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. This tool is amazing — and it’s free!

Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

Next, I covered the three stages of how to craft great blog content.

Blogging is best done in stages:

  • Ideation
  • Creation
  • Publishing

Great ideas are the key to great blogs, and that’s why leaving time and space just for ideas and research. I spend a day JUST for ideation, called Brainstorming Day, and validate each idea by researching with the right tools (BuzzSumo, KWFinder, SEMrush are some go-tos). I teach the how of content ideation in my Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

'I spend a day just for content ideation, and I call it Brainstorming Day.' More on #contentcreation methods that build your #authority online from @JuliaEMcCoy's live talk in #ATX Click To Tweet

Next, I covered web pages, email content, and list-builders. (Blogs are very often the meat of your consistent online presence, so I spent the most time there.)

Good web pages are:

  • Focused: Created around one clear keyword or page topic to focus around (one topic per page).
  • Word Count: The majority of clear, well-crafted web pages are 400-1200w, depending on topic & product features.
  • Clear Formatting: Well-formatted with clear headline, body introduction, H2s, H3s.

I shared a few critical “must-dos” for web page copy:

  • Clarity over cleverness in the copy. Be CLEAR on what the page is about.
  • YOU/YOUR vs. WE/OUR: Less “our”, more “you!” Be customer-focused.

Next, for email content, I talked about sending consistent campaigns. Marketers, send emails for almost every new thing you do or publish on your site. Here are a few reasons to send an email to your list:

  • New content (blogs) that you post on your site
  • Events (online or in-person) you’re hosting or guesting at
  • Product/service launches or updates
  • Less often: sales emails (courses, services)

The rule of thumb to not tick anyone off accidentally in your free vs. pitch-focused content is this:

For every pitch, send a minimum of three value-focused emails.

3:1 -- For every one pitch, send a minimum of three value-focused emails. More on #contentcreation methods via @JuliaEMcCoy's recap of her live talk in #ATX Click To Tweet

I also talked about email headlines and how important it is to optimize them without click-baiting. Clarity and specific statements work best in email headlines.

Then, I merged into social media, and kept my tips focused to copywriting, with a few other relatable key takeaways.

A few important reminders I shared when writing social media copy:

  • Brevity in copy
  • Be visual-heavy, copy-light
  • Use emojis in your copy
  • Use hashtags (don’t overload – less can be more esp. on Twitter/LinkedIn)
  • Go live or upload short videos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

I also shared that authenticity matters in social media. Your audience WANTS you to speak what you think on social media, and share the REAL YOU. It’s true — we have examples from leading marketers of patterns of virility from posting real, original thoughts that focus on an audience pain point that everyone in that audience can relate to. For example, this tweet from Chris Kubby that turned into another viral Instagram post:


I talked about the importance of giving yourself time, space, and knowledge (getting to know your real audience) to have these original, genuine thoughts. Without time and space, you aren’t giving your mind permission to come up with these thoughts; and without knowledge, you won’t know what kind of pain points your audience actually has that you need to speak and relate to.

julia mccoy speaking

Finally, I wrapped up with a segment on list-building, and covered how to write and put together these three types of list-builders:

  1. Case Studies/Whitepapers
  2. Lead Magnets & Ebooks
  3. Cheat Sheets (Content Upgrades, Templates)

One of our most popular case studies is this one, where we partnered with our client at Nfusion Solutions to uncover SEO keywords and craft SEO content that built their presence online. They were a fantastic client to work with, and we were able to build a great case study based on their story and what we were able to do together.case study example

I also shared another authority-building “secret:” content upgrades, a term first coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko back in 2016.

brian dean content upgrade

A content upgrade is when you create a blog and a PDF summary or cheat-sheet, and combine the two. The PDF you’re giving away inside your blog offers that extra tidbit of value for your list, and they’re already going to be interested in downloading it because it’s 100% relevant to the blog they’re reading. HUGE opportunity for list building!

I shared an example of how we’ve done this in a blog on How to Write SEO Content: The Essential Guide.

content upgrade example

For the past few years, we’ve been growing by 9-12 subscribers on average daily, autopilot, just through all the content upgrades I’ve built over the years. It is a ton of work to set up, but completely worth it!

Special Announcement! Content Hacker Coming Soon

social media bootcamp

Towards the end of the bootcamp, I shared a fun announcement. (This will be new for many of you Write Blog readers, too, unless you frequent Twitter or Facebook – the cat is out of the bag on most of my social media platforms!)

Everyone attending and watching my presentation had been getting a sneak peek of the new branding for my all-new brand launching in June, Content Hacker. The colors, style, everything was a sneak peek into the branding that will be a part of my new site and brand when it launches. I think I had the biggest smile on my face when I was talking about this. I’m so excited to reveal Content Hacker! Content Hacker will be a #1 resource for every growth-focused content marketer on the planet: a tribe, a community, a resource hub, a place where I interview Content Hackers making a difference, a blog for productivity and life improvements alongside best content practices, bespoke content marketing consulting, and more.

Join me when we launch – sign up to the launch list to get notified (and when you sign up, you’ll get a special letter from me explaining part of the mission behind the launch!). Click below to go to Content Hacker and sign up to learn about my new brand launching in June. 

content hacker

Wrapping Up #SocialMediaBootcamp With a Panel

To wrap up our bootcamp at The Capital Factory, Jessica had a great idea: invite former newscaster Kim Zook Barnes, award-winning newscaster and the brains behind Barnes Team Media, an on-camera and media/video training consulting agency, to a panel with both of us afterwards.

Together, the three of us took Q&As that the audience was asked to write down during our session. It was a fantastic idea on Jessica’s part and turned out well! We were able to answer some great questions live. Kim added some great insights from her experience in on-camera communications. See Jessica’s recap for the full Q&A list.

Video Recap of My Session

That’s a Wrap: How to Use 5 Types of Content to Grow Your Authority Online for Jessica’s #SocialMediaBootcamp in Austin, Texas

Thanks for hanging for my recap of Friday’s live talk!

It was an amazing event by Jessica Campos, and I was truly honored to be a part of it. Anything Jessica does is fabulous, so it was a no-brainer “yes.”

capital factory social media bootcamp austin texas

I hope you enjoyed it — in some way, either being there live or reading this recap — and were able to take away a new idea or two to use in your business.

Psst… If you don’t have them yet, don’t forget to grab your copy of my (93+!) slides:

Have questions? Anything to add to the conversation? Were you there? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Happy content marketing,

Julia

Google & Twitter Team Up On A New Content Delivery Platform

Getting content and getting it fast is important in the world of the Internet, isn’t it?

When you see an interesting article, you want to click and read without having to wait for several seconds.

Facebook knew this way back in May, creating a new content delivery platform called Instant Articles. And now it looks like Google and Twitter are teaming up for something similar.

What is this new content delivery platform? And how can you use it for your content?

Google & Twitter content delivery platform

Avengers, Assemble: Google and Twitter Teaming Up for a Content Delivery Platform

Back in May, Facebook announced a new content delivery platform called Instant Articles. The plan on Facebook’s part was to offer original content from companies directly on Facebook instead of third party sites.

They’ve continued this with the revamp of Notes, creating a powerful long-form content platform.

And Google and Twitter did not want to be left out.

Recode reports that many Twitter users are noticing that articles load instantaneously now, instead of waiting for a few seconds for it to load. Are you seeing the similarity with Instant Articles?

Once you get passed that similarity, you’ll notice a few interesting differences.

This isn’t necessarily being hosted directly on Google and Twitter; in fact, both channels want to make this an open source service. This gives several tech companies the opportunity to use this and build on it for their own needs.

This is a great opportunity for websites, and since this is based on cached websites instead of an individual content platform, it is open to everyone. And, you won’t lose out on ad revenue either.

How is this Going to Compete With Facebook’s Instant Articles?

The biggest way Google and Twitter’s new delivery platform is going to compete with Instant Articles is simply that it is open source.

Instant Articles is only for Facebook and isn’t available for everyone yet. However, with this platform, every single publisher will benefit.

When it comes to using Facebook, Mashable points out that it really is a difficult position for publishers. Instant Articles shows that people need to jump on the Facebook bandwagon or they could lose out.

However, it could also get to the point where people rely too heavily on Facebook and forget other channels.

This isn’t so with Google and Twitter, which is making this new option immediately attractive to many publishers both large and small.

Is This Going to Drastically Changes Online Content Delivery?

Thankfully, this new change isn’t going to be a drastic change. It just means that you need to focus heavily on content creation.

And really, you should already be focusing on it.

Creating excellent content pieces that people will click on is the biggest way that you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity.

Content creation is an incredible way to deliver content your clients want to see, providing them with value. This can definitely help you stand out from all of your competitors, making you someone people will trust quicker.

7 Ways to Prepare for Google and Twitter’s Content Delivery Platform

When it comes to creating excellent content and preparing to utilize Google and Twitter’s new setup, there are a few things you can do.

I am going to take a look and help you create some awesome long-form content pieces that people will click on and love to read ASAP.

