influencer-marketing-isnt-working

Reasons Why Your Influencer Marketing Isn’t Working

influencer-marketing-isnt-working

With over 100 billion active users on Facebook, and one million people using Instagram monthly, social media is a definitive part of our communication culture.

Among the average daily users wanting just to connect with friends and share fun pics of their kids, are what we call influencers, individuals with large, vibrant communities and audiences who tune in to connect with them on a regular basis.

And they are powerful.

With millions of followers and countless brands clamoring to get their endorsements, they have the ability to make a significant difference in the marketplace.

Influencer marketing has emerged as a more scientific way to capitalize on the influencer phenomenon. And, it has indeed become quite an effective way for brands to expand their client base to new audiences in a more engaging, authentic way. This is why it is now an integral part of many well-designed marketing campaigns.

So why isn’t everyone doing it? And why are so many people doing it wrong?

The answer isn’t necessarily simple, yet it’s not complex either. We’ve found that there are few reasons why your efforts may not be paying off.

Why Your Influencer Marketing Isn’t Working

#1: You Don’t Know the Rules

For starters, influencer marketing is regulated by the FCC, and they aren’t playing around. If you want to avoid huge fines and major scandal (yes, major: please don’t be Lord & Taylor), you need to become intimate with the rules that apply to your brand as well as those that apply to your influencers.

Beyond that, you need to know the “unofficial rules” of the game. You need to know what influencers expect, what they desire, what something as basic as the word “partnership” means (hint: it doesn’t mean you’re doing the influencer a favor by working with them). A lot of this knowledge can be found just spending time on blogs, talking to influencers (go to a conference!), and being a real part of the conversation about your industry. (see reason #5)

#2: You Don’t Have a Budget

Influencer marketing could be considered media or public relations, but it is vastly different from the earned media you might be used to working with. Attempting to treat it similarly means you’re destined for failure.

Most successful, prominent influencers are also savvy business people. And, as you know, savvy business people don’t usually do their business for free. You need to come into the partnership with something to offer –and a chance to win product or be featured on your social channels is generally not what we’re talking about.

That’s not to say you can only get this done with a massive monetary budget at your disposal; it’s just to say that, like anything else, you get what you pay for. How you pay is only limited by your creativity and ability to build relationships with the people in the space you want your brand to be a part of.

#3: You Don’t Choose People, You Push Messaging

Influencers are people –each one unique, each one with their own special voice and platform where they use it. You can’t go into a campaign with a template and expect your influencers to cookie cutter create it across the board. And, really, why would you want to?

The beauty of the influencer is that they are authentic. That with their personal story and personal brand, they can reach their audience in a way you can’t. These are sacred parts of the influencer-audience relationship and, when you try to control those, your campaign falls flat.

Take some time to read blogs, find ones that touch you as a human, outside of your role as a marketer, and then figure out how to get your message to that person so they can put the feels on it for their readers.

#4: You Don’t Do Your Homework

Just like influencers need to choose brands they have a connection to, it’s important that brands choose influencers who are a good fit for their brand. I recently received an email, from someone who “loves my blog,” offering me an opportunity to review their “mom and me dresses” with my daughter.

I have three sons. No girl. My blog is about raising boys. Not a good fit for their brand. You want to work with influencers who can bring your brand’s story to life and you find those influencers by truly getting to know them, their sites, and their topic.

#5: You Haven’t Built a Relationship

Influencers rely a lot on relationships –relationships with their audience, relationships with the brands they work with, relationships with the other people who play roles in the stories they bring to life online.

A large part of an influencer’s ability to be successful has to do with their ability to build engaging connections among people. You want influencers to want your brand to be a part of their story, and to do that you need to build a relationship with your influencers. Get to know their process, learn about their inspiration, and then you can help them find a creative way to bring your story to life, alongside theirs.

Influencer marketing has the potential to be the most powerful part of your marketing campaign, but it’s important that it’s done right if you want it to have a positive impact on your bottom line. Take time to cultivate relationships, engage with your influencers as people, and align your goals properly to ensure you, your influencers, and their audience have a positive experience.

Are you struggling with your influencer marketing strategy? We’d love to help!

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How to Run a Remote Business With the Right Tools

How to Run a Remote Business With the Right Tools

How to Run a Remote Business With the Right Tools

There are many benefits to working remotely. Even if you typically work in a traditional office, you’ve dreamt about escaping to work from somewhere else from time-to-time. This is the lifestyle we at Crackerjack Marketing have adopted and loved for a little over six years now: our team is 100% virtual, and we all work out of home offices (or sometimes on the road when we travel for business or pleasure). While we believe there are huge benefits to working remotely, we do rely very heavily on digital tools to help our team stay in touch and in sync with each other.

Simply put: the right tools help your company, your partners, and (if you’re an agency) your clients work together efficiently and effectively without having to be in the same place.

Four Tools for Virtual Team Collaboration

We are always looking into the next best website, app, or extension that will help us get the job done for our clients. New tools are always coming out, but I’m going to highlight four that have become a crucial and integral part of Crackerjack Marketing’s day-to-day work.

1. Slack

When working remotely (as with any work situation), communication is key. However, when you work remotely, you can’t walk down the hallway to ask your boss or a co-worker a question. In collaborative messaging app Slack, we’ve found the next best thing. Here are the two most important Slack features that our team uses regularly:

1. Channels: Slack offers three different types of conversation threads:

a. Team-wide “channels” can be created for each project, topic, client, or department to chat in, keeping conversations distinct. Team members or clients need only belong to the channel(s) that applies to them.
b. Private channels allow you to invite just a few members to keep your sensitive projects secret.
c. Direct messages provide a way for you to chat directly with a coworker; direct messages can also be set up for multiple people to chat together, outside of a team-wide channel.

