Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Blog

Three key manifestations of #FakeSocial – The vanity empires, the impersonators and the no shows

When it comes to social media, ‘missing the point’, is a key thought that often runs through my head these days.

There’s no doubt about it, there’s a lot of noise. And within that noise, there’s just too much, of what I will refer to as, #fakesocial. If you’re like me, passionate about the far reaching and authentic connection opportunities social technologies can enable – no doubt you agree that it’s frustrating and more than just a little disheartening.

I’m calling out three #fakesocial culprits – and no doubt there are others.  I invite you to vent in the comments.

1)   The Vanity Empires

There are many organisations and people on social that are only concerned with building ‘big followings’. They’re using tools, apps and tricksters to help them grow huge followings, so that they ‘look’ credible and influential on social media.

Such activity is of course, ego all the way. Look at us, me. We have 100,000+ followers. My questions are always the same – ‘But to what end?’: are they relevant, are they engaged, are they interested in what you do or have to say or sell, are they right for your brand or business?

Just today I was asked my view about one of the many apps that goes out onto the social channels, in this case it was Instagram, to find relevant users and like their photos.  Nothing ‘authentically social’ about that at all. Robot systems, doing their stuff – and whilst some do it in a more targeted way than others, from all of my personal experiences of testing of these tools, and indeed from discussion with respected peers in the landscape, these tools are most certainly not ‘best practice’. Yet the lure of ‘getting big numbers’ and the speed of which they can be applied, for many, is intoxicating.

But what’s the point of a load of irrelevant followers. It’s like buying a ‘highly targeted’ mailing list – and being surprised at the 0.0001% response rate.

To build huge networks of relevant and engaged audiences takes time and it takes commitment. For those with huge numbers, really seeing genuine success out on the channels, ask them how long they’ve been on social and the response is usually, several years and a whole load of effort. They’re aware that they are playing a long game, being genuinely and authentically social – invested in the content, conversation and connection.

And having social influence is not all about building huge audiences – quality over quantity. Wouldn’t you rather have 100 people heavily invested in your brand and presence, that champion and share your message and content, and grow your presence organically in a relevant and purposeful way – than 100,000 passive irrelevant fake followers?

2)   The Impersonators

Yesterday I had a conversation with a someone who contacted me via LinkedIn. Effectively, she wanted my viewpoint about whether or not it was possible for someone else to truly be her voice on social media. She was considering outsourcing her social media activity, because, she wasn’t doing it as often as she wanted to – and she believed that this lack of activity was largely down to a time issue and not being able to fit it in and so if she outsourced it, ta dah, she had a solution.

Now, a quick look at my profile and you’ll notice that I’m a digital educator helping organisations with their digital and social media activity.

And so, you may be thinking, oh ok, this is where I pitched my services – and how we can make it all ok for her.

But you’d be totally wrong. I advised, that whilst, it’s okay to get support with social media activity, it totally has to be her out on the channels, looking, listening, commenting, sharing and conversing.

Whilst agencies such as mine do indeed help and support teams and organisations, it’s never to the detriment of the authentic voice. The services we provide are largely about supporting internal teams, bringing our knowledge and experience to them, training them so they understand best practice, get clarity on the tactics of each relevant network, assisting with strategic planning and ongoing mentoring and supporting. And in the few cases where we do offer social media management, our team members have been inducted into the clients’ business as if they are a new employee – and the working agreement is that there has to be someone client side that is aligned with us weekly, and daily if necessary, to keep us truly in sync with what is happening within the business and to answer any questions.

If we’re not careful, those ‘social conversations’ are largely going to become agency to agency, where due to the difficulty of sharing an authentic voice, the ‘safe’ way to play it is synthetic social, which really only pays lip service to being ‘social’, pushing out one way broadcast PR, marketing and sales messages, with the occasional surface engagement.

So yes, get support with strategy, planning, training, creative, content development, tactics, messaging, campaigns, advertising etcetera, but be sure you don’t completely put your conversation and messaging in the hands of others.  It can become so apparent and programmatic, that the total in-authenticity shines through.  As I’ve said so many times, the gold in social is often the listening, and if you get into a habit of tuning in to what’s happening out in the native channels, rather than reading a monthly report telling you what’s happening – it provides a very real and ‘social’ perspective. I urge you to try it.

The No Shows

And third and finally, for me, (for now) – the next #fakesocial culprit is ‘The No Shows’. This culprit is probably the least of my issues, but still, it makes the list.

These are the social media accounts that are often lined up on someone’s LinkedIn profile, webpage or organisation, yet when you actually click on to see what the activity it – it’s tumbleweed territory.

I found this when I was writing #GetSocial – Social Media Strategy and Tactics for Leaders. One of the features of the book was my interviews with leaders that were out there doing social and doing it really well.

Initially, thanks to headlines from many notable sources, highlighting research that showed that more CEOs and leaders were taking to social media, I was encouraged. Finding and seeking out relevant CEOs and leaders to interview was going to be a doddle. And indeed, I did find a lot of leaders and CEOs on social. However, when I actually looked into their account activity so I could connect with them – often I was met with updates that were a couple of years old.

Now I get that some people set up Twitter accounts purely to watch what’s going on with people and organisations they want to keep updated about. In fact, 40% of people on Twitter, never tweet. But if there has been activity, and then it’s stopped – it may be worth mentioning something as to why in the bio. Or of course, deciding to actually get social again and pick it back up.

The key here is if you are going to set up the channels, have a plan as what you want to do with them. Otherwise, social media purists like me, (definite smiley face), on a mission to #savesocial and the real conversations to be had, may think it’s all just a little #fakesocial.

So, they are my #fakesocial culprits – do you have anything to add, or say…? I encourage you to join in the conversation.

