COM0011 Blog #6 Managing Your Social Media

Here we are at the end of the course, and wow, have I learned a lot throughout this time. Prior to taking this course I was unfamiliar with social media other than Facebook, and only for personal use. I have come to realize how much social media can help brand a company/product and drive awareness to promotional activities organizations may be running. Now with my new found confidence in Social Media, I am able to apply some of these techniques in my own professional life.

One of the things that occurred to me over the last few months is how many Social Media platforms people are actually using – Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc. The list just keeps growing. Of course I had heard of these in the past, but really didn’t pay attention to how powerful they had become. I had the approach that all you needed was a Facebook account for your professional life and away you go. Perhaps this was because I was completely unfamiliar with the other platforms not having time to learn about them, or maybe my head was just buried too far in the sand. Thankfully I have changed my thinking now realizing Facebook is just one tool in the arsenal of social media.

multiple social media icons

According to a PewResearch Internet Survey *

As of January 2014

  • 76% Women use Social Media
  • 72% Men use Social Media

As of September 2013

  • 71% of online adults use Facebook
  • 17% use Intagram
  • 21% us Pinterest
  • 22% use LinkdIn

So now we’re faced with the daunting challenge of monitoring multiple accounts. Remember, it’s all about engagement so it’s critical to spread yourself across multiple social media platforms. But how will I ever have the time to log-in to each of my accounts to engage and post fresh information?

Well, I remember reading a class mates blog earlier in the course mentioning Hootsuite; Thanks JENNKENN July 3, 2014 blog post 

This was the first I had heard of Hootsuite and calendar scheduling. This is a fantastic tool designed to manage multiple accounts through one portal. Users only have to log-in to Hootsuite to view and access all their social media profiles making things simple and streamlined.

Here’s a great tutorial video on how to setup your own Hootsuite account

How are you managing your social media accounts?

Are you using Hootsuite?

* http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

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COM0011 Blog 5: Youtube for Business

Is Your Business Using Youtube

Youtube is certainly one of the more popular social media platforms today with more than 1 billion users. It seems everyone is on Youtube for something, whether its pre-teens viewing the latest pop music video, or middle age individuals like me looking for tutorial videos on how to fix things around the house. Regardless of what your interests are, there seems to be a Youtube video for everyone.

Youtube logo

What surprised me most about Youtube is how user, or shall I say viewer, friendly this social media platform is. With a large number of us not yet completely comfortable with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on, Youtube seems to have done something that others haven’t – appeal to all demographics. Individuals of all ages and backgrounds seem to be surfing Youtube. They may not have their own channel, but they’re on there streaming.

Here are some interesting stats on Youtube viewership

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
  • According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
  • Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3x since last year, and the number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4x since last year
  • Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time
  • YouTube is available on hundreds of millions of devices

So what does this mean for businesses?

Well, it means you can deliver tons of key information about your product or service through high impact 2-3 minute videos. Potential consumers can witness products being demonstrated first hand in real life situations giving them the confidence businesses hope for. Car manufactures post test drive results and reviews on their latest models, holiday resorts show scenes of their facilities and surroundings allowing the viewer to see themselves sitting at the end of the dock, or on the beach filmed in the video. Other businesses produce clips talking about their services and benefits, all while giving the viewer a sense of personal connection. People just love watching videos.

We are all far too busy to have the time or energy to read through pages of company web sites. A short 2-3 minute video provide companies the opportunity to pack a wealth of information in a short amount of time, all with a personal touch. These videos can then direct viewers to browse the web site for more information all while keeping them informed and engaged in just 2 minutes.

Remember, 40% of Youtube viewing is done through some type of mobile device, so make sure your Youtube channel is setup to allow this

Gauging your success on Youtube is easily tracked through the number of views, comments, and shares. But remember, companies can purchase views giving a false perception on popularity, so you should also gauge your success by the number of comments and shares. This information is much more valuable to a business.

Is your business using Youtube? Have you found it a useful tool for your consumers?

https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html

 

COM0011 Blog #4 The World of Hashtags

With Social Media becoming the primary tool for communication amongst businesses, I like many others working in a small business, or even self-employed, are scrambling to wrap our heads around which application to concentrate our efforts on. In just seems like yesterday when everyone was asking the public to ‘Like us’ on Facebook. Now the trend seems to have shifted to Twitter. Who knows what it will be in six months time?

hashtag

The challenge for businesses with limited presence on Twitter is how to be seen. I have witnessed many small companies simply posting on Facebook with an automatic feed into their Twitter account. They feel this alone with gain them momentum on Twitter, but is this really going to drive new followers? Probably not, as all they are really doing is preaching to their already established Facebook fans.

