Why Your Brand Needs Instagram Stories

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

If you have tried Instagram, then you are most likely familiar with Instagram stories. It allows users to upload pictures and videos for a 24 hours period. After the 24 hours are complete, the story or video disappears. The social media platform SnapChat first introduced SnapChat stories in 2013. Instagram stories were introduced shortly after it and have been popular ever since. (Read, 2016)

Instagram stories are a fun way to interact with your followers. Most people use them to post funny pictures or videos, but did you know they can help increase your brand? Let’s learn how these simple stories can grow your brand, direct people to your website and help grow the relationship with your readers. Does your brand use Instagram Stories?

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

The first thing we need to do is understand a little more about where you find the stories and how you upload to them.

  1. You will need a profile that is set up and with your camera and microphone enabled. In the top left corner, you will see your profile photo in a circle with a blue plus sign on it. (Phillips, 2017) Click on the circle.
  2. Select the appropriate post type. The types are as follows;
  • Type – Mainly text and graphics added to a colour background
  • Live – live video where Instagrammers can watch and chat
  • Normal – upload photos from your phone
  • Boomerang – record quick video that is played on a loop
  • Superzoom – creates a short video zooming in on a picture with different zoom options.
  • Focus – It will center a face in the video. The background will move but the face will stay center.
  • Rewind – Allow you to record a video and plays it backwards.
  • Hands Free – Allow you to take video with different graphics over the video. (Phillips, 2017)
  1. Record or upload your photo or video. (Phillips, 2017)
  2. Edit your video or photo with the options provided. You can change the filter, text, pictures, stickers, and mention other Instagrams (links to them). Instagram is constantly adding new options to change and layer on your photo or video. (Phillips, 2017)
  3. Save the photo and post it. (Phillips, 2017)

What’s your favourite type of Instagram Story type? Let’s look at ways to use them.

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 6.49.49 PM

Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user Vals.world

Question and Answers

It’s very important for brands to interact with their followers to form a genuine relationship. People have questions and it’s important to answer their questions in a timely manner. Going live on Instagram Stories is a great way for your followers to be able to ask and receive a response in real time. This also makes your brand seem more approachable. This is especially helpful if someone like the company president answers the questions. People feel like the company is really listening to them and they like being able to talk to someone with some authority over the company.

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Photo from Canva

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 6.49.32 PM

Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user Sportschek

Advertising

Your followers may be following thousands of people and sometimes it’s hard to get them to see your post. Since the algorithm doesn’t show posts by date anymore, it’s very possible your follower could not see your post at all. When you post an Instagram Stories it appears at the top of their screen. It’s a way of taking your ad out of the crowd and put it right in front of your target market. The reader still has to click on the Instagram Story to see it, but you have increased your chances of them seeing and responding to your ad.

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 6.50.07 PM

Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user Disney Food Blog

Linking to your blog

This ability is currently available to Instagrams with more than 10,000 followers. I love this function on Instagram stories and if you have a blog you should want this too. This gives the ability to post a photo and have a “swipe up” link to your website. For example, if you run a cooking website. You post an Instagram story saying you have a new recipe just posted on your site. You can enable the swipe up function, and if they follower swipes up on the screen with their finger, they will be brought to your website. Without this option, the follower would have to go to your Instagram profile, click the link, arrive on your main blog page, search for the new recipe, and click on it. Both will get your potential client to the same place but one is more convenient for the reader. Your followers want the easiest path from point A to point B.

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

Showing Personality

Instagram stories are a great place to show your brand’s personality. Since the stories only last 24 hours, it’s a great way to post things your brand is doing and topical items you don’t want on your regular page. For example, a company carefully cultivates their Instagram feed, but it’s Mothers day and they want to wish all the Mothers a happy Mother’s day. They don’t want to disrupt their Instagram page image, so they can post it on their Instagram stories and it will be there for 24 hours. The audience will know the brand cares about them, and the brand doesn’t have to post something different than their regular posting strategy.

