Category Archives: Social Networking

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Social Media for Nonprofits: 7 Tips for Success

The use of Social media is a great way for nonprofits to expand their mission. The Global Web Index 2015 report shows the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. What does that mean for nonprofits? It means that social media can become a powerful tool. It provides a way to tell your story, recruit volunteers, increase donations and share your mission.

As I welcome my new client, Legacy International, to Danielle Ricks Productions, I am looking for ways to do just that. Legacy is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide. They train and mentor community leaders, youth, professionals, and governmental and non-governmental administrators, helping them to develop and implement practical, community-based solutions to critical issues.

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Like many nonprofits, Legacy manages multiple projects. But it’s often hard to find your voice in the digital space while you are busy doing the good work of your mission. Here’s where social media comes into play to help in an effort to market and increase brand recognition.

There are seven social media strategies that nonprofits should consider when developing their social media plan. I’ll use each of these for Legacy International and you may want to consider these tips when developing your own social media strategy.

1. Set Your goals. Why are you in the social space? Is it to raise money? Maybe you need to recruit more volunteers. It could be that you need to get the word out about your mission to partners, supporters and donors. Each of these has a different social media strategy. Know why you are in the digital space before you get started.

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2. Determine Your Target Audience. Will you be speaking primarily to the people you serve, those benefiting from your services, the general public, or to the people who are dedicated to keeping the NPO afloat? Maybe you’ll be speaking to all of these audiences. That’s fine, just know who your audience is so you can develop your online voice.

See3 provides an excellent case study example with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how they tell their stories.

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3. Choose Your Platforms. There are a lot of social media sites to choose from. Do you need to be in all of them? Your target audience will dictate where you put your social media energy. Have an audience of teens, you may want to be on Snapchat. Need to reach the parents of teens, you may want to be on Facebook. Need to reach government agencies and news organizations, Twitter may be your best bet. The target audience will dictate the platform.

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4. Create Your Content Strategy. This is where the bulk of your social media energy will go. Determining what, when, where and how you will share your content. You’ll want to keep in mind three key things:

  1. Your Voice – Who are you and what do you stand for?
  2. Frequency of posts – How often will you post and why?
  3. Patterns for engagements – What gets shared when?

If you need help developing an effective content marketing plan, you can check out my blog post here.

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5. Ready, Set, ENGAGE! Once you have determined your audience, your voice, and your strategy, it’s time to engage your audience. Be prepared to answer questions, field inquiries, share great stories and motivate your audience.4

6. Track and Measure. After ninety days or so, you’ll want to evaluate how you are doing in the digital space. Take a deep dive into the analysis and data. Keep an eye on likes but keep an eagle eye on shares. A like is a click of acceptance. A share means I’m personally invested in the content and I want others invested in it as well. Determine what strategies worked and which ones fell flat? What resonated with your audience and what does that tell you about your story telling, your mission, your followers

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7. Almost done! The last step is to start all over again at number one and continue the cycle. Determine who on your team will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of your social media strategy and maintaining the integrity of the brand, voice, and mission. Reevaluate your plan every three months and make adjustments accordingly.

The most important part of all of this social engagement is to be social. Be authentic and have fun. Have social media strategies that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below. Need help to develop your social media strategy, please let me know.

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Six Ways Nonprofits Can Start Using Social Media TODAY!

When I spoke at the Daily Do Good conference, I shared ways nonprofits can use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Most nonprofits know they should use digital and social media as part of their marketing strategy, but many are not getting the most out of their social media plan? Some many not even have a strategic digital marketing plan or know where to get started? Want ways nonprofits can get started using digital and social media as part of a strategic marketing effort? Below is the video from Daily Do Good talk where I highlight ways nonprofits can use social and digital media.

Here are some things I hope you’ll walk away with. When we talk about social media we are talking any two-way communication that is open to the public. This includes some spaces you already know about, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others you may not have thought as being social, such as  email marketing campaigns or crowdfunding opportunities. The most important part of social media… in my opinion… is the “social” aspect of the engagement.

