Tag Archives: social media management

Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?

Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?We’ve heard of students majoring in Social Studies, but Social Media Studies? That’s a new development, even for us. At Creatine Marketing, we are in the business of digital marketing and social strategy, but last year, while we were in the process of seeking out new employees, interviewing them, gauging them for experience, and putting them to work— some interesting questions came up.

Mainly, everyone was curious about what kind of training, education, or experience qualifies a person to create an effective social media strategy. How do you hire the right person for the job and instill the proper skill sets necessary to develop a social strategy? Now that we are in the market for new interns and employees again, we’re attempting to answer some of those questions and offer our readers and clients some insight into the various methods of obtaining a social media education, or experience in the field.

A common misconception is that the average social media user is sufficiently qualified to carry out a successful marketing campaign. Many businesses make the mistake of finding someone who uses Facebook every day and trusting him or her with the responsibility of creating a strategy, developing a focused direction, managing a budget, and controlling access to major accounts and passwords. Being an individual with a few social media accounts does not prepare you for analyzing engagement, interacting with thousands of fans daily, measuring SEO metrics, or meeting with clients to discuss and execute plans for branding, reputation management, and content creation.

Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?Social strategy aids companies in communicating with their customers via digital channels, and the goal of a campaign created to function online is not too far off from the objectives of other marketing campaigns designed for radio, print, or television. A strong background in marketing, advertising, communication, sociology, business, or consumer relations is highly valued in this field. Whether you learn these skills in a classroom or from years of experience as an independent entrepreneur, they will ensure your success when developing a strategy for your business or other clients.

Universities and colleges now offer courses in digital media, online strategy, social media, web analytics, search engine marketing and more. Even Harvard offers a course called Digital Marketing: Social Media and Online Strategies. Because the field of marketing has dramatically shifted with the rise of social media and the increase of devices, platforms, and applications, companies are recognizing that it takes the right person to head their social media marketing department.

Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?It is also important to remember that a degree or university education is not the only qualifying factor.  Many companies can train the right employee to understand the importance of branding, promotion, research, writing and distributing content, keeping an open dialogue with customers, managing bad press, and mastering effective communication. Additionally, digital marketing is a constantly evolving field and, because of the continuous metamorphosis, social strategists need to be the kinds of people who adapt quickly. This kind of skill is hard to teach.

Individuals from a wide variety of education and experiential backgrounds are taking on roles with social business components—social strategy, community management, and managing social campaigns. While formal courses may not be the most productive route in an ever-changing field, jumping in with no experience is even more harmful to your company.  If you are truly interested in being successful in social media and digital marketing there are books, blogs, articles, podcasts and plenty of online information offering introductory and in-depth knowledge about the field.

By: Sasha Novikov| Creatine Marketing

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Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for BusinessWhen you think about promoting your business on social media, you often visualize the primary six platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, and Instagram. Even as a social media marketer, I tend to focus a majority of my attention on these social networking giants− pushing content to where I assume I will get the most reach and interaction. But when I’m off the clock, I’m constantly using certain apps to organize my life and to help me make decisions. One of these resources is Foursquare, and although it receives less attention from marketers and businesses, it is one of the most useful mobile applications on the market.

Foursquare is a location-focused mobile app that allows users to “check-in” to places of business using their phone’s geo-location software. When you visit your favorite restaurant, a local spa, the gym, or a bookstore− you tag yourself there, and then share your location with Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter friends. Not long ago, I thought this service was simply an enabler of narcissistic over sharing on its best day, and a stalking-for-dummies tool on it’s worst. However, like most trends I’ve tried to ignore, curiosity eventually got the best of me− and now that I’ve checked-in, I won’t be leaving for a while.

As an individual user, I find the mobile application efficient, user-friendly, and entertaining. Once you add some friends, you can see the restaurants they are trying out and then add them to your “To-Do list.” I have even searched out businesses based on my location, read reviews and tips, viewed images, and chosen where to shop based on the experiences my friends have had. From the application’s Home page, you can “explore nearby” and seek out food, nightlife, coffee, shopping, sights, and art. You get points for checking in, and even receive badges like, Local : “Sometimes you want to go…where everybody knows your name…You’ve checked in at the same place three days in one week”. People can be dubbed “mayor” of a place they frequently visit, and then others can dethrone the mayor and take his or her spot.

Using Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

The app has become somewhat of a game, and over 25 million people are playing. The witty and sarcastic musings written by the app developers make me snicker, and the deals I get for checking in are the reason I keep coming back. And that is where businesses on Foursquare benefit from being on the platform. As a business owner, you can offer people coupons and discounts for checking in at your establishment. When users’ friends see where they are checking in to eat, shop, work, and play they are influenced to do the same based on recommendations from people they trust.

