Oct 03

Is Facebook making Tradtional Phone Plans Obsolete?

Zuckerberg on ThroneA few years ago, we got the news from Facebook that if you wanted to continue using private messages via inbox, on mobile, you had to download a separate app. This threw many users into a tizzy (as Facebook changes tend to do), and there was significant pushback from people who simply didn’t want to separate a main Facebook feature into another dedicated app. It seems silly, but when it comes to tech adaption, this is actually more common than you think. We comfort ourselves with what we are used to, especially in the world of fast-moving communication. In the US, that’s texting for messages (SMS), Facebook for browsing, sharing, and commenting, and Facebook’s inbox feature for private messages with Facebook friends. Well, that’s all changing, thanks to Messenger.

What is Facebook Messenger, and how is it different than my inbox on the platform?

Well, to put it simply, it’s not too much different than your inbox as far as functions go. However, it’s how Facebook wants to integrate it to your phone, contacts, and texting preferences that set it apart. Facebook has had this in the works for years. Mobile use of the platform has already surpassed desktop use, which means that one of the principle things you do on your phone is check Facebook. What’s the other principle thing you do on your phone? For most people, it’s sending SMS/MMS text messages through their mobile carrier service. So, Facebook decided to combine the two, in an attempt to push you towards more Facebook products.

In essence, the company wants you to always be using a Facebook tool while on mobile. Between the Facebook app, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp (Facebook’s $19 billion 3rd-party messenger app purchase), it looks like they’re well on their way to doing so.

Why diversifying Messenger, and messaging beyond Facebook contacts is literally changing the way you communicate

Everyone’s on Facebook, right? Well, not exactly. However, enough people that you want to communicate with are, especially in your personal life. Some of these people, understandably, don’t want to be scrolling through their newsfeed all day though. Facebook Messenger gives users the opportunity to communicate with their friends, via voice call, voice note, text, video, and photo sharing. In essence, it’s what your MMS service does, but with your Facebook contact list. Want to communicate outside of your Facebook contact list; let’s say to business contacts, or people you don’t know well enough to connect to on the social network? No problem. Facebook is also the owner of the world’s most used P2P messaging system, WhatsApp.

What’s up with WhatsApp, and why haven’t I used it yet?

Simply put, the reason why most Americans haven’t used WhatsApp yet is that they don’t need to (yet). WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have the same features. In fact, SMS/MMS carrier messaging does the same thing. So, why did Facebook invest so much into both (Messenger/WhatsApp)? The answer lies in how telecommunication companies sell you services. The idea of having cell service to make a call is, believe it or not, rather antiquated. It’s also expensive for many mobile users, especially in developing countries and markets. When we go on our phones (and honestly, why even call them phones at this point?), what we use the most is internet data services.

In the world of mobile phones, data is king

From the telecoms’ perspective, though, there’s a huge problem with this. Much like cable companies, telecoms make the most money with bundled service packages. They sell you these bundled service packages by enticing you with cheap phones, tethered to multi-year contracts that include phone calls, SMS/MMS texting, and mobile data. Would you pay $1,400 for an iPhone 7? Doubt it. Well, that’s what most of the world pays, because that’s the actual cost. In markets where the average monthly income tops out in the mid 3-digit range, and 70% of the population doesn’t have a bank account, it’s unsustainable to have a mobile market where bundled packages are the norm, and new phones are subsidized by them.

The best, and most profitable global telecom model is one that provides high-speed data, at a low cost, that functions efficiently with data-driven messaging apps. If people have access to free apps that let them communicate with anyone in the world, it’s the access to data that those apps need that’s going to sell; not the access to communication. You still following?

The data messaging model that Facebook is using to crush our old ideas of how to communicate on a smartphone

Facebook wants you to scrap the entire idea of a telephone when you pick up your mobile device. Essentially, it’s trying to change the culture of how we communicate (and it’s working). If you have a good speed of internet access on your mobile, Facebook products can take care of the rest. Want to talk to grandma? Facebook messenger has her contact, and you can video call her right away. Want to see what grandma’s doing? Go to her Facebook page, like, share, comment, etc. Want to set up a meeting, order pizza, or give travel tips to a friend of a friend? Use WhatsApp, a messaging platform based on phone contacts, not Facebook contacts. The point is, regardless of the avenue you’re taking, you’re using a Facebook product to get there. And that, friends, is a scary idea for telecoms that have spent the greater part of the last 20 years bundling expensive packages.

In order for major telecoms to adapt to this trend, they’ll need to start diversifying how they a) sell phone services, and b) sell phones. Imagine buying your hardware at retail cost (expensive, right?), and then only paying $10-$20 each month for access to literally everything you already do on your mobile device. That’s a reality for most of the world, and Facebook is at the forefront of advancing it. The culture of following a business model is holding us back a bit when it comes to adaption. However, that business model is on track to disappear. How will you adapt to follow it?

