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11 Easy Social Media Tips and Tricks

11 Easy Social Media Tips and Tricks
By Chris Abraham


This week I am going to just take it back to basics.Here’s a list, off the top of my head, of things that could and should make your social media and blogging life more full, exciting, passionate, accountable, fruitful, and maybe a little less intimidating.

Add Social Media Information to Print Media

This is the most effective way to grow your followership organically without needing to resort to either buying followers or playing the super aggressive game of follow prospects in the hope that they follow back; and, if and when they don’t, unfollowing them.

There are other strategies, of course, but make sure all of your printed media includes every social media platform possible. You need to make everything easy, too. Nobody’s going to want to type in plus.google.com/103099807663073306865 but they might type in plus.google.com/+chrisabraham or google.com/+ChrisAbraham, for example. While not widely used, QR Codes can be utilized to make access to social media easier.

When you’re considering using print as a way to integrate corporate social media branding into your business, consider business cards, letterhead, and also placards, posters, and decals in the waiting rooms and public areas of your business.

And while just adding Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+ icons below “Find us on social media” might work for some people, it’s much easier to include as many clues as possible such as your Twitter handle, be it @chrisabraham or @gerrisd for Gerris digital (that’s how people use Twitter).

It’s especially important when your custom URL is not intuitive. Unison is @unisonbrand, for example, and not @unison or @unisonagency. Also, cross-platform consistency is key, something I have apparently ignored by setting up GerrisDigtial everywhere except on Twitter, where I decided on @gerrisd instead for reasons of brevity.

I might change it back to @gerrisdigtial if the lack of cross-platform integration gets annoying or muddies my nascent brand.

Add Well Written and Fresh Content

Honestly, I get pitched all the time by fly-by-night offshore and unqualified copy writing outfits. Once in a while, I give one of them a go, look at the product, and conclude that it’s not worth it to order content writing on the cheap. Maybe it’ll be okay to use these folks in the future, but so far I write all of my own.

Ask Questions

If you’re able to build some steam with regards to your followers and their numbers (as it’s not worth asking questions in an empty room), then you need to transition from just sharing, expounding, linking, listening, replying, and responding.  You’ll then need to start actually getting out there and (sometimes awkwardly) initiate a topic or question.

At worst, it’ll just get the conversation started; at best, it can be part of a company’s market research. It can even be akin to Ed Koch‘s How am I doin’?

Be Consistent

I always compare social media to parenting. When you have a child, it’s a game of forever. No, not just until 18, but until you’re in the ground, your final resting place. And, as a parent, most companies treat their social media children the way workaholic parents do: lots of time away, lots of time doing other things, then some grandiose gestures: Expensive gifts and trips in lieu of quality time, every day.

Some companies ignore their social media campaigns with enough regularity that they are more like that charming uncle who only shows up a few times a year (but when he does, he’s loaded down with booty, attempting to buy his way into the hearts of the children).

In both cases, there’s a lot to show but not a lot to know. The father and mother who pour lots of time, consistently, into their relationships with their children are always the best parents. And, in analog, the company or brand that recognizes that parenting is all about the daily grind, all about taking the kids to their soccer practice and doctor visits every day in a castrating minivan.

It’s not about all the sexy giveaways, awards, contests, and big splashy memes, videos, games, or challenges, it’s about being responsive, online, and being there, just like parenting. And remember, not just for now, but forever.

Be Relevant

While I wouldn’t, and don’t recommend too much irrelevant “trend surfing,” I would recommend reflecting on what’s going on in the world through your social media.

Express your knowledge, your passion, your expertise, and your interests through your social media profiles and platforms. Editorialize on the news, write a commentary of what’s going on in the news. Don’t merely share interesting links through your profiles but also analyze what’s going on with them. Be the smart one, be insightful.

You’re the expert in so many things, be it properly trained or professionally or just based on experience and the number of years you’ve been on this earth. So, surf the trends just so much as to become a timely and relevant commentator on the issues of the day, especially when it comes to your industry.

This is where a blog or a Tumblr and a content marketing strategy might make a lot of sense. Someplace you can explore the longer-form. Someplace to really dump your depth and passion into one place and over time.

Be Diverse

While all of my formal content creations are focused on SEO, digital PR, social media marketing, and reputation management, my daily tweeting, blogging, and Facebooking are about all sorts of things. Memes of the day, cool stuff other people are doing, sensational news, cool inventions, and amazing new apps, gadgets, or phones.