Digital media refers to audio, video, and photo content that has been encoded or digitally compressed. Digital media marketing then, is the use of this content to promote your brand or mission. Are you with me? For instance, let’s say you have a lot of photos either from historical references or from current events. These visuals help tell the story about your organization or mission and that’s what’s this is all about. Right? Good story telling.

When you hear digital content, what comes to mind. If you said “video” you are right on point. If you don’t know already, video is the single most important element in any social media strategy. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LiveStream, Youtube, or the new hot social space, Periscope video is King. So what does that mean to you and your organization? The content you should think about creating and marketing for your business is video. Period. Research by Pew Internet shows that more and more  people–across demographics–are watching online video. So whether your supporter base is made up of millenniums or seniors or a demographic somewhere in-between, they’re likely to watch videos on the Web at an astounding rate. And, of course, you want to be where your customers are. Right? With social media and video marketing in mind, how can you get started?

Technology and more specifically social media is NOT a cure-all, but done correctly, you can increase your visibility, donors, and cause. To get started, it is important for organizations to be very clear about what their objectives are and invest in crafting their story from day one. Most of your supporters will rarely check your website for updates. Meaning they likely only think of you and your cause now and then. Having them like your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter provides you with an opportunity to appear on their feeds and give them daily reminders of your mission. From your social media sites, you can drive supports to your website, and after later donations, volunteers, and raise general awareness for your cause. How do you do that? How do you drive traffic to your social media accounts? You’re taking notes now, right? You start by including buttons linked to any and all platforms that your organization uses. Think about recording important events or, better yet, Periscope the event and share with your followers LIVE.

There is a lot to cover when we talk about social media for nonprofits. Here are six key takeaways you may want to focus on.

  1. VISUALS: A study conducted by Professor Albert Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA showed that 93% of communication is nonverbal since visuals can be processed by the mind 60 thousand times faster than text. With this in mind, it’s crucial to tell the story of your mission using appealing visual elements across all of your social platforms. Post pictures or video on sites like Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc. You may have seen dog shelters do this. They take video or photos of dogs that came to them in very bad condition. Then they show a healthy, happy dog that is nursed back to health. It’s a complete story. Told visually.
  2. FREQUENCY: Consistency is so important. Non-profits often only post to their social accounts when they have an event or a campaign. Work on building relationships throughout the year… before you need them. Also, it’s best to vary the types of post you use on social media, whether you’re running a campaign or not. Try to mix in press releases, with stories of the people you’ve helped, spotlights on volunteers along with information on upcoming events, and reminders of how easy it is to donate or contribute to your cause. Having a social media plan will help you with this. Post too much could put you in the “unfollow” zone. Don’t post enough and you won’t reach your target audience. If you need help getting started, check out my blog on Developing a Social Media Plan here.
  3. VOLUNTEERS: Create a volunteer social media corp. Your volunteer social media corp should be designed to amplify your messages. By ‘amplify,’ I mean they will share your messaging, not speaking on behalf of the nonprofit. To make sure the volunteers are empowered to amplify messages on your behalf, you can create a Facebook group or Google+ community where you can share the messages that are most important to the organization. Once the volunteers get the hang of it, you might want to start training them to become your social media community managers for your social sites and help you manage your weekly and monthly social media plan.
  4. SOCIALIZE: So many nonprofits broadcast only. However, you don’t want to make your posts a one-way conversation. Like I mentioned earlier, the most important part of social media is the social part of the engagement. For nonprofits, that will call for you to humanize your cause in a way that is relatable and actionable. You’ll want to pull on some heart-strings. Think about making your posts as conversational as possible. Listen to your audience and show them how important they are to your cause by responding back. That means replying to comments on your blogs, Facebook page, Twitter posts and comments on Instagram and Snapchat. Make an effort to comments on posts by other organizations or individuals who support your cause. When this is done correctly, your efforts will result in increased followers that will turn into increased donors, volunteers, and revenue.
  5. STORYTELLING: As I said, you will want to humanize the purpose of your cause. Relying on only phone calls, fundraisers, and direct mailings is no longer enough. If I get one more phone call from my local cultural theater house, I’m going to poke my eyes out! But, if they share a great story about their new play, I’m in! Show your audience what they are missing by not joining you. Or show them how you are changing the world. For nonprofits, emotive content is inherent in your makeup. In this regard, nonprofits are in a better position to use social media more effectively than most big brands. You have, or should have, a community that cares deeply about what you do. Having a well-crafted story will give you tons of content to share and resonate greatly with your audience.
  6. CROWDFUNDING: As a non-profit, you’re always looking for new ways to raise money. One option that has quickly caught on is crowdfunding. It is an easy way to raise money with donations from a large number of people. This  growing trend towards crowdfunding has created lots of new revenue streams and models for investment and funding. Before you jump out there, however, there are many things to consider. Nonprofits should take the time to research all the available options. Some crowdfunding sites charge a fee and others do not. It would be wise to do your due diligence to find the best option for your nonprofit. Then, when you are ready, remember that your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it is crucial to plan ahead and include all the elements that make a compelling story. To learn more about how to develop a crowdfunding pitch, read my 5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch here.

