Boo! Social Media is Getting Scary Y'all

For some, social media was always a bit scary but this year has turned up the heat a bit, even for social pros,when it comes to knowing what to do and what not to do on your various branded platforms. Along with everything else that 2020 has brought along with it, figuring out your social media calendar has some fun new hurdles. 

Before, most brands were concerned with getting their content calendars established in 30 day increments and making sure what they post is relevant and helpful to their various audiences. But 2020 has changed the game. Now brands need to react to big events, and do so quickly and authentically, because the world is watching. 

What we’ve learned thus far is that how brands choose to show up in times of uncertainty is making a larger impact on audiences and people are being more open about reacting positively or negatively to what brands have to say. According to a Sprout Social survey 55%  of consumers expect brands to take a stance and that stance needs to be more than just a statement. Consumers want initiatives and actual tangible commitments. 

BOo! COVID-19 Response

When Covid hit us in early Spring, all eyes were on how brands handled quarantine and the reaction to the virus. Consumers were eager to see their loved brands react in a positive and authentic way. 

 

Major brands like Vicks and Allstate did a great job in finding ways to share a positive message and make some form of impact in order to answer to the demands of the masses. What stands out here early on is the willingness of these brands to stand behind their brand promises and really make an effort to have a real, tangible impact during a time of crisis. 

   

But COVID didn’t just impact consumers and large brands. Small businesses are the hardest hit during this onslaught of disaster in 2020. 

Many small businesses were (and still are) grappling with the changes the pandemic has had on their overall business structures and cash flow and as a result are feeling a sense of overwhelm when it comes to putting anything at all on social media as related to COVID. They are just too consumed with finding a way to stay afloat- let alone stay active on social media. The thing is, the small businesses who have been able to make it during this are those who are willing to shift and adjust their practices, and continue to engage and be authentic with their audiences. 

Consumers of small businesses realize that they cannot expect the same BIG IMPACT pieces that they expect from big brands.  The pandemic hasn’t stopped several SMBs from finding ways to thrive, by using social media as an outlet to share more helpful or relevant information and content, and to engage more directly with their audiences. 

 

BOo! Major Social Movements! 

 

Just when we thought things were going to start evening out. Some major social injustices forced everyone to take a hard look at what companies stand for. When the initial wave of the BLM movement began, the public turned to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to see what they would do- and what brands were joining the movement.  The overall response from consumers was that they wanted the social media giants to take accountability for what is on their platforms, and they expect brands to make a stance and stick to it.

For many brands this meant producing BLM positive content, public statements of inclusion- but that’s wasnt enough. The public has demanded that businesses hold up their word. If you said you were going to make changes in the hiring process, you had better start proving that you are doing it. 

According to the Sprout survey,  42% of consumers say they would start buying from competitors if brands don't stay true  to their word. The public is expecting more transparency and wants to see that you are taking the actions you said you would. For big brands like Peloton, this has meant some serious donating and changes in their operations. 

But this doesn’t ONLY apply to big brands. Customers are looking to their local small businesses to see how it should be done. The reality of small businesses is that they are typically able to be more nimble and innovative. They can affect real change at the organizational level faster. So when the world asks, what’s next ? It's the small businesses who are answering.

As time goes on, consumers are paying even more attention to how brands stand behind their promises, whether it be on creating more impact through donation to relief sources, or finding new ways to further a movement and effect permanent change. 

 

Boo! Election Season is here!

Perhaps the scariest of all is the upcoming Election. WE’ve seen a dip in engagement across the board for business pages because everyone has begun tuning into the Election now. Regardless of which side you fall on, the reality is that the division between the parties is wider than ever and that causes some seriously polarizing gaps. 

Depending on your business, it has often been recommended that  you abstain from political topics, but in this new environment consumers are looking for brands that align with their own personal values. Perhaps focusing on your core values is the best way to navigate this tumultuous time. 

 

OK, I’m sufficiently scared - Now What? 

Breathe. This too shall pass. Here are some basic tips to help you get through whatever may come next. 

 

Steps for Success on Social :

  • Be Authentic - Just remember, whatever you post, make sure it aligns with your core values, mission statement and brand promise. This keeps people engaged with you and will keep that level of transparency they crave. 
  • Back that Sass up- If you are going to make a public statement about donating, or changing your operations, you need to be prepared to actually do it- and prove it. Be sure you can actually deliver before you say anything. 
  • Be nimble- Things are changing fast. So even though there is a lot of value in that 30 day content calendar, as things come up, you need to be ready to act fast. It just means being a little more open to allowing for things to change in that calendar and following more of a news cycle strategy vs. a monthly plan. 
  • Take A Step Back - It’s ok! You might need time to think about all this. There is no rule that says you HAVE to respond on social media. Sometimes staying silent is a good thing. When something comes up that is just too much, just stop for a beat. Your social media will still be there when you come back. 

 

Just remember that you aren’t alone. If you are struggling with how to stay aligned with your values and brand promise in your social media messaging- it might be time to ask for help. Our social media experts are on standby. Just reach out if you need a little help. 

