Tag Archives: social media

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.

 

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. 

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.

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.    

5 Pinterest Tips To Put Into Practice

Pinterest is now one of the fastest growing social media platforms – but there are still many business owners not using it!

We encourage all businesses – especially those who are product based, to be on Pinterest. Not only does the platform allow you to save creative ideas, but it’s also brilliant for small businesses that need to reach millions of people easily.

I love pin + interest

In order to improve your engagement on Pinterest and get even more exposure, we’ve put together a few strategies for you to start using:

  1. Pin content that isn’t just your own

If you’re pinning other users content, it gets the attention of the original pinner and shows everyone that you’re an authentic, active member of the Pinterest community.

  1. Don’t use hashtags – use rich pins

Instead of using hashtags, try using rich descriptions to make your content more searchable. Remember, details are key – but don’t make it too long – you want your audience to be able to pick up content quickly and easily.

  1. Create pin it for later links

Just created a new blog post? A great thing that people are now doing on Pinterest is creating a ‘pin it for later’ board. By giving your readers the option to ‘pin the post for later,’ the reader can easily pin your blog post to their ‘read it later’ board on their own Pinterest account.  This gives your audience a different an easy way to catch up with your content.

  1. Use rich pins

Rich pins are an excellent way to make your content stand out and give your products more visibility. Rich pins means that you are able to pull extra information right on the pin itself.

  1. Be consistent

Like other social media channels, a consistent sharing strategy is vital to get more exposure, followers and re-pins. The best strategies behind Pinterest engagement is to pin as much as possible – when you can.

Once you’ve put these simple steps into place you should start to see more engagement on your Pinterest account. Feel free to share your experience or ask any questions by tweeting us @carvillcreative.

Introducing the new Facebook Reactions

So Facebook are feeding our ongoing need to add an emoji to everything we post or respond to. The ‘Like’ button doesn’t quite work with all Facebook posts and it can often lead to misinterpretation. We all feel awkward ‘liking’ someone’s bad news posts but currently that’s all we can do to say we’ve read and acknowledged.

But soon, with the new Facebook Reactions feature we’ll have an array of ‘emotions’ to choose from – introducing Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad and finally, Angry.

facebook reactions

Facebook consulted with sociologists to help decide what they think their users would use most – and the new Reactions seem to cover most emotions that we’re likely to share. In the ‘mobile’ world we now live in, hitting a Reaction button should work well. But the question is – will this reduce the number of comments we write? Probably…

For Facebook business pages, the number of Reactions they receive will be valuable and shouldn’t be ignored. Like online reviews, the more Love’s and Wow’s, the better. How people are reacting to a brand or business’s posts, even with just a click of a button, will give a great insight into their customer’s perception. Page owners will also be able to see the ‘reactions’ to all their posts within page insights in the same way that it currently shows all their likes.

Ireland and Spain are the lucky guinea pigs who are trialling the Reactions first, their mainly national base of friends was the reason for this and also because one is English speaking and the other obviously not.

As of yet there has been no mention when all users will be able to express their Reactions – but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we hear anything.

 

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.

A Word Of Advice To Content Creators: Be Sure To Know Where Your Images Are Sourced!

The diaphragm of a camera lens. Color toned image.

This week’s blog post focuses on the use of images in your online content and the importance of knowing where your images have come from.

As a social media and marketing agency we deal with online content on a daily basis and some of the time, when our clients don’t have images or written articles, it is down to us to create or source that content. Although some of us very much enjoy taking photos, we do not have extensive image libraries to hand! So we sometimes rely on purchasing images for use with the written content we’ve created or for our social media posts.

Recently we experienced a run in with a large stock photo agency who demanded a rather large amount of money from us because we had used an image from their site without their permission (It was a blog that was published many years ago and found using google images – but there was nothing on the image to say it belonged to anyone or that it was rights managed.

For a lot of people it’s all too easy to do a Google image search to find an image they like, after all it will say if it’s a paid image it would say won’t it? wrong;

Google Images show all sorts of images whether they feature on general websites or on sites that specialise in selling images and some of the time there are images that were initially purchased from the stock agencies and then used online. Google also announced recently that images in PDF documents will also feature in Google Images online search. So again, another good reason why it’s best to find alternate resources if you are looking for an image; This article really helps shed some light on how to ensure you are legally using online photos.