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Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user Earsjohnny

You can also run polls and directly ask questions to your audience. Getting direct and quick feedback can be incredibly helpful to a brand. Instagram Stories have the option to ask yes or not questions, ask open ended questions and have sliding polls. Your audience will love being heard and participating in them.

Instagram stories are a quick and easy way to engage with your followers, increase your brand awareness and help ensure your message is getting in front of the right people. Your brand needs to use this tool. Instagram is an incredibly popular social media and Instagram stories are a free tool available to you on it.

Do you think Instagram stories could help your brand? We would love to know in the comments.

twitterLearn how Instagram Stories are a must use tool for any brand. https://bit.ly/2BQ41ko #brandigstories

9034450384_4498736680_m 4 reasons why Instagram Stories are helpful to brands. https://bit.ly/2BQ41ko #brandigstories

Bibliography

Phillips, K. W. (2017). Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business.Irvine: Entrepreneur Media, Inc.

Read, A. (2016). Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide to Using Stories. Retrieved from http://www.buffer.com: https://buffer.com/library/instagram-stories

 

 

 

This is why your brand needs a Facebook Group

Stockton Ink & Quill

 

When you start a website, it feels like there are a million things you need to do. You need to pick a domain name, you need to decide what you are going to write about, and almost as important, you need to start your websites social media pages.

I did all those things. I started my Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest pages and spent some time learning how to grow them. With a mixture of hard work and engaging with my audience, they are slowly growing.

Facebook felt different to me. It has seemed like an entity all to itself. It has its own rules and growth strategy. I hear all the time it was easier before to grow a following on it. I hear how hard it is to do nowadays. I see these pages with 100,000 followers and think I want to achieve that too. I hear so many “social media specialists’ say it’s impossible to grow anymore on the platform. I place social media specialists in quotation marks because when it comes to experts it’s hard to know sometimes who is an actual expert and who is trying to make a dollar. It seems like everyone has a “free” course they want you to buy into at the end. I think we have all listened to at least one. They spend 45 minutes telling you about how exciting the tips they are about to give you are, and 15 minutes selling you a course. Then they only spend about 5 minutes giving you some really general social media tips.

I have a Facebook Page that is growing very slowly but still growing. I do not have a Facebook Group and keep hearing people talk about how brands should have one. I thought it would be interesting to look at Facebook Groups and see how it can help a brand grow engagement, gain followers and grow brand awareness.

 

“Create a Facebook page for your brand or business.

Create a Facebook group for your cause or passion.” (Patel, 2017)

 

Before we start we need to briefly explain Facebook Pages. Facebook Pages are different than Facebook Groups. A Facebook Page is used to directly advertise your brand.  A page basically tells people what your brand is all about. It’s not about a community sharing information, but more about your brand telling your readers what you are selling and doing. Every brand should have a Facebook Page so people can ask questions and find information about your brand. It is not a place for the readers to necessarily engage with each other. That’s where Facebook Groups come in.

In this blog post will discuss what Facebook Groups are, how to set one up and how we can use them to help our brands grow.

Screenshot from NaNoWriMo Support & Engagement Facebook Group

Screenshot from NaNoWriMo Support & Engagement Facebook Group

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What is a Facebook Group?

The easiest way to think about it is Facebook Groups and communities center around a general idea or a theme. The group isn’t selling anything directly but just trying to encourage a certain community to communicate and find like-minded people. (Patel, 2017) For example, people who like pink cake. I haven’t checked but I’m sure that’s a group on there. I’m sure you could find a Facebook Group for people who support wearing caps only on Tuesdays while eating pink cake.

There are 28 different categories of groups: Home & Garden, Friends, Local, Identity & Relationships, Funny, Buy and Sell, Spiritual & Inspirational, News & Politics, Food, Cars & Motorcycles, Arts & Culture, Health & Fitness, Support & Comfort, Travel & Places, Style, Sports, Animal & Pets, Science & Tech, Parenting, Outdoor Activities, Photography, Neighborhood & Community, Professional Networking, Business, School & Education, Hobby & Leisure, Trending and Games. (Patel, 2017)

Most Facebook Groups can either be open to everyone or closed. If they are open, you simply decide if you want to join and join. With closed groups, you have to request to join. This is usually done through answering a few questions the admin has previously set up. You can also be invited to the groups by the admin or existing members as well. There is one more type of group called a Secret group and with this group only members can see that the group exists. If you are trying to spread brand awareness a secret group is probably not the best option for you.