Fun tip: Within any channel, jazz up your interactions by using GIFs. Add the Giphy app to Slack and type /giphy and a word or phrase such as “/giphy dance”. Giphy will pick a GIF that corresponds with the word or phrase. Since it’s random, try using the command a few times with Slackbot (a built-in helper app) and then share the one that fits best!

2. File sharing: Slack isn’t just for talking. Share files, images, PDFs, and documents directly in a channel. You can also connect files from DropBox and Google Drive (I’ll talk about these later). These files are indexed and archived automatically by Slack so you can easily search and find the one you’re looking for.

Slack is so much more than a messaging tool. It’s neat and organized, but allows for freedom. Create a channel for funny GIFs; create a channel for the most important project your team is working on; create a channel for interesting and relevant articles. Slack allows for the personality of your business (remote or not) to shine through in your every day communication.

2. Nozbe

Project management tool Nozbe is where we like to get things done. Since we don’t have face-to-face meetings, how do we know what’s going in current projects, and what new projects are being started? Nozbe, that’s how. It’s a task manager for projects big and small. Here are a few of our favorite Nozbe features:

1. Inbox: Whenever you have a task you need to get done, you can add it to your inbox. If your boss or a teammate is giving you a task to do, they can add a task and then assign it to you so it appears in your inbox. Each task allows you to add a comment, a due date, a category, a repeat option, and a time needed option. These features allow you to be even more efficient and on top of your work.

2. Projects: Once you’ve received a task, it’s necessary to move it from your inbox into the corresponding project. For example, if you’re hosting a contest for a client on Facebook, create a project called “Facebook Contest.” One of your tasks under that project might be to choose a prize. Once you’ve created that task, move it into the project folder so you can see that it needs to be done for your Facebook project. Then indicate if it needs to be completed by you, or by a teammate. That way, every project you run goes smoothly, efficiently, and correctly.

Fun tip: If you notice that your projects are piling up and you want to make sure the most important ones stand out from the rest, color code them! Chose a project, click “Project info” and select the “Change project color” option. Order your projects by color by clicking, dragging, and moving each one in place.

3. Project Information: Nozbe also has great additional features within projects, such as the priority feature, that allows you to indicate what needs to be done first. Selecting a completion date and time for a task will put it into your calendar on Nozbe that can be viewed by your team. If you want to see what your coworkers are working on when you can’t visit their cubicle, select the team option to view their tasks.

A project never goes unnoticed in Nozbe. The satisfying feeling you get from crossing an item off your to-do list is the same feeling you get from checking an item off your task list. Nozbe keeps you on track, on task and able to delegate with ease. What I find helpful is that Nozbe isn’t only for projects. Use it to securely save your social media and blog logins, your notes from a call with a client, and other sensitive items only viewed by you, or shared with a few others.

3. DropBox

When it comes to file sharing, Dropbox is a no-brainer because it’s the online land of files. It’s where anything from images, to documents, to spreadsheets, to PDFs can live in. We love Dropbox because it’s:

1. Accessible: One of my favorite features of Dropbox is that you can access these files on your computer, laptop, and phone, from anywhere! This also makes sharing a breeze because your items are safe in Dropbox even if you drop your phone in the toilet (don’t judge!), or accidentally delete a folder!

2. Share-friendly: One of Dropbox’s slogans is “Simple Sharing” and I’ve found that to be true. All it takes is a simple invite to a coworker, partner, or client and they have access to that folder. You can share specific links, photos, and files as well to keep items as private or as open as you’d like.

Fun tip: Instead of making edits on a project and sharing a file back-and-forth, use Dropbox’s commenting feature. Your colleague will get notified and can make the change easily (especially if it’s one edit or a simple edit) without having to download the file, make a change, resave, then send it back.

The short and sweet of Dropbox: You don’t lose your files, you’re more successful when your files are safe and in one place! Dropbox makes you look organized. Clients (and your coworkers or partners) enjoy being able to see what you see in real time. When I ask myself, “What would make a collaboration with my team easier?” I think of Dropbox especially when I’m not in the same room as my team or our clients.

4. Google Apps

I’m willing to admit my love for Google Apps right here and now. I absolutely love them. I use Google Mail, Docs, Sheets, and Calendar every day. We use Google Apps, especially Docs and Sheets, for the following:

1. Sharing: If you’re noticing a theme appearing, it’s because there is one: easy sharing is crucial if you want your remote team to be successful. Any item you’re working on at any given moment can be shared with coworkers so they can view them, comment on them, and edit them at the same time. Projects are ten times easier and faster when you don’t have to email, download, open, save, and re-email them (I’m tired just writing that). With Google Docs or Sheets, all changes are saved in one space in real time. An offline feature is also available so you can work without Wifi.

2. Organization: Google Apps has a place for everything and everything in its place. If you’re looking for a spreadsheet, go to the Sheets. If you’re looking for a document, go to the Docs. Every file is searchable as well and listed by the last time opened, and the owner.

Fun tip: If the look of your Google Apps are boring to you, customize them with your favorite color scheme, use backgrounds in Calendar (or use Google’s “Interesting Calendars” option), download extensions and apps that give you even more themes, the possibilities are endless!

The possibilities available through Google are amazing. Features such as Sheets, Docs, and Slides keep you, your team, and your clients working in sync and on the same page (literally – you can see people make changes in front of your eyes). Keeping in contact during a project without having to constantly email back and forth is a recipe for success in and of itself. Google Apps also carry the same features as Dropbox: access across all of your devices and backups of your documents!

