8 ways to win the fight for eyeballs in the newsfeed.

Ahh, the Facebook fight that’s seemingly ongoing.

Brands having a tantrum because Facebook is now making them pay more to reach the audience they bought in the first place. Facebook claiming that this isn’t the case and brands need to be more savvy with their social strategy.

Is this fair or unfair? Whatever you believe, the battle in the ring rages on.

In the left hand corner we’ve got the brand brigade. Small, medium and large businesses all fighting for the fan base they grew organically, or they bought through highly targeted ads for a pretty penny. (I’m not even going to give those brands who paid Fiverr for their audience a look in, as far as I’m concerned they bought a fake ticket to the show and are stuck outside the venue).

Actually, this side isn’t simply fighting on behalf of brands, but for any business or interest based page. It could be the innocent Auckland based blogger (like me) or the charity Facebook page with little to no budget trying to get a look in and attract donations socially. The brand side is getting more and more vocal with companies like Eat24’s break up letter to Facebook, arguing that they shouldn’t have to pay to reach the audience they bought through advertising in the first place.

But then, in the right corner we have Facebook itself. The reigning champion of the ring, becoming so popular that last year the number of brand pages liked by the average Facebook user grew by 50%. Facebook, who grew from small beginnings to becoming the platform that reaches more people on an hourly basis in New Zealand than all of the NZ TV shows on every channel in peak hour, combined*.

It is no secret that the potential reach of a Facebook post ridiculously out-shadows traditional media. Heck, when I was working in Australia we have a Facebook post for one of our radio stations reach 57 MILLION people**. Organically.

But that was last year, and this is now. So what’s changed?

Continue reading

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The piece of career advice you didn’t ask for but I’m going to give it anyway.

This has been on my mind for a little while, especially since I have just made the decision to move back to NZ for work.

Sometimes I get asked for advice by friends about what they should be doing to drive career success, or pretty much just get to a place where they’re earning more money.

They’re working in roles they’ve been in for a couple of years, and now they’re deciding whether to move to another (perhaps underpaid) job in another company for the next few years.

I solemnly believe everyone has to do the ground work. But when I ask my friends why they’re not asking for more money I always hear the same thing.

‘Oh you know, I’m replaceable’.

Every time someone says this to me, I feel like I’ve just been winded. I don’t think there’s anything worse for anyone’s self esteem than to feel like you could be replaceable- like a pair of socks or pants.

So my piece of career advice (pro-active) is: Take your ‘replaceable’ self, and make it irreplaceable.

Learn something new for your job, and then make sure your boss can’t live without it. Be the pair of jeans that you wish you had in multiple colours. Learn community management, or to code, or digital design or something they don’t understand. Prove the value of what you can do over and over again. Be the one they won’t let go of, and then when you decide it’s time to try new things, you might be surprised at what they offer you.

This is what you’re worth.

x

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The five social media lessons I’ve learned the hard way.

5 social media lessons I learnt the hard way

I’m sure there’s more than 5, but seriously. This is the stuff I’ve learned the hard way.

1)   Document it whenever you start a new brand page. Keep a record of EVERYTHING.  You should note down who created the page/profile, the date, the time, who has access and screengrab your confirmation to keep on file. It might seem trivial at the time but one day you just might need that information.

2)   Don’t get involved with running competitions on your Facebook page wall if you have a big brand. The legalities and risks aren’t worth it- how do you track the time comments came through? How do you identify who won a competition when there’s no specific timing available? How do you collect information about your entrants? How do you make people agree to terms and conditions without driving them away from your brand? And, how do you contact them without it being in the public domain? Seriously, steer clear. It’s not worth the risk or the resource in most cases.

3)   A hashtag is useless unless you track it in advance.

4)   Empower people to act as Social Media Ambassadors within your company. Don’t try to be the gatekeeper for social media, because you’ll end up spending hours teaching people how to upload a new profile picture.

5)   Put the words ‘google it’ in your out of office email. It’s surprising how many people don’t think of that.

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Good vs. Shit Social Media Advice- How to work out what’s what

Social Media Army

 

In my line of work, I talk to a lot of people about social media.

