Community Managers from brands, agencies, professional organizations and more meetup periodically in New York City to network IRL and benefit from one another’s experiences—the good and bad. It’s a great way to share new knowledge and bond over common experiences.
This week, the #CMmeetup group gathered for a panel discussion on The Dark Side of Social Media. And here are the takeaways:
“Leverage your personal social capital only for your own creations.”
You may be the author of the latest viral social campaign. And of course, you work with a brand you believe in. “That doesn’t mean you should invest personal social capital to ensure the campaign’s success,” says Savannah Peterson, Global Community Manager at Shapeways, the 3D printing marketplace.
“Be open and honest about why you can’t be open and honest.”
When matters of privacy and legal concerns restrict how much a brand can share with fans and followers, share that fact with them instead. Honesty is really the best policy. “Be sincere, and also let them know what steps your team is taking to correct the concern or improve service,” advises Morgan Johnston, Corporate Communications Manager and Social Strategist for JetBlue Airways.
“Have fun with harmless mockery.”
Every brand gets made fun of; learn to roll with it. “When no one gets hurt and the teasing is in good fun, it can be a chance to show that the brand has a sense of humor and to engage in a bit of frivolity,” says Jeff Ramos, Community Manager with MKG.
“Behind every tool is a person.”
“Egregious mistakes cannot justifiably be attributed to a glitch or a platform error. People create and post content,” confirms Evan Watkins, Community Manager at MRY. The upshot: take time to make good choices because, in the end, you’re personally responsible.
Wish you’d been there to learn from the pros? Here’s a video of the lively panel discussion!
This is a guest post by Kelly Meyers, CODE AND THEORY
Posting the same piece of content across every social channel, all at the same time, without modifying a word, is something the average person would never do on their own social profiles. Yet, while the “brands should behave like people,” social media movement is far from new — agencies, marketers, and brands are all guilty of cross-posting content every single day.
Why don’t we cross-post in real life? And why shouldn’t your brand?
It’s simple. As my colleague Saeid and I discussed on Tuesday (and again on Thursday!), the Internet is made up of subcultures. Each environment has different relationship dynamics, communication styles, and cadence.
For example, I use Facebook to reach the closest people in my life, past, and present. It’s my “home” voice. Twitter is almost the complete opposite. It’s my “Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm” voice. Posting the same things on both channels could be perceived by each community as unproductive, awkward, and possibly rude.
We all use our different social profiles to participate in and build relationships with different communities. Not unlike relationships in real life, we behave differently from relationship to relationship. And your brand should too.
So, what is the solution for brands?
Ideally, when you are developing a social media strategy, you should always consider a unique approach for each platform. However, creating quality content for each channel can be time-intensive. To help decrease repeat-post offenses, here are three simple strategies you can implement today:
Establish conversation guidelines for your community manager that will open more opportunities for real-time content on more fast-paced channels like Twitter.
Don’t put Facebook first.
Split your content creation priorities in half. For example: 50% of the content should be created with Pinterest or Tumblr in mind, 50% with Facebook, and Google+ in mind. At least you won’t seem like a one-trick pony.
Bottom line: Every Internet subculture has different needs, behaviors, and rules. The more you understand and adapt to these communities, the more impactful your brand can be.
Let me be honest: I’m sick of seeing posts on LinkedIn looking for volunteers or interns to run social media. Furthermore, many of those that do offer pay, they are only suggesting a $30,000 salary.
The fact is this: those businesses misunderstand what social media is about — as do plenty of fresh-faced college graduates who think the job description consists of tweeting.
Social media managers and strategists don’t post on social media. They create, plan and execute marketing campaigns.
It’s all about social media strategy. Social media matters simply because of this fact — it’s new-age savvy marketing, not a just social tool.
2014: the year of salaried social media jobs
OK, so many businesses aren’t understanding the full importance of social media, but it’s at least important that businesses of every kind — non-profits, corporate and small businesses — recognize its potential. A staggering 88% of marketers would like to know the most effective social media uses.
Forbes declared last month that in 2014, investment in social media would be more than just a luxury — it will become necessary. A quick scan of social media-related postings on LinkedIn show that it’s true — many listings have the words “new position” embedded in there somewhere.
