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The 11 deadly sins of social media

August 27, 2014 by Marketing Donut contributor

The 11 deadly sins of social media{{}}Recently we’ve seen some sinful uses of social media; from clueless users to pointless tweeters. Already this year we’ve witnessed an array of social media blunders, not to mention those who’ve been prosecuted for their comments on social media.

So why all the sinning? With social media use at an all time high and as competition increases between social businesses, people are stretching the social media boundaries to stand out online. Some businesses have lost sight of social media etiquette, business etiquette and common sense as they “borrow” content and spy on their competitors.

But businesses that abuse social media are only damaging their own reputations and jeopardising their business opportunities.

So what are the 11 social media sins?:

1. Forgetting that social media makes you omnipresent

Although you can delete posts, people can also screen grab and anything you post can remain in the social media realm forever. This is particularly relevant with Twitter — you can never be certain who is monitoring what you tweet. Never post anything on social media that you wouldn’t be happy for the whole world to see.

2. Not being consistent across social media platforms

Treat social media as one and be consistent across your social media profiles. Your social media profiles should not be competing for your attention, do not favour one over the other; you should post content consistently over all sites. But keep in mind though that each has its own rules and purposes.

Use Twitter to signpost, ensure LinkedIn is B2B focused, Facebook B2C and Google+ should be a mixture of the two. You may need to alter the language of your posts based on the target audience of that platform. Ensure that your presence is consistent and truly represents you. Your social media profiles are usually the first place people go to find out about you, if you’ve got a mismatched, jumbled and inconsistent presence, people will be less likely to trust you and what you post.

3. Not being vigilant about fakes and trolls

There are thousands of fake social media users posing as celebrities and everyday users, with many of these being controlled by internet trolls. These are people who trawl social media sites posting derogatory comments and abusing users and should be reported to the social networking site in which they are operating on. 

You must ensure that those influencers you follow are verified (have a little blue tick). If you’re an infamous user yourself, consider getting your own account verified.

4. Not minding your Ps and Qs

You need to be careful what you tweet, even on your personal social media profiles. If your employer is mentioned on your profile, they can be liable for any offensive comments you make through Vicarious Liability.

Mind your social media Ps & Qs, watch your language and do not swear — especially if you’re posting from your business account. Your tweets represent your brand so ensure they reflect your target market and avoid offending anyone with your language.

5. Taking a break from social media

There are proven best and worst times to post on social media and constantly broadcasting brand messages can be a waste of time. Check out the best times to post and ensure your posting is targeted.

Mix up scheduled tweets with timely posts throughout the week so you’ll create a great balance for your social media profiles and save yourself a lot of time.

6. Sharing personal information

Social media is not the place to air your dirty laundry and you will undoubtedly regret doing this so don’t share your personal information, family disputes or private matters.

Do not mix your personal life with your business handles; ensure you create a different personal account to keep up to date with friends. Already this year we’ve seen a number of cases involving people being fired, and in some cases prosecuted, for what they’ve said on social media. Again, don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want the world to see — including friends, family, colleagues and employers.

7. Deleting negative comments

Most of us have received negative or abusive comments on social media at some time. Don’t delete these comments, instead reply to them promptly (not necessarily immediately) and appropriately (step back, compose yourself, don’t reply in anger, deal with this in the same manner as you would through any other form of contact) to show you are dealing with this.

This is particularly true when it comes to social customer service; Twitter is now the first place many of us go to complain and if your company is brushing these comments under the carpet and removing them from your feed then this shows you in a terrible light. Show respect when replying and only use humour if appropriate.

So, don’t kill comments (unless truly offensive, in which case report and block); start dealing with them confidently.  Ultimately, you will be judged on the way with you deal with it.

8. Not being faithful to your connections

Don’t insult or mock people via social media; instead treat all your connections with respect. Ensure you get the tone of voice right, as well as the content you share — never position yourself online as something you are not.

Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. Forge new relationships, share content and that way your will gain respect, support and recognition.

9. Copying content

Social media has made it harder than ever for individuals to keep a track of their comments, posts and articles; and it’s now easier than ever for people to steal your content. Don’t steal other people’s tweets, arguments and opinions — it’s wrong.

We all know that social media is great for getting content ideas and inspiration, but if you are to use someone else’s articles, don’t present them as your own and reference them correctly. Social media content can still be copyrighted and you may find yourself in trouble if you present ripped off content as your own.

10. Lying

Many people think social media gives you anonymity but this isn’t always the case. Social media posts and comments are traceable so never use social media to slander people or businesses.