Michelle Carvill, Digital Educator, Strategic Marketer. Obsessive about objectives and getting things done. Founder at Carvill Creative, Three times published author. Latest book ‘Get Social – Social Media Strategy and Tactics for Leaders, published by Kogan Page, May 2018. More info on how to work with Michelle, visit www.michellecarvill.com

10 Facebook Live Tips

We’ve been running a Facebook Live Challenge over in our Group – Social Souls. If you want to join in then visit the Group at any point in June – and choose 7 days that work for you. You’ll find the 7 topics pinned to the top of the feed in the Group.

Meanwhile… here’s the 10 tips document…

10 FB LIVE TIPS PDF

Lessons in Social Media: What’s the ROI of Golf Umbrellas?

Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of professional services firms – and in the past, as their marketing consultant, I’ve had too many discussions around golf umbrellas.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my own collection of golf umbrellas, in fact, I probably have about 5 or 6 of them in the boot of my car. Every now and again, one comes in handy – particularly when loading up the boot in the rain and I need extra shelter.

Where did I get them from? Who gave them to me? These such aspects, I’m afraid aren’t so memorable. I just know I’ve got a stash, that live there, until required.

I’m not a golfer – and perhaps if I was, I would have more of an affinity with the value and worth of these, often discarded to the boot of the car, resources.

And this brings me to a key point – I’m not a golfer, (a miss when it comes to hitting the target audience) – and yet I have 6! I have attended golfing events as part of corporate hospitality and no doubt this is where I acquired a couple of said umbrellas. However, I have about 6 – and I could easily have more – (I now actively refuse them).

Golf umbrellas seem to be a staple go-to marketing promotional resource – particularly in professional services. But it’s not just professional service firms that succumb to the promotional golf umbrella frenzy. I’ve attended workshops, roundtables, exhibitions, networking events – and I’ve been offered a not inexpensive to produce, branded, promotional golf umbrella on many an occasion.

Coming back to discussions around golf umbrellas from a marketing standpoint, I’ve often been asked my thoughts on golf umbrellas, and my retort has always been the same. ‘What’s the objective’?

– Are you just floating in the sea of sameness because that’s what everyone else is doing so that they can end up as an unmemorable pile in the back of one’s car – or is it that you’re inviting some key influencers, clients, stakeholders, partners to a golfing event (because you know they love golf) – and the umbrellas are just part of the story.

– Or is it that you tune in to your key audience regularly and when you notice that a few mentioned they were out playing golf on the weekend – as part of your nurture, business development, partnership development, you send them an unexpected, and relevant, gift.

– If meetings at your office are a regular occurrence, when guests leave and it’s pouring down, your reception team or you offer them a bit of meaningful wow factor – ‘It’s now raining outside – here’s a complimentary umbrella’.

If you can justify very clearly WHY you are doing something, the relevance to the business, the relevance to the audience and what the likely return is, then we’re all good – we’re being objectively aligned. And of course, the ‘return on investment’ doesn’t always have to be direct ‘bottom line’ new business financial desired outcomes – it may be good will, client nurture, brand awareness – depending where you are in the relationship.

Of course, these simple lessons from golf umbrellas, around being objectively driven, relevant and meaningful, cut far deeper within organisations.

  • Are you starting with the end in mind?
  • Are the decisions you’re making strategically aligned?
  • What process are you using to check in with core objectives to sense check and steer decision making to stay on track?

When talking to audiences, organisations and leaders about objectively driven social media, I often see parallels in thinking and activity to golf umbrellas. Someone thinks social media is a good idea, let’s do social media because everyone else is doing it – and then let’s get surprised or annoyed when we’re not getting the return from it.

When it comes to social media – start with the end in mind. Be clear on what it is you’re looking to achieve and how it aligns. This clarity determines, your why, your what, your who and your how.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Golf Umbrellas, I’m sure for golfers, they are a marvellous resource. What I do have an issue with is ‘relevance’ and organisations being objectively drive and relevant to their audiences.

After all, if you can’t justify why you’re doing something and who it’s benefiting, then you really should be asking, why you’re doing it at all.

Michelle Carvill – Digital Educator, Social Pro, 3 x Author Author of recently published, ‘Get Social – Social Media Strategy and Tactics for Leaders’, Educating leaders and thought leaders how to #GetSocial. Founder digital agency, Carvill Creative. Highly experienced Strategic Marketing Consultant. Professional Speaker. Find out more via www.michellecarvill.com .

How To Create An Effective Content Marketing Plan

Great content marketing is key to your marketing efforts and can reap huge rewards for businesses, both large and small, but how do you ensure what you are creating is great content? It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves, whether setting out to create content for the first time or thinking of developing an existing approach.

Inspirational quote – motivational poster with words by Benjamin Franklin: By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

I’m sure you will have heard the Benjamin Franklin quote, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’, well it’s something that we here at Carvill Creative certainly agree with. The starting point when it comes to content marketing is all about devising a smart and robust plan, so that you know what you want to achieve and can measure how effective you are. ‘But…’ you may be asking, ‘where do I start?’

Goals and Measurement

There are basically 5 goals, which effective content marketing can help you to achieve, and which you must always be mindful of when creating content:

  1. Raise brand awareness
  2. Drive traffic to your website
  3. Generate leads
  4. Convert leads into customers
  5. Encourage existing customers to repeat purchase

It’s wise to sense check that what you are creating content-wise is actually helping you to achieve these goals. Measuring the success of your content marketing isn’t always straightforward, but with a little effort you can pull together enough information to be able to make a reasonably informed decision. Take a look at Google Analytics, get a deep understanding on how your content is performing against driving traffic, converting leads and repeat purchases. Get clarity on reach and engagement using the analytics available via the social channels you are using, and where relevant, track how many leads are being generated and converted.

