Category Archives: Social Media Training Courses

Stop Using Giveaways to Attract Instagram Followers

We used to see it all the time on Facebook. Now the pernicious practice of using giveaways to attract followers has spread to Instagram as well.

Here’s an example, from a major New Zealand brand, posted just last month:

instagram-contest

We’ve blurred out the brand details because we’re feeling kind and generous today. Just so you know, though, the prize was a grocery voucher — a category totally unrelated to the brand.

So why are we so against running this type of promotion?

Because — as this brand has — you end up attracting new followers who like to WIN stuff (and not even stuff related to your product category).

If that’s your core constituency (for example, if you’re a sampling company), great. Otherwise, you know nothing about these new followers except that they like to win stuff. That’s not what we call effective targeting.

In this case, the brand just handed over a $500 grocery voucher to attract a few hundred freeloaders — most of whom, presumably, will quickly unfollow the brand if it starts posting information related to its actual product category. You know, like posts that try to sell products.

So please, please, don’t try to inflate your follower numbers by giving away stuff (especially unrelated products). You’re not just wasting your time and money, you’re also diluting your fanbase.

If you want to know how you really should promote yourself on Instagram, check out our Social Media Marketing course.

Lesson Four tells you what you need to know about Instagram, including:

  • What we know about Kiwi Instagram users
  • How leading brands are winning with this image-based network
  • How to use Instagram to its full potential
  • Smart visual content strategies
  • What you should include in your Instagram profile
  • Creative ideas for using Instagram for marketing
  • The importance of hashtags (but how NOT to overuse them)
  • Using Instagram for instant feedback (for better or for worse)
  • How often you should post to Instagram (and what NOT to post)
  • The vital intelligence you can gain, just by tracking Instagram usage
  • Five tips for amazing visual content

A word to the wise …

21 Reasons Why You Need Social Media Marketing Training

21-reasons-why-you-need-social-media-training

Too many businesses unfortunately seem to think that they can simply delegate their social media marketing efforts to a young(ish) staff member and then walk away.

“After all,” they reason, “these people grew up on social media. They already connect with their friends through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Should be easy for them to run our social media marketing campaigns.”

Ummm, not so fast. Sure, it can work — but, far too often, it doesn’t.

Here, for your interest and edification, are 21 reasons why you and your team need training in the fine art of social media marketing:

First, as suggested by Business2Community:

1 Protect Your Brand

Training employees on the responsible use of social media protects the brand from employees sharing information (often unintentionally) that they shouldn’t have done about their work or the company.

2 Build Their Own Brand

If employees are able to build their personal brand online, they can establish themselves as thought leaders in a niche area that can help influence and educate potential buyers. By enabling employees to become ‘social’ with their own personal brand, you create a wealth of opportunities that you could only dream of with your brand channels.

3 Socially trained employees are more likely to share branded content

In my experience, when you educate employees on the importance of having a personal brand and building their network first, they are three times more likely to start sharing content than those that haven’t been given that context. By the time you introduce social sharing into the training model, employees will understand how this will impact their profile. They will have done the basic ‘profile’ updates. They’re in a place where they’re READY to start sharing and they know what to share, how often and to which channel. They are confident.

4 Socially trained employees will yield more impressions

Typically a trained employee will yield three times more social impressions per share than a non-trained employee and this is mainly because they have invested time in building their network first. I always emphasise the importance of building and nurturing a strong network around your personal brand. Once you’ve achieved this you’re ready to start sharing. For example, it makes no sense to jump into sharing content if you’re only connected to 20 people on LinkedIn.

5 Socially trained employees will increase your engagements

Naturally, if you’re gaining more impressions you will attract more engagements including likes, comments and shares. I’ve found that trained employees will generate anywhere between 30-50% more engagements than non-trained employees and this is because they know what kind of content works well on which network. They know how to encourage engagement.

6 Socially trained employees will generate more clicks

Marketing will understand the importance of this one because in the paid media world, every click costs dollars. In my experience, employees who share content generated 50% more clicks than when I shared the same piece of content via branded social channels. WOW!

Employees who were social media trained generated twice the amount of clicks than employees who weren’t trained.

This has a lot to do with making sure that the content is relevant for the employee’s personal brand and that it’s good content. Well written, full of useful insights and easy to read. Poor content won’t fly with your employees…or on any social channel for that matter.

PRSay adds several more:

7. Social media is a team sport

On social media, reach is a factor of engagement. The more people like, comment, retweet and +1 a share on a social network, the broader and further it travels. Posts that attract the most engagement are also the most visible. When someone interacts with a post on a social network, they do so in front of their online friends. If any of their friends engage, that message gets passed along. If you train the whole company and teach how to engage in company communications, the result is social media marketing at scale.

