Monthly Archives: June 2014

Social Media Engagement

By: MJ Pedone

A friend of mine shared this insightful article on social media and unfortunately, I don’t know who wrote it as they deserve the credit for pulling together such useful information. So kudos to the author and I hope all of those who read this post find this information as helpful as I have.

IAre you looking for new ways to engage your Facebook fans? Does your current Facebook engagement tactics need a little more oomph? Your visibility in the news feed depends on engagement like never before. If your page is experiencing a drop in engagement, using different post types and making a few content adjustments can bump it back up.

#1: Attract Readers’ Attention to a Point in Your Article

Your fans see a lot of content pass through their news feed in a day and a great title isn’t always enough to spark engagement with an article you post to Facebook.

When you update your Facebook page to let readers know about your new article, include a statement or question that refers to a specific point from the article to drive more clicks, likes, comments or shares.

In this post, the author shared her reaction to a tip from the article to interest readers in clicking through to read the rest.

#2: Balance Various Types of Content

If every piece of content you deliver on Facebook has the same look and feel, it stands to reason that your fans will begin to pass them over for content that looks different and more interesting.

 

To make your Facebook page more engaging, share your content in a variety of forms. Experiment with photos, videos, links and questions, then track the engagement in Insights to see which types of posts do best (more about this in #7). Choose your top-performing post types and include a variety of each in your updates.

 

To avoid creating a news feed that appears to serve up more of the same content fans have already seen, Storify includes both large photos with descriptions and smaller images with linked articles in their updates.

 

#3: Craft Posts to Drive Click-Throughs

On its own, a link posted to your page won’t generate many clicks.

 

Move your fans from your Facebook page to your app or content with a combination of incentives and calls to action in your updates.Lowe’s recently generated clicks on a link when they published an update to encourage fans to take a color and personality quiz.

 

#4: Develop Evergreen Content

If your content tends to be dictated by trends, you’ll find that once the trend has passed, so has interest in your content.

 

Evergreen content stays relevant for at least a good 6-12 months. Create a number of evergreen articles and you’ll always have something that generates engagement on Facebook.

 

HubSpot’s “36 Awesome Social Media Blogs Everyone Should Read,” was posted in spring 2010, but is still highly useful and relevant today.

 

#5: Express With Emoticons

Plain text doesn’t always lend itself to expressing the humanity, enthusiasm or emotion behind a post.

 

Hubspot reports that “something as simple as a smiley face emoticon in your post can increase likes by 57 percent, comments by 33 percent and shares by 33 percent over posts without them.”

 

Show off your personality and help fans relate to you by adding an emoticon to updates.

 

A recent update from Zappos included a heart and received 718 likes, 22 shares and 8 comments in 22 hours. Compared to other posts the brand made that day, the heart post was more likeable.

 

#6: Find and Share Timely Content

Engagement is engagement and the subject that drives it doesn’t always have to be yours.

 

If there’s a story you know your audience is interested in, share the details with your fans. For example, let your fans know that you’re going to attend an industry conference, then post updates and images from the event to create more opportunities for engagement.

 

When the Red Sox won the World Series, The Boston Globe knew their readers would be interested, so they shared information about the Red Sox parade in Boston. On the day of the parade, they continued to provide updates and photos, making them a good source for people to follow the parade.

 

#7: Gain Insights From Facebook Data

Pages that post content blindly without learning more about how their fans react to it can find themselves posting furiously with no rise—or worse, a drop—in engagement.

 

Facebook’s Page Insights provide businesses with key information that takes the guesswork out of which types of content your fans like seeing most on your page.

 

Use the data from Insights to tell you which types of posts achieve greater engagement for you on Facebook and adjust your content to include more of them.

 

Mari Smith provides a great summary of the new Insights features.

 

#8: Have a Backup Plan With Notes

A few months ago when The New York Times website crashed, they needed an alternate plan. They turned to Facebook notes where they posted the entirety of several stories on their Facebook page.

 

While maybe not the optimal format to read a lengthy story, the key takeaway here is when an obstacle arises, look for a workaround. The New York Times was able to engage with their audience on Facebook during this time.

 

 

#9: Include Facebook Apps

From contests to event listings and email signups, custom apps provide numerous opportunities for driving engagement, but many pages don’t take advantage of them.

 

Andrea Vahl provides a great roundup of eight customizable Facebook apps you can use to get your fans’ attention. Use them to drive traffic and engagement when you link directly to them from a status update, a blog post or even Twitter.