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2016/10/facebook-making-tradtional-phone-plans-obsolete/

Sep 21

The Age of the Disappearing Message: Why temporary posts, and platforms have found their niche

bn-kh792_snapch_g_20150915141417You make a video collage, you send it to your friends, and in a matter of hours, POOF, it’s gone. That’s Snapchat in a nutshell; or at least the original draw of Snapchat, the social network that flamed Millennials quicker than a 2 for 1 deal at Chipotle on campus. Disappearing messaging is the new “it girl” of social media, and if you look at how the culture of privacy has evolved in the 21st century, it’s easy to tell why. In a world where everything you do on the Internet is recorded, archived, and searchable, there’s a sense of freedom knowing what your sharing will self-destruct. The problem is, it never really does, but that’s not enough to stop people from diving head first into it.

In a world with no privacy, perceived anonymity is almost as good as real anonymity

Saving snaps aside, “disappearing” social media messages don’t really disappear. This is because anyone with access to a temporary message can screenshot, share, and grab them, if they know how. But that doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to newer temporary messaging platforms. Think of it like a party. You can see pictures from the party, hear crazy stories from the party, see videos of the party, but if you weren’t actually there, you feel like you missed it. That’s the same with this type of messaging on social media. Our brains are so active, that “moving on” so to speak, is part of the experience.

Seeing what was “cool” yesterday can quickly turn “passé” today

Social media, especially with the younger generation, is about sharing moments with people who you think will get you, and relating to them without letting outsiders in. When a message is seen, acknowledged, and shared, its buzz lasts for a few minutes. Then, it disappears. This message would lose its buzz regardless, but having it go away naturally saves you the time (and feeling) of being passé. You can’t get embarrassed by something that goes away immediately after you’ve done it. In a sense, it’s liberating, and gives users the freedom to communicate honestly, without feeling like something they say or do will haunt them in the future. As you know, it still can, but the experience tells us it won’t.

How companies can leverage this trend to promote their brand, and create a message that speaks to a younger audience.

The best way to speak TO your audience is to speak LIKE your audience, and using short, dynamic, disappearing messaging is a great way to do that. Being “in the moment” with your audience helps create a buzz. This type of messaging is an opportunity to tell your business’ story in a casual manner, to show the human side of what you do and to create a community around your brand., As a business, you want people to feel like they’re personally in your moment. You want them to feel like the content is just for them. Not selling, per se, but being a part of something that if you miss, you aren’t. That converts to trust, rapport, and feeling like you’re part of a “cool” group that’s privy to the information your business is broadcasting. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you connect with clients by listening to them, without telling them how to do so.

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2016/09/age-disappearing-message-temporary-posts-platforms-found-niche/

Sep 08

How to keep your social media content fresh, and more importantly, relevant

Fresh ContentCreating fresh content on social media is the easiest, and most effective way to connect with your audience. Regardless of who that is, having up-to-date content will show that you’re following what’s going on in the world, and more importantly, what’s going on in the world that your target market cares about. Now, there are lots of ways to do this, and even if your business focus is on something non-traditional, you can still make new engaging content in a way that shows you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to connecting with your message. Here’s how.

Listen to your audience, and respond

Just broadcasting your message, whether it’s branding, offering a service, or selling, almost never works on social media. In fact, it’s kind of missing the point. The brilliance of social media is that you can actually get real-time feedback from your audience, and have a virtual two-way conversation with them. So, make sure you keep that top of mind when you create and share your content.

If your audience is talking about a trend, or buzzing about something near to your brand, and your company, jump on it. Talk about it too. Be a thought leader, and part of the conversation. It goes much farther than you think, especially when it comes to building trust and reliability with your customers.

Mix it up with the types of posts you do

It’s easy to follow the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, when it comes to keeping the attention of your followers on social media, if you don’t mix it up, things will get stale pretty quickly. Media consumers in general, and specifically social media users, have a very short attention span when it comes to content. Use visuals, ask questions, share great (and relevant) content from other users, and be creative! Variety is the spice of life, and in social media, it’s mana from heaven.

When your followers see something new, fun, and engaging everyday, they will not only participate more; they will also be more likely to connect with you as customers. People are “brand loyal” when it comes to social media, and that’s an irreplaceable advantage when it comes to building your presence with your audience.

Make dynamic content, and be creative!

There’s no limit to how effective your content can be if you’re creative, and making dynamic, fun, focused content is the best way to do it. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries a bit when it comes to traditional branding and marketing. Make people laugh. Make people think. Make content that humanizes your brand or company. And most importantly, empathize with your audience. Think to yourself: “If I was seeing this in my social media feeds, would I interact with it?” If the answer is yes, you’re on the right page. Your product/service, if it’s good, will sell itself. It’s your message that will endear people to you, and when you’re dynamic, creative, fresh, and fun, the sky is the limit.