8. Policy isn’t enough

A social media policy is a critical component of any social media strategy. However, a policy only provides value if people actually read and understand it. “Probably as important as the policy itself is the training and the guidance that you give people around the policy. The best policy in the world is kind of useless if it sits on a shelf or it’s on your intranet and either people don’t look at it or really understand the nuances,” Daniel M. Goldman, general counsel at the Mayo Clinic, told me in a recent episode of the social media podcast On the Record…Online when discussing HIPPA compliant social media policies.

9. Official channels are less trusted

As much as digital natives have the impulse to share, most organizations have the impulse to channel communications through a public relations representative or their leadership. Now that everyone’s on social media, that strategy doesn’t work as well. Here’s why: there’s an increasingly wide gap between the degree of trust we have in institutions versus their leadership. It’s even wider for government than it is for business, and it shows that relying exclusively on CEOs and official spokespeople for external communications is a losing strategy. We trust subject matter experts more than the PR of the C-suite, research shows.

10. Industry leaders are tech savvy

Digital leaders in business outperform their peers in every industry. Businesses that invest in technology-enabled customer engagement and internal operations initiatives are, on average, 26 percent more profitable, and enjoy 12 percent higher market valuations, says a new report from CapGemini and MIT. Given the ease with which it enables collaboration, social media has the potential to supercharge customer and employee communications.

11. Training helps minimize employee turnover

Over the last two years, nearly half of all employers have had to deal with the misuse of social media by employees (or former employees). During that same period, nearly half of all employers have allowed access to social media sites at work, and these numbers are steadily rising. But less than one-third actually train personnel on the responsible use of social media at work, according to a recent report by Proskauer International. Providing access to social networks in the workplace without offering social media training is an ineffective way to achieve compliance.

Your colleagues are already using social media in the workplace to stay current on industry trends, collaborate with their coworkers, and to source and procure suppliers and service providers. Search tools and social media make it easier for them to get their jobs done. Why wouldn’t they take the shortest path to achieving their objective, and why wouldn’t you encourage them to do so? Remember, the by-product of all those online discussions is an arsenal of tweets, status updates and posts that become a trail of digital bread crumbs that lead back to you.

And Half a Bubble Out supplies four more:

12 Understanding Platforms

One thing that most people don’t understand is that there is a difference between business social media accounts and personal social media accounts. The back end looks different and the setup process is different as well. For people who aren’t trained or don’t have any experience with social media business pages, understanding this can be confusing. Since platforms constantly have updates and changes, business accounts need to be constantly monitored, have a strategy, have a planned message and be deliberate.

13 Strategizing for Goals

One of the best ways to improve your social media efforts is to strategize your message and actions before you do it. Then you can analyze the success of the strategy and make improvements from there. But everything that you do on social media should have a purpose. You might not have thought that social media training would include strategy, but this is important to an excellent social media presence.

14 Creating Relationships

Social media is great for creating engagement, and also for nurturing relationships on the different networks. These platforms can help build trust and credibility when you share helpful and relevant content to your followers. And most of your conversations are public, so how you handle situations and comments can speak loudly for your business.

15 Abiding by Guidelines

Every company should have different guidelines so the expectations are clear. If you have a light-hearted audience like we do at Half a Bubble Out, then posting a picture of our employees enjoying a glass of wine to celebrate the week would be appropriate. But this might not be appropriate for all businesses. Training your employees to use their best judgement and following these guidelines is crucial to keep the integrity of your brand.

Oh, and here are another half-dozen reasons that we wrote about, back in the day:

Social Media Warning Signs

Get yourself social media training fast if your business makes any of these mistakes:

16 Getting into an argument and insulting your customers and followers

It was the customer service disaster heard around the Internet. An Arizona restaurateur, fed up after years of negative online reviews and an embarrassing appearance on a reality television show, posted a social media rant laced with salty language and angry, uppercase letters that quickly went viral, to the delight of people who love a good Internet meltdown.

Amy & The Cakes #fail

17 Not replying to questions and comments on your social media platforms.

Too many brands simply ignore what’s being said to them, with entirely predictable results. This graph from SocialBakers shows which industries are the best (and worst) at responding:

socdevfb

18 All you talk about in social media is yourself

Only 10% of what you talk about in social media should be yourself and your own products or services. The rest of your discussions should be about things that matter to your followers. Don’t be like this Donut shop, constantly posting meaningless pictures of donuts and drinks to an audience that couldn’t care less (3416 followers but less than a dozen likes per image).

donut posts that nobody cares about

 

19 Nobody’s talking about you

As you may have heard, Facebook is dialing back its organic reach. What that means, in a nutshell, is that even if someone likes your Facebook brand page, it’s most unlikely that they will see your posts in their newsfeed. That means, to all intents and purposes, that you’re invisible to your followers — unless (a) you promote your posts to them; or (b) you write posts that are sufficiently interesting and engaging that they get shared by the few that do see them (and thus get out to a wider audience).