Businesses who don’t have brand recognition yet, or an established group of followers, have to ask themselves, ‘How do we engage with new clients on Twitter if people don’t know who we are?’ One technique is through Hashtags (#). Hashtags are Twitter topics users search by and post to, so they key is to incorporate relevant trending Hashtags into your Tweets. For example, a travel agency could Tweet about airline tickets to Scotland an incorporate #CommonwealthGames, which are set to begin in Glasgow later next week.

Here’s some great ideas to help boost your presence through trending # topics

  • Check out Trendsmap. This site will alert you of what the top trending hashtags currently are on Twitter for any location around the world. While this tool is free, the unpaid version simply shares what the latest trending tweets are. The paid version of Trendsmap provides more detailed information, such as the top trending videos and detailed geographic information.
  • Take note of the new Trending Topics feature on Facebook. This feature just rolled out in mid January, and is located at the top righthand side of your screen when you’re signed into Facebook. It’s worthwhile spending time to look through trending topics before determining posts.
  • Explore Google Trends to find out what people are searching for. Knowing what questions and topics people want addressed can help you to create content that they will find relevant and valuable.

retweet

Another way to generate new Twitter followers is through re-tweeting. You can search Twitter for topics relating to your industry or product and re-tweet posts you find relevant. I have noticed an increase in our followers after re-tweeting some of their posts. People tend to follow someone who has shown engagement on their accounts. And remember, if someone re-tweets your post, make sure to acknowledge it … Thanks for the RT. Social Media is all about engagement.

What strategy is your business using on Twitter?

*http://www.digitalsherpa.com/blog/how-to-use-hashtags-and-trending-topics-on-social-media/

 

 

 

 

COM0011 Blog #3 Images Add Impact and Drive Social Media Traffic

We have all witnessed clever television ads or bulletin boards displaying images which are carefully selected for one purpose, catching the consumer’s eye instantly. Think about the display boards on Canada’s busiest highways and how quickly traffic moves past. Images on these display boards are a perfect example of the old ‘3 second rule’, which is the approximate time you have to capture the attention of the audience before they move on.

shift to social media

Social media is no different. Think of the timeline on an individual’s Facebook or Twitter account as a major highway with tons of traffic moving through. Users can’t possibly digest all that information coming at them, so they quickly filter out feeds that don’t capture their attention.

So, how do you make yourself stand out? Images are a great way to accomplish this. People like visuals, or rather obsessed with, and find them easy to digest, and even relate to. Look at how Lotto 649’s ad campaign captures the imagination of the viewer through images …. ‘just imagine’, followed by an image of an exotic sports car or a tropical beach. People can instantly relate to this resulting in higher impact. Who doesn’t dream of themselves in those images??

This advertising philosophy has also proven to work successfully in social media and organizations are quickly realizing visuals drive higher traffic and activity to their online campaigns. Think about the success of Pinterest, Intagram and Youtube. These mediums are all developed with one purpose in mind, visuals, and have proven to be some of the fastest growing social media platforms. More organizations are using images on Twitter to grab attention and save space on tweet character counts -images don’t count towards your 140 character limit on tweets.

Here’s some interesting statistics that may surprise you

• Facebook videos are shared 12x more than links and text posts combined
• Facebook photos are liked 2x more than text updates
• Facebook reached 100 million users in 4 yesrs, but Instagram is on pace to beat it
• 42% of all Tumblr posts are photos
• 100 million users on Youtube are taking social action on videos each week via likes, shares, comments
• Photo and Video posts on Pinterest are referring more traffic than Twitter, Stumbleupon, Linkedin, and Google+

social media images

I also found this great article on how visuals drive traffic to social media campaigns

http://www.hashtags.org/how-to/tips/visual-impact-how-photos-ramp-up-your-social-media-strategy/

I personally like Youtube and find myself creating videos for my professional career and posting them on our web site. It’s much easier for an organization to deliver their message through a video rather than just text. You can build enthusiasm and excitement through an engaging presenter on videos. Customers are now contacting me expressing their support for these new additions to our web site. They love the idea of watching a 1 or 2 minute information packed short video on a product. Not only does it allow them to view the product in use, but saves them time researching if it’s right for them. They are even sending some of these videos on to other potential clients, which of course, makes my employer ecstatic and me looking like a genius! It’s never bad when an employee looks brilliant in the eyes of the employer.

Are you using visuals in your company posts? If so, what are you doing? I would love to hear from you.

Maybe you can help me look even more brilliant to my employer!

*Statistics VFM Leonardo Inc and M Booth

COM0011 Blog # 2 Social Media for Small Business – Don’t be Afraid

afraid

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when an employer asks, or rather expects, you to incorporate social media into an already daunting work load? I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking it’s much easier to employ a trained social media officer to manage these responsibilities rather than having me do it – I’m far too busy to learn something new!