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2016/09/keep-social-media-content-fresh-importantly-relevant/

Aug 31

4 Ways to sift through the noise, and connect on Twitter

TweetThe Twitter landscape is full of noise. In fact, it’s famous for it. Since its inception nearly ten years ago, Twitter has truly capitalized on the quick-witted message, the type of piffy prose you can consume in a matter of seconds. It’s a social media platform that’s perfect for those of us who like to scroll, and want our information fast, and to the point. However, sometimes, with so many messages from so many sources, Twitter can get a little cluttered. So cluttered, in fact, that you may miss a lot of quality tweets, or just get frustrated by the barrage of unsorted information.

This is a problem for many users, and businesses, that need their message to connect. It’s important to make sure that when you tweet, your tweets are seen, and seen by the right people. Just adding to the “noise” is counterproductive, and can actually hurt your business or personal brand. But don’t worry; there are some simple steps you can take to break through. Here are our thoughts on how to sift through the noise, and really make an impact with your tweets, while connecting to the audience you want:

1 – Timing is everything

In order for your tweets to truly make an impact, you need to make sure they’re seen at the right time. On average, you should send out about 5-6 tweets per day, spaced out throughout the busiest hours where most of your target audience is online. Since Twitter has so much content, spacing out the times of your tweets broadens the chances of someone seeing it when they’re signed in. Also, with consistently timed tweets, you can diversify what types of users are checking out, and (more importantly) interacting with your content.

2 – Get creative, and ask questions

Simply broadcasting information all day won’t inspire most users to engage with your tweets. Even if your content is good, if it’s not creative, it’s unlikely to get users to reply, retweet, or click through to your link. Since you’ve only got 140 characters, you’re going to need to be brief, fun, and convince your audience to ask for more, or tell you what they think of what you’ve written.

A good way to do this is with a graphic or video, tagged with a short statement and/or question to inspire a follow up. This will also lead to more retweets (RTs) which can grow your reach exponentially, and drive follows from people who otherwise wouldn’t have seen your Twitter feed.

3 – Jump on trending topics

Twitter trends move fast and furious, and catch on like wildfire as far as overall reach and engagement. Use this to your advantage, even if the trending topics aren’t directly related to your business or brand. Talking to your audience as if they are your friends (at least on Twitter) will help endear them to you, and creatively chiming in on a popular trending topic also shows that you are actively “in the know” about what your followers are talking about.

4 – Respond personally to as many tweets as you can

Giving feedback to your followers is crucial when trying to be effective with your message on Twitter, and break through the noise. When have good, creative, well-timed content, people are more likely to engage you by tweeting at your business with comments and questions. Answer them. It typically takes less than a minute to return a tweet from someone, and even a simple “thank you” goes a long way. If people, and more importantly your customers, feel like they’re valued on a personal level, they will be far more likely to help push your tweets, and message, to a much larger, more effective audience.

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2016/08/4-ways-sift-noise-connect-twitter/

Oct 15

Is Anyone There?

israel-499050_640by Caitlin Moore

I have a complaint, a grievance, a grouse, if you will.

It’s when pages go to…the dark side.

That is to say, they go completely quiet. Sometimes for days, other times for months and, yes – even years.

Each week, I reach out to cross promote from my clients’ pages and each week, I am met with silence from at least ONE of their business affiliate’s pages. Even now, in a world where Facebook is reaching almost as many Millennials as cable television, pages are left neglected.

It isn’t just happening on Facebook – it is happening on all different social media platforms, in all types of industries. Today, I am here to implore you, please, help prevent a neglected social media platform!

When Good Pages, Go Bad.

So a few years back, you started a big push to gain traction on social media because you likely recognized a need, or perhaps your competition was already ahead of you in this respect. You came up with a few marketing goals, but never really outlined anything definitive. Over time, a lack of goals led the enthusiasm to die and with it, your posts. They became infrequent, unimaginative, and then tragically, were reduced to “Happy Holidays” once a month in keeping with the season until finally, nothing. Not a peep. For three whole years, your business’ Facebook remained inactive. (Okay, maybe not three whole years, but I have seen it).

While there are and can legitimately be a myriad of reasons why these things happen, most often I hear things like, “We know we should be doing more on social media, but [insert valid excuse here].”

Often times, these excuses are chalked up to a lack of know-how or time.

I am here to defiantly say to you straight away – baby steps, young Padawan. The least you could do is clean up the spam on your social media.

Think of it like this: a lack of a response on a social media platform from a brand is almost like having a one-way conversation with a friend. Would you continue to talk to someone if they never talked back? Awkward, right? This is essentially what you are doing to your online community.