If you have a problem with a business or a brand, make sure you bring this, politely, to their attention and do not use social media as a way to broadcast your hate towards them. If you’re a business, don’t lie about other companies or mock them on Twitter.

Ensure that you have correct training and policies in place to monitor what your staff post and who has access to your accounts.  After all, social media is an extension of your existing communications channels.

11. Jealousy

Love what your competitor is doing on social media? Well, don’t just sit back green with envy, go and do it yourself. Social media has removed boundaries that were traditionally the realms of big brand, big budget names.

Social media has provided a glass wall into other businesses and If you like something they’re doing, then think about doing something similar yourself. Not only has it allowed you to monitor competitors, social media has also allowed you to keep a track of your business targets, giving you an easy way to communicate and network with them.

© Emma Pauw, social media writer, We Talk Social.

Is LinkedIn the ultimate careers adviser?

July 02, 2014 by Marketing Donut contributor

Is LinkedIn the ultimate careers adviser?{{}}Back in 2009, we were presenting to students at leading business schools on how to make the most of LinkedIn. We showed them the power of LinkedIn for mapping out their career paths, conducting research, getting noticed by potential employers; and we explained why we thought LinkedIn would be one of the most powerful tools at their disposal throughout their careers.

A great deal has changed since 2009; but our predictions were pretty spot on!  Here’s why…

With 15 million UK users, three million business pages and 1,500 school and university profiles, LinkedIn has become the most powerful tool for professional networking. The so-called “Facebook for Business” can bring huge benefits to both professionals and academics and it bridges the gap between the two.

A recruitment tool

Currently, LinkedIn is one of the best ways for professionals to network and it is awash with success stories of people who have used the site to enhance their career. It allows you to monitor competitors, read up on new career opportunities, network with professionals and is increasingly being used for recruitment.

It’s no wonder that graduates are increasingly turning to LinkedIn as the number one tool in their job search. It allows you to read up on the skills and background of leaders in your field, search vacancies and gain valuable advice from industry experts.

So, we were not surprised when LinkedIn launched its new education service. The idea is to create college and university pages to provide students, alumni, lecturers and employees with a place to connect. The tagline reads: “Powered by the career paths of over 250 million members”.

Mapping your career path

The education pages provide users with job opportunities, they suggest new connections, allow you to see what your peers are now doing and show potential students what career path their course alumni have taken.

This is a fantastic tool for students, allowing them to start conversations with business professionals and gain valuable insight. From a business perspective, the service also allows you to sift through students to find ideal candidates, as well as connecting with any old alumni to develop business opportunities. Your old uni friend could open the door to your next big client.

Last year, LinkedIn also announced its partnership with some of the biggest names in online education so that users could showcase their educational achievements on their LinkedIn profile. Following the completion of specific courses, these certificates can then be posted directly to your profile. Not only can users add their certificates, but LinkedIn also allows users to add their honours and awards, test scores, courses and patents; moving the platform ever closer to becoming a one-stop, online CV.

It surely won’t be long before candidates will simply submit their LinkedIn profile to a potential employer instead of a traditional CV; indeed already many companies are asking for both.

Emma Pauw is social media writer at We Talk Social.

Seven useful things your LinkedIn homepage can tell you

July 17, 2013 by Luan Wise

Seven useful things your LinkedIn homepage can tell you/chain 3d render{{}}As a professional social networking tool, your LinkedIn homepage is more valuable than you may give it credit for.

It is by far the greatest source of real-time market intelligence I have (and costs just a few minutes of my time each day).

LinkedIn is a truly brilliant tool that provides us with the ability to engage in conversation with our business network, on both a one-to-one and one-to-many basis. So much so, I wonder whether we really still need email.

A quick glance down the right hand column reminds me of the power of my LinkedIn profile. With over 500 connections, I am less than three steps away from almost 9 million professionals. And this is growing — today the statistic shows over 25,000 new people in my network in the past three days. Three days! 

  • Tip: How do I keep up with new people that might be of value to me? I have a paid-for account, which allows me to save advanced searches. Weekly email alerts highlight any new accounts matching my search criteria. You can also keep track of your LinkedIn activity with the new “You Recently Visited” feature.

Here are the seven LinkedIn features that reveal valuable information about your connections and your sector as a whole.

 1. Status updates

The quality of status updates has significantly increased, in my opinion, since the automated feed from Twitter ceased. Status updates are becoming more and more informative as users find their voice and clarify their content strategy. Engagement via likes and comments is becoming more prevalent, and the recently added ability to mention other users is proving popular.

