Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Using Hashtags to Increase Retweets

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Hashtags are useful for following targeted topics and for grouping tweets. But can they be used to increase retweets?

In my experience they can, in two ways.

1. Some people follow hashtags, not people

For these users, if you don’t use a hashtag, your tweet will go undiscovered. So if your tweet is topical, use one or two hashtags to be seen by those people who are interested in the topic.

2. Some people routinely retweet hashtags

I discovered this while promoting my events. If I just tweeted the event, I’d get a few retweets. If I used the #dcevents hashtag, my retweets doubled, or more. Followers who rarely retweeted me would retweet the events when I used the hashtag.

Study your followers. Find out which hashtags they tend to retweet and use them.

In either scenario, don’t go overboard. I’ve seen tweets with more hashtags than content. It’s confusing and not the best use of your precious 140 characters.

Anyone want to share hashtags you always (or never) retweet?

Flabbergasted by a Study on Retweets

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Yesterday Hubspot published some interesting data on asking that a post be Retweeted.

Their conclusion was that posts containing “Please Retweet” or “Please RT” were significantly more likely to be retweeted than posts with out the request.

The comments on the post were interesting also. Most of the people commenting were inclined to disbelieve the statistics.

The reason I am flabbergasted is that their data contradicts what most people write about in Twitter etiquette. The general rule has been don’t include “Please Retweet,” saying that it looks desperate. I tend to agree. I will occasionally retweet posts containing the request, but generally only if it’s something I would have retweeted anyway. And I always remove the request from my Tweet.

What do you all think? Planning to give it a try? Going to stick with the general etiquette advice? I’d be interested to get a conversation going around it here.

As for me? I’m not going to add a request. For all the reasons above plus the fact that it adds a lot of characters to a 140 character post. I don’t like to waste my precious space. But maybe you can convince me otherwise. ;)

Sometimes You Need a Break

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

You probably noticed that I took about a two week break from the blog. Part of that was taking a short vacation, but the rest was just needing a break. I felt like I was struggling sometimes to come up with blog posts. I took the same time off Twitter and Facebook as well.

And now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to get back into blogging and social media.

So if you feel overwhelmed or burned out occasionally, go ahead and step back for a bit. Just don’t stay away forever. We’d miss you. :)

Using LinkedIn Groups

Monday, April 25th, 2011

How many of you have a LinkedIn profile that you never use or update?

If you do, be assured you are not alone. But it’s not the way to get the most out of LinkedIn.

I consider LinkedIn to be a social networking site instead of a social media site. Therefore engagement is particularly important. But you need to take care. People on Facebook and Twitter will accept a certain amount of selling. LinkedIn? Not so much.

LinkedIn groups are a good way to be engaged, without taking up too much of your valuable time. And without coming across as too “salesy.”

First, find a few groups to target. Look for groups in your industry or groups that cater to your client base. Join the group and lurk for a while. See what kinds of conversations are started and how people respond. Then start a conversation. Or contribute to one.

Do this on a regular basis, and people from the group will ask to connect to you. Remember that you can make a connection request, if you share a group, without needing the other person’s email address. Also, ask to connect to people with whom you have synergy.

A friend of mine starts discussions about marketing challenges, sees who responds with challenges he can address and then reaches out to those people to start a dialogue. He’s gotten several new clients that way.

Be careful, though. Don’t reach out to a new contact and immediately start selling. Use the connection as a way to start a conversation and begin a relationship.

I got my publisher through LinkedIn. He approached me. I didn’t approach him. How did he find me? Through a LinkedIn Group.

Try it. You will find it’s a useful way to add to your network. And find more clients!

The Irony of Spam Blog Comments

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

If you have a blog, you have spam comments. I guess they go together like, I don’t know, peanut butter and Vegemite, and are about as tasty.

I have my blog set to moderate comments the first time someone posts, so I catch most of the spam before they are “live” on the site. My plug-ins are pretty good, but a few still get through for me to moderate each day. And often they make me laugh.

Unfortunately, I just deleted most the spam comments earlier today, so I can’t share the exact comments, but they often fall into categories. My favorite are the ones that insult me. Like the ones that tell me my content has been really good but the last few posts sucked.

Or this one that I just deleted:

“Make up your mind and please start to making clear publications.”