The reason you did not experience continued success on your social media, and I would be willing to put money on it, was likely due to a lack of content strategy. Was there a content outline for posts? Did it support your other marketing efforts concurrently? Did you remain on schedule? (Were there even goals in the first place)? If you don’t think social media is working for your business, first perform an analysis of your goals when you started and compare them to your statistics now. Then, measure the amount of effort you put into the initiative originally and compare over time. Could you have achievedmore, given the proper implementation of a content strategy? Was there a designated person to this task? How much did you stress the importance, or did you treat it too casually? Lastly, compare your marketing goals now. Is there still a place for your business on social media? Could you accomplish those goals now, knowing what you know today?

To Be Considered

During your analysis, try to keep in mind the following about social media in today’s world:

  • Social media can act as a pre-sale activity. Users can use your social media platforms to learn about you, your products/services and to see how active you are in addressing your clients’ questions.
  • Social media is largely customer-facing (for most brands). Is this level of interaction attainable in other ways?
  • Social media is real-time. How quickly can you address these types of questions in traditional formats?

Ask yourself, “If I were my own customer, what would I think of this experience I have provided? Do I have all of the answers I need? Would I interact with this page?” Actively try to think of these questions and answer them before your client even has a chance to ask. The more information a client has on yourproduct or service, the more likely you are to complete a sale with that client. Were you previously active in answering your fans’ questions, or did many of them go unnoticed?

Relationship Marketing 101

So you have performed your analysis, but you’re still having a hard time justifying your business on social media. That’s fine, I understand. Sometimes, it’s just not meant for certain industries. However, have you considered what social media could do for your business’ reputation, beyond sales?

Don’t get me wrong, sales are important. That’s why you’re here, right?

Having an active social media is really about creating a community of customers who cheer for you. Your product or service provides them a greater level of satisfaction than others, so why wouldn’t you wantto shout that out to the masses? In addition, by addressing your community’s needs in real-time, you create a sense of reliability. Addressing customer concerns right away leads to more customer retention in the long run. Even if your social media isn’t translating into new customers, it can be a very important tool in retaining them!

Social media can also be a great first look for potential customers. Perhaps a customer is apprehensive about a product or service. Your social media provides them the overview of your company’s services, attitude and, when using a properly executed content strategy, a look behind-the-scenes they may not otherwise get.

If you’re still struggling to conceptualize how social media could benefit your business, consider the added value to the consumer you could provide. What kind of advice can you give? Does your product or service do something others can’t do? Does it do so more efficiently? Don’t tell us outright, that comes across as bragging. Explain in layman’s terms how we should consider your service over others and why it is important.

Stay Consistent

Whatever decision you do make, stick to it! Read our blog about discipline in posting for ideas on creating a content strategy and schedule to get you back on track!

Remember: Always be yourself. Unless you can be a Jedi. Then always be a Jedi.

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2015/10/is-anyone-there/

May 03

Discipline: The Best Practice We Don’t Stress Enough

Self-Disciplineby Caitlin Moore

If you follow our various social media channels you will find numerous tricks, tips and sound practices to help you at any stage in your business’ social media venture. However, one of the most important, and quite possibly overlooked, points we cannot stress enough is this: Discipline.

We have heard it many times:

“We didn’t realize how much work went into social media.”

This is a good sign. Why? Because it means businesses are finally beginning to grasp the amount of commitment, organization, persistence, focus and evolution it takes to not only gain momentum on social media, but also to maintain it.

Set the Tone and  Develop a Strong Foundation

The disciplinary tone for social media success is set by the organization’s leaders. As a leader, you must communicate to your team that social media engagement is both a priority and a necessity to your firm’s success.

  • Establish goals and objectives that are reasonable for your allocated time commitment to social media.
  • Allocate any necessary financial and human resources to create and/or maintain your business’ platforms.

In addition, closely administering these efforts is important to measuring your current and future success. Establishing solid ground rules for the following will help you properly analyze your strategy.

  • Identify a core team and any supporting roles: think of who will be creating your graphics, copy or who will be working to capture any necessary photography
  • Clearly define these roles, their responsibilities and their backups: Who responds to what? A mutual, publicly accessed task list is a good place to get started to help create accountability; particularly important for time-sensitive content. It is equally important to establish a backup person for certain roles in the case of absence for any reason.
  • Create action plans/editorial calendars: but don’t get too tied down to them if something changes. Sometimes it will better serve you to hop on a trending topic, or avoid planned posts if they might reflect insensitivity during crises. A general guideline is a great way to stay on track and helps to monitor successful practices for your business.
  • Establish your rules of engagement and clearly communicate them to the team regularly: this encompasses who to follow, comment to, how we prefer to comment, policies for certain topics, what is deemed safe to post, type of language or tone to use, etc. These rules should reflect many of your policies for human resources and the principles of your business’ mission statement.