 2. Profile updates

My timeline shows when people update their profile — useful information about job changes can provide valuable business intelligence.

 3. New connections

I love seeing the new connections being made across my network — it shows that they’re active users.

However, if you’re in a sales role you should consider protecting your profile so “stalkers” like myself don’t pick up on when you add a new client or prospect to your list. It’s a small world and I’m keeping my enemies (competitors) close by, including them in the network I’m watching.

4. Endorsements and recommendations

I’m not keen on the endorsement feature — some users are click happy when it comes to endorsements and this undermines their credibility. However, a quick review of skills is helpful, and it’s interesting to see who is recommending who.

  • Tip: Even if you work with your partner, having your husband or wife recommend you is a little odd! Time your recommendations so you don’t have lots of new ones all at once, as it hints that you’re suddenly in the job market. Maintain your network regularly and you’ll be prepared for the time you might need it in a hurry.

5. People you may know

When building your network, LinkedIn’s ability to identify people you might know is really useful. 

  • Tip: if LinkedIn suggests someone you know, don’t just hit connect! If you want to add someone new to your network, personalise your request with a note — “we have various contacts in common...” or “it’s good to find you on LinkedIn…”.

6. Who has viewed your profile

Now this is really interesting information — who has been looking at you and why? Perhaps they’ve seen a status update and want to be reminded of your profile. Maybe they need your help. Keep an eye on this and, if relevant, drop the user a note to see if or how you can help. 

  • Tip: if you see “Someone who works in x industry in the x area” listed, click on it — you’ll see a shortlist of people and can probably guess who the viewer was. In my opinion, the only time to go totally anonymous is if you’re doing competitive research and don’t want to leave your footprint behind. Change your settings temporarily for this.

7. Who has viewed your updates

Real-time feedback is great for refining your content strategy. A new feature on LinkedIn provides a snapshot of what you’ve shared over the past 14 days, who has seen it and how it has been received (liked, shared) from your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections.

If you’re not regularly checking out all this information, schedule ten minutes a day into your diary and you’ll soon find out just what you’ve been missing.

Luan Wise is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and is a freelance marketing consultant.

Posted in Internet marketing | Tagged LinkedIn | 0 comments

Five reasons why your business won't survive without social media

July 02, 2013 by Emily Lockey

Five reasons why your business won't survive without social media/like on paper starts{{}}No one anticipated just how popular social networking would be become. Once viewed with trepidation, small businesses wondered whether social media would ever be something they would incorporate into their marketing strategy. Now social networking has changed the way B2B businesses interact with prospective clients and partners and how they market their brand.

Social media has become a necessity for every business because with the right strategy, it has the power to positively impact the bottom line.

1. It’s happening without you.

An obvious marketing technique is to go where your prospective clients are and market to them. Well, everyone is using social media and whether your business is engaging in social media or not, people are using it without you. They may be talking about your business — or they may be talking about your competitors! The fact is that they are talking and you’re not there to interact.

An increasing number of businesses are engaging in social media every day and the only way to reach out to them about your brand is to make your online presence known. You can’t run from social media any longer so you might as well embrace it.

2. Customers want it to be personal.

Engagement is the key to trust, and conversation and social media gives your business a voice. A few years ago all you needed to do was create a product and market it to as many prospective buyers as possible. Now traditional marketing methods are gone because social media has changed the way B2B businesses market themselves. Many businesses are now using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to engage with their audiences and some use it as their sole customer service function. People want to talk and interact with real people.

3. SEO and social media go hand in hand.

Social sharing now also impacts your SEO rankings. If you’re absent from social media, search engines such as Google won’t consider your website as important which makes your website harder to find. It’s important to include social networking in your SEO efforts in order to be a leader on the SEO board.

4. Boosting brand awareness and conversions.

Social media is no longer a trend, it’s a necessity. It’s a tool that fulfils a need — the need to communicate, interact and share. Interacting on social media platforms can significantly increase your brand visibility. While traditional marketing methods could increase your traffic, social media will bring you fans, friends and followers who are interested in your business and offerings. These can be turned into customer engagement and that will lead to increased sales.

5. Valuable feedback & crisis control.

No business can survive without customer and client feedback. Social media is a dialogue where people with similar interests can interact and share things they like and dislike. Consumers don’t limit their online expressions and opinions to those businesses with a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Today, they have their own accounts and blogs for sharing their experiences and opinions about your business. By not engaging in social media, you’re ignoring these discussions and limiting your ability to participate, apologise or defend. Social media is the best way to find out what your customers are saying about your brand.