1. Prepare to Write More Long-Form Content for Social Media

The biggest thing you need to do to prepare for the majority of recent changes, including Google and Twitter, is to make sure you are focusing on long-form content.

Long-form content can drastically increase your website traffic, as well as making sure people stay, return, and share. Just take a look at this graph from Wordstream after they began to implement long-form content:

wordstream graph

Image Credit: Wordstream

When they began to create long-form content, they saw that more readers stayed on their site longer. This is great because it then opens it up to encourage people to go around your site and look at your products and services.

Sujan Patel says that long-form content also gives you the ability to reach a wider audience base, helps you to talk about more topics, and helps you generate more leads.

 2.Hire Not Only Social Media Managers but Copywriters As Well

One of the best ways to prepare and get awesome content is to not only hire social media managers but copywriters as well.

This will help you create great content consistently, helping encourage people to click the links on Twitter and read your article.

Just imagine what the combined efforts of Google and Twitter with the power of a copywriter can do for your site. You’ll see some absolutely incredible results. Including, but not limited to, people sharing your content, engaging with it, and staying on your site longer.

3. Know How to Tailor Your Content for the Channel

You should also know the tone you want to use when it comes to reaching Twitter. You may need to create some great blog pieces that capture that tone, and help you reach out to a wider demographic.

It is vital to know, however, the difference between your brand’s voice and the tone you use. Your voice must always stay the same to help promote consistency.

Buffer’s Kevan Lee powerfully states that, “Voice is a mission statement. Tone is the application of that mission.”

You should already know the voice you want to have for your brand so use it when crafting content. And change up your multitude of tones to reach out to the right audience on Twitter.

4. Keep Up Your Business Site’s Blog

With Facebook’s Instant Articles, you might start believing you don’t need to keep up your site’s blog.

As I stated earlier, this is exactly what Mashable is afraid of. And you shouldn’t fall into this easy trap.

With the new change between Google and Twitter, you will absolutely need to keep up your business’s blog.

Don’t neglect it for other content delivery platforms because you could end up losing out on a lot more than you may realize at first.

5. Get Ready to Produce Original Content on the Majority of Social Platforms

More than ever we are seeing just how important original content is in the realm of social media.

There are multiple places that are requiring original content from Facebook to YouTube, and many sites like Upworthy are making sure they’re producing it.

In fact, research is already showing just how important original content is on platforms like Facebook. Native videos on Facebook do significantly better than those shared from third parties.

What’s the breakdown of how well these videos do? The videos end up reaching two times more people, getting shared three times more than third party videos, and receive seven times more comments.

Getting original content is not difficult, and when you focus on it, you will start to notice that more people are willing to engage and share.

6. Up Your Twitter Content Game with Powerful Tweets

The other big thing you should focus on with this new setup is convincing people to click your links and get to your page.

There are several awesome ways to do this, but a really great way is utilizing images.

Buffer takes a look at the power of images on Twitter, showing that tweets with photos get 18 percent more clicks, as well as 89 percent more favorites.

What about re-tweets? Tweets with images were re-tweeted 159 percent more for Buffer. Incredible, no?

7. Use Your Hashtags to Bring in More Readers and Viewers

You should also make sure you are hashtagging correctly. It can be super easy to hashtag a tweet to death trying to reach everyone you possibly can, but that doesn’t work well anymore.

Linchpin SEO did a study showing that tweets that utilize two hashtags saw a 21 percent increase in engagement. And tweets with more than two? The engagement numbers actually dropped by 17 percent.

Original, Powerful Content is More Important Than Ever

With all of these great advances in long-form content publication, you need to start creating awesome long-form content.

You need to ensure you are focusing on creating original content consistently to not only work with Facebook but also with Google and Twitter.

Conclusion

It’s always a good time to focus on the quality and consistent production of your content, and now that Twitter’s doing away with character limits, time to focus on long-form, high quality content even more! Express Writers can provide you with the exact type of long-form content you need to see awesome results.

What do you think about all this? Share in the comments!

The rise of Pinterest

The Rise of Pinterest: 5 Reasons It Should be Part of Your Social Media Mix

Are you looking for a great, new way to help leverage your social media campaign? Of course you are, that’s why you’re reading this blog!

There currently exists on the web an excellent social media channel that has been around for a while now, yet is starting to become a very vital aspect of any social media campaign – Pinterest. That’s right, the channel that gives people recipes and DIY tips is the next element in an impressive social media campaign. Let’s take a look at why this channel will be important for you, the various advantages of it, and how you can use Pinterest to generate revenue.

Why is Pinterest Such an Important Channel?

Pinterest hasn’t always been on the social media radar as an important channel for businesses. However, it is an incredible channel that can help bring about engagement and revenue for your company. According to Suzanne Delzio at Social Media Examiner, Pinterest currently has 47 million users, and this number is expected to grow exponentially in 2016. Researchers believe this growth will happen going off of past analytics that show users doubling in 2014, and more people are signing up for the social site each day. This means that your clients are likely to be on this channel already, and if they aren’t, they soon will be. While Pinterest has been a site mainly populated by women, the social media channel has attempted to grow the demographic, and reports are showing that the amount of men signing up is growing quick.

As you can see, the platform is growing by leaps and bounds in many different areas and demographics, making it an important channel. You need to make sure you are on this channel soon and well before 2016 starts.

Who Uses Pinterest the Most?

I briefly mentioned above that women use this site the most, but that the amount of male users is growing quickly. However, I am going to give a bit more detail into the users to help you craft an excellent campaign. According to Carly Stec at HubSpot, one-third of users are women, and that number is up by 25 percent. In addition, 8 percent of men inside the United States use the social channel, which is a growth from 5 percent. These numbers are expected to rise, and this means that there will be more shoppers will to buy your products or services. For now, women are still dominating over at Pinterest, and should be a target audience. However, don’t neglect the men who are starting to use this channel, as well.

The Anatomy of a Pinterest Brain

When it comes to Pinterest, you need to know and understand the anatomy of a user’s brain. Just why do they go to the platform and how do they become a shopper instead of a browser? Let’s take a look!

  1. “I’m Just Looking at Various Things.” When someone opens their Pinterest app or goes on the desktop site, they simply start out looking and browsing what is being shared. Many times, they don’t go in with the intention of buying, but, by following a few steps, many do end up doing so.
  1. “Well, This is Interesting.” The next part of the anatomy of a Pinterest brain is that someone has to think the image, idea, or product looks interesting. The more interesting the pin, the more likely that person will be to click on the image and then the link attached, directing them to a site. This can then lead them to purchase the item from the picture.
  1. “I Need to Narrow This Down.” Many times, people who are browsing Pinterest will see a multitude of interesting things, but they want to make sure they narrow things down. This helps them decide which pins to share or which products to buy.
  1. “This is Exactly What I Need.” After narrowing things down, users will end up buying what they find to be exactly what they need. This is why it is important to make your pins stand out. You want it to be the winning pin for the Pinterest brain. Don’t worry; I am going to look at how you can achieve this later in the blog.

5 Incredible Advantages to Using Pinterest for Your Business

Before I get into how you can make incredible revenue with a Pinterest account, I want to look at the advantages of joining. Some people might not be sure that it is a site they can use, but there are some incredible benefits to it.

  1. You Can Reach a Younger Demographic. Pinterest gives you access to a younger demographic, and while you might want to reach an older one, young people can really help your business. You shouldn’t ignore this demographic because you might be surprised just how much revenue you can bring in when you advertise to them. Pinterest is a great starting place for this.
  1. You Can Use it as a Marketing Tool on Your Site or in Your Store. If you have product images or blogs, you can add a Pinterest social share button to your site. This will encourage users and readers to pin anything they find interesting on their own account, therefore sharing it with their friend group. If their friends find it interesting, they will share that pin and so on. This can bring in more people to that product, blog, or landing page, and once there, you can convert them to leads.
  1. You Can Share More Than Just Your Products. When it comes to Pinterest, you aren’t limited to only sharing product images. In fact, you can share your blogs, other landing pages, and also share helpful information from industry leaders. You can create boards for each and every idea you have, helping to keep them all organized, and allowing people to follow the boards they find interesting.
  1. You Can Create a Board that Links to Your Blogs. Do you want to drive more traffic to your blogs? Then create a board and link directly to each post as you share it. Make sure to use your keywords in the pin description and use hashtags, as well.
  1. Pinterest Gives You the Chance to Make Your Brand More Human. This gives you a chance to show your brand in a more human light, which can help people trust you. You can create a board that shows the “daily life” of your company and share images or create an “event” board to show your events. Whatever shows a personal side to your business will help make your brand more human.

10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Generate Revenue

Now that you can see some of the benefits of using Pinterest, I am going to look at how you can use it to generate revenue. I will be referencing a few points from the HubSpot article by Carly Stec I shared towards the beginning of this blog.

Here are some things you can do on your Pinterest account to have a successful presence.

