Friday Oct 31, 2014

13 Un-scary Tips to Get You More Twitter Retweets

Do you have Twitter-envy?  Come on, admit it.  You’ve been tweeting like a madman for months and have rounded up a grand total of 35 followers.  Meanwhile your friend just started tweeting last week about nothing but pickles and already has 20,000 followers.  And those followers are giving him retweets that help boost his fan base even higher.  


How are they doing it!?  Are there ancient secrets being hidden only from you?  Is it a conspiracy?  Is your Twitter account broken?  Are poltergeists erasing your tweets?  I don’t want to stop you from pursuing such valid leads, but just in case those aren’t the things doing damage, here are some tips to give your tweets a fighting chance of being more appealing and thus shareable.


1. Um, learn to write.  Your friend has clearly mastered the pickle subject.  Do you know how many tweets there are a day? Over 500 million. No one’s going to retweet you unless you can make them mentally say, “Man, that’s great!” You have to be that good.


2. Assimilate into the Borg.  In this case, the Borg is your target audience, and there should be very little to distinguish you from them. Think like them, use their terminology, know what they like, know what they hate. Your audience can sniff out a poser.


3. Get their blood up.  Get a debate going by bringing up something your audience is actually passionate about. Steer clear of contrived questions nobody cares to hear the answers to. If you can safely do so, prime the pump with your opinion.


4. Make other people famous.  Guess what?  When you mention someone in your tweet, they’ll think it’s a brilliant tweet and will spread it to as many people as possible. Make human nature work to your advantage.


5. Think about your posting schedule.  Find your sweet tweet spot as far as how often you post and when you post, but base it on your target audience’s behavior. Avoid over-tweeting…unless you’re making it clear you’re live-tweeting something.


6. Put at least a little thought into your profile pic.  If you have a recognized logo, use it.  If it doesn’t stand out in a timeline of other faces, get creative and change it. People fly through their Twitter streams at top speed and that picture has to stop them.


7. In your Twitter profile, say who you really are and what you really do.  If you’re cutesy, coy, vague, evasive, or say nothing at all, you haven’t given anyone a reason in the world to follow you or pay attention to what you tweet.


8. Promote your Twitter account.  It’s okay, really.  But be very clear about all the enriching goodness they’re going to get if they go to it. They sure aren’t going to do it just as a favor to a total stranger.


9. Keep it short.  If you max out your 140 characters, there’s no room for people to retweet you.


10. First in wins.  If you know a bit of news in your field and you notice no one seems to have tweeted it yet, get it out there. Suddenly you become the cited source in all the subsequent retweeting.


11. Tweet worthy, rewarding links.  You don’t want to earn a reputation for links that make people regret having clicked it.


12. Get your ratings.  Find a social media management tool that will show you how each tweet does so you’ll know what’s working and what’s a waste of yours and everybody else’s time.


13. Please, cool it with the hashtags.  There are proper ways to use hashtags, but when your tweet has as many symbols as letters, you’re off the rails. Use them to put your tweet in front of existing category audiences. If you make one up to be funny, make sure it’s really funny.


These tips aren’t that hard and definitely shouldn’t scare you away from tweeting.  The only thing you should really fear is a steady stream of tweets going out there from your handle that are imminently ignorable.  Remember, you have pickle tweets to compete with.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Oct 21, 2014

11 Ways to Wreck Your Social Relationships

social media relationshipsSocial media marketing is all about building authentic relationships. It involves many of the things human relationships live and die by; knowing the person, trust, altruism, patience, etc. So it follows naturally the opposite traits would lead to relationship failure; narcissism, mistrust, selfishness and the like.


When you look at how some brands treat their fans, followers and customers on social, it kind of makes you wonder what their real world human relationships are like. Even as long as social marketing has been around and as much thought leadership has been written on the subject, customers are still NOT getting the experience they want to have with their brands on social.


There are plenty more, but here are 11 ways you can risk having your customers one day tell you, “We need to talk.”


1. And You Are…?

Don’t get or pay attention to any analytics. Don’t try to find out who your fans are, where they are, or what they like. If you accidentally find out what they like, don’t act on it. It’s a great way to prove over and over to them you couldn’t care less.


2. Lie to Them

You silver-tongued smoothie. Just keep putting up those misleading headlines or links to things that violate their expectations. It’s a real trust-builder. And while you’re at it, throw some unrelated trending hashtags into your tweets to trick people into seeing you.


3. Keep Them Guessing

Start a social channel, sweep fans off their feet with content, then suddenly vanish for half a month. Play hard to get. Never let them know where they stand with you or what they’re going to get from you.


