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How to Cultivate Engagement and Reach with Sprout Social

November 26, 2012 2 Comments »



It is Monday, and after the long weekend your social media is waiting for you at the door when you get to work, like that lost puppy without a collar, begging for a little attention. After a few days of neglect, your social media has started to look like the feral, untamed beast you started with. You sit at your desk feeling a bit overwhelmed. You ask yourself: where to begin?!

The answer: invest in Sprout Social.

As a one-stop social shop, Sprout Social helps users stay connected with the various social media platforms they currently utilize. In working with Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn and more, Sprout Social focuses on engagement and personal branding to help your business become a constant, vibrant billboard on social media’s highway. Let’s take a look at what’s inside.

The Home Page

After setting up your account, the first thing you should do is check out your homepage.

This is a great place to start because it will give you immediate trend and demographic reports that can provide great insight on who your audience is, and how effectively you are engaging with them. Maybe you find out that your page attracts more men than women, or maybe you will realize that the engagement summit you thought you’d never reach is actually closer than you thought. Again, this is only the home page, and only scratches the surface of Sprout Social, but it will provide you with a quick glimpse of your social media success.

Next, it’s time to communicate with all those followers you accumulated over the long weekend.

Messages: @mentions, @replies and thank-you’s

As we begin to stack our social media profiles like pancakes, it becomes a little difficult to keep our social syrup from running all over the place. In order to make sure you are keeping in touch with all of your followers and supporters, it is crucial to visit the Messages section of Sprout Social, which will give you a clear-cut display of who has recently followed you, and who is talking about you on social media via @mentions, @replies and retweets.

What is great about this setup is that it will tell you all of your latest social engagements, from who is following you on Twitter to who is talking about you on Facebook. By going down the list, you can make sure to address any questions followers have posed, can retweet relevant information, and can reach out to your most recent fans by sending thank-you tweets or personalized Facebook posts.

What is also great about the messages section is that you can specifically tell Sprout Social what kind of interactions will appear on the screen. You will notice on the right hand side of the page that there are checkmarks next to the engagement boxes you want Sprout Social to inform you about. By specifically tweaking your messages page, you make sure you are notified when your followers are engaging with you through your various social media pages and profiles.

Scheduling Social Media Content

One of Spout Social’s greatest features is its Scheduler page. The scheduler allows users to schedule their social media content, which is great when you don’t have the time to constantly monitor your social media. Instead of getting on five or ten times a day to send a tweet, or to put out some quality Facebook posts, you can wake up in the morning with your cup of coffee and schedule all the content you want to run for the day, or the week, or even the month (though we don’t suggest scheduling too far; social media evolves, and sometimes your content must adapt to the lightning-strike changes). This is a great tactic when producing content, because once all of your tweets and posts and status updates are scheduled, you can focus on engagement levels, and making sure you are interacting properly with your followers and fans.

Track Your Progress with Reports

The Reports page is where you really need to spend some quality time.

From basic trend and demographic reports like those found on the home page, to more detailed, competitive insights regarding lead generation, contact management, and intuitive analytics, the reports section really delivers the kind of information that will greatly increase your social media knowledge, fan engagement, and overall reach.

It is extremely important to monitor the results of your social media campaign to make sure you are not wasting time coming up with content that doesn’t work. With reports, you can make sure you have a firm understanding of your following, from their age to the types of content they engage with, and can find out where your content is being shared in the social world. Understanding your social successes and failures is key when cultivating a proper, well-rounded social media presence; and Sprout Social provides you with the easy-to use tools to give your social profiles the transcendent lift they have been looking for.

So do not be afraid of the lost social media puppy on your Monday doorstep. Grab your Sprout Social collar and tame your social media profiles so that they act like the engagement happy, awareness generators they were intended to be. Branding starts with simple day-to-day conversation, and Sprout Social will become the advocate your business needs to break the threshold of social media success.



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How to Engage Customers and Employees When Building Your Brand

November 21, 2012 No Comments »

 


Are you on the Mike Teavee Channel?



