Category Archives: Social Media Management Tips

What Yoga Can Teach Us About Social Media Marketing

Namaste!

Early last year, I discovered #yoga when I decided to tackle my usual “lose weight” New Year’s resolution in an unusual (for me!) way:  by committing to forty days straight of yoga.  HOT yoga, no less!

Forty days sped by and yoga practice quickly became an integral part of my life.  Even during the subsequent long stretches of time away from my mat later in the year, the principles and gifts of yoga stayed with me and manifested in some really unexpected ways throughout my life – including in my approach to and understanding of social media marketing.

The values and lessons of yoga can help make social media marketing a more zen-like experience.

The values and lessons of yoga can help make social media marketing a more zen-like experience.

Here are six ways in which yoga can positively influence your social media marketing – and your life:

1.  Be still and listen to the breath
Connecting to your breath through silent observation is one of the key tenets of yoga.  Similarly, one of the earliest and most impactful activities of the social media journey for any company is listening.  Before you set up snazzy social profiles, before you get caught up in the content marketing cycle, before you send a single Tweet – stop, be quiet, and listen.

Using keywords, your brand name, and other relevant / industry terms along with tools like Sprout Social (free to try / subscription), Mention.com (free to try / subscription)  or a host of others – and applying a bit of patience and analysis you can uncover a wealth of critical information.  Find out who’s talking about you, where the conversations are taking place, who in particular is having the most conversations- as well as the most influential conversations, based on the size of their own audience  – and what else is of interest to those who are talking about you.   Like the breath in yoga, the things you learn through social media listening are a guide: in this case,  to what you should say, to whom, and where – all very fundamental questions which need answering as part the foundation of any sound social media strategy.    This information is critical to getting a solid start on your social efforts – and seeing them lead to success.

2.  Set Your Intention
At the beginning of a yoga class or session, yogis are encouraged to set an intention for their practice.  Similarly, you must have goals for your social media activities.  These goals should be relevant to the key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your company in general, so that there is a meaningful way to measure the success of,  or the need to optimize your program.

Social goals should be specific, so they can be measured.  “Drive brand awareness” is a good goal, but difficult to measure due to lack of specificity.  However, when stated more concretely, such as “increase share of voice in social media by X percent (ensuring of course that “X” represents a challenging but achievable number) – that’s a target that can be aimed for and clearly hit.   “Provide better Customer Care” is better expressed in terms of goals as something along the lines of “increase our Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores by X percent by increasing Customer Care activities in social media” =, as you can actually measure your success against that ideal.

3.  Be Authentic
In yoga, acceptance of yourself just as you are is an enduring theme.  Whether you’re struggling to hold a twisting pose or trying to stay steady in a handstand, where and who you are is exactly where or who you’re meant to be in that moment.  This allows you to simply be, and is profoundly liberating.

Similarly in social, knowing who you are (as a brand) and then remaining steadfast to the spirit of that voice is the path to social enlightenment.  Notice I said to the spirit of the voice.  The truth is, too much rigidity with regard to voice, while it may make for a certain desirable degree of consistency, can be stifling to meaningful interactions.  After all, no person or entity can truly be one way all the time.  Sometimes a more compassionate, or more humorous approach is demanded by circumstances – and is fine if thoughtfully and appropriately applied.

4.  Open Your Heart
Remember – everyone you deal with:  leads, existing Customers, returning Customers, angry Customers, happy Customers, influencers – they’re more than just the sum of their usefulness to you – they’re PEOPLE.

As such, they like to be made to laugh (when it’s appropriate); they appreciate it when offered truly useful content that will help them out, or even just make them look cool/smarter/funny/edgy/clever in front of their social friends; they want to be helped out when they’ve got a beef with you, and they want to be treated like PEOPLE.   So, make them laugh.  Write or find/share with them TRULY useful content – the kind you’d like to see from the brands you follow yourself.  Treat them well, with respect, kindness, and the highest regard at all times.

Remember the spirit of “namaste”  – which literally means, “I bow to you” – or, as is commonly expressed, “the light in me recognizes the light in you”.    Recognize the light in everyone you meet through your screen, and don’t be afraid to share just a bit of your heart with them as you do.  Not only does it enhance their social experience and bond them to your brand – it’s good for YOU, too.  Some of the most personally fulfilling points in my social media career to date have had little to do with engagement rates, number of shares or even sales driven; they came when I opened my heart to the person I was dealing with and made a true and lasting connection with them by sharing a laugh, or offering helpful tips, or working with them personally to resolve the issue they were having – and they expressed  a deeper affinity for the brand as a result.