What tools should you use?

Of course we suggest you try out Slack, Nozbe, Dropbox, and Google Apps (maybe you already use them!), but not every tool is one size fits all. One thing all of these tools have in common is excellent sharing capabilities. Find a tool that works best for what you need whether that’s communication, sharing, editing, etc. What tools help your company collaborate virtually? Let us know!

how to provide great customer service on facebook

How to Provide Great Customer Service Using Facebook

how to provide great customer service on facebook

Social media sites have become more than just platforms for marketing and advertising. They’re also important channels for soliciting and receiving customer service—all in the public eye. In fact, a recent study showed that nearly half of American consumers use social media to ask questions or to talk about their experiences (good and bad). What does this mean for you? How you treat your customers and what they have to say about you is increasingly visible. Mess this one up, and you stand to lose not only one disgruntled customer but a whole slew of prospects.

I’ve already talked about why your brand should be using social media for customer care a few weeks ago. If you’ve been following along here at Crackerjack Marketing, you already understand the importance of how your brand is represented in social.

How to Provide Great Customer Service on Facebook

It’s critical to have a sound strategy in place when it comes to delivering customer service via social media in general and via Facebook in particular. While we certainly don’t believe Facebook should be your only home on the web, your customers are probably spending more time there than on your website. With that in mind, it only makes sense that you want to do everything you can to give them the tools to reach out to you via Facebook.

Here are a few best practices, tips, and tools that can help you provide great customer service on Facebook:

How to Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You on Facebook

If there’s one way to make a disgruntled customer even more upset, it’s by being hard to reach. Whether your customers want to sing your praises or share their concerns/complaints, make reaching out easy. The easier it is to do something, the more likely it is that we will do it, right? And making it easy for your customers to contact you while they’re on Facebook could lead to both an increase in clientele and customer satisfaction. How can you make it easy, you ask? Just use the

Customers and send you a private message on Facebook, but it’s a good idea to provide alternate methods for customers to contact you. Be sure all of your information is listed in the “About” section, including your customer service telephone number, email address and mailing address.How can you make it easy, you ask? Just use the

You can even take your efforts further by designing a custom tab for customer service or using  the “Contact Me” app to add a handy dandy contact form to your Facebook page. It’s free, and you don’t have to be techy to use it. It’s win-win!

How to Respond to Negative Comments on Facebook

Let’s face it; you’re going to get negative comments about your business on Facebook from time to time. As good as your products and services may be, someone, somewhere, is going to get frustrated with you at some point. Here are some pointers on dealing with issues:

Don’t Hide the Negative Comment

While it may be tempting to remove or delete the negative comments from Facebook – don’t! Unless, of course, the comment contains language not suitable for your audience.

The best way to build brand loyalty is through honest and transparent communication with your brand fans, whether they’re being positive or negative. After all, if they’re on your wall, they’ve committed to liking (or being a fan of) your brand, so they must have some reason for wanting to engage.

If the person commenting has a customer service issue, quickly let them know you want them to be happy and care about their concerns. Be Speedy Gonzales here. The longer he or she has to wait, the more frustrated that customer is likely to become.

Always Be Prompt

We cannot possibly stress this point enough. Studies have shown that the majority of customers on social media expect a response to their questions/concerns the same day. Nearly half expect a response within in an hour. In this case, slow and steady does not win the race.

Think about it. An unanswered issue may prompt “me too” responses and fuel the fire, making you look 50 Shades of Shady. So stay on top of your comments, and be sure to address them as quickly as possible, particularly the negative ones. Note that this may mean some evening and weekend comment moderation. Whatever you do, never let an answer languish overnight.

Craft the Appropriate Response

Once you’re ready to respond, try to determine the root of the issue. Is it a valid customer service problem, a product issue or an erroneous assumption?

  • If it’s customer service, cheerily handle the problem, providing a contact to customer service if necessary, trying to move the discussion off of Facebook.
  • If it’s an issue with a product, acknowledge the issue, stay positive, and thank the poster for the suggestion.
  • If it’s an erroneous assumption, simply and cheerfully update the poster with the correct information, referring them to your website or a news article if necessary to confirm the correct information.

Mind Your Manners

No matter what the issue, remember that politeness and cheerfulness go a long way toward establishing your business as a great provider of service. Never, ever be offensive; stay calm; and provide as much personal contact as you possibly can. You can even provide a company email address for follow-up conversation.

When They are Really Angry

Yes, there may be times when you have to deal with customers who are (ahem) a bit over the top in terms of their frustration. But you simply can’t stoop to their level and expect good results. In the extreme case, if your poster is full of vitriol against your brand, don’t stoop to his or her level. Just don’t engage. If the customer continues to bait you, kill him with kindness and remove the comments.

Evaluate Common Questions and Concerns

Try to collect a month’s worth of activity on Facebook to truly understand the kinds of issues that are being raised, such as, how many comments are written in moments of frustration, how many are technical, how many provide feedback (good or bad), and what time of day your customers are most active. Use this information to inform your choices going forward, including strategies for pleasing customers and steps to take to fix things when they’re less than happy.

Be Prepared

It’s also helpful to prepare a set of standard responses for the most-asked questions and potential issues. Preparing these responses in advance will allow you to feel confident about responding in the heat of the moment rather than dashing off a response when you’re worried about a further backlash.

Providing customer service via Facebook does take some effort, but the energy you put into it is well worth the return in terms of brand reputation and customer satisfaction. Apply this advice to your customer service process, and be sure to let us know how they work for you.