Last week I saw Scott Stratten speak at a LinkedOC event in Irvine. If you ever get the chance to see Scott speak, please do as he is awesome, engaging, and intelligent.

Scott’s new book is called The Book of Business Awesome and it’s about engaging your customers and employees so your business can thrive.

A lot of companies are not awesome. A lot of companies are a lot like Mike Teavee, the TV addict in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who eventually gets shrunken because he wouldn’t listen to anyone.

The Mike Teavee Channel



Mike Teavee is only focused on what’s on the TV in front of him. He watches and watches, with no interaction. He just moves on to the next program. He is unaware of his external environment, what people are saying about him, and oblivious to what is actually happening around him. He is so focused on the TV in front of him, he’s unable to react when events unfold in real life.

Many organizations have turned into Mike Teavee. They are so focused on what they want to do, how they can cut costs, and perfecting their internal operations and tactics, that they forget there is an entire world of customers and potential customers talking about them and WANTING to interact with them.

What’s on the Mike Teavee Channel



Benjamin Franklin said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

See this example 

And this example 

And this one 

Mike Teavee is the poster child of the disengaged company – only concerned with what it wants, ignoring all outward signs of trouble, and then quick to blame others when something goes wrong.

There is no shortage of programming on the Mike Teavee channel.

Is this the only channel we get?



Companies who don’t pay attention will quickly find themselves surprised by customer complaints, embroiled in product controversy, and find profits sinking. If you’re not interested in your customers’ ideas and insights, they will quickly realize it , and winning new customers and retaining old customers will become more difficult.

Change the Channel!



Stop watching the Mike Teavee channel and start paying attention to employees, customers, and the world. Your customers have the power to learn information as events happen; if you’re not doing the same, you’ll be behind. It’s not enough to blame the economy, poor management, or slow operations. Customers can see through those excuses, and they’ll immediately know you’ve been on the Mike Teavee channel.

At the end of  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mike Teavee’s dad says he is going to “throw the tv out the window” when they get home. Throw out your symbolic TV and watch what your customers are doing. You will learn a lot and will find new ways to attract new customers and keep your best ones.

Lori Johnson (@BPLoriJ) is the Customer Experience Manager at Branding Personality. Her favorite TV show of all time is The Simpsons.  



 

 

 

 

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3 Things to Consider For Your Social Media Strategy

November 16, 2012 6 Comments »


Are You Using the Veruca Salt Approach?

If you’ve read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” or have seen the film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” you can probably hear Veruca Salt’s famous line, “But Daddy, I want it NOW!”

Veruca Salt is the spoiled girl who wins a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. She wants everything and she wants it NOW.

Many companies want to take the Veruca Salt approach when it comes to their social media and digital marketing.

“We need 10,000 likes NOW”

“I should see ROI on this in a week, right?”

“How soon can we get up to 1000 Twitter followers?”

Here are three reasons why the Veruca Salt approach doesn’t work:

#1 More likes doesn’t mean fan engagement

Yes it’s awesome to have a lot of people liking your page. However, the more important numbers to look at on your Facebook page are “number of people talking about this” and, especially if you’re a brick and mortar store, “How many people were here.”

The more people talking about you means that fans are sharing your content and mentioning you in their social media networks. This gives you much more exposure and will lead to a larger fan base.

When people “check in” to your store, it shows their friends, and your fans, that there is a compelling reason to visit your store. Others will want to see what the buzz is all about, and will want to visit your website to learn more- which can ultimately lead them to physically visiting your store.

#2 More numbers doesn’t mean increased revenues

Just because thousands of people like your page doesn’t automatically mean you can increase your sales. It’s up to you and the marketing agency you work with to craft a compelling content strategy to keep your fans interested and engaged. Creative campaigns aligned with an overall strategy that’s correct for your company will maintain fan engagement and drive traffic to the website or store where they will make purchases. Getting fans to like your page is only a first step. Once you get fans to like your page, you have to keep them there with content they want to see and share.

