Archive for Social Media

But Social Media Just Doesn’t Work for My Business

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Working for a domestic violence shelter was a learning experience; not just for myself as a social media and PR intern, but for the shelter as well. Lydia’s House is the only program in the St. Louis area providing confidentially located, stationary transitional housing for victims of domestic violence and their children. The mission is to help battered and abused women to gain the skills and resources necessary to find permanent housing, jobs, or to accomplish schooling. For many women, this safety and support is something they haven’t experienced in years.

 

When I was first hired as a social media and PR intern, there wasn’t a job description for me. Social media was something they let fall to the wayside, unsure of how to use it while still protecting their residents. They did not understand how social media could help, rather than harm.

 

And they were not alone. Many organizations and businesses may have that belief: social media does not work for me. But my experiences at Lydia’s House tell a different story, Here’s we started:

 

Finding what the audience likes. I began posting daily status updates on the Lydia’s House Facebook page, and could tell immediately what posts were the most popular and which posts people could care less about. I was given a list of statistics about domestic violence to educate our followers. These posts got very little attention, and if anything almost seemed to upset our followers. The last thing I wanted to do was turn people away; if they liked Lydia’s House on Facebook, then they understood domestic violence and didn’t need to see statistics on a daily basis.

 

Putting on a creative hat. This is when I got creative about my posts. I started Trivia Tuesdays and Thankful Thursdays to get our followers interactive on our page. Every Tuesday I would post a trivia question about Lydia’s House, our history, what we do, etc., and people began commenting and becoming involved. Thankful Thursdays were a great way for us to acknowledge our donors and followers for their support, and ask what they were thankful for.

 

Sharing photos that are emotional in nature. For the safety of our residents and their children, we could not post any photos of them. One day we had arts and crafts time with the children with the topic being “Draw what Lydia’s House means to you.” The children drew such touching pictures of love and how finally felt safe. We scanned a few of the drawings and put them on Facebook to an overwhelming amount of likes and comments. We began taking pictures of the children’s hands while painting, vegetables the women grew in the community garden, donations we received, and much more.

 

Celebrating successes with other organizations and individuals. A few of the Cardinal’s wives came out and remodeled several apartments, donating furniture, clothing, and home goods. We posted pictures of the interior of the apartments along with the Cardinal’s wives, and people loved it! The Cardinals posted the pictures on their Facebook and retweeted us on Twitter, getting us more attention and followers. More followers for us meant more donations and volunteers- something that a non-profit truly needs to support their cause.
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For years, Lydia’s House ignored social media, believing it to be their enemy rather than a great asset. Social media does not work for you – that is true. The problem is the order of that sentence. Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are tools. And tools do not work for anyone. It is you who must get creative and apply your energy. You work with social media. If I can use it to help Lydia’s House, then you use it in your organization.

4 Questions Before you Spend Five Bucks

How to Effectively use Promoted Posts on Facebook

As the resident social media dude, it is my responsibility to devise social strategies that will spark conversations and ignite brands. This is accomplished by carefully examining every aspect of the overall social plan and then determining which tactics might need a separate strategy.

Take Facebook promoted posts, for example. The strategy behind Promoted Posts can’t be: Throw $5 at it and let’s see what happens. There needs to be a method behind the social madness. promoted post

Before I promote a post on Facebook, I always ask myself four important questions:

#1 Does the post include a picture? According to Kissmetrics, Facebook posts that include a photo generate 53% more LIKES and 104% more comments than text-based posts. Does this mean every single promoted post should include an image? Yes! Even if you are sharing a link to your blog, it should include an image.

#2 What is the life expectancy of the post? If the topic of the post is very time sensitive, it probably won’t be relevant a few days down the road. Most promoted posts—depending on the budget—will remain promoted for 3 to 5 days.

#3 What is the lasting impact? Does the post have a clear call-to-action? What about a link to your website? It is important that your promoted posts generate more than simply a bunch of post LIKES or comments, but future brand ambassadors.

#4 What is the current engagement level of the post? If the post is already generating engagement within the first few hours of posting, it is generally a good idea to promote that post. There is obviously something about the message that is resonating with your audience, so it is important that you maximize its lifespan.

Like it or not, but Promoted Posts are essential to creating a successful Facebook presence. Don’t believe me? Give ‘em a try and see for yourself.

The Anti-Template for Social Media Success

I live my life according to George Costanza – always have, always will. I have a strong affinity for quality architecture, obese wallets and the occasional éclair bar. Also, just like George, I believe in bucking social trends such as spending two months pay on an engagement ring. Who in the heck came up with this rule?

 

I also believe in carving out unique social paths for my clients. Often times, businesses will want their social media identity to resemble a famous brand such as Blendtec or Old Spice. The problem is these brands don’t follow a preordained success template. They devise a strategy that not only aligns with the core messaging, but makes the brand stand out.George Costanza wallet

 

I am not suggesting that we should ignore the successes of said brands. But true inspiration comes from within. To help businesses find their place in the social space, we kickoff meetings with appreciative inquiry, challenging clients to dig down and find true purpose.

 

Sure, you can load up your HootSuite on Monday morning with pre-written content, but what are you going to say? Can you think of, right now, a week’s worth of content that will engage an audience and align with your brand?

 

This how we tackle social media at KolbeCo:

  • Discover: By uncovering what matters the most to YOU, we are able to design a strategy that will…

a.    Allow your brand to shine
b.    Make your message more impactful

  • Why: What makes your brand different? Why should anyone care? Having a clear answer to both of these questions will allow us to create a strategy that is wholly unique to your brand.
  • Design: Once we unearth your true purpose, we will then design and implement your custom social strategy.

