Social Media – Why your business should use it!

Social media isn’t new, it has been around a few years already and literally everyone already interacted with it in one way or another. Years ago, businesses were suspicious why they should invest money into a Social Media Manager instead of using the 15 year old nephew that “knows how to do Facebook”.

Nowadays, for most people that lead a business, the question isn’t if they should use social media, but how and why they should use it. Wait, didn’t I just write, that they know they should use it, but they don’t know why? Exactly that is, what I’ve heard from a friend recently.

He’s running a business, and it’s not even a small one. So he came to me and asked me:

Jonas, I do know we should be on Social Media with our company, but I’ve got absolutely no idea why we should be on it and how we should use it and we just recently lost our Social Media Manager and now the board of directors is questioning whether we should re-hire one or not.

So I sat done and gave him a speech about the topic, but I found it’d be a good idea if I’d write it down more structured.


1. Awareness

Brand awareness in the internet is easy to get and can be translated into “reach”, which can (and should be) one of your social media KPI’s to help the Managers & Directors understand how effective your efforts and their investment are. “Brand” is a word that we hear quite often but even more often people aren’t sure what exactly it means. David Ogilvy, the maybe most famous marketer of all time once said, that “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” is defining a brand.

And do you know what? Social Media is a part of that! How your profile is set up, is the packaging in the digital era. The history is your timeline and the reputation are the reviews, followers, likes and shares that your receive on posts.

Another definition that I find important, was introduced by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. He said that “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The good thing about this? On Social Media, people might not tag you all the time when speaking about your brand, but as long as it’s public (like most Tweets for example), you’ll be able to find and work with it.


2. Know your audience

When was it ever this easy before to get to know your audience? Facebook Insights, Google Analytics & many other tools provide you with detailed demographic information, what gender your audience is and what languages they speak. This information will help you deliver campaigns specifically targeted for your audience and / or potential audience to foster strong relationships, brand awareness & recognition.


3. Timely Feedback

Social Media is not only the era of duck faces, selfie sticks, smartphones and sex scandals. It’s also the time of instant customer feedback. For example, you launch a new product and decide to share / promote it on social media, then you’ll instantly learn what your customers think about it. People will share their love, hate, concerns, problems, just everything. And you know the best thing about it? They do it for free! You’ll be able to learn what they think and how they use your product. Maybe they use it in a completely different way than you originally imagined and now you’ve gained the insights to change your product into the direction your audience wants it to go. (That will also ensure long time customer relationships and happy customers that’ll refer you to their friends.)


4. Trust

Trust is a big word, but it’s 2016 and there are so many ways to authenticate a brand. But what if your customers are mainly younger people? They most likely won’t wait for a TV ad that’ll assure them with trust like they do with people of an older generation. Young people will go on the internet, and search for your brand on social media. If you’re active on social media, it’ll help reassure your customers with trust and show them an easy way to contact you if anything goes wrong.


5. It improves your SEO

Did you know that one way to move up in search engines is to have links from other sites pointed to your site? Organic links (links that aren’t paid for) are great for your business, bringing in traffic and moving you up further in search engines.


6. Release the kraken of creativity!

Never before it was so easy to show customers your creative process of designing a product, behind the scenes interviews and scenes, pictures from the office or to humanize your company and move away from “the big (insert company name)” and more towards the “those are nice guys! love their products!” view. It’s the age of YouTube, Facebook, etc. to post videos, tips and tricks, customer loyalty reward programs – you name it – to create awareness and get noticed.


Thanks for reading and if you’ve got any questions, want to suggest a topic or get my opinion on something, then feel free to use the contact page or send me an e-mail to [email protected]

Cheers,
Val

Social Media KPI’s and Engagement

What are KPIs and how do they work with engagement?

Well to be honest, KPIs are a pain.

You’ve got to monitor and understand them while you could spend your time with your community, planning events or doing stuff that seems to be more important. But in fact, meaningful KPIs grant you the opportunity of a more in-depth understanding of your community, how the development is going or where you might need to improve your actions.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (iisd) published a document back in 2012 which isn’t that up-to-date anymore but the summary of their conducted study is still applicable to most community indicator systems (CISs).

Community indicator systems (CISs) are growing in number across North America, Europe, and Australia in an effort to improve evidence-based decision making in government, businesses, and civil society. By providing open access to data and information on community well-being, CISs generally aim to build the knowledge and capacity of communities to work together to improve wellbeing. However, there is currently a dearth of research on the extent to which CISs are achieving positive impacts on community well-being. Similarly, the research on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and best practices of CISs is limited. Hence, CISs currently have few resources to which they can turn to design and improve upon their evaluative practices and overall program performance

Of course by now, 4 years later, those systems are far more developed and fine-tuned than they were in 2012 but the main purpose didn’t change. The purpose of a CIS is still to improve your understanding of how a community works and what you can do to improve and drive the success above and beyond.


So what’s it about? Engagement!

  • You want people to create buzz around you.
  • You want people to love your product / website.
  • You want people to be happy customers/players that are happy to return and refer you!

Those are 3 golden rules and I personally can sign-off on these easily. I mean hey, I’m not writing this for nothing, of course I want people to like the content I produce. And I’m pretty sure that you’re maybe feeling the same about your product / company / project? 😉


Engagement is a game

I’m a lover of shooter and MOBA games and that’s pretty much common knowledge about me. So why am I telling it again? Well, it proves my point. Engagement is not just about replying “Thank you for being a loyal and returning customer!” to a good review of your company. (And just for the record: That’d be an example of bad engagement)

Why don’t you reach out to that reviewer with something more specific like:

Hey Jonas! We truly love that you’re loving our product! Is there anything specific that you’d like to share with us?
Can we improve somehow?
Anyway, thanks a million for being a proud #Valgardian!

