Understanding Social Seasonality

Do you understand your business’ sales seasonality? Then you also need to understand your social media seasonality which may not necessarily follow the same pattern. Going to the trouble of posting messages when your customers are not on-line could end up being a huge waste of your valuable time.

August is dead. Most people are on enjoying the summer, taking a trip or socialising with friends during those lighter evenings. They may dip their toes in social media, perhaps sharing a few ‘I am fabulous’ travel snaps but generally, if you’re hoping for great engagement during this period be prepared to be disappointed.

Believe it or not, I have heard some social media managers struggle to manage their clients’ expectations around the summer dip in traffic. The availability of the tech on smartphones is often mistakenly interpreted as a marketing strategy to reach customers at all times, to maximise potential sales where other media channels may not offer the same exposure for a brand.

It’s not that people aren’t using their phones, nor social media, it’s the mindset which has shifted into ‘don’t sell to me, I’m on holiday’. Businesses need to develop a content strategy which retains customer loyalty but dials down the hard sell, while staying on message.

This kind of maintenance content strategy should be an integral part of the social media content cycle all year round. For most businesses summer will be a struggle to reach people but not all. Christmas can also be a challenge for some brands for example. Research competition brands social media activity, monitor your own social media analytics and keep monthly reports to capture those insights.

Understanding your social media seasonality is key to retaining audiences. It shows sensitivity towards your customer’s social media habits, which in turn should develop loyalty within your digital community. And a loyal community, is a powerful one.

 

Read This Before You Click Boost On A Facebook Post

We’ve enjoyed Facebook being free for the simple things in life; photo sharing, funny videos and communicating with friends. But someone has to pay for the service and that is advertisers. Facebook promotions, when done right, are good value for money for small business. It’s a great way to engage new, but niche, audiences with your business plus ensure your existing page followers see key promotions. But too many small businesses hit ‘boost’ without targeting their promotion to achieve the desired results. Before you make a knee-jerk move to promote on Facebook, take these steps:

Define your goals

I  probably sound like a stuck record, as this is a mantra I live by on social media. For better campaign results, always define your goals first. In the case of a boosted post (or perhaps a Facebook advert) what is your primary aim? Web traffic, ticket sales, growing social audience? Before you hit the ‘boost’ button evaluate whether a Facebook advert is more appropriate for reaching your goals. Boosts are usually effective for growing the audience of a particular promotion or piece of news, rather than promoting your page or website.

Use quality text and images

Ensure your message is clear plus has all the key information with no grammatical errors. Select a quality, relevant image; remember this is likely to be the strongest connection with the audience and ensure they read and click. Optimise the image for Facebook, remember that ad sizes are different to feed post images.

Target carefully to your desired audience

Facebook will ask you to refine the targeting by age, gender and location. Be wary of the latter, as it relies on people setting their location to where they really live. If your promotion is location dependent, you may want to consider including a wide mile radius around the most populated area within that area. The same applies to ‘interests’, many of these are still driven by U.S. users, so may not have many engaged U.K. users within that community. Also consider, if you have a fan base over 500, that promoting to your existing fans and their friends may be enough to get good engagement results and business leads.

Don’t blow the budget

A small business came to me for advice last month. They were spending £100 a week on boosted posts and while they were getting fantastic viral reach, the engagement (clicks, likes, shares, comments) was poor. Plus they weren’t tracking how many leads were being generated from the campaign. Therefore, there was no way of knowing if they could spend half that amount, target better and achieve the same return on investment. Apportion 20% of your campaign budget for a couple of days testing the boost.

Monitor, refine, monitor, refine

After selecting your perimeters, Facebook will give you an estimated reach which should tell you how many may see the advert but that does not necessarily mean they will engage with it. It’s key to monitor activity during the first 24 hours, after which refine the targeting if you’re not achieving the desired results. You know your customers and audience best, so invest a little time in small, cheap promotions to test your campaigns. You can grow your activity from there – with confidence too!