Social media will continue to have a huge impact on the nonprofit sector. But, like most things in the digital world, social media is evolving quickly. Do not expect your website or social platforms, and blog to hit overnight. Social media and content marketing requires time and patience—so does building an online audience. It can take several months to see results from social media marketing. If you don’t have the time to manage your sites, think about hiring a digital media specialist. The team at Danielle Ricks Productions is ready to help!

 

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Five Digital Media Updates Making Headlines

3Here are five digital media news stories ripped from the headlines. I’m most interested in Amazon’s entry into the Internet of Things, one of my tech obsessions and Periscope’s new On Air Button. I’ll be using Periscope to do a live broadcast of my “Social Media For Nonprofits” talk at The Daily Good Conference and to broadcast the breakaway sessions. I’ll report back on my user experience with the web page interface after the conference. In the meantime, here are my picks for the top five digital media news stories making headlines.

Variety: Snapchat Shutters Original Content Channel

Snapchat is laying off members of a team assigned to a channel on its Discover platform devoted to original programming, dubbed Snap Channel.

The closure has prompted the exit of Marcus Wiley, a former executive with broadcast network Fox who was brought on to figure out how Snapchat would build up its programming lineup. Since his hire in May, Wiley led a group of 15 that has been disbanded, with some being pink-slipped and others being reassigned elsewhere in the company.

Until its removal from Discover a few weeks ago, Snap was the home of short-form content produced internally at Snapchat since launching in January. The channel was once home to ‘Literally Can’t Even,’ a split-screen comedy series starring and written by Sasha Spielberg, daughter of Steven Spielberg, and Emily Goldwyn, daughter of John Goldwyn”

TNW: Periscope now has an embeddable ‘On Air’ button for broadcasts

“Periscope now has an On Air button for websites that tell everyone when a broadcast is live.

It’s a useful little tweak that anyone can use. All you have to do is enter your Periscope username (typically your Twitter handle without the ‘@‘) into Periscope’s button generator, and it creates a code so you can embed a button into a webpage. Your username takes the place of the ‘broadcaster’ text, seen below.

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Periscope’s On Air button also comes in two sizes, and automatically toggles when a broadcast goes live.”

Re/code: Twitter Unveils New Video Advertising Strategy

“The company is taking a different approach to video ads. More precisely: Twitter is adopting YouTube’s video advertising approach. What that means is that publishers and video makers can upload their video to Twitter, and Twitter will attach short ‘pre-roll’ ads in front of those clips and split the ad revenue with the video owners. Which is how YouTube, the world’s biggest video site, does it, too.”

TechCrunch: Amazon Launches AWS IoT — A Platform For Building, Managing And Analyzing The Internet Of Things

“Make way for another big player entering the Internet of Things space. Amazon today is announcing its long-awaited IoT platform for AWS at its re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas. As Amazon describes it, it is a managed cloud platform ‘that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices.’ The platform, which is launching in beta, will be able to support billions of devices and trillions of messages, ‘and can process and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely.’ AWS IoT will integrate with Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Amazon Machine Learning, and Amazon DynamoDB to build IoT applications, manage infrastructure and analyze data.”

