Your company finally approved social media!…NOW WHAT?

Good job, you showed your boss the stats for why your company should use social media. And even better, they took your advice! Now what?

  • Facebook. Get a corporate/fan page to discuss events and conferences coming up; mention white-papers; highlight industry news. Facebook is more about spending lots of time, so make it something to really engage your followers.
  • Twitter. Same as above, but keep it short. Followers are looking for small bits of information and want to consume it all at once. If you can keep your tweet under 10 words, you’re golden.  There’s not a lot of room for your own advertising, so check out this article of how to brand your Twitter page.
  • LinkedIn. If there’s any social networking site meant for the business world, it’s LinkedIn. Just look at your profile, it’s your resume. You can create a company page discussing your events and publications. You can also join industry-related groups to discuss the latest trends. Or even better, you can start a group and position yourself as an industry leader!
  • YouTube. How-to videos are one of the most common themes people look for on YouTube. I learned how to design Android apps and play the guitar on YouTube. My mom learned needlepoint stitches on YouTube. Create “how-to” or information videos for your industry, and surely you will be seen as a leader.

Your options are endless. Just make sure you keep up with it so you don’t leave your followers hanging!


So your CEO and board still won’t allow social media…

You hear the same thing every day. “The board is afraid of what social media can lead to…” “the CEO thinks nobody in the industry uses social media.” How do you show them the light? Just show them the numbers.

  1. Seventeen percent of consumers’ PC time is spent on Facebook
  2. Time spent on social app (mobile) usage is up 76% over last year
  3. While 18-24 year olds spend the most time using social networks (11+ hours/month), 55-64 your olds still spend more than half that amount
  4. More than half of people aged 25-34 use social networking in the office
  5. Sixty-five percent of social activities is to learn more about brands/products/services
  6. If that doesn’t work, point out that almost every new person in the industry is younger than your CEO or board, and most likely even younger than you. Therefore, the industry is using social media.

(stats 1-5 are from the Nielsen Social Media Report, 2012)

Next step:Your company finally approved social media!…NOW WHAT?

6 Tips For Powerful Social Media Writing

Let’s get real, each medium you write for has its own needs, benefits, and downfalls. Therefore, you must cater to each medium, not just in text, but also in display.

Craft different messages for each social media medium
Most companies use multiple social media mediums.. But Twitter maxes out at 140 characters…minus 20 if you include a link…minus another 15 or so if you want someone to include RT @NewMediaNook. Facebook, on the other hand, has no maximum (of if it does, I’ve certainly never met it). Therefore, do not use the same message Facebook as you would in Twitter.  In addition to the length issue, your call to action is different: on Facebook, you ask your followers to “share” or “like,” yet with Twitter, you ask your followers to “retweet.” I know it’s easier to craft only one message, but believe me, your posts will improve if you treat each message for each medium.

Break up blog content with sub-headlines
If this page was just 20 paragraphs of content, you wouldn’t even want to start reading. Sub-headlines allow the reader to get a quick idea of what that paragraph is about, and decide within a split-second whether or not they want to read it. Furthermore, if the headline is good enough, they can get the entire message by just reading the headline, and completely ignoring the rest of the text.

Use bullets and numbered lists
If you’ve ever read High Fidelity, you will appreciate this part. The brain understands lists better than anything. Top Science Image Galleries of 2010 (Wired);  Six gadget trends to look for at CES (CNN); Super Bowl Greatness: Top 10 Big Game Moments (bleacherreport). If you are looking up how to lose weight, would you rather read an article titles How to Lose Weight, or Top-5 Ways to Lose Weight. Just don’t overdo it; using 50 bullets or points defeats the purpose!

Use images (and infographics)
Images draw people in. They want to read what the image is about, and they want to share the images. Especially infographics, which spread like wildfire.

Cut it down
People don’t have the time (nor the desire) to read your innermost deepest thoughts. Get to the point and move on.

Provide relevant links
Examples can bring your point to full-circle. Don’t link every single word, but if it supports your argument, be sure to include it!


Top-7 Ways Companies Can Use Social Media

So the VP of communications finally wants to get on the social media bus. Or maybe there’s a new intern who wants to push this social-thingiemajig. No matter what the case, small business or large, big budget or no budget, social media can work. And here are just a few ways to get started:

  1. Use the medium creatively. Create polls, contests, games…anything to keep people coming back to your page.
  2. Make your customers do all the work. Seriously. Give them a little bait, and let them tweet away about your new product, paper, conference, etc. People are more likely to listen to their friends than a company anyways, so you might as well encourage your followers to write on behalf of you.
  3. Do something that will go viral. OK, it’s hard to create a meme — not everyone can create the next LOLZ Cats or TextsFromHillary — but if you know your customers, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Start with a video, picture, or infographic, and let your followers take it from there.
  4. Toot your own horn. You’re great, and you want to make sure your followers know why you are so much better than everyone else.
  5. Integrate your marketing. Add your handles to your email and print pieces.
  6. Get your CEO involved. Customers enjoy feeling like they have access to powerful people, and your CEO tweeting is just one way to help.
  7. Just ask for “likes.” Mention it on your webpage or email; add a sign if you have a store; put it in a print piece. Besides, how will people know if you don’t tell them?