When calculating your ROI on social media, using a lead management system like Hatch shows you where your leads are coming from, helps you delegate leads to your sales team, and helps you track your ROI.

#3 The “Follow Me and I’ll Follow You” Trick

Just because you follow someone on Twitter does not mean they have to follow you. People will follow you because you post dynamic, engaging and informative content. Your Twitter is a perfect place to announce offers, preview products, and recognize customers. These suggestions are part of a Twitter strategy that rewards engaged followers and does not solicit to followers who may not be part of your target market.

Just as the above is true, if someone follows you, this does not mean you have to follow them. If their content is not relevant to what you’re interested in, then it doesn’t benefit you to follow them.

Charlie Bucket, Our Hero

When it comes to social media and digital marketing, the Veruca Salt approach may give you short-term likes and followers, but ultimately, fans will declare you a “bad nut.”

The winning strategy is the Charlie Bucket strategy: learn all you can, ask questions, be nice to your competitors, and keep a positive attitude. Charlie’s approach is long-term, but in the end, he won the factory and the hearts and loyalty of millions.

Lori Johnson (@BPLoriJ) is Branding Personality’s Customer Experience Manager. She admires Willy Wonka’s business acumen and sense of humor.

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Fresh Social Media Content Ideas for Architect Firms

November 15, 2012 4 Comments »

This morning I was at the Society for Design Administration, an affiliate of the American institute of Architects. A great group of people who, as one worded it are “responsible to take care of everything else going on at the architect firm.” Here is the presentation, it shows a structural approach to social media for architects.

 
Architects have interesting content for social media. They have a product that a lot of people want, but are not always able to afford it. However many people dream about building their own unique place. So great opportunity for social media content.

Pinterest Ideas for Architects

The questions in the room were mostly related to Pinterest.
Should they be using Pinterest? And how should they use Pinterest?

A few ideas that I shared were:

#1. Share your firm’s portfolio on Pinterest

Your audience can get to know your  firms work and get inspired with the work that you do.

#2. Your clients create a Pinterest board with their architecture inspiration & ideas

You can also have your clients create a Pinterest board of what features they want in their house, ideas of designs they accumulate. It’s much easier than pictures ripped out of magazines, a whole lot cheaper and better organized. You can have multiple people collaborate on a Pinterest board, so each person can add their pictures to it.

I am the co-founder of The Open School, a school that is opening in 2015, and currently in the pre-stages to build. We are very much in the design and idea collection phase, and have our own board to collect design ideas for the school.

Also when a client finds yet another picture, they can easily pin it to their Pinterest board, instead of bringing it to the next meeting, scan and email or anything like it. It’s always up-to-date.

#3. Categorize your firms portfolio into specific boards based on price, style, etc

Categorize your portfolio and ideas into boards based on location, demographic, style or budget. So people can browse and get ideas related to what fits them.

Some of my clients would be jealous of architects, a lot of people like cool houses. People will “like” it on Facebook, and frequently share it with friends. Use that to your benefit.

Get ideas at bigger Facebook communities that share architecture. Curate the ideas that work for your target audience and share them on your Facebook group.

If you want to hear our ideas to crank up your architects’ firms social media image, please fill out the form on the right and we will share fresh ideas for your social media presence!

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The Secret To Monetizing Your Blog

November 14, 2012 4 Comments »

 


Getting Started



Though it is not the norm, many people can make a substantial income blogging online. Sure, managing to make $100 per month blogging online is a reasonable goal for some, but others can make six figure incomes with the right following and a high traffic-generating topic. So what’s the secret? Here are successful blogging tips that will help generate more income for your budding blog.

Tip 1: Launch a Website



To begin a blog, you must first have a portal where people can view your blogs. This website should be simple and visually appealing, but it should also load fast (if it loads slowly, visitors will navigate to a competitor’s website). Without visual appeal, visitors will not feel that you have authority in the field. Be cognizant of this criteria when making your website to ensure your visitors will continue reading.