 

Social Media Examiner uses Heyo on Facebook to introduce fans to SME’s podcasts.

 

#10: Join the Conversation On the Go

A large portion of successful social media relies on carrying on a consistent conversation with your audience. If you work on the go, but only manage Facebook from your desktop, you risk being out of the loop when important conversations happen.

 

Facebook administrators don’t need to be tied to their desk in order to post an update or respond to fans. The Facebook Page Manager for iOS and Android devices lets you check your page activity, view Insights and respond to fans right from your mobile device.

 

#11: Know What to Include in Images

While many businesses are incorporating images in their updates, it’s a good idea to see how different styles of images affect your engagement on Facebook.

 

An interesting research study conducted by Taggs suggests retail brands need visual content strategies that take into account their unique brand identity, objectives and audience.

 

Tagg reports:

 

Users prefer to see pictures of retail products without people, making it easier for them to visualize wearing or having an advertised product.

Casual images that show partial body shots like hands and feet are associated with higher Facebook likes.

If your retail business has a unique brand asset comprised of people such as the notable models at Victoria’s Secret and A&F, then images of people may indeed help boost engagement.

Experiment with images that show your product without people using them to increase engagement on Facebook. Remember to compare the engagement for both types of images in Insights and adjust accordingly.

 

#12: Launch a Competitive Intelligence Campaign

Facebook sheds interesting light on what other brands are doing and can provide valuable competitive intelligence information.

 

You can check out how your competitors are using their business Facebook page and what their customers like and share, then apply successful strategies to your own page.

 

For example, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts got on the pumpkin bandwagon with an update welcoming pumpkin spice and the month of November. Several days earlier, Dunkin Donuts acknowledged National Pumpkin Day and received far more likes and shares.

 

Based on the response that Dunkin Donuts received, it’s fair to assume that Krispy Kreme should consider recognizing National Pumpkin Day in 2014.

 

#13: Manage Your Image Updates

Images command a lot of attention when it comes to engagement on Facebook, but how you publish your images can either excite or frustrate fans.

 

Instead of loading a mass of images to your page all at once, take the time to experiment with single-image updates, collages and albums to see which type of image update your fans prefer.

 

Darren Rowse found his audience responded best when he took the time to upload a number of images into an album.

 

#14: Note When Your Fans Are Online

Pages that post when their fans aren’t online suffer from low engagement.

 

One of the most useful pieces of information you’ll learn from your Facebook Insights is when your fans are online. To find out, click on Insights, then Posts.

 

In this example, the chart below shows that the fans for this page are online in higher numbers between 10 am and 11 pm.

 

 

#15: Optimize Social Media Tags for Facebook

By optimizing your blog posts with social media tags, your posts will be more likely to come up in search results, which can improve your engagement.

 

When fans share your blog posts on Facebook, you want to make sure that you have the most control you can by adding the required metadata to your page.

 

The four required properties for every page are title, type of object, image and canonical URL. The tags will define what text appears in the image, title and description codes. Note: Facebook requires an og:image of at least 200 x 200 pixels, so be sure that your thumbnails are at least that size.

 

To see how well your posts are optimized for Facebook, check out KnowEm.

#16: Plan Using Different Calls to Action

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for crafting a call to action (CTA) to tell your readers what you want them to do next.

 

Different CTAs may work better than others for your fans. Make sure your CTA matches the goal you’ve set for your reader.

 

Jayson DeMers outlines different kinds of CTAs to achieve different conversion goals:

 

CTA to encourage engagement—“Please take a moment to leave your comments or thoughts below.”

CTA to drive the reader to other content—“For an in-depth look, sign up to download our white paper.”

CTA to increase signups or lead capture—“To get regular updates, sign up for our weekly newsletter.”

CTA to nurture leads—“Watch this video for a more in-depth look at how this product can help improve your business.”

CTA for sales—“To get immediate access to this training and all the bonuses, click here.”

Take a look at your Facebook Insights to pinpoint the correlation between posts that created more CTA engagement and the wording you used in your updates.

  

#17: Quiz Your Fans About Their Interests

It’s hard to break the ice or start a genuine conversation when you don’t know anything about the person (or fan) on the other side of the table.

 

To learn more about your fans and encourage them to engage with you and other fans, ask questions that invite them to share about their interests or what they enjoy doing in their free time.

 

In an update honoring National Family Literacy Day, SME posted, “Tell us what you’re reading this weekend.”