In fact, throughout the duration of the work trip I’m currently on, I’ve spoken to no less than 6 different social media based companies, and 9 individuals who have built their careers on social and digital strategy independently.

And of course, these people all tell you the same thing- that Social Media is imperative to any business that wants to exist in 5 years.

But then of course, they all tell you you need to do it differently.

Today I read an article in the press by a gentleman I met, which emphasised the importance of growing your ‘likes’ on Facebook. He talked very specifically about giving things away on your Facebook page, about having a plan to grow your audience rapidly and about then having a long term strategy to never let that growth plateau.

What I noticed is that at no point did the word ‘engagement’ appear in the article.

Then I spoke to the managing director of a digital media agency, who informed me that in order to be successful, we needed to be posting at least 40 times per day on our social media platforms. I’m talking 40 Facebook posts within a 24 hour period. His argument ‘if you’ve got the right content, then people will engage with your brand’.

I’m of the opinion that if anyone I knew posted 40 times within a 24 hour period, let alone a brand, I would have them hidden from my newsfeed within the first 3 hours. No matter how many photos of Ryan Gosling they used.

So the point I’m trying to get to, is how do you separate the good advice from the bad? How to do you know which tidbits of knowledge to run with, and which to leave behind?

I’ve narrowed the process down to two simple steps:

1) Find the social media presence of the advisor, and check how well they’re doing.

2) Try it yourself.

To elaborate:

1) The sole reason I started ‘The Socialite’ in the first place, was because I wanted to prove that B2B services could have an engaging social media presence. I looked at the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of a bunch of social media strategy and service providers, and was bitterly disappointed. Their Facebook engagement was incredibly low, and the majority of the Twitter accounts had no real interaction with any of the followers. In fact, in some cases it looked like the followers weren’t even real, and some ‘smart cookie’ had just spent 5 bucks on Fiverr to grow their following into the thousands.

2) What I have learned by working across the social media strategy for 66 radio stations, 106 TV channels, an events company, an online banking company, a cafe and a plumber is that no social media content strategy is ever really the same. Work out what the content that resonates the most with your audience is, and make more of it. That’s the stuff that gets the engagement. Couple that with responding, sharing and talking to your audience, and you’re away laughing.

So for now, I will continue to live by this strategy until it fails to serve me any longer.

Or until anyone has any better ideas? If you do, leave a comment.

Caring is sharing.

x

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My name is Mel and I’m a Social Media Snob


Social Media Snob

This morning I realised I’m a bit of a social media snob.

It’s true- I work for the most highly socially engaged broadcast company in Australia as the National Social Media Manager (I know we’re the most engaged because I spend about 6 days a month pulling stats) and I think I know a fair bit about what I’m talking about.

(Gosh… that sounds cocky…)

But over the last couple of days my whole perception of what it takes to ‘know social media’ has been turned on its head.

I had a discussion with a group of friends the other day about Twitter followers. One of them said to me ‘I always judge someone’s social media ability by looking at their following to follower ratio on Twitter. That determines how good they actually are. If they are following the same amount of people as they have followers then they’re kind of cheating because that’s how their building their communities, instead of building them through highly engaging content.’

And do you know what? I agreed.

I thought to myself ‘this is perfectly logical’ because in my view, if you’re growing your followers on Twitter by just following everyone you can in the hopes they’ll follow back, then you’re probably not providing any unique and engaging content, and content is king- right?

Last night I lay in bed and thought about the Twitter follower conversation I’d had. What I realised is that in my haste to judge people’s social media cred by looking at the ‘number of people who follow them’ I’d severely misjudged probably hundreds of people.

At the end of the day, the number of followers someone has on Twitter doesn’t define how good they are at the platform. What is most important is that they’re engaging the followers they have.

We have an exceptionally high frequency Twitter account for our national night show at Austereo called ‘The Bump’. It’s incredibly highly engaged, nails its target demographic and is increasingly growing. But that’s not really that  important. The important thing is that for my friends Angus and Ben, the names behind ‘The Bump‘, anybody who follows that Twitter account gets some kind of interaction with the show.