I often write and share about stuff I hear on my podcast lists (or what I am listening to) or on NPR in the morning. What social media is about is conveying who you are in addition to what you do. Social media is a very efficient medium for conveying character, morality, and belief.

And this isn’t done immediately but slowly over time, trickled out, as you reveal what’s interesting and important to you and how you think, how smart you are about things. And, there’s no pressure, either. This isn’t your dissertation defense, you can take some time and energy putting yourself and your social media profiles together just right.

There’s no reason to ever be impetuous. Take your time, take a breath, and then engage.

Be Where Your Readers Are

Very few brands, companies, products, or services have the drawing power, the beauty, to actually attract people off of one preferred social media platform and to another. So, you just need to try your best to be everywhere, at least a little bit, or at least where your customers, your fans, your colleagues, your neighborhood, your prospects, and your industry are. Be it on LinkedIn or Facebook or Google+ or even Twitter.

This is especially true if your customers have come to expect companies and services in your industry to use social media as a channel for customer support (and it doesn’t matter if you do, either. If your competitors use social media to address customer concerns, you’ll need to as well — and yesterday!).

You can go even further. Monitor your space using Sysomos, SM2, or another social media monitoring tools, and then get out there to where the conversations are happening and jump in: blogs, message boards, listservs, email lists, and even reddit and metafilter (though I would ask for some double-ninja triple-advanced help for the last two).

Be Patient

Neither Rome nor your reputation online were built in a day. In fact, Google and everyone else hates being front loaded. If you can only spend a few hours on Sunday night or on a Friday afternoon on Social Media, try using a tool such as HootSuite, SocialOomph.com, or Buffer.

Be Personal

Never forget (always remember) that you’re dealing with real people, real individuals. And while you can speak and talk and gossip and share, you also need to realize that social media is a two-way street. Be personal, be intimate, be responsive. And don’t turn all your individual responses into general FAQ content. Always be sure to tailor your content to each individual person. Humans, not prospects; people, not opportunities.

Yes, also prospects and opportunities, but you’re doing all of this in public. Your cordial, general, patient, and most generous nature is always best served person-by-person.

Brand Advocates

MasterCard is converting all of its 7,500 employees into social media brand advocates. And you don’t need to stop with just your official brand social media profiles and all the members of your staff, but you can also go outside of your own organization to activate and encourage your natural allies, fans, and customers to sell, speak, share, and sing on your behalf. Tools such as GaggleAMP are very powerful amplifiers and accelerators for these sorts of advocacy campaigns.

Give Your Titles and Tweets Some Love

When it comes down to it, very few people will get past your tweet or the title of your blog post, so it had better be not only good, but a complete synopsis of what your entire piece is about.

And because you’re witty, quippy, and brilliant, you’ll want to be clever with your title: don’t. I can tell you how many retweets and shares don’t work at all when you share them without loads of editing, and people do not edit. They click “Share to Twitter” and then click post. You need to make it completely “done” and “did”. Premasticate it, well before anyone ever shares it.

Conclusion

I hope my list has been useful. If you would like me to go into some more depth or if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments and I will aspire to address and meet your needs, questions, and requests.

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Chris Abraham

Principal Consultant at Gerri Corp.
Chris Abraham is a leading expert in digital, including online reputation management (ORM), Internet privacy, social media marketing and digital PR with a focus on blogger outreach, blogger engagement and Internet crisis response.
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Capturing The Moment


Capturing The Moment
By Bridget Fitzpatrick

 
Does the public ever get to know about the good things that officers do on a daily basis? With today’s smartphones it can be as simple as taking a picture or creating a short video. That is exactly what an Omaha Police Officer did when he met up with two fellow officers.

Police Officers Barnes and Groth were on duty driving on the interstate on one of the coldest days of the year when they spotted two dogs in traffic. Rather than just driving on down the road, they stopped their cruisers and rescued the dogs. While that is a great story and, one of many that officers perform daily, what makes this moment even better is an officer’s foresight to document it.
 

 
When the officers returned with the dogs, a quick thirty second video about the dogs’ rescue and quick picture were taken. Let me just say this again…a thirty second video and a quick snapshot. That’s all the time that it took to make a huge positive impact for our department.

Realizing the value of the picture and video, the officer quickly posted it on the Omaha Police Officers Association Facebook Page under the heading, “ More Evidence… Cops Love Dogs,” and we shared it on the Omaha Police Department’s Facebook Page.

