Why Behavior May be the Biggest Social Media Metric

Scott, my boss and Curator’s principal and founder, is always reminding me that when it comes to social media, I should focus on behaviors as much as or more than I focus on analytics. His point is that, while numbers and insights are important, what really drives social is basic human nature.

He’s right, and one of our clients posted something last week that illustrated that distinction beautifully:

If you can’t see, that’s 724 likes, 18 comments, and 3 shares, or around 1,160 engaged users—which is about 1,140% above average.

As soon as I saw this post, I emailed the mall’s Marketing Director, Jordan Youngs, to see if there was anything more to what was going on. Was the post sponsored? Were the people in the picture famous or something?

There was “No money put behind the post,” he said. “Really, the timing was just perfect. I was doing my morning mall walk after I grabbed some coffee, and I found myself walking behind them. Figured it would be great for social media, even though we weren't promoting anything in particular.”

Yes, and yes.

The post works so well because it’s impossible to look at it and not feel happy. That’s not a social media thing; that’s just basic human nature. You see it and you think, “Aw, that’s sweet. I hope that’s me and my wife when we’re older.”

And to Jordan’s point about not promoting anything, amen. The post itself doesn’t promote anything, but what it does do is humanize the mall. It showcases it as a shared space within the community. And even though it doesn’t feature a blatant call-to-action or information about a sale, the mall’s name and logo are easily visible. It’s a subtle advertisement that isn’t advertising anything other than, Columbia Center is a nice place to meet.

Like Scott’s always telling me: It’s not all about analytics. Sometimes it’s just about taking a step back and asking, “What will people like?”

Beat Your Competition with These 5 Social Media Insights

" Binoculars 4 " by  Chase Elliott Clark  is licensed under  CC BY 2.0

Anyone who manages social media day in and day out knows it can be a grind. There’s a lot of repetition, and a lot of waiting-to-see what works. Sometimes you want—or need—to mix things up.

There are a lot of places to draw inspiration from, but perhaps one of the most-effective (and least-expected) is your competition. Here are some of the ways you can skim through their social pages and bring back quality, original tactics for your own networks.

1. Find out what they’re not doing

Forget for the moment about what your competitors are doing. Where are they coming up short? Look for things like negative sentiment or constructive feedback; unanswered questions from users; and requests from the community. 

In short, listen to their fans and find out what they want. If you can fill some of those wants on your pages, you may have just discovered a new source of growth.

2. Find out where they’re not

Is your competition killing you on Facebook but nowhere to be found on Snapchat? Move the venue and own that space instead. Sometimes it can be that simple.

3. Take note of what’s working and what’s not

What posts get the most engagement? Which ones fail? What gets positive/negative feedback? What types of posts—photos, links, plain text—do people seem to prefer? You shouldn’t just copy your competition, but here’s a secret: Sometimes they haven’t noticed these things. It’s not stealing if you beat them to their own insights.

4. Track their schedule

Not every industry is global or has an around-the-clock audience. But if your competitors are clocking out at five and tuning out till the next day, for example, you could have a big chunk of time ripe for the taking.

5. Ask: If you were a fan of your competitor, what would you want?

Pretend you’re one of your competitors’ fans: What do you wish they would do with their social networks? Write that down, and use it to inspire some of the activity on your pages. A lot of times we get tripped up in data and analytics and forget that at the end of the day, social content has to be stuff that people actually like. Trust your intuition.

Questions? Have your own tips? Tweet us: @curatorpr

4 Social Media Tactics Your Brand Should Steal From Taylor Swift

Yep, this is a blog post about Taylor Swift, from a 31-year-old dude.

It sounds weird, but stick with me, because Taylor Swift consistently kills it on social media, and there’s a lot for a large brand to take away from it. In her most recent, highly publicized interaction, she helped advise a young fan on how to deal with a breakup (and curated a playlist for her).

This isn’t the first time she’s done something like this. In fact, she does it all the time. Here are the main things she does that you should copy:

1. Listen—i.e. listen

For starters, she had to know this person’s post existed. That’s not easy, because there is an ocean of posts about Taylor Swift on any given social network. 

I’m assuming she has at least a small team of social media managers that surface this type of stuff for her. That’s an extremely important point—she cares. She wants to know this stuff exists. She wants to interact with it. In other words, there’s literal listening, and there’s listening, as in, I-actually-care-about-what-you’re-talking-about.

Do both.

2. Define your voice and speak authentically

It’s a little easier for Taylor Swift to define a “voice” because she’s an actual person. It might be a bit harder for a brand, but approach it like this: If your brand were a physical human being, what would s/he look/talk/sound/be like? Develop that, and make sure when it comes time to speak up, you sound like an human being—not a bot or a press release.