4. Bore Them Stupid

Ever been on a date where the other person talked endlessly yet managed to never touch on a single topic you cared anything about? Brands are doing that all the time with their content. People like you to talk about them.


5. Don’t Care How You Look

Let your Timeline go. Don’t give yourself an attractive cover or photo. Make sure your profile picture really bland. Don’t post a lot of videos or photos…just show them lots and lots of text. Oh, and make sure everything you do looks horrible on mobile.


6. Be Obtuse

Leave them thoroughly confused by cramming your tweets with as many tags, links, hashtags, and hieroglyphic symbols as you can. Make them WORK to understand what you’re trying to communicate. Maybe they’ll think it’s fun.


7. Come Across as Desperate and Needy

Who isn’t drawn to that? In every Facebook post and every tweet, make sure you’re pushing your product as hard as you can and trying to get a commitment out of them after the first meeting.


8. Show No Effort

Make posts and tweets like, “Is everybody ready for the weekend?” Nothing makes a fan feel special more than being addressed as part of the masses with a message that sounds like an obligation, created on your phone as you’re heading out the door.


9. Expect Too Much Too Soon

It’s very important that if you aren’t being Liked by thousands and they aren’t commenting and sharing your content like crazy, you start resenting them and abandon your efforts to connect with them. Just be sure to blame it on them and not you.


10. Ignore Them

IF they interact or reach out to you at all, that’s a really big deal. You should be doing flips. Ignoring their gesture or not responding to their interaction until 2 weeks later is a fantastic way to foster hostility.


11. Insist the Relationship Be All About You

What do you need? What do you want to get out of this? That’s why you’re doing this and that’s all that really matters, right? If your customer is happy and fulfilled, that’s nice and all, but it’s hardly the main point. Make sure everything is done your way and happens 100% on your terms.


You want your brand to be as desirable as possible in your social marketing. The people you’re courting want to be appreciated, thought about, cared about, and loyally attended to. If you don’t do it, it’s your brand that pays the price, not the customer. They’ll get over you, move on, and find someone else very quickly.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Jul 22, 2014

Cut Yourself a Break: Get a Social Management Platform

If you’re a community manager who’s publishing, monitoring, engaging, and analyzing communities on multiple social networks manually and individually, you need a hug.  We’re sure you’re getting by just fine, because you’re a typical superstar CM that possesses multi-disciplinary skills. But at what point do you cut yourself a break and let a social management platform preserve your sanity?

The expectations on you seem to have gone nowhere but up, while the resourcing has either stayed the same or inched up an embarrassingly uninformed amount. A pro-grade social management platform is not exactly a luxury, it’s STEP ONE in any true commitment to social marketing and customer communication.

You know the best practices. You know the right things to do. But your brand is making it quite an uphill climb for you. I can almost guarantee your CMO does not know what it’s like to be a community manager. I can even almost guarantee the person to whom you directly report has no clue what you do, or how you do it, or what it entails. Sooner is better than later to educate them (and no one can do this but you) on how vital social management platforms have become.

Tell them this is what one could be doing for you:

1. Scheduling posts. Lining up the optimum number of posts every day across multiple social networks so fans can get in the habit of consistently seeing content from you.

2. Finding and alerting you to mentions of your brand or unwanted content. Let the platform watch for things that need your attention, otherwise you’re stuck watching screens 24/7…and paranoid.

3. Gathering richer analytics than native gets you. What if your KPI’s aren’t what Facebook thinks they should be? Don’t get buried in numbers, see the ones that matter.

4. Publishing to all of your streams with one click, and from one dashboard. If you’d rather watch a wall of 4 or 5 monitors, and rock 4 or 5 keyboards, knock your lights out.

5. Giving you the quickest way to leverage rich media like video, coupons, polls and quizzes that get higher engagement. Optimizing, posting and promoting a video 5 times on 5 different channels is time you’ll never get back.

6. Targeting your posts across platforms. Seattle doesn’t want to hear about the deal you’re only offering in Dallas. Too much of that irrelevancy, and they won’t want to see anything from you.

7. Integrating with other enterprise systems. If your social marketing is “talking” to your CRM, sales, fulfillment, etc. systems, customers may start to feel like your brand actually knows them!

Even if you enjoy being a social marketing martyr, that doesn’t mean that approach is the most efficient or effective for the company. Encourage your decision-makers to let a social management platform get the repetitive drudgery and busywork off your plate so you can use what makes you particularly valuable, your skills at finding & creating better content and increasing personal engagement with posts.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday Jul 18, 2014

LinkedIn Inclusion Closes Chapter 1 of the Oracle Social SRM Platform

With big news having rolled out this week, we turn today’s guest blogging duties over to Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear.