Advertising Age: Reuters Is the Latest to Try Reinventing News With Digital TV Service

“Early next year, the company plans to introduce Reuters.TV, an ad-supported digital service that allows subscribers to receive personalized video content created solely for the platform. Reuters.TV will cost a monthly fee, but the company declined to say how much it will be. The service will initially be available on iPhones and iPads.”

President Obama Is On Twitter And His Exchange With Bill Clinton Makes It All Worth It

President Obama joined Twitter yesterday. The President, affectionately known as POTUS (in case you are living under a rock, that stands for President of the United States) pretty much broke Twitter after he sent out his first tweet. He officially won the Guinness World Records’ award for the fastest time to reach 1 million followers. Guinness World Records confirmed the victory in a news release Tuesday. In the release, they shared that President Obama reached the world record in less than five hours after his first tweet from the new @POTUS account. In true digital media style, the White House did a video about the President joining Twitter. As I’ve shared many times, posting video is the best way to tell a story. Take a look.

 

The @POTUS account is different from the @BarackObama account that many of us have been following for the past few years. That account is managed by Organizing for Action, the group that formed out of Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. The new @POTUS account will give President Obama a way to connect and engage in a way no other President has been able to do. It will be very interesting to see where this goes. Side note: I love the @POTUS Twitter profile. It simply reads: “Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States. Tweets may be archived: .”

POTUS 1st tweet with background JPEG

 

But what really gave me life today -the whole reason I’m doing this blog post- is the exchange between @BillClinton and @POTUS.

 

42 and 44 have jokes

42 and 44 have jokes

It appears #42 has jokes. But so does #44. This is going to be FUN!

P.S. You do know FLOTUS stands for the First Lady of the United States. Right?

 

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Digital Media News: Closing Out The Week With Five Things To Know

Ripped from the headlines, here are five things you should know this week for your digital and social media professional development.

Copyblogger: The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages – Ever wonder what you could do to stop people from bouncing off your landing pages? You work hard to polish your sales copy. You’ve even recorded a snazzy demonstration video. But when you check your site’s analytics? You feel soooo frustrated. And the worst thing is … you don’t know what else you can do. How can you improve your conversion rates? Use the 40 tips in our landing page checklist to see where you’ve gone wrong. Or, use the checklist to create a landing page from scratch. See your email list grow faster, your webinars sell out, and your product sales go through the roof.

Here's What's NewRe/code: Twitter vs. Meerkat – Meerkat, the undisputed belle of the 2015 SXSW ball, was hobbled by Twitter’s mid-festival announcement of its acquisition of rival Periscope. The social video-sharing app had achieved a healthy dose of buzz for its savvy integration with the Twitter platform. Yet within hours of the news of its Periscope acquisition, Twitter fired the torpedoes: Informing its upstart rival that it would no longer have access to Twitter’s social graphing capabilities, which allowed Meerkat users to automatically push their livestreams out to their Twitter followers without building a separate contact list in the Meerkat app. Platform owner has significant power. Startup building on that platform is vulnerable. Platform owner capitalizes on its clout and attempts to move in for the kill. Sound familiar? It’s the hypothetical worst-case scenario so often cited by proponents of Title II net neutrality regulations — proponents including Twitter itself. [ED NOTE: This is the one to watch]

POLITICO: The Mobile Election – How smartphones will change the 2016 presidential race -As Hillary Clinton prepares for the formal launch of her campaign, and as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are neck and neck in the polls, roughly two out of every three American adults, or 64 percent, own a smartphone, according to a new report from Pew. On the consumption side, the rise in mobile will “change politics the same way it is changing American life broadly,” said Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed. “People will organize and persuade on mobile devices and apps, the same way they live on them more broadly. Though mobile usage is highest among younger Americans, news consumption is “common even among older smartphone owners,” as “four-in-ten smartphone owners ages 65 and older use their phone at least occasionally to keep up with breaking news.” On the media side, the rise in mobile usage will increase the number of citizen reporters, whose influence on recent political campaigns has been quite significant. Video footage of an errant remark — from George Allen’s “Macaca” moment in 2006 to Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” moment in 2012 — can have more influence on a political campaign than any traditional news report.