5.  Live In Gratitude
One of the things I love about yoga is the recurring concept of gratitude.  Even if you missed several poses, or couldn’t get into your handstand, there’s no beating yourself up over it in yoga – you’re just grateful you made it to your mat and you resolve to try again the next time you find yourself there.

Gratitude plays into social marketing as well, particularly when you have the good fortune to enjoy the presence of strong brand evangelists in your social communities.   These wonderful folks – often former satisfied Customers, but sometimes just people who for whatever reason, like you – frequent your social feeds with their positive, supportive messages directed not just at you, but at others spending time in your communities as well.    Be sure to thank and celebrate them periodically with public callouts, freebies / small gifts if possible.  Not only do they deserve that appreciation, but doing so will encourage their feelings toward your brand to remain positive and the bond strong.

Additionally, even in the most painful moments in working in social media – whether it’s a crisis, or dealing with an especially tough customer on your Facebook page, etc. – there’s always something to be grateful for.  Either your skills are sharpened, or you learned something new – or hey – maybe you’re just grateful the experience is over and you’re still excited about your job in spite of it.

6.  Don’t forget to breathe
Anyone who’e ever done this job has felt the weight of its importance to the business we represent – after all, a company can spiral into major crisis if you tweet the wrong thing to the wrong person (as our friends at US Airways just learned).   And although working in social media can be filled with joy, it can also be crushing in its stress or volume of work at times.  

Yoga teaches us that it’s when we most want to hold our breath that we most need to breathe.  So when things get tough – take a breath.  Step away from the screen.  Stretch.  Walk around.  And breathe!

How about you – has yoga, or any other sort of discipline in your life imparted lessons that can be applied to working in social media?   Comment below and let us know. 

Namaste,
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#WellDoneWednesday: Growing Bolder’s Facebook Page

This blog is the first in a new series, #WellDoneWednesday.  Periodically, we’ll review one social profile from a brand whose social media manager is #winning at growing and engaging an audience.

#WellDoneWednesday

This week’s #WellDoneWednesday focuses on Growing Bolder, a multi-media company whose mission is to offer “hope, inspiration & possibility for the 45+ generation.”  Their Facebook presence delivers on that promise.

Bravo!
In addition to posting frequently (they post a minimum of three times per day most every day), Growing Bolder posts a good mix of original branded and curated content, including inspirational stories about the target demo (A45+) from both their own site and other sites, other human interest clips from outside the target demographic and really nicely done branded quote images which are among their most popular content from an engagement perspective.

This screencap from the Growing Bolder Facebook page illustrates how GB uses both targeted topics and more universal messages in its branding images to keep its audience highly engaged.

This screencap from the Growing Bolder Facebook page illustrates how GB uses both targeted topics and more universal messages in its branded quote images to keep its audience highly engaged – and, by the viral nature of these images, to expand their audience.

These branded images are impactful, inspirational and very, very viral.  Growing Bolder makes the most of the format by consistently using the same font on all of their images, which helps set their branded content apart from the masses and creates brand-specific visual cues for interested audience members to pick up on in their own newsfeed.  This likely contributes to the success of these images, which seem to average between 600 – 1500+ likes, with an equal volume of shares.

One of the first things you notice on their page is that their PTAT (People Talking About This) score exceeds their number of fans by nearly 10x.  This is an indicator of having shared extremely viral content.  Indeed, a check of their Page reveals a recent post which boasts nearly 1,800 likes and over 9,200 shares. The success of this post – which was a meme about Daylight Savings Time – proves that success in social marketing extends far beyond pushing your product / service and is really about connecting with people.  Therefore, appealing to common experiences, truths, pain points and other themes of universal appeal is an extremely effective way to bond with social audiences.  Smart brands always remember that social users are more than just “leads” or “target audiences” – they’e people   People relate to, connect with and bond with other people, so be real.  Include widely relevant topics in conversation whenever appropriate.

Room for Improvement
No matter how well a brand leverages any social media, there’s always room for improvement – and Growing Bolder is no exception.   They can likely boost their already impressive engagement rates higher by asking more questions of their audience.  Additionally,  they are fortunate to have a great many dedicated fans visiting their page and posting messages (not just replying to Getting Bolder’s posts) – yet their responses are inconsistent and somewhat shallow.   There’s a lot more opportunity for meaningful interactions with fans there, if they have the resources to foster it.