Assuming you have assembled a skilled team, make sure they are all comfortable within their given roles and consider additional training for any inconsistencies.

Implementation of The Plan Should Include Phases

We have mentioned before that successful social media campaigns do not move along a static timeframe. You may find that in the beginning, adding better photos leads to more engagement. Over time and several of the same posts later, your engagement is down. Now is the time to sit down with your team and discuss your options. What have they noticed performing well with similar businesses’ social media? How can we hone in on our audience better? What is going to get us in front of them again?
Be prepared for these days of failure. Having them is a good indication of bad habits that you should axe or to a new avenue you need to be taking. Breaking through into the next phase of social media success can be a long process if you are trying to reach your target audience organically. (There are many ways to do this through haphazard advertising, but that is topic for discussion another day. Not you my friend, because you are smarter than that). Most importantly, everyone must be committed to continuous learning, growth and adaptation.

They must display discipline to stay on top of trends and emotional stability when they encounter such failures.

  • Be able to overlook minor flaws and imperfections such as typos. Don’t get caught up on perfectionism.
  • Think before you act! If you have to ask yourself twice if something is safe to post, odds are it is not a good choice. Ask someone else on your team for their opinion or leave it well enough alone.
  • CONTROL your emotions: people say weird/inappropriate/negative things on the internet all day. With the popularity of social media, those thoughts and opinions are expressed globally every second of the day. Your team should be able to control their emotions in situations where these types of engagements arise.  Enact a protocol for getting these comments off of your social media and managed appropriately.

MOST IMPORTANT of ALL OF THE LESSONS WE CAN TEACH YOU is to stay disciplined and keep posting – whatever the channel may be. Consistency is crucial to building your momentum and to maintaining it. We have witnessed pages completely fall off after experiencing a great campaign, as if that was all they had to do and now their success means they no longer have to try. Whether it was lack of a real action plan or of physical labor to keep up the momentum, it is easy to lose your audience if you do not engage them in the first place. This applies to any and all phases of your social media, for as long as you should keep them. You can always decide to ditch a channel later if you decide it is not one that serves your business well. In any case: your audience should know fully well in advance your plans to lose the channel. (If they respond to you with loud shouts in opposition, you should seriously reevaluate the impact of this choice).

Cheers to your success!

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2015/05/discipline-the-best-practice-we-dont-stress-enough/

Apr 24

Dealing With Social Media Fails

1By Melanie Torres

Failure. It’s happened to all of us before and yet it holds such a negative stigma that merely whispering the word can send a sense of fear and disappointment through our brains. To many people, failing is simply unacceptable. It means that someone didn’t do enough research, lacked efficiency or to put it more bluntly, isn’t good at what they do. So how do you handle failed attempts when that’s the very nature of your job? If you have a position in social media management or really any creative field, you know exactly what I mean. Failed posts, failed strategy, failed advertising… these may happen often and yet it’s completely necessary. In fact, failure is the learning process in which we grow and adapt our current strategies to provide an even better service or product for our business. In the words of Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios:

“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”

Now please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you should strive to fail. Rather, you shouldn’t avoid taking risks or trying something new in fear of failure. One small aspect of being a good Social Media Manager is the ability to create something new and fresh for your brand. Sometimes these types of posts or campaigns go over really well, while other times they go over like a lead balloon. Either way, if you can learn from this process then the better your brand’s social media will ultimately be.

So how exactly do you take a failure and turn it into something that works? Here are a few tips that have worked for myself and other NetWeave team members on various occasions:

Break It Down
Rather than looking at the failure as a whole, it’s best to break down what you did into multiple aspects. Let’s use a Facebook post as an example. There are numerous details that go into the making of a successful (and unsuccessful post), but content, copy and timing are the most important. Once you break the post down into these separate tidbits, you can ask yourself which one of these didn’t work and why. Was the photo poor quality? Was the copy too lengthy? Were there not many people online at the time your post went out? Once you pinpoint what it is that caused the post to perform poorly, you will have a better idea as to how to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Do Your Research
Chances are there are other brands who have tried and failed at something similar. It’s your responsibility to do a little online digging and see how others have handled it, read up on some tips (like this blog post), find some applicable success stories and then apply it to your brand’s social media. You may find that someone already tried exactly what you did and turned it around by doing XYZ.

Hold A Brainstorm Session
This may seem fairly obvious but it’s crucial to get other experts into the room and brainstorm with you when you’re stuck in a rut. Bringing your failure to light may seem scary, but it will ultimately be very rewarding. New people bring fresh perspectives and hosting a little brainstorming sesh with others can make you see things in a whole new light! During our annual NetWeave Retreat we have a special time allotted specifically for bringing up our failed posts or strategies and figuring out ways to help each other turn it into something successful.
It’s important to keep in mind that with the constant changes and additions to the social media scene we’re ALL just playing lots of games of trial and error. It’s what you do with these failures that will determine how successful your brand’s social presence can be. Oh! Before I forget – if you’re having a hard time turning your social media fail into a social media “win”, it could be advantageous to have a team of social media experts evaluate what you’re doing and give you some ideas. I may know of a company that would be more than happy to do just that. 😉

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2015/04/dealing-with-social-media-fails/

Apr 16

7 Tips to Help Your Social Media Right Now

by Caitlin Moore

We have said it before and we will say it again: content is king.