Forbes: The Rise Of The Female CDO – The Chief Digital Officer is one role where women are outpacing men by two to one, according to a FierceCIO article citing research by Gartner , which also notes that the number of CDOs who are women has been growing dramatically every year. There are certainly some prominent examples, including Rachel Haot, CDO for New York State (and previously the City of New York), who was chosen Chief Digital Officer of the Year in 2014 by the CDO Club. Others include Jessica Federer at Bayer , Linda Avery of the Federal Reserve and Julie Bornstein, who holds the positions of both CMO and CDO of Sephora . [ED NOTE: Yay! That is all.]

1Harvard Business Review: Defining Strategy, Implementation, and Execution – It is striking how much confusion there is between strategy, implementation, and execution. Is “strategy” a matter of making choices about where we want to go, where we play and how we win, of setting goals and actions, about how we create and capture economic value over time? Is “getting things done” what we mean by implementation or execution? Do you “execute” or “implement” a strategy? And can you separate these from strategy formation? For strategy wonks like me, thinking about the definitions of these ideas provides endless fascination. For many business leaders, however, I find that the semantics matter a lot less. And that’s too bad because the semantics should matter. There are meaningful distinctions between strategy, implementation, and execution that are helpful to running a company or business in the real world. Ignoring, blurring, or getting them wrong creates sloppy thinking, deciding, and doing at all levels of an organization. Let’s start with strategy.

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Five Things To Know In Social Media This Week

I searched the headlines for the hot social media topics of the week. Here are five stories to help with your professional development in the social space.

Twitter Blog JpegFrom TechCrunch: Twitter Officially Launches Its “Retweet With Comment” Feature – “Twitter just officially launched its “retweet with comment” feature, which it began testing last summer. “Retweet with comment” allows users to embed a tweet in their own tweets, which lets them get around Twitter’s 140-character limit when they write their own commentary. The feature is now available on Twitter’s site and iPhone app and will be available on its Android app soon. [ED NOTE: This is WAY cool!]”

From WaPo: Snapchat’s controversial emoji update: An explainer for the old and/or confused– “Nothing prematurely ages you quite like social media. Are you upset about the big Snapchat update? No, okay, you’re probably old. You didn’t hear about the update? Positively ancient. You don’t even use Snapchat?!?!??! Dinosaur!! Allow me to inform you, oh fossilized one, that Snapchat yesterday made some changes to its popular messaging app, which have become something of a flash point among the teenage set. But if you’re older than, say, 17, the very substantive, concerning implications of the update are not apparent immediately.” [ED NOTE: After reading this article, we can all be happy with the notion that we are not dinosaurs!]

YouTube JpegFrom Re/code: YouTube to Video Makers: Join Our Subscription Service or Go Somewhere Else– “YouTube is getting ready to launch an ad-free subscription service. And the world’s largest video site is flexing some muscle to make sure its new product is as big as possible. YouTube is doing that with new rules that will make it difficult for video makers to keep their clips out of the new service, which should come out in the second half of this year. The key change: YouTube “partners” — video owners who make money from ads on their YouTube clips — will need to let YouTube put their clips in the ad-free service, too. If they don’t, YouTube will make it nearly impossible for a casual visitor to find the videos. It will classify the clips as “private,” which means the only people who can see them will be those preselected by the video owner. YouTube says it will share subscription revenue with video owners whose stuff gets viewed, and it isn’t requiring video owners to keep their stuff on the site exclusively. So the new rules likely won’t pose a problem for the majority of video makers.”

From ReadWrite: Yahoo Has Apparently Decided It’s Time To Really Cash In On Tumblr – “Yahoo is planning an internal reshuffle that could effectively end the independence of its most popular acquisition, the visual blogging platform Tumblr. The Information reports that CEO Marissa Mayer spoke about the major changes inside the company at an offsite meeting with executives. She also reportedly asked Tumblr CEO David Karp which Yahoo executive he’d like to report to from now on. Yahoo spent $1.1 billion to acquire Tumblr in May 2013, and it looks like the company is finally planning to seek a return on that investment. Tumblr’s highly visual format makes it possible to serve native ads—that is, ads that are barely distinguishable from the content around them, and thus less intrusive to users.”