Know Your Audience 

Whilst in an ideal world, you have one key persona that your create content for – it may well be that you have more than one, and therefore, there are a number of target audiences that you are creating your content for. But whatever the case, you need to understand what engages each audience. What are they sharing and liking content-wise? What topics are of interest to them? What needs / problems do they have, and how can you best present information to meet the audience’s needs and solve their problems so that they will want to read the content and ultimately feel compelled to share it?

And it’s not just about understanding what might engage your audience, you also need to understand where they are more likely to engage with this content, i.e. which channels that they use.

Create a Content Calendar

It’s a really good discipline to create a load of content ideas relevant to your target audiences that you can schedule into a content calendar, which can include topics and keywords, as well as the different formats required. This enables you to review opportunities to repurpose content too. Your Content Calendar might cover the upcoming quarter, or even the next six months and will allow you to remain focussed on creating timely and engaging content.

Your Plan is Good to Go!

This may initially feel like a lot of work, however once you have done the planning groundwork, you will reap the rewards of an efficient and effective way of creating engaging content, which will ultimately, transition your content creation from being a ‘churn out of publishing haphazardly’ – into a far more targeted and purposeful way to help you achieve your goals.

Be mindful of the quote we shared at the outset of this article…and be sure to plan for success.

Thanks for tuning in…

Team Carvill would love to hear your comments and ideas around content planning. Be sure to join the conversation over on our dedicated Social Souls Group.   

 Carvill Creative the digital marketing and social media agency, helping organisations to ‘Get Social’.

Facebook Advertising Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts from a seasoned Pro!

As part of our first series of Facebook Lives on our free social media and digital marketing group, Social Souls – Sarah Kerrigan, social media evangelist and trainer at Jellyfish Agency, joined us for a LIVE. Sarah shared so many gems about how to optimise your Facebook Advertising campaigns. Talking, audience segmentation, how to optimise audience insights, getting your head round the practicalities of working with the Facebook Pixel and more… tune in here: 

Got any questions – come over and join the conversation over  Social Souls . 

Social Tech, Working Smarter and the Power of the Collective

A few weeks ago, I decided to set up Social Souls. A private group specifically for people who have questions around social media or digital marketing.

social media tips
Social Technologies helping us to harness the power of the collective and work smarter.

Why set up a group? Well, pretty much, on a weekly basis, I get an email or a message asking me a question. Largely, the message goes something along the lines of…

‘Hi Michelle – in your capacity as social media ‘queen’, ‘guru’, ‘expert’ … (of which I am none by the way), … what do you suggest…, how do I do…, do you know how I…? Etc, etc.

You get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong, I love helping and supporting, I’m a natural educator – and where I can, I do. But the reality is, that … I don’t know everything. Yep, very comfortable putting that out there.

And really, honestly, who does?

I love the saying, ‘If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room’ – and I couldn’t agree more as in this ever-changing world of social and digital – we’re all continuously learning. It’s part of keeping up.

So, it got me thinking about the best way to facilitate a useful solution and voila – a group, titled, Social Souls was created.

I toyed with putting the group on LinkedIn – but then in reality, I asked myself the question, when did I last visit a LinkedIn Group? For some reason, Groups on LinkedIn seem to have significantly lost their momentum over recent years. Personally, I’m hoping there’s a resurgence because gathering a collective of like-minded individuals all with the purpose of sharing knowledge, asking questions and encouraging everyone to learn more and get smarter – can only be a good thing. Right?

For now, the group is on Facebook. After all – who isn’t part of Zuckerberg’s empire?

It’s early days – but so far so good. There’s a mix of industry professionals, educators, business owners, individuals, marketers, social media managers, PR and comms people. And the conversations and support are a plenty. In fact, this week, I received a telephone call, on my landline, (I know, unheard of), from one of the Social Souls – simply calling to say how much value they were gaining from the group and thanking me for pulling it together and curating content and questions. The main takeaway – people enjoy the group, are learning and finding it really useful.

As an avid reader, in fact, total bookaholic – when writing my latest book, ‘Get Social – Social Media Strategy and Tactics for Leaders’, (shameless plug pre-order if you wish ;), I was recommended to follow and connect with a few people. And a few of them had published books, so of course, as an author in the space, I’m always keen to learn from others. I was introduced to John Stepper, and his book, Working out Loud, which discusses real world examples of how working and workplaces are being transformed by ‘working out loud’. At the same time, (I often read in tandem), I started to read, Isabel De Clercq’s book, Social Technologies in Business. Isabel’s book, brings together 13 influencers in the social technologies space, each penning their own chapter and sharing their professional viewpoint. In fact, in many ways, her book is a perfect example of ‘working out loud’.

This also got me thinking about Social Souls – and the great things that were starting to happen just by simply bringing together a collection of people, with a shared purpose of supporting one another – with no other intention than to share knowledge and learn.

No selling, no pitching, no advertorials and certainly NO EGOs.

A safe place where people can feel free to ask ‘stupid questions’, in the knowledge, that no question is a stupid question – it’s purely an opportunity to learn, one to many.

Social Souls is also a great example of ‘working out loud’ – we’re all learning so much from one another. We share our views, our work, our experiences, our challenges – and the wisdom of the crowd provides practical real world, fast learning and support.

In fact, in a recent ‘live stream’ I did into the group, I called us a ‘smart organisation’. We are rworking smarter. Gleaning information from one another, cutting out unnecessary strife, hassle and time by learning methodologies and short cuts from others.

Someone else may have already tested and measured a specific tactic. And instead of one test going on at a time – perhaps 4 or 5 are being conducted – all individually doing their own work, yet bringing their work and findings back to the group – to glean insights collectively. Brilliant. We’re like a human algorithm.

If we were a true organisation we would be working really smart. No silos, no departments – just knowledge, learning, shortcuts and transparency. My kind of organisation.

