Archive for ‘Social Media’

July 24th, 2014

How to Make Your Content Go Viral: Understanding the “Viral Loop”

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People are communicators. We find things we like, and we share them with the people around us. This desire to share stems from many emotional needs: to seem smart, to cause trouble, to be helpful, or to simply feel connected. But no matter what need that desire fulfills, as marketers, we depend on it. We are constantly pushing for “the share,” thus aiming to produce shareable content that will help to spread our messages and grow our audiences.

When a follower interacts with and shares content with a friend who then interacts with and shares it, our influence spirals outward, engaging more people as it expands. This spiral is called a viral loop, and it is the result of a carefully thought-out and executed social campaign.

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So how do you create this viral loop? Using these four basic principles, you can design the perfect environment for your audience to engage with and share:

1. Activate Your Ambassadors

When looking for people to share your content, the best place to start is with the ambassadors you already have. Reach out to your email list and existing fans; since they already have an interest in you, they will be the easiest to activate. Think of these fans as warm leads; you can’t expect them to share everything you post, but if you give them something worthwhile, they just might pass it along.

One classic tactic that consistently works is to host a creative contest or giveaway. As long as you offer something your fans want, they will be more likely to participate. Reach out to your existing email list and social followers when first launching the contest and ask them to share; better yet, give extra entries in exchange for shares by using a plugin like Rafflecopter.

2. Remove Barriers and Interact Seamlessly

Ease of entry can make — or break — a viral loop. Don’t expect anyone to jump through a bunch of hoops to engage with or share your content. Find out where your audience is, go to them and engage with them there. The goal is to intersect with people’s lives in a way that feels natural to them so that they want to share.

Sometimes the best way to remove barriers is to invest in technology. People will be more inclined to play your game or enter your sweepstakes if they don’t have to leave the site they’re on to do so. Home decor retailer Kirkland’s launched the Cha-Ching promotion with a game, run through a Facebook app. This allowed nearly 100k fans to play with their friends and enter to win prizes without ever having to leave the platform.

If you must pull users away to your site, make sure that the value you’re offering outweighs the trouble they have to go through to participate. Each click required of a user is another chance for that person to decide they don’t want to participate, so make sure that each step is worthwhile to the user.

Walk the walk — follow the route that your fans will take from start to finish. If you wouldn’t complete the process for another brand offering the same reward, then you have placed too many obstacles in the path of your participants. Simplify the process and check again.

3. Develop Content Fit to Share

Not only do you need to know which social platforms your audience is active on, but you must also know how they’re being used. Content spreads better when it is in line with a particular platform and feels natural to share. You may need to tweak your post to make it more shareable on each platform, such as focusing on beautiful imagery for Pinterest posts or brevity and targeted hashtags for Twitter.

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There is, however, some content that is so worthwhile that it needs no incentive, and no ask, for users to share. These are posts like the Ellen DeGeneres Samsung selfie, J.C. Penney’s “Tweeting with mittens on” during the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, and the video of a possessed baby stroller terrorizing people on the streets of New York City. This content isn’t developed every day, but when it happens, it’s the holy grail of social engagement.

You can’t go viral with each campaign, but you can do your best create content that expands your reach. To do this, speak to your audience in a way that intersects with their lives and uses for each platform- even if it means displaying the message in multiple different ways.

4. Set your Sights on “the Share”

The social world relies on both content and shareability. We no longer need people in the media to deliver our messages to the masses, as we can now provide relevant content and let the masses spread it around themselves. Given the right strategy and content development, social media channels can provide as much if not more buzz than the traditional paid media outlets.

The all-encompassing strategy for creating and maintaining a viral loop is to consistently create highly relevant content that people will want to share. Take time to build your campaign through multiple relevant posts and incentives that will entice your fans and followers to pass your messages to their many friends and connections. Do it well enough, and you may get to watch your message spread — across blogs, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, and maybe even onto the pages of the New York Times.

Nate Fleming, a creative strategist and one of the founding fathers at redpepper, provides keen insights into why we humans do what we do. His insights have also made their way to Forbes.com, ChiefMarketer.com and the highly trafficked industry blog, Adrants. When he’s not developing a new brand strategy, you can find Nate in the kitchen cooking up a delicious meal. He also doubles as a great musician, actor and photographer.

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Archive for ‘Social Media’

July 17th, 2014

Don’t Be Like COMCAST: Keep Your Social Media Customer Service Up to Par

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In case you didn’t hear, COMCAST has a bit of a customer service scandal on its hands. Ryan Block, former COMCAST customer, called to cancel his service and received the run-around from an unnamed customer service representative.

The rep repeatedly asked Block why he was cancelling, and despite Block giving myriad reasons for the cancellation, the rep refused to back down. So 10 minutes into the call Block decided to start recording. You can listen to the remaining 8 minutes 14 seconds of the conversation here on NPR, but it basically amounts to a customer service rep refusing to disconnect service and trying to badger the customer into staying.

Clearly this is a terrible example of customer service, but the number of bad reps in the world is astounding. Even worse is the number of social media managers who are ill equipped to handle complaints and are incapable of responding tactfully. It’s almost impossible to see it coming — that is, unless you take these precautions. Here are 3 ways you can avoid the social media equivalent of the COMCAST Service Scandal:

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1. Have a plethora of policies in place.

Try saying that 5 times fast. While having rules certainly won’t guarantee that your employees won’t break them, it will make it far less likely that something horrible will happen. Some companies go as far as to write scripts for dealing with common issues. While that doesn’t always work (mainly because people aren’t all that predictable), it can help prepare for the issues that come up the most often.