Cheers,
Val

Of course, that’s just an example and it’s by far not applicable for everyone or every company, that’s true. My point with this is, that you’ve got to do more than just thanking someone. You want to make them feel special and you should feel special about every of your customers. As much as you embrace the positive reviews, also take the negative ones into account, take them in as great feedback instead of disregarding them as useless.

It’s like a game. Sometimes you feel like a weapon is useless for your style of playing but that doesn’t mean that it’s useless at all. In any event, taking a top-down look at engagement and monitoring how it changes over time can easily help you position yourself and your product as the center of the community. Prove, that your investment into meaningful engagement is a wise one. In the end, you and your boss will probably be quite happy if everything goes according to your plan. (That’s if you’ve got a plan, of course. ;D)


Don’t listen to everything I’m going to write now…

…but take it into account. Some of those possible factors might not suit your specific business or purpose, but they might fit someone else’s business and are a general indicator. KPIs for a social environment are very diverse, just like the people working in it.


So what are possible KPI factors?

  • Bookmarks
    • How many people are bookmarking my post / website / channel?
    • Is my content bookmarked onsite or offsite?
  • Comments
    • positive
    • negative
    • engagement
    • support
  • Subscribers / Followers
    • social channels (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc.)
    • E-Mail
    • Blogs
  • Favourites / Likes
  • Downloads
    • Media
      • press kits
      • artworks (you could also just divide between press kits and other media but I’d suggest to at least measure the press kits separately)
      • screenshots
      • videos
    • Product
  • Groups (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn etc.)
    • how many created
    • how many people joined
    • total number of groups
    • group activity
  • Key activities
    • social channels
      • post count
      • average post count per day etc.
    • visits (blogs, website etc.)
  • Messages
    • E-Mail
    • onsite
    • contact forms
  • Profiles
    • updated avatars, bio, links, email
    • how many people really customised their profile?
  • Ratings
  • Reviews
  • social media sharing
  • tagging (user-generated-metadata)
  • time spent on key pages
  • time spent on site
    • from which source
    • how long on what sub pages etc.
  • views

Let’s break it down to a few general tips:

  • You should star building your organizational goals to then develop your community goals from there.
  • Growth is nice, but it shouldn’t be your first metric. Measuring behaviour change first and then scaling it, is the better idea.
  • Again, growth is nice and engagement numbers are as well, but they’re not the ultimate goal.
  • If your community is a more mature one, bring together the stakeholders to develop ideas how to best measure what the organisation asks for instead of just measuring what is easiest to measure.
  • Numbers! Nice! Don’t just throw them on the table, tell a story with them and make your reports educational. You want people to understand your story and see the bigger picture. Of course, skilled social media professionals know that executives actually look forward to numbers, so why don’t you take advantage of their attention? Use their attention to educate them about the steps you took to generate those numbers, what they mean and how you’re planning to nurture the community.

 

What do you think? All rubbish, totally amazing or a good indicator? Write it down in the comments! =)

Next time I’ll probably write an extended version of my Facebook Advertising – Do’s & Don’ts article.

 

 

Cheers, 
Val

 

 

 

Facebook Advertising – Do’s & Don’ts

As a Freelancer I need to know a lot of things about Facebook, especially since I’m working in a Community & Social Media Management environment. Recently I stumbled upon something that I nearly had forgotten. I normally don’t rely on Facebook advertising as I’m not such a big fan of it since I’m more the “organic” engagement guy. But one of my customers wanted to promote a giveaway that we’re currently running.

Apparently, I made a mistake while creating the giveaway image. I had too much text for too less image. Normally that’s something that doesn’t concern me since I don’t run ads on Facebook without my client demanding it directly. But in this case, it was my fault, I could’ve thought about it before. Well, shit happens I could say, but I’m not that kind of person. I evaluate myself and I evaluate my strategies quite often to become better and better.

That’s why I put together a little “Do’s & Don’ts” for Facebook ads.

Metrics and objectives are important!

There’s a difference between just boosting your Facebook fan counter and setting up a proper ad with a certain value for your cause. If you just want to boost the counter, than make sure that you calculated the Cost-Per-Fan before to ensure that you’re still affordable scaling up the presence of your social media. (Unless you’ve got a money-printing machine which would come handy in such situations.) If you’re more interested in getting the engagement counter up and running high, tracking engagements (Comments, Shares & Likes) as well as a Cost-Per-Engagement calculation might be more suitable for you. And Facebook also thought about that as their ad tool comes along with a lot of different options to use the ads for multiple purposes. It’s important to figure out what you want and especially, what you want your campaign to achieve BEFORE you start spending money.

Audience! Important? YES!

There’s no other network that offers such defined options as Facebook when it comes to the exact demographic targeting functionality of your ad. You can target people based on their gender, age, employer, education and of course geography location.

Example: 25-30 year-old male individuals with college degrees in Paris that work for a gaming industry employer and like Barbie on Facebook

Facebook also provides the option to target ads based on connections so that you specifically target people who’re friends with people that like your page. That option is believed to generate more effective and “real” engagement. I mean, we keep people around that have the same interested like we do, don’t we?

Why is it useful to target the ad on a specific audience only? Well, you could just pump it out and wait for the reactions coming in but that’s not what you want. You want people that interact with your content and actually engage with it so that your Cost-Per-Engagement calculation gets a grip somewhere and proves to be useful.

You have something to offer? Then do it!

We’re humans and humans like to feel special and like they’re the King of Shizzletown. Facebook users are humans too, if we don’t count the bots and scam accounts. So they’re no exception of this rule. If you aim to get the attention of the people that you’ve targeted with your ad, then make the ad a “real” ad through offering something of value to them. Offer them a deal that they literally can’t refuse and suddenly you’re more likely to generate clicks on your ad’s content. You could also – but I don’t suggest this often – require the people to like your page first before redirecting them to ad content but that’s a bit tricky since you sometimes would have fewer people clicking your ad. I mean, it’s clickbaiting or like hunting, I wouldn’t like that either.

