Archive for the ‘Guides’ Category
It may only be September, but the holidays are quickly approaching (the first holiday ad of the season has already aired!). If you work in retail, e-commerce, travel or any of the myriad industries that get busy this time of year, it’s time to be thinking about your fall and holiday social media campaigns.
In particular, understanding who your fans and customers are – and establishing specific strategies for communicating with them through social media – can help you maximize the results of these campaigns. Who are you talking to on social channels? How can you find out who they are? And how you can more effectively reach and help them? Here are a few steps to help guide the way.
1. Plan before you begin.
Plan different messages to reach out to your audience at different points in the purchase cycle: You want to get their attention in order to attract them to buy, then keep it afterward so they aren’t just a customer, but poised to become an advocate.
How do I this? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes: when was a time a company communicated with you in a way that made you a repeat customer? What made you recommend them to someone else? Use that perspective to build your communication. Remember that communication is a two-way thing; social media in particular shouldn’t be used as a megaphone from which to shout your marketing messages. You’ll do much better by talking, listening, and responding. (More on the how for that in the next section.)
2. Anticipate needs.
What can you do for your customers? What has worked in the past? If you haven’t already taken a comprehensive look at what was successful and was not successful in past campaigns and planned based on both of those factors, you need to do that now.
How do I do this? There are several options for the how: If you have the data somewhere you can get to it and the time to go through it yourself, do so. If you don’t have the data, consider something like our historical reports to get it. Send a survey to targeted groups. Ask them on your social networks. Listen to what customers and potential customers are already saying: set up alerts for key terms associated with your brand and products. Try a combination of Google Alerts, Mention, or columns in something like TweetDeck (see more free tool suggestions from Social Media Examiner) and running something like a TweetReach snapshot report to capture a portion of the conversation. Listen to what it is that your customers want from you.
3. Tailor your message.
Tailor your message for each platform you’re on. Blasting out the exact same message to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr followed by a longer version on your blog is just going to cause potential customers to tune you out. Pull out a different, salient tidbit to feature in each place.
How do I do this? Think about what approach works best in each place too: short, pithy messages do well on Twitter, with links to more information. Images perform well on Tumblr and Pinterest; images and excerpts do well on Facebook. Link everything back to your blog or website, where you should have a landing page with details about your campaign. Stagger your messages (Try out scheduling on platforms like TweetDeck, learn how to schedule posts on Facebook, or look into a tool like Buffer). If you haven’t already looked at which times of day produce the best results, experiment during this campaign and track it all so you can plan it better next time.
You also want to tailor how you’re talking to customers and potential customers at each point in the purchase cycle. As you search for and find brand mentions- as discussed in the previous section- pay attention to what kind they are. Is someone asking for a recommendation in a certain area and listing out possibilities, one of which is you? Did someone else recommend you to someone who asked for a recommendation? Don’t respond to every mention of your brand if it’s high volume, but do thank people who have recommended you, and answer questions from potential or new customers asking about things like how your product works. If they express a preference for another brand, don’t try to prove that yours is better. Wish them luck with their purchase. If you always err on the side of polite and respectful, your brand will become known for it and could be recommended in the future because of it.
And those people recommending you? Those are your brand advocates. Another reason to say thank you– and to pay attention to what space they’re influential in. Follow them if you don’t already. Engage in conversations where it’s appropriate. Don’t stalk them; engage them.
4. Provide support.
Be ready to take questions- plan answers and make sure staff knows features upside down and backwards- and have a policy in place about how soon you’ll respond to customer queries. Research shows that 42% of customers who have reached out to a company about a problem on social media expect a response within an hour. This doesn’t change much for nights and weekends either.
How do I do this? The research doesn’t qualify if this is for big brand companies, or holds the same for smaller folks who have fewer resources and staff, but the reality of it remains the same: if you really want your campaign to go off well, you’ve got to put in the work and time. If you’re small and taking care of support yourself, draw boundaries (you’ll take time for dinner at night, the phone goes off while you’re asleep etc) but for the rest of the day the technology exists to be alerted when someone contacts you and for you to respond promptly. If you commit to that level of support during your campaign, you might just do well enough to hire someone else to help you with it the next time around.
How do I respond? If you don’t already, have an FAQ page set up that you can direct common queries to. If you do have one, take some time to go over it and revise it if necessary. If it’s campaign-specific, direct them to the landing page for it. Have a support email address ready to give out when lengthy or difficult queries pop up on social media.
