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FROM THE FORTE

Perspective from Double Forte Public Relations and Marketing

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Social Media

7 Rules for Following People on Social Media

follow meDo you think there’s no strategy to who you should follow on social media? Think again. The company we keep matters – in the real word and online. Here are some guidelines for who to follow on social media.

  1.  A follow reads like an implicit endorsement. If you’re an organic food company, don’t follow McDonalds. Need to monitor the market? Set up a separate account to follow the other side, or track via a social measurement tool.
  2. Following people on social media is like dressing for success. Just like you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have, so too should you follow the brands and people you admire and aspire to be.
  3. That said; do NOT ignore your peers. Don’t be a social media groupie. The first two commandments of social media are engagement and reciprocity. Talk to your peers and your customers/fans. Do not ignore them in hope of some kind of social media celebrity status.
  4. Follow your best customers and business partners.
  5. Mind the math. You’re follower/following ratio shouldn’t be equal. No one respects someone who auto follows anyone who follows them. Likewise, people who follow less than 50 percent of the number who follow them seem egotistical and uninterested in engagement.
  6. Use a tool like Manage Flitter to find people who share your interests and weed out the dead beats.
  7. Don’t go on a follow frenzy. (In other words, don’t be Taye Diggs.) Take it slow and don’t follow more than 100 people per week.

The bottom line when it comes to who to follow is be authentic. Follow the people who interest you. Engage in meaningful conversations with them. Remember, behind every social account is a person. (Unless it’s a bot in which case BLOCK that bugger!)

How to Use #Hashtags for Marketers

hashtagsThanks to Chris Messina, #hashtags have become an effective way for marketers to drive engagement on Twitter (and Facebook, Intagram and Pinterest), provide context to tweets, search for topics and join conversations. 

Earlier this week SimplyMeasuredin an article that called out our client CLIF for the effective use of its hashtag #meetthemoment, wrote, “There are three keys to ensuring you get the most of out your hashtag:

  • Make it unique to your brand
  • Keep it simple
  • Use it everywhere.”

Here are some other things marketers should think about when using hashtags:

  • Hashtags work well when people can live tweet them.
  • Hashtags with action words perform better than non action-oriented hashtags.
  • Hashtags are an opportunity for brands to include messaging in a tweet. Ex. #MyFirstVolvo
  • Hashtags that can be used on multiple occasions are great for brands. Ex #Iwanttoinvent from GE.
  • Hashtags must be vetted.  Remember Susan Boyle’s unfortunate #susanalbumparty?
  • Hashtags can be co-opted. That’s what happened to #McDStories. So before you ask people to join your conversation, make sure you’re ready to hear what they have to say.
  • Hashtags shouldn’t be overused. But go ahead and have some fun with them. After all #YOLO.

This post was brought to you #fromtheforte.

 

It’s The Most Wonderful time of the Year: For Social Media

socialholidayOver the holidays, social habits change. Users spend even more hours on social media, making December a great time of year to connect with your audience.  This doesn’t however mean you have to spend extra time posting and Tweeting instead of celebrating. Follow our four easy steps below to help schedule your social media posts.

Step 1: Pre-plan what to post

  • Taking an hour to schedule your posts now will save you hours of time in the future.
  • Focus on fun, entertaining and non-intrusive content and remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Step 2: Learn how to post effectively

  • We recommend utilizing the (free) social media management tool Hootsuite to follow updates and share content with your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts. To schedule a post, type it in the composition area, select the accounts you want to post to and then set your time and date in the calendar. Of course, during any kind of local, national or world crisis, cancel all scheduled posts.

Step 3: Decide when to post

  • The day and time you post to social media will have a definite impact on the amount of impressions and engagements that your content receives. For example, if you want to schedule a post for Christmas Eve day, choose the morning instead of early evening when many families will be eating dinner and are not likely to be surfing the Web.