  1. Use Several Dominant Colors in Your Pin. Carly points out that images with dominant colors tend to receive more than three times the amount of shares and re-pins as those that don’t. Make sure you use more than one dominant color, as one won’t be as likely to get as many shares. This will help you stand out and make people look at your pins, and then, as I said, they will share. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
  1. Stay Away from Sharing a Human Face. Pinterest is an artsy social channel, which means that people like to see more artistic images than regular. One of the things that people seem not to like as much on the platform is seeing the human face in their images. You can show a person, but consider photos that have the person looking away, with a focus elsewhere like on a book or a cup of tea.
  1. Get Artsy With Your Pins. As I said, Pinterest is artsy, which means that artsy pins are going to be shared more than plain looking ones. There are many ways you can make an image look artsy by adding filters and focusing on different things in the image. If you are sharing a photo of a field, consider one that focuses on a flower with the field behind; just something that looks pretty and artistic.
  1. Bring Down Your Image’s Saturation. Carly also gives another tip for creating a good image to share on the channel, which is to bring down the image saturation. This gives it that Instagram filter feel, which can make people especially younger individuals look at it more. This is something you can easily do with the editing software that comes with your computer or by locating different online places that can help.
  1. Create Infographics that Provide Your Clients With Value. Pinterest is a very visual platform, as you can see, which means you need to have great visual content ready. However, your business might not be one with many visuals. A great way to utilize the channel is to create and share valuable infographics for your user base, encouraging them to read and share with others.
  1. Have a Decent Amount of Pins Already Pinned. In order for people to consider following your Pinterest account or boards, you need to have pins already pinned. This can attract more people because you will look active on the account. If you have nothing pinned, users won’t know if you are a valuable brand to follow. Create a few boards and pin different things to them to start out, and you will begin to see more people willing to either follow you or one or two of your boards.
  1. Promote Your Brand on Pinterest. Promoting on Pinterest is one of the best ways to get noticed. It is rare for people to stumble on someone’s account if it isn’t being promoted. Social Media Examiner points out that Pinterest says that promoted pins can get just as much traffic as regular ones, which helps with organic traffic. While it is still new, this is still a great idea for different businesses. You can join the list to become one of the businesses able to use it by signing up to be chosen to be in the beta program.
  1. Set Up a Collaboration with Other Popular Pinners. You can set up collaborative boards that allow others that aren’t from your business to pin to it. You don’t want to leave it open for just anyone, but you can invite other popular pinners or select people from your business who are also on Pinterest. This can help curate a lot of content from all over and different viewpoints, giving users the ability to get unique, great content from all over.
  1. Create Contests and Have People Create Their Own Boards. Pinterest creates a great opportunity to have contests for your clients. You’ll need to make sure that you follow the rules when it comes to contests, but it can be a great way to bring in more followers and eventual new clients. A great example of Pinterest content is Adagio Teas’ contest that encouraged clients to create a board of their top ten favorite items from the store. Once a user created the board, Adagio said to email the board and be entered into the contest, and everyone who did, received a small gift certificate in return.
  1. Share Your Pins in Your Weekly or Monthly Email Newsletter. When you share your newsletter with your clients, you can start to gain followers by including your pins in your emails. This can help your email marketing and also drive engagement and revenue. You can take a screenshot of your top or best pins from the week or month and then create a link for people to click on. This will take them directly to your pins and account, and get them looking at your other content, as well.

Enrich Your Business and Use Pinterest

Pinterest can really help enrich your business and make your social media campaign impactful. You will find that after you have established a presence that you can start driving excellent revenue. If you need help creating infographics or content for your Pinterest campaign, then contact Express Writers. We can help you create an excellent campaign and give your clients access to great infographics.

 

facebook instant articles

What Does Facebook’s “Instant Articles” Mean for Users and Businesses?

The world of content and social media is buzzing with some of the latest news coming out of Facebook HQ. Facebook is planning to host various content pieces from a select number of websites for a new experimental feature that could bring about epic change to social media content.

The new feature is called Instant Articles and it aims to bring content directly to users in a quick, efficient manner. What is this new feature and what can you expect? Take a journey with me to find out.

What is the New Feature?

Instant Articles is a new feature Facebook is testing to see just how well it works for their users, as well as publishers. According to Tech Crunch, Instant Articles gives users access to the news and content they want without having to click and go to a publisher’s website, waiting for it to load. Sometimes, users experience too much load time with various sites, and Facebook wants to help them cut that time down and have quicker access to their favorite sources. The new feature is currently being tested by a few publishers to see how well it works for them and users alike. These publishers are Buzzfeed, The New York Times, National Geographic, and a few other well-known news sites. This is only available on mobile so you will not see Instant Articles within your browser.

Will Instant Articles Give Users More Control Over Their Newsfeeds?

Facebook has recently said that it plans to give users more control over what they see in their newsfeeds, which many are excited for. However, many experts are questioning just how this will play out with Facebook’s newest addition. No one can say for certain if people will get the control they desire over their newsfeeds, and it is likely everyone will need to wait for a bit to find out. However, one element of Instant Articles is to give users the ability to see content that is curated specifically for them. For example, according to the Tech Crunch article I shared above, if users like, comment, and/or share certain types more often, their newsfeeds might be tailored more to show more Instant Articles on topics they like. This isn’t truly control over one’s newsfeed, but it might be a step in a direction that helps Facebook users feel they are getting the content they want.

Will This Help or Hinder Businesses?

Since Instant Articles is in the experimental stage, it isn’t entirely sure just how much it can help or hinder a business. However, there will be an easy-to-access share button on all Instant Articles postings, which can help get content shared by more people on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Remember, I said earlier that this was only available on mobile, which means that the share button for Facebook will help push the content from mobile availability to browser availability.

It will also be great for users because there won’t be a delay when they open web content. They will get to see their content right away without waiting, and possibly leaving the story before it loads. The feature will also support the ability to expand images and GIFs, giving publishers the ability to create trendy pieces that will resonate with a social media crowd.

The main way it can possibly hinder a business is if Facebook does do what I mentioned earlier in the article. If the social media giant starts to tailor a user’s newsfeed based off of what Instant Articles the user likes, comments on, or shares, this could mean other articles get lost. This can be a detriment to different companies, and it is a legitimate worry. Will this truly happen? We will just need to wait and see how Facebook uses this feature, and how it will impact the newsfeed. It is too soon to say if this will be the main hindrance or if there will be other hindrances to look out for in the future.

This is What Paper Was Supposed to Be

Do you remember when Facebook released a new app that incorporated the person’s Facebook account plus news content? If not, don’t feel too bad. Many people ignored this app, known as Paper, making it an epic failure for Facebook. That didn’t stop the social media company, however. In fact, this new feature is very similar to what Paper was supposed to be for the company. It features the ability to access curated news stories quickly, giving users the ability to read their content in the app. Now that Paper isn’t really being used for that purpose, Facebook has implemented Instant Articles, hoping it will prove to be successful. It might just be since it will be in the Facebook app as Paper could have failed simply due to needing to download yet another app.

Who Does This Really Benefit?

When Facebook implements a new feature, the natural question is who will it really benefit. Many times, people believe that the feature will only benefit Facebook, but the company is trying to make sure people know that is not the case with Instant Articles. First of all, it will benefit the users of Facebook because it provides them with a quicker load time by not making them leave the platform to read the article. It will also benefit publishers because Facebook has said they will receive 100 percent of revenue from Instant Articles ads. Another way publishers benefit is that Facebook is also planning on sharing analytics to help the publisher create perfectly tailored content.

Obviously, Facebook will see benefits such as making it a leading news source, which the company hopes will beat Twitter. If the company is set apart as the leading social channel for news, this means more publishers will work with Facebook, which will bring more viewers, and eventual revenue, to the company. This is all speculation, of course, as everyone waits to see just how Instant Articles will work and if it will be the success Facebook is hoping.

Content is, Yet Again, King With Instant Articles

Just a year or so ago, people were questioning if content was king, or if that statement was starting to be irrelevant. With the new Facebook feature, it is once again driving home just how important content is for websites. This means you need to focus on creating content in the form of web pages, blogs, and social media to help bring in and convert new clients. Express Writers can help you create this content with our web content and social media services. Take a look to see how we can help you by preparing your content for Instant Articles.

Photo credit: media.fb.com

social media

Why Content Matters For Your Brand Presence on Social Media

Today, nearly every online marketer knows that content is king. Regardless of how pretty and well organized your website or blog is, none of it matters if you don’t have the content to back it up.

How does social media come into play with the need overall for content? Is content really that important in social media? Yes! The answer is yes, content is more important than ever on social media.

April was an absolute storm for updates and changes in the social media world and all of the new changes and rollouts are going to greatly impact who can see what and how content is viewed.

It is a dog-eat-dog world out in the social media world of content. Everyone can write and everyone can tell a story, the biggest thing you must ask yourself is if yours is better than everyone else’s—because that’s what it’s going to take to be heard, to be liked, to be followed. Couple the fact that everyone is clamoring to be heard with the new social media updates and you will see how it can be an uphill battle to get your voice out there.