There are over a million businesses on Foursquare currently, so it’s not an application you can ignore -, it’s one you need to master in order to build your customer base and reward your most loyal customers simultaneously.

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for BusinessClaiming Your Location | In order to get started you need to claim a physical space. Your venue is your business’s home base on Foursquare. Once you’ve downloaded the app, attempt to check in by searching for your business, and assuming it isn’t listed, select the plus sign that allows you to “Add this place.” Next, you will be asked to list the name of your business, the category it falls under, (i.e. Arts & Entertainment, Food, Professional, Shop & Service) and the exact address. The main categories will break down into more options, for instance, ‘nightlife spot’ offers subcategories like bar, beer garden, cocktail bar, dive bar, etc. It is important to give as much relevant information in each field as possible to help inform your current and potential customers, and to give them everything they need to communicate with you or your business. Finally, your company must be verified by Foursquare in order to finalize the process. You will receive a code to confirm your location and then you must pay a $10 fee to process your venue claim.

Updates and Promotions | Sending updates from your venue on Foursquare is a feature that allows you to send company news to a user’s feed about specials, coupons, deals, announcements, and other relevant information. Fox example, you can use this opportunity to offer customers something special while keeping them connected with news about upcoming events. Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for BusinessAnother feature for business owners is the Promoted Updates option, which allow a business to pay to have their local updates promoted in the Explore tab. It’s a new and exciting way for businesses to choose which updates deserve an extra push for maximum exposure.

Foursquare Check-In Specials | Offering specials to your patrons will keep them coming back, and these deals are a fun way for your customers to earn rewards whilst spreading awareness about your delicious food, innovative product, or unique service. Some businesses have used a Flash Special “The first 10 people who check in after 8pm get 25% off their order,” while other benevolent and tempting offers include a free cupcake on your first check-in. Chili’s offers a free order of chips & salsa upon check-in, and as a loyalty special, they offer a free dessert on every 3rd visit. When you’ve checked into a business more than anyone else in the last two months, you are granted

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

Mayor-ship of that location, and many businesses offer a mayor special which grants 20% off the entire bill. This kind of deal in particular encourages loyalty and rewards returning customers. Many businesses use a combination of these various specials to reel in and satisfy clientele. Use local updates to promote your specials on Foursquare, and also remember to update Facebook, Twitter, and all of your other social networks in order to spread the news about your special.

Add Tips about Your Company | People visiting your business can leave their opinions about what they’ve experienced. They are even promoted to leave tips about places they’ve checked into in the past, leaving the opportunity for both positive and negative feedback. When a user checks into a place for the first time, a different user’s tip flashes on the screen. The tips that appear atop the list of feedback are the ones with the most likes from other users. The goal behind ranking the tips is to boost the relevant and truthful ones to the top. If you add helpful tips about your location using a company page, you can share your strengths and highlight the human side of your business. Leaving a tip about your famous secret sauce, your employee of the month, or the most convenient parking location are all examples of how you can help your customers get the most value from your Foursquare presence.

Let Users Know they can Check-In | Integrate Foursquare into your website and social media profiles by adding the plugins and buttons below.Using Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business Doing this is the best way to connect your audiences and boost your following. The unique aspect of Foursquare is that it’s connecting your actions in the real world to your actions online. Don’t forget to leverage calls to action at your physical locations in order to

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

encourage, communicate and support your company’s presence on Foursquare.Be sure to display window stickers or signs to remind people to check in at your business. Reminding your customers to use Foursquare will help drive them into your place of business more often, leave tips, and become more active with your company on the platform.

One of the main reasons people do not use the apps they’ve downloaded is because they forget. Dozens of apps wax and wane; they get our attention for a while, and then like our winter wardrobes, we get rid of them to make space for something new (well in California at least). But Foursquare offers a one-of-a-kind ingenuity, and its developers are constantly updating and adding new features to the service. Every business should be using this mobile app in order to build a loyal client base that will work with you to increase your presence and profit.

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]Do you care about being liked? Most of us do. As an adult you eventually adopt the “you win some, you lose some” mentality− but as a businessperson, it is important that people hold positive associations to you and your company so that when they see you or think of you or your brand, it is with a mental smile.

Your reputation follows you, not only when meeting with clients or customers face-to-face, but also on the Internet. At the end of the day, being liked does matter. The way that you are regarded by others can affect your business the same way it can affect your mental and physical health. People who are liked have larger social networks, which, in their personal lives, provide them with more emotional support− and in their professional lives, provide them with increased levels of success.

We all have friends or coworkers who are quick to praise or condemn a particular experience at a restaurant, store, or other establishment using their social media networks. I can admit that I’ve even left a Yelp review or two. How can you, as an individual, ensure that social media has a positive impact on your business? Confident, honest, and engaging business people tend to notice a steady increase of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, or real-life customers.