How to Get Facebook Fans Without Advertising

7 Ways to Gain Facebook Fans Without Using Paid Ads

How to Get Facebook Fans Without Advertising

Facebook used to be considered a progressive part of a brand’s marketing plan. These days, it’s not “progressive,” it’s an integral part of your plan. Consumers aren’t impressed with the fact you have a Facebook page for your business; expect you to have one.

Of course, merely having a Facebook page with your logo isn’t enough. Consumers also seek out social proof.  In other words, they look for indicators that your business is thriving and responsive, including your number of fans, how often you post and how much your fans interact with your page.

As Facebook’s continued changes to its algorithm have made it harder to get consumers’ attention on this platform, many marketers have turned to paid advertising to help with fan acquisition. We use Facebook advertising for our own clients as well and think it should, most certainly, be included as part of your overall social media marketing efforts.

Advertising shouldn’t be the only play in your book, though. There are other tactics you can use to give your Facebook page a boost.

How to Get Facebook Fans Without Advertising

So, what do you do if your Facebook page isn’t as vibrant as you’d like it to be? Here are seven actionable ways you could promote your page that you may have overlooked:

1. Check Your Website Homepage

This is the first and one of the most basic steps you can take. Make sure you have a Facebook like button in an easy-to-find place on your website. While the old rules said that your Facebook icon should be above the fold, it’s perfectly acceptable to place it in the footer too. These are the two place visitors look to find your social links.

2. Use Facebook Comments on Your Blog

Using the Facebook comments plugin in lieu of your blog’s default commenting system allows your readers to respond using their Facebook profile. When doing so, it also gives them the option to share their comments on Facebook, giving your brand more exposure and the potential for more website traffic. You can increase your chances of translating additional site traffic into Facebook page likes because you already followed tip #1. (If you haven’t done it yet, you’re going to, right?)

You can get step-by-step instructions on installing the Facebook commenting system at WPBeginner.com.

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3. Announce Your Page Via Email

If you have acquired any type of email list, big or small, put it to work! Don’t just announce your Facebook page as an afterthought in your regular newsletter. Instead, email out a separate announcement – after all, it’s a big deal and a long-term investment on your part.

4. Cross Promote

Do you have a thriving Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram presence? Be sure to promote your Facebook page on other social media channels too. Of course, you need to do this tactfully. Keep your promotion balanced with the other great content you’ve been publishing that attracted your followers on Twitter in the first place.

5. Ask People to Share

When you consider that each person who likes a page has, on average, 150 Facebook friends, you can help your cause by asking people to share your page with friends. If even a few of your current fans share your page with their friends, it will grow your Facebook community. If you have a small, tight-knit community that loves your brand, why not ask for the share?

6. Show It in Print

Whether it’s business cards, brochures, catalogs, sales presentations or ads, make sure you list your Facebook page on all of them. Keep in mind that this is one of the more difficult ways to grow your fan base, because potential fans can’t simply click on your printed material to give you the like. This form of promotion requires them to stop what they are doing in that moment to seek out your page, or remember to do it later.

You can help make it easier for potential fans to remember or to find you. Do this by first claiming your vanity URL and then including it on your printed material. For example, we’d use Facebook.com/CrackerjackMarketing. It’s easy to remember and easy to find. If you don’t have a vanity URL (though you really should!) consider using a link shortener such as bit.ly instead.

7. Get Active on Facebook – But Not Just on Your Page

Another great way to get more exposure for your brand’s Facebook page is to be active on Facebook. Not just on your own page, but other brand pages too. Yes, yes you can like and comment on other brand pages as a Facebook page. Even better, Facebook has made is very easy to do so. All you need to do is to navigate to a brand’s Facebook page and change between interacting as your personal profile and your brand page.

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comment-as-a-facebook-page-1

As you do this, other fans of that page will see your comment, giving you increased exposure. Use this tactic judiciously. Be sure you choose to interact with other pages that are aligned with yours, but not in direct competition. Also, be smart about your comments. You want to leave comments that add value to the conversation; don’t abuse this by being overtly self-promotional.

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Use the above tips to grow your Facebook fan base. And when you’ve finished? Sorry, you’re never finished when it comes to Facebook. Go ahead and rinse and repeat. Continuous action is key to your social media success.

social media for customer care

Why Your Brand Should Use Social Media for Customer Care

social media customer care

Social media is a viable avenue for providing service to your customers. As more and more consumers embrace social media for personal use, they are also reaching out to companies this way.

Some brands listen and respond better than others, and these are the brands that enjoy increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. In most industries, consumers have a good deal of choice when it comes choosing where to spend their money, so encouraging loyalty is an important goal. In fact, a 2015 study from Garnter revealed that customer service, not price point, is the most competitive factor in the purchase decision.

Customer service isn’t an either or proposition, so you don’t have to choose social media customer service over traditional methods. In fact, you shouldn’t choose one over the other at all. Social media isn’t “up and coming” in the customer service realm, consumers are already taking to their favorite social networks with complaints, suggestions, and compliments.

Social Media for Customer Care Statistics:

Remember that using social media for customer service doesn’t just influence your relationship with your current customers. It also influences how prospects see you. Potential customers take note of how well you handle customer service issues by observing your online responses, or they hear about your responses from online friends. They then develop an impression of you that helps them decide that your business is the right one to patronize.

Poor customer service is among the primary complaints customers have when dealing with companies of all sizes. And it’s far from just an annoyance. Some customers will stop patronizing a company completely after a poor customer service experience. Wondering what’s most likely to go wrong?