This way of working is starting to happen. Yet it’s very much fertile territory. Social technologies in organisations are starting to break down silos allowing information to flow more freely. But what about bringing other organisations into the conversation? In Social Souls there are other ‘consultants’ in the social media space, a few of us, do exactly the same work. And that’s the real wonder. The fact that – it doesn’t even matter. We’re all learning from each other. Instead of keeping everything close to our chest for FEAR of someone stealing our ideas – we’re sharing our ideas and helping to generate more creativity, insight and know-how. We’re all learning smarter… faster.

So, here’s my big thanks to Social Souls, and everyone participating so openly and transparently. And teaching me a thing or two about the benefits of ‘working out loud’.

Meantime, would love to hear your views about the future of work, collaborative working, and not only breaking down silos within organisation, but breaking down silos within industries and sectors.

Over to you…

Michelle Carvill – Helping leaders and organisations to ‘Get Social’. Making a difference one leader at a time. Founder of digital marketing and social media agency Carvill Creative, Curator of Social Souls. Author of Get Social.

Video Still Rules In 2018!

We’re pretty much at the start of a brand new year. And while we are on the subject, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year – are you looking forward to 2018? I certainly am!

I predict exciting developments ahead for marketing and social media this year – and if you take a look around at those predicting which trends are likely to have an impact, they agree.

So, what are the top predictions I hear you cry! Well… the main standout so far is yet again, video – both live streaming, recorded and ads – and how ‘video’ is set to continue to dominate our social media feeds.

At the beginning of last year Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, had said, ‘I see video as a mega trend’ – and sure enough here we are 12 months down the line and video consumption continues to rise. In fact Cisco forecasts that by 2021, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be video.  An incredible figure, but it doesn’t feel like we’re so far off that right now.

The amount of time people spend on social media continues to increase year on year – we only have to take a look at our own behaviour as well as those around us to work that out – and so the opportunities to attract and engage with new and existing customers using video are certainly set to increase.

Social Media Video

The majority of the time we spend on social media is via our mobile devices, so the battle for mobile video attention will only get tougher. And of course, whilst the platform of video is one thing, it’s the content aspect which is the all-important factor. To truly engage, content, regardless of media, has to be relevant. The challenge we as publishers face is not just about getting video views and clicks, (but that too is a factor), but primarily it’s about getting that relevant video in front of your target audience and understanding what they do after they have watched your video. Analytics in Facebook and Instagram Lives currently give you some decent indications on how many people have  viewed the video content, when, and for how long. And undoubtedly improved forms of analytics will evolve to be able to help businesses to achieve specific, and more importantly effective, business outcomes.

Jump forward a year and it will be interesting to revisit where we are with video in our feeds and indeed in our marketing and communication strategies.

Here at Carvill, whilst I love to get my musings down in written format – so too will we be picking up the pace with video. Facebook Lives, online training videos, webinars and even a podcast are all on our broadcasting horizon.

We’ll be using video for personal branding, thought leadership, training and education, how to, problem solving, FAQs, demos – it’s pretty much on the agenda to ramp up our competence and activity with video in all of these areas.   And encouraging our clients to either start or build upon their video activity.

My question to you therefore is – what you are doing around video content and how can you make video work as part of your communication strategy?

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Here’s to 2018

Michelle

Michelle Carvill, business and marketing consultant, author of The Business of Being Social, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill Creative

Just finalised my third book: Get Social – Practical Strategies and Tactics for Leaders – to be published by Kogan Page in May 2018.

For information about how team Carvill can help you or your team with building meaningful connections with your audiences – simply get in touch.

Looking for conversation and support around digital marketing and social media when you need it? Become a Social Soul. Join our brand new, FREE to join Social Souls Facebook Group – the place for conversation around modern marketing, making things happen and mindset. Because… in an ever changing world of digital marketing and social media there are NO stupid questions.

STOP ‘Social Media’ RIGHT NOW!

STOP SOCIAL MEDIA NOW!You or your business may already be fully engaged with social media. All may be going brilliantly. Your social activity is a huge success. Your audiences are engaged. Your campaign and channel strategies thriving. Your ROI clear and positive. If this is the case, then STOP reading this article, as it’s not for you.

This article is for those that are frustrated with social media activity. That frustration may manifest from personally feeling that you’re not doing enough, not knowing where or how to start or that you’re just not getting the results you desire. Or it may be the case that you’re frustrated that social isn’t being given any headspace in your organisation. There isn’t any buy in from the CEO or senior management.

If you’re still reading – then right now – I want you to think differently. I want you to forget the words ‘social’ and ‘media’ – and instead, I want you to contemplate the following words:

  • Customer Engagement strategy
  • Customer communications strategy
  • Customer outreach / feedback strategy

Perhaps these words / concepts aren’t as ‘current’ as the two words we’re forgetting right now – but if you think about the bigger picture – they give a far deeper meaning to the tweets, posts and pics shared as part of ‘social’ ‘media’ activity.

Every strategy should start with the question – why? Why are we/you doing this?

This approach helps you to uncover your purpose. You can then work backwards from your purpose. Figuring out the various steps required to get there. Helping you to be specific and bring some clarity to what you’re looking to achieve via social channels.

So your question right now is Why? Why are you doing/wanting to do social media?

The answer you get then steers all that you do. If you’re doing social because it’s 2017 and that’s what all businesses now do – then I suggest you stop doing it and go back to asking the ‘why’ question. Doing social just because everyone else is – is not a strategy.

For CEOs or senior leaders that consider ‘social media’ as nothing more than a time wasting, non-direct revenue generating distraction – (whether that’s your thinking or you’re hopeful to change someone else’s thinking) – opening your eyes to the deeper meaning and talking of client / customer engagement, communication strategies, outreach / feedback strategies, can help to overcome the short-sightedness.

Social media channels are enablers. Enablers to assist you to achieve necessary client / customer / new business engagement. Used as part of an integrated campaign or channel plan, they can steer or enhance activity. You may lead some activities via social channels – or you may plug-in social to support other channel activities.