3. Talk, don’t broadcast

This is a hugely overlooked point that ties back to No. 1. Really look at the interaction T-Swift had with this fan. She’s talking to a single person over the course of multiple comments. It’s not exactly the type of strategy you employ if you’re going for the most reach or engagement.

4. Recognize that it’s not all about you

Let's talk about what Taylor Swift didn't do: She didn't make this an opportunity to say, "Sorry about your breakup, Kasey. Here's a playlist, which includes a few tracks off my new album 1989, available in stores now!"

I can't help but think that's what a lot of brands would have done in a case like this. That's a huge misstep because by doing that, you're trading a one-time call-to-action for long-term dedication. This girl got a message from Taylor Swift (!), and to top it all off, it was a legit, sincere message that she won't ever forget. If she wasn't already, she's now a Taylor Swift fan for life.

T-Swift recognized that she didn't need any call-to-action or sales pitch. The fact that her message was coming from Taylor Swift herself was all the sell she needed. Think about that next time you converse with someone on social media. Do you need to say "buy my thing"? Or is your profile picture and brand name the thing?

4 Things Social Media Brand Managers Should Do Every Day

Here's something a lot of marketers and social media experts don't want you to know: Anyone can build up and manage a brand on social media. Here's something any of them will tell you: It's not easy.

Building and maintaining a successful brand takes work. A lot of it is repetitive and sometimes monotonous. It's a lot like working out to get in shape: You do the same thing forever, and sometimes you'll look back and feel like you've only achieved minimal results. The really great brand managers are the ones who keep going, even after that.

So what does it take to get started down that road? Here are four things we recommend for brand managers to focus on every day.

1. Publish content

When you're just starting a brand on any social network, this is the backbone of your activity. Don't let it take up your whole day, though. Take advantage of one of the many social-network scheduling tools available for cheap, or free. At Curator, we really love Buffer

2. Be social

One of the reasons we advocate using a social scheduling tool is because it frees you up to spend time interacting with other accounts. Most days, I'll schedule posts first thing in the morning, and then spend the rest of the day responding to mentions and doing keyword searches to see what else is out there that the brands I manage can help with.

3. Measure your progress

Even if you're starting from scratch, set time-bound goals for the accounts you're running—they don't even have to be realistic or well-thought-out—and measure your progress against them every day. The process of doing that will force you to think about what you're actually on these networks for. For example: If you're falling short of your goal, why? You figuring that out, every day, will make you a better brand manager.

4. Do your homework

A.k.a. read. If you don't have a lot of time in your day, make a goal to read at least two things: One related to your brand's industry or area of focus, and one related to social media. Don't worry if something you read turns out to be useless. By the end of a work week, you'll have ingested 10 articles; one or two are bound to be useful.

Bonus: How to get all this done in less than an hour each day

Here's a sample schedule you can use to knock all this out quickly—we know how busy it is managing a brand.

  • 15 minutes: Find content and schedule it to post
  • 20 minutes (intermittent throughout the day): Interact with other accounts
  • 10 minutes: Measure your progress
  • 10 minutes: Read two posts related to your industry and social media

TOTAL: 55 minutes (These will fluctuate, and you'll find on some days you don't even need that much time.)

Now go out there and do work.

Privacy is the Newest Social Media Trend: Here Are 6 Things Brands Can Do to Respond

If the last decade-or-so of social media was about building a “personal brand” or “online presence,” the next 10 years will be about destroying it.

The latest wave of popular social networks all have one common thread: A focus on privacy. Snapchat ties you to a username and phone number, but your messages self-destruct. Yik Yak ties you to a location but keeps your messages anonymous.

In a way, it’s refreshing, if a little backward. People are embracing a more personalized social media experience by broadcasting less or removing the stresses associated with putting a byline on published material.

It can also be confounding and frustrating if you’re a brand trying to use social media to expand your business. 

It doesn’t have to be, though. We’ve put together six suggestions for how brands can stay relevant on social networks, even as they see their tens of thousands of Facebook followers becoming increasingly unreachable and irrelevant.

1. Be Human

Social media is still what it always was: A place for people to talk to each other. Be a person—not a brand—and you’ll be OK.

2. Be fast

One of the hardest parts of being a brand on social media is the time it takes to get the approval to try new things. Here’s a crazy thought: Just try them. 

I’m not saying you should do anything that would get you fired, but if you see an opportunity to make things happen, go for it. What’s the worst that could happen—success? nothing? At worst, you’ll end up in the same place you’re at.

This is the old “fail fast, and fail often” saying. It’s still true.

3. Make your content universally shareable

Think about the content you create: How can you make it work on multiple social networks? Whatever it is, make it as easy as possible for people to share it wherever they want to share it. Don’t try to make people share it in one or two specific places.

Oh, and once you’ve done that—pay attention! Where are people sharing? It may not be the same place where you’re spending all your time.