5 Common Mistakes When Using Social Media for Customer Care

Customers cannot reach a live person when they’re in need of help

Undoubtedly, automated phone systems make routing calls and sharing information easier, but customers tend to hate them when they feel the need for human help. In fact, according to a Consumer Reports survey, more than 70 percent of respondents feel very annoyed when they cannot reach an actual person.

Customer service reps lack customer service skills

You really want your most conscientious and personable people in this position. You’ll lose customers quickly if your reps sound bored, disinterested, or uninformed. Even worse is the rude customer service rep, and these days, it seems many companies have them on board.

Customer service staff lacks training

When customers contact your company, they expect to reach someone who can help them with their issues, who understands what they are talking about, and who has the authority to make decisions or take action. Customers become frustrated when they must wait long periods of time for customer service reps to figure things out (often by going to other company employees for the information they should have readily at hand) or worse, provide incorrect information. Then there is the customer service rep who makes promises he can’t keep. When the customer attempts to follow up, he’s told the original rep was wrong or the solution originally provided is against company policy.

Community Managers don’t fully understand your products or services

No matter how personable and efficient a customer service rep may seem, he won’t do your business justice if he doesn’t understand your products and services and how they are supposed to work. Before communicating with customers, your rep should be well trained and understand how your offerings work and what might go wrong with them. Only then can he or she provide your customers with reliable help.

Not tracking and monitoring customer service contact

How can you hope to improve your services and keep your customers satisfied if you have no idea why they’re contacting you, what type of help they need, which solutions your reps have provided, and how content your customers were with the results of their contact. You need a system in place for monitoring customer service contact and results, so you can evaluate the effectiveness of your company’s reps and policies and make changes when necessary.

As you move forward with using social media for customer service, always keep in mind that monitoring is critical. Monitoring interactions and responses is not only important for determining what you’re doing right and where you can improve but also for getting a heads up about problems before they get out of hand. With effective monitoring, you can note customer issues and complaints and respond to them effectively before they become full-scale crises that damage your business reputation.

Better Twitter Strategy

4 Steps to a Better Twitter Strategy

“4 Steps to a Better Twitter Strategy” is co-authored by Stephanie Schwab and Christina Strickland.

Better Twitter Strategy

With over 106 million users sending more than a total of 140 million updates per day; you can see why we think Twitter is an essential platform for your business. We’ve written about Twitter a lot, everything from finding people to follow, finding content to share and explaining why Twitter Moments matters to your brand.

Now that you’ve gotten the basics down, it’s time to fine tune your Twitter strategy so you can maximize the benefits.

4 Steps to a Better Twitter Strategy

One of the questions businesses often ask is “How often should I Tweet?” This topic has been debated by social media pundits, almost since the dawn of Twitter. The truth is, there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. The number of Tweets you should send is directly tied to the size of your Twitter community and your content.

One of the questions businesses often ask is “How often should I Tweet?” This topic has been debated by social media pundits, almost since the dawn of Twitter. The truth is, there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. The number of Tweets you should send is directly tied to the size of your Twitter community and your content.

While you should be Tweeting every day, there is more to it than tossing out a link to your most recent blog post or a random update here or there. Here are four things you should be doing if you plan on keeping up on Twitter:

1. Tweet consistently

For your brand or business, this may mean seven days a week or only Monday – Friday, depending on when your customers are online. This doesn’t mean scheduling or tweeting at the same time, every day. It means that you shouldn’t send out 65 tweets in one day and then not return to Twitter for a month.

2. Keep your Twitter content balanced

Think of Twitter as a party or networking meeting you don’t want to be one of the people everyone avoids because all they do is talk about themselves.

The same principle applies to Twitter. If your tweets are constantly about your own business or blog posts, your followers will catch on and ignore them. Even worse, they are likely to quickly unfollow you. Instead, keep your Twitter stream filled with a lively mix of brand updates and curated content.

3. Schedule your Twitter content

There’s no need to make Twitter any harder that it needs to be (though, really, it’s not that hard, once you get the hang of it). Because you’ve got a lot of moving pieces, it’s a good idea to not only use an editorial calendar (you can get our free editorial calendar here) but also use to tools to help you schedule what content you can in advance.

If you’re using Hootsuite, there is a built-in scheduling feature you can use. If you’re not using a 3rd party Twitter dashboard, take a look at Buffer, a simple tool that takes the guesswork out of Twitter timing and also allows you to schedule tweets in advance, so that you can get out from behind your desk. With Buffer, your content will get the best possible engagement in terms of link-clicks and retweets. Buffer is extremely easy to use, so we recommend it for people who are eager to ramp up their Twitter efforts and start to publish a lot of content but not ready for a full-fledged dashboard, like Hootsuite.

4. Stay engaged

We can’t put enough emphasis on this! Twitter is more than just a collection of links and announcements. It’s about having conversations. Remember, people respond to people. When responding to other Twitter users, retweeting other people’s content or joining in on a conversation, you really can’t tweet too often.

Use the above tips to get your tweeting on track. And keep in mind that it’s okay to experiment a little, update at different times and at different frequencies, and tweet out different types of content to find out what resonates with your Twitter followers. The most important thing is that you just do it and do it consistently, with good content and your community in mind.

social media charitable giving campaigns

Charitable Giving Campaigns Best Practices and Examples

social media charitable giving campaigns

Have you noticed the rise of brands implementing social media charitable giving campaigns or, as some may know them, “share-to-donate” campaigns? It’s no big surprise. After all, sharing on social media is what people love to do most. When you combine that with a good cause, you’ve usually got a recipe for success. Right?

Well, maybe or maybe not. While it’s true that this type of social media campaign could present a huge opportunity for your brand and your chosen charity, it could backfire on you and generate the wrong kind of buzz if not executed thoughtfully.