Let’s face it – without getting caught up on B2B or B2C – let’s just contemplate P2P – people to people. There are more than a billion ‘people’ logging into Facebook daily. (And that’s just Facebook – remember there are many other channels where people spend serious amounts of time). Some of them will be your customers or your potential customers. If social media is where your customers are – then shouldn’t you be building the channels into your communication / engagement plans?

If you’ve got stuck in your thinking of what social is and why you do or don’t do social media – I ask you to step back and really answer the ‘why’ question from a strategic perspective. And then do a bit of a business reality check to address any potential gaps:

  • What’s your customer engagement plan / program?
  • How do you actively listen to what customers are saying about you / your business?
  • Where do you source ideas for relevant and engaging content?
  • How do you engage those customers/prospective customers who are active on social channels?
  • Is there an integrated communications strategy in place?

To those that still think of ‘social media’ as activities which are not business critical, then calling these important endeavours ‘social media’ – isn’t really doing anyone any favours.

So stop calling it social media – and step into the bigger picture.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media agency focused on creating authentic engagement. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website.

 

Facebook ‘Festive Fun’ – or December Depression? 5 Ways to Beat Negativity

This morning I was delighted to be asked to join Alfie Joey and Anna Foster for their Breakfast program (BBC Newcastle) to discuss a recent BBC report showcasing that Facebook use has been proven

Enjoy the joy this christmas
Enjoy the joy this christmas

to cause depression.

Of course, this isn’t the first study in this arena.

Back in 2014, I recall writing a piece following research on how computers were impacting human behaviour – in that study, it showed that browsing Facebook was associated with ‘lower life satisfaction’ and a decline in mood – but interestingly, browsing the internet generally, didn’t have the same negative impact.

The negative impact was found to be unique to Facebook use.

Whilst Facebook is still the most popular social network – with more than 1 billion people logging in daily – people aren’t actually using Facebook to be ‘social’. Only around 9% of Facebook users’ activities involve communicating with others. The ‘social’ aspect is therefore really low – with the majority of people either posting random pieces of content or passively consuming content by spending the majority of time browsing and scrolling through feeds.

Two key aspects associated with decline in mood and lower life satisfaction were identified in all three studies:

1)    When presented with looking in at other people’s perceived perfect lives – photos of fabulous holidays, friends having a fun, date nights, weddings, achievements – rather than feeling good for your friends, you can start to become envious – you and your life may start to feel inadequate, and this in turn leads to a decline in your mood.

2)    Then there’s the other aspect – the time that you spend. You start to feel bad about being under productive; remorse sets in about wasting your time looking at what’s going on in others’ lives. You question why you do it – how sad must you be to spend so much time looking at other peoples’ lives. No life of your own… etc etc – and so the self-fulfilling negative cycle continues.

But… here’s the good news:

Simply being aware of the above two points can make all the difference to how you let your Facebook activity impact you. Knowing that your time on the channel may have a negative impact helps to eradicate those negative feelings.

So to take action and to keep that negativity at bay…

1)    Be aware. Understand that too much browsing is going to potentially decline your mood. Catch yourself if you start to feel inadequate, dull or sad – and get off the channel quickly. Phone a friend, speak to your family – do something nourishing and truly social.

2)    Limit the mindless browsing. Give yourself a limited time to check up on your social activity – this way, if you invite a bit of discipline into how much time you spend on the channels, you won’t give yourself a hard time for spending an hour being unproductive. Instead, limit your time to a 10 minute catch up – and pat yourself on the back when you log out and get back to other things.

3)    Don’t make social comparisons with others on your Facebook feed. The majority of posts made are ‘hero’ posts – people sharing the best moments, celebrations, happy times. It’s rare people post about their fears or insecurities – so stay realistic and see it for what it is.

4)    Be truly social on social – social channels aren’t all bad, they can be brilliant for networking, for business and for support. There are loads of Facebook Groups that are really useful, that are fabulous communities for people to come together to be supportive of one another. They’re not just a platform where people post the best times of their lives – but really useful social networks. Check out local groups in your area – and tune into ones that you’re interested in – there are mum’s groups, craft groups, support groups – you name it, there’s a community.

5)    Get social offline. And of course – make the majority of your social activity, truly social. Get offline and get personable. Pick up your phone and don’t head for the keyboard to text – but instead make a call, have a giggle with friends, or just chat about how you’re doing – how they’re doing. Just be social. We’re social animals, we need that connectivity.

So if your social activity is making you ‘low’ – remember these 5 simple points, understand that it’s normal to feel bad and why – and remember all the great stuff that’s good about your life.

Just because you’re not publishing it on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful, worthy, nourishing and fulfilling moment. Enjoy…the joy this Christmas.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

 

Twitter lists – What are they? How do you use them in the correct way?

twitter bird 1When you click onto your Twitter profile, you’ll notice that there is a button labelled ‘Lists’- not knowing what it means or what it does – you, like me, may have always ignored it. However it is a really useful way of tidying up your feed and grouping together your favourite tweeters, if used effectively.

Lists are just what they say they are. They are a list of Twitter accounts, which you can communicate with. They can be used to focus on just one topic  – for example talking to a group of your old college friends or following a group of journalists in your industry. By having just those relevant people in your list, irrelevant tweets from other people you follow become invisible. You can choose to have your list as either open or private. By it being open, the public can see your list and the tweets that have been sent within it. However if you choose for it to be private only the people within that list can see the tweets, which makes it more personal.

Another great thing about a Twitter list is that they help you find new contacts and new people who you can interact with. In order to create a Twitter list you:

  • Login to Twitter
  • Click on ‘create a new list’
  • Choose a name for your list
  • Decide whether you want it open or private
  • Click ‘create list’
  • And now you can add users and search for new people to add to your list.

The only rules to having a list is that you can’t have any more than 500 people in one list at one time, and each account can have a maximum of 20 lists assigned to them.