 

Have you recently had an issue over the copyright of an image you recently used online? We’d be interested to hear your experiences, tweet us @CarvillCreative

Anybody there – and if so, do you care? The Importance of using Social Media Channels Effectively

hearandear

It was interesting to read a recent report stating that whilst many PR organisations are now including social media channels as part of PR activity for their clients, the way in which they are using them isn’t as optimised as it could be.

The critical flaw highlighted in the report – is the use of social media channels purely as broadcast channels. Pushing out updates, notices, press releases and news – good old traditional marketing methodology pushed into a conversational platform.  But surely effective conversations are meant to be two way – otherwise it’s not a conversation, it’s just noise.

And it’s not just some PR organisations that are getting this wrong.  We see activity on the social channels day to day where there’s a lot of ‘talking at’ going on – but not much listening and engaging.

Each time we see this, it breaks our little hearts – as social media channels are perfect resources for engaging with people.  Used effectively, they are wonderful channels to engage in authentic conversations, to compel others to connect and share content or your ideas, extending reach and brand awareness – and yet, even though these channels have now been around for a number of years – we continue to see masses of lost opportunity.

Perfect example of pushing yet not listening

For example, we were recently working on a campaign for a client that meant we were tracking a range of keywords to research relevant conversations. In doing this, we uncovered that the PR company working on the campaign (and again, not just getting at PR companies here –  there are some PR companies that do social exquisitely) – whilst they were sharing updates on social platforms around a campaign, they were not actually geared up to follow up on any engagement. This meant that questions were being asked, people were asking for more info, where they could find products in which stores etc – and yet no one was engaging. The channel was purely being used to broadcast – nothing more.

My question to you therefore is – are you listening? And if so – is that listening effective? Don’t just plan a campaign and set up a tweet bank to push out a whole bunch of timely tweets – that’s not social, that’s broadcast.  Focus your campaign on engagement.  Ask the questions:

  • How are you going to engage?
  • How are you going to encourage engagement?
  • How are you going to get the conversations started?
  • How are you going to keep conversations continuing?
  • How are you going to track conversations?
  • How often?
  • Who’s listening in?

Basic questions – but all too often this critical aspect is missing from social activity.

Listening is part of being social – let’s not forget that.

 

As always follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with social media news and tips @carvillcreative

 

@MichelleCarvill founder of Carvill Creative – a digital marketing and social media agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire and London.

6 Tips On How To Improve Your Social Media Engagement on Twitter

Multicolored Group of Speech Bubbles

So you have your social media accounts set up and are updating on a regular basis but why are your accounts not receiving any likes or followers?

We have already written a Blog about what you could do to improve engagement on Twitter but this post aims to give you a few ideas on what you could do across all of your Social Media profiles.

1. Complete your Social Media profiles

It might seem quite obvious but this is an easy thing to overlook. Ensure all the relevant information is filled out such as your name, where you are and website links as well as uploading a suitable profile picture and cover photo. Thinking about the more common social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ you may need to add additional information such as interests, a short bio and more importantly, you might need to ensure your website is verified (specifically on your Google+ profile).

2. Research your Competitors

Do you know who your competitors are? Make a list on Twitter and add their profiles to that list – remember you don’t have to ‘follow’ your competitors in order to add them to this list. Bookmark the main social media pages for your competition in your web browser so you can pop in whenever you have the time and see how they engage with their audiences. What sort of content are they posting? How regularly are they engaging with their fans/followers? What is it they are doing differently? Is there anything you could learn here?

3. Connect with customers, influencers and other industry specialists

You want to make your social networks really work as a network.  So look at how you can be connecting with relevant audiences via social channels too.  You may already have quite a lot of information about your customers via your database – so if you have their email addresses, you can search for them on Twitter and other social networks that way too.

Also, if you know who your key influencers are from other marketing means such as website registrations and email subscriptions – you can also go find them on social media channels too.

Search for industry blogs and look at the main authors and contributors and add them to your social media profiles too. Take some time to do your research, seeing who follows who and topics being discussed.

