Category Archives: Social Media

Turn Off The Auto-Responder!

Visibly Media social media toolboxThat’s right, turn off the auto-responder! You may think you look like you’re on top of things by using this “feature”. Sadly, the opposite is more true than not. Abusing an auto-responder can make you look like an online novice instead of a professional.

Auto-responders are scheduled pieces of response. In email, it’s a scheduled, programmed note back to your email inbox when you sign up for a whitepaper download or some other information box. When you use an auto-responder in social media, you are scheduling a specific response (i.e., “I’m on vacation…”) to be triggered when one of your friends, followers or connections makes a post. The issue? Because it’s programmed, scheduled, you don’t know what kind of message the auto-responder is responding to.

Allow me illustrate an example. Last week I saw an auto-responder to a post on Facebook, one of the last social media channels I thought would ever have seen such a thing. A friend had asked for prayers for a family member who was very ill. A mutual friend chimed in on the Facebook post with this message:

social media auto-responder





Here’s three reasons why you should turn off the auto-responder:

  1. It looks tacky. This type of response doesn’t show the world you’re staying connected or on top of things. To the contrary — it makes you look lazy.
  2. You look clueless. It was clear the respondent hadn’t read the post at all.
  3. It translates to apathetic concern. Basically, you didn’t care enough to personalize the message. Social media is, first and foremost, social. That means people should be making real connections to real people, with real feelings, right?

Here’s the deal: the photos you see on social media aren’t just avatars or images. Those are photos of real people, with real feelings. How would you feel if you made a similar request of your friends, and saw an auto-responder like the one above? You might forgive it, thinking to yourself, “At least he or she thought of me at all, they’re just a little busy right now.”. Seriously, how long will that feeling last?

Three key takeaways:
  1. Make the connection personally. An auto-responder is just a pre-recorded message. Step up to the next level and make a post of real, genuine concern. If you feel comfortable, take it offline to either a private chat or phone call, but be real.
  2. Clue back in. You decided to connect to these people, or accept their connection request. Why? What did it mean to you then, and what does it mean now? Read, really read their posts, and answer personally if you are so motivated — not programmed.
  3. Get re-connected to the world. Dial it back in. You are connected to these people for a reason, right? What was the reason? Re-examine the strengths, abilities and individuality of each connection first, then re-examine yourself and your reasons for staying connected.

You should be building lasting relationships on social media. What kind of footprint do you want to leave? How do you want to be known and/or remembered? Strive to be remembered and known for caring past a number or notch on your belt, and see what happens.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Being Visible vs. Being Engaged: It’s Your Choice

In social media, many people are being visible vs. being engaged. Think about it. In order to start a conversation with another person, you have to show up first. But, if all you did was show up, does that action alone create enough curiosity for someone to reach out and talk to you? And, if someone did chat first, would you chat back?

blah-blah-blahThere are a couple of way to be visible. You can create an account in social media and simply watch what others are talking about. You are there, you showed up, and most likely you have found conversation or articles of interest already. Another way would be to create an account, read what others are talking about, and start posting your own thoughts on subject matter. The latter will give you more visibility, for now people can actually see you and your posts in their streams.

Now, picture being an active part of the conversation.

You are still visible, and people can still read your thoughts. Now, you are actively taking part in a conversation about subject matter you are interested in — and people are reading it right now and talking with you.

Active participation does not come without risk. There is risk being in the foreground rather than the background. There is risk putting your thoughts out there for people to scrutinize. There is risk for argument. There is risk for being wrong. You risk when you become actively visible.

When you engage, you become part of something. The word “engage” conjures up images of either a wedding or some kind of meeting, does it not? In either case, it is a reflection of commitment. By joining a conversation, you are committing yourself to the conversation, to your ideas, to becoming part of something.

Here are 5 ways you become more engaged in social media:

  1. Eyes wide open. When you join a conversation, know as much about that conversation as possible. Is this a subject in which you really want to share your thoughts? What are you going to contribute? If someone asks for facts, can you give them?
  2. Ask a question. When you read a post or a blog and find something that intrigues you, ask a question about it. Chances are good someone else was thinking about asking that same question but didn’t — not so dissimilar from a classroom where you’ve raised your hand.
  3. Ask an intentional question. Same idea as #2, except here you are asking a question on purpose to draw out someone’s expertise. You may already know the answer, but asking the author to validate his or her thoughts becomes shared knowledge — something very powerful in the eyes of others.
  4. Share the knowledge. This may seem old hat, and yet works better on pictures of kitties and puppies. If you read something you found value in, share it with your network. Chances are pretty good someone is looking for that information but did not know where to find it. This increases your value as a resource to your network.
  5. Ask for questions. When you give someone your business card or brochure, you are giving that person permission to learn more about your product or service by contacting you. Why not ask people for their thoughts on your posts? People are willing to give their opinion, but many are waiting for the permission to do so.

