I WANT IT NOW!: The key to addressing your Customer’s needs on Social Media

This is Veruca Salt, and for those who don’t know she is a character from Roald Dahl’s famous Charlie and the Chocolate factory film adaptation in 1971. She also embodies everything that your customer is in 2018.

Nowadays consumers expect unparalleled levels of service no matter what they are purchasing, and on top of that they want it now! Social Media has become the platform where customers look to express their opinion (whether it be positive or negative) and fight their case. Now as someone who has been in Community Management across a wide range of services, these arguments are normally based upon fiction and they are simply chancing their arm (don’t lie we’ve all done it). With this in mind, there are number of key elements that should be looked at when you address a customer’s needs on social media and allow you to deliver a better service.

WHAT THE ZUCK?!: Facebook algorithm changes and how to survive them

So some of you may have noticed the story that broke where Mark Zuckerberg announced that there were going to be changes to the Facebook Algorithm. Now I know a lot of people and businesses are thinking how that is going to effect them so I am going to attempt to break it down. Hopefully this will provide you with an insight into how the Facebook Algorithm works and how to utilise to your advantage in the future.

How does this effect Businesses on Facebook?

I could go into endless amounts of detail about specific changes to the feed but to cut a long story short, Facebook is no longer a free platform for Businesses. The recent change will effectively take away pretty much all of your organic reach as a page taking away the ability to communicate with your fans for free.

This is big news for brands who focus on publishing content and relying on organic reach as it will dramatically decrease the amount of referrals to their websites as well as overall interactions on the platform. As a result of this, businesses (no matter what size or type) will have to invest in paid media in order to get reach and interactions on their content.

The header picture for this article sums it up perfectly, Zuckerberg will be licking his lips over the next 12 month period. Facebook has become such an integral part in a lot of companies marketing strategy, most businesses will have no choice but to begin to apportion media spend across all content rather than specific campaign content. As you can see from the graph below, as Facebook decreases its organic reach for business pages on the platform, the stock price rises.

Now this graph is from 2016 but as you could imagine, this has continued at an exponential rate with Facebook’s current stock price at $190 and page organic reach finally reaching 0%. As Facebook has grown to such a size it is well within their right to do this as it is their world and we just live in it. Google have made similar moves to this in the past effectively changing the way SEO was operated overnight which has driven content to become better for the user and improve user experience.

How does this effect my Personal experience on Facebook?

A lot of the time these algorithm changes are quite subtle from a user standpoint and they are not normally noticeable. However, this time it will be slightly different as Marky Mark is looking on returning Facebook back to a Friends and Family network focusing on content from your circle of Facebook friends. Now in theory this is a good idea as it is moving back to what Facebook originally was, a social network.

The only issue with this move is that you will end up missing out on great content that you used to receive unless those pages or brands start to spend money to advertise their content. This will get rid of those horrific annoying adverts from the beauty salon down the road but will limit you seeing some great content thanks to this change.

So in short, get prepared for a lot more of this:

How to Survive these changes?

Now there are a few things businesses can do to survive through these changes and not be left by the Wayside:

Tell fans to mark your content as ‘See first’

This has been Facebook’s advice to all pages after the announcement which makes sense however this requires a few favours from your fans. This requires them to do one of two things: Go into their News Feed preferences, select the ‘See First’ option and then they must find your Page and select it. The other option is for them to visit your page and select the option to see your content first.

Improve your Content

Facebook has been used in the past by a number of businesses as an area to dump content so that they are seen to be ‘using the platform’. This causes everyone’s news feeds to become cluttered with content and Facebook is punishing pages for that. So instead of sharing that blog post from your Company’s website with no background try be creative with it. Create some imagery around your content, experiment a bit with some new ideas. A great tip is to create cinema-graphs or slideshows as these MP4 files are prioritised in the news feed over static images and links. Here is a great example below of simple images paired together to create a great effect:

Utilise Paid Media

This will most probably be the most common way of surviving Facebook’s algorithm changes which is encourages everyone to increase the quality and the meaning behind your content. For example, rather than just sharing a link from an external source or taking a photo from a recent event create content that is unique and engaging for your fans. This content should have a clear CTA or something that adds value to a user experience when they are on Facebook. Then to compliment this, utilise a small amount of paid media to reach the exact audience to see better results. Not only will you be able to get reach but you can utilise Facebook’s advertising suite to deliver the desired results rather than traditional engagement KPIs the businesses have used in the past.

