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How to Help Your Small Business with Social Media

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How-to-Help-Your-Small-Business-with-Social-Media-Episode-97-e1423676795953guest post by Neal Schaffer

I get a lot of requests saying, “We’re behind on our social media, and we need help.” A lot of these calls for help are coming from people with small businesses, so today I want to discuss some of the options that are available for you, such as working with consultants, agencies, and virtual assistants. We know that social media requires its own set of skills, so it’s important to be willing to dedicate the time to educate and the money to get you access to resources that can help take your business to the next level. Listen to my podcast episode “How to Help Your Small Business with Social Media”. Have fun and I hope this helps

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Neal Schaffer is author of the best-selling Book “Maximize your Social”, global social media speaker and also organizer of the Social Tools Summit in Boston.

Source: http://maximizeyoursocial.com/options-help-small-business-social-media-podcast-ep-97-478/

Meeting Social Media Day Expert Andrew Krebs-Smith

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AndrewAndrew Krebs-Smith is President of Social Fulcrum. Get to know him in our Interview with him.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I started my career building digital departments within traditional agencies. After helping to build 2 digital departments, I decided to go out and do it on my own. That was 5 years ago, and the rest is history! I have a BA in Advertising/PR from Loyola University in Maryland and an MBA from Babson College.

2. When did you start to work in social media?

2007

3. How does a typical work day of you look like?

Lots of meetings with potential customers and internal teams. I don’t have an operational role in our client campaigns – I work on our Sales, Marketing, Finance, and HR/Hiring. When I’m at my computer I’m often approving things from my team.

4. Do you have a role model in social media. Someone who inspires you?

Gary Vaynerchuk is awesome on the unpaid social side. Jon Loomer creates great content around Facebook ads. Brian Balfour has great big picture content regarding growth/acquisition. I like Tim Ferriss as an example of how to build an engaged audience.

5. What is the hardest thing about social media?

Constant changes! Things that were best practice two years ago are now totally ill-advised. You have to be agile to be able to adapt, technical in order to understand the ramifications of changes, and a great teacher to be able to communicate the changes to others.

6. What do you see as some up-and-coming trend in social media?

Facebook Advertising is still widely undervalued. Considering they are about to roll out advertising across the web (outside of Facebook) I would strongly suggest learning how to operate within that advertising framework. There are opportunities with Facebook Advertising that aren’t available anywhere else.

7. Did you make any social media mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in future?

I’ve made a ton of mistakes. The biggest mistake as a social media practitioner was to initially try to market a broad skillset. That makes it extremely hard to (1) develop expertise, processes, etc., and thus (2) scale a business.

8. To be successful in social media, you need to ….?

Not listen to everyone else. You need to get your hands dirty, try things, and put in the time. There is a ton of misinformation out there and lots of people looking to profit off of your desire to learn.

Zen_motorcycle9. What is your favorite book and why?

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, because it successfully explores the fascinating dynamic that exists between art/science aka subjective/objective aka qualitative/quantitative. That dynamic is what propels my work today.

10. What is your favorite quote?

I have a couple that come to mind:

“Vision without execution is just hallucination”

“Likes do not pay the bills. Sales do.” 

11. What is your favorite movie and why?

Layer Cake, because of the soundtrack, cinematography, engaging plotline, and poetic ending.

12. Where can we find more about you and you work?

My agency website: http://socialfulcrum.com/

My LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewkrebssmith 

My Answers to Your Top 10 Social Media Questions

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Neal Schaffer is one of the keynote speakers on the next Social media Day at UMass Boston. He is author of the best-selling Book “Maximize your Social”, global social media speaker and also organizer of the Social Tools Summit in Boston. Here are his answers to 10 questions that so often asked around social media.

1. What does it take to become a ‘Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer’?

The number one thing you need to do to begin to yield online influence is to become a content creator.

2. Can you describe your daily routine with regard to social media activity?

You’ll have to read the interview to get the entire gist, but sometimes the more you respond in social, the more engagement you get, and this can put a serious time dent in your daily routine.

3. Some CEOs still see social networks as an online marketing gimmick. In which ways does social media marketing have real impact on conversion rates and sales?

Right now 25% of time we spend on the Internet in the United States is in social media – so it’s less about asking about what the ROI is and more about figuring out how to best leverage the time spent in social for your company’s varying business objectives.

4. What approach would you recommend to companies when it comes to differentiating between must-have and nice-to-have social media channels?

If you’re just beginning a social media program – or feeling spread out – start with one or two channels and first measure the ROI from it before moving on.

5. What’s the best content to share on social media? Do you have a social media content plan? And how much time should one spend on Facebook, Twitter & Co?

A content strategy is an essential component of a comprehensive social media strategy, and for most companies the most time-intensive resource part of their social media strategy is spent in creating content.