Change is good, change is your friend.

Facebook ads are a tiny thing to be honest. But as tiny as it is, small changes in your ad can create massive changes in your overall engagement or click-through & conversion rates. Why don’t you just try to create multiple versions of your ad with small changes to the ad image, headline or the body to find the best combination for your specific target audience. Even when you are so determined that you just found the best possible way, keep changing it every few months so that your targets won’t see the same ads over and over again.

You know the video of the very very slow spoon murderer? That’s how it feels to see the same ad for months!

Do’s:

  • evaluate your metrics before conducting and ad
  • choose your audience carefully and target the ad right
  • offer something if you have something to offer
  • change the ad regularly
  • Be genuine
    • In marketing people sometimes pretend to push the truth to a certain limit (even though we of course decline when being asked ;D ) so stay true to yourself and the brand when being on social media in general. Especially in ads we sometimes tend to stretch the possibilities or the truth more than we should. It’s still not a lie being told, more a type of clickbaiting. You know those “This women found out something so SCHOCKING that SHE LOST HER MIND!”. Avoid that. Just…avoid it.
  • Frequent posting
    • Frequently posting on Facebook and social media in general has a lot of advantages, but you should keep it to a certain amount of posts a day to not spam your fans even though you want to raise the organic reach again. I’ve already written something about this in Social Media Manager? WHO?! a while back.
  • Trial and error posting
    • Social Media is a fast paced industry and what works for brand A might not work for brand B as well as for A and for brand C it might not even work at all. So try out different types of postings to find out what community you have and how you can engage them the most. This will also benefit your ads since you know what ad type you should pick.

Mass broadcasting, why not?!

I know that Facebook’s ad tool combined with the reach mechanism can lead to the conclusion that it’s a great idea to use it for broadcasting. I mean, you can reach anybody! From your little sister to your x-grade cousin to Mr. John Doe in Doe city.  But that doesn’t mean that you should treat Facebook like a megaphone to send messages in a 360-ChuckNorris-Roundhouse-Kick style. Facebook values the relevance authentic engagement when dealing with ads, so custom-tailor your ads to your audience if you’d like to get a certain raise in your campaign’s engagement.

This link isn’t supposed to be relevant, is it?

While having links in your ad in general is a good thing, having useless links in it or links that send the user to someplace absolutely irrelevant, isn’t good. Not at all. The homepage of your company, the Facebook page’s timeline, your Twitter account or the Instagram etc. aren’t viable. It’s too generic and there’s absolutely no call-to-action for the user so that they end up feeling mislead and betrayed. Send them to a relevant sub page or wherever you can fulfill the promises of the ad. That’ll help to ensure more clicks and therefore also a higher Click-Per-User revenue and might also turn the click into a conversion which is crucial if your campaign is running on a cost-per-click basis.

Selling isn’t the point…

Of course you want to sell something. You’re a brand, or at least the Social Media Manager of a brand, which pretty much is the same. Even though selling is a great thing in general, don’t sell them stuff right away unless you’re an internet shopping brand. People are on Facebook to talk to their friends and enjoy their experience there. Would you be in the mood to get something pitched to you right away? I know that I wouldn’t. So instead of suggesting them to purchase something, ask them to share, like or comment your content or get them to subscribe to your mailing list so that they can check out your products at a time of their convenience. It takes away the users anxiety towards ads just selling stuff and “covers” the intention to sell something to them. Make it smart, not clever.

Fire and forget like a machine gun is a great thing!

… not. Facebook ads provide you with so much data on how your ads perform – Yes, they actually deliver a shitload of metrics for the money you invest! – and it’d be a shame to ignore all those beautiful scales, metrics and data cascades. Maximizing your revenue and your social engagement isn’t an overnight process so keep track of it and measure the provided data to constantly improve your ads and your overall social performance.

Don’ts:

  • it’s a fine tuned device, not a mass broadcasting megaphone!
  • irrelevant content and links can be bright like the sun, they’re still irrelevant!
  • selling’s great, just selling is a no-no!
  • the machine gun mode has no power here!
  • Spam
    • Sending out content and constantly updating your Facebook page is like constantly receiving useless e-mails by the same person over and over again. Don’t do it.
  • Negative Comments
    • Negative comments happen, always. Don’t censor them, you can’t please everyone and you won’t please them through censoring their opinion on your social media page. If you don’t let them post there, they’ll post it somewhere else anyway. Just respond to them and maybe you can turn negative experiences into a great user acquisition. Give it a try!
  • Private Profiles
    • No….your business is still a business and you won’t turn that around by creating a personal profile named like your business just so that you can friend people. You wouldn’t like to be added as a friend by some random person, so why would you want to get added by some random business?

Do you feel like I missed something or left something out? Share it in the comments or simply send me a mail.

Cheers!
Val

Personal Brand – A #Bufferchat story

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A personal brand…a what?!

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about: Buffer, a social media management tool, is doing Twitter chats with the hashtag #bufferchat on a regular basis.
It’s pretty much the following:

That’s pretty much it. Buffer’s social media team is of course engaging with the people answering to their questions but in general it’s a big chat to get insights and new ways to think about social media, topics etc.
I do enjoy it a lot to be honest and I can definitely recommend it.

But back to the question:

What does “personal brand” mean to you?

Well, a personal brand – for me – is how I market myself on social media and other platforms and, to agree with Tony, how I let the differences between me and other individuals stand out for my positive reputation. But a personal brand is also about authenticity, values and insights in what I believe in. I mean, it’s my own personal brand, isn’t it? To be honest, I could say a lot about being “different” on social media than in your real life but if you want to build a personal brand and stand out, you need to be unique.