4. Listen, and prepare to be helpful

This is just good advice in general. Even if you’re using a network that only gets a few interactions per week, those could be important. Maybe they were from influential people. Maybe they were from customers asking for help. Maybe they were from people who want to buy your product. 

The value of social interactions is always dependent on what you get out of them. I’ll take one social interaction that consists of, “Where do I buy your product?” versus a thousand ‘likes,' or ‘favorites,' or whatever.

5. Create your own stats to track toward your goals

This relates strongly to Point No. 4. Don’t worry about the stats that social networks just give you. And don’t worry if they don’t give you any at all. Figure out what your goals are, and focus on what you need to do on social media to achieve those goals. Track those stats. 

Again, what’s a ‘like' worth compared to someone who shops in your store and says, “Oh, I heard about you guys on Snapchat.”

6. Incentivize people to interact

For that situation I just described to be likely to happen, you need to give people a reason to mention you. Set up something easy, like “mention our Snapchat account the next time you shop with us and receive 10% off!” And then track that. Know when you started your (in this example) Snapchat account, and what kind of activity happened in response to your ask.

Less Is More

Each year, some brands make the mistake of going too far in their attempts to memorialize the tragedy of 9/11.

While brands often attempt to inject themselves into social chatter, times of tragedy generally shouldn’t be fodder for conversation on branded social channels.

Even the most well intended posts and Tweets can come off as insensitive, and even crass. With this in mind, the general rule is that a moment of silence on social media can say so much more than a Tweet that can be easily misinterpreted.

However, if your brand plans to pay tribute next year, take some time to review this year’s list of #brandfails named by AdWeek and learn how to avoid potential backlash.

1.    Do not use the tragedy as an opportunity to push your product. – There is no room for sales or promotions in connection with this infamous date, period. It’s just poor taste.

2.    Avoid using a cutesy or lighthearted tone. –Such a serious historic event shouldn’t be made light of.

3.    Do not use branded logos in images. – This can come off as opportunistic and takes away from the overall sentiment of the message.

What are your thoughts? Let us know what you’re thinking @CuratorPR.

 

 

Don't Overcomplicate Social Media

We talk a lot on this blog about how to optimize your social media efforts to maximize whatever goal you’re reaching for. That stuff’s important if you’re going to be successful.

It can also trip you up. People forget what social media is: a conversation. It’s not Excel sheets, and numbers, and trends, and optimizations. It’s you, talking to people, talking to other people.

Don’t overcomplicate it.

You want your social presence to look good, sure. But you don’t want to look like you spend all your time trying to make your social presence look good. (It’s like getting dressed in the morning.)

People should be pulled in by all the great stuff you do; they shouldn’t get turned off by posts that have clearly been vetted 14 times and rewritten to be just right. Stuff that’s created to appeal to everyone will hardly interest anyone.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Be a person (even if you’re a brand).
  2. Be useful.
  3. Be what you’d want to see if you were on the other side of the glass.

Then worry about the numbers.

If you were a BuzzFeed headline

photo
photo

Admittedly, a lot of us are big BuzzFeed readers. It's hard not to peruse the ridiculous lists or pass up a fun quiz to break up the day, and last week was no exception when we stumbled upon What Would The BuzzFeed Post About You Be Called?

We couldn't help ourselves and had everyone in the office take it. Here's what the team got.

Brooke: The Emotional Ode to Brooke Andersen That Will Make You Die Of Cute

Chelsey: The 53 Most Badass Pictures Of Chelsey Allodi That Will Make You Smile

Paul: 86 Magical Pictures That Prove Paul Balcerak Is Douchey

Ann Marie: 43 Extraordinarily Witty Things You Didn't Know About Ann Marie That Will Make You a Worse Person

Scott: 13 Reasons Scott Battishill Won't Eat At A Pot Luck -- And You Won't Believe Number 9

Colin: 8 Cringe-Worthy Things You Didn't Know About Colin Bishop that Will Make You Feel Boring In Comparison

Maggie: 97 Unusually Anxious Photos of Maggie Samson That Will Make You Feel Young At Heart

Jennifer: 92 Amusing Things You Didn't Know About Jennifer Carroll That Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable

Noelle: The 11 Most Adorable Facts About Noelle Ibrahim That Are Better Than A College Education

Shawn (ok, we might have done his for him): 25 Hello Kitty Crafts Pinned by Shawn Herron that Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable

What's your BuzzFeed headline? Tweet us @CuratorPR

The Most Social-Savvy Emmy Awards Ever?

Emmys 2014
Emmys 2014

Last night marked the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and whether or not you laughed at Seth Meyers’ jokes, got teary-eyed during Billy Crystal’s tribute to Robin Williams (R.I.P. Robin) or chuckled at Gwen Stefani’s mispronunciation of the Colbert Report (Colberg anyone?), the real highlight of the show was following along on social media.