 


NO, I WON’T SHARE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POST

Have you ever asked a friend, family member, or associate to share your social media posts to help you grow your brand awareness or cause?  And then, they refuse! What jerks, right? Well, it isn’t that simple…

One of my favorite things about social media is keeping in touch with clients across the social landscape. Watching them bring their greatness & share insightful ideas that inspire me. I had the honor of working with Ms. Yaneek Page and her talented team last year. Yaneek is a game-changing, award-winning entrepreneur making a huge impact by helping Caribbean business owners enter new markets as Program Lead for Market Entry USA.

Yaneek shared a Tweet today about social media etiquette that had me applauding!

hooray GIF

She explained why the lack of sharing is not a lack of caring. It’s simply protecting one’s brand, consistency of message, and keeping integrity to a process. So, in this case, I asked, “Please, let me share your social media post on my page!”

And she graciously agreed…

Let’s talk about asking people to share your content on social media. Guys, understand that people can support you, your events or cause BUT refuse to repost/share your content. Respect their right to say NO!

This is the Digital Age! Many people now recognize the value of their social media assets and are intentional about personal branding. This means they’re less random & more strategic about their posts.

It also means they have to be vigilant about the content & ensure it aligns with their own image, personal brand & goals. At the risk of offending family, friends, colleagues & even clients, people will guard their social media vigilantly. It’s a huge part of their digital footprint.

We’ve developed this habit of asking people to “share on your page” and expecting that they must say yes.

Like, what’s the big deal? It’s just a post.

No! It’s not that simple & it is a big deal. Their reputation & brand could be on the line.

Sharing, reposting & promoting other people’s content – whether it’s an event, flyer or cause is akin to saying “I endorse this” or “here’s what I’m about” Some may even assume you’re connected with the organization etc. That’s a risk not everyone is willing to take.

Remember too, your brand isn’t just image. It is reputation. Managed well, it’s an asset. Managed poorly, it’s a liability. It’s your tone, your language, your values, your frequency & depth of sharing. It shouldn’t be random!

Whether it’s your family, close friend, or colleague. Whether you’ve hired, contracted or booked them to do work. Respect that people are not obligated to share what you’ve asked them to. Frankly speaking, in this digital age, that is sometimes an unreasonable ask.

Yaneek Page

Yaneek Page is the founder of the Caribbean’s first litigant support company, Future Services International Limited. A certified trainer in entrepreneurship, Yaneek is also the creator & executive producer of The Innovators, a TV series airing in over 18 countries which transforms small businesses and promotes entrepreneurship. She is also an entrepreneurship and small business writer for MasterCard Caribbean Business Blog and the Gleaner newspaper.

Yaneek is also the Program Lead for Market Entry USA, an accelerator program that helps Caribbean entrepreneurs to achieve their goal of expanding outside their country of origin to the US Market.


Setting up your YouTube Channel

We’ve all heard how important it is to create video content that supports your business strategies. There is a ton of overwhelming information out there about what to create and where to post it. Diving into video content creation can be complicated and we want to let you know that there are some simple steps to take that will get you moving in the right direction.

Whether you have an existing YouTube channel or are setting one up for the first time, here are our best practices, tips and steps you can take that will ensure you get the most out of your video producing efforts. We will discuss the optimal setup of your Youtube Channel so you can be found by the estimated 1.8 Billion users who search YouTube monthly. Once you know the steps to take, the process can be relatively easy and fun. So let’s get started!

Beyond this quick blog, there are many tools to help you along the way, namely Google. But remember, you will need to have a Google account to set up and sign in to your YouTube Channel.

Once you have signed into YouTube, you can begin setting up your YouTube channel. As you dive into this process, remember that you want to stay consistent with your YouTube page branding. This means having strong branding on your channel as well as for the videos you post.

When you sign into YouTube, you will be taken to your home page.  From there you will want to click on your icon in the top right corner and select “My Channel” so that you can start customizing the channel settings. The two first items to address are the Channel Icon and The Channel Art Banner, shown below. Here are the steps and places you need to update to make your YouTube page your own and put your best face forward.

Channel Icon and Channel Art Banner Locations
  • Channel Icon: This is the icon that displays to other users for your videos and comments.
    • Use a clean and crisp logo image used in your channel icon.
    • The Icon is generally displayed in a circular shape, so make sure that your logo is sized correctly to fit into the circle without aspects of it being cropped out.
  • Channel Art Banner: This is the header background image for your page.
    • This should be a high-resolution image that is big enough to be seen on HDTVs and Monitors. Many users go to YouTube on their home televisions, gaming consoles and streaming entertainment devices.
    • Youtube will scale this image to fit an appropriate screen size depending on what type of device is being used. Preview how the channel art will look on the 3 major devices before finalizing the design:
      1. Computer
      2. Mobile
      3. HDTV
Channel Art Banner Preview on Different Devices

The next item we want to highlight is the Playlist. Playlists are created for recurring content or content that addresses a specific marketing strategy. Creating playlists will help you sort your videos inside your channel. When uploading videos to YouTube, you will be able to select which playlist they should be part of. Think about it like songs on an album, chapters in a book, or collections of art.