Overall the changes will need some time to bed down and for everyone to get used to but they will improve the overall quality of user experience on the platform. For those who have only used Facebook as a content posting platform I would encourage you to do some research into Facebook advertising and to see how much it can help your business no matter what size your company is. If you are interested in exploring this further then please do not hesitate to get in touch!

New Year, New (Social) Me(dia): Social in 2018

So, 2018 is here in all its glory and that means you will be seeing a whole bunch of articles talking about ‘Top 8 Social Trends for 2018’ along with other SEO-focused titles. I thought I would put my thoughts together in a small article to give you all some insight into Social for 2018. Hopefully it will provide you all with some insight into how to use different platforms and how to get the most out of your experience on social. Don’t worry, I’ll include lots of pictures to keep you all entertained!

Instagram Stories to disrupt the way we make Content

 

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Instagram stories are taking over in a big way. Just one year after launching, Instagram story views over took Snapchat views and 2018 is going to be yet another big year for Instagram. With video being such an integral part of social media, Insta stories are the perfect way to digest content due to our goldfish-like attention spans.

With new functionality becoming available and overtaking the likes of Snapchat, Insta stories will be rising even further in popularity. Brands will be utilising these in a big way in 2018 as it provides them with great organic reach and a ‘behind the scenes’ look into there brand. When you partner this with the link feature which invites users to swipe up and access more long form content, this greatly increases the amount of information you can make available for your followers. And for those who aren’t capitalising on Instagram stories, you are missing out! (My followers will all know that I love a Poll).

 

2018: Year of The Micro-Influencer

 

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2018 is meant to be the year of the Dog, False. 2018 will in fact be the year of the Micro-Influencer. With influencer marketing beginning to mature at the end of 2017, you will be seeing a lot more of this in 2018. With Millennials and Generation Z consumers (If you don’t know what these are, click here) being the driver of social media sales and marketing, brands look for more and more ways to engage with these to consumer bases.

Research shows that these two generations engage with influencer marketing far more than traditional marketing as they value the opinion of these influencers far more than brand communications. However, influencer marketing in 2018 will work in a different way to how brands have engaged with influencers in the past. Micro-influencers will be the focus (Personalities that have 10,000 – 100,000 user communities) for brands as they are more focused audiences and therefore better for brands to market there products.

For those who read my previous article, I spoke about how large scale influencers who demand high prices for just a basic post is actually wasting resources for brands as you may receive a high volume of impressions but it does not provide meaningful engagement and sales for a brand.

 

Messaging Platforms open up the Conversation

 

Messaging platforms have been a bit of a mystery when it comes to Social Media as users have been very reluctant to communicate with brands on them and have chosen to use them for private use. However, in 2018 you will start seeing platforms opening them up to create communication channels between users and brands where digesting content can be more meaningful rather than just sending your mates funny memes.

Africa is already way ahead of the curve on this with platforms such as Whats App and Messenger Lite which allows users to digest and receive content for their specific wants and needs. Brands will be using these platforms to inform users of exclusive releases or news that they can’t find out on other platforms creating a more direct route to the users and increasing the bespoke nature of an offering to individual users.

This will combat what we call ‘Social Media Fatigue’ where people are becoming bored with having to scroll through just to find the content that they want. This may also cause people to migrate from the likes of a traditional time line view towards users opting in to receiving content via messaging platforms. For example, you may like the Great British Bake Off (Guilty) on the Channel 4 Facebook Page but not any of the other content that they produce. With messaging platforms, you can have this content sent directly to you and avoid the other irrelevant content that does not apply to you.

 

Personal Experiences delivered to your Timeline

 

With platforms such as Facebook becoming more and more sophisticated, this is opening up new possibilities for users and brands alike. Have you ever found yourself thinking or talking about certain products and then they suddenly appear on your timeline available for purchase? That is not just a coincidence but it is apart of Facebook’s sophisticated AI that mixes your interests on the platform along with your cookies on your computer to come up with adverts that will suit you most.

2018 will be the year that this takes one step further where experiences will be created that are specifically tailored to you and not for just based on your interests. This will allow adverts to speak to you as a person rather than just a consumer and build a taste profile so that it can learn exactly what you want. This should increase the quality of adverts on social media platforms and avoid delivering you the wrong content.

 

 

Overall, 2018 is looking good for Social Media as it tries to cope with the growing pains of this rapidly changing environment. A lot of these trends look to make platforms a better place to spend time as fatigue has been a factor over the past 12 months on social media. There are lots of other trends that you can find by doing some further reading but I think these will be the key ones for the upcoming year and that will have the greatest effect on the social media landscape.