Step 4: Keep it real

  • Be prepared that opportunities from real-time events can increase exposure and keep your content relevant. If time permits, pay attention to your notifications and respond in real-time to your followers when they interact with your brand. Create calendar alerts or phone reminders to help you remember when to incorporate real-time posts into your holiday social media strategy.

photo credit: Bill Selak via photopin cc

Let’s Talk About Google Plus

google-plus-banner-550x268

If you think your company doesn’t need a Google Plus profile because you’re on  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, think again. Posts you share on Google Plus are indexed by Google’s search engine, meaning that if you’re sharing content and posts about your company’s products or services, when someone searches on the topic, you are more likely to show up. And, if you’re looking to target influencers and audiences by segments and audience (and you should be!), Google Plus can help. Google Circles allow you to track what kind of content the people in your circles care about and then you can share relevant information via Google Communities.

Here are some simple steps to get started on Google Plus if you’re not already there.

  • Create your company page
 Create your company profile, adding relevant photos and information so visitors can easily understand who you are and what you offer.
  • Spread the word 
Have employees and partners on Google Plus add you to their circles and start sharing content.
  • Connect across platforms
 Connect your Google Plus profile to your other social profiles  (website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). This will help drive traffic to your Google Plus page.
  • Find relevant communities
 Search for communities that are relevant to you company. Listen to the conversations happening here.
  • Share content
 Share content that is relevant to your community. Share a mix of company-generated content and industry news.

And after you get started, don’t give up. It takes time to build a presence and reap the rewards from any social platform. Map out three, six and 12 month goals for your Google Plus page. Maintain a consistent strategy and you’ll see the results.

 

 

Marketing to Mom

Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know:

  • 72% of mothers work
  • 40% of working mothers are the sole or primary source of income for the family
  • 42% of mothers are single mothers
  • There are 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the United States?

So why is it that so many brands seem to market to this singular image of “Mom” in her kitchen with a diapered infant or toddler on her hip and a loving husband returning home from work at dinner time?

Today, there is no one size fits all when it comes to mothers. Some work full-time. Some work part-time. Some work solely in the home. Some own businesses. Mothers have children who are infants, toddlers, tweens, adults returning home again. Some are caregivers for children, pets, neighbors and parents. Savvy brands understand this and reject the one-size-fits-all approach when reaching out to the people who make or influence 85% of all purchasing decisions.

When it comes to marketing to mothers, segmentation is key. Luckily for busy brand managers, social media makes reaching women with the right message at the right time possible. Consider this:

  • 65% of mothers learn about a product or service through social media
  • 64% of mothers read online reviews before buying
  • 84% of mothers go online looking for product/brand recommendations.*

If you’re trying to reach women, and mothers in particular, you must have a solid social strategy.

*Many of the above statistics are courtesy of the Marketing to Moms Conference. Double Forte will present strategies to reach today’s mother at the event.

photo credit: Jeroen_Wolfers via photopin cc

Social Media Lessons from E3

Last week, when E3 opened its doors to more than 48,900 video game professionals, we commented here on the growing importance of social media in the industry. As the agency responsible for managing E3’s public relations, we credentialed more YouTubers than ever before and the day before the show opened we saw more than 900,000 videos posted.
Clearly social media, in all of its varied forms, has become a critical amplification tool and message delivery mechanism. Here are some of the other digital trends we observed last week.

Twitter

  • Twitter dominated as the social channel of choice for sharing information during E3 because the platform is fast, easy and immediate.
  • Driving the Tweets and the RTs were the gaming fans not at the show. Social media allowed them to experience the event real-time and clearly that is what they wanted.
  • One interesting note about Twitter is that Mashable was a top influencer on the platform. Technically a blog, Mashable functions as almost a hybrid of traditional and digital media with its full writing, editing and publishisng staff. The outlet’s authority and influence are undeniable across not only gaming, but all technology sectors.

