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SOCIAL MEDIA MONDAY! Social Media Strategies for Businesses

18 Nov

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As social media and technology become a more critical part of our everyday lives, stop and think about your business or organization. Are you also making social media a critical part of your business strategy? While many of you may have a social media presence, are you engaging with your customers on these platforms and meeting your goals?

With a little planning and effort, your business or organization can use social media effectively. Here are my top 10 tips for social media strategy.

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1. Be Where Your Customers Are.
Use the social media sites your audiences are using. You don’t have to be on ALL the social media sites out there. If most of your customers are on Facebook or Pinterest, explore just using those tools for your business. If you’re not sure where your audiences are, just ask! Have a conversation with your customers or patrons and see what they’re using. This is a simple question that will get you started on the right path. However, the most common social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Vine.

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2. You MUST find ways to be efficient.
Social media is not free. Social media costs you your time, energy and effort. To be as efficient as possible, pick the social media sites that will be key to communicating with your audiences, determine your goals, and define who will be responsible for the content creation and day-to-day upkeep of the sites.

3. Success cannot be measured solely by followers/fans.
Obtaining more followers can be a great goal when you first establish a presence on social media, but it is not a sustainable goal. Focus on engaging with audiences. After you grow a base of loyal followers/fans, measure success on the quality of engagement and conversation you have with them.

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4. Follow the 70-20-10 rule.
Social media does not equal self-promotion. Be an expert in your industry. When consumers trust your content, they’ll trust your products. Do not just talk at your audiences with things such as “Buy this new product!” or “Come to our event!” This general rule should help you:

  • 70%: Share content that adds value to the community.
  • 20%: Engage with your audiences.
  • 10%: Blatantly self-promote your business.

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5. Set goals and strategies.
What do you want to accomplish? What audiences are you trying to reach? Make sure these goals and strategies are specific, measurable, attainable, within reach and have a timeframe.

6. Get help.
See what similar businesses or brands are doing to get ideas for your business. Learn from the work of others while tailoring it to fit your needs and goals. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel!

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7. Advertise that you’re using social media.
A lot of times, your audiences aren’t going to search for you on their own. Put it out there and notify them which sites you’re using. You can also go a step further by giving a call to action and encouraging your supporters to join your social media networks. And advertising doesn’t always mean spending money! Print out a flyer or poster to keep in your business. Put icons on your business cards. Just flat out tell people when you talk to them!

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8. Reach out to local influencers.
Network online and offline. When you create contacts offline, they will be more likely to share or retweet your posts and help you spread the word. You also may consider getting involved with online communities related to your business.

9. Establish a culture of transparency.
Be ready to face negativity and criticism. People like to speak their mind. Don’t be evasive. Be open and honest and try to resolve the problem.

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10. Evolve.
Change your goals and strategies as social media, technology and your business change.

Does anyone have other tips to add? Or do you have examples of how your social media has been effective? Please share! We’d love to hear from you!

50% of Internet Users are Worried about Online Privacy

9 Oct

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Americans share more about themselves online than ever before but this doesn’t mean we’re not concerned about the side effects. A recent study by Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that “privacy concerns among Americans are on the rise, with 50 percent of Internet users saying they are worried about the information available about them online.”

We fret about advertisers accessing our personal habits. We fear being watched by the government. We’re targeted by hackers. We struggle to secure personal safety and home security. Our online activity can compromise all of this if we’re not proactively taking steps to manage and mitigate risk.

The good news is that it’s possible (and not that hard) to proactively manage your privacy while comfortably networking and sharing with those you choose to engage with.

Not all social media is created equal.

Review how you use social media currently between different platforms and identify the purpose for each. Consider, for example, that you have profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (It’s the most likely combo as the top 3 most popular networking sites).

Facebook is most likely going to be one’s personal network. Users tend to only connect with people that they already know like friends and family. Make deliberate choices about what you share but never assume what you post will ever stay private. It’s easy enough to take a screen shot of the most private status update. Pro tip: use Facebook’s smart list feature to group your friends and target each post you publish to a smart list to manage who sees your content.

Twitter is growing as a place for public information. Users follow and engage with news, celebrities, popular interests, and friends. Frequency of engagement is high and it’s not uncommon for users to follow and engage with people they’ve never met and will never meet. Twitter is best used with a public account so consider how everyone will perceive what you say and share. You can still be funny yet professional and you can still be professional and personal. Pro tip: you don’t have to tweet to find use from Twitter. Feel free to follow, search, and learn from what people are saying without the pressure to share your own thoughts.

LinkedIn isn’t just a job-searching platform – in fact, it’s far from it. Most users use LinkedIn for business development and professional networking to further expand personal business opportunities. At the very least, create a profile and complete your profile. Pro tip: sharing status updates and engaging on others’ status will help you expand and grow your network faster and stronger.

Understand Privacy Policies. 

As online engagement grows and the way we use social media platforms evolve, naturally the privacy policies and options will evolve with them. It’s your responsibility to understand your options and limitations on each channel.

Despite criticism you may sometimes read, Facebook makes it easy to manage your privacy. In a related point, one cannot protect personal data by posting a status update. Any variation of “I hereby prevent Facebook from using my photos” is completely fake and useless.

Twitter’s privacy management is probably the clearest of the three platforms highlighted here. You’re public or you’re private. All or nothing.

Managing your privacy on LinkedIn can be somewhat more challenging but it is the more likely platform that you may use to represent yourself publicly.

What is the best privacy management tip you’ve got for engaging across the platforms?

Social Media Monday: RSS isn’t dead!

16 Sep

Google-RSS-ReaderAll of us have different interests and find a variety of topics interesting. Newspapers are dying and there’s millions of different resources on the Internet. So how can you get the content you want right at your fingertips? RSS feeds of course! However, how do you know which ones to use and what’s the best for you? Here are a few of my favorites that maybe you’ll like as well!

ZiteZite, a social news app, is one of my favorites. Zite is “an intelligent magazine that helps you discover interesting things to read.” All you have to do is tell the application what your favorite topics are; it can literally be ANYTHING. There’s fashion, sports, celebrity gossip, arts & culture, crafts, productivity and even Michigan! Once you subscribe to your favorite topics, it aggregates articles into “Your Top Stories” and presents it in a very visually appealing, easy-to-read format. It’s even integrated with the app, Pocket.

Pocket lets you recall a web page or article that you’ve saved so you can view it anytime on any device, even without an internet connection. Pocket is integrated into more than 362 applications across many platforms you probably already use, such as Twitter. You can also install browser extensions to save articles to Pocket right from your desktop.

FeedlyIf you were a Google Reader user, you know Google has discontinued its service. But don’t fear! RSS is not dead just because Google dropped it! There are a ton of other apps that have picked up the slack, such as Feedly. You can import your Google Reader feeds into the app and read your feeds in a variety of views – “magazine,” “headlines,” “mosaic,” “timeline,” etc. It also lets you send articles to Evernote and Pocket, or save them in an internal “Saved” folder.

If you’re in to social media and want to stay on top of all the fast-changing trends, a great resource to subscribe to is Rabbitgram! Rabbitgram is a daily e-mail from a London agency that gathers together the day’s top social media stories. No need to go exploring for what’s new; it all comes to you!

I could go on and on about all the options and apps we have, but no one would want to read it all. If you want to see what other RSS Reader apps are available, click here for the latest scoop and all the essential ones.

What are some apps you use to aggregate all your news? Which are your favorites? Comment and tell us!