Once again thank you for reading these articles, any feedback is greatly appreciated and if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask!

10 Tested Tactics to Boost your Twitter Engagement

Twitter has fast become a marketing powerhouse for brands and businesses who want to reach their audience on a more personal level, it thrives off communication. However, with a limited amount of characters to make an impression it requires a great deal of skill to increase your brands visibility, traffic to your site and sales.

Growing a real following on Twitter takes more than posting news whenever your company releases a new product or has an upcoming event.  It’s about engaging with your target audience and interacting with them. It’s not how many followers you have, but how many relevant followers you have. If you want to raise brand awareness, there’s no better place to start your campaign than on Twitter. When used wisely and efficiently, Twitter can help you reach out to an incredible number of people and unlock new opportunities to grow your business online.

Here are 10 tested ways to increase your engagement on Twitter.

 

  1. Craft your tweets to receive more attention

Generate compelling, high-quality, short content that stands out and brings added value to your followers! Share nuggets of wisdom from industry events, and live tweet from them when possible. Your Tweets shouldn’t consist of only headlines with a link, inspirational quotes or funny statements. They should open the door for communication and conversation.

Researchers say that tweets under 100 characters receive 21% more attention than the others. They are more likely to get retweeted as it makes it easier for people to retweet you and add their own commentary when you leave room in a tweet.

 

  1. Insert links to increase retweeting

Tweets that include links are 86% more likely to be retweeted as they increase reader interaction. Unless you can insert massive amounts of knowledge in 100 characters, links are the way to go to drive customers to your product.

It is advisable to insert links in about 70-80 % of your tweets.

 

  1. Win traffic through visual appeal

Stop thinking of Twitter as a text-only platform, Twitter users are a visual bunch. Studies have shown that posting more images and videos on Twitter can increase your engagement by 200%! They are an eye-catching and effective way to make followers curious and entice them to check out what else you have for them. Stunning visuals will go a long way to help your updates stand out amongst the other tweets in your followers’ text-dominated Twitter streams.

People feel more empathy whenever they see images of people so post images that include people when possible. You can use a bit of red to grab your audience’s attention but use it sparingly or use a little blue to instil trust. Too much blue however can be seen as cold, distant, and unfriendly so try not over use it.

 

  1. Gain active followers with Twitter Chats

To get started, look for Twitter chats related to your industry. Indulge in meaningful conversations, add value to them and try to differentiate yourself. The key to success with Twitter chats is interaction.

Can’t find any Twitter chats for your industry? Start your own chat and encourage people to ask you questions, get advice, or discuss an important topic. Reply to chatters, @mention them so they receive a notification and keep engaging with new connections after the Twitter chat is over.

Twitter chats are so effective because the people who participate in them are the ones that enjoy actively engaging on the social network. They use it to interact and are therefore the types of users who are going to reply to your Tweets, retweet your content and amplify your message.

 

 

  1. Maximise engagement by tweeting during peak times. Always Respond

Experiment with what times work best with your audience and schedule your posts to go out then to increase the likelihood of your tweets appearing in your follower’s feeds. Your peak times are not necessarily when the most users are active on Twitter, it is when your audience is most engaged. It may be 2:00 – 3:00 AM when user feeds are less busy and people can take their time browsing through posts. Since there are fewer tweets to compete against, your posts will stand out more and people have more time to peruse them without getting over whelmed. The best days for Twitter engagement tend to be Saturday and Sunday.

Don’t forget to respond. Responding shows your interest in your audience and their responses. The more your followers see you, the more followers you’ll likely earn.

 

  1. Engage with retweets and ask for a retweet

Read what your followers are tweeting about and re-tweet when something sounds interesting. When you retweet, customise the copy and add your own thoughts. Your followers will like the fact that you interacted with them and will take more interest in what you have to say.

Don’t be shy and ask for a retweet. People are 4 times more likely to retweet something if you ask than they are if you don’t but make sure to use “retweet” instead of RT. The retweet rate for “retweet” requests is 23 times higher than the engagement rate for “RT” requests. Caution, though. Don’t bombard your audience with constant requests to spread your message.

  1. Increase efficiency by integrating cross channel marketing

Twitter is an excellent social media platform but combining it with Facebook and an Instagram account makes it even more powerful. Stream your tweets to your Facebook wall or post photos on Instagram, and then tweet them to save time and energy. This is especially effective for promotions and giveaways.