You must also advertise and establish affiliate marketing partnerships to begin making money. When you participate in pay-per-click campaigns, Amazon advertising and other forms of digital marketing, you earn money when visitors click or when they purchase a product. With a large number of people navigating to your website, you can earn a significant income for yourself.

Tip 2: Gain Exposure



Exposure is absolutely necessary to earn an income online. Without exposure, your website will not earn money, and you will waste time blogging. People need to know about your site in order to have the opportunity to click on the advertisements offered there. When people value the information provided on your website, they are more likely to click on your advertisements.

To gain exposure, you must increase your search engine ranking in major search engines. Website consultants can help with this, or you can try to do it yourself. You must also network with your friends and colleagues to help others learn more about what you do. People are more likely to trust your website when they know and respect your blog.

Tip 3: Establish Authority



Establish authority in your field. If you are an authority figure known for providing factual information, you will receive more visits to your web page. More visitors represent a greater opportunity to disseminate your message and gain exposure for companies advertising on your website. Be a leader, give them insider information and make them feel like they are following a great cause or topic.

Tip 4: Build Partnerships



Build partnerships with other people and help them with their blogs. For instance, you can help a person build their blog and split the proceeds with them. This is an excellent way to earn extra income and to try a different topic or angle to gain viewership. Or you can create a content-sharing relationship with fellow bloggers as a way to promote each other’s endeavors.

 

Tip 5: Build a Blog in Three Months



Working full-time, your blog can be up and functional within a week or less. You will not make money immediately, but you will monitor the statistics and tweak your website to increase its profitability. Set a three-month timeline for yourself and try to come up with reasonable goals you can accomplish in that time frame. After your blog is perfected and you gain exposure through social media, word-of-mouth and others, you will earn a significant amount of money, and will be thankful for your mid-to-long range commitment.

 

By Wayne Boyd

Wayne is a casual writer specializing in finance news. Wayne works in an accounting practice and has earned himself respect among his fellow chartered accountants in Sydney by providing smart business and tax advice to his clients.



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Movember And the Social Media Mustache

November 13, 2012 3 Comments »



The power of Movember.

By getting behind a cause, a marketer can really improve their brands social media standing and that of their chosen charity. Cooperative promotion has been a mainstay of the past and has taken on a new power with social media.

Before social media, companies donated/raised money on behalf of charities knowing that not only could they help others but that they could help themselves through increased brand recommendation, exposure and the tax benefits that have always made Financial Director’s smile!

With the advent of social media, the reach for this type of activity has exponentially grown, as users can spread the message across their network with the click of a mouse. The added bonus is that not only does it spread the sponsors brand but that of the charities and so both parties benefit. Some might question the ethics but I would argue that as long as the cause is at the heart of the activity then any additional benefits gained are just that, additional to raising awareness and cash for a cause.

As an example, this month is Movember, when across the globe men grow moustaches as a way of drawing attention to the need for further research into male health issues- such as prostate cancer. Female members of society are also included as they are requested to donate and wear promotional accessories such as fake moustaches, t-shirts etc, all drawing attention to the cause. As a member of the Movember movement I will shamelessly (this blog is testament!) promote the cause and my desire to raise as much as I can. I will also expect a greater level of engagement in my social broadcasts as a result and therefore greater awareness of my other assets.

Potential customers will undoubtedly see my brand in a different light and I hope a more positive one. By recognizing me and my team as people worth doing business with for reasons beyond our skill and service offering, they will attribute positive trust where there was apathy before.

This involvement can be attached to any cause, event, publication etc. Take the recent Red Bull Stratos supported event. Experts have estimated the coverage would have cost Red Bull $100 Million dollars worldwide compared to the couple of million it cost to get Felix down in one piece.

Social media drove the interest and engagement as people across the globe questioned his survival chances, whether he would break the records and what his next move would be.

Of course this kind of activity can bite back, as in the recent case of Lance Armstrong and all the sponsors that jumped on board while he was winning and then quickly left when the revelations about his doping came to light.