10 Ways to Improve Your Klout

  1. Get connected. Sounds a bit “duh,” right? But if you don’t actually connect to Klout, Klout won’t know what to measure you on.
  2. Connect ALL your sites. Klout doesn’t just measure Twitter. Klout looks at your total social influence. Facebook. YouTube. LinkedIn. Instagram. It all matters.
  3. Create content worth sharing. Klout measures your influence. So if others are not sharing your posts, obviously you are not influential! Just some thoughts:
    1. News stories
    2. Photos
    3. Infographics
    4. Share tips
  4. Write with compelling headlines. People won’t even want to read what you write if the headline doesn’t grab them! This may seem counter-intuitive, but start with the conclusion.
  5. Engage in conversation (preferably with others with high Klout). If you converse with people who have high Klout, that increases your Klout. Don’t  just blah blah blah it; make it matter!
  6. Start discussions amongst your followers. This creates a need for others to be engaged and use your handle. It can be “what topics do you want the next conference to cover; what was your favorite part about XYZ; what are your thoughts on ABC” …it really doesn’t matter.
  7. Find others who are influential in your area. Type in a key term for your industry in Twitter, and have them list by top Tweeters. Connecting to them will help you find others to connect to.
  8. Separate your Tweets/posts. My company has a magazine. Someone randomly decided to tweet EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE within a span of about 3 minutes. It’s great that it’s all out there. But this also means that, since the “half-life” of a Tweet is only a few hours, someone who checks Twitter 5 hours later is not likely to find any of the magazine articles. But by sending them out every few hours – or even one a day – we increase our visibility.
  9. Tweet/post at peak times. According to URL shortener, the best time to post is on a weekday from 1-3 pm. I heard some other statistic that the best time is 10 am on a Saturday. This doesn’t help ya, does it? Nah, it doesn’t help me either. So you need to run your own analytics to see what works best for your own industry/followers. Look at when your tweets get retweeted and when your followers increase. After a couple of months (yes, months, you want to look for long-term trends) you will see when you should be posting.
  10. KEEP IT UP! Remember, this is an ongoing score. If you stop…if your engagement stops…if your followers stop…your Klout will fall!

Does Your Klout Score Really Matter?

If you are reading this, you probably first looked up sources on Klout. You probably have already heard horror stories about the guy who didn’t get a job because he didn’t know what Klout was, and as it turns out, he had a low score.

Can this even happen? Is it legal? Well if you are looking for a job in social media and you have low klout, of course it matters! It indicates you do not know how to leverage social media tools. If you ran a hospital and you were hiring a doctor, would you hire a doctor with low boards and a low GPA? NO…you would want someone with proven ability!

First of All, What is Klout?

Basically, through a bunch of algorithms, Klout determines how much influence you have over the social world. Do people retweet your tweets? Do people engage in conversation with you? Do people mention your handle in their tweets? Do you have thousands of followers? Are your followers bots, or real? Are your followers influential, or are they nobodies in the social world?

Yeah, Klout measures all that. Just think of The Influentials, by Jon Berry and Ed Keller.

Back To How Klout Matters…

My 9-5 (or really, 9-8 or -9 or so) involves putting together conferences. I am using #FollowFriday / #FF for our exhibitors, promoting both the conference, and the companies who pay to be a part of our conference. I have gone through my list of 70 exhibitors who have submitted twitter handles, and have added in their Klout score and their number of followers. I’m not going to tweet out all 70 at once. If I do eventually get the all accounts, it will happen over the course of 6 weeks. But let’s get real. What do I get out of this? The tweeter with a score of 80 or 90 following me helps ME more than the tweeter with a score of 10 could help me. That’s because people with high Klout following me makes me more reputable, thus increasing my Klout. And the tweeter with a score of 80 or 90 with over 100,000 followers can retweet to a larger group, including my handle, helping me get more followers.

Of course I’m altruistic and want to help the small-guy just starting off. Twitter is this great equalizer, with the potential to pull a mom-and-pop business to the top! So yes, I will randomly choose a few tweeters with lower scores or less followers on #FF and mention their handle. But I want my own score to rise. I want my followers to rise. So I am going to do most of my promotion on Tweeters who already have high scores.