Want to learn more? Sign up to my mailing list and be first in line for places on my on-line training dates. Or book a mentoring session with me for a bespoke approach to your business goals. Let me fill in your knowledge gaps and reduce the overwhelm. Contact hello@claritaco.co.uk for more on how I can help you today.

Spellcheck For Content Success

Are you wondering why your social media posts aren’t getting the engagement you think they deserve? It could be as simple as checking spelling, grammar and syntax.

The internet is rife with poor use of written language. It doesn’t particularly matter when it’s our mates posting hurriedly from their phone with a few typos but when a business posts messages riddled with errors it has a different impact.

2016-04-25 18.52.24-1As a business, you’re engaging with people using social media to influence them into buying your product or use your service. Therefore the reader is only likely to react, comment or share your post if they feel what you are saying is of value or interest.

In order to do that, a business needs to stand out with their messaging. But there’s little use in having amazing campaign creative or beautiful images if the accompanying commentary is poorly written.  Here’s why:

1. It looks unprofessional. Why would someone invest their hard-earned cash on your service or product when you can’t spell or post live without correcting finger slips on the keyboard. On Facebook there’s no excuse, you can go back and edit. On Twitter you can delete the message and repost. But even then you could be penalised by their algorithm for posting duplicate content.

2. It’s a waste of time for the reader. While skimming their feed, people are unlikely to stop and spend time trying to decipher a misplaced apostrophe or misspelled word. They’ll skip reading and move on to something which pulls them in more fluidly.

3. It looks like you don’t care. If can’t make the effort to make sure your messages read well, then it could come across as not caring about your customers. So why would they bother with you?

4. It’s not shareable content. People are highly unlikely to share posts with poor grammar with their followers as it equally looks bad for them.

It’s all avoidable. When mentoring clients, we work together to find a process for producing content which works for them. Planning ahead is key: pre-write posts for the week or month then check them after you’ve finished the content and check again before pressing ‘publish’.

I believe EVERY business can produce engaging flawless content. Sign up to my newsletter for details of forthcoming training courses and content workshops.

How To Get The Most From Twitter Chat Hours

There’s nothing more than I love than joining a Twitter chat hour. They are fabulous for meeting new followers, promoting your business plus sharing tips and experiences with peers. But there is an unspoken etiquette, so here’s my tips for getting the most out of the hour:

twitter-iconSay hello! This is ‘social’ media, so be social. Start the hour off as you would any gathering by greeting the group and asking how everyone’s week has been or how they are feeling.

Tag the organiser early on. It’s good manners to greet the organiser or moderator of the chat. Usually local hours e.g. #MNCHour is run by @mumpreneursclub so include the latter in your introduction or greeting tweet.

Use the hashtag in every message. The tags allow people to follow the conversation but also some organisers gather tweets at the end using publishing platforms such as Storify.

Introduce yourself. Tell people how your business helps people. Try to keep this to one tweet.

Don’t schedule a message to spam the chat hour. The point of the chat hour is to converse. If you’re using a scheduler, you’re most likely not ‘there’ and it will show. However, it can be useful to schedule an early tweet to remind yourself you were going to join. But make sure it’s the ‘hello everyone, how are you’ style of message.

Follow those who taking part. Try and follow everyone unless they are largely irrelevant to your networking. It’s good manners and forms good connections for future networking  with Twitter.

Stick to the format. If the moderator has questions planned, do your best to answer those. Don’t go too far off piste or randomly promote yourself in the middle of the session.

Be patient. Some people take a bit of time to reply, there’s a bit of a delay while reading feeds and monitoring the conversation. Don’t jump in too quickly with questions before people have had a chance to respond.

Try not to be too salesy. By all means be clear about your business and what you offer but don’t lay it on too thick. One or two tweets promoting yourself then spending time chatting. If the conversation naturally revolves around your expertise then obviously run with it.

Make a list. Create a Twitter list for those who took part or subscribe to the organiser’s list.

Watch your spelling and grammar. The odd typo would be forgiven during a hasty Twitter interchange but try to avoid altogether if you can. It looks unprofessional and most of all, could detract from the meaning of your message.