 

#18: Read About What Others Are Doing on Facebook

Social media marketing is both an art and a science. It’s always helpful to take some time to see what others are doing on Facebook, and also read about what big brands are doing and the lessons that can be learned from their efforts.

 

Several interesting reading resources about brands include:

 

A fantastic example is the 100th birthday campaign for Oreo cookies created by DraftFCB where they created a daily update for 100 days leading to Facebook interactions going up by 195%.

 

#19: Survey Fans on Facebook

Almost everyone likes to share his or her opinion. Surveys let you give your fans a voice and create engagement at the same time.

 

Ask everything from “What’s your favorite color?” to “Whom will you vote for on election day?” As a bonus, when your fans share their preferences, you learn information that helps you create better targeted updates.

 

There are a number of easy-to-use third-party survey applications, including Polldaddy and Poll.

 

#20: Try Uploading Video to Facebook

Video is becoming increasingly important to brands that are looking to engage with their audience.

 

Earlier this year, Socialbakers found that post updates with videos uploaded directly to Facebook received 40% higher engagement than posts that linked to a video on YouTube.

 

Experiment with where you upload your videos, and if there’s a difference in engagement levels when you post them in an update, you’ll know where to make the change.

 

#21: Update Your About Page

An incomplete or out-of-date About page can leave prospective and even existing fans with the impression that something’s not quite right. When that happens, their engagement will begin to drop.

 

Revisit your About page often to make any needed changes like adding a new email address, product updates or a life event.

 

#22: Vary Where You Spend Your Time Online

Sometimes the best-laid plans will go astray. The most important thing is to remain flexible about where you spend your time online and create strong, active presences on social networks where your customers and prospects hang out.

 

You may have a personal connection to Twitter or Pinterest, but your customers may be more inclined to spend time on Facebook. It’s a good idea to vary where you spend your time to see what combination receives the highest level of engagement.

 

Be sure to seek out engagement where your customers are willing for you to connect with them.

 

#23: Widen Your Reach With Scheduled Weekend Posts

If your target audience is online during their free time on weekends and you’re not posting, you’re missing out on engagement.

 

Schedule posts to publish over the weekend and be prepared to answer any questions that arise come first thing Monday morning. Better yet, find someone who can keep an eye on the activity over the weekend and respond as needed.

 

To schedule a post, simply click the clock icon in your status update.

 

#24: eXamine Comments and Shares as They Happen

Some of the most active Facebook page admins are guilty of going missing in action as soon as their update is posted.

 

Studies have shown that likes, shares and comments are generally made within the first few hours after an update is posted.

 

Check back early and often to see if users are engaging with your update so you can answer any questions and encourage further engagement.

 

 

#25: Your Promotions on Facebook Provide Customer Data Via Open Graph

A Facebook promotion created through a third-party app provides an added benefit of being able to collect user data including age, gender, location and Facebook likes of a user (available via Facebook’s Open Graph).

 

This information allows brands to analyze who their users are—and send targeted emails by segmenting users based on these data points. Use this tactic to stimulate further engagement from these segmented user lists.

 

The caveat is that you must abide by Facebook’s policies for data collection and use.

 

#26: Zero In on Users Via Mobile App Ads

As the number of people who use Facebook from a mobile device continues to grow, reaching those people has become a priority for many brands.

 

Facebook recently announced that they’ll be rolling out new ways to reach people who have visited your website or mobile app by expanding the capabilities of Custom Audiences. The new features will be available to a limited number of test partners initially, then rolled out globally in the coming months.

 

Use these app ads to remind people who’ve downloaded your Facebook app but haven’t used it in a while to revisit the experience.

These are just a few ways you can tweak your content and change your delivery to create stronger engagement with your fans on Facebook. Check them out and try a few. See which ones spark your fans’ interest and add them to your strategy.

What do you think? Do you see any tips that you’ll consider using soon? What other engagement tips can you share? As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share. 

 

KFC Taking Heat

By: Gina Mason

KFC has been getting grilled lately and I’m not talking about its chicken! The fast-food chain has been taking some serious heat after an employee in Jackson, MS asked a three-year old little girl and her grandmother to leave the restaurant because of the girl’s appearance.

The little girl named Victoria Wilcher was recently a victim of a pit-bull attack that caused her to lose an eye, paralyzed the right side of her face and left her with scars all over her body and face. As if this poor little girl had not been through enough trauma,  according to her grandmother, Kelly Mullins a KFC employee came up to her and asked them to leave because Victoria’s appearance was “bothering the other customers.”