YouTube and Twitch

  • Video views surged at the start of the show and then dipped while show goers were busy making the rounds of booths and exhibits. They surged again following Nintendo’s Treehouse event. As the media reported on the event, more people were turning to YouTube and Twitch, proving quality content will always be a top driver of views, shares and likes.

Facebook

  • Facebook lagged behind other platforms in share of voice and was the least active major social platform during E3. The platform just doesn’t lend itself well to the types of real-time, interactive conversations that were driving much of the social activity related to the show.

Instagram

  • Interestingly, Instagram generated more impressions (over 30 million) than Facebook (approximately 25 million).
  • Clearly, at an event as popular and information-rich as E3, speed, authority, and visuals are the new currency for influencers.

“Traditional” media

  • And through it all, traditional media outlets from broadcast to print were steady in their reporting and coverage. These outlets still matter; still carry authority, reach and influence. But they certainly don’t dominate. No, it’s the consumer of of media that makes the rules, not the medium itself. Marketers need to meet their audiences where they are and they need to deliver their messages as appropriate – whether that’s a 60-second clip, 140 characters, an unfiltered image, or a 600 word op-ed.

When and How Frequently to Post to Social: the Guidelines

We’ve been doing some research on when and how often to post to social sites. Our recommendations on how frequently to post are based on many different articles on the topic, our own tests, and some old-fashioned common sense.

When to post is a trickier topic. While many claim to have the answers, the solution really depends on who you’re trying to reach. Want to reach a busy, working mother? You’ll probably find her online before work and after the kids go to bed. Looking to reach millennials? Middle of the day is a good time. Want to reach professionals on the West Coast? Then post during lunch if you’re on the East Coast.

The best approach to social is to test your theories and then match your strategy to your target audience. But for some general guidelines we recommend:

Post to Facebook approximately 7 times per week. Share a mix of content about you and your company, if you’re posting on behalf of a brand, as well as useful articles and links to resources that will benefit your customers. And share deals and discounts when appropriate. One of the main reasons people follow brands online is to receive special offers.

Post to Twitter liberally, between 5 and 10 times per day, but do space your tweets. Again, remember to use a mix of personal and professional. People like to do business with other people, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Post to LinkedIn less frequently than to other sites. Consider sharing a useful article, video or resources once per day. And take advantage of LinkedIn’s new publishing tool at least once per week by posting your opinion on an important business issue.

There are no definitive rules when it comes to sharing via social media. But there are guidelines: be human, authentic, consistent, relevant and useful. Keep your brand and your customers front of mind and have fun.

Best Practices for Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

A few weeks ago, in our post Use Your Power for Good Not Evil, we wrote about using Twitter as a customer complaint platform. It can be tempting and risky as a consumer to call out bad service on a public platform. Do it effectively, and you can get results. Strike the wrong tone, and your tweet can back fire.

But one thing that almost always generates good results is when brands use social media to augment their customer service efforts. There was a great article in the Washington Post earlier this month about how airlines are interacting with fliers via Twitter.

It just makes sense to connect with your customers on their platform of choice. If your customers are on Twitter, tweet. If they’re on Facebook, post. And if they use that old-fashioned device called the telephone, by all means answer when they call, and list a phone number on your website. Don’t force your customers to adapt to your communication systems; build systems that accommodate the customer.

And while you’re at it, follow these best practices for customer communications:

  1. Be responsive. Social media users expect immediate gratification. Act fast. Even if you can’t solve a problem right away you can at least respond and let your customer know you’re on the case.
  2. Listen. Nothing turns off a customer more than a brand that only communicates one-way. Social media is not a hose through which you pump your marketing messages. It’s a place to have conversations – with people.
  3. Be human. Speaking of people, be human in your social interactions. Remember people do business with people, not with bots.
  4. Shut it down. Sometimes, the point of communication is to stop it. Make sure you quickly and clearly convey the information needed in each update. And if a situation is dragging out, take it off line or to private messages and resolve it behind the scenes.

Photo credit: Thrift Store Addict via photopin cc

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