Prepare a few images or 30 second vids to share. Multimedia flies on Twitter, so have a few to hand ready for your networking. It increases the impact of your message long after the hour has ended.

Be transparent about Twitter chat clashes. There’s nothing wrong in two-timing your chat hours but perhaps declare at the start, so people know if there’s a delay to a question they’ve directly asked you.

Have fun! As well the opportunity to network, crack a few light jokes and be positive. And it should go without saying to be respectful and don’t swear. If you’re not sure about how a message you’re writing will be received, then don’t post.

Do you have any other tips for people taking part in a Twitter chat hour? Post a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All Aboard For A Blogathon Challenge With A Difference

Bloggers are being invited to take part in a unique Blogathon challenge this May on a double decker bus! The Mumpreneur’s Networking Club will be bringing the Natwest business bus to Guildford, Kingston-upon-Thames, Brighton and Portsmouth asking bloggers to compete in a challenge to raise awareness of the benefits of running your own business.

MNC are inviting aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs along to the bus to talk to professionals within their network about local support helping to inspire, share practical skills and drive forward their ideas.

Bloggers will be challenged to get the topic of ‘parentprenership’ buzzing on social media by writing a topical blog post live from the bus then completing a host of social media challenges within 2 hours. The winner will receive one year’s free membership to The Mumpreneurs Networking plus other goodies from partners and sponsors.

“Parent bloggers have a wealth of experience not only with technology but also juggling work and family life, as many pro-bloggers are self-employed. We want to come together as a collective and hopefully prompt those thinking about taking the plunge into self-employed life to take action,” says Blogathon co-host and MNC partner Claire Jones-Hughes from ClaritaCo Media.

The Mumpreneurs Networking Club is a business-networking group whose members are entrepreneurial women, men and parents and is celebrating nearly 20,000 visits to its events . Their mission is to connect, inspire and engage mumpreneurs everywhere.

The Mumpreneur economy (businesses run by mothers with children under 18) generated 7.2 bn for the economy in 2014. A report from the think tank Development Economics commissioned by Ebay , evaluated the contribution of Mumpreneurs and found that the sector is growing at an unprecedented rate The report states that Mumpreneurs will generate 9.5bn for the UK and support an extra 13,000 employees and taking the total jobs created by Mumpreneurs to 217,600 by 2025, using data generated from the Office for National Statistics. The Mumpreneurs Networking Club have hit the road to spread the word about how turning a passion into a business can bring a whole host of flexible working benefits to family life.

MNC Director Sara Guiel says, “women from all professions who have discovered that the corporate world can be an uncomfortable fit with family are turning their passions into businesses. For many this is about a flexible work life balance but for an increasing number this is about establishing a business on their terms that contributes financially not just to the family coffers but to the greater U.K. economy as they grow from soletrader to a viable and credible SME.”

The tour, supported by Natwest and Start-up Britain, kicks off on 16th May in Guildford stopping at Kingston-Upon-Thames on 17th May, Brighton on 25th May terminating in Portsmouth. Visit their Facebook event to save the date and get the latest news on the day’s activities.

Bloggers in the local area interested in taking part should contact: hello@claritaco.co.uk or sign up here:

http://bit.ly/busblogsignup

Screenshot 2016-03-07 16.12.13

Working Successfully With Bloggers

Collaborating with bloggers is an excellent way to market a business by tapping into their traffic and community. But investing your time and money with the right bloggers requires a good understanding of how influencing works plus careful relationship management.

Bloggers hold a powerful position in the digital world. When I started my first blog, 7 years ago now, snagging my .com domain name as well as a .co.uk address, I could see how strong blogger voices were becoming. We were forming cohesive communities built on personal experience, free opinions and a raw style which readers connect to over standard journalism.

The landscape for bloggers has changed dramatically over the past 7 years. PR agencies and brands are queuing up to offer lucrative promotional opportunities to the top digital influencers. Bloggers are being sent on worldwide holidays, have agents and top bloggers in their field are paid anything from £250 upwards for a post. Top video bloggers, often known as ‘YouTubers’, are invited to red carpet affairs and panel shows. It’s a ‘real job’ now, where the blogger is in charge of their editorial and direction, each one a mini-publisher.