To get it right, thoroughly research the charity, event etc. Choose to get involved because you believe in the cause, not just because you think it will bring good exposure, and then be prepared to push  the message to your communities like never before in order to get maximum traction.

Nick Charles is a Guest Blogger for Branding Personality. He is based in Bristol, UK, a major center for digital marketing and publishing, and grew up in “old reekie,” or Edinburgh, Scotland. More of Nick’s work can be found at www.gibedigital.com and www.gogomobile.co.uk



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3 must-have ingredients for inspiring blog posts

November 11, 2012 8 Comments »

Mix Food in bowlNot everyday is a day that I feel inspired to write, but now this 30-day blog challenge has me going. Here are three things that work well for me to make sure I am inspired to blog:

1. Don’t think it has to perfect.
If you think you have to write a masterpiece, you’re blocking yourself. That is usually where the writers block comes in. If you accept that anything you write is good. You’ll keep producing. It’s like Seth Godin says: “Ship it!”, don’t keep perfecting it, just write and publish. This is not your final master piece, it’s through practice that you’ll get better.

2. Get enough sleep and time to think (off-time)
This is always something I am challenging with myself. When I grew up my philosophy was that sleep was a waste and that I should every minute of my day efficiently. In the same line I have done the Everyman’s sleep Cycle, a form of polyphasic sleeping. You sleep multiple times a day for a total of 3-4 hours. It has some challenges, which is why I quit after a few months. Basically, with my busy schedule I ended up sleeping in my car for my required 15-minute nap twice during the day. And I wasn’t very comfortable with that. 🙂 Now, you don’t have to go to such extremes, but make sure you don’t sleep too little or too much. A lot of people actually have sleeping problems, because they think they need to sleep more, and they actually don’t.

Also, have time during the day that your mind can wander. That’s when your mind processes all the stuff that is going on and your mind is actually making things up or building out bigger ideas.

3. Read, read, read.
A common problem with people who say that they don’t have any inspiration to write, is because they don’t read enough. If you read enough your inspiration will come. Don’t feel inspired? Check out a few blogs and it brings you ideas to start writing. Don’t think it’s you, you have to do something to get inspired. And if you make reading part of your daily ritual, then you are ready to write an inspiring blog post every day!

So, don’t hold yourself back in thinking you aren’t inspired. Don’t stress yourself, start reading and take good care of yourself.

I look forward to reading your amazing inspired blog post!

What are your tricks to get inspired to write?

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4 Ways to Bring Your Social Media Back to Life

November 9, 2012 1 Comment »



Fall is all around us, and autumn’s winds remind us of the coming new year, and all the things we want to improve on. We start planning, and start sweeping away the clutter that held us back this year. We start searching for rubbish that can be thrown away, making space for all the projects and activities we have planned for 2013.

That weathered bookshelf?

Toss it.

Old clothes, boxed belongings from the early 90s, broken gizmos and gadgets you have been meaning to fix?

Forget about them all.

And if in your cleaning crusade you come across your old social media profile, the one that has been in the corner, neglected, covered in spider webs and the dust of things forgotten, pull it out, shine it bright, and begin to think about righting all of your previous social media wrongs.

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

No need to think too big yet. We do not want to overwhelm you; rather, we want to prepare you for your fresh start in 2013 by stabilizing a few of your crumbling social media foundations, beginning with the basics. We have compiled a short list below, which will help resuscitate the flittering lifeline your social media profile has been clinging to. Follow these steps so that your profile will be optimized for a positive directional change come January.





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Blogging 101 For Doctors

November 7, 2012 No Comments »



I love my doctor. He takes good care of me, and he has dogs, cats, and a donkey. He takes time to explain things to me and makes sure to answer all of my questions.

It’s fascinating to me that in this world of mistrust, we still trust doctors. There’s something about that white lab coat, the “Dr.” in front of the name, and the framed degree with the fancy font and official seals that make us more open to what doctors tell us.