By creating robust social media management policies, you can dictate the kind of language and tone your employees are allowed to use. For example, COMCAST could have avoided some of what happened if they had a policy that said, “Unless it directly conflicts with another policy created by COMCAST, do whatever service-related thing the customer asks immediately.” Of course, then you have to create other policies dictating what you don’t have to do, but you’re safer that way.

Legal departments love this stuff. Ask them to help you draw something up, and you’ll be firing on all cylinders in no time. Then, incentivize strict adherence to policy with your social media managers.

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2. Have multiple people in charge of your accounts.

The most dangerous situations arise when only one person has access to the social media accounts. This creates a precarious situation that lacks any kind of accountability, and it would be so much easier for an employee to go rogue.

If you have an entire team of people on the job, all attempting to follow policies, one is less likely to go astray.

3. Hire or appoint only the most poised and experienced interpersonal communicators.

The truth is, you can probably tell how someone will do before they start if you know what to look for.

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First, look for experience. While social media isn’t that old, it is now an established enough medium to have experts, or people who have successfully managed accounts in the past. Better yet, hire an agency. But still make sure you speak to the person specifically running your account so that you can observe the next trait:

Watch the way they select their words. Do they blurt out whatever comes to mind and then add in corrections and clarifications? Or are they slower to respond but do so with good diction? The latter will be less likely to go off on a customer in an unforeseen way.

Lastly, test them. See if you can put them on the defense for something. If there’s a gap in their resumes, go at it. See if they get flustered or if they respond carefully and pleasantly. Again, the latter would be far more suited to run the customer service side of a social media campaign.

In conclusion, don’t be COMCAST. Make sure your customer service folks on social media are professional by creating policies, establishing accountability, and choosing the right team members.

 

About the Author: Samantha Gale is a writer and account manager at 60 Second Communications, a full-service marketing agency working with well-known brands around the globe.

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Archive for ‘Social Media’

July 10th, 2014

How Mature Is Your Social Media Marketing Program? [QUIZ]

BabyOnMobile Have you ever wondered where you stand compared to other brands regarding your social media marketing? Or do you have a pretty good idea of where you stand but need some resources on how to take your program to the next level?

Well, look no further. We here at the 60 Second Marketer have developed this quiz to tell you just how mature your program is. In addition, you’ll get links to resources along with your results to help you take your campaigns to the next level of maturity.

Let us know in the comments what your results are!

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Archive for ‘Social Media’

June 29th, 2014

What Department Should Own Social Media?

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What department owns social media in your company? Is it marketing, the option most people would think of first? Or is it maybe HR, who can keep an eye on everything with a certain set of considerations others may not think of?

If your company is big enough, you may have a communications department separate from marketing, and social media may live there. And some companies (especially in highly technical or regulated industries) even have social media under IT, relying on their technological expertise to ensure information security.

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But where should social media actually live in your company? Well, it depends. But what we can definitely tell you is that all 3 (or 4 if you have a separate communications department) of those departments should have a say in what goes on. Policies, guidelines, and standards should be established by every department who would potentially be affected. IT should be able to give input regarding information security. Marketing should help develop the strategy for

But as for who should actually execute your social media strategy, there are several considerations to make:

  • Who has the resources to pay for the necessary advertising and promotion?
  • Who has the manpower to execute the strategy or find an agency that can?
  • Who has the power to make decisions regarding messaging and promotions?

But those considerations are secondary compared to the big question you need to answer:

What is the primary goal of your social media campaign?

There are a lot of different answers to that question, but for our purposes we’ll take a look at the top 5. Based on your answer, you can better narrow down who in your company should own social media operations.

  • Generate leads or sales (or perpetuate your brand) — This is the single most common reason why companies venture into social media. Typically, this sends social media to marketing, and rightfully so. Marketing’s entire job is to understand what makes customers tick, and this makes them the best equipped to use social media as a lead gen or sales tool.
  • Keep interested parties up to date on company and industry happenings — This one is a bit tougher. If it’s simply to keep people in the loop, this would typically go to the communications department. If you work in a highly technical industry and have no comms dept, it may best go to IT. Otherwise, marketing should hang onto it.

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  • Recruit new employees — Recruiting is sometimes its own department, or at least a complete subset of HR. If your company’s sole reason for being on social media is for recruiting purposes, HR is the clear winner.
  • Communicate internally — Do you have a communications department? If so, they’re probably responsible for internal communications and should therefore own social media. If you don’t have one, though, HR should handle anything intended for internal purposes, unless it is specifically IT- or marketing-related information being communicated.
  • Share sensitive information and files with others, both within and outside of the organization — IT should always be responsible for information security, even if it’s just to educate other employees. If this is your purpose and IT can’t own social media for one of the other considerations above, it should at least be involved in educating those who do own it.

Hopefully now you have a better idea of where social media should live within your organization. Just remember — the more people you consider when putting together your strategy, the more likely it is to be effective.

 

About the Author: Samantha Gale is a social media and content marketing specialist working for 60 Second Communications, a full-service marketing agency working with brands around the globe.

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Archive for ‘Social Media’

June 17th, 2014

Email Marketing Outperforms Social Media in Terms of Reach and Features [INFOGRAPHIC]

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If you’re working on a shoestring budget and are trying to figure out where it would be best used, maybe this infographic can help. Brought to you by Host Papa, it breaks down email marketing and social media marketing to see which outperforms which in what categories. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Social media helps build your audience faster and increases search engine ranking.
  • Email is a fairly inexpensive and easy form of direct response.
  • Social media is growing more, but email is still more widely used.
  • The features and reach on email marketing are surprisingly robust.

See the full infographic here:

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