To finish with, Twitter can be very chaotic at times, and so by having a list it allows you to interact with only the people you choose to interact with. By being on someone’s list you are far more likely to be found by the right tweeter.

Thanks for listening and stay tuned to our blog for more helpful Twitter advice.

Written by Eliza Bennett – Eliza is a 16 year old student at Furze Platt Sixth Form, she is currently on work experience with Taylor Alden PR Company and Carvill Creative. 

Facebook Live Streaming – What is it and how do I make the most of it?

Facebook Live is a valuable new addition to the thriving and liveliest social network of them all.

Whilst other video streaming services already exist  – Periscope, Meerkat and Blab – there’s no doubt that with 1.65 billion active monthly users – the sheer scale of users gives Facebook Live all it needs to dominate the live streaming space.

So, what is Live Streaming?

Pretty much what is says it is. In just the same way you can post a status update or photo or pre recorded video to you Facebook newsfeed, you can now stream in real time.

How do I start my own live broadcast?

Creating your own live broadcast is really simple.

Go to your Facebook App (you’re probably going to be recording via your mobile – right?).

When you click on ‘Status’ – to create a post – you’ll see in the bottom menu bar to the right of the camera icon, a person in a circle – broadcast icon.

Facebook Live 2

Simply click the icon – and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can type a Title / Description for your broadcast – and you can choose who you want to see the video – ie: friends / public etc.

Then all that’s left for you to do is select the Go Live option.

Facebook Live 1

But that’s the simple bit…

So whilst setting it up and getting started is pretty simple – of course, if you’re going to be using this feature to assist with marketing your business or brand – then as with all other marketing activity you do, you really do need to do a little planning and prep.

After all – during the broadcast there’s plenty of opportunity for people to interact with your video – not only will you see a viewer count but you’ll also see the live comments and reactions.

So you if you’re doing the broadcast as a marketing activity, rather than simply a spontaneous live stream of an amazingly talented busker – then you will want to make sure as many people as possible know about the broadcast. And of course the broadcast lives on.

Once you’re streaming live – to finish the broadcast you simply hit the “Finish” button. The video will then be posted to your timeline, so those who may have missed out on the live broadcast can view it at their leisure.

You’ll also be able to save the video to your camera roll.

So you’ve got this great, simple way to record live video and have video saved to your timeline – to share with all that visit. And of course, there’s the opportunity to do some Facebook Advertising and  ‘BOOST’ your Facebook posts to broaden the reach of your content too.   So, with all that in mind – let’s look at some ideas for great content and tips to drive engagement and make your broadcasts really work for you.

Broadcasting Tips and Ideas

  • If you want more people to see your video – consider tagging friends you think would be interested when typing the video description. This will send them an instant notification alerting them to tune in. And of course, if they share it to their friends whilst streaming – the broadcast audience just got a whole lot wider.
  •  Another method is to post a Facebook status update telling friends that you’re going live at a certain time.  We suggest offering at least a days’ notice – close enough so that people will remember but also enough time to make sure they don’t miss it. It may even be that you set up a ‘regular’ broadcast slot.  For example – Small Business Marketing Tips at 10am every Tuesday.  As mentioned earlier – Facebook Ads are available for you to promote your broadcasts too – if you want more people to tune in – then in just the same way you would promote an event,  promote your Facebook Live via ads.  And of course, there are lots of other channels you can use to promote the broadcast too – Twitter, email to name just two.
  • There are so many stats advising us that engagement rates online are short. That our attention span has waned and now all videos must be short and to the point – as users are likely to drop off after just 30 seconds.  Whilst this may be the case – there’s definitely evidence to show that when a user is engaged with relevant and purposeful content – they will stick around.  Most TV programs are minimum 30 mins as are the majority of podcasts.  So perhaps it’s not about our attention span but our interest span.  It’s interesting that Facebook Live enables you to broadcast for up to 90 minutes – that’s more than you get on any other channel.   Our recommendation is that you test engagement levels – start to see when people drop out – the platform is as yet too new to provide any robust insights into what the optimum Facebook Live broadcast looks like. So for now – test and measure.

Content ideas:

Engagement is all about the content – and if the content is relevant to the audience, they’ll stick around and hopefully, come back for more.  There’s so many directions you can go with your broadcast – here are just a few ideas for you to consider:

  • Interviews with people in your organisation.  There will be expertise within your business – whether it’s the CEO, marketing team, customer service team, practitioners or IT gurus – there is useful knowledge to share.  Interviewing ‘experts’ about practical things – talking through some FAQs or tips and advice – interviewing people not only provides some useful content, but also gives some insight into your team and who they are. After all – people do business with people. And it’s a great way to build trust and for people to see the ‘whites’ of the expert’s eyes.
  • Product updates. It may be that you’ve just added a new feature to a product – perfect opportunity to showcase live exactly what’s changed – and the benefits. Often things are tricky to communicate via the written word – are far simpler in video show and tell – perfect opportunity to use live streaming.
  • Events. If the event is live then why not broadcast it. This means that even those delegates that couldn’t make the actual physical event – can still attend ‘live’ – via Facebook Live.  It doesn’t have to be the whole event – it may just be the keynote speech you want to share and capture.
  • Behind the scenes. Perfect for sharing insights as to what’s going on behind the scenes – could very well be just a regular day in the office – or some new artwork that’s arrives, the new office dog, new décor, new layout, before and after etc – the possibilities are vast.

Practice Makes Perfect

And finally, live streaming is live streaming.  The charm of live streaming is the ‘real time’ relaxed and very ‘human’ aspect of it – so you don’t want to ‘over’ polish it. However, at the same time, you don’t want to switch people off by having a camera that’s jumping all over the place causing mild vertigo, dodgy sound so that your content is illegible and odd camera angles which only showcase your forehead.