So How Do You Get A High Score And Increase Your Followers?

Oh, sure you want to know. I’m sure you skipped the whole beginning and went straight to this portion! Well there’s no quick and easy way. At least, not if you want to do it for free (pssst, you can actually pay to promote a hash, or your handle).

Free Ways

My company’s handle was struggling. We were getting maybe 10 followers a month. It was sickly. I had nothing to show my boss. I couldn’t say “look at this awesome thing I did for our company!”

Every day, I send out news clips on Twitter. I hash the important terms that I think people will look up, whether it’s regulation, the elections, or a cool movie. If the article is about a company or an individual with a handle, instead of saying “Microsoft sold…” I will say “@Microsoft sold…” That then puts me in more twitter searches. If someone goes to Microsoft’s Twitter page, my tweet about them will show up, and maybe they will click on me to see who I am, and will follow me. And suddenly I went from gaining 10 followers a month to an additional 100 a month.

Of course, you want to make sure everything is well integrated. If you send out regular emails, make sure your twitter handle and maybe a specific hash about the content of the email is not only on your email, but is linked in your email. If you have a web page, make sure your twitter (and Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) is all linked on the main page (and all the others, too, if you can give up the real estate).

Paid Ways

Hmm…this has been a lot already, and I’m off to a tangent. Check back for another post on this.

So How Does Your Score Matter?

Job opportunities based on Klout…
Others wanting to be associated with you…
Free perks

Say what?…FREE???

Think back to the book I mentioned earlier. Klout measures your influence. And if people listen to you about where to eat, what books to buy, and who to vote for, then a company is likely to want to give you free stuff so you can then use your Klout to talk about how great they are.

But Don’t Get Too Caught Up With Numbers


Yeah, really. It’s an algorithm. Algorithms are science, but only according to what the people who designed the algorithm decide what is important. It’s great to get free stuff, but I prefer to focus on trends. You might only appeal to a small group of people. You may never have reason to be as popular as Justin Bieber (who typically has a higher Klout than the President). And you shouldn’t be ashamed of never having Bieber’s perfect Klout score of 100. But is your Klout steadily increasing? Are your followers steadily increasing? Do your followers engage in conversations with you, and retweet what you are saying?

Yes, Klout is a great metric. And you definitely should have it on your radar. But they regularly “retool” their algorithms. My company Klout went from 42 to 26 to 50 — each leap taking place over the course of a day —  due to the retooling. So don’t get down about a low Klout. But use it as one of many guides.


Branding Your Twitter Page

From anarchist to business architect, Twitter provides a fast, easy way to get information across to your audience. News stations use Twitter, politicians use Twitter, and even teddy bears use Twitter. But wait, how do you make yourself seem legitimate on the same platform as teddy bears? Are you trying to connect to Paris Hilton’s followers, or are you trying to make sincere business connections?

Twitter allows a bit of branding. Now, you have to be big, like Coke for major branding and banner abilities. But there’s still some wiggle room. First off, you can upload your own background. Have your own webpage? No problem, use your web background as your Twitter background. This creates for consistency! Or use the extra space in the browser to advertise yourself or your company.

Extra space?…HUH? Twitter has a fixed width of 865px, leaving the rest of the screen for backgrounds. Twitter backgrounds are left aligned, which means you need to keep the important information to the left of the screen. The twitter feeds are automatically centered, so what’s visible on the right is random depending on the screen size.

Consider space for your extra information/images based on the following:

  • 99% of visitors have 1024px wide resolutions, leaving 66px left
  • 82% of visitors have 1280 wide resolutions, leaving 194px left
  • 56.1% of visitors have 194px, leaving 1366px wide resolutions left
  • 42.3% of visitors have resolutions wider than 1366px, leaving up to 520px left

With the additional 66+px of space, you can do any of the following:

  • Adding in your website
  • Adding your email address
  • Including personal information
  • Information about your company
  • Listing important dates for your company, such as conferences
  • Listing your Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social network accounts
  • And even a picture
  • Have another idea?…please leave it in the comment section!

Here are a few examples:

Click the image to see the full view

Twitter branding exampleBarack Obama has a very aesthetically pleasing way to present the various Twitter handles.

I would show Mitt Romney’s page as well to prevent and political biases, but his does not utilize the extra space for marketing.

Twitter branding example 1CBOE includes a lot of text. However, it gives more information than the Twitter blurb allows, and uses the space wisely.

Twitter branding example 2OptionsCity provides information about the company, but is not overwhelming like CBOE. In addition to describing the company, they provide ways to contact them.

In a world where teenagers are controlling media trends, it is difficult for businesses to compete while keeping a professional feel. Branding Twitter pages is just one step to merging the two worlds.