 

  1. Connect better with your audience through Live Twitter

     

    Live video is the most immersive way to connect with your audience on a real and personal level. When you’re live, anyone on Twitter and Periscope can join your live video and participate in your experience by commenting or sending hearts to show their support. Live video brings moments and events to life in a way that no other medium can. It’s an excellent way to engage with followers, build a level of trust for your brand and connect on a human level. Celebrating your team’s win at an awards show? Exploring a new city? Find yourself in the middle of something amazing? Go live on Twitter and let others experience it with you. Live events showcased on Twitter are also shown to gain more interaction than regular tweets.

  2. Double your engagement rate with hashtags

     

    Tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without plus, they create higher visibility on Twitter. Use hashtags related to your posts so users searching for related items on Twitter can find your tweets and try to limit yourself to two hashtags per tweet. Pay attention to the hashtags influencers in your niche are already using for similar topics, search for trending or industry-specific hashtags and try creating your own custom hashtag to use every time you tweet. For example, CEO of Smith Widgets James Smith hashtags #smithsayings every time he posts a clever piece of business inspiration.

  3. Increase your brand influence with Conversational Ads

Twitter ads are one of the best ways to reach out to a massive amount of users, using the platform’s official promotion services. This has been proven to be an effective way increase brand engagement with compelling images or videos and campaign hashtags that drive Retweets, likes, and follows. Conversational ads take this a step further by including call to action buttons and easier sharing options with customizable hashtags that drive consumer engagement.

When a user taps the call to action button, a pre-populated brand message appears along with creative hashtag buttons. The consumer can then personalize the Tweet and share it with his or her followers. As a thank you, the consumer then receives a message from the brand for having engaged with the Tweet.

Organic conversation starters like this one can be highly beneficial for advertisers and marketers, as it directly influences consumer behaviour to take action.

 

Use these 10 powerful tips to increase traffic, analyse your results, and then make the changes that work best for you and your company.

What is your best trick for increasing Twitter engagement?

 

 

Top 6 Social Media Fails and How To Avoid Them

 

Many great brands make the same mistakes over and over again on social media. Whether it’s ignoring their target audience, being too controversial or simple miscommunication with a wrong hashtag or ill timed tweet, any of these social media mishaps could cost you in terms of brand image and customer base.

Take a look at these sins, and make sure you’re not committing them.

 

1. Automate Everything

 

You can’t expect to build relationships with your followers by taking a “set it and forget it” approach. Automated tweets can help save time, but when a PR crisis hits or an offensive or offended customer takes to social to engage with a brand, it’s best to participate in the conversation and engage directly with the customer.

 

2. Sign up to too many Platforms and never log in

 

Don’t bite of more than you can chew. If you open a social profile people expect customer service on that profile and up to 80% of people expect a reply within 1 hour of posting a comment. If you open too many profiles, never log and reply to customers, people will get angry and frustrated with your brand thus damaging your business. Customers also negatively associate static profiles with your brand and may not order from you if they see profiles that haven’t been updated with content in a while.

Instead of trying to spread yourself across too many social media platforms and failing – try focusing on just one or two. When you limit your social involvement to concentrate on your engagement, you’ll get a much better response from your followers.

 

 

3. Don’t alienate your Brand

 

Don’t alienate your brand, focus on your real message, which should be providing a solution to your customers’ problems. Keep politics and religion off your social media accounts. This goes for responding to negative feedback on social media as well – keep a cool head, engage and move people into a private chat as soon as possible, and address issues head on. After successful resolution of the problem respond to an original post on social media.

 

4. Continually promote offers

 

Social media is all about connecting and being social. People hate promotional content, and they detest adverts. You need to spread your brand message, build online relationships, engage with your audience, ask questions, tell stories and be real. However, you also need to make a living and sell.

If you spend too much time being promotional, you are going to lose followers and likes on social media. Promotion needs to be used subtly every now and then on social media. Here’s an example of a well-known brand’s fail when they tried promoting during Hurricane Sandy.

 

 

Yes, people might be likely to stay in during large-scale weather events like Hurricane Sandy, but that doesn’t make it the perfect time for online shopping. During the storm, Gap issued the tweet above which was made extra tone-deaf by how many people lost power during and after the storm.

 

5. Use Hashtags incorrectly

 

Research what certain hashtags are being used for to ensure they are appropriate to use for your brand. Some may stand for a sensitive topic or something that is in direct opposition to what you want to say, so be careful when using them.