Back in May of 2012, Oracle completed a series of social media acquisitions launching its commitment to enhanced, effective digital customer experiences for brand marketers. Peering into the future, we saw that the age of carpet-bombing consumers with messages urging them to come to the brand was doing as much harm as good. We knew that the future was going to be about meeting customers wherever they are, whenever they’re there, and with personalized, relevant content.


It was clear that the social networks were becoming nothing less than the hubs of public communication.


The option for marketers to ignore social was slipping away, and the Oracle Social Cloud committed itself to building a comprehensive social marketing, engagement, and monitoring technology platform that would make differentiating customer relationships possible. The commitment was our recognition that the customer was in control and that brands would have to change if they wanted to retain customers and deliver outstanding customer experiences.


With Oracle’s subsequent acquisitions of Eloqua, Compendium, Responsys, and BlueKai, which together form the Oracle Marketing Cloud, we were able to offer integrations with the Oracle Social Cloud that moved brands far from yesterday’s point solution technology and into a marketing ecosystem capable of powering tomorrow’s promise of highly personalized and engaged customer experiences.


So this week’s inclusion of LinkedIn to our publishing and engagement capabilities should really come as no surprise given the role LinkedIn is playing for B2B marketers today. Adding 2 members per second has brought it to over 300 million users, a number that’s doubled in the last calendar year with over half of those users outside North America.


This addition of LinkedIn to the Oracle SRM platform is great for our customers, solidifying the platform as the clear choice for B2B marketers. But it’s really just the end of an opening chapter in an amazing marketing revolution story we’re all seeing play out in full Technicolor in this era of digital transformation.


This revolution is about mobile, social, big data, cloud-powered outrageous customer experiences. Recognizing the magnitude of this opportunity is the reason our product has been so rapidly innovating. We have been building new capabilities in concert with our global customers with the aim of helping them deliver best-in-class customer experiences…the kind of post-revolution brand encounters customers have come to expect.


As we continue socially enabling the enterprise, we are excited about the great experiences we can unlock with our partner LinkedIn using the Oracle SRM platform. The future is bright for marketers, and Oracle Social is happy being able to do our part to bring innovation to our customers, working together to write the next chapters.


@oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Jan 28, 2014

12 Reasons to Feel Awesome About Being a Social Community Manager

The below originally appeared yesterday on the Community Manager Appreciation Day site.  We hope all CM's were given an extra helping of gratitude and had a special day!

jumpI would debate you that the true stars of Social Marketing are the brand Community Managers, except for the fact that such a debate is long over. If you’re not sure how much you appreciate yours, briefly imagine them suddenly vanishing. What would you do? What would all your social properties look like? What would your social communities start saying about you?


Because they’re so due our appreciation, Community Manager Appreciation Day was established in 2010 and held January 27, featuring a 24-hour live hangout with all kinds of topics and experts.  But there's no reason you can't still take the time to thank your CM or sing their praises on social using #CMAD and #CMGR.


Meanwhile, here are just a few reasons Community Managers should also use this time to take stock of everything they bring to the social marketing table.


  • You have been put in the position of being the real-time public voice and representative of the entire brand. Not an agency, not the CEO…you.


  • If you’re good, you’re so in demand you have no idea.


  • You can write! And while that’s something everyone claims to be able to do, the reality is that most either can’t, are lousy at it, or don’t want to do it.


  • It’s highly likely you have one of the best personalities in the building. After all, your job is specifically to not bore people.


  • You know more about your brand’s strengths and weaknesses than your C-suite, and you know about them sooner.


  • You are the wall standing between your brand and a public relations disaster. It’s like Oracle's Erika Brookes likes to say around here, “You can’t teach judgment.”


  • You’re called upon to have nearly every marketing discipline in the book, and all at the same time, and in one position. If you aren’t already, you should start feeling really strong about your career prospects.


  • Yes it’s a hard, all-consuming job, but the good news is the tools are getting better.


  • Trying to describe to people what you do is a great mind exercise!


  • The job is making you thick-skinned. That’s going to serve you very well throughout your life and career.


  • When fans are liking what the brand is doing on social, they’re liking what you are doing. That should be a nice ego boost.


  • You’re learning almost every minute of every day based on what customers do and don’t like, and what does and doesn’t work. You’re internalizing exceptionally good business instincts.