But what does that really mean anyway? What defines good content and how does it affect my overall strategy on social media?

Here are seven tips to help you gain momentum in your social media strategy.

1. Be authentic and natural in your social engagement

Your voice is important. With that said, it is equally important to remember that in any marketing situation, you are telling your brand’s story and sharing with the world why it is valuable to them. Social media was born out of interactions between real people in a casual format. Don’t forget, it all started as an exclusive network of “friends.”

With this in mind, think about the flow of conversation you would have in a social setting with your friends. You wouldn’t start the conversation with “Hello. BUY MY PRODUCT NOW!” It is a free country and there are no rules stating that you can’t do that, but we would be willing to bet the conversation would be cut pretty short. This communicates desperation and in some circumstances can make your brand appear less credible as a result.

Common mistakes that hurt your engagement and EdgeRank on Facebook, for example, are those who try to sell their product directly to their followers in much the same way. While this may be the end goal, you don’t want to bombard your followers with that message alone. Interact with them directly, make them feel acknowledged in your responses and listen carefully to the cues they are giving you when they post compliments or complaints. This information is valuable not only in creating an atmosphere where your message of “Buy now!” can actually be heard, it also gives you valuable feedback about your brand or product. You want to create real connections with real people.

2. Express yourself, within reason!

Along the same lines of staying authentic is genuinely expressing yourself – within reason. I don’t know what it is, but some folks on social media don’t seem to understand that this is a public forum that ANYONE can read. You must be careful with the message you send into the world. Even with the potential indescrepencies, social media is a great tool to identify and create comparability between you (your brand) and your prospects (your potential customers).

Think of the things you might share when you first meet someone: who you are, what you do, where you’re from and why you are here. Your brand on social media is essentially aiming for the same conversation. You want to leave an impression by not being too generic. Tell your brand’s story by peeling back the layers. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality and to have some fun! Of course, do so in a manner that doesn’t reveal any sensitive or overly personal information. You don’t necessarily know your audience’s comfort level with certain topics, so try to stay within a range that you are comfortable with sharing and that you feel would be appropriate for your audience. Also stay away from politically charged language, issues and rants. Again, think of that first conversation when making someone’s acquaintance. Since you are aiming to both keep and maintain your followers, staying within this range is desirable to achieving both goals.

3. Post more often, but don’t drown (or bore) your audience.

The “rules” for various social media platforms vary significantly on this piece of advice, due to time decay of the posts made to each. As an example, a general rule of thumb for Facebook is 1-2 posts per day, seven days per week. We say this, not to confine you to a rule, but to let you know that anything over that will negatively affect your EdgeRank and subsequently hurt your chances of being seen in your followers’ newsfeed. Anything under that will certainly affect how often your followers engage with you as your content is rarely ever seen to be liked, commented or shared.

Think about it – when was the last time you made a post to your business’ Facebook page? A few days, a week, a month – a YEAR? If you are in any of these categories mentioned, consider upping your posts to at least one a day with various content. This content could encompass an informative article relating to your industry, an employee accolade or birthday, your company’s anniversary – make it valuable to your audience to stop and take a look. What makes you stop and look at someone else’s content?  We suggest trying a few different ideas and seeing what works best to create engagement. Then, replicate your own success!

Other platforms do not systematically filter out posts as heavily as Facebook does, so the guidelines are generally more lax on the number of posts for those (Twitter, Instagram, etc). Remember, anyone can unfollow you, so it’s still best not to make 30 posts back-to-back in a single sitting on any social media platform. On the opposite end of that spectrum, it’s just as harmful to stay quiet for too long as you run the risk of not being heard.

4. “Best times” to post are not the same for every page or platform!

One thing to consider is the audience you are trying to reach. Are they international? If so, are you timing your posts to effectively reach them during hours they would likely be on social media? What about the age demographic? Are they likely to be on during the hours you are posting?

We hear a lot of generalisation into the “best times” to post on social media. While there is some truth that can be applied to this logic, it is NOT the same for every single page! There is no exact hour or day or combination of those two that will catapult you into social media success. What we do advise is to think about your demographic. When are they likely to be on? Then look at your most successful posts. Were there any similarities in their timing? If you have the ability to look at the “peak times” for your chosen social media platform, does it reflect any truth to the advice you have received? These “rules” and guidelines are not set in stone. Be aware of your timing success rate and strategize around it. Replicating your own success is a good idea, but varying this strategy will give you a broader overall snapshot of your audience’s habits on social media.