The 3 Main Features of Facebook’s New Algorithm

What started as a fun place to stay up-to-date with your friends and like their cute baby’s pictures has turned into a mass media market and the perfect platform for promoting your business.

Unfortunately with changes last year to Facebook’s algorithm it hasn’t been as easy to get organic traffic to your brand’s Facebook page, but it is still possible to do. With the new algorithm update that rolled out on April 21, 2015, Facebook has taken it a step further, making it even harder to gain organic traffic and almost forcing brands to pay to promote their business. This new algorithm has some serious updates in store.

Facebook announced it is putting more emphasis on friends and like pages and less on brands. The new update includes the following features:

  1. The content you care about is right on top: Your close friends’ statuses, pictures and anything else you look at consistently is shown at the beginning of your timeline so that you don’t miss anything in the lives of the people you care about most. This goes for pages as well. Pages you consistently interact with will be shown at the top of your news feed.
  2. Less posts from those you don’t: For those without many interactions, friends or like pages, Facebook has relaxed the number of times you can see their posts. Therefore, you can now have back-to-back posts that were previously blocked from coming through on your news feed.
  3. Less non-relevant notifications: Lastly, those annoying likes and comments friends make on other’s pages and posts that you could personally care less about and usually from people you have no clue who they are, will be buried at the bottom of your news feed, or quite possibly not visible to you at all.

So why is content on Facebook more important now than ever before? Because by placing the emphasis on friends and shoving the brands to the back burner, you are going to need every fan you have to help push your content without having to pay for it. Every time your content is shared, all of their close friends will be notified and have the opportunity to read it. Without good content, you are pretty close to dead in the water – or at least looking at a much larger Facebook marketing budget.

What’s New? Hello, Discover from Snapchat

Snapchat has always been a really fun way to see pictures of your niece or nephew or your friend’s crazy weekend out. With the addition of Snapchat’s Discover, storytelling takes on a whole new role with this media platform.

By offering a place to tell stories, users can open up different editions to see what is out there. Popular brands such as ESPN, the Food Network and National Geographic have their own channels where you can watch video. Simply open the channel to view the snap. If you like what you see, you can swipe up and view the whole video, and otherwise you can swipe left to see more.

Because what’s hot today is old news tomorrow, these channels are updated every 24 hours to keep content fresh and exactly what you’re looking for.

In today’s instant gratification world, millennials don’t waste time looking at things that don’t intrigue them. Discover starts with 10 second clips, letting you quickly decide if it is worth your time to check out, therefore not wasting your time watching a whole video of something you really don’t care about.

While this is a really great update and feature it lacks in a major way that other social media platforms don’t have problems with – there is no engagement. While storytelling and content are so important, consumers want engagement from brands. Discover is simply an in-your-face marketing tool where there is no way to interact beyond watching the video.

7 Ways To Get the Best Content Out There & Be Social On Your Platforms

It’s no secret that with everyone and their mother sharing stories and content on social media, a lot gets overlooked or not viewed. So how do you combat that? How do you get your voice heard and noticed in an over-saturated market?

  1. Post pictures. In everything you do, post pictures. No, more than that, post intriguing pictures – pictures that make you want to open the story and read it because you just can’t imagine what that image has in store for you. On platforms like Twitter, that picture may be the only reason someone opens your story, since Twitter only gives you so many characters to explain what you are doing. Therefore, that picture has to speak 1000 words before your actual words are even read.
  2. Share your content everywhere. Put it on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google Plus and Pinterest. The more places your content is shared the more likely that people are going to read it, love it and ultimately share it. Don’t be afraid to share it more than once either. The more times your content is shared the better chance you have that people will read it and then share it with their friends. Choose different times of the day and days of the week to get the most views out of your content.
  3. Write things that everyone can relate to, not only a small group of people. You don’t have to write about your product for every post, just make sure it is relevant to your product. For example if you are trying to promote new kitchen appliances, it is a good idea to post a few recipes. This way you can bring in people who aren’t looking for a new stove at the moment but just can’t pass up that delicious, home style chicken and dumplings recipe that looks like grandma handed it down through generations.
  4. Use a consistent voice across all social media platforms. Pretty much be the same person on Facebook as you are on Twitter. Your goal is to make everything as genuine and as personal as possible. Having one voice on Facebook and a totally different persona on Twitter will discredit you and ultimately hurt your readership.
  5. Engage your readers. It’s not enough just to have great content; you want your readers to interact. Use a conversational tone in your writing and ask questions that you truly want to be answered. When they are answered, respond! You don’t have to respond to every single person who answers if the responses are overwhelming, but at least respond to a few of them. Let them know there’s a person behind the computer that wants them to be a part of what you are doing.
  6. Stay on top of social media updates and know what you’re up against. Being ahead of the game has never been a bad thing and surely isn’t in the case of the social media content wars.
  7. Lastly, utilize the metrics available across all of the different social media platforms to find out what is working for you and what isn’t. This is a great time to look at posting times and days. A post may hit Facebook at 9 a.m. and perform at its best, but be a total flop on Twitter because most of your followers don’t check Twitter until lunchtime. You may need to schedule different posting times between the different platforms to get the absolute best outcomes.

More Than Anything – Interact & Be Social

Social media didn’t get its name from being a one-sided platform to share information. No, it is the ultimate in brand and consumer interaction and the easiest way to gain recognition is to be present and engaged in your social media postings.

Why is social media interaction so important? Simply put, because it puts a face and a voice to an otherwise unattainable brand. If someone were to leave a less than desirable comment about something you shared on Facebook, ask them why or take their constructive criticism and take the time to thank them for their input and look into it. Not only are you making it personal to that person, but it also shows the thousands of other people that you care about the content you are sharing, you are passionate about your product and you care what the people think about you.

There are thousands of people sharing recipes on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, what makes your stand out? What makes people want to keep checking your site versus others when they are looking for something new to make for their family? Yes, of course your recipes may be better and your writing style may draw a few people in, but engaging with your readers makes them think of you more as a friend and less as a business. Friends always go to friends first when they need advice, or in this case, dinner ideas. So naturally they are coming to your site first.

And then guess what they are going to do? Yep, they are going to share it with their friends and promote it that everyone needs to check you out because you are without a doubt the best choice out there. And you will ultimately gain more followers, likes and retweets all because you responded to a comment or a tweet. A simple thirty-second response can be king in growing your followers.

A Simple Tip: Offer a Lot of Quality Content

Someone who reads the content you share and likes it often wants more. You can never have too much content, but you can certainly have too little! So how often should you share on social media? Well, that depends on the social media platform you are sharing to.

You want to share much more to Pinterest and Twitter than you would to Facebook or Google Plus.

Along with how often you share, how much you write is a big factor as well. Smaller blog posts, while quick and easy to read, often result in a higher bounce rate because they do not engage the reader or keep them wanting more. Blog posts of at least 1000 words are more likely to keep the reader clicking through other posts on your page because they want to learn more and read more of what you have to offer. The more content you have to offer, the more likely a reader is to check back on your blog or website often to see what has been updated.

If you pair good writing and heavy content with these simple steps, your use of social media should be at its peak and you will inevitably gain readership.

Photo credit: DragonImages / iStock

perez hilton social media

10 Books, Celebrities, & TV Shows that Started with Social Media

If you ever stop the important business you are conducting in order to shoot off a tweet or two because your boss (or your PR agent or the research you did on the web) told you it was important, and it makes you question whether any of this is really necessary, then you need to read this post. Also, you should read it just because it’s really interesting too. (But that’s just my opinion.)

Ten Stars in the Social Media World

If you ever ask yourself whether social media is an important marketing tool, you should step back and think about the following books, TVs shows, blogs, and unexplainably famous pop star who all were first noticed through social media. We’ve got ten here who were highly successful through their social media.