Enter the power of social media. Last Thursday, a photo of Victoria along with a description of the incident was posted on Victoria’s Victories Facebook page asking the question, “Does this face look scary to you?” The post went viral and people from all over the country vowed to never eat at KFC again. It didn’t take long for word to travel to KFC’s corporate headquarters and in less than 24 hours the KFC crisis management team sprang into action.  KFC issued a statement Friday morning about the incident to the local WAPT TV station. “KFC launched an investigation as soon as we were made aware of this report. We take this very seriously, as we have zero tolerance for any kind of hurtful or disrespectful actions toward our guests. Our investigation is ongoing, but we have been in touch with the family and are committed to doing something appropriate for this beautiful little girl and her family.” said KFC spokesman, Rick Maynard.

Although, the original statement was very standard in terms of crisis communications, KFC stepped up their game on Sunday when they pledged $30,000 to assist Victoria and her family with her ongoing medical bills while they investigate the situation. “Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologized to Victoria’s family and are committed to assisting them…the entire KFC family is behind Victoria,” Maynard told the Associated Press.   

This was a smart move by the corporation and I applaud KFC’s prompt response to the crisis. Although, the actions of the employee are not excusable, it is great to see an example how social media can open the lines of communication between consumers and corporations and can lead to something positive. I am interested to see how the investigation plays out and how KFC will try to prevent incidents like this from happening again. Also, it will be interesting to see if more people follow in Mullins’ footsteps and publically notify corporations of their negative experiences through social media.

How do you think KFC handled this crisis? Do you think KFC did enough for Victoria? How do you feel about the family going to Facebook instead of the company directly? Do you think the attention that this story got could be problematic for corporations in the future?

Lastly, on a positive note, Victoria’s story has received an enormous amount of media attention and kind people from all over the world have been reaching out to help her. Generous people who heard about her story have donated over $131,000 to her GoFundMe page that will help her family pay for all of her medical bills. It’s great to see that there are wonderful people out there in the world who are willing to help a perfect stranger! To donate to Victoria’s cause visit her page here: http://www.gofundme.com/8q8yww  

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share. 

Watch your Google search, you’re being targeted!

By Karleigh Creighton

Marketers will soon be gaining an edge in targeting social media users as potential clients.

Facebook ad partner, Kenshoo Social, a global software company that engineers digital marketing solutions, has created an ad technology that will allow marketers to pick out keywords from your internet searches in order to help companies target their ads to the appropriate audiences.

These ads have the potential to become very specific to your interests. Companies will not only know that you visited their site, but they will have the keywords from your search query that led you there, thus providing them with specific information about the product or your service you’re interested in.

Creeped out yet? It is a little bit weird to think about companies having the ability to access keywords from our personal searches; however, in the long run this could be a great thing.

Think about it. You won’t see ads for things you don’t care about anymore. The only ads you’ll see are those tailored to your specific interests. Personally, I pretty much ignore the adds that currently come up on the side of my Facebook page and at the beginning of the online videos I watch, they just don’t appeal to me. I send a text, check my Twitter, or even get a snack while these ads are going. However, if something more eye-catching came up, an ad that grabbed my attention with my interests in mind, I’d be inclined to take a look.

Companies will no longer waste time sending advertisements to the wrong clientele. They will have the information they need to target the right audiences. We will not be subject to ads that don’t hold our interests but will be seeing products and services we are likely to find useful.

Advertising on social media is gaining positive ground in the marketing world. With over a billion active Facebook users worldwide, it presents a huge and diverse platform on which to market. The executives at Kenshoo created this technology because they believed that search engines are massive databases of consumer intent that have previously gone untapped, but are filled with potential.

This technology is still in Beta testing, but will be available for Facebook’s company clients within the next few weeks. Start looking for ads that fit your interests soon.

As always, I welcome your feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.

 

Twitter’s #WorldCup Features

By: Gina Mason

#WorldCup mania has official begun. With a few days of exciting play behind us, people everywhere are eager to see what the next month of soccer has in store. As I mentioned in my SONY and the World Cup blog a few weeks ago, Twitter is expected to dominate the World Cup conversation and its social media competition. So far, that prediction has been pretty accurate.

During the first game of the World Cup, over 12.2 million tweets were sent out from 150 countries with the hashtag #BrazilvCroatia. In just 90 minutes of play, Brazil’s star forward, Neymar got over 150,000 new Twitter followers. With numbers like that (just in the first day), it is no wonder that Twitter has amped up its interface and is offering fans some exciting new features for the World Cup festivities.