6. Which are the most crucial components of a successful social media strategy?

There is actually a blog post and an infographic I’ve created called “The Essential Components of a Social Media Strategy”. That will give you the answers.

7. How important is social media monitoring and how to efficiently implement it?

Listening and monitoring is definitely a part of a social media strategy, more important to some and less important to others depending on your social media strategy.

8. What kind of valuable data can social media monitoring deliver and how can one best process and leverage this data?

Whatever is being talked about is data that you can leverage. That’s a lot of data – and a lot of intelligence in that data to leverage!

9. How should one react to brand mentions on the social web? Do companies need a workflow for that?

There are so many ways of acknowledging when others speak about your brand in social, but very few companies utilize these social signals. For beginners, I think it’s best when someone mentions your brand you might want to consider following them.

10. Influencer marketing is an important concept on social media. What’s the best way to find and approach powerful people like you?

The protocol a lot of companies are doing is they find influencers and immediately send them an impersonal e-mail. This is ineffective and unfortunate because, similar to my answer in 9, social gives you the ability to send out an array of signals and begin to build rapport before you need to reach out!

Do you have any burning social media questions that you’d like answered that weren’t included in these top 10 social media questions? Would you like to share your answers to the above questions? Please chime in!

source: http://maximizeyoursocial.com/

What Being A Waiter Taught Me About Good Social Media

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Once upon a time, I was a waiter.

It was the summer of my freshman year of college and I needed to earn some extra cash for books, food, and, um, spirits for the year ahead. Since my older brother had worked at Friendly’s for a few years, I figured I had an easy in. So, after a brief interview–mostly a formality, really–I soon found myself donning the restaurant’s classic visor and red shirt and learning the ins and outs of the menu.

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My time at Friendly’s wasn’t too memorable, save for the time sparks flew from a weathered coffee machine and when a patron said she couldn’t understand me because I was “mumbling.” My response to the latter? I grossly enunciated my words when I delivered her order: “Here. Is. Your. Milkshake. Please. Let. Me. Know. If. You. Need. Anything. Else.” Naturally, this resulted in a “talking to” from my boss.

But there were a few things that made the experience a valuable one. I not only met some great people, many of whom I remain friends with today, but I also developed a deep appreciation for customer service. This “service” included everything from helping make the restaurant experience more enjoyable to resolving the “problems” my customers had. During a given shift–between delivering Reese’s Pieces Sundae’s and SuperMelt sandwiches–I would help patrons clean up spilled milk; find directions to their next stop (I worked at Friendly’s way before GPS and MapQuest); and locate a place to dispose of their assorted scraps of paper and other refuse.

While I wouldn’t consider myself the most altruistic of individuals, I truly enjoyed helping those I served and this customer service perspective is something I’ve embraced in my current role as social media manager for the Harvard Business School’s (HBS) alumni office.

But how do you apply this model to alumni relations? I’m not, after all, selling anything. My main concern is alumni engagement, which is an abstract concept that’s difficult to quantify (i.e., it’s almost impossible to determine whether or not my social media work has helped inspire alumni to donate to the school or participate in some other way by, for example, attending an alumni event).

But I do believe there is tremendous value in applying customer service approaches to social media and in this post I’ll share some examples of how I’ve put this approach into practice.

Be Proactive

Customer service can be, at its core, a reactive process.

Having a problem with your cable? Call your service provider.

The “check oil” light is flashing on your car? Make an appointment with the local garage.

There’s an issue with your boiler and you have no heat in the house? Jump online and schedule a call.

These are the points when the customer service process begins in earnest and what follows determines, for the most part, whether the experience is a positive or negative one.

When it comes to social media, though, customer service can start much, much earlier. In my role at HBS, I take a more proactive approach and try to help alumni as early and as often as I can.

Examples of this outreach includes…

1) Connecting alumni with their section mates and fellow alumni with shared interests.

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2) Alerting alumni that fellow graduates are attending the same event or letting alumni know of a gathering in their region.

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3) Promoting the apps or products released by alumni.

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4) Reacting swiftly to alumni queries.

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By viewing alumni as “customers,” we’re able to serve their needs and also strengthen our relationships with them. Furthermore, our alumni have come to see us as a trusted source for assistance and have been reaching out to us more frequently when they have news to share or an issue they need help resolving.

Unfortunately, this perspective isn’t always embraced by social media managers. It’s much easier to react to your target audience–waiting for them to reach out to you with a problem or query–than it is to engage with them proactively. But there are definite drawbacks to this reactive approach:

1) You may not seem completely invested in your audience since you only interact with them when they have a problem as opposed to trying to assist them on a regular basis.

2) You may operate like every other brand they are following. Granted, some brands fail to respond to their audience at all (which is fodder for a future blog post), but even if you respond to your audience you’re not really setting yourself apart since Twitter feeds typically fall into two camps: those that respond to their audience and those that do not. But if you follow a proactive, customer service-driven approach you can be an outlier in the very best way. You will then be part of a much smaller third group.