Screenshot From Ottawa Nanowrimo writing group. Part of their guideline.

Screenshot From Ottawa Nanowrimo writing Facebook group. Part of their guideline.

Most groups will have guidelines. (Patel, 2017) These help the groups run smoothly. Especially when it comes to blogging groups, with no rules people tend to leave the link of their newest blog post and leave. It’s a take but not give way of being in the group. This doesn’t help the group grow and generally doesn’t bring much engagement. If everyone is just simply dropping links and leaving, then no one is interacting. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Groups that have well-set guidelines run much more smoothly. These guidelines will give the group member the information they need to know what they are allowed to promote, what they aren’t allowed to promote, how to treat each other, and what is expected of them. (Patel, 2017) Many of the rules are simply common sense. People need to be nice to each other, don’t swear, no hate speech, and be kind. The admins of most groups will usually make new group members read the rules before they join, will have group members comment they agree to the rules and some will pin the guidelines at the top of the page to ensure group members see them. (Patel, 2017)

What’s your favourite Facebook group? Let us know in the comments.

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How do you start a Facebook Group?

  1. Click the menu button on Facebook. It’s the drop-down button on the top left if you are using the desktop version of Facebook. (Patel, 2017)
  2. Click Create Group.
  3. Choose if you are making a Business and Brand Page or a Community and Public Figure page.
  4. Follow the instructions to name your group, add some people to the group and decide if you want to have a closed group, an open group or a secret group. I would recommend setting it as a closed group to help screen our bots and spam accounts that will try to join. (Patel, 2017) I would also recommend waiting to add people until you have completely set up your group. You do not want people joining an empty group. You want the first time they see the group, for it to be full things that will interest them. You do have to add one person to create the group though so I would add your partner or a friend. The name of the group you pick should be “creative, but also clear” (Patel, 2017)  because you want people to think your group is different but still know what the group is about.  Now click the create button to create the group.
  5. Now you need to spruce the page up a bit. You need to upload a cover photo, and add a description to the group to tell people what the group is all about. You want to add tags to help people find your group. Lastly, you want to create content for people to see when they get to the page. (Patel, 2017). You can write a post, share some posts from other pages or groups, and write those rules we spoke about earlier.
  6. Once the group is created, make sure you post regular and engaging content. (Lozano, 2018)

Do you run a Facebook group? How has it been for you? Do you enjoy it?

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How can you use Facebook groups to help grow your brand?

 

“Research from Facebook shows that groups are seeing a lot more engagement than Pages. This is because Facebook groups enable members to start conversations more seamlessly than a Facebook Page does…” (Lozano, 2018)

 

One of the reasons I think Facebook Groups can connect you more with your clients is it’s more of a two-way conversation. (Lozano, 2018) Sometimes Facebook Pages can feel, as the reader, that you are being talked too and not a conversation. Yes, the reader can message you any questions they may have but it’s not designed for a flowing conversation. That is especially true when you talk about conversations between people who follow your page. For example, if you run a website selling teeshirts, on a Page you would post a picture of your new product and a few people may click the like button. On a Facebook Group, you can post that same link to your new product and people might discuss how great it is. Followers will see others loving the teeshirt and will think if others like it, then they should too. They will then purchase it. You weren’t directly selling the product but have made a sale you might not have made on just a Facebook Page for your brand.

People love being part of groups. They love to feel special and love having “a sense of exclusiveness” (Lozano, 2018). Having a closed Facebook Group gives people that feeling. They feel like they belong to something. When people are loyal to a group, they can be more loyal to your associated brand as well. They will be more likely to share your content and tell people about your products.