The reality is we live in a very competitive world where employer’s expectations are ever evolving. Fewer organizations are accepting the old ‘that’s not part of my job description’ response. This argument may hold weight in some places of employment, but they would be the minority and most likely not acceptable by small businesses with limited financial resources.

* 2012 survey conducted by the Canadian government showed
69.7% of Canadian employees work for a small business (1-99 staff)
20.2% of employees work for a medium sized business (100-499 staff)
10.1% work for a large business (500+ staff)

So, after scratching my head for what seemed like hours I decided the first place to start my research was Youtube. I typed in a search for tutorials on creating and managing Facebook, Twitter, etc., and Bingo, up they came by the dozens

Let’s take a moment to pay homage to the unsung hero’s who create tutorials for media challenged individuals like me.

With estimates in the neighbourhood of 500 million users, the obvious starting point for most businesses would be Facebook. I personally found this social media tool the easiest to familiarize myself with, and I’m now comfortable enough to incorporate Facebook into my daily routines. This Gen X’r is surprised how quickly and easy it was to embrace, so don’t be afraid.

I have now evolved from just making simple posts and updates on our company page to looking up and joining various Facebook groups relating to my industry. As a group member I can now comment or post to a focussed target audience who are interested in my product/service. I personally feel this is the most powerful and cost effective advertising tool available today. If you’re not using social media to spread the word about your business you’re missing out on a significant communication and advertising source.

Here’s a great tutorial video to help all you newbies with Facebook

I have limited knowledge on Facebook for businesses, but welcome comments so let’s brainstorm together.

Ask yourself this

  • Can you afford to miss an opportunity to communicate with clients/customers?
  • Can you afford to stand still while others embrace social media?
  • Can you afford not to be heard online?
  • Can you afford to run your business like its still 1998?

Businesses must embrace Social Media into their philosophy otherwise they won’t exist.

What Social Media strategies are you using at work? Twitter is another great tool, just haven’t wrapped my head around it yet. What are your thoughts on Twitter, and how do you use it?

I encourage everyone to help one another through this voyage by sharing this blog to interested colleagues/ friends. Let’s learn together!

Stay tuned for my next post as I explore other social media tools.

*2012 Employee survey http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/eng/02805.html

COM0011 Social Media for Gen X

Social Media for Gen X’rs

gen x

Like many others, I grew up in a generation where Social Media didn’t exist. For years I convinced myself that it wasn’t necessary to educate or apply these applications into my professional or personal life. I was far too busy doing things the ‘traditional way’ and Social Media was nothing more than a passing trend for a younger generation. What could I possibly gain from it? Clients in my professional career want personal interaction, face to face conversations.  I viewed social media as a cold, lazy, or weak tool to connect with others.

Well, never have I been so wrong?

An IPSOS survey commissioned by PayPal revealed that 64% of small businesses report an increase in sales resulting from Internet operations, and 73% said they saved money by decreasing administrative costs.

Social Media has changed the landscape of our lives, both personally and professionally. You can’t go anywhere without a business asking you to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ them. The evolution of Skype has changed the way I do business with my suppliers. It’s so much easier, and convenient, to arrange a Skype video call rather than spending days on the road clocking up countless miles to meet them. Your target audience is no longer restricted to just the people you meet face to face and the potential social media brings to any business is staggering to say the least.

A 2012 survey from Brandfog shows

  • 81% of respondents feel engagement on social media is a necessity for business
  • 89.3% felt businesses are better able to connect with customers through social media
  • 66.3% felt social media made it easier for businesses to connect with investors

Fast forward – I now find myself not only trying to learn and understand social media and the various applications that can be applied to my professional career, I find myself fascinated with the whole phenomenon (and I’m not even a Techie kind of guy). I guess it was probably the fear of trying something new that caused me to resist the idea of social media – it was well and truly outside my comfort zone.

I’m delighted to say my mindset has done a complete 180 and I’m now fully embracing today’s technologies. Funny thing is I’m now sharing some of my ideas with younger staff and working together to apply social media into our work roles. It truly does have spectacular results within a business environment when applied effectively.

I encourage everyone not yet comfortable with Social Media to follow along and leave comments. Let’s take this journey together!

Stay tuned for my next blog as I venture through the wonderful world of Social Media through the eyes of a Gen X’r

Martin Kelly

gen x 2

Hilary Smith, Socialnomics http://www.socialnomics.net/2014/04/29/ecommerce-what-you-gain-from-taking-your-business-online/

The BRANDfog 2012 CEO, Social Media and Leadership Survey