Here are a few special things that Twitter has done to make following the World Cup more exciting:

Profile Customization

With the growth of Twitter tapering off, it had to capitalize on this opportunity that only comes around every four years. What better way to attract new users than to tap into the World Cup market and create special profile customizations for users who are only interested in the World Cup? Twitter has made it easier than ever to join and use the social media network and after users sign up, they can customize their profile based on the team that they are supporting. This customization includes a “chose your side” feature where you can proudly display your country’s flag; it connects you with friends and even generates a “support your side” tweet that is entered in the World Cup of Tweets (more info about this feature below).

For those of you who are already Twitter users and want to get into the World Cup profile action, click here to customize your profile.

World Cup Timeline

Twitter is offering a timeline feature were you can simply click on the hashtag #WorldCup2014 or the World Cup sidebar to stay updated on all things World Cup. This World Cup timeline is the epicenter of World Cup chatter and not only showcases all of the games in a “scoreboard” tool bar, but also connects users to the international soccer teams, the players and the fans supporting them. Fans can stay tuned into the conversation by seeing all of the tweets, photos and videos that are posted by people around the world.

HashFlags

Just for the World Cup, Twitter has re-released/unveiled the hashflag feature that was so popular during the 2010 World Cup. Show your support for your favorite team by hashtagging the country’s three-letter code (i.e. #USA #FRA #ITA) and a little flag will appear in your tweet. Not only does this fun little feature add some color to your tweets, Twitter will be tallying up the hashflags from around the world to host its own World Cup of Tweets. So get tweeting and show your support!

See an example of hashflags below: 

With all of the great features that Twitter is offering during the World Cup, it will be interesting to see if it will be able to generate more users. Above all else, it is great to see that people from all over the world are coming together via social media and creating a community around this incredible sporting event.

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share. 

Paid vs. Earned vs. Owned Media

By: MJ Pedone

Recently, there has been some confusion about the differences between paid vs. owned vs. earned media. In the past, all PR agencies worked toward getting “earned” media meaning having a journalist write an article about you or your company. You earned the article by doing something newsworthy, interesting, unique or even illegal. Whatever it was, a third-party wrote and published a story about you. You didn’t pay for the article to run, nor did you have control over the content, meaning, no edits!

Today, PR agencies might as well be called “media” agencies since they help their clients secure paid, owned and earned media. So in today’s media saturated world, I have listed the differences between paid, earned and owned media in order to clarify the difference.

Paid Media:  

Paid media is advertising. Most paid media comes in the form of an advertisement which appears in print, commercials or a banner ad on a website. As media has evolved, paid media now includes a sponsored blog post or advertorial. Paid media is the easiest to get if you have the budget and is the least credible of all the media. Basically you are telling the world about your business or yourself and the majority of people see it as sales talk and not a credible third-party endorsement of your business. With that said, if done right and with a significant budget, a paid media strategy can net extraordinary results just like Pepsi, NIKE, McDonalds, to name a few.

Earned Media:  

Earned media is the hardest media to get because you can’t buy “earned” media and you must earn it.  Earned media is what keeps PR agencies in business. If you have a product or story to share, you would then pitch that story to reporters, producers, bloggers and other influential third parties to try and get them to write about it. Earned media is the most credible of media because it’s hard to get and is more credible in the eyes of consumers. It will cost you the fee of working with a reputable PR agency, but is a fraction of what you’d spend if you enlisted a paid media strategy instead. 

Owned Media:  

Owned media comes in the channels you own and which you control all the content. Owned media can be in the form of a newsletter, blog post, website and social media pages that you use to communicate with your clients. You own that content! Owned media has components of paid and earned media too. You have to create content that stands out to earn engagement in the form of likes, shares, retweets and email forwards. You often have to pay to advertise on “owned” social media too.

I hope you found this information helpful and that it clears up any confusion about he differences. I think you will certainly see why “earned” media is valued so much and why working with a trustworthy PR agency is essential to earning ongoing, credible media. I personally recommend a diverse approach in order to net the best possible outcome and ROI for your brand.

What type of media are you using? Are the results that you achieved what you were hoping for?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

 

Aligning Your Personal Brand with Your Business

By: Gina Mason

Brands, brands, brands! It’s all about the brands! From airlines to clothing lines to product lines, we live in a brand-centric society with a large number brand-conscious people.  Now more than ever, people want to know that the brands they support or follow are knowledgeable, responsible, accountable and embody the characteristics that they desire.