  • Customize your playlist Privacy settings. Sometimes it’s useful to create private playlists for content that you want to discreetly share with clients or team members. Some companies use this for internal versioning of videos, client reviews or for proposals made for specific sales opportunities. Here is what the different settings mean:
    • Private: Only those you invite to view the video can view it (they must have their own Youtube accounts and the maximum number is 50 usernames). Your video will not come up under any search results or your channel list. If you try to share it with someone who wasn’t invited, they will not be able to connect to it.
    • Unlisted: The video will not come up in search results or on your channel either. Only those who know the link can view it, and you can share the link with anyone, even those who do not have a YouTube account/username.
    • Public: Anyone can search for and view your video.
  • Ordering: Choose the order of how the videos are presented in your playlist. These options can include ordering them by date added, date published, popularity or a custom order decided by you.
  • Embedding: You can choose if you will allow other people to embed your video on their sites and pages. This means they can use your videos on their websites and make the videos more public.
  • You can also add rules to automatically add videos that meet specific requirements to your playlists, but this is more for YouTube pages that have a lot of content that are produced and regularly uploaded.

While customizing your channel, note that you are able to view the channel as yourself, new visitors and returning subscribers.  You should use this option to see how your channel will look for the various visitors as you make updates. Always keep your subscribers and video watching audience top of mind when making changes, update and even creating content.

And don’t forget to update the “About” section of your channel so that you provide important details about your company, specifically: why you created the channel, an email to contact you and your business website. A well-written Channel Description can convert visitors into subscribers and including keywords in your Channel Description can help your channel’s YouTube SEO.

Remember that your channel should be created with a purpose, not because someone on the management team wants to have a YouTube account. Take the time to set it up right, so that you can focus on the main reason for having a YouTube channel: Sharing the compelling videos that you create!

 


Annoying or Appealing? 5 Ways Brands Get Unfollowed on Social Media

 

www.suekoch.com

Too many businesses come out of the gate on social media with no plan of attack. It’s a completely normal response, as even many Fortune 500 companies admit to shooting from the hip without a strategy when it comes to social media. The downside of that, however, is that you’re more likely to fall into habits that turn your target audience away instead of drawing them in.

Investing in a content strategy is the best way to make sure you develop relevant ideas, creative content and a delivery style that inspires a loyal community.

A Sprout Social study found that 86% of social media users want to follow brands. But when they do, there are particular social media habits that cause them to turn and walk away.

Over-promotion: If someone you’d never met before knocked on your door and told you to go to their new store down the street, would you? What if they did it every day? Or three times a day? No. You’re more likely to slam the door in their face and hide. But if they introduced themselves & demonstrated interest in your needs, and shared a bit about their story, you may stop by for a visit in support of them. Then, you may build a rapport and start to appreciate their brand. Soon, you buy something. And you tell your friends and they buy something.  And the cycle continues. It is better to have patience in the process to inspire relationships, referrals and longevity, instead of forcing a first date where someone leaves when you go to the bathroom.

Slang & jargon: If you said something like “I soo can’t with adulting right now, I’m getting turnt tonight!” Would your friends look at you like…

Yeah, then don’t…

Trying too hard: Have you ever watched a newbie comedian struggle, and curled up in your chair with discomfort & embarrassment for the poor entertainer? It’s kind of like that. You may not walk out on the show, but on social media, we have an unfollow button.

Be yourself. Don’t try to hard to force humor or a style of communication you think is going to appeal to your audience. If it feels weird, it probably is. Do research first. Follow other pages that appeal to a similar audience as your business. Watch their interactions and participate. This will help you get a better feel for how to be yourself while communicating successfully to grow an authentic following.

Obvious automation: Do you post every single day at 10:18 am? Does every post follow the same format in copy, link, and image? Is there no personalization to your conversation? We see you robot! There’s nothing wrong with scheduling your uniquely crafted content in advance. But it’s critical to show up and mix in some ‘in the moment’ content and participate. The days of “set it and forget it” are long gone, and people will move on to a more real experience.

Ignoring conversation: This can be a result of automation, missed notifications, or simply lack of awareness. Make sure to respond to your community. People expect a response on social media. It doesn’t need to be immediate, there is still some forgiveness mindset out there but never ignore them.

Especially if someone asks you a question in a comment, sends a private message to your business, or presents you with feedback. It is critical to makes sure the original poster and the rest of the community see you acknowledge, demonstrate care and follow up. People may be a bit forgiving about how long it takes for you to respond, but they are not forgiving about being completely ignored.

What you should do:

Edutain them! People crave new ideas, they want to learn, to be entertained, and yes, to get to know the humans behind a brand. Make them laugh! (In an authentic way of course. See: “Trying too hard” above…)

They will buy from you, but first, they need to… !!cliche alert!! know, like and trust you. 

Make notification and message review a part of your daily process. This will help you keep in touch with your community and also learn more about what they want to see from you.

How do you make that happen? A solid strategy and action plan. Unless you are a master of improv, shooting from the hip will never support you in truly crafting a message that meets your audience in a consistent, cohesive manner, and allow you to build a strong community.

Get in touch with Sue via Facebook Messenger at @SueKochCatalyst or via the contact form. Thank you!