As scientists, medical practitioners, and teachers, doctors have a unique advantage to maintaining a blog that can educate and be beneficial to the public. Doctors can take advantage of the blogging platform to inform the public. The public wins because we can learn and use that knowledge to take better care of ourselves. The doctor wins because he/she will be in the front of peoples’ minds when they’re searching for a new doctor, or referring friends to a doctor.

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have many options for content. Here are three content categories with some ideas for topics.

#1 Basic knowledge

  • Blood pressure chart
  • Ways to get more fiber in your diet
  • Common medical misconceptions (i.e. starve a fever, feed a cold)
  • Differences between pain medications

#2 Events

  • CPR trainings
  • Caring for a loved one with Alzheimers
  • Caring for a loved one with Cancer
  • Charity fundraisers

#3 Conversation starters

  • Best lunches for kids
  • Easy to pack travel foods
  • Stretches to do at work
  • Safe walking paths

Taking an hour a week to write and edit a post and then a few minutes to answer questions will instill trust and build your reputation as a medical professional.

I’d love for you to share some examples of good blogs from doctors, nurses, or other medical leaders. What topics would you like to see on a doctor’s blog?



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4 Ways Dentists Can Improve Their Social Media Content

November 5, 2012 No Comments »


1. Scrap the Plaque



You want your social media content to be light and airy. Do not bog it down by posting technical jargon or content that is sure to bore your readers to sleep. Pick away at the sluggish material, and shape your social media content by consistently monitoring what works and what doesn’t with the help of Google Analytics. If your followers are not responding to lengthy narratives, try other forms of communication, like adding more photos of happy clients with smiling faces, or YouTube videos on how to floss properly, or how-to grocery shop if you have braces. Think outside the box, round-out your social media content with a variety of laughs and information, and scarp the plague that threatens to tarnish your social smile.

2. No Drill Zone



Do not drill your followers with spammy advertisements or sales pitching. This is a guaranteed way to lose your fan base. Stay clear of grinding posts and mechanical status updates by humanizing your approach. Instead of talking about a promotion, ask your fans how they are doing, send a client a personalized thank you tweet or highlight a follower of the week on Facebook and promote them on your social wall. Doing these things will encourage your fans to stay engaged with you, and will let them know that you are not in the Facebook and Twitter game to try to gain a quick buck or two.

3. Ditch the Dental Mask



Let’s expand a little on the “humanizing” aspect of social media. It is important to take strides in showing your social followers that there is a man/woman behind the dental mask. It’s clear that there is a large disconnect between dentists and their patients, mostly because scheduled dental visits only happen once or twice a year, which leaves little time to build trust. Social media is the bridge for this gap, and can help your practice communicate with clients year-around, which promotes consistency, familiarity, and trust. As the most significant aspect of social media, trust will earn you the long-lasting relationships that will help you grow and sustain you practice.

4. Surveying the Social Field



Surveys are the back-bone to any dental practice looking to go social. There are social stigmas out there which say dental practices are scary places filled with screeching noises and fear. So break these barriers down by addressing the problem head on. Create surveys which are aimed at making dental visits more enjoyable for your patients. Ask them everything- from their experience in the waiting room, to scheduling appointments, to the overall ambiance of your practice. Do they enjoy the color of the walls? Are the chairs they are sitting in comfortable? Is the pricing reasonable? Give you patients a voice, and they will be happy to tell you their likes and dislikes. User-engagement is key when establishing a quality social media presence, and surveys will certainly kick-start the conversation.

To provide an example, here is a survey Branding Personality, in conjunction with Chapman University, created in order to find out what makes a dental practices more socially serviceable in the eyes of their patients:

Do You Love or Hate Going to Your Dentist?


In Conclusion…



All in all, these four tips will get you going in the right social direction. Patience is always required when using social media, but relationship building is based on trust, and social media will provide the missing link between you, your clients, and the potential patients currently floating in the seas of Facebook and Twitter. There are a multitude of ways to stay engaged with the social world, but it is up to you to define your approach, and to start taking a proactive stance on growing your dental practice through social selling. If you find you are at a crossroads, we are always here to steer you into the conversational sunset.

 

 

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