From The Verge: Facebook launches standalone Messenger for web browsers – “There’s now a web browser version of Facebook Messenger to go along with the standalone smartphone apps the company is making everyone use. No, Facebook the website isn’t taking away your ability to chat with friends. After the controversy that surrounded divorcing the two central features on mobile, Facebook is adamant that Messenger isn’t leaving Facebook.com anytime soon. Instead, Messenger for the web — which you’ll find at Messenger.com starting today — focuses solely on simple conversations and leaves the other parts of Facebook that can be distracting to the primary site.” [Ed Note: I don’t use Facebook Messenger. It’s the one place where you cannot get in touch with me. It’s my own private rebellion]

There you have it. You’re up-to-date on the hot social media topics for this week.

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Do You Know Who Is Seeing Your Facebook Posts?

Facebook boasts 1.3 billion monthly active users. Yet many people still haven’t taken control of the information they post. If you are using your page to promote your business, you may have your posts open to the public. However, you may not want to share your college reunion photos or you vacation updates with everyone. You may decide to make those posts available to only a select group of people. Either way, you have are in the drivers seat when it comes to what you post.

Facebook makes it easy to select “who should see” each post and shares this:

You’ll find an audience selector tool most places you share status updates, photos and other things you post. Click the tool and select who you want to share something with.

The tool remembers the audience you shared with the last time you posted something and uses the same audience when you share again unless you change it. For example, if you choose Public for a post, your next post will also be Public unless you change the audience when you post. This one tool appears in multiple places, such as your privacy shortcuts and privacy settings. When you make a change to the audience selector tool in one place, the change updates the tool everywhere it appears. Remember, when you post to another person’s Timeline, that person controls what audience can view the post. Additionally, anyone who gets tagged in a post may see it, along with their friends.

Still not sure how to control who sees your Facebook page? Worried about the apps you’ve assigned to your Facebook account? If so, you should do a Facebook Privacy Checkup. Here’s a video to walk you through the process.

You can also change who gets to see your posts as you are making them on Facebook. Here’s a really quick video to show you how.

Want more tips? Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

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Introducing On This Day: A New Way to Look Back at Photos and Memories on Facebook

In an effort to steal some thunder from Timehop (which by the way I’m totally addicted to) Facebook is rolling out On This Day so can look back at past posts… and ultimately, never leave the confines of Facebook.

Facebook Newsroom

By Jonathan Gheller, Product Manager

People often look back at old photos and other memories they’ve shared on Facebook, and many have told us that they enjoy products and features that make this easier.

Today we’re announcing On This Day, a new way to look back at things you have shared and posts you’ve been tagged in on Facebook. Only you can see your On This Day page.

On This Day shows content from this date in the past. For example, you might see past status updates, photos, posts from friends and other things you’ve shared or been tagged in – from one year ago, two years ago, and so on. Only you will see this content unless you decide to share it with your friends.

OTD

To see your On This Day page, you can click on the On This Day bookmark, search for “On This Day,” or visit 

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Stop Counting The Number of Followers You Have

You’ve bNumber Imageuilt up a loyal follow of thousand upon thousand of folks across multiple platforms. Yet, you are unable to get them to buy your goods or services. You can’t get them to donate to your cause and you online marketing efforts are failing. Before you even think about getting more followers, start instead by setting some goals on the return you want from you do have. Here are a few tips to up the ante on your online engagement.

  • Post Good Content: Sounds simple right? From your Twitter and Facebook bio, to you profile photo, and each post you make, your content should support your mission, tell your story and the convey the essence of your brand. The content should be so good, so entertaining, followers want to be a part of your mission.
  • Develop an Engaging Voice: Your brand has a unique personality. That personality should translate to your online presence. Whether it’s fun, witty, cutting edge or all about business, your posts and online voice should match up with your brand.
  • Engage in other people’s conversations: Participate in Twitter Tweetchats. Follow hashtags discussions on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to follow the hashtags of events you attend, and make easy to follow hashtags for your events. Start a conversation based on a link someone shared.