Or the ones that tell me that other people write so much better about my topic than I do.

Seriously, guys? You really think I’ll publish those? Especially when I have six of the exact, word-for-word, same comments in a row?

Of course, my all-time favorite was the one that started like this:

THIS IS NOT SPAM!

And then continued into a Nigerian scam.

Maybe I’m just easily amused, but they crack me up. Anyone else have a particularly good spam comment to share? I always need a laugh.

ROI on Social Media vs. Face to Face

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Last week I posted the question of what do you want me to write about. Reader Nancy Wigal of the Search Engine Academy of Washington DC suggested something on the ROI of social media.

I don’t have hard and fast numbers on it, and my answer still is “it depends on your goals.” I an article last year on how to track ROI from social media, and everything there still stands. Interestingly, when I wrote that article I didn’t talk about comparing social media vs face to face networking.

Now to be clear, my views haven’t changed. It’s still not an either/or, but I’ve been trying an experiment in marketing my monthly Netmasters workshops. I use my email newsletter, social media and face to face networking to promote it.

Guess what I’ve discovered?

Last year, I held a free session, and promoted it heavily through all three channels. There was no question. The majority of the registrations came through social media (Twitter promotion, mostly).

This year, I’ve only been promoting paid sessions (and by paid I mean $15, not a huge leap from free). Where am I getting the most registrants? Definitely face to face promotion at networking events and other classes I’ve taught.

Interesting. Free does well through social media. But paid does better through face to face networking.

Again, I believe you need both. Social media can be an excellent way to maintain a relationship that began face to face, making it difficult to separate the two. Which just confirms my belief that “it’s all about the relationship, stupid.” ;)

Anyone else have any results to share? Do they differ from mine, or are you noticing the same thing?

Social Media Strategic Marketing Plan

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Last week I was meeting with a client, and we were looking at how the various social media channels could work together for him. Maybe it will give you some ideas.

He runs a sign store, and for new business he wants to target non-profits (for annual conferences) and property management companies. But he doesn’t want to ignore repeat business.

Here’s what we came up with.

For new business, I suggested he join several LinkedIn groups for non-profits and property management. He can hang out there, ask and respond to questions and start some relationships. He can also search for likely target companies and use his contacts for introductions.

For customer loyalty, we agreed Facebook made sense. He can plant seeds about good ways to use signs. He can also post links to good articles to help small businesses be more successful. Every once in a while, he can post specials. Oh, and don’t forget funny signs. There’s lots of those, and making people laugh is always good.

What about Twitter? I suggested he follow key people in small business and use them to find content for his Facebook page. He won’t use it as a marketing tool, just for information gathering.

What about time? Obviously, I suggested using Hootsuite to schedule his Facebook updates. He can do all of those on Sunday and then not worry about them the rest of week.

Finally, I suggested he gather all his links and articles in Evernote. Then he only has one place to look while he’s doing his Sunday scheduling.

What do you think? LinkedIn for new business. Facebook for repeat business. Twitter to find good content. He’s using each channel for a specific purpose, and we’ve set it up so social media doesn’t take over his life. I think it will work well.

LinkedIn Premium. Worth It?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I get the question all the time, and last month LinkedIn offered me a 30-day free trial, so I decided to give it a go. I’m going to have to say that I didn’t find it worthwhile.

I’d read that the Premium membership allowed you to see last names of 3rd degree contacts. Well, it’s true, but not quite. The $24.95 Premium level doesn’t allow it. The $99.95 per month level does. Seriously? You want me to pay a hundred bucks a month to get last names? Not worth it.

What about more searches? They say you can get more results with the Premium level. True. But I’ve never needed more than 200 at a time. Spending money to get more isn’t a good deal for me.

Inmails? Now, that’s got to be a big benefit, right? Not really. I don’t need to connect to people I don’t know. I did send one, but I could have gotten to the guy another way, so no big deal.

The one feature I had been really excited about was seeing who had looked at my profile. I figured that would be useful. Um, not so much. I get a few names, but most of the results are like this one:

Someone in the Leadership function in the Government Relations industry from Washington D.C. Metro Area

Yeah, that was useful. And totally worth my money each month. [end sarcasm font]

So, I decided to cancel my 30 day trial. And guess what? My welcome email said my 30-day trial was good through yesterday, so canceling yesterday should have worked. Nope. They’d already charged me for March.