The good news is that when done properly, charitable giving campaigns really do create a win-win-win situation for your brand, charity, and community. In this blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at four brands that got it exactly right. We are also going to give you some tips for planning and creating a successful charitable giving campaign.

What is a Charitable Giving Campaign?

First things first. Before we go too much further, let’s explain what we’re talking about when we say “charitable giving campaign.” Even though the term “charitable giving campaign” may sound like the brand or charity is soliciting donations from participants, they’re not. What many brands are doing is asking their community to take a specific action and for each action, the brand will donate a pre-determined dollar amount to a particular charity.

The most common action involved is usually based on some form of sharing. This may be sharing a Facebook post from a brand page or a video, or it may be asking fans to share a picture of themselves or tag a friend in social media.

For example, a brand might ask their fans to post a picture of themselves, accompanied by a specific hashtag. For each picture posted, the brand would donate $1 to a particular charity.

Four Great Social Media Charitable Giving Campaigns

 

1. Subaru’s Share What You Love

Subaru asked their fans and followers to post a picture to “Share What You Love” and upload it to their Share What You Love microsite using the #ShareTheLove hashtag.

After uploading the image, participants were asked to choose from a selection of four charities, including ASPCA, Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels, and the National Park Foundation, for Subaru to donate $250 to on behalf of the participant.

What made this successful

This campaign was successful because of the significant donation amount, and the freedom given to the participant regarding the image they shared, and the charity they chose.

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2. Coke’s #Reach Up

In 2015, Coke created a video highlighting Special Olympics participants and events, as well as a song created for the Olympics. Coke encouraged their fans and followers to share the video using the #ReachUp hashtag.

After participants shared the video on either Facebook or Twitter, Coke donated $1 to the Special Olympics for each share.

What made this successful

Moving and inspiring content is what made #ReachUp successful. Coke’s audience felt a connection to the video as well as to the Special Olympics, so they felt the desire to share the content. Coke put the focus on the charity, not the brand; this was sharing made easy and heartwarming.

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3. Kellogg’s Share Breakfast

The Kellogg’s Share Breakfast campaign asked fans and followers to share the information about the campaign using the #ShareBreakfast hashtag to their choice of social media channels. For each share, Kellogg’s donated one breakfast to Action for Healthy Kids. With over 1.5 million breakfasts donated because of their social media campaign, we can certainly call this a success.

What made this successful

Kellogg included a “celebrity dad” (Taye Diggs) as an influencer and created a microsite where the participants could learn about the campaign and included a large call to action and easy social sharing buttons.

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4. Disney’s Share Your Ears

Disney celebrated their 60th anniversary by asking their fans and followers to “share their ears” (by wearing or making their own Mickey Mouse ears, or creating ears with their hands) to their social channels using the #ShareYourEars hashtag.

Disney donated $5 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every qualifying image shared to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

What made this successful

Disney encouraged participants to be creative in their entries. They also created meaning by partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, one that many people care about and support already. The foundation also heavily promoted this campaign in return.

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Is a Charitable Giving Campaign Right for Your Brand?

Did any of these examples get you thinking about starting your own share-to-donate campaign? We hope so! This type of campaign will allow you to partner with a charity that resonates with your brand and your community for a great cause. It will get your company involved, the charity involved, and your community involved! Who doesn’t love scrolling through Facebook, and supporting a good cause at the same time?

Charitable Giving Campaign Best Practices

A successful charitable giving campaign is not only about raising donations (although that is important), it’s also about building relationships and community ties.

Above, we highlighted four great examples of charitable giving campaigns using social media. Now that we’ve (hopefully) inspired you to start your own share-to-donate campaign, we want to share our best practices from these campaigns so you can implement them on your own!

1. Choose the right charity

There are so many good charities that can use donations. It’s important to choose one that resonates with your community and also aligned with your brand. Yes, the idea of rescuing baby kittens may pull at your own heartstrings, but it doesn’t make sense if your brand isn’t tied to kittens or animals in any other way.

Disney’s Share Your Ears campaign is a great example of a fantastic brand/charity match up. Disney has partnered with the Make A Wish Foundation in the past, and what do they have in common? Making dreams come true. Magic. It’s the perfect match.

Subaru also had a great idea: Sometimes it’s hard to narrow down which charity you want to work with, so they chose four different charities and invited the participant to choose which charity who would be the recipient of the related donation.

2. Donation amount

Apart from choosing the right charity, this is the single, most important aspect of your charitable giving campaign. Don’t be a cheapskate here!
Make sure your total donation amount is significant enough to make a difference. It should also be related to the complexity of the action you are asking your fans to take to trigger the donation. The harder the action, the more money you should be donating.

A simple post like or post share, or maybe event an easy Twitter update, should equate to at least $1 for the charity. Asking someone to take a picture of themselves doing something specific? That’s a harder task and the donation amount should be more. In other words, if you want someone to do something more than click a like or share button, you have to make it worth their while.

Subaru got it right in their “Share What You Love” campaign. They made a donation of $250 for each new vehicle sold or leased during the event to the charity of the participants choosing.

3. Focus on the charity

Tread carefully, readers. One way to ensure that your charitable giving campaign won’t be successful is to keep all eyes on your brand. Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about the cause! Repeat that like a mantra, and turn the spotlight towards the charity and their mission.

A great example of this is Coke’s #ReachUp campaign. They created a heartwarming video highlighting the events that take place during the Special Olympics. This video put the focus on the charity, and not Coke. The participants felt a connection to the video and therefore a need to share it.