  1. Dear Girls Above Me. If you have ever had loud upstairs neighbors, then you know Charles McDowell’s pain (and if you are the loud upstairs neighbors, we all beg you to please quiet down). After dealing with the noisy girls upstairs for too long, McDowell decided to make his ire known on a public forum: Twitter.He started an account that chronicled the girls’ conversations and his thoughts on the matter. And the next thing he knew, people were listening, though lucky for all of his followers, none of those people were the girls upstairs.His Twitter account became so popular, that he was offered a book deal. Which is how the book Dear Girls Above Me was created. And if you haven’t read it, you should. Because it’s pretty funny.
  1. SH*T My Dad Says. Remember that TV show starring William Shatner that lasted for hardly anytime at all? Well, it started out as a book. And that books started out as a Twitter account hosted by Justin Halpern, who was chronicling the comments of his colorful father. After the success of his first book, Halpern wrote a second book, I Suck at Girls, and got a second TV show out of it, which also didn’t make a full season.So why is he making this list if both his shows flopped? Well, have you turned being forced to move back home with your parents and having girlfriend problems into successful books and two TV deals, one of which starred William Shatner, successful or not? I sure haven’t. So I call Halpern a social media success story.
  1. Joshua Marshall. Here is a social media success of a more professional nature. Circa 2000, Josh Marshall decided he was going to start a political blog. So he did, and he called it Talking Points Memo. This blog uncovered several big political scandals as it grew in prominence, and it gained more and more followers.Soon, TPM turned into more than a blog; it became TPMcafe.com – a website hosting multiple blogs on politics and foreign and domestic affairs. For its coverage of a US Attorney’s scandal, it was nominated to the Time 100. It does all of this with a very small staff (a seven man staff according to the all-reliable Wikipedia).Many large corporations have tried to buy Marshall out, but for now, he is happy being an independent, social media success.
  1. Hyperbole and a Half. Allie Brosh decided to give the world a little insight into her life from childhood to now. So she decided to create a blog and web comic, which she called Hyperbole and a Half.Hyperbole, both the blog and the drawings, struck a chord with readers who decided that Brosh was pretty funny. She expanded the blog into an also popular web series, and a few of her drawings became viral memes. She got a humor column on the blog The Gloss. And then she got a book deal.One of her most famous posts was on her struggles with depression, and that was lauded to be one of the most insightful depictions of this disease to date. And nobody would have known about it if it was not for social media.
  1. When Parents Text. Recent college grads Lauren Kaelin and Sophia Fraioli decided to open a Tumblr account. They needed something interesting to tumble about, though. Then, they had it! Why not write out some of the hilarious fails parents make when they try to text? So they did. And it turned out that this was a winning formula. Apparently, people like making fun of strange texts they received from their parents.The popularity of their Tumblr account did not go unnoticed by the publishing industry who are quick to pounce on anything they see that appears to be working in this arena. So, they offered the girls a book deal, and that is why we can all go over to Amazon and purchase When Parents Text. They were even in talks for a TV show for a while.
  1. Perez Hilton. If you want to find out all of the latest celebrity gossip in the most snarky manner possible, where do you turn? To Perez Hilton, of course. He tried acting, and it wasn’t for him, but blogging seemed easy, so he thought he’d give it a try. Lucky for him because it drove him right out onto the paths of infamy.Hilton is always on top of every celebrity scandal, and he reports it in the funniest, if also the meanest, way possible. He not only reports the scandal, though, he is not above causing a little controversy himself.Whether you like his style or hate it, the fact is that Hilton’s blogging success has gotten him book deals, notoriety, and TV appearances. – and even celebrity status if  MTV’s Celebrity Rap Superstar can be believed.
  1. Gawker. How much do you think Gawker is worth? If you guessed upwards of $300 million, then you might just be right on the mark. It is considered to be one of the most successful blog-oriented media companies. It also was headquartered in Nick Dalton’s personal residence in SoHo at one point.
  2. Drunk History. Have you ever seen the Comedy Central show Drunk History? This show, which makes me laugh almost every time, has drunk people relate stories throughout history, History Channel documentary style, and has different celebrity guest stars act out the drunk tellings.The show started out as a web series, on the website Funny or Die, created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner. The series performed so well that it got picked up by Comedy Central, and, perhaps more importantly, got discussed by me in this very post.  
  1. Heather Armstrong. Heather Armstrong is another famous blogger. She got some attention when she got fired from her job reportedly for including stories on her blog, apparently not flattering stories, about her coworkers. So instead of finding another job, she just started blogging fulltime. She writes about her life and experiences, no matter how mundane or personal they may seem.Through her blogging, not only has she earned a respectable living through advertising and book deals, as well as other sources of bloggy income, she has also won actual Bloggies, the prize of the Weblog Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also named one of the thirty honorees on Forbes “Most Influential Women in Media” list in 2009.  
  1. And Now for All the Beliebers Out There. And what good list of social media celebrities would be complete without an appearance by everybody’s favorite pop star to despise and mock: Justin Bieber. You might know him for
  • His adoring young fans,
  • His sensationalized relationship with Selena Gomez,
  • His mentoree relationship with Usher,
  • His many stints going against the law,
  • His Comedy Central Roast,
  • His general annoyingness,
  • His appearance beside the Burger King mascot as part of Floyd’s entourage at the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, or
  • Maybe something boring like his music

You might be aware that he came to us from Canada, but were you aware that his mode of transportation from Canada to here was social media? That is right, he started out as a YouTube star.

Beiber’s mom recorded then 12-years old Beibs singing in a competition and uploaded it to the popular video site. She continued to do this for other songs he performed. If you have ever heard preteen girls squeal his name in delight, you will not be surprised to know that people seemed to like these videos.

However, pure popularity is not all that got Beiber discovered. He also got helped with a little bit of luck when a So So Def marketing executive accidently stumbled upon an old video of Beiber while looking for another musician. And thus, Beiber Fever began.

Successful People Through Social Channels: You Can Do It Too

So there you have it, all of these people, books, blogs, etc. became uber-successful through social media channels. And if they can do it sitting in their living room with no marketing backing or advice, why can’t you? I’m sure you are just as talented, and probably have better resources.

So next time you feel that social media is not important, think about Justin Beiber. Because if it can launch him to the level of success that it has, then, really, what can’t it do?

Photo credit: Huffingtonpost.com

 

 

twitter instagram hashtags

5 Ways to Correctly Use #Hashtags on Instagram & Twitter

Hashtags are an incredible part of social media. They are what connects people during incredible or tragic moments, bringing the entire world together on social media. They provide excellent opportunities for discussion and are excellent for businesses. However, you might be wondering just how to use them, and use them correctly, on Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s take a look at hashtags that will help you create an excellent Twitter or Instagram campaign.

Crash Course: How Does A Hashtag Work?

Hashtags are becoming vital to any social media campaign, but many people still might not know just what a hashtag is. Here is a quick rundown and reminder: a hashtag is a word or phrase used on social media that follows the pound or number sign (#). This helps to tie posts together with others and makes it easier for clients and readers to browse through the hashtag to find relevant information. This is a great way to index and categorize posts to make it easier for those with an interest in the specific keyword. For example, if you are selling artisanal coffee and want people who aren’t following to see your posts, you can use a hashtag such as #artisanalcoffee or a keyword that you use more often on your site. This will help connect you, and broaden your reach.

Why Should You Use Hashtags?

I briefly stated a benefit of hashtags in my example above. You need hashtags because they help direct people to your posts if they are not within your network. Let’s say you are a company that sells your product worldwide; you may have a few local customers, but how can you connect with someone in England, Australia, or America? Simple answer: hashtags. In addition to broadening your range and reaching out to more customers, you can also use hashtags as a way to engage with your clients, potential clients, and industry leaders. In fact, researchers find that tweets that utilize hashtags get two times the amount of engagement as a regular, non-hashtag tweet; interesting! The biggest thing about social media is being social, and you can do just that with hashtags directed at being social. I am going to take a more in depth look at this to show you just how you can correctly use your hashtags, especially when it comes to Twitter and Instagram.

Companies That Should Be Using Twitter or Instagram

Twitter is a great social channel for many businesses to use because it can connect you with a broader range of individuals. It can also provide you with the chance to host online chats, which I will discuss later. Twitter is a great social channel for small businesses and is also a great tool that B2Bs can use. Now, when it comes to Instagram, it is important to sit down and think about what your company does. If you don’t have much visually driven content and don’t focus on it too much, then Instagram is not for you. However, if you do have visually driven content or product, Instagram is perfect. If you are looking for some tips on how to use Instagram for your business, Social Media Examiner gives some excellent points to guide you in the right direction!

How To Correctly Hashtag Your Content on Instagram and Twitter

Now that I’ve taken you on a crash course reminder on hashtags, their importance, and if you should use Twitter and Instagram, I am going to help you learn how to use them. Remember, when it comes to social media and hashtags, you will need to tweak and grow to find the best ones for you. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can correctly, and awesomely use hashtags.

  1. Use Weekly AMAs or Hashtag Chats. Many businesses use something known as an AMA or an Ask Me Anything. Ask Me Anything is a really popular concept for many celebrities and users on Reddit, but it is slowly catching on for many businesses on other social channels. Most of the time, a business will adapt it into a chat instead of using AMA, but the concept is the same and helps develop communication and dialogue. A great example of a business chat is that of SEMRush’s #semrushchat that they hold to talk about various concepts. They discuss various questions with their readers and followers and then post the discussions on their blog. This is a great way to answer some of the common and current buzzing questions clients have while also creating excellent blog material.
  1. Create Unique Hashtags. This is a perfect way to get your posts to stand out while directing people to your accounts and site. You will need to use trendy hashtags that will get noticed, but throwing in a unique hashtag created by you will help put all of your posts in an easy to find spot. It can also help when people start discussing things with you, using that hashtag instead. This will direct more people to the discussion, and eventually direct people to your Twitter account, or website. In addition, a unique hashtag can also help you keep your business related photos in one spot on Instagram, giving people the chance to see all photos you’ve posted throughout your whole Instagram usage.
  1. Follow Specific Hashtags to See More Discussion. When you are using Twitter, it is a good idea to make sure you follow specific hashtags to see discussions and anything your clients might be talking about. This is especially necessary if you create your own hashtag to get people involved in discussions. It won’t work if you don’t keep tabs on it to talk with clients. The best way to follow specific hashtags is to utilize social media tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or others that allow you to create columns for certain keywords and phrases.
  1. Utilize Trending Hashtags for Easy Advertising. No matter if you are on Twitter or Instagram, using trending hashtags for advertising is a great method. Most of the time, popular hashtags are to promote something but are always asking for others to engage. For example, on April 12th, Game of Thrones was promoting the show’s 5th season starting up. The way last season ended showed one of the three dragons still flying around the countryside, causing trouble for the people and Dany. Game of Thrones’ official Twitter used this as a great way to advertise with #CatchDrogon, encouraging people to share gifs, images, or come up with clever tweets to catch the dragon. This was a great idea, and many fans participated. What made it even funnier was when businesses such as Arby’s joined in. This was a great way to advertise Arby’s by using a very popular hashtag. You can do something similar whether it is for a TV show, movie or just a random trending hashtag.