Now what?

B2B businesses that continue to conduct their marketing and PR the old fashioned way will undoubtedly find it more difficult to compete. Social media isn’t going away. Businesses that want to engage their audiences need to seriously consider their social media marketing strategies for today, tomorrow and the foreseeable future.

So the key message is — don't get left behind. Social media is not just a passing trend, it can be a bonus for any company if the right strategy is implemented. For a B2B social media campaign to work, the campaign needs the same professionalism that businesses bring to every other aspect of their business.

Blog provided by iBAengage, a global social media service company.

How to make social media your friend... and avoid burnout

June 24, 2013 by Luan Wise

How to make social media your friend … and avoid burnout/social media clock{{}}Social media is time consuming, especially if you want to see results. But, as someone who eats, breathes and sleeps social media, I’ve discovered ways to make it a friend in both my professional and personal life, and to avoid burnout.

Define your goals

The key to staying fresh online and avoiding burnout is to establish exactly what you want to achieve from your social media efforts. Do your research to identify which tools your target audience are using, and focus your efforts here, whether that’s LinkedIn and Facebook, or Google+ and Twitter.  

Plan your content in advance

Spend time planning content. Think about what to post and create a calendar to schedule your updates. Identify a range of sources you can tap into at any time. RSS feeds are perfect for checking at a time that suits you, and can help to avoid your email inbox becoming cluttered.

Check the latest news each day, and share appropriate posts by those you like, follow or are connected to.

Schedule your posts

Not only do I plan my content in advance — I schedule posts using timers. Telling new social media users about scheduling feels like sharing a way to cheat, but it’s essential for managing your time, and your online presence.

Quotes, pictures, product descriptions, upcoming event promotion, links to your website and articles about your industry all lend themselves to advance scheduling, leaving you free to focus on the very latest news.

There are a number of tools available to help your scheduling — Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Buffer are popular choices.

Go mobile

Technology is the catalyst behind the popularity of social media and a wide range of free mobile apps let you keep up with the very latest news on your smartphone or tablet, even when you’re on the move.  

Review

Even when you’re happy that social media is working for you, it’s important to regularly review your profiles. Check your connections, pages you like, people you follow, and groups you’re in, and de-clutter to ensure you’re meeting your objectives.

And finally, if, like me, you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) sign up to receive a daily email from NutShell Mail, summarising the most recent activity from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. 

Luan Wise is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and is a freelance marketing consultant.

Got skills? Get more out of LinkedIn

June 10, 2013 by Sarah Orchard

Got skills? Get more out of LinkedIn/skills{{}}I have a lot of time for LinkedIn — it has always been a genuinely useful way to build up my network of contacts. In particular, I love the Skills and Expertise section that was introduced a couple of years ago — it’s great for providing a snapshot of someone’s skills and demonstrating which of those skills are especially valued by others.

But this section is actually much cleverer than that and goes beyond a simple display of professional skills.

How to use the Skills & Expertise section on LinkedIn

Select Skills & Expertise from the More menu in LinkedIn’s top navigation bar and you’ll discover some rich marketing information just waiting to be mined. On my own LinkedIn page, marketing strategy is a skill for which I’ve received many endorsements — and a search using that term immediately identifies other professionals with that same skill.

If you’re connected with them via others in your network, this will show; and it may well be that linking directly could be beneficial. Depending on how closely you’re connected, this could be as simple as sending a message, or requesting an introduction, or making contact via a shared group.

You’ll also see a list of related skills and statistics about how many other people are using that skill and how popular the particular skill is. This information can be useful for determining the skills you want to add to your own profile — you can have up to 50 — and it’s well worth considering including less popular skills as well. If someone is searching for that skill and you are identified as one amongst a hundred others, it could yield more interesting and beneficial results than being one in thousands.

Exploring Groups and Companies

Another useful feature is Groups and Companies. You’ll see a list of companies that are relevant to your skill, so giving you the opportunity to dig deeper into a shortlist of companies that may require your services. Visit a company page and you can then find out who you know and then introduce yourself. And with so many groups on LinkedIn, the groups section is ideal for quickly identifying groups that are worth joining and where you can then build strategic relationships.

I highly recommend using Skills and Expertise, it’s the perfect tool to improve your connections and nurture business opportunities — just be warned, though, it’s very easy to spend hours at a time delving into the information, so be disciplined and don’t let it be to the detriment of other marketing activities that might need your attention!

Sarah Orchard is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and a consultant at Orchard Marketing Associates.

Tagged LinkedIn | 0 comments

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