How to Kick Start Your Social Media Presence

 

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When I think about my social media day, it always starts with wondering how I can reach the maximum number of people with my brand message.  As a consequence, I’m always working on novel ways to promote myself, my brand and my personal product to my social media communities and I urge you to do the same.

From a wacky YouTube video to a great new online find, to clever sourcing of content curation, the quest to find new and improved ways to reach out to my audience is forever buzzing inside.   As part of this ongoing search, I have encountered what can only be described as heavenly online assistants; those Cross Platform Promotion (or CPP) tools such as HootSuite and TweetDeck that allow me to literally sweep the social media universe with a single brush stroke (or perhaps that should be mouse-click!). 

CPP, a term that my husband Dean and I coined in our book, Zero to 100,000, is the action of utilising social media so as to enable it to spread content across various platforms simultaneously.  It is truly a holistic approach to social media adoption and one that saves both precious time and resources, meaning that it’s something every one of us needs to understand and harness.

CPP enables those in the ‘know’ to appear ever-present in the social media universe, but this doesn’t mean its users can switch off.  In fact, if exploited and abused, CPP can prove to be your worst social media enemy.  Yes, your messages are broadcast across all the platforms and hopefully positively acknowledged through retweets, reposts, links and so on, but this is the time when you need to stop basking in the glory of your CPP-enabled efforts and instead focus upon engaging and building upon the rewards you have reaped. 

Remember that engagement is key to your long-term success and never allow yourself to grow too big for your social media boots!  It’s that age old tale (told in numerous pre-social media realms) of self-gratification and narcissism bred from achieving great adulation from afar.  It’s a fairy-tale, but it’s also a cautionary tale.  CPP is like a Pandora’s box of easily squandered opportunity.  If you choose to open it be sure to understand that, with your new popularity comes a new responsibility.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – far from it in fact.  CPP is a blessing to those who choose to embrace all that social media has to offer and are willing to give as much as they get on the social circuit.

CPP is, in essence, a saving grace for those of us who rely on social media as a route to promotion and, let’s face it, who doesn’t these days?  The applications that enable it are allies in a crowded new universe and they make our voyage into it just that little bit easier.

Five Great Tools to Keep your Content Fresh on Facebook

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAI8AAAAJGM3OTE5NWEzLTJmMmEtNGIxYy05N2YxLTUwOTFjNTExNWMyZQSometimes it’s hard to know what to post to keep your Facebook followers entertained on a regular basis so, with this in mind, here are my top five tools for sourcing content that has the Wow Factor.

  1. Post Planner

This tool isn’t free, although the basic version starts at just $7 a month, so if you want a helping hand in cherry picking-content that is pretty much guaranteed to grab your followers’ attention, then this is a great place to start. Post Planner covers everything from self-proclaimed ‘scientifically proven to go viral’ images through to random status ideas and a wide range of articles curated from your key words.  If you’re new to Facebook or if want to quickly create a buzz around your profile, I highly recommend you give Post Planner a try.

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  1. DrumUp

Another great tool that’s free to download and start using is DrumUp, which uses clever algorithms to curate content based upon your personal preferences.  It’s quick and easy to use and claims to save you up to 90% of the time you would normally spend on searching for and scheduling your social media content across platforms. Social media pros can upgrade to add multiple accounts and there’s also an option that allows you to instantly cross-platform promote your blog content.

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  1. Pinterest

Incredibly easy and equally addictive to use, Pinterest is a great tool for finding and sharing images that make an impact and, what’s more, it allows you to discover some amazing websites in the process.  Just login and use the search tool to find thousands of images that match your mood. It’s completely free and lots of fun!

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  1. Buzzsumo

A free to use search tool that quickly shows you the viral posts related to your topics of interest. More of a business tool than a personal search option, you can still use Buzzsumo to generate some great ideas for content of your own – great for those caffeine-deficient mornings when you have a copy deadline to meet.

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  1. Flipboard

An absolute favourite of mine and a veritable smorgasbord of content from a vast collection of both mainstream and personalised magazines.  Content can be easily re-flipped or shared onto your social media platforms with just a click. It’s incredibly fun to use and might even inspire you to start up a magazine of your own.

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Why the Fresh Produce Industry Needs to Embrace Twitter

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What I aim to show the fresh produce industry is that, if used as it can and should be, Twitter is the most intelligent and powerful marketing tool out there and, what’s more, it’s free!

Those of you who attended my recent social media seminar for the FPC will know that I use people’s initial reactions to Twitter as a kind of IQ test. If you get it straight away you fail miserably. On the other hand, if you think it’s stupid and pointless you pass with flying colours! Because, let’s face it, who wants to read about what you had for breakfast or what colour socks you’re wearing?