5. Wait, wait, wait. So what’s “good” content?

The answer to this one is actually pretty simple, but yet not, all at the same time (I can feel you rolling your eyes at me, but just hang in there). Good content is anything that your audience responds well to. It means they like it and they want more of it! This takes some getting used to. You might have to try a few things before you find your sweet spot. Always keep in mind that it must be relevant to your brand and valuable to your audience.

If you sell cars for XYZ Carlot, you’re probably not going to be inclined to share a video of a girl being ‘terrorized’ by a manatee in the wild. (Recognize this trending topic?) That doesn’t mean you can’t jump on trends, but you must do so in a way that is relevant to your brand. In this circumstance, we could certainly say that buying a car at XYZ Carlot is a lot less terrifying than encountering a manatee in the wild. It is relevant because apparently, encountering manatees in the wild is terrifying for some, much in the same way buying a car can also have anxieties attached to it for certain people. It is valuable because it made us laugh, humanized our brand and made us a part of the overall trending conversation.

Valuable content doesn’t always have to be trending, either. Assuming you are an expert in your industry, what knowledge can you impart to your followers? Can you give us a prediction, heed incoming changes, or impart ways to make something easier? What about bringing us behind-the-scenes to your operations? These posts do very well in situations where the public cannot witness what it is that you do on a regular basis. Sometimes something as simple as a text quote or a nice thought can be your most successful post. Again, experiment with and vary your content.

An important lesson to learn is not to push any content that isn’t valuable to your audience. In cases like Facebook, this can hurt your EdgeRank. On other platforms, your audience can actively unfollow you entirely. If you notice something isn’t performing well – don’t panic. Change your strategy and go back to what was. After you garner more engagement with the posts you do know work, deviate again and watch how your audience responds. The ebb and flow is normal and may even surprise you at times. Just keep swimming!

6. A formula to get you started.

Starting with a formula is a great way to learn what works. Best practices are always helpful, but in some cases may not directly effect your own strategy. The only way to learn is to try! If you’re coming from a place of uncertainty, using someone else’s tried-and-true formula is a great way to get you acquainted with the process, but it may also lead to you getting swept up in generality. Once you become more familiar with the process, making bold leaps to differentiate yourself becomes more apparent. In the meantime, we’ll be here to help you figure out what works best for your business!

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2015/04/7-tips-to-help-your-social-media-right-now/

Apr 09

5 Keys to Visual Storytelling

by Melanie Torres
The art of visual storytelling is one that’s often overlooked. There are plenty of blog posts and articles detailing what kinds of posts do well on Facebook or how to properly use a hashtag in your social copy, and yet it takes so much more than knowing what to write on a social media post to guarantee engagement. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your brand should be able to convey all kinds of amazing messages to your target audience simply by posting a dynamic, compelling image. In fact, 93% of the most engaging Facebook posts include a photo.

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Making a mental note to post more photos isn’t enough. Brands that are making the most of their social media presence know that the quality of the image they post can make or break their reach and engagement. So what exactly makes a good photo, “good”?

As with most questions in social media, the answer is “it depends.” The best visuals need to match the overall brand image and voice, however there are a few key rules that we found tend to work across the board. See if the image you have in mind answers these 5 questions the next time you’re determining which photo to post on your social sites:

Does the image tell a story?
Imagine the individual who is looking at the photo has never heard of your brand before. Would they be able to gain a quick understanding of what your brand is all about simply from looking at the photo you post? It’s important to exercise care in selecting images that really showcase your brand’s story. For example, this image from Maybelline’s Instagram is extremely dynamic and really gives the viewer an idea of what their brand is all about – bold, unique, colorful beauty. It’s empowering and fun!Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 5.11.42 PM

 

Is it visually appealing?
This may seem like a pretty obvious question but you would be amazed at how many brands overlook this important detail. Some people have a natural eye for what looks good, while others need to go through a little mental checklist. If you’re the latter, be sure to pay close attention to the image quality, perspective, lighting and central focus of the image. This post from Starbucks meets all the requirements of a visually appealing image and received over 230k likes.

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Will it stand out in a crowded Newsfeed?
With over 1.7 billion users on Facebook and 300 million monthly users on Instagram, to say the social scene is saturated is a bit of an understatement. Social media users have a pretty short attention span, and if your image doesn’t grab their attention right off the bat you’ve already lost the battle for engagement. So how do you combat the crowded Newsfeed epidemic? Make sure your image stands out! Ask yourself if this is an image that will elicit some kind of emotional response from the viewer. Will it make them say “wow”, put a smile on their face or have them truly laughing out loud? Is it something that they will want to turn around and share with their friends and family? This example from Lululemon has the “wow” factor that will make people want to stop and stare.