4. Interact and appreciate your audience

Everyone likes a compliment every now and then so as well as posting on a regular basis remember to ‘Like’ and ‘RT’ or ‘Favourite’ others’  updates. And if people engage with your updates, take the time to send them a message or tweet them back to say thank you.  Also – you could take a look at their profile and find out what their interests are so that when you respond you can ask them something or say something relevant on a more personal level.

5. Find communities and participate in them

There are many groups and communities on Facebook and LinkedIn and a lot of them are easy to find via the search function. Type in industry relevant keywords and see what comes up, but don’t just join any old community, have a good look through to find out more about the community or group and how many contributors there are, in order to find out how active and up to date it is. Do note that some communities and groups are ‘closed’ – which means you may not be added to the group immediately as the group moderator will have to accept your request to join.  You’ll be alerted once you’re accepted – so keep a watch out for those.

6. Respond to your stats

Look at your Facebook Insights, what times are your posts more popular? Post at those times for a week and see if that helps engagement, if not, tweak it. Review what type of posts are more popular than others? It might be that a random post about FAQ’s proved more popular than one you posted about a cute looking cat (or vice versa) so use this knowledge to your advantage and give the audience what they want!

Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas in terms of generating more engagement on Twitter. Let us know how you get on in the comments below and do share your tips for improving engagement too.

Tweet Us @carvillcreative

How To Get Your Twitter Presence Up To Scratch

Whilst Twitter has been around for 10 years, many are just starting out on their Twitter travels. Whether you’re just setting out, or have been on the channel for a while – take a look at these top tips to help you improve your Twitter Profile:

CC Twitter Page

Complete Your Twitter Profile –

Nobody likes an unfinished profile as it can look fake and your friends or customers might not know it’s you.It is highly recommended that you set a profile picture whether it be a logo or a headshot or item that is suitable to your product or brand. Twitter is all about people and people tend to like seeing who they are talking to.

When it comes to writing your bio our advice is to KISS. Yes, Keep It Short and Simple! You only have 160 characters so you should say a few key things that describe you or your business in a nutshell.

What is it you do? What interests do you or your business engage in? Most importantly; think about what it is you want people to know about you. And possibly what you don’t want people to know. If you’re stuck, have a look at some other profiles that get a lot of traction to see how they’ve positioned things.  Always a good idea to do your research and borrow ideas.

 Brand It, Own It –                                                                 

Does the colour scheme and imagery on your profile go with what you are about? The ‘Settings’ tab on Twitter enable you to personalise your profile from background image and profile picture – right down to being able to select a specific colour to use for wording and links. Also, the new cover photo space above the profile picture allows a little extra ‘promotional’ space for telling your followers a bit more about you. Make the most of your profile page now, as first impressions really do count.

Join The Conversation –

In recent years Twitter has been a great ‘go-to’ tool for users to read up on the latest news and goings on around the world in real-time. In fact, latest stats unveil that 40% of Twitter users never ‘tweet’.  Just going to prove it’s a wonderful news feed and research resource for many.  To find out the hot topics in your local region as well as the world – you can view the ‘trends’ section – and view ‘hot trends by country or region.

And if you do decide to go with the majority on Twitter and ‘join the conversation’, ensure you include relevant hashtags and Twitter handles of people you want to say something to. By joining in and making sure people know you’re part of the conversation – this drives the opportunity for retweets, new followers, and maybe even some favouriting your tweet!

Personal Tweeting vs Marketing Tweets –

In this cluttered world of communication we live in, our advice is that you don’t join in the ‘spam’ culture. Don’t make your tweets spammy and by spammy we mean posting a single link or constantly referring your followers to your products or services or offer. No-one wants to be bombarded with the ‘hard sell’ all the time. Think about your own browsing and engagement habits. If it all gets too spammy, you tune out. And so the same goes for those audiences you bombard too.

Sharing links to third party articles you enjoyed reading or watching is a good way to share. Content curation can be just as relevant and purposeful for your audience as sharing your authentic content.  And of course, add your own views to anything you share where relevant, keeping it a bit more personal.

Think Before You Tweet –

Questions worth asking yourself before clicking the tweet button should be;  is this newsworthy? Would my followers want to know this? Are there any typos? Have I included a correct link for my followers to click? Is there an image I could add to this that is relevant to what I am saying?  As we reported in one of our recent blog articles; tweets that include images can lead to a whopping 150% increase in engagement.

Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas on how to improve your Twitter presence. Check out this page from the Twitter website for extra support with setting up and personalising your profile as well as taking a look at other blogs we’ve written around optimising Twitter below.

Happy tweeting!

Social Media – 4 Different Reasons Why Businesses Wanted to Work with a Social Media Agency

cc imaaage2014 was an interesting year for us as a social media agency.

It was the year that when pitching for new business, the dominant question ‘Justify to me why we should be doing social and just how much return on investment I am going to get from social media activity’ – was surpassed by  ‘We know we need to be getting involved with social, and we want to get it right, can you help us with that?

It was the year we saw a wider range of size of business and business sectors looking to get started with social media – from startups through to global and extremely niche business to business ones.

Have we reached the social media tipping point?  I’d still say, not quite – as there is still an awful lot of skepticism out there – and the appetite for becoming a ‘fully fledged social business’ is still really very small.

But… attitudes are changing – just as they did with email and ecommerce.

What’s interesting is that the objectives for what people want to achieve out of their social media activity varies – of course, in business most people are keen on bottom line results, however, they realise that’s not the sole purpose of social – and that there’s more to it – such as:

  • Targeting The Right Influencers
  • Building Relationships
  • PR
  • Building Brand Awareness
  • Customer Service
  • Customer Advocacy
  • Being Part Of An Multi-channel Marketing Approach

So I thought in this post, it would be useful to share just a few of the ways we are working with our clients – to showcase that ‘being social’ is certainly not a one trick pony – and to provide you with practical knowledge of some of the tactics employed:

  • Client A 

About: Large global corporation – EMEA division – Security Sector.

Objective:  Looking at developing influencer relationships in a particular product range to build relationships, broaden awareness and build brand advocacy – and ultimately referral.

Why: The organisation had seen significant and successful lead referral from a couple of key influencers in their sector. They were looking to capitalise on this activity by finding more relevant influencers, building relationships by providing engaging, relevant and purposeful content.

By researching their sector we were able to find the relevant influencers on social, track relevant conversations, share useful and purposeful content with them and start to build relationships with them – assisting in broadening ‘advocacy’ – as a means of more higher engaged referral.

LinkedIn and Twitter were dominant platforms used for specific targeting and given the niche nature of the sector.

  • Client B

About: New Product Line – Lifestyle (B2C).

Objective: Established organisation created a highly differentiated product line – new brand, new website, zero awareness.  Objective to build awareness and drive visibility, social PR, online traffic and ultimately sales.

Why:  The client created a new business to support a new product line for a completely different market. It therefore, wasn’t feasible to draw upon the current brand – as strength came from the differentiation. Therefore, the objective of social was to support the launch of a new brand / product into the market – growing awareness, tracking conversations and connecting with relevant people, influencers, tradepress, journalists – and generally building a brand story and sharing relevant, purposeful and appetising content.

Main channels used: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+

  • Client C  

About: Established brand in highly niche sector.

Objective: Getting closer to customers and building advocacy.

Why: Being a business to business supplier only, with a large field sales team – the brand / business had no real access to end users (in fact on their website they purposely made it very difficult to contact them directly because they have very limited internal customer support team – as this is managed via the field sales or their retailers).  However, they were aware that customers wanted to talk to them directly – and so ‘social’ seemed a sensible route.   The ability to track conversations and brand mentions, the ability to respond directly to the customer, the ability to build in their retailers into the conversations too – to assist in driving sales.

Main channels used: Facebook, Twitter

  • Client D

About: Global Manufacturer

Objective: Environmental Awareness Campaign

Why:  The client was keen to use social media channels to connect with the general public, relevant influencers, clients and partners, politicians and policy makers, both in the UK and overseas – to build awareness of a sector specific, environmental campaign which is becoming very much aligned to their brand.

Given the audience, social channels offer attractive reach – and clear opportunity to connect with key influencers and share relevant and purposeful content to educate and build awareness.

Main channels used: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

There you have it –  4 completely different reasons as to how businesses are using social media.  Social media activity is just one of the many content and marketing touch points to grow engagement from your audiences.  If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging, creating content or any other digital marketing services – then do get in touch with us!

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.