It’s worth putting in a little bit of practice so that you know that you’ve got a good ‘shot’.  Perhaps use a tripod – and experiment with different backgrounds / settings etc . Again, depending on your objective – then the prep will be different.

So that’s it – hopefully, a relatively simple explanation on how to get started – and some useful ideas and pointers.

Look forward to seeing some of your Facebook Live streams – simply tag me in and I’m there…

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Terrified of Twitter? – 5 Reasons to Fall in Love with my Favourite Social Network

Lately I’ve had several opportunities to speak to groups of people about their social media activity.

When I’m testing where people are with social – and asking which channels they’re using – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn are always commonplace. So what about Twitter?

Twitter always seems to be the one that most people have the biggest challenge with. In fact when I dig around a little, it appears that for those that have never ventured onto Twitter – there’s genuine ‘fear’ of doing so.

I’ve been a huge Twitter fan for about 7 years now. For me – it’s just got better and better. Sure – you still get people talking about their lunch, cats and other potentially irrelevant stuff. But if you can see past the noise – let me showcase just 5 things that may tempt you to give it a go. (I could give you many more reasons than 5 – but I try to keep my blogs short ;)).

Two blue bird, dove, pigeon on speech bubble.

Why I love Twitter

1)    It’s a brilliant network

Twitter is an incredibly useful platform to connect with people. When I was writing my first book – I needed to get permissions from a significant number of people and organisations.

Faced with the task – I immediately took to Twitter. Using Google search and Twitter’s search, it was a relatively simple task to locate the people I needed to speak to and tweet them. Before I knew it – I had made relevant connections, was able to grab further contact details and continue our conversations in a far more effective way.

I remember being really surprised at just how many people responded to questions and requests I was making. People that really ‘get’ Twitter – understand that it’s about building relationships – it’s a two way conversation. Of course there’s a whole load of people, brands and businesses on Twitter simply using it as a publishing platform. Pushing out noise about themselves to irrelevant audiences and never listening or engaging – but, that’s not using Twitter smartly.

If you set out to build relationships and have authentic and useful conversations – then Twitter is a highly effective platform. Checkout the regular Thursday chat #TwitterSmarter – where conversations happen each week about the best use of Twitter.

2)    It’s real time

Twitter is the place where you can find out about pretty much anything – in real time and immediately see what other people think too. News tends to break on Twitter first.  You can see topics that are trending and join in conversations.

3)    Search function is ace

Just as 59 million of us in the UK are dependent on Google search – I am equally dependent on Twitter search. The search function on Twitter enables you to type in any keyword or string of keywords to see what’s going on in the Twittersphere – right now. There are of course more sophisticated ways of using Twitter search – in much the same way as Boolean search for Google. Where you can be specific about location, person, words etc. Take a look here for more if you’re keen to do some smart digging around..

4) I can tune in to exactly what I want

Twitter connects me to the people, publishers, brands and influencers I want to hear from. I have total choice as to what I tune into. It’s interesting that more than 40% of people on Twitter have never even sent a tweet. They’re not on the platform to talk or network – but rather just to tune in to the newsfeeds they’re interesting in.

When you want to tune into your favourite celeb, footballer, artist, author – or want to be entertained by the latest tweets from comedians or writers – it’s highly likely they’re on Twitter sharing their news by the minute.

From a business perspective, you can tune into what’s happening in your landscape, trade press, influencers – even competitors – and of course, your clients / customers too.

The beauty of Twitter is that you can tune in – by following someone – and if what they’re saying doesn’t fit for you – then you simply tune out – by unfollowing them. The choice is yours.

5. It’s short, simple and to the point

When I first encountered Twitter all those years ago – I do remember thinking – huh – what nonsense. How can people have conversations in 140 characters. But those clever silicon valley boys knew what they were doing. The fact that Twitter is so succinct and to the point – is one of it’s finest qualities. The feed is easily scannable – and if you’re interested in something and there’s a link – you can easily go off piste for a bit – explore and then come back.

And if you don’t have time to read the bigger picture – then you can simply – favourite it and come back to it when you do have time.

So that’s it – just 5 of the reasons why I love Twitter. If you haven’t explore Twitter yet – then perhaps start by simply tuning in to the stuff you’re interested in.  And if you’re on there but not quite sure it’s working for you – check out the many Twitter articles on this blog – to optimise your presence.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Social Media – What’s the Real ROI?

Zig Ziglar - Those that aim for nothing quote

Whilst we can all get bogged down in ‘doing the doing’ – I find it so rewarding and energising when I take the time to get out and about to talk to people.

The last couple of months have seen me doing a number of talks – all about a similar and popular  topic.

February saw me talking at The Chelsea Design Club about the practicalities of making social work for design businesses.  Early March I joined Robert Harding at The Photographer’s Gallery to speak to a room of photographers about ‘getting social’.  And just last week I joined the team at LinkedIn in the UK HQ to talk about social and ROI – and last week I joined Richmond Event’s Digital Marketing Forum – again, focusing on ROI.

There’s no doubt about it – social media ROI is indeed a hot topic.

So, what’s the magic ROI formula? What should people be measuring and what should they expect to see?

Of course, in all realms of digital marketing we’ve got data coming out of our data. Big data truly exists – and there are dashboards a plenty that will enable us to track our customer’s every move.

As a marketer, I do love data – BUT I only ‘truly’ love and respect data that is really useful.

Measuring what matters

And so that brings me to what I consider is really key for measuring ROI when it comes to social media.

I love the saying by Zig Ziglar – ‘Those that aim for nothing hit it with remarkable accuracy’.  And I find this is particularly true when it comes to measuring what matters with social.

With social channels, you get a lot of data – much of which is highly visible. Followers, retweets, shares, engagement etc – and of course we can be measuring these aspects. But to really understand social media ROI – I believe you really have to be very clear on what it is you are looking to achieve at the outset.