  1. Create a List of Hashtags to Use for Your Strategy. Before you start a hashtag campaign, you might find it helpful to sit down and brainstorm a few ideas. This will help you focus on the keywords you want to use for Twitter and Instagram while also helping you keep a list of all the hashtags you think can work for your business. Do some research into your top keywords and also take some time to look at Twitter and Instagram to see which hashtags are trending, not just in your industry, but overall. You never know when you’ll be met with an excellent opportunity to advertise your business in a clever way.

Top Trending Hashtags of 2015, So Far

Using trendy keywords is a great way to get your posts out there to a wider audience that might not look at your industry keywords. Let’s look at some of the trendiest hashtags so far!

#StarWars. This is the year of Star Wars. There will be a new movie, new game, and tons of new merchandise everywhere. During April 2015, the franchise held a convention called Star Wars Celebration. The convention worked with Twitter and anytime someone used a specific hashtag for Star Wars, new, little Emojis would pop up. It was pretty fun!

#Sports. Whether it be #baseball, #basketball, #football or the #StanelyCup, sports take over the trendy hashtags each year. These hashtags are great to get in on with your promotional material, especially if you make it sports related.

#Coachella. Coachella, the music festival of the hipsters, was in full swing in April, making it a trendy hashtag for everyone to use. It was used to highlight the festival, create advertisements using the hashtag, or even for a great discussion on issues such as cultural appropriation. The #Coachella tag and all of its subsequent ones had some intriguing aspects and discussions.

Everybody, Do the Hashtag Shuffle

Now that you know a bit more about hashtags for Twitter and Instagram, you should start doing the little dance known as the hashtag shuffle. Get to using them, and creating some excellent individual hashtags for your business. If you need help with social media or need keyword research to know the top ones to use for your website and social campaigns, then look no further. Express Writers is here to help with Twitter and other social media platforms, as well as providing excellent keyword research services. Which of these tips do you think will work the best for you and your business?

Photo credit: PrismaIllustration / iStock

examples of social media

5 Ideal Examples of Social Media Optimization You Need to See

You may be consumed with social media marketing. You want to stand out, so you’re focused on creating timely and engaging posts with great content.

In this scenario, you’re doing everything right – except for one thing.

What did you forget?

confused

Still scratching your head?

Set aside the content aspect for a second – yes, we know this is difficult – and go back to basics.

Are your social media profiles optimized?

If you don’t know what this means, you need to.

To put it bluntly, your content can’t be “king” if your profiles and delivery outlets are a hot mess. These two things – content and presentation – need to support each other.

Don’t worry, though – we’re going to dig deeper into why you need to get your profiles on social media optimized. Then we’ll look at five great examples of social media profiles from businesses who are doing it the right way.

examples of social media

Why Do You Need to Optimize Your Profiles on Social Media?

Profile optimization is how you make your social profiles appear to best advantage. Without it, your web presence will look disjointed and choppy, and people won’t be able to find your profiles through search engines.

You already know how important it is to be discoverable online, especially if you’re a local business. Applying this to your social media outlets will make sure all of your channels are ripe for the picking for whoever needs to find them.

Plus, you’ll cultivate a unified look and web presence that’s professional, recognizable, and consistent.

The Easy Guide to Overhauling your Social Media Profiles for Great Optimization

Now that you know how important optimization is, we can get down to business.

We’ll start at the shallow end of the pool with something very simple: your profile pictures.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Overhaul your social media profile in three easy steps, thanks to @ExpWriters!” quote=”Overhaul your social media profile in three easy steps, thanks to @ExpWriters!”]

1. Unify All of Your Profile Pictures

Your profile picture is your online face. People will come to associate your presence with your picture, so make sure it’s relevant to your business as well as eye-catching.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to use your brand logo, but you can always buck tradition for your social presence if you have a really cool picture you can use that sums up your brand.

Whatever you do, employ the same profile picture across all the major platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Remember that this picture will appear beside all of your social activity, like comments. As such, don’t choose a picture that’s hard to see when it’s scaled down to a tiny icon (like a detailed landscape picture, for instance).

2. Create an Informative Profile Bio

According to Forbes, lots of companies make the mistake of not explaining what they do clearly in their bio.

When users visit your social media pages, they’re probably trying to figure out who you are and/or if they should follow you. They can’t make that decision if you don’t provide them with the necessary information.

The key is to be specific. If you make birthday cakes for dogs, don’t say that your company specializes in dog treats. If you’re a tech company peddling coding software, don’t be vague and say you offer solutions for web developers.

Don’t forget to include your location and hours if you’re local. Plenty of people use their smartphones to find out this information about a business on the fly, and it’s frustrating when it’s just not there. You can even lose business if someone is checking you out and considering stopping by – but they can’t find your address or hours, so they choose to go elsewhere.

Sprout Social summarizes all of the above keys to visual optimization with this helpful infographic:

Optimized-Social-Media-Profile

Don’t neglect the next point, however.

3. Sneak in Keywords

You can also use keywords in your profile name and description to show up in searches. Choose the most relevant ones and use them wisely to get discovered this way.

Other places to sneak in keywords: your headline, photo descriptions, hashtags, the “about” section, and even in your status updates. Try using a variety of keywords in these various areas and see what happens.

5 Examples of Social Media Pages with Optimal Optimization

With perfectly optimized pages that are consistent, audience-specific, informative, and engaging, these five different companies and organizations are examples of social media presences that hit the nail on the head.

1. NASA

nasa_facebook

NASA does a lot of things right with their social media profiles. Their Facebook page, for instance, has an eye-catching profile picture and all of the right information to help visitors who want to learn more.

Take a look at their About section:

nasa_facebook_about

Not only have they filled out every field, they have also included useful information, keywords, and important contact details.

Plus, their Twitter page mirrors their Facebook:

nasa_twitter

They use the same profile picture, and their header image of a team of pilots in the NASA program is basically the same, just with slight differences in posing. This equals perfect continuity and optimization across their brand outlets, creating a seamless experience.

2. The U.S. National Archives

usnatarchives_twitter

Across their various social media profiles, the U.S. National Archives is steady and thoughtful. Their tagline, “The nation’s record keeper,” appears on each page, along with consistent branding.

Their posts give you an inside look at their collections, including historic photos, documents, and other pieces of the U.S.’s collective past. Their social presence inspires trust and reliability, which hits exactly the right note.

Plus, just look at that header image. It’s an example of a great use of space to give people an immediate idea of what they can expect from this institution. That sheaf of old papers tells its own story in a heartbeat.

3. Lifehacker

lifehacker_twitter

Lifehacker is a good example of a company that bucks logic in a way that works.

Instead of providing an informative bio, they have a witty one-liner: “Don’t live to geek; geek to live.” They can get away with this because they’re a well-known brand to their target audience – they don’t have to explain themselves.

If you’re a small business just starting out, you can’t logically borrow this technique. However, if you have a wide local following, you could potentially score with this move.

4. Starbucks

starbucks_twitter

Starbucks’ social media profiles take advantage of their world-renowned logo, but here you can see they’re doing something a little differently.

They’re using social media to market themselves as more of a neighborhood coffee shop than a global coffee chain. Just look at their tagline: “Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit – one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time.”

It’s obvious that it’s meant to sound warm, friendly, and inviting. They’re positioning themselves as involved with the neighborhoods they serve.

It doesn’t hurt that they re-post customer photos of favorite drinks, and their header image riffs off this concept (it’s out of frame in the screengrab, but to the right, a hand is holding up a Starbucks beverage against the wall, much like something a college student would post on Instagram).

5. Innocent Drinks

innocentdrinks_twitter

Our final example, Innocent Drinks, keeps it short and sweet (literally).

Their tagline is what you would expect from a company with the word “innocent” in the title: “Hello. We make healthy drinks and give 10% of our profits to charity.”

It’s also honest, clear, and sounds a little simple, like a child is giving us this information. That’s just clever. Their profile picture and header image follow suit – it looks like the heavens are opening up and offering us these pure drinks.