It is said that Facebook Groups can see a higher level of engagement than Facebook Pages (Lozano, 2018). If your posts are getting higher engagement levels the Facebook Algorithm may move the post higher in people’s newsfeeds. (Lozano, 2018) This will help more people see the post and encourage more engagement. You can engage with your followers by doing polls, question and answers, and tutorials. (Cannon, 2017) It’s also a fantastic way to help you find out what your followers are looking for. If someone has joined your group, they are already interested in what you are talking about. Ask them questions, talk to them, they are a willing focus group to improve your brand.

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When you create your own group, it will help you establish authority over your market or niche. (Cannon, 2017) If your group grows and has numerous followers, new people will see the size of the group and think if all these people joined and stayed in the group, they must trust this brand.

Someone times people wonder how they can have a group about a general topic but still be focused on their brand. Let’s assume you have a Hawaiian Tee-shirt company, and you sell Hawaiian Shirts. You have create a group called “Hawaiian Shirt Lovers!” and people join on the basis they too love the vibrant prints of the style. You can post lots of different Hawaiian shirts and especially include your own. You can post article about things that make certain shirts better than other. Specifically showcasing things that your shirts have. If your shirts are relatively inexpensive, you can post articles about why people shouldn’t pay a lot for them. If your shirts are high end, you can post articles about why it’s worth to pay more for your clothing. Sometimes on brand pages it feels like the brand is just trying to sell you something. They are of course but it shouldn’t feel like that. With Facebook Groups, you can creatively recommend products and services to your followers instead of the hard sell to them. Help them know why they need the product or service in general and set up the ground work for them buying shirts (in the above example) like yours. You just happen to also know a great place for them to do just that and have exactly what they are looking for.

People need to see that your brand is part of their community. It doesn’t matter what community it is, they want to feel like you care about them. You are another fan who geeks out on what they geek out on. They do not want to feel like your brand thinks they are a dollar sign and Facebook Groups can really help with forming good relationships. It lets the readers and clients know you are part of their community by engaging with them on the topic they love. It’s a great way for you to organically show your readers things that are happening in the industry that favour your brand, it gives the readers a sense of community they love, and it makes your brand look way more approachable. Your brand needs a Facebook Group and there a plenty of potential and existing clients ready to join it.

Do you like Facebook Groups? Do you think they can help a brand? What’s some great examples of Facebook Groups you know of? What do you think makes a great group? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

img_0036-3 Do you know why you brand needs a Facebook Page? Find out at https://bit.ly/2SHpg2p #engagefbgroup #acsocialmedia

image Do you want more awareness for your brand? Find out why your brand needs a Facebook group at https://bit.ly/2SHpg2p #engagefbgroup #acsocialmedia

 

 

Bibliography

Cannon, T. (2017, 07 2017). How to Use Facebook Groups for Business: A Guide for Marketers. Retrieved from Socail Media Examiner: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-groups-for-business-how-to-guide-for-marketers/

Lozano, D. (2018, 09 30). How to Use Facebook Groups for Your Brand or Business. Retrieved from Social Media Today: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/how-to-use-facebook-groups-for-your-brand-or-business/538437/

Patel, N. (2017). How to Create an 11,284-Member Facebook Group When You Have No Followers. Retrieved from Neil Patel: https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-create-a-facebook-group/

COM0014: Blog 2 – The stories we tell are all about the sell

This week’s readings really reinforced the fact that style, format, and attention to detail are key to effective digital communications. Without these, your time and efforts to reach your audience are wasted, because their limited attention will wander elsewhere, and you may have lost an important engagement opportunity.

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What struck me the most, though, was that what you’ve ultimately lost is a sales opportunity. To me, when we write for an audience, no matter the audience, what we are really doing is trying to sell something. Storytelling and selling are, I think, inextricably linked.