How are you going to be unique when your profile and brand looks like a totally generic profile? The answer’s easy: In no way. You simply can’t stand out with a generic profile. Show them authenticity, show them who you are and what your values are. Show them a piece of yourself and why exactly you are the right candidate for a job, connection, project or whatever. Also let’s be true here, being yourself is far more entertaining and authentic than displaying some generic bullshit or playing a role.

I am the best example for this. It might be weird for some people that there’s this queer Community & Social Media enthusiast who likes games and makeup and posts stuff about a lot of different topics, but that’s me! Me and truly me.

In the past I’ve been asked several times, why I don’t keep my profile generic and attractive to new employers and followers. Well, I could do that.

But would I want to work a company because they think that I’m different from like I really am? No, I wouldn’t. Would I want a shitload of followers that follow me just because my profile is generic and I fit into some metrics and “nice to follow” lists? No, I wouldn’t. Okay, that’s a lie, of course I’d like to fit into people’s “nice to follow” or “people worth reading” lists but I also want followers that really care about my content and my profile because it’s different and I’m an interesting person.

I think that explains pretty well what I think about a personal brand and why I think that it’s important to build one.

Is it important to have a personal brand? Why or why not?

Yes, as explained above, I definitely recommend having a personal brand. A personal brand underlines your references and provides you with the ability to stand out as an individual. But, and that’s the point, everybody of us already has his own personal brand. Shocked, huh?

On Twitter, Hannah Cook said: “It’s your opinions, interactions, dress. Your being is your brand.”
And she’s absolutely right with that! The only thing about having our own personal brand is, how we use and promote it.

 How can you discover and define your brand voice?

To be honest, I found this one a little bit trick, as there are so many ways to determine what your brand’s voice in the interwebzzz is and how you can define it.

I said, that it definitely starts with measuring your social impact. Where are you active, what does the web know about you. You should start working with it and then ramp it up, taking your voice to another level, raising it high and discovering how far you can extend your own views and values.

Like I said to the first question, it’s about being yourself. Of course you could create a persona you’d like to portray when people engage with you. That’s what Emily Ahlbum answered to the question and I can fully agree with her on this one.

I for myself keep my voice on social media and elsewhere exactly like I am. I don’t hold back and I don’t pretend to be someone else just to fit in. My personality is what makes me unique and outstanding and I think it’s the best way for everyone to “win the game of social” in a world where everything is about being different and unique to stand out.

 What’s a big challenge for maintaining a personal brand and how do you work through it?

This is a tricky one!
…okay, not really.

Having a personal brand and maintaining it, is like working with every other brand, no matter if it’s a personal or a professional one. You need to stick to it and dedicate a lot of work to your goals and values. I don’t see any specific challenges at this point, as I treat my own brand like I’d treat any other brand: Professional, rational, focused on the goals and never losing track of the target that you’ve set.

 

Who’s personal brand do you admire, and why?

Obviously I’m talking truly about myself here. I absolutely admire the personal brand of Amber Osborne and her self-created brand “Miss Destructo”. She’s authentic, passionate about what she does and displays an outstanding personality on Social Media. That, in my eyes, is what having a personal brand is all about and I think I said it before but I can absolutely recommend you to check out her Twitter profile and her projects, cause that woman calls herself a “Destroyer of Boredom” for a reason.

I also always try to think about what I can learn from a person’s social media, personality etc. and I think that’s what makes people “admirable” in the first place. I want to learn something and I want to improve myself while at the same time, wondering about how authentic people can be through just being themselves.

How would you describe YOUR personal brand? 🙂

My personal brand is fluffy, authentic and different.

Well, everybody could say that about themselves. But I’d say my Twitter bio “Madman without a box. British import product in Ireland soon.” is quite accurate.

Additionally I have this website and the blog, my paper.li newspaper which gets released daily with new information regarding social media, community management and gaming. I’d say my personal brand is good, but still has room for improvement, which is kind of why I’m writing this blog post. I want to improve, overstep the boundaries and redefine my own boundaries every new day.

I don’t like to stand still and I think that’s what my personal brand is about. It’s about retreating, attacking, try & error and especially about passion for what I do. Because that’s what I am. I’m a madman without a box, trying to reach for the stars and with every step I do I’m getting closer.

Okay, now I’m getting to nerdy with too much references to Doctor Who so it’s time to end this post.

Thank you for reading and see you next time!


Cheers!
Val

Social Media – Reach

How do I get the most out of my posts?

The first thing you need to do is, to create a content plan or a content calendar. Through organizing your social media activities you’ll find it much easier to post the right content at the right time. In this blog post I’m going to guide you through a few easy steps to improve your reach and sharing.


Which frequency is good for posting?

As you may have read in my Social Media Manager? WHO?! post, there are certain frequencies for posting on your social media channels as you don’t want to spam your followers. Not long ago, Socialbakers said that posting to Facebook once a day is a great idea since most of the top brands have an average post count of 1-2 per day. At the same time, most of the biggest media companies have an average post count of 7-8 per day.

This is barely a thing that you can apply to every company. You could better see it as a rough guideline to post between 5 – 10 times per week as a brand and about 4 – 10 times that much as a media company.

But why is it like that?
Well to be honest, no one really knows. Your audience is defining how much you can post as you’ll see their engagement going up or down if you change the frequency of your posts. I’d suggest you to keep an eye on the engagement and your audience and to examine it. I mean, think about yourself. Would you like to be spammed with 10 post per day by every company you’ve liked? I for sure, wouldn’t like that and I’d unfollow them. So keep it reasonable when you’re posting to Facebook and Twitter. Instagram however is another thing, you can safely post to Instagram up to 15 times per day as posting a lot on Instagram is absolutely normal for brands and normal customers.