The boys spend hours retweeting, favouriting, and replying to their fans, and as a result the whole audience is highly engaged and off the back of this steadily growing. Before this morning, my whole concept of what constituted being good at social media was completely incorrect and out of line, probably due to getting too caught up in the numbers and not seeing the bigger picture.

The aim is always to engage with your community. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 followers or 10,000- there’s no point in having them if you’re not engaging with them, be it on a personal or professional level.

When you work in Social Media full time, it’s so easy to lose sight of what the main goal is. You become near-sighted, incapable of seeing past anything but the stats, and you lose focus and forget that social media is about building relationships and talking to people. You don’t learn anything new because you think you know it all, or damn well most of it.

So my name’s Mel, and I’m a I was a Social Media Snob. I judged people on their Twitter following to follower ratio, on their People Talking About numbers and on the size of their Tumblr following.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to follow some people on Twitter.

x

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This is the post I stayed up tonight to write

 

My favourite inspirational quote. Ever.

I’m so tired.

I’ve spent this week so far in Sydney, and I’ve crammed in meetings, dinners and even trips to the cinema for conferences. I’ve been to Double Bay and Newtown, and World Square too. And I haven’t even been here for 48 hours.

But tonight I had the opportunity to have dinner with a man named Ted Rubin, and now I can’t sleep.

Ted is what some might term a ‘social media guru’ although I bet my bottom dollar he’d disagree with that. To me, and to himself, I imagine he’s just a guy. A guy who knows how to communicate, make friends and influence people.

Ted has a massive network of contacts, and friends. He has a philosophy which basically states you should be good to people, you should talk to people and you should listen. But what Ted has also done is convert this thinking into an incredibly clever and surprisingly simple social media offering.

Ted is an engagement ambassador. I meet so, so many people who work across social media and all of them have something to say. From time to time someone strikes a chord and that happened tonight.

I learnt a bunch of stuff tonight- the importance of those people who might not be the ‘engaged ones’ and I added the term ‘lurker’ to my vocab. He talked about customer service experiences he’s had, what he’s learnt from being a divorcee and a parent, and also how to win over your CEO and demonstrate the ROI of social media to those who still need to be converted.

He equipped me with a string to my bow, another case to my argument, but the most important thing I learnt from Ted tonight wasn’t what he said, but how it made me feel.

It’s so easy to get lost in the admin, in the day to day experiences I have with social media. To drown under a heap of emails asking how to update a profile picture or pulling stats for hundreds of different Facebook pages.

From time to time, you need to take a step back and re-align your vision. As Mia Freedman once said, come back to the ‘T’. The essence of your brand and what you’re trying to do.

In all my work, I’m trying to let people and brands make connections and build relationships. Whether it’s for our regional radio station in Shepparton, our entertainment and celebrity gossip website, or for a small business who wants to run events for fans of The Big Lebowski. My goal is always the same.

If I hadn’t been inspired tonight, I wouldn’t be sitting in a hotel room at 11.20pm in Sydney writing this post on a blog I haven’t updated for months. The reason why I started this blog in the first place was to share my knowledge of social media with people who don’t have access to the resources you might find in big companies, but I got so bogged down in the day to day detail that I couldn’t find the time.

Honestly, I’m sure it’ll happen again. I’m sure there’ll be another couple of months where I go quiet, lost in an excel spreadsheet or making some kind of broadcast media and social relationship infographic which is for internal use only. But what I also am sure of is that next time I’ll take a step back, let myself get inspired, and then probably write another midnight blog post.

The stats can always wait a day. But when you find the inspiration, use it.

x

 

Find Ted Rubin here, here and on Twitter here.

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A case study in building a brand on social

The Socialite

 

I’m taking on a bit of a challenge- the other day I had someone say to me ‘you can’t create an engaging presence on social when you’re providing a B2B service’.

I disagree.

It’s amazing the amount of ‘social media specialists’ or ‘social media consulting agencies’ who sell their expertise to clients, but then they can’t maintain an engaging social media presence of their own. They either hard sell their products, don’t give people a reason to engage with their content, or they don’t put any time and effort into it.