HubSpot calls this company’s branding and social media presence “consistently lovable.” We definitely agree.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Check out these five companies that are killing it with their social media optimization! (via @ExpWriters)” quote=”Check out these five companies that are killing it with their social media optimization! (via @ExpWriters)”]

Examples of Social Media Prowess Lead the Way: Follow Suit!

If you’re wanting to improve your marketing game and web presence, look at examples of social media to live up to. Names like Starbucks, NASA, and Lifehacker all have distinctive styles and on-point profiles that you can plumb for inspiration.

Optimizing your profiles is a fantastic way to help you get in front of potential customers online and make you stand out among the hordes.

Pay attention to consistent branding, specific and relevant information, and the power of keywords in all the right spots. Follow these tips, and your presence on social media will shine just like the above powerhouse brands.

If you’re struggling to create the perfect social media profiles, Express Writers can help. Check out our social media products and services and let us help you boost your social clout.

social media strategy

20 Tips To Create A Winner’s Social Media Strategy

Go anywhere these days, in fact don’t even leave your home, and what do you find?  No, it’s not infomercials for the next great cooking gadget that solves a problem that never existed. It is references to social media. Every company, business, person, dog, cat, and mythological creature has a social media presence. A few years back parents were mad at their kids spending countless hours on a certain social “space”. Well it has expanded from that and now the parents and grandparents aren’t questioning kid’s social media usage, they’re sending the kids stupid jokes and photos.

Yeah that’s right, social media has spread to the masses. You have it, your grandma has it, your nephew has it, your employer has it, and your favorite store has it…notice a trend? A recent article by Fast Company about social media usage statistics provided some staggering figures. Some of the facts like “Social Media has overtaken porn as the No. 1 activity on the web” are just funny, while others like “93% of marketers use social media for business” show us the direction commerce is going.

Regardless of if you are using social media for personal usage, to promote yourself, or to promote your business, it is an interracial part of the way people relate and communicate and is here to stay. So how can you use one of the most powerful communications ever to your benefit? Read on and find out.

 

20 Tips For An Awesome Social Media Strategy

 

1. Integrate your web presence with your social media content

Let’s face it, you have your email address, perhaps you have ten email addresses. They are easy to get and free. You also have a web site. These days you can build it yourself for free, no knowledge necessary, or you hire an HTML expert to do lots of confusing stuff and build a site that dominates all. So how exactly do you get the customer or client from your email or web site, to your social media? Let’s face it; you and your business don’t look so stellar with only 12 followers. People judge this stuff, if a teenage girl has 300 followers, than your seemingly successful business should have tens of thousands.

Establish an email newsletter, or if you have one, great. Now be sure that each issue not only provides links to your social media content but also references it. Tell the readers that if they go to your page and complete some function there is an incentive. Say this “visit us on ____ (insert your page info) and comment on _____ (whatever creative thing you come up with) and receive a 30% coupon code.” Now you are enticing them to go to your page and rewarding that effort. Try it.

 

2. Open up your perspective

You’re not dictating to the board of directors here, you’re talking to the everyday average Joes and Janes that frequent your business. Sure they’re smart but social media is about being social, not suit and tie stiff in the board room.

 

3. Give them a path to follow

Add buttons and links to your site. Every social media provider has predesigned HTML buttons that you can customize and pop in your site in seconds. Don’t hide them on some random subpage. Put them right there on the main page of your web site. Go ahead and do it, I’ll wait.

All done? What you have just done is invited your customers and clients to join you. People love to feel like they belong. Getting them to join in on your social media content makes them part of your business and not just a client. And think of it this way, if one person likes your page their friends will see it and be lead to check you out as well. They are called followers for a reason.

 

4. Relate, don’t dictate to your followers

Nobody will ever doubt the power of advertising. However, social media is more of a relaxed media. Relate to your customers. Be one of them, not a dictator. In fact, Social Media Examiner talks about accessing and knowing your audience. Seeing as they are not just a number, make people feel welcome at your business and make them want to return.

Let’s say you own a restaurant, if you actually own one even better. Ads talking about your new dish or sandwich are great. However putting up a post about it and discussing it is better. Tell them the process behind it, where you came up with the idea. Show them a video of you making it. And post photos! People love photos, why else would Instagram exist? Get creative with some photo editing and include power words in your photo. Show them the sandwich with bold words talking about its attributes.

The point here is not to lay down a sales pitch; people know when they’re being baited. Relate to them, imagine you are your customers and share with them.

 

5. Involve your entire workforce

Are you a one man (woman) show or do you have an entire staff at your disposal? Your social media content should always be fresh and up to date. Who has gone to a page for their favorite restaurant or store only to see their last post was six weeks ago? If you are too busy to stay atop it then consider enlisting a social media content person. As a primary or additional job function they will make daily posts about sales, specials, and everything that’s breaking news for your business. People enjoy fresh content and they enjoy interaction.

 

6. Know what they know

There is a chance that people on your staff have special skills you didn’t even know. Is the guy in the mail room a part time filmmaker? Well enlist him to make some video content. Does your waitress dabble in graphic design? Ask and you may be surprised. These are assets you already have on hand and it can be vastly cheaper than hiring outside professionals.

 

7. Know when you need help

What if you are not a writer though? Yeah maybe you can cook a gourmet dinner with just water, salt, and a mint, yet you are far from a wordsmith. The internet has a solution to everything, even to your social media content writing problems. Before you think it sounds crazy, check it out. Having someone do the leg work for you is way better than a Facebook page that looks like a ghost town.

 

8. Give your customers/followers their 15 minutes of fame

Imagine this scenario; a woman patronizes your coffee shop every morning. She is a dedicated customer to you and your brand. Grab a picture of her and post it online. Not only will it make her day, but it tears down that wall. Social media content is all about tearing down the walls of society. It’s about letting others into your world. Customers will feel valued if you make them feel like they are part of the family and not just a client.

This is also a perfect opportunity to reward your social media followers. Hold contests and include them. Make them earn some great stuff but make it fun.

 

9. Stake your claim

About twenty years ago it was a popular trend to buy up popular names as domains. You could have scored WalMart.com for a few dollars. Wal-Mart would have to come in and pay you to get their name for their web site. Maybe you bought it for $10.00 and now can ask the moon for it. Unfortunately, those were the days when the internet was just emerging as a powerhouse. Nowadays domain and now social media names are getting snatched up. Go to Facebook or Twitter and try to find your friend Bob Smith. You’ll have to sift through Bob Smiths until next Thursday before you find him.

 

10. Get unique and stand out

People need to find your business as fast as possible and they can’t do that if they’re sifting through 500 similar names or some obscure name that has nothing to do with you. Consider this:

  • Grab up your company name as soon as possible. Don’t be stuck after the fact because someone else grabbed it up.
  • If your name is taken then get unique. Why do you think so many celebrities go on Twitter as @TheReal____ (insert your favorite singer/actor). If you’re restaurant is called Sanchez Mexican Grill it may be taken. So become EatSanchezMexicanGrill. Adding the simple word ‘EAT’ sets you apart.

 

11. Hear the voice of your followers

You decide the image and voice of your business, as well, you should, it’s yours! There is a flip side to that though; you have to give the people what they want. Ask opinions and ask for ideas. Let your customers have a voice and suggest things. Do they want more gifts always from your Facebook page? Do they want to see photos of your daily specials on Instagram?

Jay Baer a social media expert on Convince and Convert says it best when talking about an 8-step social media strategy: “Listen and compare.”

 

12. Stay up on what’s up

A few years back it seems like Myspace was poised to take over the world. Then along came a startup social network known as, anyone? Yes, Facebook. And, it literally blew Myspace out of the water. Coke and Pepsi have battled it out for years; the internet though is proving ruthless. What is popular this morning may as well be a ghost town by tomorrow night. Look at it this way, if people can become overnight millionaires using the internet, the empire can fall just as fast.

 

13. Get the jump on trends

Stay up on what the new developments in social media content are. This is a time when trends are worthy. Get on board with whatever the next big thing is because people want to find you. In fact, register accounts and reserve your name over all platforms just as a safety net. After all, it is free; if the site fizzles then all you lost was five minutes and a few key strokes.

 

14. Get interactive

One of our recent blogs on social media writing tips mentions using a call to action. Think about your own Facebook or Twitter usage? Do you read each individual post or do you scroll through and just browse. Success in business is all about being seen and exposure. You are losing exposure if you’re just a random post in a long scrolling line.

Reach out and grab your audience. Require them to click links to your site. Make them stop to watch a You Tube video. Post a crazy picture that begs attention. If your customers and fans need to complete tasks and be interactive, then you are a speed bump in the scroll.

 

15. Never be without

What, no sale going on? No new dish at your restaurant? Then what is there to talk about? As stated before, don’t let your social media content dry up and look like a ghost town. Make a list of alternative posting materials. How about a poll? One of my favorite nutritional supplement companies often goes on Facebook and asks their fan base what they are working out today. “Who has a leg day today?” As silly as it sounds it gets people talking and is better than nothing.