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Is it relatable?
Perhaps the most important key to successful visual storytelling, it’s crucial to post images that your target audience can relate to. Who is your customer? What does he/she like to do? Keep in mind that the image doesn’t always have to feature something your brand sells. In fact, it’s much better to be a brand that isn’t completely self absorbed! Case in point, this image from BaubleBar shows they know exactly who the “BaubleBar girl” is and also provided a more exciting way to showcase a fun quote on a very visual platform.

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Is it unique?  
No one likes stock photos. Actually, we should say that social media users typically do not like stock photos that look exactly like what you would see in an advertisement for any other company. Make sure your image is unique to YOUR brand. This relates back to rule #1: “Does the image tell a story”, but instead of just “a” story, you should determine if the image tells “your” story. Just look at this image from BarkBox. It’s funny, quirky, and cute – and not something you’d typically see for other brands.

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Applying these five key principles the next time you prepare to post an image should greatly enhance your visual storytelling game. If you have any other tips and tricks when it comes to the art of visual storytelling we would love to hear them! Just post a comment below.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2015/04/5-keys-to-visual-storytelling/

Mar 20

Facebook DataSift Partnership to Reveal Buyer Attitude

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by Caitlin Moore

AH, the good old days!

Remember when researching a new product or service meant asking your neighbor, friend or colleague what their experience was like in person or over a phone call?
Maybe you would even sit down for a cup of coffee, or meet each other at the fence line. (Anyone else getting my Mr. Wilson reference from Home Improvement?)

Where are these conversations happening now you ask? I’m willing to bet you’ve recently Google searched for a product within the last month, diligently looking for reviews and pricing information to make an informed choice.

Perhaps you even posed a question on your Facebook to your friends about the product or service. What are their thoughts, opinions or experiences?

On a personal level, I know that I have posed a few questions seeking the opinions of my friends and acquaintances. I’ve even been so compelled as to answer a few inquiries into a product or service, particularly if it was a BAD experience.

So how do Facebook marketers and advertisers get a hold of this information since we are in constant conversation about our experiences? What is it worth to your business and how can you apply it? It might reveal more than you think…

Up until recently, the information contained in these conversations was not available to Facebook marketers or advertisers. While you could create ad campaigns focused on a specific demographic, gender, age and even interest, information into what audiences were saying about your product or service was yet to be delivered.

Through a partnership with social data firm DataSift, Facebook will start telling marketers the specific things their audience is talking about within a given topic – including brand names and products.It reveals to marketers what audiences are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities. DataSift will reveal the types of people who are in the conversation about these topics as well as what they’re saying, mining for keywords and phrases. This data, dubbed “topic data”, will include the demographics of the people discussing a topic and even break it down to the sentiment of those posts on a topic.

Creeped out yet? Don’t be. DataSift will only be aggregating data from public or private posts people shared with someone else on Facebook while keeping individual personal information private. Conversations within Facebook Messenger will not be included in the data. Likewise, individual comments will be hidden via a black box and included only as the total number of comments on a given topic. No access to raw data on these individual posts will be made available to marketers.
Facebook provided a few simple examples of how this would work in real time. Let’s look at the business of retail: a hair product manufacturer might want to explore the demographics of people discussing how humidity affects their hair to better understand their target market. A retailer may want to know which articles of clothing people mention in their posts to stock appropriately for the season or latest trend. (Sweater sales in the middle of summer no more!) With this information, advertisers and marketers alike will be able to potentially expose themselves to a new customer base or highlight certain products over others. Of course, the most intuitive use of this information would be to find out if people are discussing your brand and/or product positively or negatively.

Unfortunately for marketers, Facebook won’t be exposing any of this topic data through the insights tools. For this access, a brand will have to go through a company pulling data from DataSift. More bad news? Your competition can gain access into the same consumer data you see and vice versa. Anyone who has this capability can look into your brand as an anonymous batch of data with info like gender, age and location. From there, they can determine which specific subgroups are interested in the keywords and phrases associated with your brand.

DataSift will provide just enough information to help target your advertising campaign more effectively by sharing topic data externally. A marketer won’t be able to directly target the people discussing humidity’s effect on hair or the latest clothing trend, but that marketer can include these groups’ demographics so that ads are shown to people with similar characteristics.

What all this means to say is that by sharing this information with the public, Facebook hopes to encourage you to invest in more advertising for your business page by helping better target your audience. For now, Facebook will not make any profit from your topic data.

DataSift officially became available in the U.S. and the U.K. this past Tuesday, March 17th. Only time will tell exactly how this will implement into advertising campaigns for Facebook. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on all things DataSift for your Facebook advertising!

Permanent link to this article: http://netweaveonline.com/2015/03/facebook-datasift-partnership-to-reveal-buyer-attitude/

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