You need to include your determined posting counts per day into your social media calendar. After implementing all that into it, you’ll have the oversight of all your social media activities what grant you the possibility of easily shifting around content to fill in gaps and remove posts from time frames that seem to be crowded “too” much.


When’s the right time for posting?

That’s an easy question! And the answer is, that it depends on your audience. Once you figured out what you’ll be posting where and how much, you’ll need to find out when to post it! You could of course always share it at anytime you want it to be shared but you could also watch out for the right times, when your audience is the most active and most likely to see your content.

And that’s – again – an easy thing! There are several tools out there like Hootsuite, Buffer, Klout and more, that’ll examine your social media profiles and display you the time where you’re most likely to get the highest rate of engagement for your content.


Sharing things twice?!

Yes! You should share your content more than once! Not only, because you invested quite some time to create it but also because you won’t be able to reach 100% of your audience with just one post. Sharing your content more than once can get you 3,150% more traffic as you make sure that most of your audience will be able to see it. You can basically share your published content weeks, months and even years after the original date it was published.


Don’t use the same message every time!

Every time you post something, change the message! The human brain filters information even if we don’t notice it. So it you post a few times without changing the message, the brain will possibly disregard it as “spam” and you won’t really be interested in reading it. So whenever you post something or schedule a post, change the message you’re posting it with. That nearly costs no time and will still generate engagement just through putting in a little bit of work there.


URL Tracking! Wait…WHAT?!

Yes, you hear right. I mean, knowing you have content out there and knowing that it generates traffic to your site is one thing, knowing exactly where those viewers and the traffic are from, is even better! And additionally the URL tracking gives you the possibility to find out when it’s time for your content to “retire”. To say it in League of Legends terms, to get a little bit nerdy here, Nasus would say “Everything has an expiration date!”. And that’s absolutely right! As great as your content might be, there will come the time when you just can’t post it anymore because the engagement is down to zero or everybody already saw it. That’s why you should review your metrics regularly to determine if your content is still performing well or if you can sort out a few things that don’t need to be reposted again so that you have space for new content in your social chain.


What do you think about this? What’s your approach with your content plan or social chain? Share it in the comments down below!

 

Cheers!
Val

Social Media Manager? WHO?!

What is a Social Media Manager? 


Brutally Honest Job Titles would say that it’s the “person with the Twitter password” and even though it’s funny, it’s not really true. A Social Media Manager is the standard conversation starter, besides discussing the weather or “What do you do?”, “How’s your day?”, “Throwback Thursday, share your best throwbacks! #tbt”.

So what a Social Media Manager (SMM or SMMGR) actually does:

  •  evaluating existing social media activities and channels from different brands
  • developing a unique, individually tailored social media strategy for each client
    • evaluating the individual clients needs of being on social media
    • target demographics and corporate brand identity on social media
  • Facebook
    • creating ads
    • building up a community and gathering “likers”
    • like pages with content related to your own and engage with them
    • create content on behalf of the client
  • Twitter
    • create and manage accounts
    • developing and tweeting content
    • following and interacting with other accounts / brands
      • influencers and thought leaders especially
    • keep track of mentions and favorites likes and respond
    • tracking keywords
    • creating ads on Twitter’s own advertising platform
  • Google+ (mostly caused by the great SEO benefit through the Google+ presence)
    • sharing similar content to the one on Facebook
    • interacting with other accounts by putting them into circles and interacting with their content
  • YouTube (only when client has videos to share)
    • create account and subscribe to other accounts
    • adding videos to primary accounts playlist
    • interacting with content of other accounts
  • Reputation Management
    • monitoring site reviews like Kununu, XING, LinkedIn, Yelp, Citysearch, Google+ Local
      • responding to reviews if needed
  • Pinterest (for strong visually focused clients)
  • LinkedIn 
    • sometimes managing personal LinkedIn accounts of executive board members, VIP’s etc.
    • setting up business pages
    • posting information relevant to the field the client works in
  • Tracking and analyzing the Social Media Strategy the Social Media Manager implemented to constantly improve

 

Tell me about the To-Do’s!


Daily

  • respond to messages and mentions
  • create conversations with brand ambassadors
  • find and engage potential customers
  • research the social media industry for new trends and information
  • look-up and go over your content plan, make edits if necessary
  • Post on Twitter
  • Post on Facebook (less frequency than Twitter)
  • Post on Google+ (less frequency than Twitter)
  • Post on Instagram (less frequency than Twitter)
  • Post on LinkedIn (even less than Facebook, Google+ and Instagram)
  • monitor the competition
  • compose a blog post

Weekly

  • engage with community VIP’s, thought leaders and marketing partners
  • discuss tactics with your client and/or team
  • evaluate your social media

Monthly

  • evaluate the whole month’s social media and edit your strategy and stretch goal if necessary
  • attend local and national / international events related to your brand or industry field
  • send out a monthly social media report to other departments and ask for ideas and feedback to improve

2 – 3 times a year

  • evaluate your social media from the past  4 – 6 months and adjust your goals
  • evaluate and edit your KPI’s if necessary
  • evaluate your team capacity and needs (if you have a team / want to build a team)

 

And at last I’d like to share something that I’ve experienced over the past 3 years that I’ve been doing Social Media:
There are no social media expert’s. Regardless of what they tell you. They can be strategists or advocates or managers but there’s simply too much out there, to be an expert in every field. Everyone has his special field where he or she is perfect in and knows exactly what he or she is doing, but no one of us is an expert as we’re all constantly learning new things and new approaches every day.

That’s it for now.


 

Cheers!
Val

Fighting ADHD & Depression with GAMES?!

Yes, you read right. I’m going to write something about fighting ADHD & Depression through playing games. As you maybe already read in my Newspaper and the relating article on the Parent Herald, there is a company called “Akili Interactive” that wants to create a game which is currently running under the name “Project EVO”.


 

Why am I telling you this?