Yes, on first-impressions Twitter seems stupid and, for many, it carries on being stupid if not used correctly. What I aim to show the fresh produce industry is that, if used as it can and should be, Twitter is the most intelligent and powerful marketing tool out there and, what’s more, it’s free!

So why is it that so much of the Fresh Produce industry has been slow to take up the reigns of social media? Well, it’s a traditional industry and, as everyone who’s seen Fiddler on the Roof will know, ‘Tradition’ is a hard thing to shake! Having said that, no industry understands the power of the crowd better than the fresh produce industry. For the growers, distributors and retailers, their very existence relies upon it so, for them, it’s the natural evolution of things – it just takes a little courage and a small leap of faith.

“But there just aren’t enough hours in the day” I hear you cry. True, but social media takes very little time if implemented correctly. In fact, my methods mean that you can create your very own social media brand show in as little as 30 minutes a day. Yes really!

So, if you’re interested in finding out more then please take a look at what the FPC has to offer and the response from my latest fresh produce related social media seminar. The courses are completely free to FPC members and are supported by downloadable publications that will take you by the hand and guide you step by step into a new and exciting social sphere of business potential.

I hope you take the step and I look forward to seeing you soon.

5 Ways to Let the World Know You’re Serious About Social Media

Serious About Social Media

Get an ultra-cool multi-platform manager
Serious social media requires serious tools. The best ones are those that allow you to gain an instant overview of who’s following you and what posts and tweets are making the biggest impact on your audience and, ultimately, your brand. It all starts with your base-station; the right social media management tool for your needs. My personal favourites are Sprout Social and Hootsuite, which provide me with valuable insight into how both my own and my client’s social media platforms are performing in terms of interaction, reach and following. Both tools offer Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn integration and Sprout also includes reporting features for Google Analytics which, I have to say, is pretty nifty.

Punch up your profile pics
First impressions and all that!  

Nothing says I’m serious like a seriously powerful profile pic for each of your social media accounts. There are two approaches here; the first, be consistent with your image across all platforms or, alternatively, find a profile that matches the tone of each platform’s personality without diluting that of your own. Either way, Instagram aside, there are some great tools out there to help you stand out from the crowd. Firstly, give Pic Monkey a spin – the basic desktop service is free and offers some amazing editing tools, including text, frames, filters and fun clip-art seasonal add-ons, to ensure that you’re always on-trend with your followers. I also love Percolator, which creates dazzling multi-colored mosaics of your images, PicLab HD for trendy typographic pics and Retromatic, which will transform your boring selfies into dazzling vintage posters.

Develop a content calendar
Yes, I’m talking about transferring brand you into a calendar of great cross-platform content. For this, you’ll need to spend some time on working out exactly what content excites you and, equally, what content you can provide that will excite others. I work with a separate calendar for each platform and then integrate them through a mix that can be just shared across them (albeit with a few tweaks). Think of a radio show and incorporate a mix of entertainment, business, hobbies and random finds that will appeal to your brand and style of followers. Click here to read my post on the best curation tools for your social content calendar.

Start Listening
Prick up your virtual ears and start monitoring what your brand sector is talking about! What is buzzing within your competitor’s communities?  Use this knowledge to improve your content curation and sector predictions. Serious social media bods rely on great tools for this purpose,such as ViralHeat, which offers a unique insight into sentiment analysis and Talkwalker, which allows you to monitor your social media reach in real time.

Romance the Influencers
Virtual seduction involves making sure you connect with the right players in the social sphere – those people who inspire and point the way forward when it comes to sharing the best content out there. Of course, you eventually want to be an influencer yourself so connect with those who inspire you the most and learn from them.

Above all, show you’re serious about social media by keeping it real and being serious about brand you!

‘Like’ a Bank Loan? Better Get on Facebook!

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Yes, it’s true and, I daresay, it had to happen!  Our popularity and the social circles we keep on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are about to be used by UK banks to determine whether people are a good or bad risk for lending.

Social Media Banking

The social influence banking move is already happening in the states in fact, driven by online finance group Movenbank, with the philosophy that people with a good credit history tend to socialize together online and will be more influential than those with a poor credit history who are less likely to have a strong social following.   Brett King the founder of Movenbank told the Sunday Times this week: “The better a person’s social score, the better our rates and fees will be for that individual. Someone’s reach and influence is taken into account. If someone has 5,000 friends and posts something good or bad about the service they got at a bank, 5,000 people will see that, which is inevitably good for business.”