The publication also predicted there’d be a vast expansion in these six social media-related jobs: SEO Specialist, Social Media Strategist, Online Community Manger, Social Media Marketing Manager, Social Media Marketing Coordinator, and Blogger or Social Media Copywriter.
This expansion makes sense. The Internet is accessible almost everywhere and folks are consuming more tidbits of information than ever.
People certainly take advantage of it.
According to Chelsea Krost, the average person has their smartphone with them 20 hours out of the entire day. And 80% of people reach for their smartphone when they wake up.
But why are so many skeptical to jump on the bandwagon?
Here’s the big question in social media for businesses: how do I measure the return on investment (ROI)?
That question isn’t easily answered — because there’s no way to be 100% sure you’re tracking the right data to prove this… or that you even can track the right data.
Every company is different. And sometimes it’s about trial and error to figure out which platform is most effective for your business. B2B companies seem to have a lot of success on LinkedIn; while B2C companies, depending on what they do and if they’re business or service oriented, can see great success on Twitter or Instagram.
Regardless, Social Media Examiner reported that some businesses actually have mastered tracking ROI. It seems like most of those businesses don’t have direct proof per se, but use of social media is the differing variable when the company started to see decreases in spending or increases in sales.
When I talk about social media use I don’t mean quoting eccentric family members at Thanksgiving dinner on Twitter (though I’m guilty of this). I mean using it for marketing, branding, developing brand trust, hearing from individual customers, and doing damage control.
It’s pretty much a given that businesses, marketers, and even individuals (in a lot of fields, you market yourself) should care about these things.
A lot of businesses may not see an ROI on their social media, but the question should be this: why?
Sometimes it’s not about the use of social media as much as how it’s used. Social media can be used poorly or used well. Someone doing a company’s social media should be paid for their expertise — because social media is not just about posting on the platforms, it’s about posting content to the platforms.
According to HubSpot, companies that blog 15 times or more per month see an increase of five times the traffic on their site.
The other key to social media is persistence. Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Report also cited that companies using social media for three or more years said it helped by improving search rankings, creating more partnerships, generating ideas, increasing traffic, providing marketplace insight, and reducing marketing expenses — to name a few things.
Social media in use — effectively — isn’t just about posting. It’s about executing a strategy specifically tailored to a company — and it is proven to help marketing efforts.
So why aren’t you investing in social media?
Lane Blackmer is a self-employed former journalist. Although she’s no longer a newsie, Lane since discovered other uses for social media such as public relations, marketing, job searching and trying to win gift cards from her favorite local businesses through contests. Lane inhabits Philadelphia, where’s it’s not always sunny…but at least there’s cheese steaks. You can follow her on Twitter at @LaneBlackmer.
Image courtesy Social Media Examiner 2013 Report. Featured image courtesy Dan Meyers.
Amanda McCormick has been published in the Village Voice, the New York Observer, Heeb magazine, and the Bellevue Literary Review. She honed her writing and online media skills working for big brands like Miramax, Bertelsmann and Lifetime Television, but she is driven by a passion for grass-roots initiatives, entrepreneurs and those working on behalf of the public good (she teaches nonprofits how to bootstrap social media-rich websites on onehourwebsite.org).
One trend that’s been particularly fascinating is how important language is in defining who a person is and how they will engage (or not engage) on the social graph. The old holy grail of marketers–demographics–really only skims the surface. When you are capable of looking at the language people use to talk about themselves and what they care about, you have an incredible edge on predicting their behavior and likeliness to engage. That’s something we are able to do at the massive scale of the social networks and in real time at SocialFlow.
When I arrived at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which produces the New York Film Festival each year, I knew there were tons of people, especially young people, who were out there who had heard of us and were highly receptive to our mission to present and preserve interesting world and art cinema, we just weren’t providing the tools that would make that happen. In my two and a half years at the Film Society, I developed their first blog and integrated presence across social networks, but when it came to marquee events like the New York Film Festival, I really wanted to do more, despite not really having any budget to work with.