 

The success of any social media campaign rests on your willingness to channel your inner Costanza and do what truly feels natural and purposeful.

 

Think: Old Spice. Its social campaign is so much more than funny videos and taglines—it is about standing up for what you believe in. That is true success.

Social Media Helps Find a Lake St. Louis Dog

Question: So what happens when you have a culture at KolbeCo that really embraces helping dogs in need?

Answer: People ask for help when their dogs are lost.

A friend of ours called Saturday afternoon, very worried because his son had lost his dog, Bailey, at nearby Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville. Knowing how involved we are with dog and rescue groups, he asked: “Can you help?”  I immediately said that we would, and asked what he would like us to do.  He asked if we could share a picture and his phone number with our dog friends.

We knew where to take this request – social media.

We uploaded the picture in this post and started sharing it on some private and public Facebook Dog Rescue Groups, as well as our own Facebook profiles. We also put out some pleas for help on Twitter.

Within a couple hours the picture had been shared at over 50 sites and profiles in the St. Louis metro area. As of Saturday at 5 PM we had people searching the area.

Most of the people we have never met, but they saw the pleas and were concerned about this lost dog, and set out to help find poor Bailey. By Sunday morning, I received a message on Facebook from someone that I went to high school with. She had seen Bailey in her neighborhood! Around noon Sunday, we received the call we had all been waiting for – Bailey was home! Our friend was very thankful to us, and grateful to our amazing network of dog loving friends. Well, at KolbeCo we do have some amazing social media friends, but we also know how to get the message out quickly through social media.

So the job was not over yet. We then went back to everyone that helped us spread the word and thanked them for their help. We had to let them know that Bailey had been found. We all celebrated together, online, at the very happy ending for for a dog that wandered over 4 miles away.

Wasted Space

My train of thought was directed to Facebook for my blog this time around. It always amazes me that many of us don’t utilize the space we are given when setting up our images on our Facebook pages, and now that there is ANOTHER “new Facebook layout” (the timeline) lurking around the corner I want to take the opportunity to remind you business savvy people to prepare yourself on the front end this time and use that space to your advantage!

The new upcoming “cover image” on your Facebook page is a decent sized space for you to utilize whether it be advertising a special, getting out contact information, or telling a visual story about you or your business. You can manipulate a picture, or you can create a custom page sized to 850px by 315px pixels and create some pretty cool messaging ideas. You can get some great ideas from Mashable here. Carpe diem!

Procrastination Has a New Name: Pinterest

Rarely does a night go by that I don’t lie in bed, staring at my iPhone. It used to be Twitter that had my heart, but recently I’ve been pretty obsessed with Pinterest.

Pinterest is virtual bulletin boards where you can collect the things you love. Imagine if you had unlimited virtual cork boards separated by theme like style, home, food, anything really – and over time you could collect and “pin” items to these boards as you came across them on the internet. That is Pinterest.

Not only can you “pin” items you find or create, you can follow others and “repin” their items as well. Have a friend who has great personal style? Follow her boards. Covet someone’s interior design sense? Follow their boards and learn about their inspiration and aesthetic.

Pinterest obviously has some great business applications; everyone from wedding consultants to interior designers and photographers have boards where they pin their creations and allow others to repin them, socially spreading their goods.

And if all this great stuff wasn’t enough, I found a recipe for mini-lasagnas via Pinterest…if that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.

Follow me on Pinterest here.

Social Media is Like a Puppy

We at KolbeCo are a dog-loving bunch, and as I was reflecting on social media, I started to think about how similar jumping into social media can be to getting a puppy. Think back to when you were six or  seven and you wanted a puppy. What did your parents say? They said that a puppy was a big responsibility and that it wasn’t all fun and games. Well, social media can be similar.

Yes, a puppy is cute, but eventually, it will tinkle on your new fall boots. That isn’t the end of the world – the boots are salvageable, it’s simply all in how you react to the tinkle.

Many companies jump into social media without planning how they will react to the tinkle. I love it when brands interact with me on social media; it encourages me to become a more loyal customer and in some cases can even make me an advocate for them. When I have a good experience with a brand, I want to share it. That is what social media is all about.

What I don’t love is when brands only react to positive comments. Just like the puppy, social media can be a big responsibility. You cannot simply ignore or delete comments you don’t like; learning how to respond and shape the conversation through your postings and comments is a responsibility.

If you need help dealing with the tinkle, drop us a line. We’re pros.

Social Media Slowing Down

I was speaking with a person that I serve on a non-profit board with. Their comment was that Facebook was losing steam. I am not sure I am seeing that. Every PR trade publication, keeps mentioning social media and how important it is to the marketing mix. I am sure for new users the excitement wears off. But ultimately, this is a tool that will be used for the forseeable future.

As our agency has been study Google Wave, we have been trying to understand how that might fit it into the marketing mix. We have been optimizing press releases since 2004 and we have been telling clients that the internet is a media outlet that entire time.

Back in Q4 of 2008 we had a client mention that they wanted to pull back their marketing efforts because of the economy. Through that discussion we had mentioned that we could cut back on a few items, but we need to redesign the website. The site was 7 years old and was not generating any leads. The new site launched in February and today the client is telling us that they can barely keep up with the leads.  Along with the site we incorporated a blog, SEM parameters, PPC & started a Facebook fan page.

What we are seeing is traditional marketing, pr and advertising is feeding dialogue into the social networks.

Another client – we launched a new website in April 2009, the traffic has basically increased 250% every month – with a few simple tactics, some traditional PR in industry trade publications, Twitter & Facebook – along with Google searches.

Ultimately – marketing is a long term program – not a short term sprint. We see social media being a marathon, not a sprint.