Is “adult creep” making social media better for technology companies?

Unless you’ve been tucked away in an alternate dimension for the past decade or so, you know about social media. But are you aware of a social media phenomenon I’ve come to think of as adult creep?

Working adults are creeping into the more popular social media platforms.

Working adults are creeping into the more popular social media platforms.

Social media was originated and initially populated mostly by young people looking for a way to connect with each other, independent of distance and time. Lately, though, we working adults have started creeping into the more popular social media platforms at an increasing rate. And now that mom and dad may be peeking over their social-media shoulders, our younger counterparts are fleeing the established sites in droves, seeking a more congenial (read, less adult-populated) environment.

Adult creep has certainly increased the concentration of working adults plying social media sites. But does that mean business-to-business companies, particularly technology companies, can finally benefit from social media programs similar to the ones consumer-product marketers have found so enticing? Maybe. But tread carefully — it won’t be easy.Read full post...

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They’re talking about you — online.

If a potential customer reads a negative review, they're more forgiving if you’re a part of the conversation.

If a potential customer reads a negative review, they’re more forgiving if you’re a part of the conversation.

Your online presence is bigger than you think. It’s certainly bigger than your website. People are talking about your business all over the Internet — whether you like it or not.

Maybe you’ve never visited a review or social media site, but guess what? They’ve probably visited you. Someone stopped in for a bite, bought a new car or was simply in the neighborhood and voila! Your online listing was born. And yes, it can happen without your blessing.

We’re not talking about angry customers who had a bad experience and spend their time venting in a blog post that six people will read. We’re talking about reputable, heavily trafficked sites where people go to check in, read reviews and sometimes offer up a piece of their own mind.

So what, you ask? Well, you may be losing clients and sales without even knowing it. It’s pretty simple: Online reviews pack a punch. According to Inc.com, 89 percent of consumers trust online product and service reviews. Whether it’s spot-on or wildly out of whack, your online reputation may be a customer’s first touchpoint with your business.Read full post...

Imma let you finish: How not to respond to complaints online

Don't be known for having a short temper and being unprofessional.

Don’t be known for having a short temper and being unprofessional.

The Internet has made it easy to complain about anything at the drop of a hat. Whether or not the complaints are justified, it’s important to know how to handle them without offending the complainer or the rest of your customer base. So here’s what not to do:

1. Make the person feel like an idiot.

I recently participated in a company’s event that was very poorly run. After hearing several complaints, a friend of mine sent the organizer an email relaying the group’s frustration. The organizer responded by posting the message on the company’s Facebook page and picking it apart line by line. He essentially tore my friend a new one. What a great way to alienate a paying customer and anyone with similar opinions.Read full post...

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Why can’t I just hire an intern to run my social media campaign?

Think of social media as a piece of the brand engagement puzzle. To be effective, it needs to fit into a strategy aimed at the right audience.

Think of social media as a piece of the brand engagement puzzle. To be effective, it needs to fit into a strategy aimed at the right audience.

Well, you can — if you don’t mind it ending or taking on an entirely different tone when the next semester starts.

Social media has become the latest stepchild in the world of digital marketing campaigns. At least it has good company. When Quark and Pagemaker came out in the ’90s, everyone was an instant print designer. With the dot-com bubble, everyone’s nephew was a web developer. Digital cameras turned the world into professional photographers. Now, interns can manage social media campaigns. Why not? They spend their whole day on those sites anyway.

It’s easy to think of social communities as the realm of kids hanging out with their friends and boomers sharing cat videos. In reality, the social networks are one piece of what has become the omni-channel. Read full post...

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Don’t lick my taco: dealing with the knuckleheads of social media

It can take you years to build a good reputation, but just one knuckleheaded social media post to destroy it.

It can take you years to build a good reputation, but just one knuckleheaded social media post to destroy it.

Those of us in PR know that social media is a force to be reckoned with. We use it for the good of mankind, quickly (and inexpensively) getting important messages out there to millions of people and creating a sense of community.

Other folks, not so much.

Cyberspace is being polluted more and more with images of fast-food workers shoving food up their noses or licking a stack of taco shells “behind closed doors.” Luckily, companies can fight this reputation-damaging lunacy by harnessing the power of the very source of this chaos — social media. Here are a couple of recent examples.Read full post...

What in the tweet is going on back there?

It’s not easy staying cool — just ask the Fonz, the Rolling Stones and the CB radio. Since dethroning MySpace five years ago, Facebook has reigned supreme in the social media world. But don’t look back, Facebook — something might be gaining on you. Many teens, twenty-somethings and even thirty-somethings are turning to Twitter. If that age group factors heavily into your customer base, please read on.

It’s not easy staying cool — just ask the Fonz.

It’s not easy staying cool — just ask the Fonz.

When you were young, did you (willingly) spend a lot of time at your parents’ haunts? Probably not. So when mom, dad and Aunt Edna joined Facebook, Millennials (and a lot of Gen Xers) started looking to other platforms for some breathing room. They turned to Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram among other social sites. But before you chase them all around the Internet, start with Twitter.

For everything from national broadcasts to local activities, Twitter has become the go-to site for younger social media users. Sure, Facebook still has a larger user base. But just as with your business, the goal isn’t to rack up followers, it’s to add engaged followers — people who love your brand. Facebook has double the users, but it doesn’t translate to double the fun for Millennials.

Maybe your business already has a Twitter profile. Maybe you’re late to the party. Or maybe you couldn’t care less. Whatever camp you find yourself in, here is a quick rundown on Twitter use and why it’s here to stay, as well as some tips for tweets.Read full post...

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How about a little insight, Facebook?

After enough pushing, prodding and hearing the “But everybody’s on Facebook” argument, you finally decided your business needed a page. About 90 percent of small businesses are on it, so welcome to the club. Whether your page is brand-spanking new or a couple of years old, you want to know how you’re doing. As with any other aspect of business, you have to check your figures, right?

Before we get started, make sure your Facebook page represents a business, not a person. If it doesn’t  the Facebook FAQs can take you through the transfer. Once you’re all squared away, you’ll find your business page equipped with free analytics (yes, free) called Facebook Insights. Not only is Insights complimentary, but it’s also fast and relatively painless. Managing your social media pages can be time-consuming, so the last thing you want is to spend more time crunching numbers. No worries. Insights spits out the important information, giving you just enough not to be overwhelming.

Carve out some time to check your figures. It doesn't have to be every week — maybe the end of every month or quarter.

Carve out some time to check your figures. It doesn’t have to be every week — maybe the end of every month or quarter.

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A social media reporting battle plan

A mix ’n’ match approach allows you to mimic costly reporting tools, stay on budget and still find meaningful data.

At some point, your boss or client has probably asked for a social media report. Unfortunately, there is no quick way to create one. Like many other communications efforts, the evaluation stage is the first to fall victim to the mortal enemies of a PR team—tight deadlines and even tighter budgets. In an ideal world, you would always assess your progress. Regrettably, the demands of managing hospital communications usually spell sayonara to any thoughts of reporting.

But don’t let dwindling hours and a tiny budget stop you. With a little self-coaching and practice, you can craft social media reports for your hospital or service line without using up all your time or allowance.

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Social media for small businesses – Part II

Social Media

More of your social media for small businesses questions answered.

Someone posted a negative comment on my business’ social media page. Should I delete it?

No. Deleting negative comments does more harm than good. Instead, think about the most common customer complaints towards your business and develop a general response to each. If a negative post appears, take the appropriate general response and tailor it to specifically address the complaint. Additionally, get the conversation offline. Read full post...