It’s the one thing that grinds my gears- and in my line of work I’ve met with a LOT of these providers.

So, I’ve created ‘The Socialite’. It’s going to be a case study in building my personal brand on social media- after all, I provide a B2B service through this site, and I’m more than confident that I can create a highly engaged community off the back of this.

Sure, essentially I am the brand, but that is kind of the point. I think that the brands which get the highest levels of interaction in the social media space are personable and people can connect directly with the tone of the conversation, as well as the brand itself.

This engagement keeps the brand top of mind for potential or existing customers- because contrary to what seems to be popular belief not everything from your brand Facebook page shows up your fans newsfeed.

Hence, I’m dedicating the next 2 months to building this social media community- throwing $50 bucks in advertising at the page to get it started and then I’ll help it grow organically and keep track of what I’m doing on this blog as a case study!

I’ll keep ya posted! Find me on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Instagram adds photo tagging

Instagram has rolled out photo tagging as part of it’s new app functionality.

Taking after it’s big brother Facebook (actually… stepbrother?), the photo sharing platform now allows users to tag other instagram members in photos.

Whilst the photos currently need to be reviewed before they show up on people’s profiles, Instagram will make all of these photos public on May 16th (AEST) unless the user has changed their privacy settings.

This will no doubt help to rapidly drive the Instagram user base, and the introduction of photo tagging also opens up the door for in-app advertising and brands to begin to promote themselves across other accounts.

For further reading check out: http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/02/instagram-photo-tagging/

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Pheed

I’m doing a bit of research into a new social media platform called Pheed- which launched on October 12th and already has over 1 million users.

The Pheed iPhone Home Screen

Pheed is the most downloaded social networking app on iTunes, and its launch was lost in all the commotion over Vine.

When I first heard about it, I was under the impression that you could curate all of your social media platforms into one place- so share content from your brand Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram etc, but it appears that is not the case.

You actually have to post everything through Pheed which then shares it to your social media platforms. I’m not a fan of this, I was into the idea of sharing the opposite way, but I think this could be pretty spammy.

Another con is the fact there is no integration with brand Facebook pages, only personal ones. So if I start a Pheed profile for a brand such as Kyle and Jackie O, I can only link my own personal Facebook page with it. Hopefully this changes over time.

Not to sound like a whinge, but in the 30 mins I’ve spent on it this morning, I’ve had about 8 errors, and now I am unable to unlink my personal Facebook profile from a brand Pheed, which I accidentally associated.

However, Pheed has two main points of difference.

The first is that Pheed doesn’t claim to own any of the content you upload onto the platform- it gives you the option to copyright everything and in a space where content ownership is such a big deal, I think that this is important.

The second point of difference is the ability for a person or brand to monetize content through the platform. You can charge users for pay-to-view broadcasts and monthly channel subscriptions- anything from $1.99-$34.99.

This only serves to reinforce the concept that in social media, content is king. There is an opportunity here for brands to create content which audiences are prepared to pay for- subscriptions for behind the scenes interviews, advance screenings of content, announcements etc. However, on the flipside I’m not sure our audiences are ready for that yet, especially when they can still consume content like this for free on Facebook, which is where they are already.

Honestly, aside from that it’s pretty similar to Tumblr but with less restrictions- you can post video up to four hours long, and straight audio pieces. You can use hashtags and share other people’s content. There’s a great iPhone app which has become the most highly downloaded app in the iTunes store.

Anyway, I’ll be watching Pheed with interest, and after signing up a couple of brands to it this morning, I’m excited to see what we can do with it!

/M

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Something pretty damn cool…

Facebook Interactive Video for TAC Melbourne

Over the last 6 months I’ve had the opportunity to help create and socially seed a pretty amazing video.

It’s called ‘Roadtrip Forever’ and it’s an interactive Facebook video which is steadily going viral. It’s aimed at 18-20 somethings and it packs a bit of a punch!

The first thing you should do is head to www.roadtripforever.com and take the trip of a lifetime- and then make sure you let me know what you think.

/M

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