The Star Wars page on Facebook, for example, despite 11 million followers, was only averaging around 15,000 weekly talks — until May the Fourth (“be with you”), when interest surged and more than a quarter of a million people found Star Wars worth talking about again on Facebook.

May the Fourth Be With You

20 Everybody’s talking about you (but not in a good way)

Justine Sacco, head of public relations for UK media giant IAC, flew towards Africa in December 2013, blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by her final tweet before boarding her 12-hour flight.

Justine Sacco

Even though Ms Sacco had a mere 200 followers, the tweet went viral even while she was flying. Her tweet was universally condemned as racist, resulting in the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Ms Sacco lost her job, her former employer apologised profusely and several AIDS charities received donations from appalled twitterati.

 

21 You post too often (or too seldom)

How often should you post to your social networks? That depends on (a) your networks; and (b) your followers.

If you’re posting to Twitter, for example, and reaching out to a business audience, then posting (variations on the same information) at three-hour intervals during the business day is acceptable — very few will see more than one post, given the transient nature of Twitter.

On the other hand, posting to a consumer audience via Facebook should be less frequent, because posts are likely to linger more there. Take a look at your Facebook page Insights data and view “When Your Fans Are Online”.

when your fans are online

Post perhaps twice a day, at times that coincide with most of your fans being online.

fans online

 

Once you realise you need Social Media Training

We would be remiss if we didn’t point you to our range of social media marketing courses:

  • If you want a comprehensive overview of Social Media Marketing, its principles and its practices, start here
  • If you want a rundown of the various social media channels, check out our Advanced Social Media Marketing course here
  • If you already have a solid understanding of social media but need to keep up with the latest developments, check out our Social Media Marketing Essentials course
  • If you want to market your business on Facebook but don’t know how, our Complete Facebook Marketing course is the place to start
  • If you’re already active on Facebook but think you could be doing it better, our Facebook Accelerator course could be the one for you
  • If you operate in the B2B space, we strongly recommend you learn How To Use LinkedIn Effectively
  • If you plan to use social media but won’t be hands-on yourself, you should take a look at our course covering How To Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief

7 Obvious Signs That Your Organisation Needs Social Media Training

Time and again, we’ve seen that Social Media amplifies – sometimes for good, too often for bad or worse. Say something stupid in social media and there’s a better than even chance that the whole world will find out about it, far sooner than you think.

There’s really only one solution (and even that’s not guaranteed): learn what you should and shouldn’t say on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and all those other social networks. Get some training before it’s too late.

So how do you know if you need social media training?

If your organisation exhibits any of these classic errors.

7 Obvious Signs That Your Organisation Needs Social Media Training

Social Media Warning Signs

Get yourself social media training fast if your business makes any of these mistakes:

1. Asking open-ended questions (and then ignoring the responses)

2. Getting into an argument and insulting your customers and followers

It was the customer service disaster heard around the Internet. An Arizona restaurateur, fed up after years of negative online reviews and an embarrassing appearance on a reality television show, posted a social media rant laced with salty language and angry, uppercase letters that quickly went viral, to the delight of people who love a good Internet meltdown.

Amy & The Cakes #fail

 

3. Not replying to questions and comments on your social media platforms.

Too many brands simply ignore what’s being said to them, with entirely predictable results. This graph from SocialBakers shows which industries are the best (and worst) at responding:

social media responses by industry

 

4. All you talk about in social media is yourself

Only 10% of what you talk about in social media should be yourself and your own products or services. The rest of your discussions should be about things that matter to your followers. Don’t be like this Donut shop, constantly posting meaningless pictures of donuts and drinks to an audience that couldn’t care less (3416 followers but less than a dozen likes per image).

donut posts that nobody cares about

 

5. Nobody’s talking about you

As you may have heard, Facebook is dialing back its organic reach. What that means, in a nutshell, is that even if someone likes your Facebook brand page, it’s most unlikely that they will see your posts in their newsfeed. That means, to all intents and purposes, that you’re invisible to your followers — unless (a) you promote your posts to them; or (b) you write posts that are sufficiently interesting and engaging that they get shared by the few that do see them (and thus get out to a wider audience).

The Star Wars page on Facebook, for example, despite 11 million followers, was only averaging around 15,000 weekly talks — until May the Fourth (“be with you”), when interest surged and more than a quarter of a million people found Star Wars worth talking about again on Facebook.

May the Fourth Be With You

 

6. Everybody’s talking about you (but not in a good way)

Justine Sacco, head of public relations for UK media giant IAC, flew towards Africa in December 2013, blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by her final tweet before boarding her 12-hour flight.