More support. Follow-up. Engage. You’ve established that you’re there for your customers with a high level of support, so don’t drop the ball on that now. In addition to responding to any problems customers have down the line from their purchase, maintain a social presence that will engage them.
How do I do this? There are many different ways to accomplish these things: Follow up with anyone who’s had a problem to be sure they’re still happy; they’ll be impressed that you did. It’s as simple as sending a quick tweet their way. Reward customer loyalty; if you know someone made their 5th or 10th purchase during your campaign, send them a little thank-you gift. One Kings Lane sends customers Thank You stationery with their first purchase, as a way of saying thank you for being a customer and letting the customer send out thank yous of their own. Birchbox sends customers who are with them for a year a small branded gift in the mail, such as a leather keychain. Do whatever makes sense for your brand. Just a thank you message alone can mean a lot if done in sincerity. This kind of behavior turns customers into brand advocates.
As for ongoing customer engagement, ask yourself this when you’re planning content: is it interesting? Does it address a question or problem customers have; is it useful? Is it entertaining? If your content doesn’t fit one or more of these categories, consider revising it. If you’re bored while you’re working on it, nobody is going to want to read it– let alone share it and champion you to their network. (This is similar to the content strategy Chris Penn of SHIFT discussed in our TakeFive with him.)
And if someone is sharing your content? Say thank you. Is someone publicly thanking you for excellent customer service? Say thank you again. Favorite the tweet. Simply paying attention to what customers are saying and letting them know that you appreciate it can mean a lot, and makes a difference in having you come to mind before a competitor when they’re asked to recommend a company.
A Twitter Quick Tip.
We’ve talked before about why brands should favorite tweets, but here’s another way to use that little gold star feature on Twitter: whenever you’ve got a second, go check out the favorites from an account you enjoy following that you find really useful. Chances are they’ve favorited some articles and resources they’ve meant to go back to later.
This also gives you a way to find other accounts to follow; just click through on the avatars of insightful tweets you run across (maybe in a new tab so you don’t lose your place if you’re finding a lot of good tweets in someone’s favorites). This is a great trick for building up the most useful Twitter stream possible, no matter your industry or topic of choice.
A quick Twitter Tip that serves as a reminder to periodically check on and purge which apps you’ve authorized on Twitter, and make any necessary changes.
By selecting Apps on the menu on the lefthand side of your screen, you’ll see a list of all the apps you’ve authorized to have some degree of access to your Twitter account. Check to see if there are any that look suspicious, or that you’d just like to revoke access to because you no longer use it. You can also check on the level of access any apps have- read only, read and write, etc- and change it if necessary, by revoking access and reinstating it, being careful in the level of access you allow (most apps allow you to check boxes saying they can or cannot post on your behalf, etc).
You might want to set a calendar reminder to periodically check on which apps have been authorized and do a little cleaning.
Like this tip? Check out the rest we’ve shared. Or share your own in the comments below.
You’ve planned a Twitter campaign, and you’ve launched it. Now you’re monitoring the conversation. People are using the hashtag! But wait, they are not using it to talk about what you were hoping they would; they have run wild and taken your hashtag with them! We’ve seen it happen before.
So what can you do? Abandoning Twitter isn’t really an option.
Obviously it’s a social media best practice to have an emergency policy in place, but every situation is unique and entirely impossible to predict. So take a deep breath, and bookmark these tips for how to deal with this kind of situation on the Twitter battlegrounds:
1. Monitor the ongoing incident: ideally you will already have this set up to track how your campaign is doing, but it’s possible users will have altered your hashtag into something else that you should also be tracking. Check out this post we wrote on Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis.
2. To respond, or not to respond? This is tricky. If you have a corporate policy in place you’re expected to follow, obviously it’s in your best interest to do that. Call in everyone in your company who can help you, but start thinking about and answering these questions on your own:
- Will responding do any good? There is a big difference between someone reaching out with a genuine complaint that you’re able to help with, and people en masse trolling your account. In the first case you obviously want to respond and make it right as quickly as possible. In the second case it might be better not to respond at all. Individually replying to every hashtag joke skewering and mocking your campaign might only serve to keep the incident fresh in the eyes of the public and tech news. Sometimes silence is the best policy to let it blow over quickly. Other times approaching the situation with a good sense of humor can win over some (but never all) of the haters.
- Should we consider a Twitter sabbatical? It might be best to lay low for several days to a week or so.
- Should we apologize? This depends on the context of the highjacking of your hashtag: are people just trying to be funny, or are they using it as an opportunity to point out a practice about your company that they don’t like? Address it accordingly.