Growing Bolder’s Facebook page is a great example of successful content marketing and Community management.  Their inspirational and fun presence has something for everyone – of every age.  Well done, Growing Bolder!

Do you know a brand who deserves to be recognized for their stellar community growth and engagement skills?  Comment below or tweet to us at @InspiredSocial_ (please include the #WellDoneWednesday hashtag!) and we’ll check them out.  

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Three Quick Steps To Declutter Your Social Management Workflow

Three Easy Steps

Anyone who’s ever done it can tell you:  social media management can be a lot of work.   Whether taking care of Customers on social channels or utilizing social to build brand awareness or drive sales, there are many things that must be done on a daily (several of them, multiple times per day) – and we deal with things an array of things happening in real time as well.

We’re all very fortunate to have such a goldmine of information and so many handy tools (many of them free, no less!) readily available online to help us hone and utilize our expertise.  Of course the other edge of that sword  is a seemingly endless flow of blog posts, articles, white papers, case studies, infographics, apps, updates to apps – and countless reports from all of those tools and apps –  which often triggers a sense of information and task overload that can destroy true productivity and really suck some of the joy out of our work.

If you’re finding that your work time has become a frustrating cycle of lingering too long on some tasks, continually punting less desirable to-do’s from one day to the next, and the ever-popular falling down an internet rabbit hole or two – it’s time for a little early spring cleaning of your day to day processes.

Clutter

Photo by: Funny New Stuff (http://www.flickr.com/photos/23304245@N02/)

These three simple steps can help streamline your daily workflow and increase your productivity – letting you get more done in less time, so you can spend more time doing more of the things you love.

1.  Plan your day the day before
If you want to glide effortlessly into a productive morning, the last thing you do each day should be to plan the things you intend to do the next day.  This single step has had a profound impact on my own productivity.  Rather than trying to plan my day as the first item on my daily to-do list (in the midst of the interruptions and demands of a full inbox, backlogged Twitter and Facebook feeds, etc.), I’m now able to get to work immediately on my Top Five Things list I prepared the day before and enjoy a strong tide of forward momentum that usually carries me through the lunch hour.

2.  Focus on only key goals and metrics
Having the “true north” that goals offer is an excellent way to keep from getting caught up in time-consuming activities that may not be moving the needle for your business.  However, having too  many ambitions for  a social program – and the massive metrics list and data that can accompany them – isn’t the path to productivity and success, either.

Take a look at the top three goals for your company and come up with an equal number of clear but meaningful, reasonable and measurable goals for your social media efforts.   Then, choose the 1 – 3 of the most critical metrics that will illustrate your degree of success against those goals.   Then, spend an hour or two setting up a dashboard (your social media management tool of choice should facilitate that, or you can DIY it with the help of Google Analytics) to help you easily track the few but mission-critical metrics you’ve established, moving forward.

3.  Eliminate superfluous social networks – and the tools to track them
You don’t have to be on every social network in existence.  Nor do you have to become glued to every single hot new tool the experts tout.  Smart choices about which networks are well suited to reaching your audiences and which tools indeed save more time than is spent poring over them can go a long way toward freeing up your workflow – and your valuable time.

To narrow your target networks, you must assess where your brand is being actively discussed.  If you haven’t engaged in a meaningful listening campaign around your company or brand lately, do so.  Where are people talking about you the most?   If the only conversations you can ever find about yourself are on Facebook and Twitter – and you’re not trying to crack into a new market that dominates any particular niche network  – then pour your efforts into Facebook and Twitter.  Significant, strategic efforts on two or three strong or high-potential channels will yield far more dividends than  a more fragmented approach across more, but less targeted networks.

Similarly, if you have a mile-long list of social media tools you find yourself obsessively checking on a daily basis, take a good hard look at which tools are lending you insights that roll up to your achieving or exceeding your goals.  Anything that isn’t, ditch.  If it’s something important in building and maintaining your expertise, continue to use it, but in a more structured way (maybe check it weekly, vs. daily).

These three small but impactful changes are just a few ideas to help make your time working in social media less overwhelming and more efficient and effective.

What are some ways you’ve decluttered your own workflow?   Please share your tips with us in the comments.  Let’s light a spark!

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