About a year ago, I was working as a Co-Founder & CFO with a small indie studio called “The Pickle Bakery” which now goes by the name “Quokka Games“. The purpose of The Pickle Bakery was to develop a game called “Epic Life” to actively fight depression and other mental health issues through entertaining and psychologically reasonable “Quests” who were supposed to be related to your real life. Back then, I really loved the idea – and I still do! – and offered my help to those friends of mine. By that time the Twitter User @isayshotgun just started the Hashtag #NotJustSad and I wrote something about that on the Pickle Bakery Tumblr.

[spoiler title=”The original post on Tumblr (GERMAN)”]
Note: I’m working on a translation as soon as I’ve found time for it, I’ll keep you posted.


#NotJustSad – Depressionen!

Derzeit gibt es auf Twitter den viel genutzten Hashtag #NotJustSad, welcher von den betroffenen einer Depression genutzt wird um zum Ausdruck zu bringen, dass sie eben nicht traurig oder schlecht gelaunt, sondern wirklich ernsthaft an einer Krankheit leiden.

Initiiert wurde das ganze von der Twitter Nutzerin “Jenna Shotgun” (@isayshotgun) welche bereits seit längerer Zeit zu ihrer Depression twittert und laut eigener Aussage bereits seit dem 16. Lebensjahr daran erkrankt ist.

Zum Hashtag schreibt die “SZ” folgendes:
“Tatsächlich ist der Titel stimmig: Eine Depression ist mehr als eine Traurigkeit. Gedrückte Stimmung, Interessenverlust und Antriebslosigkeit sind die Hauptsymptome.
Zusätzlich können Konzentrationsschwierigkeiten, mangelndes Selbstwertgefühl, Gefühle von Schuld und Wertlosigkeit, pessimistische Gedanken an die Zukunft, Schlafstörungen, verminderter Appetit, Suizidgedanken oder -handlungen auftreten. Mediziner diagnostizieren eine Depression, wenn je zwei Anzeichen aus der Gruppe der Hauptsymptome als auch der Zusatzsymptome auftreten – und wenn die Beschwerden seit mindestens zwei Wochen anhalten.”

Wir, von der PickleBakery, fühlen natürlich besonders mit den betroffenen und auch ich, Jonas (@Dr_Saeras), der diesen Artikel schreibe, weiß wovon ich spreche, wenn es um Depressionen geht.

Depressionen sind eine Volkskrankheit und schon lange nicht mehr die “Traurigkeit” als welche sie von vielen deklariert werden. Längst haben sie die Massen erreicht, unabhängig von Alter, Bildung oder Beruf! Vom Manager bis zur Putzfrau kann es jeden treffen.

Ben, Reiko und ich sind drei junge Gründer mit der Vision, wissenschaftliche Spiele mit präventiver Wirkung auf Depressionen zu produzieren und somit die Menschen glücklich zu machen! Deshalb entwickeln wir Epic Life!

Wir würden uns freuen wenn ihr uns an den Twitter Account
@PickleBakery oder mir an @Dr_Saeras schreibt und erzählt, was eure Geschichte ist. Wir interessieren uns für euch und ihr wärt uns im Kampf gegen diese Krankheit eine große Hilfe!

Macht’s gut und bleibt stark, ihr alle seid wundervoll!

Euer_e,
Jonas / Vicky

[/spoiler]

So I am telling you this cause I still believe in the idea of helping out not just children, but whole humanity, through playing games. Gamers aren’t that brutally cold killer machines the media likes to present. The German project @Gamers4Refugees is only one example that proves the media wrong. But I’m not going into bashing the media because that’s not the point of what I have to say.


What’s the problem exactly?

Well, I’m not a scientist and I’m not a psychologist either, but I’m a person who’s interested in knowing literally everything even though that task is hard to complete.
So let me explain the problem to you.

Children who’re suffering from ADHD are really having a hard time trying to behave or concentrate to a certain topic for a longer time period. Often they are called “children with extraordinary (aggressive)” behaviour because people mistake their inability to concentrate and behave with being dumb when they are, instead, just ill and suffering from a mental disease.


And what’s the big deal now?

According to a recent study by Reuters, a study involved 80 kids aged between eight and 12 and 1/2 of those kids had ADHD. After playing a scientifically engineered game especially for treating ADHD together with medicine, the kids showed improvements in memory and levels of attention which is really a good thing.

So if it works for kids, why shouldn’t it work for adults, too?

I did a bit of research on Akili Interactive or “Akili Labs” and read a few relating articles. Humans can use only 10% of their brain and it’s still faster than any computer a normal person could buy with money. We’re able to make decisions so quick that we don’t even register that there was a decision. Children with ADHD also have a fast working brain, that’s not the problem. The problem is, that the brain of a kid which ADHD – as far as I understand it – works on decisions much faster than our brain and through switching from topic to topic it keeps itself busy.

A game like Project EVO which is designed to require the player to react with remarkable fast decision finding while, at the same time, blocking out distractions to focus completely on the InGame quest.


I still don’t get what you want.

What I want? I want this to happen!
As I said above: If you’re able to do it with kids, then why shouldn’t you be able to do it with adults, too? There are so many people out in the world who’d actually improve their life through gaming. And that’s what I wanted to say is all about.

If you’re able to create a game with an outstanding unique experience on a scientifically reasonable logic to help treating this issues, then you’re also able to create a game which is able to help prevent the issues completely. And that’s not only working with ADHD. As I said, my friends are able to prove that you can prevent depression, Project EVO treats ADHD, so what’s next?

I think we’re past the point where games were only for your entertainment. They, of course, are still – and shall still be! – part of our daily entertainment but they can be so much more.

I’m thrilled on what’s going to happen in the next years and I wish all the best of luck to everyone out there who’s working on projects regarding this issues.