Getting more followers isn’t the end game. You win by getting followers who are invested in your brand and responsive to your calls to action. 

Social Media Is Still Relevant And Here Is Why

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Tinu Abayomi-Paul, web site promotion specialist, and author, is also the principal consultant of Leveraged Promotion, a website promotion company. Their specialty is bringing companies with an existing offline presence the local, national or international exposure they need to increase profitability, by leveraging the cost-effective tools available on the web.

In January 2014, Tinu was named one of the top 50 Industry Influencers by AGBeat. In February 2014 she was also awarded a Women’s Leader Fellowship by the Hot Mommas Project. In September 2012, Tinu is quoted in the CNN article: “Why Business Women are Flocking to Twitter”, as part of the CNN Leading Women showcase. In October 2012, Tinu was featured in TopRank’s yearly updated list of 25 Women Who Rock Social Media.  In June of that same year, Tinu was featured in AGBeat’s Business Leader Showcase. In December 2011, Liberated Muse named Tinu as one of the Top Ten Women in Social Media. Whew, that’s a lot of accolades!!

She is a woman in the know and an all around cool connector of people. I was able to catch up to her to get her thoughts on social media and where we are going in the social space.

Q- Why is social media relevant?

Social media is relevant because it provides a layer of communication and data in real-time, one that previously did not exist. In terms of customer feedback, focus groups and other types of research based on end user feedback, you can gather actionable data about a topic faster than ever before. As a marketing source, it helps democratize and facilitate word of mouth within a global context, at a cost low enough to even the playing field for small businesses.

Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools also give power to the individual on a level that hasn’t existed before. We may not all be using it that way yet – but the potential to be able to use your personal voice and opinion to affect change on this level is unprecedented. If you wanted the potential to reach the world with your voice, as little as ten years ago, your options were much more limited than they are today.

For example, if you checked into a hotel in 2002 and had a problem with customer service, you could ask for management’s help to resolve it, but had few other options. Depending on how much the hotel cared about your repeat business, and whether or not customer satisfaction was a primary goal, your voice might be heard by the hotel or it might not.

Armed with social media, companies are now not just marketing to you; they’re marketing to whatever your potential audience reach is. Now, a complaint isn’t just a complaint – it can go on record on Yelp or Foursquare, go viral on Twitter, or be permanently posted to a Google local or Facebook business page.

How do you use social media in your work?

One of my companies helps build marketing systems for small businesses, integrating search, social or reputation management with existing PR or other types of online or offline marketing. All of the activities that increase visibility for a company are more effective in synergy.

Q- What trends to you see in the upcoming year for social media?

1- More discerning choices about what we’re paying attention to – the problem now in social media is that there are too many channels, most of them repeating the same information, though sometimes in different formats. The younger users are enjoying tools like SnapChat, which deploys a shared image, video, drawing, etc for a set period of time, then destroys it.

We’re seeing the results of the backlash, with people opting out of Facebook and other new media channels indefinitely or for set periods of time. And yet you never hear anyone say “I have to quit Googling, it’s just too much.”

The question is: how do we respond to those trends as small business owners and social media professionals?

2- The maturation of the visual web trend. Clearly, the web is becoming increasing more visual, and much less text heavy before our eyes. With internet enabled TV and other devices like Roku that gets the video we view on the web on the big screen, the demand for content that can be consumed on the bigger screen is increasing as well. Early movers will benefit when this trend hits a peak. It may not happen this year but it is coming.

3- The web will be soon be everywhere – our refrigerators will be linked to the grocery store, and we might be able to update our list by sending a direct message in Twitter. At the leading edge of this right now is mobile. If your social content isn’t web enabled, you’re missing out on a lot of additional exposure.

Q- What is your best social media tip?