3. Learn from it: If you’ve set everything up to monitor it beforehand, plus made the necessary adjustments once the incident took off, you should have everything you need to learn from the situation. Did a bad sentiment toward your brand already exist that your PR team should have been aware of? Was it just a complete fluke? Use the experience to craft a more in-depth social media crisis policy.
Overall? Don’t panic too much. It will be yesterday’s news soon enough, and chances are a little controversy won’t be enough to shake your most loyal brand advocates.
Since our first post on How to use advanced Twitter search queries is one of our most popular posts, we thought we’d break down some more advanced queries we didn’t cover in that writeup. Here are a few more of our favorite advanced Twitter search queries. And let us know if you have a question you don’t see answered here!
Specific phrase or term
Much like on Google, when you want to return results on an exact phrase- especially something that has a common word or popular slang expression in it that might return a lot of noise otherwise- be sure to put it in quotes.
“term1 term2” – search for tweets containing the phrase “term1 term2” (e.g. “aging hippies”)
This way you’ll only get back tweets talking specifically about aging hippies, with those words in that exact order. Without the quotes, you might get results about hippies aging wine or something else irrelevant to what you’re actually looking for.
Tweets containing links
This search filter comes in handy if you’re looking for people who are sharing articles they’ve found or are talking about a specific URL – say an article in the news, or a blog post you’ve recently put out that’s getting a lot of chatter. It’s also a great way to track link shares for a Twitter contest.
filter:links – search only for tweets containing links (e.g. CNN filter:links)
You can add this filter to any search terms to return only tweets that include those terms and a URL.
Tweets in a particular language
Let’s say you’ve run a free TweetReach report with your test query to see what kind of results you’re getting (something we absolutely recommend doing so you can tweak what you need to) and it’s returned a lot of tweets that aren’t in a language that you speak. Or let’s say you want information on a specific event or campaign, like Dia de los Muertos from those who speak Spanish. Use:
lang:NN – to search for only tweets in a particular language (e.g. Nutella lang:en for only English tweets about Nutella)
“dia de los muertes” lang:es – Find tweets in spanish about “dia de los muertes”
When added to a search query, the language filter will narrow your results to tweets in that language. Not all languages are supported on Twitter, so check this list to see which are and to get more information about languages on Twitter in general.
These are just a few we didn’t go over in the first post, so here’s the full list of advanced Twitter search operators if you’re interested in more. And we’ll repeat our advice from last time– Twitter handles fairly simple queries really well, but tends to break with longer and more complex queries. We recommend that you only add in a few advanced operators per query and try to limit the total number of keywords and characters in a search query. Keep it under 5-8 words and 60 characters and you should be fine.
Again, if you ever have any questions about search queries and how to get exactly the data you need from Twitter, just ask us! We’re big Twitter search nerds and can help you figure out even the trickiest search queries.
A Twitter Quick Tip.
Setting up Twitter lists can seem like an imposing task, but they’re a great tool to organize a range of things: resources for your industry, thought leaders to learn from, customers to keep track of, industry verticals, comedians for when you need a break– whatever you can dream up.
If you’re just getting started, you might want to check out other users’s public lists. You can subscribe to these (and they’ll show up at the bottom of your lists so other people will know which lists you’re subscribed to) and get an idea of what works for you on a list and what doesn’t. Best of all? You don’t have to be following someone to put them in a list. A lot of thought leaders, for example, would be people who tweet at high volumes and could flood your feed. Keep them to a list and you can learn from them in a way that isn’t overwhelming, then follow the ones who provide the most value to you. (It’s also a great way to keep track of competitors; and yes, you can make a list private, which you might want to do with that one.)
Twitter’s Twitter Lists: it’s getting a little meta in here.
How do you use Twitter lists?
A Twitter Quick Tip.
Favoriting tweets doesn’t just have to be something you do on your personal account when you see something funny or interesting that you want to check out later. From a brand account, favoriting can be a good way to say thank you to customers who say nice things to you.
Instead of retweeting a compliment (which can be seen as self-promotional, particularly if you get a lot of compliments and retweet them all) take a moment to thank the person who complimented you, and favorite the tweet. It’s a nice, meaningful gesture to the customer that lets them know there’s a person behind the account who’s touched they took the time out of their day to reach out and say something nice.
We’re only bragging as an example.
Bonus? Favorited tweets are public, so anyone can go to your profile and see what you’ve favorited. It gives a pretty good impression of what you’re all about, and in this case a page with compliments in it might persuade an undecided potential customer that they should try you out.