Take care!
Val

YouTube Kickstart 101

Concept

Starting out with YouTube isn’t that hard, starting out with YouTube to be successful or to at least have a chance, needs some planning. So if you want to start out with YouTube, have a plan of what you want to do, a structure guiding your while setting up your channel.


Name

Choose a short name which people are able to remember. “Valgard” or “Val” are good names, while “SuperImbaMegaSayajinHairValgard3000HDXXX” or “ValgardLP9000HD” aren’t viable names. Also don’t restrict yourself through your name. “LP”, “Tutorial” or something like that would limit you to a certain kind of content on your channel.


Channel-URL

A few years ago you were actually able to change your channel URL anytime you wanted, just like your Facebook URL. Sadly, this feature isn’t available anymore if you don’t fulfil special requirements. As soon as you fulfill those, change it! It’ll help you to follow the structure you set up with your concept.


Profile picture

You already implemented a structure and put some thoughts into the concept of your channel. Now you need something to show your viewers who you are and what you do. Ideally that’s a unique selling proposition pointing out why your channel is special. As someone who wants to do YouTube professionally, I’d advice you to take a picture of yourself. It gives your viewers an image of who you are and how you look like so it’s easier for them so link your voice to your face. If you don’t want to choose a picture of yourself because you don’t like to be seen on the internet or because you’re maybe not a private person but a brand, you can – of course – use a fancy logo, too.


Channel banner

Same as for your profile picture, goes for your channel banner. For this, I’d advise you to use something that is related to what you’re going to do. I told you not to use something like “LetsPlay” in your name, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use characters or something else from the gaming / anime scene if you actually are a “Let’s Play” YouTuber. Your banner is supposed to tell every visitor what you’re doing at first sight.

My advice is that you should keep it pretty simple and basic so don’t use any special fonts – Yes, Comic Sans is a special font…! – or fancy things that are hard to read.
KISS (keep it short & simple) really applies here.


Trailer? Trailer!

Your channel is your first point of contact and interaction with your viewers, even before Social Media. So you should think about a trailer that is representing what you’re going to do and where you want to be so that viewers and subscribers can get an image and an actual reason why they should watch your videos or subscribe to you. If you have no idea where to start or what to talk about, get yourself some Inspiration from bigger YouTube channels.


Social Media

Social Media is…you know…you can’t go around it nowadays. YOU need it! Just create new social media profiles with your channel name  and connect your channel’s social media profiles to the channel itself. Please keep in mind to be active on your social media pages but to not overdo it. You don’t want people reconsidering their follow or like just because your spamming them with some “super mega cool yolo swagghetti” shit.

Social Media Profiles MUST have:

Social Media Profiles nice to have:

  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • You Now
  • Twitch

 

Sound & Video

What about dad’s old video camera from when he was young? You could use…no, please don’t.
Of course I know that you guys might not be able to get yourself the new state of the art video camera and light setup. But please, if you don’t have the money to buys some high end stuff, invest in a good HD webcam. They’re not holding up for a long time but if you do it right, you can use them to start out without looking like too cheap.


YOUR appearance

If you decide to be shown in your videos, please use makeup. I know this may sound weird to you at first. But please, don’t lose your sexuality over wearing some makeup. You’re not gay just because you wear makeup in your videos to make yourself look more flawless and ready for HD filming.

Of course you don’t need to do as much as Kim Kardashian but that’s not my point. My point is, that you shouldn’t look like a mess when you’re on camera. You want to do it professional, so do it all the way. If you don’t want to do it it’s totally fine but I for myself do recommend it when your skin isn’t that perfect and you have a few pimples and so on. And it’s really easy to use. The products I use are basically MAC Cosmetics Powder and a little bit of Bronzer for summed up about 100€ or something and it lasts a few months if you use it daily so even longer if you just use it for a video every 2nd or 3rd day.


Thumbnails

Gladly you’re able to set your own thumbnails nowadays. The thumbnail you pick, is the picture that is going to be shown to your viewer before they start the video. The picture you pick here should follow these 2 short guidelines:

  • 1280px * 720px to use the 16:0 format provided by YouTube to its fullest
  • Let it be outstanding! Choose something that makes your video interesting for your  viewer.

 

Music

In general you could say that using music is good as long as it suites your content or type of videos you produce. Please keep in mind that you should only use music you have the licence for. If you don’t have the licence for any music you can use from artists that offer them under the Creative Commons Licence. That means that the artist offers his music for free as long as you name him. If you have to do that in the video description or in the video itself depends on the artist, keep that in mind.


The Endcard

The endcard is pretty much self-explaining. You place it at the end of the video to use it for showcasing your other videos, asking for comments and likes or shares and subscriptions. If you have no real idea what an endcard is, watch some famous vloggers and take a look at their endcard, that should give you a pretty good impression.


Video description

Yes, I could – again! – tell you to make it as interesting as possible. But to keep it real and honest, it’s a description to inform your viewers with or to link your social media profiles in. You’re going to make it useful, not extra fancy and outstanding. You could build it up like this:

[spoiler title=”Expand Me”]Thanks for watching my video! If you liked it, please subscribe to my channel and follow me on my social media profiles. Links down below!
Facebook: ABC
Twitter: ABC
Music by: ABC
(Insert here whatever else you want to tell or link)[/spoiler]


Tags

Tags are pretty much self-explaining. More is more is a rule that absolutely applies here!

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use tags that don’t match the video content as you’d be violating YouTube’s Community TOC’s.


That’s all for now. I might update this in the future or post an update to it.

Cheers!
Val

Building a Community: Start-up 101

How do I build a Community from scratch?

The biggest problem out there is, that people don’t listen. Startups focus on getting bigger and bigger most of the time and when they are established they feel like they can just go and throw some money to the Social Media Department.

BÄÄM! OUT OF NOWHERE! COMMUNITY!