 

Let me walk you through it

The way companies describe their products rarely involves simple statement of fact. No matter how natural it may sound, the language and tone describing the product are deliberately chosen to support the company’s overarching brand narrative. And that narrative aims to impress upon consumers what the company stands for, and to sell the consumer on a vision of who he or she is – or could be – by purchasing that product. If the company tells their story well, their customers will engage and continue to tell it for them on social media, by retweeting company content or creating their own content (e.g. Instagram posts featuring the product) that allows the customer to participate in the company’s storyline. If, for example, I buy an environmentally friendly baby wash and share that fact on social media, I am selling people on not only the product, but on the idea of me as a responsible consumer and earth-friendly person.

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I buy natural, therefore, I am

Over to you

What do you think of the link between storytelling and sales? If your digital content is personal, or inwardly focused, what are you selling?

COM0011 – Blog Post 6 – Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps – Increase revenue and engagement in 5 steps

apps

Going are the days were people look up your website online to see what you are about and to interact with you. Today’s market is an app based market. Although it can be hard to get consumers to download your app it is very easy to get them to delete you.

People are over whelmed with millions of different apps to choose from. You need to stand out amongst the masses to be the top downloaded app. Making sure that your app is appealing, and engaging will help win them over and encourage them to use your app versus another’s and endorse yours as well.

Here are 5 steps to follow to make sure you are not deleted and forgotten about forever.

  1. Build Trust to Onboard Effectively

It’s all about making a great first impression. Have an initial splash page to guide users through your app’s top features. Also motive new users to create an account. Having accounts make the check-out process on your app much smoother and encouraging to use.

  1. Provide Value to Encourage Engagement

Send relevant and valuable marketing messages with personalized recommendations based on ‘last brand viewed’ or ‘most recent purchase’.

  1. Inspire Urgency to Drive Mobile Conversion

They are now engaged and it is time to encourage a purchase. Creating a push and in-app message encourages an immediate conversion and making it specific to each user and what is in their cart will grab their attention.

  1. Offer Social Proof to Cultivate Brand Loyalty

Encourage sharing special VIP campaigns or special promos to transform your customer into a brand advocate.

  1. Find the Right Rhythm to Retain Users

Remember not to over message your customer. Build your push strategy around each user’s habits.

Blog Post 6- The Social Future and You: The consumer or consumed?

 

 

 

 

confused-woman

The consumer or consumed?
Scout Willis, daughter of Hollywood actor Bruce Willis, has recently taken to a topless protest to advocate against Instagram and some of it’s policies regarding censorship and it’s user’s posts. According to ‘The Independant’ During the last week of May, Willis took to the streets of New York, topless, to protest her removal form Instagram’s network, after sharing a photo of two topless women. Outraged by the removal, Willis removed her account permanently from Instagram after being allowed access again to the Social Platform.

 

Now I don’t have any problem with protests in general. Especially protests regarding gender inequality, women’s rights, freedom of speech and expression, or any other human rights violations or issues. Men and women should have the equal right to express their beliefs and ideas in public without the threat or fear of shame, ridicule or abuse. We are entitled to it and should give others the entitlement they deserve. However, the only thing that really made me raise an eyebrow over this matter was just the fact that it was a protest sparked by a Social Media issue.

RIP QR codes

To me, human rights and the freedom of expression and belief is paramount. It is everything we are and have the potential to be. Without our freedom’s, a lot of our lives may become passionless and have no meaning. But, have we gotten to the point where social media and their platforms play such a big part in our lives that we feel the need to protest against it. To be blunt, social media is a luxury to most. With a vast number of the global population not using social media and/or even having access to the concept of it or the internet, does it seem like a valuable use of our right and time to advocate for social media freedom? Yes it’s one of the many next steps in our social evolution, interaction and the creative potential of the human being, but, with many more serious and horrifying issues are going on unnoticed and without awreness around the world,was it the best use of her social platform and voice in pop culture?

And have we become so dependant on social media and technology that we have numbed ourselves to a point of digital addiction. and we are missing the bigger picture? I believe we have a stage at our fingertips. Our own personal stage. Brand You. And I think it should not be misused or abuses of it’s power and reach. But again, to be clear, maybe this particular protest by Scout Willis was designed to make us question our values and lives even deeper than intended or seemed to be. To me it raised a question of importance, and what holds higher in my life. What really matters?