Twitter contests can be a great way to engage with fans and followers of your brand, and hopefully also attract new ones. You won’t know how successful you were, however, unless you take some steps to set things up before you kick things off. (If that’s not you and you’re here hoping for a way to capture data for a contest that has already ended more than a week ago, see the note at the bottom.)
Plan how you’re going to capture your data.
You don’t want to be scrambling to collect data after your contest has ended. You don’t need to set up a TweetReach Pro account with a Tracker if that’s out of your budget. Do keep in mind that free snapshot reports only collect a maximum of 50 tweets from the past few days of when you run it; if you try to run one on a contest a week after it has ended, you aren’t going to get the data you’re after. The $20 full report will bring back up to 1500 tweets and goes back up to a week.
If you know this ahead of time, you can plan to grab snapshots of your contest hashtag at regular intervals so you don’t miss any data. (You might still want to skim the next section for contest planning tips.)
Already have a Pro account or going to get one? Then all of your work can be done ahead of time, and the Tracker for your contest will collect all the data you ask it to (within its limits, of course) until you turn it off and analyze it. We’ve got tips and examples below.
Plan what you’re going to track.
Of course you have an official contest hashtag or two that you’ll be tracking, but make sure you plan for any misspellings or misinterpretations of your hashtag people could use while they participate. You’ll also want to track just the words of your main hashtag, in case someone leaves off the “#” sign accidentally.
For example, a Canadian police department recently ran a Twitter contest called 8 Days of SWAG (Students Working Against Gangs) and used a TweetReach Tracker to track all of the following:
in addition to the phrase ‘swag8days’
This let them capture the maximum number of people participating in the contest, which was incidentally also a way to raise awareness of issues associated with gangs that teens in the area high schools might have to deal with. The contest was open only to teens from those area high schools, helping ensure their target audience was more effectively reached. Prizes leading up to an iPad mini were given away, to incentivize teens to participate.
The top hashtag results indicate that teens were both listening and participating:
When you’re planning your Twitter contest, think about who your target audience is and what kind of prizes they might be most interested in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something fancy and expensive to get people involved, if you’re able to reach those who would be most interested in what you have to offer as a brand of entity in the first place.
Also, try to keep your hashtag as short as possible while still being relevant. A really long hashtag like #StudentsWorkingAgainstGangs leaves a lot less space for participants to tweet in. Depending on the nature of your contest- do they have to answer a question, or just tweet the hashtag to enter?- it could affect participation.
It’s best to keep the contest as simple as possible with Twitter’s concise character limit, and point participants to details at your website (you don’t have to build one specifically for the contest, but you should at least have a place on your site or blog that announces it in order to help people find out about it, promote it, and participate correctly). The Tracker will also show you the top URLs that were linked in tweets containing the hashtags and phrases that you’re tracking:
In this case, it paid off for the police department to have a website dedicated exclusively to the contest, as versions of it were the first two most shared URLs, followed by news stories about the contest and the police department’s attempt to raise awareness around key gang-related issues.
Finally, pay attention to the Top Contributors column in your Tracker– these people either participated the most or gave you the biggest boost in exposure. Keep in touch with them in the future, and if you have the means, consider rewarding them as well. It could be as simple as a handwritten thank you note with a little something else that makes sense: a coupon code for a discount, a piece of functional company swag. Think about what you would like to receive.
One Last Note.
Did you find us after your contest already ran? Our historical analytics can capture everything for you. Pricing is based on the volume of tweets and the time period your contest ran, and starts at $49 for a limited time. Talk to us at the link above to get a quote.
The trends feature isn’t anything new on Twitter, but it has an application secondary to just keeping up with trends in your area:
Where else do you market? Most of us today are working in a global market, so it could pay off to pay attention to what is trending in different areas of the world that you’re active in. It could save you from a faux pas of posting something disruptive and commercial during a local crisis, or help you come up with content you can relate to timely news or pop culture items happening in an area. Anything that helps you learn about your customers and relate to them is a good thing.
Twitter is always experimenting with new features that might not be available to everyone yet, but this one in particular started almost a year ago so you might want to check and see if you can test it out:
Under “Settings” you can check a box to have Twitter tailor suggestions for you- accounts to follow, for example- based on the websites you visit. So if you’re big into visiting beauty sites, it might suggest brands, makeup artists or beauty magazines that other Twitter users like you follow. If you check out a lot of marketing blogs, it will recommend people in that industry. It’s a great tool for account discovery– which ideally leads to connection, collaboration and learning with and from these other accounts.
If you want to learn more about this feature, you can check out this blog post from Twitter talking about it and a few other experiments they rolled out last year.