Big-time award shows like the Oscars and Emmys have become less conservative and more conversational in recent years, and this year’s Emmys was no exception. While the awards show didn’t have a big social media moment like the famous Oscar selfie with Ellen DeGeneres, the Emmys did step up its social media game with activations like the following:

Exclusive content: Leading up to the Emmys, fans were treated to rehearsal footage and backstage sneak peaks of preparation for the show, using the @LateNightSeth social handles.

Vine 360 Station: The Today Show’s Vine 360 cam gave celebs a chance to take a spin and show off their red carpet looks. The clips were posted on the show’s social media accounts. Check it out here.

Facebook Selfie Station: Facebook and NBC partnered to give famous faces the opportunity to stop by the station and capture a quick selfie while making their way down the red carpet. You can check out their selfies on the NBC Facebook page.

Facebook Mentions Box: You may have seen “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush lugging around the Facebook Mentions Box, a device allowing celebrities to answer questions from fans. Stars shook the box like a Magic 8-Ball and answered a random question using the device's camera. Check out this example from Jason Biggs on the “Access Hollywood” Facebook page.

Twitter zipline camera: Twitter used the Emmys to debut a Twitter-branded zipline camera featuring red carpet and pre-show footage, used by “Access Hollywood” and posted on NBC’s official Vine and Twitter pages, giving fans a bird’s-eye view of glammed up stars.

Official Twitter correspondent: Twitter also brought on comedian Retta from “Parks and Recreation” to share snippets from the evening in 140 characters or less. You can check out her hilarious insights here and here.

Twitter GIFbooth: Twitter also created a GIFbooth to capture backstage moments and celeb reactions to the awards.

The increased incorporation of social media into awards shows like the Emmys has allowed fans more access than ever before to one of Hollywood’s biggest nights, from the rush of the red carpet to backstage musings. At any point in the evening, viewers had a chance to actively engage with the show in real-time, which is what social media is all about, right?

By the way, in case you missed the Emmys, here’s a short list of some of my favorite moments from the show:

Were there other buzz-worthy moments at the Emmys or on social media? Tweet us: @CuratorPR!

Facebook’s Click Bait Changes Explained, For Your Page And Website

Bait and switch
Bait and switch

Another week, another Facebook update. This week, Facebook has declared war on click bait by announcing that it will be de-emphasized in the news feed algorithm, which determines what types of content users see.

This latest update came with two major changes, and to make sure your page’s content doesn’t get drowned out, you’re going to want to pay attention to both of them.

Change No. 1: Click-Bait Is Discouraged

The definition of “click-bait” is a little debatable, but generally you’ll know it when you see it, and it refers to anything that hides what you really want to see in favor of a teaser-ish headline. Sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy have used this method of headline writing to drive a lot of traffic in recent years. Their success was so great, it inspired The Onion to launch a site dedicated to mocking them.

_4__Upworthy
_4__Upworthy

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to avoid posting click bait: Don’t post it. If you’re having difficulty figuring out if your content qualifies as click bait, ask whether it’s deliberately withholding information in the headline in the hopes of generating a click. If so, it’s click bait.

The other thing you'll want to focus on—and we say this so often anyway—is publishing quality content. Here's Facebook on how it will determine that (emphasis mine):

"One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. [...]

"Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them."

In other words, make sure spend time reading your content, but also make sure they come back to talk about it on Facebook.

Change No. 2: Greater Emphasis on Links-As-Links

This one’s a little confusing if you’re not familiar with Facebook’s intricacies. No worries, because we’ve got screengrabs below.

Basically, there’s more than one way to post a link on Facebook, and Facebook is now saying that a link posted as a link will be given greater emphasis than links posted as status updates or photos. Here’s an example of each:

Status Update (Don’t Use This)

statusupdatelink
statusupdatelink

Photo (Don’t Use This)

photolinkpost
photolinkpost

Link (This One’s OK!)

linklinkpost
linklinkpost

Lastly: 2 Things To Pay Attention To Because Of Change No. 2

Now that you’re all ready to post links as links, you’ll want to take a look at two things on your website or blog to make sure your links are optimized.

1. Update your title tags. When Facebook pulls in a link, it uses the title tag from your web pages to title the links. Look above. See the part that says “The Curator News Feed: August 22, 2014”? That’s the title of the page we’re linking to. We wouldn’t want that to say, for instance, “Curator: A PR Agency,” or anything.

2. Make sure your images are Facebook-optimized. Link-preview images, like the Mo’ne Davis one above, can come out looking weird if you haven’t sized them right. Make sure you have at least one image on your page that is 1.91 times as wide as it is high (actual pixels don’t matter)—that’s the golden ratio.

Have any questions? Feel free to find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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"Bait and Switch" by Rian Castillo is licensed under CC BY 2.0