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It seems that our social capital is becoming just as important as our personal wealth, with our followers, fans and network connections being increasingly sought after commodities.  In my opinion, social platforms are the new golf courses and the new country clubs where a ‘Follow’ or ‘Like’ has replaced a handshake and a Retweet is just as important as buying the next round at the bar!

Think Like a Physician and Embrace Twitter

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Last year I was interviewed by FEED The Agency’s Creative Director, Matthew Ray Scott about how physicians can create a personal brand with Twitter.  It’s a question that comes up frequently at medical marketing events I regularly attend and it’s one that I wanted to share with you here as it covers a multitude of client based professions other than those linked to medical services.  So, this week I’m going to share a part of the interview I feel is particularly prevalent to anyone who needs to build up client confidence through effectively establishing their brand.  Here’s how it went:

FEED The Agency: Imagine we hire you to conduct a personal branding workshop with our physician clients. What would you want the top 3 take home lessons to be for them?

Sarah-Jayne Gratton: Firstly, patients don’t want to talk to a faceless, nameless entity; they want to sense the person behind it — the personal. They want to like and get to know you, not just interact with your business. Remember that emotions are everything — they always have been and they always will be. Without them we cease to be human and we cease to invest in the human race.  Your brand voice and your social voice are one and the same.  Don’t make the mistake of trying to separate them.

Secondly, I’d want them to take away the knowledge that social media has dissolved the walls that existed between the client and the brand, and has provided the opportunity for one-on-one connection in a way never before possible.  The best physicians are embracing this and using social media as a way to expand their knowledge base to their patients, empowering them and strengthening their own personal brands in the process.

And lastly, it’s so important to acknowledge the fact that today’s patients, consumers and clients have the ability to communicate online all day, every day, sharing, tweeting and blogging about how they feel. Sentiment is oozing out of every post they make, and we should not fear it, but instead, embrace it as the new lifeblood of branding. The ability to listen and understand how our patients feel (whether good or bad), what is important to them and what their expectations are, provides huge opportunities for forming the emotional allegiances needed for enduring personal brand loyalty.

The feedback I received following the interview with FEED which you can read in full here drove home the message that marketing today has become a very personal, emotional and ultimately social two-way street, where the client joins in the conversation and helps to road-map a brand’s journey.

More Than a Klout Number!

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I’ve never liked the idea of being graded – of my worth and usefulness in this world being governed by a number.  And yet, lists, numbers and grades are central components of what social media is all about!  I may seem a little cynical and sometimes I fear I am becoming my own worst enemy in the virtual world, but, like it or not, those numbers have started to work their way into the decisions I choose to make every day.  Yes, I’m talking about Klout!  If you don’t know about it yet then you need to.  It defines itself as the standard for influence on the web and your score on it can make or break a deal and even ensure you get an upgrade on that next business flight and hotel room – yes, I’m serious!

In a nutshell, Klout looks at your social media activity based upon the accounts you are connected to and then cleverly assesses your influence based upon the interactions you have, the responses you make, the number of likes on your Facebook page and the amount of retweets in your Twitter stream.  It then assigns you that all-important number.  Yes, you’ve guessed it, the higher the number, the more influential you are considered to be.

You may not agree with it but, if you want to build your social media network quickly and efficiently, you need to understand how it works and use this knowledge for the benefit of your business and brand.    So take a look at your score and take stock of your value within the social media sphere.  Bear in mind that the average Klout score is 40 with those users having a score of 63 being in the top 5% of all social media users.  Generally, if your score’s over 45 then you’re doing the right things and are considered to be influential within your networks.

If you’re less than happy with your score then try my quick fix ways to raise your score in a matter of weeks:

Ask More Questions

Ask questions and people will be more than happy to share their opinions with you. For example “What do you think the future of social media will look like?” or if you’re in another niche, try asking questions relating to your business.  Remember that your Klout score is largely based upon interaction.

Engage with the Influencers

Don’t be afraid to engage with key influencers in your networks. Jump into their conversations, tweet them and respond to their tweets but make sure that you add something that they can respond back to.  A friend of mine recently tested this on Twitter and managed to increase his Klout score from 16 to 54 in just two weeks!

Use Scheduling Tools Like Tweetdeck and Buffer

I recently discussed how tools like Buffer help to increase your interaction and engagement levels on your key platforms.  Scheduling apps help you to optimize the times you send out your posts and tweets, allowing for high traffic exposure and increasing the likelihood of  you receiving those all important Likes, click-throughs and Retweets.

But don’t just take my word for it, try the above yourself and let me know how it affects your Klout score.  Above all, don’t be disheartened by what may sometimes seem an unfair and elitist system.  Remember that systems can always be made to work for you rather than against you and that, above all, you’re more than just a number!