If people are keen on you, they are more likely to help when you need a favor, for example− promoting your business through word of mouth, or via the web− both courtesies, which hold immeasurable power. When people like what you represent as a person, they are likely to identify with your brand, your ethical foundations, and your goals− and as your business ideals are often rooted strongly in your character, the people that like you as a human will extend those sentiments to your company and show their appreciation− these days, using social media.

Just like with your personal relationships, in your business affairs, simply getting along with people is not the same as being liked or respected. There is a fine balance that needs to be reached between meeting your needs and making sure they are inline with those of another. Whether you are trying to make new friends or solidify business partnerships, these tips will boost your “like” factor− tangible and digital.

  1. Don’t be boastful. Overemphasizing your success comes off as pretentious. No matter how fortunate you are, remember to stay humble. You don’t have to down play every single achievement, but there’s no need to make them overly apparent to everyone, each time you speak. Timing can be very important. If you learn to express your accomplishments in a manor that is nonthreatening, people are less inclined to write you off as arrogant. You can demonstrate that you are a competent person without being a show-off.
  2. Become genuinely interested in others. People can usually recognize someoneI Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation] who is trying too hard to be liked. In fact, the desperation of approval is directly associated with phoniness. Remember, there is no need to put on a false front just to get people to like you. When you show interest in the activities, ambitions, and triumphs of those around you, they will feel appreciated and acknowledged. Not to mention, you may be able to learn something new. Be a good listener, ask plenty of questions, and encourage others to talk about themselves. When they bring up something you find interesting or a mutual passion you should begin a deeper conversation on that topic because it will make the other person feel important. But be sincere, do not interrupt when a person is speaking to you− there will be an appropriate moment for you to share your own stories and experiences, but not at the expense of someone who believes you are listening to what they are saying.
  3. If you are positive, your presence is positive. People can only stand a “Debbie Downer” in moderation. They are difficult to befriend because they make us uneasy. If you are overly critical, even your closest friends will find you unpleasant to be around. It’s fine to offer constructive assessments, but be ready to provide several solutions or ideas to resolve the issues you point out. What good is a cynic with no better cause? Most people do not enjoy reading the status updates of that one friend who is always whining and complaining− and that woe-is-me attitude does not translate well in the business world either.
  4. Smiling, it’s a simple salutation! Maybe my obnoxious alliteration will help you keep this one stored in the memory bank. A smile is like a decorative, “Welcome, I’m friendly” banner− on your face. It’s your first chance to invite someone into an interaction with you. Not only do you seem more open and nice, but you also feel better on the inside, and that is a proven formula for gaining people’s affections.
  5. Leave the judging to the American Idol panel. You don’t need to build your own reputation on the failings of others. Instead, let your own stellar qualities stand for themselves. When you root for the success of your coworkers, friends, or family, they will return the support. As a leader in your community, business, or social circle you need to accept and appreciate those around you− quirks and all.

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]In an age where every single opinion is tweeted and then retweeted, it is crucial to maintain a positive reputation in your personal life because that will echo in your professional decisions. This is especially true if you’re company is using social media in business because your character must remain completely transparent in order for you and your business to be perceived as authentic.

In reality, no matter what you do, what you say or look like, how you behave, dress, or what you believe− some people will like you and others won’t. But as a business leader, you need to increase your odds by following the methods in this article and working even harder to be reachable as well. Connect with others on a one to one basis by allowing them to penetrate your private bubble. Letting people get to know you, being nice, and caring about others− whether about their personal or professional endeavors− will ensure the same feelings from them in return.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Social Media Fast: Unplug without Feeling Disconnected

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We are nearing the end of the Lenten season, where millions of Americans sacrifice one or more of their indulgences for about forty days and forty nights. Most of my friends and coworkers have given up the usual, carbs, sweets, or sodas—but I have others that have attempted the impossible—a 40-day social media fast.

I hear you skeptics out there; you think this idea is brilliant, a way to reconnect with the tangible world around us rather than dedicating hours to the Internet time suck. I have to admit, a part of me agrees—it’s a good idea to unplug every now and then. But here at Creatine, we understand that maintaining a social presence for your business is very different than logging into Facebook to chat with your friends.

There is nothing wrong with you, or your social media management team, stepping away from being online, however, you can’t simply ignore your company’s social networks altogether. If the circumstances arise, and you decide you need to take a break from blogging, tweeting, and sharing—but you know that you cannot completely leave your followers in the dark, create a strategy that aids you in making the most of your time while you’re connected.