Justine Sacco

Even though Ms Sacco had a mere 200 followers, the tweet went viral even while she was flying. Her tweet was universally condemned as racist, resulting in the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Ms Sacco lost her job, her former employer apologised profusely and several AIDS charities received donations from appalled twitterati.

 

7. You post too often (or too seldom)

How often should you post to your social networks? That depends on (a) your networks; and (b) your followers.

If you’re posting to Twitter, for example, and reaching out to a business audience, then posting (variations on the same information) at three-hour intervals during the business day is acceptable — very few will see more than one post, given the transient nature of Twitter.

On the other hand, posting to a consumer audience via Facebook should be less frequent, because posts are likely to linger more there. Take a look at your Facebook page Insights data (via your Page Manager dashboard) and view “When Your Fans Are Online” (under “Posts”).

when your fans are online

Post perhaps twice a day, at times that coincide with most of your fans being online.

fans online

 

Once you realise you need Social Media Training

We would be remiss if we didn’t point you to our range of social media courses: overview here.

  • If you want a comprehensive overview of Social Media Marketing, its principles and its practices, start here
  • If you want a rundown of the latest developments, check out our Advanced Social Media Marketing course here
  • If you want to market your business on Facebook but don’t know how, our Complete Facebook Marketing course is the place to start
  • If you’re already active on Facebook but think you could be doing it better, our Facebook Accelerator course could be the one for you
  • If you operate in the B2B space, we strongly recommend you learn How To Use LinkedIn Effectively
  • If you plan to use social media but won’t be hands-on yourself, you should take a look at our course covering How To Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief

How to use Social Media for Business: What to Track

Companies in New Zealand and around the world are now starting to use social media for business purposes more effectively, tapping into tools such as Facebook and Twitter, to market their services and to communicate more effectively with their customers.

According to a recent study reported by the Los Angeles Times, around 90% of U.S. small businesses are now using social networking platforms. That’s the good news.

Slightly less cheerful news, however, comes from a study by eConsultancy and Adobe, which finds that there’s little deep tracking going on by those who use social media for business.

use social media for business

One In Five Companies Who Use Social Media For Business Do Virtually No Tracking

You’ll recall the old saying “Half of my advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.” That situation was almost acceptable in the context of mass marketing, where companies cast their advertising upon the vast watery expanse of print and broadcast media and the only way to figure out what was working was to count the number of sales you made (or, more likely, how often the Chairman was told “saw you on TV” by his golfing buddies) — but when you’re dealing with one-to-one methods such as social media, it’s simply poor business practice not to know what results you’re achieving.

So what should you track?

To answer this question, let’s just focus on Facebook for now. Through Facebook’s built-in Insights tools, you can track:

  • Likes. That, sadly, is where many marketers start and stop their tracking. In our view, that’s a lot like monitoring the number of people who come into your store — but not bothering to track whether or not they buy.
  • Talking About. Knowing this information is a big step up. Social Media, as the name suggests, is all about talking – engaging with your followers, and having them engage with you. Take a look at how many of your fans were actually “talking about” you last week, and calculate that as a percentage of your overall followers. The whole idea, when you use social media for business, is to engage — otherwise, you might as well devote your time and money  to mass media advertising instead, you’ll reach far more people.
  • Reach. Facebook calculates how many people saw your posts, either directly or via your followers. This will be low at first, but don’t worry — one of the first lessons to learn when you set out to use social media for business is that size (of audience) doesn’t matter. Engagement is the key.
  • Sentiment. It’s good to have people talking about you, but if they’re not saying nice things, clearly something’s rotten in the state of Denmark (or Dargaville). Still, it’s better to know when bad things are being said (rather than remain in blissful ignorance) — it may be hurtful, but at least you can do something about it. So how do you measure sentiment (without poring over your own Facebook pages every other moment)? Start with a free Sentiment Analysis tool such as the Chrome plugin offered by Viral Heat, and consider other, more powerful paid options as budget allows.

What else can you track to use social media for business effectively?

As the graph above suggests, Revenue is an obvious measure (and one which will matter most to your CEO and CFO). “Why am I spending so much time on Facebook? Take a look at these sales!”

How can you track revenues and attribute them to your use of social media for business marketing?

  • If you sell online, use a unique web link to send people from Facebook (or whatever social media site you’re using) to your website
  • If you only sell offline, make an offer that’s unique to your social media efforts (eg “free giftwrap when you quote OFFER FB”)

Traffic

Another metric that many of those who use social media for business choose to track: how much traffic was driven from their social media pages to their website. We don’t want to delve into the technical aspects here — suffice it to say that your webmaster (if you have one) will tell you what you need to know about setting up Google Analytics to monitor such efforts.

Social Media Training

If you’d like more detailed advice on how best to use social media for business, we encourage you to check out our social media training courses.We cover a variety of topics, including:

The courses are all online and they provide comprehensive explanations of tracking and the many other aspects that matter when you use social media for business.