That train of thought has transitioned into personal branding and due to the increase in digital and social media marketing, the lines of personal and business branding have been blurred. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are no longer being used or viewed solely for personal purposes. Businessmen and women everywhere are now beginning to align their online personal brands with their businesses in order to be more successful.   

Here are two reasons why you should consider connecting your personal and business brands:

Leverage your reputation:

Many of you business owners or executives out there have already built your reputation in your respective industries and should utilize that for brand building. That established reputation and years of experience that you have most likely plays a large role in why you are successful in your business. When it comes to combining your personal and business brands you should leverage your reputation to your advantage (after all, reputations are everything and they take a very long time to develop!). In addition, those years of experience make you an expert in your field and people will look to you for tips, advice and knowledge. Try creating content (whether it is writing a blog, social media posts or videos) where you can share your knowledge and expertise off to your target audience.

Personal connection:

Thanks to technology, much of the world is now automated, digital and impersonal. However, human beings naturally want to feel connected to others. Knowing someone and connecting them to their business humanizes the company and makes them feel like they can be heard. Being able to know that there is actually someone that they can speak to directly and not some automated recording is invaluable to some people. Also, if you are the leader of your company, you want people to connect your name or photo to your business. Once that association is established, people will be drawn to your company. Lastly, when people make a personal connection with someone they begin to feel an allegiance to that person (or brand).  That personal connection and loyalty will not only help you humanize your company or brand but will also spawn referrals or word of mouth marketing.

It is a big decision to decide to align your personal brand with your business brand and it is not for everybody. There are cons to aligning your brands especially if you have faced some type of controversy. However, if you have an established reputation and want to make your business brand more appealing than you should consider it.

Here at Indra PR, we work with a variety of personal and business brands. From professional athletes to corporations, we can help you figure out what is the best route for your personal and business brands. For more information, visit www.indrapr.com or email us at info@indrapr.com.

 

As always, if you like what you read be social and share. 

Chill The Chatter: Twitter’s New Mute Feature

By: Jenifer Wetterau

At the advent of Twitter, you most likely followed anyone and everyone in hopes they would follow you back and make your brand look important and popular. In the same way you can turn on notifications so you never miss a Tweet from your favorite users, you can now slyly “mute” users whose content is of little interest to you without officially unfollowing them. A similar feature has been available on Facebook for quite a while. It’s useful for hiding annoying posts of people when unfriending may be perceived as hurtful or rude: the company who can’t seem to get out of selling mode and only hawks their products or services. Or the friend who can’t stop sharing photos of what they are eating. Twitter believes people will adopt a similar strategy with their mute button, cleaning up your timeline without the fear of losing followers as a result of unfollowing them.

Does this spell disaster for brands? Only for those publishing poor content.

Actions most likely to get your brand muted:

-Buying followers

-Behaving like a brand

-In-your-face advertising

-Follow to Win competitions

So what’s a brand to do to get tweeted… and retweeted?

-Engage with fans: answer their questions and provide interesting content.

-Help your followers with tips to better their everyday lives.

-Create fun, entertaining content that makes the workday better. No one wants to retweet an advertisement or regurgitation of your services

-Behave like a human, with a personality and point of view that will resonate with all your followers, current and potential

Basically, brands need to stay focused on the ‘social’ in social networking, and let your followers be the judge and jury of your content. You need to commit to being truly sociable by thinking like your readers and serving them engaging content. For your tweet to be perfect, it needs to appeal most to your readers, not to you.

This is not an opportunity for free advertising or hard selling. You can be certain that constant repetitive streams of self-promotion will be quickly muted. If it’s advertising you’re after then get ready to open your wallet!

Lurkers are 99% of social media. If you want to inspire interaction and click-throughs you need provide consistently inspiring content. Trawling for new followers with ‘RT and follow to win’ contests will not create an authentic audience. Since users are now able to follow, then immediately mute you, they get just what they want (then sell it on eBay) without ever having to see your tweets again.

The true measure of success for brands is not the number of followers, since it’s impossible to know how many are actually listening. Engagement is the success metric that counts now. Brands need to share and create content that resonates with the specific audience they want to target, the audience that will talk back.

This is accomplished by talking about them, not about you. Pinpoint the type of people likely to become customers then observe and join the conversations they are having. Find the right content by examining what has been shared by a community over the last month. This will give you insight into the topics and trends your followers are most interested in.

Remember: be consistently excellent. You cannot afford to be anything less.

Are you exited by or horrified by the Twitter mute feature? Are you confident in your social strategy or do you see a major reworking in your future? As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.