4. Include an influencer

You don’t have to go at this endeavor alone (and we recommend that you don’t). Bringing in an influencer from Instagram, a blog, a YouTube channel, a Twitter account, or even a celebrity can boost your credibility and your reach. If you’re wondering who to choose, see point #1.

Choose an influencer that not only resonates with your community and your brand but most importantly with the charity (remember, it’s all about them). If they’re not passionate about the mission, your audience will be able to tell.

Kellogg’s Share Breakfast campaign included a “celebrity dad” (Taye Diggs) who created a video of his own for the campaign. Your charity is also an influencer! The Make A Wish Foundation participated heavily in Disney’s Share Your Ears campaign, and the partnership was great for the campaign and the charity..

5. Easy tracking

The proof is in the pudding (or in this case, in the shares). When your campaign is over, and you’re ready to report its success, make sure you can go back and count how many retweets, shares, or uploads were received. One of the most used platforms to track with is a microsite. By creating a separate space for the shares or uploads to live on, you can keep your information in one place and access it when necessary.

Subaru’s Share What You Love campaign is a great example of easy tracking. Subaru used a microsite that invited participants to upload a picture of them sharing what they love. This allowed Subaru to easily count the uploads to the site and get even more data from Google Analytics.

A microsite isn’t the only way to track shares! If you’ve chosen a hashtag to represent your campaign, we recommend using a third-party website (like Hashtracking.com or Hashtags.org) to help you count tags on Twitter or Instagram. If you’re using Facebook or Pinterest to share your message, count likes, shares (or repins) and comments on the original post. There is also third-party software to track mentions of you, your charity, or the name of your campaign.

What are your favorite charitable giving campaigns? Do you have more tips to run a successful campaign? Share them with us in the comments!

Tweet Like a Pro

How to Tweet Like a Pro

advanced twitter tips

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you can probably tell we’re all aflutter about Twitter. Even though we wonder why Twitter is so darn difficult for people, we’re big advocates for using Twitter as part of your overall social media strategy.  It’s a powerful tool for building your business.

What do you do when the ideas just don’t flow as readily as you’d like? What can you do when you’re long on enthusiasm but short on compelling ideas for tweets? No worries! We’ve compiled a list of ideas you can use to get you through those difficult times as well as great resources for finding content to share.

Creative Ideas for Compelling Tweets

Once you’ve been tweeting a while, you’ll develop a formula or a style that makes it easier to come up with consistent content many times a day, virtually every day of the week. If your style is primarily content curation, over time you’ll establish a list of trusted sources for finding just the right stuff for your Twitter followers. You’ll get in a groove so that tweeting won’t become a chore. But in the meantime, you may need some prompts.

Here are 12 prompts that will get you thinking about things you can tweet about. Pick a few every day, and change it up from day-to-day. Each of these prompts is good for hundreds of tweets over the course of a few months.

12 Prompts for Quick and Easy Twitter Content

  1. Tweet a link to a blog post you agree with and add a comment (on the post) that mentions one of the points in the post.
  2. Share a photo of something you pass on the street that relates to your business in some way.
  3. Share a link to your own blog post and ask people a question about it.
  4. Pose a question to your followers asking what they think about an issue that’s hot at the moment.
  5. Start a conversation. Respond to a question someone asked or simply comment on something someone said. Then keep the conversation going, back and forth once or twice using @ mentions.
  6. Answer the question, “What’s inspiring you?” (as in, “Today I’m inspired by…”)
  7. Answer the question, “What’s bothering you?” (obviously, keep it relevant).
  8. Share a link to a video that you think might be of interest to your followers.
  9. As you go about your day at work, notice the behind-the-scenes image or story that you can share with your customers, like a work-in-progress.
  10. Tweet an inspiring quotation.
  11. Retweet the best tweets of those you admire.
  12. Share a link to a news story related to your business and comment on it.

Keeping a list like this handy so you can refer to it when you’re having a Twitter writer’s block can help you keep up your Twitter content and make it easy and fun at the same time.

Resources for Links to Share on Twitter

You may only get 140 characters (for now!), but by linking to an article, blog post or website, you open a door to a whole new world of information. Sharing links is one of the best ways to use Twitter for business. It shows that you are a valuable source of information, and by choosing the most useful information for your community, you ensure that people will come to count on you, and respect your knowledge of your field. There is a firehose of information out there, and anyone who can be trusted to find the best of the best will be rewarded with followers and retweets.

Here are several of our favorite resources for finding Twitter content to share, to help build your stream:

  1. Google Alerts is one of the easiest tools to use. Go to the site and choose the subjects you want to know about. Google will email your chosen content from news, the web and blogs based on the frequency you select.
  2. Addictomatic is a fun and, ahem, addicting aggregator to use. Their tagline of “inhale the Web” is fairly true, and they take content one step beyond Google’s results by bringing in information from Yahoo and Bing.
  3. Paper.li is a tool you can use to automatically curate content on a wide range of topics and arrange it in a magazine-style format. The tool is very easy to do and can automatically Tweet your paper and send it via email too!
  4. If you know there are key bloggers whose content is regularly worth sharing, add them to your RSS reader and search them daily for the best posts of your favorite bloggers.
  5. AllTop is a significant help in finding new blogs to add to your reader. Search for topics and AllTop will return results for you.
  6. When you’re feeling short on inspiration, go to listen to a Ted Talk. Not only are you likely to get inspired, you may just find some great content worth sharing.
  7. Of course, there is always your own Twitter feed! Build a list of people you follow that Tweet about the topics you’re interested in. Or, type a term or phrase in the Twitter search box to find new and interesting content to share.