The most infamous example of this mistake is when DiGiorno Pizza hijacked the #WhyIStayed hashtag. It started trending around a discussion of domestic violence. DiGiorno tried to use it to promote pizza. Twitter didn’t laugh.

 

 

6. Analyse your Results

 

If you aren’t tracking what you’re doing on social media, you’ll never know your results. If you don’t know your results, how can you decide if social media marketing is working or how to improve your efforts? By keeping eye on results you are able to see what is/isn’t working for you and make the necessary adjustments to your strategy.

 

Overall we can see that there are some pretty simple mistakes that even the biggest brands make on social media. It is really important to have a process within your team before making decisions on social media as this is a public-facing platform. Make sure that all actions are agreed within the team and always have a  contingency plan if things go wrong. By using these tips you are well on your way to having a great Social Media strategy!

Top 5 Instagram Updates You Should Know

 

Here are a few tips from us at PFM about Instagram’s newest features and how you can use them to make your content on Insta better:

 

Instagram adds Polls feature to Stories 

 

In the latest mobile APP update, Instagram stories now includes a polling feature that allows users to vote on any subject. This new interactive tool is great for businesses who want to engage, entertain, survey their social media audience, get feedback on new products and gain deep customer understanding. It allows brands to ask questions and receive answers in real time and is a valuable feature that should be incorporated as part of a social media strategy.

 

 Here’s how to create one:

 

 

After you add a photo or video in Stories, tap the square sticker icon at the top to open the stickers menu. Then, select “POLL”. People can then vote by tapping on the stickers for your poll: It’s that simple.

You can see the votes tally as they come in. Votes in Instagram polls are not anonymous however, the creator of the poll can view how users voted and poll results are only available for 24 hours like stories.

 

Instagram Stories for Desktop 

 

Until now, Instagram Stories – has strictly been a mobile-only feature but with Instagram’s latest update users will now be able to post and view stories via their desktop. The update is expected to roll out globally over the coming months so keep an eye out for it.

“Stories has quickly become an important part of the Instagram experience – over 250 million people use it every day to see what their friends are doing in the moment,” said Instagram. “Now we’re excited to bring stories to people who use Instagram on the web.

 

 

For those who are unable to download or keep the Instagram app on their phone, this is a great opportunity for them to stay up to date with friends and the latest Instagram trends. It also allows businesses to expand the potential reach of their stories. A win, win for all.

 

Instagram Galleries 

 

Instagram now lets you share landscape and portrait pics and videos in galleries, giving more flexibility and creative ability in terms of content we can share. Just choose the pictures or videos you want to include, and they’ll retain the aspect ratio you set when posted.

 

 

This allows you to post a number of pictures for people to access without having to spam your followers with lots of content that they might not want to see. It also gives you the ability to post videos that are longer than the 60 seconds that Instagram currently allows you. By cutting a 3 minute video into 3 60 second long clips, you can create a a gallery that forms a 3 minute video where the user simply swipes to see the next section of the video.

 

Monitor Instagram Engagement on Facebook

 

With a single inbox for all three channels, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, you can easily monitor and manage communications across all three and respond to Instagram posts through Facebook. This is especially helpful if you have a team of people managing your social media, the new inbox helps streamline account access and increases efficiency by allowing users to respond to all enquiries within a single app.

Account managers will be able to quickly scan all three channels for new updates and feel confident that they aren’t missing important messages. Once you’re Facebook and Instagram accounts are connected, you’ll see all of your Instagram comment notifications in your Facebook Inbox.

 

 

Threaded Comments

 

Similar to Facebook you can now easily view multiple conversations on the same post. When users hit “reply” on a comment, the comment now appears in different threads under a single post making it easier to have friendly, fluid conversations with people and follow other conversations.

While this doesn’t seem that big of a deal, any time it’s easier and more pleasant for followers to talk directly to you the better their relationship is with you, which gives them a positive impression of your brand.

The threaded comments come with Instagram version 24 and above, so make sure you’re running the most updated version of the app.

 

 

Threaded comments make it easier to facilitate actual conversations on the platform, Instagram galleries give us more creative license, Instagram polls make it easier for brands to engage with followers, more desktop features increase audience reach and the ability to monitor Instagram through Facebook makes our lives a little easier. We can’t wait to see what other new features Instagram rolls out over the coming months.

 

Not all of the Tips may apply to you or your company but by utilising even one of these will improve the way you utilise Instagram. With Instagram being such a popular platform, it is vital for you to be using it to the fullest extent to maximise both the quality and the reach of your content. If you would like to learn more about the wonderful world of social then drop us an email and we can talk further.