Construct a streamlined approach to shorten the amount of time you spend at your computer by concentrating on managing six major social networks. Your channel mix may vary from the ones I cover in this article, but you should still isolate a few specific activities for your networks and set yourself a time limit for each one.

twitter Twitter: 10 minutes

Take a few moments once or twice a day to respond to any tweets that may have been directed your way, nothing lengthy, just a quick acknowledgement of your gratitude.

Continue by scheduling out tweets for the next week to promote any recent content, current and upcoming events, or any news that you feel must be shared immediately. The act of automating tweets has caught some heat lately, but remember, you aren’t an individual who has the time to update Twitter with every single thought in your mind; you are running a business and automation is key to productivity, efficiency, and consistency. Schedule out some funny jokes, an interesting quote, or a statistic and your followers aren’t frustrated—they are aware of your presence and perhaps even comforted in the change of pace. Additionally, your automation tool allows you to see and revisit any scheduled tweets in one place—this is convenient and dynamic because if you realize you need to make a change, you have that opportunity.

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Use the remaining minutes to share the content of others in your industry to help build relationships. Retweet interesting articles, images, or ideas—don’t go nuts here, scrolling through your feed for an hour is over doing it. Stay focused so you can remain dedicated to your fast.

facebook Facebook: 6 minutes

A business has to utilize Facebook the same way a normal human might. Over-posting is obnoxious, and posting the same exact content every time becomes monotonous. Because Twitter is a live-feed it is important to update more frequently so your content isn’t obscured by other information—but on Facebook this just isn’t a concern. If you post every day, reducing your activity will not necessarily hurt your campaign. But disappearing completely isn’t an option either.

Schedule out some core updates, like with Twitter, about new content or upcoming events. Focus on producing timeless content. Anything that is highly visual will perform the best—share some behind-the-scenes images of your staff caught in the act of performing their work, share a trending and relevant YouTube video, or ask a question to which your audience can respond.

Take a minute or two to respond to any comments on your wall or on your content, and spend about one minute liking the content of your partners, clients, and thought leaders in your industry. Then it is time to move on to the next network.

linkedin Linked In: 6 minutes

Linked In offers you the opportunity to share your more professional content. Post an article or two in your industry specific groups and engage in any notable discussions. Perhaps take a few minutes to pose your own discussion questions in order to start a dialogue of your own. Let the conversation build and then subside; only jump back in if other questions are directed exclusively to your company. Otherwise, let people chat and respond to one another and check back in a few days to gather any information or to reengage.

pinterest Pinterest: 4 minutes

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Alright, I know I’m pushing it with a suggested four minute time limit. I have never been able to sit on Pinterest for less than an hour, but it’s time we all restrain ourselves. Pinterest can be one of the most useful social media marketing tools, or it can suck you into its wonderfully fascinating black hole of random content. Create what I call a mind-anchor before delving into this network. Concentrate on the tasks at hand, and remember—all of the recipes, exercise tips, crafting ideas, and cat pictures will be there next week too.

Take two minutes to pin any recent internal or external content and obviously make sure there is some form of graphic to accompany it, considering the platform. If you want to highlight your blog article, pin the image. Also you should search for some infographics, staff, or client photos. Then take the final two minutes to engage with your recent pinners. Return the favor by repining an image they have contributed, following one of their boards, or just leaving a comment that thanks them. Saying thanks on a new social channel can be extra engaging.

google_plus Google +: 2 minutes

For now, Google+ demands less attention than all of our other social networks. This may be changing quickly, but in the mean time—be where your friends and followers are and dedicate more of your time there, but do not forget the underdogs and up-and-comers.

Share your recent content on your page and use your circles to segment our only the most relevant audience. Google+ is a fantastic forum for longer posts like blogs and news articles.

Your audience on Google+ is receptive to longer form content like engaging questions and discussions. Perhaps you could try to facilitate a dialogue between your customers about certain products or services you offer.

instagram Instagram: 2 minutes

Instgram offers your business a chance to be social, relevant, quirky, and fun all while marketing for your business and building your brand. You only have two minutes here, so make the time count by taking your fans behind the scenes with pictures of your staff, events, and office space.

Offer your followers a deeper and more personal look into the personality of your company. You can highlight each staff member and explain some of their responsibilities and roles; you can snap images of work and creative spaces, or banners and logos.

If you are out if ideas for pictures, inspire your followers with motivational or relevant quotes in a stylized format. Those images tend to receive a lot of attention on Instagram.

So there is a short breakdown about how to rock your social media in 30 minutes; enabling some down time without becoming a ghost. Remember that disconnecting is healthy, but your customers and followers may be depending on you for news, deals, and content. Rather than dedicating each and every day to your social media marketing campaign, learn to use your time wisely and efficiently in order to build a clean, but solid and strong presence for your business. Sometimes taking some time off is just what we need to clear our heads—that works for social media the same way it works for any other responsibility.

By Sasha Novikov

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