So, have any questions about LinkedIn Premium? I’ve got the darned thing for another month. Might as well get something out of it.

Employees and Social Media: Enable, Don’t Block

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I recently had the opportunity to review a large organization’s social media policy. I can’t reveal the name, but I can say that it’s a large, well-known financial planning/insurance firm.

In a word, it was horrible. Why?

Let’s start by noting that it was clearly written by someone who has never used social media. How can you write a policy for employees if you’ve never used what you’re writing a policy about?

The policy prevents employees from using any medium other than the telephone to communicate with prospects. I spoke with one of the company employees, and she was understandably frustrated. She is in her 20s and is trying to build her portfolio with people like her. She calls, leaves messages, and her prospects ask her to send an email or a text. But company policy prevents her from communicating with her prospects in the way they prefer. How is that good for customer relations?

But there’s more. That was just the communication part of the policy. Now let’s get to the social media.

The list of what they can’t do was way longer than the list of what they can. Basically, what they can do through social media is suggest that a prospect/customer take a conversation off-line and post links to company-approved content.

Nope, they aren’t allowed to engage in a conversation. They can’t post links to public articles (like from the Wall Street Journal). They can’t even post links to articles that have NOTHING to do with financial planning. For example, posting a link to this blog (which never discusses financial content) is not allowed.

Social media is about sharing and engagement, and these employees are expressly forbidden from doing either.

What’s an employee to do? Simple. Either not use social media or use it on the sly and hope no one finds out.

Neither are good options for either the company or the employee.

How can you, as an employer, avoid writing stupidly limiting policies? Easy, first understand the media. Create a Facebook page or Twitter account and see what it’s about and how they are used.

Then do a real risk assessment. What’s the real risk of employees having conversations about products and services through social media? What kind of content would be truly damaging if it were shared?

Build policies around preventing the worst case scenarios. Leave everything else and trust your employees to be smart.

And if they aren’t? Use your guidelines and see how they work. If they don’t work, change them. Employee policies are living documents. Be open to changing them when needed.

But leave your social media policy open enough so your employees can use them without hiding. They are good ambassadors for your company. Let them speak.

Social Media Time Management

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

People frequently ask me, “How much time do you spend on social media?”

It’s a fair question, but I’m not the best person to ask. Social media is part of what I do for my business, so I spend more time on it than the average business owner.

That said, I spend two hours or more each day on social media. But before you have heart failure, remember that I’m a blogger. We spend more time than average because we have to write our posts, and we probably read more blogs than non-bloggers.

So how do I do it? And what can you learn from me to help you?

Simple. It’s all in the tools and time management.

I don’t keep up with social media in one or two long blocks of time. I spread it out over the day with short blocks of time that fit between meetings or larger tasks.

For example, in the morning, I check Twitter and catch up on blog posts. Mostly, I do that from my phone, sometimes before I’ve even gotten out of bed. Very luxurious, I tell you.

I do most of my Twitter and Facebook interaction from my phone because I can be anywhere. Waiting on a meeting, waiting on a phone call, as a short break to clear my mind. Sometimes, like today, while I’m eating lunch.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might think I’m on it all day. But I’m not. I use scheduling on Hootsuite for iPhone to space out my tweets. That means I can do a 20 minute session and have tweets and RTs going out for the next couple of hours.

Twitter recently added a new feature, which has been great. Whenever I receive a Twitter @Mention, I get a text to my phone. So I can reply to those as they happen instead of a couple of times a day.

See why I love my smart phone so much?

What about blogging? I write each post the day before. Then in the morning, I just need to do a quick edit and publish. Again, I use Hootsuite to schedule the tweets about my blog. 7:00 AM isn’t a big time for US Twitter people, so I’d rather have the tweet go out in the late morning. Scheduling makes that happen. It also means I’m never sitting in the morning, staring at a blank screen, thinking, “What to write about today?”

As for reading blogs, I use Google Reader mostly. All the blogs I’m subscribed to all in one place. If I have a few minutes, I go to my Google Reader page and see what’s new. I also use an iPhone app, Byline, to check blogs on my phone.

So it’s all about using good tools and finding those few minutes a day when you can dip in, read some stuff and then get back out and on with your next task or meeting.

Anyone else want to share how they time manage social media?