Nope, doesn’t work like that, sorry. Instead they should focus on having strong relationships with their customers and getting them to engage in discussions. I had the honour to experience a practice like this for myself with a great example called “Meshfire”.

Meshfire’s CMO is Amber Osborne (Twitter @MissDestructo), one of the Forbes Top 50 Social CMO’s. When I first encountered Meshfire it was a pretty young start-up in Seattle with a great tool and a vision. And as a Social Media Manager myself, I – of course – tried it out as new tools and techniques are interesting and always welcome.

So I joined Meshfire’s customer base and the first impression was amazing. I was welcomed by an introduction video and a tutorial done by the CMO herself. That kind of hooked me up and got me to engage with the company where Amber took the customer relationship to the next level through friending me on Facebook. She invited me to the Meshfire group where the so called “Firestarters” are being invited to, to engage with the company and help making a better product and generate a great experience for the customer base.


Why is this a “good practice”?

Easy question. Cause you’re making it interesting for the customer! Generating a great customer experience helps you with building a strong customer relationship and not only rewards you with happy customers as it also provides you valuable feedback from a selected base of engaged customers. Let me split this into 3 easy steps:

  1. Contact the customer via phone, twitter, mail or whatever seems suitable for your brand. Ask them about themselves and what they think about your product. Furthermore you should ask them about the experience they’ve had with your company and what they’d suggest you to do better. Build up a relationship.
  2. Invite them to a private Facebook group only for your customers / VIP customers.
  3. Introduce them to the group and help them to get involved in the discussions around the product.
  4. Do this over and over again.

Of course you can’t call or contact them all. But that’s not my point. You can pick a few people from your community who are already engaging with your company and the product. Twitter for example is a great place to find people for that purpose. I for myself became a Firestarter through Twitter as I was mentioning the company, asking questions, providing feedback and being interested about the product.

As I mentioned before one of the biggest start-up problems is, that they want to go too big, too fast. You can’t build bridges over night or throw some nice rewards, badges and exclusive yolo shit at them to get them engaged. If you want true engagement you shouldn’t rely on tempting them with nice rewards as they also stretch your budget more than you might be able to give. Following those steps above won’t guarantee you a growth over night but it’ll definitely help you to improve your product what – in the end – will help you grow your customer base.


 I still have a shitload of money I want to spend!

Okay, you’re a start-up and you feel like you’re established so you want to do something with your money. I can totally understand that.

But instead of going out there with a big marketing campaign and TV and poster commercials and god knows what, keep it simple. You’re a start-up which is trying to build up a community on scratch. Why don’t you try to invite your local customers / potential customers for meetups and some drinks? Or invest it into a good community manager and a social media manager to work together closely?

The point I’m trying to pitch you guys here is, that building communities from scratch isn’t a miracle but isn’t working as a magic overnight procedure either. It’s time consuming and needs constant care and engagement with passion.

But when you’ve done, you’ll not only feel proud about yourself, you’ll also have something to work with.


Cheers!
Val

Internal Communication

…or why it is important to be in the loop.

Community Management is a very diverse job.
You have a lot of responsibilities for a wide variety of different products, languages and teams to keep in touch with.
Additionally the CM is responsible for the communication from the team to the community and backwards.
To be able to communicate, the CM – of course – needs information to share.

 


That’s the point where the issues start, when your internal communication isn’t on point.


 

So what happens, when I don’t get any information to share with the public?

In the best case scenario? – Nothing.
In the worst case scenario? – The biggest shitstorm you’ll ever be able to imagine.

The point is, that we’re humans. Humans are basically seeking for information for their whole life.
And whether we want to admit it or not: We do hate it, when we can’t get all the information we want.

So far, so good.


 

I need an information but no one tells me it’s there! 

To be honest, that’s a problem. You and your colleagues, should share all of your information.  A part of our job as a CM is to manage the community, which can be done best through guiding them towards the point where you want / need them.

The best way to do this, is to plan ahead. But to actually be able to plan ahead, you need information.
And you’ll need a lot of it, cause you should have a plan for every outcome of a situation that you can imagine with the information you’re given.


 

I’m not allowed to communicate the information I’ve got!

That’s actually not such a bad thing as you might think. At least you were able to acquire an information so you’re able to come up with something.  It may – of course – not be the master key to the galaxy, but it’s something.
And you can still use that information to guide the community.
If you know where the journey goes, you can plan the route ahead. You know what I mean? – You’re probably a CM, of course you do.


 

When other people fail to provide the information I need, what do I do?

If you rely on other people to provide you with the necessary information to do your job accordingly, you should always try to get as much information as possible out of them.  If this – like stated above – fails, you’ll be in trouble and – again – relying on others to help you.
The point is, that our job is based on information.

At least I am driven by the need of an efficient and productive environment in my private and professional life.
I do need as much information as I can get so that I’m able to plan everything ahead and be as efficient as I can be without being a machine.


 

How does all that stuff above benefit me in any way?

Well, a happy customer is a good customer. Your community is consisting of your customers. You can’t always be the messenger of love & harmony.  At least sometimes you’ll have to bring bad news.
If you get the information you need fast enough, you’ll have everything you need to prepare a plan for different situations.

What do they ask?
What are they probably interested in?
Hypothetically they could ask A) B) C) D) and so on.

 

We’re Community Managers.
We’re the direct front line of communication towards the customer in the outside world.

Our job is to maintain the community in a healthy state were they feel cared and understood by the people inside the company.

So please, if you’re a Lead, Social Media Manager, Product Director, Support Representative, Marketing & PR professional etc.: keep us in the loop.
At least one of us, to inform the rest. And make sure they inform us. We’re the ones who’ll have to bath in shame and anger when you fail to communicate towards us properly.


 

Information matters.
Information prepares.
Information forges efficiency and productivity.


 

Cheers!
Val