It’s common knowledge that it’s unusual for social channels to behave as direct marketing channels – so sales directly achieved via Facebook and Twitter are unlikely to be anywhere near as direct as from other sources. So stating that you want 50 direct sales is potentially unrealistic (however, this does depend on activities and sector).

So, it’s about being realistic about what can be achieved via social and where social makes an impact. The wonderful Gary Vaynerchuk  aligns social media ROI with the brilliant question, ‘What’s the ROI of your mother?’ – however, whilst I agree with much of what Gary V states – I do believe that there are some practical ways to measure social media ROI.

To review some of the more practical aspects of social activity:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
    • Here you may very well be asking:
    • Are we growing relevant followers? Note that relevant is a key word here.
  • Establish Credibility and Trust
    • Are we getting endorsements/shares from influential people?
    • How is our audience responding to these influencers?
    • Are those influencers extending the reach of our audience?
  •  Connect with your Audience
    • Is your audience responding well to your content?
    • Is the content you share encouraging engagement?
    • What levels of shares, reach and discussion is our content achieving?
  • Find New Leads/Drive Sales
    • Is social activity bringing people back to your website?
    • Have we achieved a certain amount of sign ups / downloads etc.
    • How is social helping us to convert to sales / customers?

The above areas are by no means the only aspects you need to be considering – each campaign activity you undertake will have it’s own objectives. For example: you may set a target of partnering with 10 key influencers in your space – or connecting with influential bloggers.  Once you have identified metrics that really matter – and have set off with the end in mind. Then, and only then, can you have any idea whether or not your endeavours are truly hitting the targets. (Remember, what Zig said – right!).

Having objectives at the outset can really steer your activity:

I have a very simple ‘let’s clarify objectives’ model:

  • What does success look like? What objectives / outcomes are we looking to achieve?
  • What metrics / evidence do we need so that we can measure progress?
  • What discipline will we apply to ensure we are continuously monitoring and learning?

Of course, these aspects don’t just apply to social – and once you know what it is that you want to achieve – and what those metrics / indicators look like – you can even start to apply a monetary value to them so that you can you work out exactly what ROI looks like.

Let’s create a rudimentary example to clarify the £ point:

Let’s say landing a guest blog on a pre identified influential blog has a monetary value to you of say, £500.   If you therefore set a target of 5 such guest blogs over the quarter – then if you achieve the target – the monetary value (return) is £2500.  Make sense?

In the world of social media – finding return on investment is possible – particularly if you have set out with very clear objectives.  Therefore, don’t just dive in an engage – before you do – remember to do your planning and set out those objectives – start with the end in mind.

That way – measuring the ROI of social is a whole lot simpler.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

How to get yourself noticed on Instagram

This week I did a talk to a group of photographers focusing on how they could be utilising the social platforms to help them achieve objectives.

It was no surprise that Instagram was the most popular social platform for the photographers – however, it was a little surprising that not one of them had heard about Instragram’s ‘Weekend Hashtag Project’ – a great engagement campaign from Instagram, that could make all the difference to your visibility.

So let’s walk through what happens:

Every Friday Instagram announces the weekend challenge.  As you can see – last week, it was all about sights and sounds – the goal to make videos with interesting or ambient, or natural sound.

Instagram's Weekend Hashtag Project #WHP
Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project #WHP

You then simply add the relevant hashtag- (in this case #WHPsightsandsounds) to photos and videos when uploading them over the weekend.

You can only upload your own visuals and we believe (although we haven’t tested this as yet) that only images and video actually shot over the weekend are eligible. (So you can’t upload from a past library) – which makes sense right – because after all, it is a ‘weekend project’.

The weekend project challenge is announced every Friday via the Instagram blog – and the team here @carvillcreative  stay tuned via tweets from the Instagram Twitter account (@instagram). The #WHP is always consistent – so you can take a look in Instagram using the search tool to see the vast range of projects executed so far.

Every Monday Instagram then selects some of their favourite ‘projects’ and showcases them on their blog and social platforms – which can ignite some serious attention. Those featured (and it’s arbitrary) – they really don’t just showcase popular Instagrammers with thousands of followers, as you’ll see – people with as few as 10 followers have been showcased.

So, if one of your objectives it to get noticed on Instagram – then start tracking the Weekend Hashtag Project – it may just be that all the fun you have taking part in the project, may just reap some serious rewards.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

 That’s all for now – happy hashtagging this weekend.

Michelle x

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Social Video. It’s here and it’s taking over.

No matter what social media platform you are using, you’re bound to have noticed the increase in videos appearing in your timeline. It could just be a funny viral that’s being shared over and over again, or perhaps a slick, high budget, celebrity endorsement. Whatever it may be, online videos are fast becoming the leading marketing medium, with the potential to take over from TV ads.

More and more brands are now on the continuous lookout for ways to grab our attention (and our cash) using social media videos to make their product stand out from the crowd.

At this time of year especially, the buzz is even greater. Retailer John Lewis used social media to launch their Christmas ad last month, with the hashtag #ManOnTheMoon all over Twitter. And what did we all do? Liked it, Shared it. It’s so easy to do, and that’s what makes it work. You don’t have to be in your living room, watching the TV to be targeted. With a mobile phone or tablet, you can be reached anywhere..

jl

How we create videos now has also contributed to this rising trend. With the right app, nearly anyone can create a fairly professional looking video. It doesn’t always need to be complicated, it could just be a matter of getting your phone out and capturing the moment at just the right time. Originality is key…and humour, we all feel compelled to share something we find amusing.

Last year, we blogged about the importance of a Video Strategy, so find out what is working for your audience, what is liked and more importantly perhaps, what isn’t. Facebook now have Video Metrics to help with this, you can find out all sorts of valuable stats about your video posts.

So as 2015 comes to an end, we predict 2016 will be huge for Social Video as brands realise that video really is leading the way when it comes to content marketing.