So you want to work in social media?

Working in Social MediaYou’re not alone. Frankly, I think it’s a great decision. The demand for talented digital communicators has never been higher.

A few years ago I had an honest conversation with myself about whether I wanted to specialize in social or position myself as a generalist in marketing, communications, advertising or public relations. I chose the former and have absolutely no regrets. Here are a few skills that will either help you land a job in the social space or help your thrive once you’ve landed one: Continue reading

Why Content Needs Context in Order to Survive

There is more content produced and shared on social media everyday than you can sink your teeth into. That means you need to find ways to create meaningful content that grabs attention.

Here are 3 things you must know about content creation based on a presentation at Social Media Week in Toronto by Josh Muirhead, the founder of Socialmark Media, entitled “Content may be king, but without Context – no one will pay attention.”

Be brief, be brilliant, and be gone

The key in creating great content is the meat. Unlike the traditional hamburger model of marketing, where your message was sugarcoated with a tasty bun and an assortment of hearty vegetables, the content you create for social media must waste no time getting to the point. Social media users don’t have the time or the attention span to listen to a long-winded version of your story. We suffer from the need to tell our audience everything, instead of what really matters. So find out what’s important to your audience and just say it. Avoid overwhelming them with too many condiments. Continue reading

Social Media Week: Is ROI a Myth or Reality?

After attending Social Media Week Toronto‘s Social Media ROI: Myth or Reality? session, it was clear that measuring the development of a social media campaign can be different for everyone and everyone has a different opinion on it. One panelistnoted, social media ROI is like Sasquatch, everybody is looking and no one can find it. Another said social media ROI is like asking about the ROI of a toilet. It’s difficult to put a number on it but you wouldn’t want to live without it.

From this session, it was clear than you have to start with strong community development and management in order to start measuring results. Here are four ways to get there. Continue reading

15 Reasons You’re Not Generating a Twitter Following

Image courtesy of Megachix

Jumping into social media may be the easy part. It becomes difficult when you’ve been active for a while but just aren’t seeing the results you would like. Are you doing something wrong? Is there something you can do differently? Are you boring?

Those are just some examples of the second-guessing we all do with social media. Here are 15 things that might be ruining any chance at social media success:

  1. Your Twitter avatar is an egg
  2. You bio is everything but a bio
  3. You blast the same message across multiple platforms
  4. You don’t tweet enough, or at all
  5. You use Twitter solely to sell a product or service
  6. You promote yourself more than others
  7. Your contributions are thin or lack innovation Continue reading

4 Social Media Lessons from Obama’s Google+ Hangout

President Obama Google HangoutRegardless of where you stand politically, last night’s Google+ Hangout with President Barack Obama highlights some important aspects of social media engagement.

The Google+ hangout was diverse with two wives, a group of students, a war veteran, a small business owner and others. President Obama listened and communicated with these Americans and others while effectively leveraging a platform that was comfortable for them and a vast majority of his audience. How do we know this? Before the hangout, a total of 228,094 people submitted 133,184 questions and cast 1,630,369 votes on the White House YouTube channel. This was a successful example of knowing where your audience spends their time. Here are four lessons you can apply to your social strategy:

Be innovative. While Obama has incorporated townhall meetings on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn during his presidential campaigns, this marked the first ever Google+ Hangout with a President. Talk about catering to your audience and encouraging dialogue. You too can be innovative if you know your audience and find a way to connect with them.
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Engage your advocators and face your detractors. Obama faced the difficult questions about the economy, foreign aid, homelessness and unemployment rates head on. While some Google+ Hangout attendees had voted for him, others had not. Challenging questions are inevitable, especially in social media, and your community is judging you based on your ability to handle such questions. Think of this as an opportunity to turn your detractors into brand advocates and to further confirm the decisions of ambassadors. Honest, sincere and transparent answers go a long way.
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Use multiple platforms. If you’re going to host multiple parties, you’d better mix up the venues. In this case, the White House effectively utilized several social media channels. People could submit a question on YouTube, watch on Google+, or follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #askobama. The next time your business wants to engage with your community be sure to know when and where to host the party (or parties!).
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Understand public relations 101. Never turn down an opportunity to sway public opinion. It is important to use every conversation as an opportunity to improve your image, even if that means laughing at an impersonator.
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It can be challenging for a brand to be knowledgeable, educational and laugh at the same time. Social media takes practice and requires companies to take chances. Find the right balance and your community will grow and reward you in return. What did you think of the first ever Google+ Hangout? I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you missed the hangout, watch it here: here.

This post originally appeared on the Radian6 Social Strategy Blog where I contribute to the community engagement team.

How to Wow Sports Fans with Social Media

Social Media Sports

“My kids, if I ever accidentally have some, will not go to school. They will start twitter accounts and learn from the people.”– Paul BissonettePhoenix Coyotes

It’s tweets like these that have made Phoenix Coyotes’ enforcer Paul Bissonette generate a healthy following on social media. And there is something to be said about how athletes engage on social media.

Most sports fans know their favorite athlete’s height, weight, jersey number and noteworthy statistics. But that trend is changing as more and more athletes dive into social media and fans around the world subscribe to their every tweet.

Just like in business and other industries, professional sports organizations are seeing the vast promotional potential of social media. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has even announced that he would dish out $240,000 towards improving his fighter’s followings. How’s that for incentive? Paid to socialize, sign me up.

So what is it about social media engagement that fans really enjoy?

Accessibility: Fans want to gain access and connect with athletes. Social media has made that a possibility. Whether it is a  brief exchange about last night’s game, insights into fitness regimens or injury updates, all of these provide something meaningful to the fans. People connect with athletes through social media to learn more than they would get from the radio and television. Takeaway: Be accessible to your following. Make them feel special.

Be Human: The public sometimes forgets that athletes have significant others, children, and even a life outside the game. Interacting with fans via social media shows a human side that online communities desperately want to see. My personal favorite is Paul Bissonette, the professional hockey player mentioned above who has amassed a following of 211,686, despite only tallying 5 career NHL goals. If you’re looking for personality, he’s your man. Takeaway: Crack a joke, admit you were wrong, or thank your social followers for pointing something out. Show you are human.

Insight: Just like someone who works in law, business or education, athletes have a significant level of insight about the sport they play and can build their community up by educating their audience. Takeaway: Whether you work for a sports related brand or not, share your knowledge so the rest of us can take it in.

Relationships: Social media gives athletes and their fans a chance to connect and deepen relationships. Your audience is constantly evaluating the strength of their relationship with you so take the time to show them you value their support. Takeaway: Show them love and it will come back 5-fold in long-term support.

Regardless of who you are or what you do, make your audience feel valued.  Give them access, show your personality, and provide any insight you might have. You can manage the relationships by consistently WOWing your audience. For Bissonette, that is providing humor and insight that fans don’t expect to get from professional athletes.

To learn more check out the top 100 tips to live by via @darrenrovell. Can you think of any other methods to engage with your following? Share below! This post originally appeared on the Radian6 Social Strategy Blog where I contribute to the community engagement team.