Now it’s your turn! What are some other ways you can think of that can help others get more engaged? Let’s get the conversation going!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Facebook: Sharing Is Caring!

TechCrunchYesterday reported in a blog article that Facebook has decided to not allow text-based status updates from Pages. This may turn out to be a good move for Pages, as they will now need to not only concentrate more on remarkable content with updates that are media-based or link-based. This is a positive move for Pages, as Admins can now concentrate more on remarkable, strategic content.

Facebook share link button samplesThis new tweak from Facebook also means authors should use the opportunity to incorporate the Facebook share link with every article.

The best way to get your content to get read and go viral is through share links. Share links capture the headline, the first line or two of the article, the image used in the article, and a link to the full article. When sharing, you can either share directly to your Facebook personal timeline so your friends can see the content, or that of your Page so followers and Likers can read it.

Click here to get Facebook’s share link button. You can also use a social media sharing app such as Shareaholic for your blog articles.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Snapchat And The Culture & Lifestyle Brands

SnapchatIn a recent Mashable article about Snapchat, it was suggested that, as more brands embrace Snapchat in an effort to engage a younger target market, users may back away. Whether or not this happens will depend on how a brand intends to use this channel.

Brands engaging their audience with Snapchat should take two points into consideration:

  1. culture,
  2. lifestyle.

First, brands have to decide which approach works best with their current marketing. It may also behoove brands to consider changing their marketing strategy to better utilize the Snapchat channel.

If brands choose to engage through culture, they must empathize with their target markets (i.e., buyer personas). Brands must care about what’s important to their customers and be able to write remarkable content that will inspire and connect with them. For example, banks should write and post images about short waits, services that will make customer’s banking experiences both quicker and less intrusive (i.e., deposits from a mobile device, etc.), and community involvement. They should involve their customers by encouraging them to belong to this channel.

If brands choose lifestyle as their channel, they first should determine if their brand is a true lifestyle brand. A lifestyle brand engages with their customers by identifying with their interests, even if the interests have nothing to do with sales. Whole Foods provides an excellent example of lifestyle branding. The brand needs to be very aware of what matters to them besides sales; top-notch kitchens or favorite barbeque sauce recipes, for starters. This will allow content to be easily generated, and also encourages customers to post their favorite stories.

With the introduction of Stories, I believe Snapchat is in a good position to allow both lifestyle and culture brands to reach their audience. Their challenge in 2014: to ensure push and outbound marketing doesn’t take it over.

Discover who your brand is, and you’ll discover new ways to engage with your customers.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

The Membership Of Social Media

social media heartsBusiness owners today still struggle with leveraging themselves and their brands on social media. Connecting with other businesses or colleagues, posting messages, and interacting may not be the problem. Understanding their role in the membership of social media may be.

In the past few years, people on all social media networks have been inundated with as many sales messages as they get in their email boxes. More and more, people are tuning these messages out, simply finding a way to ignore them. Why? They don’t want to be sold to on these platforms.

Social media is, in fact, social. People finding ways to connect with other like-minded individuals and sharing an abundance of information: from gardening to makeup tips, marketing to moving, recipes to races. You can opt-in to websites for the latest coupons or news updates. But, are we opting in to being sold to?

The reason today’s business owners aren’t successful on social media is they are trying to sell to everyone. Inclusion to the various social media platforms isn’t hard, but it is permission-based. This means you are asking permission to post to your news streams when you sign up, and through acceptance permission is granted. Members do not ask for others to post sales pitches in their streams or private messages, and will not tolerate those that do.

When you join a social media network or build your own community, you are asking for membership to a club. When you join groups or chats within the network, you are asking for membership to a more exclusive section of that club. People interact with people with whom they have found common ground. People don’t ask for memberships to get constant sales pitches. Memberships are special and their privilege should not be abused.

There are a few memberships in which you expect to be sold: Publisher’s Clearinghouse, book or music clubs, and multi-level marketing companies such as Amway, for starters. On social media networks, however, members want information about your product or service — not an immediate sales pitch. Members want to know you are trustworthy and knowledgeable before they allow a sales message.

Here are 3 tips for making the most of your social media network membership:

  1. Post less about you. Post links to content you really believe in, even if it isn’t yours. Show you can be a great resource to others.
  2. Comment on other’s posts wisely. Write something to contribute to the conversation, not add to the noise. If you enjoyed a post, list one or two points that really made an impact.
  3. Engage! Get to know the other members. Why are they here? Do they work for a company or own their own business? What are their skills? Also, let them know more about you – answer the same questions about yourself.

Have a strategic marketing plan that includes social media before deciding which networks your company should participate on. Here are some tips on including social media with your marketing plan.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.