There is a huge collaboration opportunity bloggers for small business, however, especially start ups offering a unique product or service proposition. Although these superstar pro-bloggers are demanding high fees, it’s still possible to work with mid-range niche social media influencers which could deliver a significant return on campaign investment.

While investing in a few sponsored posts with bloggers could enhance a campaign and provide plenty of social buzz, plus cheaper than paid social with Facebook and Twitter, some bloggers will collaborate on reviews with a fee if the proposition matches their blog purpose.

Bloggers also appreciate collaborating with agencies and companies who understand their process and value. Relationship management is key. They’re a talkative bunch and one wrong move running a campaign risks to spread warning signals out to the community as a whole. Some are managing blogs around family and day jobs, they don’t have time for lengthy projects where it’s unclear what the return is for their work.

And it is work. Many, many PRs make the mistake of assuming it’s a hobby and bloggers will write for free. But these bloggers are putting in their tax returns like every other self-employed person. If you get the campaign right, you’ll cultivate strong relationships which continue to grow as their influence grows.

Running an outreach campaign may not be as costly as you think. I have worked with a range of influential bloggers, cultivating productive relationships. Contact me to discuss your marketing needs and I’ll match you with the right people. 01273 381518 hello@claritaco.co.uk 

 

 

 

Stephen Fry Quits Twitter: Has The Platform Become Stagnant?

News reports yesterday say Stephen Fry has deactivated his Twitter account, claiming it has become ‘stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous’. The decision came after a joke he made at the BAFTAs about his friend and costume designer, Jenny Beavan coming to the award ceremony dressed as a ‘bag lady’. It seems he is less than impressed with the stream of commentary on the social media platform which followed his remarks.

Fry was one of Twitter’s earliest celebrity adopters, cultivating a ‘follow back’ approach to his profile which in turn helped boost its credibility. After all, he is not just any celebrity, he’s a national treasure, a wit, an academic. But it seems the humourless haters and trolls have gotten to him. Which is a desperate shame.

It’s at this point I hope Twitter somehow intervenes and speaks up for their community. The issue many celebrities and large brands face with Twitter is the two-way communication and unlike Facebook the inability to hide critical comments. If someone tags a profile, you are linked. Reputation management has taken a whole new direction with PR experts still grappling with social media and understanding the voices which drive the trends.

With traditional forms of media, these major voices in our society weren’t used to dealing with direct comments from the general public. And in such volume. It’s very true that dealing with a large amount of followers on Twitter comes with it’s own set of problems. I happen to think Fry’s joke was misguided and the term ‘bag lady’ in this current economic climate is an inappropriate choice of words. Maybe the backlash to his comments feels disproportionate and with social media, there will be a number of ‘hanger-ons’ to the message, RT-ing and using hashtags just to get noticed.

This is why it’s disappointing to see Mr Fry give up so quickly. His very public action to storm off the platform gives more weight to those who drive those over-the-top self-righteous rampages. There is decent and measured debate to be had on Twitter, the kind which informs and raises awareness of issues and causes.

In my view, Twitter is not becoming stagnant, just tricker for those with major accounts to navigate. They need to figure out vocal trends in social media and strategies to manage them. I’m not dismissing the very real problem of the haters, trolls and abusers on this platform. But headlines like these only feed the trolls. And the golden rule of social media is never feed the trolls.

Ask me about Twitter strategy and building a healthy, thriving community which leads fruitful discussion on-line, around your business. hello@claritaco.co.uk

Are You A Feed Maker or Breaker?

Are you a feed maker or breaker? What I mean by this is, do you help the discussion flow? Do you delight people’s growing social experience with powerful images and fluid language?

The end goal for spending time and money on social media as a promotional channel is to make more sales plus attract and retain customers. Before writing your messaging, consider the motivation for those same customers when browsing their feed. They are looking for information, inspiration, perhaps a little humour and to network with people and businesses who enhance their needs at that moment in time. Therefore, as a business, you need to adapt your commercial language for social to appeal to those users.