Social marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, influencer marketing…it a very exciting space to be in, and developments keep coming fast and furious. None of it would be possible without you multi-talented, dynamic personalities interacting with the people who matter most, the customers, and for that we are greatly appreciative.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

Easy Ways to Look Really Uncool to Your Fans

sleazeHave you as a brand ever paused to think about what an honor it is for somebody, anybody, to Like your Facebook page or choose to follow your tweets?  Outside of business reasons, how many brands have you followed on social? It’s a big deal for John Q. Public to invite you into their circle of friends and ask to hear from you. What kind of social content are you rewarding them with?

Below are quick, easy ways to immediately make someone regret Liking you. You see, they only want to self-identify with cool companies, and the things below make you markedly uncool.

Posting too much
A bigger issue on Facebook, but even on Twitter, each post should be new, breaking news type info. If you hog feeds, you’ll be seen as “clutter.” People like to clear clutter. Plus there’s no way you’ve got that much A-grade material. I’m not just making this up, a Lab42 study found posting too frequently is the #1 reason users unlike a brand.

Using social as a one-way megaphone
You’re not listening, you’re not responding, in general you’re making your fans feel like they’re there for you and not the other way around. The above study cites bad customer experience as the #3 reason fans dump brands on social. As for not listening, you’re only hurting yourself. 86% of consumer feedback online is being missed by brands, and 70% of marketers collect no social data about their competition.

Desperate selling
Do you really think your fans don’t know you want them to buy your product? So chill out and don’t make every post a breathless pitch. A Vanson Bourne study found 48% don’t want marketing messages at all. Another study (MediaBrix) shows people find ads disguised as content annoying, and 85% said it changed their opinion of the brand negatively if it had an effect at all. Yet…the study also found a great many marketers think this kind of disrespectful fake-out is effective.

Proving you’re uncommitted and/or lazy
Inconsistent posting that swings from radio silence to spammy barrage, auto-DMing that ruins the human-to-human social advantage, connecting social networks so Twitter hashtags show up in your Facebook posts, meaningless posts (“tell us your plans for the weekend!”), using an inhuman corporate voice, all prove to fans that for your brand, social is a pesky afterthought. Considering social makes up just 10% of brands’ digital marketing spend, and annual digital marketing operating budgets were a whopping 2.5% of company revenue in 2012, lack of commitment probably starts at the top.

There are certainly other annoyances: going hashtag crazy, not targeting or mis-targeting offers (studies indicate a 66% increase in engagement with proper targeting), asking fans to jump through hoops for you with no reward for doing so, etc.

But there are two bits of really good news. One; social management platforms now exist that make posting, listening, targeting, responding, and analyzing easier and more of an integrated process than ever. Doing social the right way is more do-able. And two; the rewards of not chasing fans away are great.

The Vanson Bourne report shows 68% of social users researched a product or service recommended by a friend, and 15% of those bought based on the recommendation. Win your fans’ trust, and they’ll get you new customers without a frantic hard sell. And 82% of respondents to the Lab42 study said Facebook is a good platform for interacting with brands, with 50% finding the page more useful than the brand’s www.

So your fans are quite predisposed to keep following you. Only you can mess that up and become the uncool kid they don’t want to be seen around.

@mikestiles

Tuesday Feb 26, 2013

Hackers, Trolls and Troublemakers

trollAs brands on the social stage, we’re going to encounter hackers, trolls and troublemakers. They aren’t pleasant, but they’re not fatal. Our philosophy: if you’re going to play in the sandbox you can expect to get some sand in your socks. You can’t immerse in the public without running into these irritants. What you can do is manage them.

Hackers

Brand hacking incidents have been all too frequent and public. Naturally, your first line of defense is enterprise level technology security solutions that leave little to chance.

But as long as there’s a human that can be tricked out of info, there’ll be hacks. People trust online friends, so messages from them with malicious links get clicked. A social engineering experiment by a major manufacturing firm ended up with 17 out of 20 users with access to confidential data giving usernames and passwords to an intruder.

After putting top-notch tech security in place (don’t scrimp on that), defense #2 is due diligence. Make sure you use your moderation tools to detect suspicious characters in your community who aim to use you to victimize other fans. Educate users to increase the caution level (though most won’t exactly get excited about social safety lessons).

The social nets are doing what they can. Facebook stopped trying to play “whack-a-mole” and switched to an offensive strategy of cease & desist letters, lawsuits, and reverse engineering so the culprits can be found and arrested if warranted.

Social that works for everyone revolves around trust. For brands, it’s imperative to foster and preserve that trust to get continued engagement and for initiatives like sCommerce to flourish.