In 2010, as we planned to world premiere David Fincher’s The Social Network at the festival, and I seized the opportunity to integrate cutting edge social tools on the web to create a new experience for festival-goers. In WordPress I found a framework that I could rapidly develop a flexible platform for our programming that easily integrated Facebook and Twitter in-page. While Facebook Open Graph was relatively new, and most film festivals were slow to adopt it, we were able to offer our audience easy, seamless sign-in and live updates from our events. It helped us capture and connect to a tremendous amount of dynamic discussion among our audience — for the first time, for web visitors, the New York Film Festival encompassed conversation through the web.
You are driven by a passion for grass-roots initiatives, entrepreneurs and those working on behalf of the public good. Can you share some success stories?
I really love the challenge of building something from nothing — and finding creativity within limitation. When you’re talking about grass-roots cause marketing and nonprofits, often you’re dealing with organizations that have a wealth of what most brands would kill for — genuine affinity in spades. Social media has leveled the playing field in a lot of ways for causes that have vocal and passionate audiences, so part of what I do through my blog and speaking engagements is to help people leverage that passion.
By that token, small businesses and nonprofits would do well to look within and really mine internal resources. When I worked at the British Tourist Authority, I formed and led a social media “working group” that brought together employees to brainstorm tactics for using social media to market British Tourism to Americans. The working group was egalitarian in natureand included members from all departments and seniority levels, from senior management to customer service reps in the call center. The tactic we came up with, a Facebook fan page about British Film and Television, is still going strong four years later with lots of daily engagement and over 55,000 enthusiastic fans. I think all it took to get there was a little collaborative ingenuity that was able to piggy-back on affinity that was already out there.
Your blog Jellybean Boom shows nonprofits, small businesses, entrepreneurs, artist, and writers how to harness digital and social technology to amplify their message on a low budget. How do you do that?
Here’s the unifying quality of the people that I meet who are in nonprofits, working in small business, or doing their own thing in the arts — none of them are “phoning it in” or punching a clock. They all radiate passion, so the thing that I aim to do with what I blog about is to help to capture that passion in the service of raising awareness around whatever they are trying to raise awareness around. Not everyone’s a writer, but I think everyone can be coached to help translate that passion into communication tools, whether it’s a presentation, a video, or a Tweet.
On onehourwebsite.org, you advise nonprofits AGAINST blogging. What is the difference between a blog and a website?
Blogs completely democratized the process of getting a presence out there on the web — but the wonderful thing about platforms like WordPress is that they have grown and developed so much in terms of their complexity and capability they are incredible platforms on which the budget-strapped or budget-conscious can build a fully fledged website. I tell people to “make it not a blog” so that they take away the most obvious parts (comments, list of posts) that might signal to the visitor “this is a blog.” However I am a big advocate of having a blog be a part of the effort as well.
What’s your advice for people just stepping into the ever-changing social media landscape?
On the most basic level social should feel fun or connected to something that you or your organization feels passionately about. I always advise people to “dive in” and learn from the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day and many of us are better and more conversant on one social network than another. The trick is to start somewhere and find your niche.
You’ve co-organized the “Literature Unbound” panel discussion as part of Social Media Week NYC 2012. What was your inspiration?
I come from a background in both both film (I graduated from NYU film school and worked in production and development for many years) and fiction writing (I did an MFA in the subject at Columbia and worked as a reader for both the New Yorker and the Paris Review). At the same time, I am a lover of technology and felt a bit of frustration with the pace of innovation in both environments as digital and social media have transformed the audience’s relationship to interacting with stories in all media. Thispanel was a chance to bring together people I knew were working at and testing the boundaries of what storytelling and literature can be in the social age. We have innovators, entrepreneurs, founders, developers and academics on the panel — I can’t wait to hear what they come up with in regards to where “social literature” is going!
What do you hope to gain from Social Media Week NYC 2012?
I’ve been a part of Social Media Week as either a panelist or attendee since 2009. I’m just excited to see new types of organizations get involved and see what they are doing in the social space. I plan to attend as many events as possible.
Lisa Chau has been involved with Web 2.0 since graduate school at Dartmouth College, where she completed an independent study on blogging. She was subsequently highlighted as a woman blogger in Wellesley Magazine, published by her alma mater. Since 2009, Lisa has worked as an Assistant Director at the Tuck School of Business. In 2012, she launched GothamGreen212 to pursue social media strategy projects. You can follow her on twitter.