COM0014 – Blog #2: Do I have a story for you!?

Storytelling is hard. Nine times out of ten I think I know what I want to say, but do I tell my story clearly and in a way that my audience finds engaging? Do I get lost in the details and take too long to get to the point? The tip that struck a chord with me was “The Inverted Pyramid” approach. I put too much faith in my readers. I expect that they will make it through to the end of the post and my brilliant thoughts and the purpose of the post will be clear.This post is a journey of self-discovery and growth.

InvertedPyramidGIF

This week’s lesson really made me reflect on my communication style. Many questions started floating around in my mind.

  • Do I use an active voice?
  • Is what I write engaging enough to direct readers at various levels to jump to the next phase?
  • Do I do good grammar…are you adequately distracted now?

confused-woman

What I do know

  1. I have a conversational communication style (please note that I consciously removed the word very from this sentence and had to refrain from putting in an exclamation mark too). I throw my personality into my posts with quips and asides because it is unnatural for me otherwise.
  2. The tip to break up content with subject headings and sections pleasantly surprised me because this is something I do.
  3. Lastly, I often over-complicate sentences. I don’t do this because I want to sound smart. I do this because my thoughts are complicated and tend to get communicated in a complicated manner at times.

I’ll be honest, I found the tips in the article “Business Writing for the Web: 27 Ways to Write Better” to be a little overwhelming. There are many valid points and solid suggestions, but too many. There is no way I can keep 27 tips in my head and possibly write a blog post at the same time – I’m too simple.

The New Me

Moving forward, I will be using this method to grab the attention of my readers and then implement the additional tips to hold their attention – has it worked…are you still reading? Be honest – have I engaged and pushed you along the reading phases?

 

Image Resources:

http://historyofjournalism.onmason.com/2009/12/02/importance-of-the-inverted-pyramid/

http://natpro-progesterone-cream.com/why-is-there-so-much-confusion-between-progesterone-and-progestins

 

 

COM0015- Post #2 Strong & Weak organizations

Strong organizations

Heineken is one of the leaders in terms of building long tern relationships, engagement and strengthening the bonds with 96f7d66c1454b39881d6525fc784d60btheir brand. No matter the subject, they make the best use of the social media platforms and manage to stay first in class. How? They research their audience, identify the need, come up with innovative and fun ideas, they create engaging concepts and use platforms that enable communication with the brand, user interactions and advocacy. You can find their super creative visuals on http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=heineken, their consumer’s crazy moments on http://instagram.com/heineken , follow them on Twitter – 82K followers, or find one of their multiple Facebook pages, the main one enjoys over 17.2M likes.

They manage very well to keep their audience engaged and interested, and contests are in top of their social media engagement. Here are just few examples.

Based on a taboo subject like create awareness for alcohol over-consumption, Heineken started a conversation about people who drink too many beers during their nights out with their friends. Results? 5 million targets online, over 1 million site visitors, 150.000 hours of active brand engagement, over 5.000 positive consumer reviews, a lift in prompt awareness and likeability of 11%.

Heineken crowd-sourced the redesign of the trademark bottle for a limited edition to celebrate their 140th anniversary. They’ve got 1700 entries with uber engaged and loyal customers that have unlocked their creativity to come up with fresh and unbiased concepts about the beer bottle.

Create your own ”Serenade” for Valentine’s Day had over 5 million Likes of the Facebook app………. just to name a few campaigns.

Weak Organizations
I wanted to stay within the area of multinational companies with humongous marketing budgets. This is one of the companies I’ve worked for, SAB Miller. Unfortunately the company is not struggling enough to create a community, a base of engaged fans that they could turn to like Heineken does.
The company makes use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest but with unbalanced postings, ignoring the social networks from time to time and giving the impression (on Pinterest especially) that they’ve created a page just for the sake of it.