Start all of your social-related endeavors with research and clear goals. Why this channel? Who uses it? What competes with it? What do we hope to achieve? How will we know we’re successful? And most importantly, what do the people we want to reach want to hear from us on this channel? The data is out there and accessible. Or if you have some access to the community you want to grow with, just ask them what they want.

This post is edited and updated from the original version that appears on the All Things E blog.

Trends in Social Media: GO VISUAL!

Meet Geoff Livingston! Geoff is an author, public speaker and strategist who helps companies and nonprofits develop outstanding marketing programs. He brings people together, virtually and physically for business and change.  A former journalist, Geoff continues to write and has authored three books including the social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.

Geoff organized the first Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington in 2011, an event that raised $2 million for more than 1000 nonprofits using online media tools. He also started and sold social media boutique Livingston Communications (2009). He has won awards from the Society of New communications Research, the American Marketing Association, the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as an Axiom Award for his book Now Is Gone.  Geoff is a regular conference keynote speaker and panelist. He has presented at Mashable, Social Media for Nonprofits Atlanta and Boston, MarketingProfs, SUPERCOMM, CES, Penton Media, TEDx Peachtree, Procter & Gamble, Comcast, Dell, the U.S. Army (three different commands) and many, many more!

Geoff Livingston’s Tips of The Trade:

How do you use social media in your work? –  “It’s obviously a key component of my work, but I find it’s less and less of it.  I am building out and managing programs for clients, how-tos if you would as well as strategies.

More often than not, I am teaching organizations how to integrate social into the larger whole so they can get better results out of it.  That’s their primary issue, how to do we get people to do more with us instead of Liking, Plussing, Hearting (or whatever else it might be). So, I am building content and calls-to-action for lead nurturing.”

What trends to you see in social media? – “More play to pay.  Specifically, it’s getting harder to be seen with branded activities even with what I would call natural and organic social media activities. High dollar content, ads, and native advertising will become more important with each month. And part of that are companies making a profit on what they are offering for free.

As long as the benefit outweighs the costs companies will keep playing, but some networks will certainly suffer engagement for this. I think Facebook is the obvious loser, but I think they feel have to do it to appease stockholders. That’s my assessment.”

What’s your best social media tip? – “Go visual.  If you can communicate it with photos, graphics and/or video, it’s going to have more legs. This is particularly true for consumer, low-dollar B2B services and products, and nonprofit activity. Deep text doesn’t work well on a  mobile phone, and most people won’t engage with it while they are out and about (Starbucks, Metro, etc.) unless they must.”

Tips to Rock Your Social Presence

Shannon Mouton leads the internal marketing and digital communications efforts for McKinney & Associates. She is a relationship marketing professional, with a passion for utilizing social technology for building business relationships, sharing information and advancing the greater good. Her 20-plus years of marketing, communications, and 12032876_10206198800663549_1037900389348578334_ocommunity-building experiences have afforded her unique opportunities to foster communities where none existed, develop and launch innovative programming and bridge generational, economic and racial divides. Shannon is a contributor to Women Grow Business and has been featured on the Digital Sisterhood Network and American Express OPEN Forum.

I asked Shannon to share some of her best social media tips with me. This is what she had to say:

1. Social media is an part of my workday as I’m responsible for the virtual marketing for the organization. We focus on social tools and platforms that allow us to showcase our expertise and experience as a strategic communications firm. Instead of spreading a little content over a lot of platforms, we do a lot of content over a few platforms. For instance, a team member will write an article, “How to Pitch to Reporters” and we post that article as a blog post and a week later we turn the article into a presentation for SlideShare. We will also post both forms of the information to Facebook and Twitter because we understand people receive and retain information differently.

2. The three social media sites the firm will probably still be using in two years are YouTube, SlideShare and Facebook. While the written word will always be important, visual communications is becoming increasingly so as a method of delivering messages to a variety of audiences. These sites focus on visual communications and lend themselves to the written (and spoken) word. We enjoy and use Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, which are visually based platforms, but they lack the strong written or verbal component that we need for long-term strategic communications.
3. My best social media tip is also a tip for living your best life: do a few things exceptionally well, instead of being adequate at a lot of things.
This post was originally shared on All Things E