So let’s take a look at the numbers from this one post. At the time of this writing and between the two Facebook pages, the post was shared almost 400 times, had over 250 comments, the majority of which praised officers for saving the dogs, and was seen by over 94,000 people. And believe it or not, it was picked up by one of the four local news stations who ran two great positive new stories.

We all know from firsthand experience that if it were a negative cop/dog story, all the stations would have covered it. However, this is a great example of how to create your own positive press relations in your community.  (After the dogs were turned over to the Humane Society, the owner signed papers to have the dogs adopted. Once that went public, he tried to get the dogs back. However he had an active warrant for cruelty to animals and the rest of the dogs were removed from the house.)

So who captures your positive moments for your department? Do your officers understand the value of positive press? Do your command officers understand the value of positive press? These are questions you should consider asking and considering when drafting social media policies. Find officers that are willing to capture and share those good moments. Share positive photos and videos on your department’s Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Utilize the free marketing campaign that is at your fingertips. It’s our favorite price…free.

Waiting in the wings is that next negative situation that will go public and make us all look bad. Why not get ahead of that and start promoting all the good things that your department does. Good stories happen every day. Make sure your department capitalizes on them. Thirty seconds is a very short time to make an impact…good or bad.

Bridget Fitzpatrick is a seventeen year veteran of the Omaha Police Department (OPD). Her work as a Crime Prevention Specialist has given her insight to many of the communities concerns. She has been one of the administrators of the OPD Facebook page for approximately two years. Her involvement as a Facebook administrator has been instrumental in increasing the fan base for the page and helping to control the fallout due to controversial issues.

4 Ways to Come Up with Brilliant Ideas
 When the Pressure’s On


4 Ways to Come Up with Brilliant Ideas
 When the Pressure’s On


March is National Ideas Month.  Hey, whose bright idea was that?Here’s an intriguing idea from author and writing coach Michael Levin,: “Creativity is a muscle; use it or lose it.”

Levin, whose new Books Are My Babies YouTube channel (www.BooksAreMyBabies.com) offers 160-plus free tutorials for writers, says that anyone can grow their creativity, just like any other muscle.

“I define creativity as ‘the ability to develop great ideas while under pressure,’ ” he says. “Pressure creates diamonds, so why shouldn’t it also create great ideas?”
 

 

But sometimes, pressure paralyzes creativity.
 
“I’ve experienced it when writing under deadline pressure and writing under the pressure of my own high expectations,” Levin says. “Over time, I’ve developed several tricks to stimulate my creative muscle and help me come up with great ideas for whatever challenge I face – whether it’s writing or figuring out how to arrange a busy family weekend schedule so that everyone’s needs are met.”

Here are four of Levin’s no-fail tips for generating creative ideas under pressure:

1. Ask yourself, “What’s the most dangerous, expensive and illegal way to solve this problem?”  We usually take the same approach to solving problems every time with the resources we have at hand. “This doesn’t exactly translate into breathtaking creativity,” Levin says.  So imagine that you have no limits — legal, moral, financial, whatever. You can do literally anything to solve the problem. The way-out ideas you develop may not be practical, but they’ll lead you to new ways of thinking about your problem. And then you can find a non-life-threatening, legal way to solve it.

2. Hide. We live in a world of constant, thin-sliced demands. Unanswered texts and emails. People waiting for you to say something, do something, read something, decide something. Run and hide. Lock yourself in your car or hunker down in a bathroom stall. Slow down and get your brain back. It’s all but impossible for your creative brain to operate when you’re responding to endless external stimuli. The best ideas often come when you run from your responsibilities.

3. Count to 20. Go somewhere where you can be undisturbed, bring a yellow pad and a pen, turn off your phone, and sit there until you come up with 20 ideas for solving your problem. This requires discipline, because most of us are so happy when we have one answer to a problem that we want to move to the next agenda item. Not every idea you invent will be a great one, but that’s okay. It may be idea number 17 that’s truly brilliant, but you’d never get there if you ran back to your desk after you came up with one, two or even five ideas. If you do this daily, you’ll develop 100 new ideas a week. Imagine how strong your idea muscle will be.

4. Give up. Cardiologists recommend to heart patients that they visit nature, go to a museum, or attend a classical concert. Why? It slows them down and allows them to appreciate beauty instead of seeing life as a constant battle. Surrender your own siege mentality. Life isn’t war, thank goodness.Take a major step away, even for a couple of hours, from whatever battles you’re facing, contemplate the greatness of the human spirit or the wonder of nature, and reawaken the creative energy that our fight-minded world suppresses.

Where’s your next big idea coming from? From your mind at peace, that’s where.