On Facebook, SABMiller reaches out to their followers with un-personal posts about the organization’s initiatives (they enjoy few likes, vs. the hundreds Heineken receives with its posts). More followers are on Peroni Nastro Azzurro facebook page (one of the company’s beer brands) but less engaged consumers.

Lame Pinterest Peroni presence, especially for a brand that is so voguish and targets fashionable people.

The SABMiller twitter page is a bit better, with regular posts, keeping their followers informed about their activities, news in the industry, environmental issues, etc.

Social Media 24/7

24_Hours_Open

Now that I am bursting with excitement over all the different networks that can be used to chat, listen and promote my professional brand, I know that it’s just as important to start to consider how I can monitor the effectiveness of what I am saying and how I am saying it…and that kind of scares me.

When social media was new and there wasn’t much of a plan, you were celebrated for maintaining a constant posting schedule.  Now that strategies are a must and results are expected, this has become a much more serious game.

kpi (1)

KPIs or key performance indicators are already in my vernacular but have never pertained to social media. I believe that the important metrics are:

  • Reach (your fans, followers, and other relevant stats and gauge the size of your community)
  • Engagement (retweets, comments, bounce rates, clicks, video views, average time on site, etc.)
  • Competitive data (comparison between us and our competition)
  • Sentiment (how your brand is seen)
  • Sales conversions (the measure of your networks referral traffic)

But, do I have the time to commit to making sure our targets and goals are measured and reported on?! This is where my fear gets the better of me. Like most of you, social media is a portion of my responsibilities and the deeper I come to understand how to effectively use the various networks, the more I realize this could very well gobble-up a lot of my precious time.

There are a number of free monitoring services such as:

And even more extensive, paid-for services including:

It all comes back to time and ultimately budget too – is anyone else starting to sweat or is it just me?

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References:

http://socialmediatoday.com/pamdyer/1458746/50-top-tools-social-media-monitoring-analytics-and-management-2013

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-social-media-monitoring-tools-to-simplify-your-marketing/

Blog Post 2: Listening to Online Communities

There are two things that I have learned since I started listening to online forums (and ultimately working with social media at an institutional level): that brands need to be engaged, and that companies no longer dictate who they are or how good they are, audiences do.

What I mean when I say ‘brands need to be engaged’ is that they need to listen, find forks in the road, and ultimately opportunities to insert a reminder of their brand and its offering. For instance, a guy was traveling from Toronto to Ottawa, and after so many delayed flights, he decided to take to Twitter and start venting about the airline. He got a reply, but not what he had expected – Via Rail had seen the tweet, and informed him that trains travel back and forth everyday at multiple times a day between Toronto and Ottawa. He ended up making his way home and waiting it out at the airport, but what ViaRail caught on to and acted upon is worth mentioning. Delayed flights and and broken expectations were the fork in the road, and ViaRail saw this as an opportunity to reinforce the frequency of their travels between the same two cities this man was traveling between. Ultimately, the point here is that brands need to always be ‘on’, thus, always engaged and always listening for forks in the road similar to the one in this story.

In addition, brands are learning that permeating social media with information about the company or little facts here and there are not enough to have a positive and lasting effect on the online audience; I will give the example of RedBull here. RedBull is an energy drink, everyone knows this. It metaphorically gives you wings (this notion was under serious scrutiny, which is why they needed to add in the blurb at the end, but I digress), but RedBull is not just an energy drink. RedBull is an experience. RedBull is a combination of the liquid courage and heart rate (without it being alcoholic) the drink is said to give you, along with the FlugTag competitions and Felix Baumgartner’s mission through the sound barrier. Because of the hyped up, out-of-the-box events that RedBull holds to reinforce what the brand is all about, it’s almost grown beyond the drink and become a way of life, as well as being an energy drink distributor. Posts about company events such as the ones RedBull holds are what keep people’s attention. They want to know you’re relevant and have things going on, however big or small, it’s another chance for them to interact with the part of a brand that taps into their emotion.