Trolls

Not nearly as likable as Hobbits. They’re usually slightly anarchic, attention-starved agitators. They live to post inflammatory comments that get a rise out of you. Sure it might be a brand’s natural PR instinct to jump in with both feet, but the standard best practice is to ignore them, thus imposing the nightmare of insignificance.

Some trolls are more persistent than others. Many are willing to kick it up to bullying and abuse. Once they cross that line, you can report them and perhaps get them banned from the platform completely. Some, most notably in the UK, have even been arrested. All social networks have abuse policies. Facebook makes it especially easy to block, hide and unfriend.

The customer may always be right, but trolls are not your customers, so feel neither pain nor guilt for deleting their comments. The real art for brands is using common sense to differentiate between a troll on the attack and a genuinely dissatisfied customer.

Troublemakers

They aren’t trolls, but they do things that make for a less than pleasant experience for others in your community. Chief among them are those who would use your brand to relentlessly self-promote. It’s tacky, desperate, and usually boring. A fan that uses your Page to solicit followers or push their link is ignoring the codes of social conduct.

So are all-out spammers. If I’m on my favorite cookie’s Page, I probably don’t want to “ask you how you lost 50 lbs. in 2 days just by chewing bamboo shoots.”

Varying language issues aside, literacy is always nice. A post that can be understood by the community adds value. We shouldn’t have to struggle to deduce what a commenter is trying to say. Nor should we have to decipher cryptic tweets filled with 8 hashtags and alien symbols.

Some comments may indeed be about your company but are a mile off-topic from the post they’re under. Yes, you should address their concern, but either answer in one quick post or take the issue offline. Don’t let people steer conversations into a ditch.

Your job as host and emcee of your brand’s Page is to create as positive an experience as you can, an environment that keeps fans coming back and leads to valuable engagement. Be firm with those who risk tainting your social turf.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Feb 05, 2013

The Community Manager Wish List

Jeff EspositoJeff Esposito of VistaPrint was the winner of our yearlong search for the Oracle Community Manager of the Year. Associated with Jeremiah Owyang’s Community Manager Appreciation Day, the award is intended to honor the frontline work being done by these social brand representatives and relationship-builders every day (including weekends and holidays). We asked Jeff to tell us what, from his perspective, might improve a CMs ability to hit homeruns for their brand. What follows are his thoughts:

There is no question that the role of a Community Manager is a unique one. Outside of working for Tony Soprano, I am not sure that there is a position where you need to take as much time trying to describe what you do to family and coworkers. I’ve given up trying to be eloquent and typically sum it up as, “I get paid to talk to people for a living.”

Despite the headache of trying to describe what I do, I can safely say that I have a rewarding job. Community management is something where no two days will ever be the same, you’re pushed each and every hour that you sit behind your desk, and you have responsibilities that exceed anything that might be on your business card.

For those of you in a community management role, you know that the job is not perfect. You often find yourself wanting more. It’s OK. I find myself in the same position every now and then (read often). These are the 5 things that always seem to stay at the top of my Community Manager wish list:

More Time 
There are 24 hours in any given day, and you have to sleep sometime. If you ask any Community Manager what their biggest problem is, you will more than likely hear something about wanting more time. I know that’s what I want. You’ll never have enough time in the day to keep up with all the trends or touch everyone that you want to that day. The best you can do is to manage what time you have effectively and prioritize all the things that you’re called upon to do.

Continuing Education 
We all remember school and how un-awesome it was. Sorry Mrs. Callendar. It’s not you, it’s me. While going back to school is not exactly at the top of my priority list, it is important to keep learning. This can be accomplished any number of ways, from brushing up on white papers to networking with a professional group like the Community Roundtable (you should be a member).

Resources 
Much like time, we’ll likely never have all of the resources that we want. That said, it is important for Community Managers to push for tools that can make their jobs easier and help them deliver better results. If the answer is “no,” you shouldn’t throw in the towel. If there is a tool or membership that will enhance how you do your job, make a solid business case for it and show the value to the higher ups.

Good Friends 
There is a lot to be said about having a strong support network. For Community Managers, having friends who perform a similar role is vital for success. This is especially important when you hit a wall or need to bounce something off of someone. Plus they’re great to have even if you just need to vent a little bit.

Better Members 
While friends who are fellow CMs are good, a community wouldn’t be a community without great members. Maintaining the quality of those members and thus making sure the community is a pleasant, productive place to spend time is very much part of the job. So be thankful for the great community members you have, but keep coming up with ways to foster new super fans.

@mikestiles

About

Get the latest changes and innovations to social technology platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube, and learn where social marketing trends are headed.

Connect With Us

Twitter