Try some of the above ideas, and then be sure to come back and fill us in on how they worked out for you. Have bright ideas of your own? We want to hear them! Where do you find the best content to share on Twitter? How do you come up with engaging ideas? We’d love to hear your ideas on this topic. Share them with us in the comments section!

The Art of Content Curation and Making it Work for Your Brand

What Is Content Curation

Content is king, right? But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write every word of it. After writing blog post after blog post and article after article, with an eBook or white paper thrown in, you may feel as if you’re penning the Great American novel rather than marketing your business. The good news is you don’t have to type until your fingers fall off. Original content is certainly good, but content curation helps get the job done too.

What Is Content Curation?

In its simplest terms, content curation is the art and science of finding and sharing quality content on a particular topic. It means sorting through topical content on the web and then presenting the highest-quality posts in an organized and meaningful way. You save your audience from having to wade through the tons of available content themselves, and you’re rewarded in terms of engaged audience members who pay attention to what you post and share.

Think about an art gallery and the collections of art on display – those collections are carefully manicured and presented in the best possible light. The concept of content curation is similar in that you pick a common thread (a theme or topic) and collect, or curate, the items you want to showcase. In this case, we’re showcasing articles, blog posts, video, photos, podcasts, and infographics, instead of painting and sculptures.

Is Content Curation the Same as Content Aggregation?

It’s easy to think that content curation and aggregation are the same things but for your reader, it’s the difference between being presented with only the most useful, relevant content versus the 12,343,244 results returned on a Google search. Using our art gallery example, if you were walking into an exhibit on contemporary surrealism, you’d expect to see only the best pieces from the best artists, not every scratch and doodle ever posted on the web. That’s what you are doing for your readers: presenting them with the best of the best.

Does Content Curation Mean Creating Content?

While, technically, content curation doesn’t mean content creation, it doesn’t mean that the opportunity to create content doesn’t exist. And, in fact, if you’re not creating some content around the items you curate, you are missing the all of the best benefits, and so are your readers.

Remember, you are gathering content from a variety of sources and then presenting it in a thoughtful and organized way. “Presenting” is the key word, here. This is your opportunity to create content.

Again, thinking of a collection of art: walking through a museum, you are presented with more than a piece of art to study. You are given information about the artist, the inspiration for the piece, the medium used and sometimes even more. Use this same approach when presenting the content you’ve curated. Let your readers know what the article is about, who wrote it and why it’s important or relevant.

How Do You Use Content Curation?

This is the fun part! Once you’ve collected the “best of the best,” how will you present these articles for your readers, fans and followers? Three options include:

1. Weekly Blog Posts

You can keep your blog both relevant and helpful with weekly posts that curate other people and companies’ content from around the Web. Each post could be on a theme: For a food blog, one week could be all about asparagus recipes, another week about peach recipes. Alternately, you could round up what you consider to be the best or most important news of the week within your topic area into a blog post with links to those news items.

2. Email Newsletters

Like your weekly blog posts, this type of curated content helps your readers save the time they would have to spend finding great Web content. Want to see an example of this in action? We curate content for our weekly newsletter on social media and content marketing topics.

3. Social Media

Include curated content directly into your social streams alongside a mix of personal updates, brand mentions, and other content you already share.

Whatever format you choose to deliver your curated articles to your readers, keep in mind that it’s important to not only write your take on the piece, but also credit the original author. Not doing so could potentially violate the author’s copyright on the article.

How Brands Can Benefit From Content Curation

When done the right way, content curation can fit into your marketing efforts in a variety of ways. Many brands use curation as part of their content strategy with positive results.

How exactly can your brand benefit from content curation? Here are five important ways:

1. Establishing Credibility and Trust

We all love recommendations from people we trust, such as friends and peers. But we also desire information from reliable sources that take the time to explain how these recommendations will help us achieve our goals as well as make our lives easier. Curators carefully select content based on their understanding of the audience, even making the pieces easier to relate to if needed. You do this for your audience, giving it to them short and sweet, so they don’t have to struggle to tame the mountain of information out there.

2. Telling Your Brand’s Story

Every article, picture, message and video you curate provides a window for your customers to look in and learn about your ideas, interests and work ethic. This can enhance the public perception of your brand. People buy products from brands they think have personality. Dull Davids don’t win here.

3. Keeping Customers Engaged

Content curation is a great way to remain engaged with your customers after the sale. Sending news clips or other relevant information to your audience not only keeps them informed but also builds goodwill. And let’s face it: customers can be forgetful. If you’re not right out there talking to them and giving them a reason to think of you, they just may forget to buy from you the next time they need something. With a steady supply of quality content to provide, you can keep yourself fresh on their minds.

4. Keeping Your Blog Fresh and Relevant

A key to maintaining a successful blog is to publish posts on a regular basis. While creating great, original content on a daily basis can be a challenge; you can complement your own original work with the curated copy. No blogging blues or splitting headaches because you have to write yet another post! A good mix original and curated content will help you maintain your audience’s interest and your sanity.

5. Avoiding Self-Promotion Pitfalls

Too much self-promotion will just turn your audience off, and it doesn’t drive conversions anyway. According to a study by Argyle Social, content curation beats self-promotion five days a week and twice on Sunday.

So, let’s address the big question on everyone’s minds right now: Does content curation mean you don’t need to create original content? Sorry, but no. There’s always a need for high-quality, original content. Instead of viewing content curation as a replacement for what you’ve been doing, look at it as a valuable addition to bolstering your current marketing mix.

You can never have too many tools in your content marketing arsenal, and content curation is one you definitely don’t want to overlook. Use it to provide more quality content, increase exposure, and help drive engagement.