But posts should contain a strong call-to-action shouldn’t they? Well yes and no. It is a balancing act devising posts which draws people to your message and switches them to click. For example, think about how you feel reading an advert asking you to ‘buy our products today’ compared to ‘we made this product, this is what it does and how it makes you feel’.

Clever content for business should not take away the social user experience from their followers but still be relevant to the brand.

Here’s some examples to get your creative juices flowing.

  I love the colour, the energy and divisive words such as ‘essential’ and ‘super’. 

For mentoring and support on developing strategy and content for social media for your business, drop me a line hello@claritaco.co.uk or give me a call 07737786425.

Introducing Social Media Mentoring

I’ve got something exciting to share with you for 2016. I’ve got a neat little package of social media self-help waiting for you to open…

While spending some time networking with small business and freelancers, the most common thing I hear in response to my occupation is how people would like to do ‘more’ or get ‘better’ at using social media. And I can help.

Often small businesses don’t have the budget to employ round-the-clock social media management. But it should be an essential part of their marketing tool-kit. This is where my 2016 social media mentoring and training programme will come in.

This digital world is where I belong. I’m always exploring new technology, content trends and tools for clients. I use experience gained working on previous and current projects with brands, large organisations and charities to put together strategies which produce results and grow your communities and audience reach.

I have combined this knowledge into a programme for small business and freelancers. Visit my latest offers page to find a subscription to suit your budget.

Sign up to my mailing list (I don’t spam, not my style) to find out how you can book.

Think Before You Click

One of the biggest appeals of social media is the informal chat-like engagement and instantaneous thoughts. But for businesses and professionals this is uncharted waters, as their customer relationship management usually involves well-thought out material, which has had input from a number of creatives and marketeers. For small business, it’s an opportunity to connect more personally with clients, as the personnel behind the service or product is probably closer to the core business. But where small enterprises score points on personality and passion, they can fall into unprofessional traps on social media. It’s essential to think before you click!

The gaff a few months ago by Louise Mensch on social media is proof enough that you must think carefully on what to post publicly before you press send. Intent on sending a clear message to her followers about a politician from an opposition party, she shared an image in a post on Twitter of what she thought were common searches for one of the Labour leader contenders. As it happens, the search only exposes her own history which provoked hilarious responses pointing our her technical error. What was almost worse, is she took a photo of her screen and shared; she didn’t even screenshot it which looked shabby and unsophisticated.

I was recently tagged by a small business for a message that was clearly inappropriate for our channel. The person had not researched our feed and the style of content we post. Furthermore her post was rather insensitive and person-shaming. The first rule in this situation? Take the conversation off-line. Don’t be tempted to have a public slanging match. I managed to contact the lady and asked her to remove the tagged tweet. She doesn’t have to but I explained my reasons. As she’s a small business starting out, she actually appreciated the feedback. We are now working together on collaborative posts with positive messages aligned to the editorial style of my website.

Together, social media can be a special space. But you risk to damage your reputation if you don’t think before you click. Even if you feel you are being true to your brand, you need to evaluate the long term impacts to your reputation. Such as the CEO of Protein World who stood by his tweets responding to criticism over their ‘beach body ready’ campaign. Despite some complaints being dismissed by the ASA  they will alienate potential future markets why may wish to expand into with their attitude towards their marketing.

Top tips for positive social media engagement:

1. Prepare some responses based on enquiries you get regularly e.g. for Twitter ensure they are 140 characters. Include a couple of response to potential negative feedback.

2. Before responding to any comments received over social media, check the person’s profile or feed (if possible) see what kind of social media interactions they regularly engage with. i.e. if they persistently target companies with negative feedback understand you may not get a positive outcome you enter a discussion (think about how to respond and close it down).

3. Unless it’s intrinsically part of the your brand or service, steer clear of controversial topics or passing opinion on topics unrelated to your business. e.g if you’re a supplier of eco-friendly products then political developments around the environment may interest your readers.

4. Don’t engage in social media disputes, especially if they are getting personal.

5. Before responding to any interaction, ask yourself, ‘what do I want to get out of this for my business?’