A social media channel with the primary objective of providing the best possible service to its followers…even when they don’t even realize they need help.

Was this post helpful? Is there anything I missed? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

LinkedIn Photo_5Robert Bochnak manages social media for the Harvard Business School’s alumni office. He’s also the former writer and editor of GradMatters: The Blog for Tufts GSAS.

Follow Robert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertBoc.

Facebook in 2015 – What Marketers Need to Know

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Facebook infographicLove it or hate it, Facebook continues to be an important tool in a marketer’s digital tool kit.

On their Q3 earnings call, Facebook released the following mind-blowing statistics:

  • 35 billion people log into Facebook each month
  • 864 million daily active users
  • 64% of monthly active users log on every day
  • 1 billion video views each day in September 2014

Here are just 8 things your organization or company needs to understand about Facebook as we enter 2015:

  • 2015 will be survival of the fittest.

According to Facebook, the average user has about 1,500 new items they can see in their News Feed when they log on. Some people have as many as 15,000! There are 30 million active Facebook fan pages, and 700 million people use Facebook Groups daily. That is a LOT of competition for attention.

In 2015, getting attention on Facebook will require more time spent on research, writing great content and creative visuals. Seeing Facebook more as the cornerstone of your online presence and less like a one-way, publishing platform will help tremendously. How can Facebook augment your successful communication and fundraising efforts already underway, such as storytelling?

  • Promotional posts will get buried.

As started in January, overtly promotional posts will not get as much organic reach in the News Feed (read: they will get buried).

I wrote about this in my last blog post, and I don’t think that this is something to worry about for the majority of us. However, it is certainly something to pay attention to as a bigger trend.

  • Native links and videos will get preference.

Native links are links to outside websites that you post inside the Facebook status window. To go along with this recent push for native links, I am loving the “save” feature that allows users to save these articles to read later, right inside Facebook. (I used to take screen shots or email the link to myself! Talk about inconvenient!)

Native videos are videos that you upload right inside Facebook, rather than posting the link from YouTube or Vimeo. If you do post these on your Page, your Facebook Insights will include views and a call to action link. No matter where you post your videos, the ones that work best on Facebook are those that entertain, inform or educate on a particular topic.

  • The free lunch is really, really over.

Getting results from ads is hard work. Just read some of Jon Loomer’s great stuff on this topic.

Facebook advertising will be required in 2015 if you want to reach more of your fans, get new fans on your page and promote your events, posts, etc. I suggest that you get training on the topic, attend webinars and read blog posts. You can also get professional development on the subject.

  • Vanity metrics are so 2014.

Vanity metrics are the numbers that may make you feel good, but do not necessarily translate into more funds raised or more event tickets sold. For example, you may boost a post and get 5,000 more people to see it, but what does that really do for your organization in the long run?

As Facebook guru and trainer Mari Smith says, “Stop striving for the ‘Metric of More’ and instead focus on the “Metric of Meaning”

  • Unresponsiveness is unacceptable.

When you open the Facebook can of worms and create a Page or a Group, you have a new responsibility. You need to be available to answer questions, comments and feedback from your new online community.

If you are not willing and able to monitor Facebook and get responses to people within 24 hours (less than 12 hours is more ideal), then do not bother.

  • Facebook Groups will become more useful.

Facebook Groups now have their own standalone mobile app! This is hugely useful if you drive a lot of engagement from a Group.

Lifehacker wrote about how underrated Groups are, and I tend to agree. Groups are great for keeping a dedicated, specific, niche audience updated and engaged.

Note: Facebook Groups are very different from Facebook Pages! For more on this, read this post by The Social Skinny.

  • Facebook at Work will come online.

Facebook At Work is a super secret project/new website where Facebook users will create professional profiles, completely separate from their personal ones.

It is designed to compete with LinkedIn, and will have similar functionalities to Basecamp and Yammer, where colleagues can chat together and collaborate on projects. It’s important to pay attention to this announcement, as Facebook At Work could provide an alternative to LinkedIn and even Dropbox and Google Drive for file sharing.

My number one piece of advice for Facebook marketing in 2015 – Don’t rely on Facebook.

Diversify!

Focus on creating a fantastic online experience for your donors and potential donors who visit your website. Use video, a great blog and dynamic email newsletter to keep in touch with your supporters and showcase your impact. Use social media channels to bring new people into the fold.

What is your biggest Facebook marketing challenge?

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Guest post by Julia Campbell (originally appeared on the J Campbell Social Marketing blog). Julia Campbell is Principal of J Campbell Social Marketing. Her blog is at www.jcsocialmarketing.com and she is active on Twitter at @JuliaCSocial