 

16. Acknowledge the die-hards

We are talking about that guy or gal who is on your company Facebook all the time liking your photos and participating in your polls. They retweet all your big news; they share your voice just because they love your brand. Well give them their due. Establish a Fan of the Week. Showcase their photo, give them an incentive, etc. Come on, show them the love back.

 

17. Coverage

Just as you shouldn’t let your social media content hit a standstill, you shouldn’t ignore the people who are trying to be social. If you get messages be sure to respond to them personally. Answering questions and addressing concerns mean a lot to people.

 

18. Censor yourself

Sure, freedom of speech is good – but to what extent? Keep commentary about politics, religion, and personal opinions out of your posts. If you wouldn’t say it to customers in your store, don’t post it online.

 

19. Weigh the cost

If web design and hosting isn’t in your budget then guess what? Social media is free. Within the last couple of years Facebook and Twitter pages are visited more frequently than actual web sites. It is perfectly fine to maintain your web presence through just social media.

 

20. Have fun

Social media is a powerful online tool for your business. Don’t get overwhelmed by it. Just have fun with it. The more fun you have putting into it, the more fun your followers get out of it.

 

Now go implement these things and see what it does for your business.

 

 

superbowl drunk tweets

6 Ways to Fix Your Social Media When Drunk Tweets Get Out

“It happens to the best of us.” You’ve heard this old saying, right? Unfortunately, it proved all too true for JCPenney during this year’s Superbowl. The well-known brand inadvertently let (more than one) drunken tweet slip out on their Twitter feed.

The problem? Most people and even other companies thought that their SMM was tweeting drunk behind the J.C. Penney Twitter handle, @jcpenney. After tore up tweets like “Who kkmew theis was ghoing tob e a baweball ghamle,” Kia Motors America wrote, “Hey @jcpenney need a designated driver?

 

 

 

 

Since then, it’s rumored by BuzzFeed and several other news locations that the drunken tweets were planned. But, as CBS reported, it backfired for the brand—and we don’t think it’s such a great idea.

Let’s be honest: it hasn’t NOT happened before. After all, if you type “how to handle drunk tweets” into a search engine, you’ll see some interesting links topping the results page. No matter how big you or your brand is this can happen to you. What would your reaction be if it did? Would you ignore the mishap? Would you scramble to delete the evidence? It might seem like the best solution, but is it really?

 

Fixing a Bad Social Media Post: Resisting Your Initial Reaction

 

According to Hubspot, you can delete a drunk tweet or social media post and keep it quiet, if you catch it very quickly. And by “very quickly,” we mean practically immediately. If you catch the post within seconds of it going up, you’ll likely be able to delete it and pretend that it never happened. Deletion of a mistake ridden, unfavorable tweet or social media post is certainly the first reaction most of us would have, but is it really the best action? What if leaving the unfortunate post and tackling it head on could result in something positive, like building a more trusting relationship with your clientele or strengthening your reputation?

If there’s a chance your tweet or post has already hit the feeds of your followers or was quickly seen by a vast audience, deletion is not the best option! It’s like Hubspot says, “Once something is out there in cyberspace, it’s usually there forever. Someone, somewhere probably got a screenshot of it – especially when you’re a brand with a large audience and a lot of eyes on you.”

Keep in mind that anyone receiving direct e-mail or app notifications will likely have a copy of whatever you’re trying to get rid of. Deleting the post and pretending like it never happened could open you up to some hard-hitting and reputation-damaging attacks; attacks that could prove more destructive than a drunken tweet. After all, if a brand you trust, love and respect deleted a saucy tweet, social media post or blog comment with no comment, wouldn’t you wonder why?

However, it is possible to delete a drunken tweet and handle it with class—if you know how to do it! We turn to none other than the American Red Cross for a stunning example. In 2011, Geekosystem.com reported on a drunken tweet accidentally sent from the American Red Cross Twitter account. The questionable and embarrassing tweet came from an individual who had access to the organization’s account. The individual in question allegedly made a mistake while using HootSuite and their embarrassing tweet showed up on the Red Cross’s Twitter feed. The Red Cross deleted the embarrassing tweet and followed up by tweeting, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”

The Red Cross did more than delete the unfavorable tweet and pretend it didn’t happen. They acknowledged the tweet and found a way to spin it into a positive. According to Geekosystem.com, “The best part about all of this, other than the calm (or cold, calculating and secretly terrifying?) poise of the Red Cross, is that the Red Cross managed to turn this digital faux pas into receiving donations (which further solidifies the calculating and terrifying theory), as Dogfish Head Brewery, whose beer was mentioned in the accidental tweet, encouraged donations.”

What Geekosystem called “cold, calculating and secretly terrifying” is what we call good business sense. This situation could easily have turned into a media nightmare, but the Red Cross handled it with class and turned it into a positive—all by tackling the problem head on!

 

How to Handle Unfavorable Tweets, Drunk or Otherwise

What is an unfavorable social media post, tweet or otherwise? It’s bad publicity. Marketers have been handling bad publicity for years. It’s no surprise then that their tactics work just as well in the land of social media. Let’s consider six ways to handle those embarrassing, unfavorable and even scary social media disasters:

  1. Respond quickly, honestly and decisively. Customer complaints are a real possibility in the social media world. It’s easy and fast for a disgruntled customer, employee or third party to throw out an unfavorable, perhaps even evil, post. The best course of reaction is to respond quickly and be both honest and decisive in your reply.
  2. Acknowledge errors and mistakes. Acknowledging the bad publicity and being honest about it is vital. If you, your brand or someone within your company made a mistake, own up to it and apologize. Current and potential customers will appreciate your openness.
  3. Never say, “No comment.” When a negative post hits the cyber waves, it’s easy to feel blind sighted. When your public is calling for your comment, avoid retreating by saying, “No comment.” It will instantly cast question regarding your position and open you to the perfect storm of amplified attacks as your followers dig for dirt. If you’re unsure of how to respond and feel like you’re short on information, consider saying something like, “I’m aware of the situation and am currently looking into it.”
  4. According to an NFIB.com article on how to handle negative publicity, “confront the source.” Mark Grimm, the president of Mark Grimm Communications, points out that you need to pinpoint “the source of the problem in order to deal with it.” If the unfavorable tweet came from within your brand, then you’ll need to decide how to deal with it. If it came from an unhappy customer or third party, you’ll need to respond quickly, honestly and decisively.
  5. Enlist backup. Never underestimate the power of satisfied customers. When negative publicity hits your social media channels, a great way to respond is to hit your loyal supporters up for some quality support. Says Mark Grimm, “Train [your satisfied customers] on what to say, because you want them to be specific and positive.”
  6. Look at it as an opportunity. According to the Technori.com rules on dealing with bad publicity, “you can build better customer relations by solving problems.” When your social media pops a negative comment or drunken display, look at it as an opportunity to solve a problem and spin a positive. The American Red Cross did just this, and look at their results! Not only did they handle the questionable publicity with class, but they raised donations in the process.

 

So, how did JCPenney handle their supposedly “drunk” tweet? They decided to do what HubSpot calls “pivot and deny.” You might call this the method of plausible deniability. JCPenney chose to deny that the tweets were drunk at all. Instead, they used Twitter to state that it was all part of a planned campaign designed to promote mittens by saying, “Oops…Sorry for the typos. We were #TweetingWithMittens. Wasn’t it supposed to be colder? Enjoy the game! #GoTeamUSA.”

Quick save or bold truth? That’s for you, and every other reader, to decide. Either way, they smoothed the “drunken” mishap over quickly and decisively. Not only did the big, well-known brand tackle the situation head on via a decisive response, but Sean Ryan—the man supposedly responsible for the brand’s social media strategies and accounts—tweeted, “For the record, I am stone-cold-sober.” The brand also chose to show internal unity, which made it apparent that everyone was on the same page. People like to see a company that “has it together.”

According to Hubspot, “Whether a purposeful strategy or a drunken mistake, it has honestly worked out pretty well for JC Penney.” The big oops livened up a rather uneventful Superbowl and spurred a flurry of media publicity, which all seems to have culminated in the successful exposure of JCPenney’s mittens.

 

The Lesson to Take Away

We live in a world driven by technology. News hits social platforms and spreads faster than we catch the nightly news report on our television set. It’s important to be ready for the mishaps that can crop up.

Is it advisable to downgrade your social media presence in an attempt to lessen the chances (or blow) of a drunk or unfavorable social media post? Not really. Establishing and maintaining your search engine rankings in 2014 demands the use of social media profiles. You need to continually post to and use your social media channels. Bad publicity, angry tweets and even drunken posts can (and probably will) pop up from time to time. How you decide to handle these situations will greatly affect your brand’s reputation.

If you haven’t already, hire a social media team. Keeping up with social media is a full time job. A trained team will be able to keep you quickly informed of what’s happening, ensuring you are not caught off guard. Train your social media team members on how to best react and respond to negative posts, and use them as a means of responding quickly, honestly and decisively.