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A Content Editor’s Tools: Social Media and Smart Phones

Beyond • June 29, 2012

I don’t go anywhere without my iPhone. It’s that simple. For work and play, having a smart phone is almost as essential as breathing. As the Content Editor for Omnibeat, a thriving Social Media Marketing company, I have to constantly stay connected to the emerging stories and trends, my email inbox and the various social media sites. In this so-called Post-PC world, the workplace doesn’t necessarily end at the work place. Whether it is my handy smart phone or tablet, I have to be able to reach the World Wide Web in one way, shape or form. Any company that embraces the technological wave of the present must be aware that engaging in social media marketing doesn’t end after you clock out. According to a study conducted by Buddy Media this past week, Twitter engagement is at its peak during the weekends. However, most large companies are not reaching their potential engagement because they fail to recognize this trend. Companies have a variety of methods to overcome the weekend slump. They can either use buffer apps to schedule posts or post themselves. Although I do use buffer apps to schedule several posts throughout the week, I like to tweet on the go. This is the only way to truly sound genuine. Alongside my trusty iPhone (any smart phone will do. I am just particularly an Apple fanboy), social media, especially Twitter, is essential to my life. Twitter is hands down the most important and useful social media tool at our disposal. It allows me and any user to interact and engage with other people instantaneously. Over the last few months, coinciding with my growing addiction for the micro-blogging site, I have been able to contact numerous experts within my field via Twitter. Just recently, I was able to connect with the Founder of Print Friendly, Taylor Norrish, by simply tweeting to him. Over a small span of several tweets and direct messages, I was able to set up an interview. Technology is vital in every part of our lives whether we like it or not. I am just glad that I have great tools like a smart phone and Twitter to guide me along the way. Benchmark FTW Don\'t miss your chance to win a Kindle Fire. Each comment, Tweet and ReTweet of a Benchmark FTW post gives you a shot at winning. Check out the full details on the Benchmark FTW series and contest.


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How to Use Facebook to Develop Your Story

Beyond • June 1, 2012

The new features presented by Facebook’s switch to Timeline has made it easier to develop your online story. Instead of simply having a profile and fan page that details basic information, users are now endowed with the possibilities of presenting their entire life (whether you think that is a good thing is entirely up to you). The techs at Facebook understood a key idea that is growing within the ever changing computer age: People vie for significance. In the past, only the rich, famous and press were allowed to truly speak. The technology age has given the everyday person the power of speech and a place to vent their opinions. If you have a computer, then you have a voice. This is why outlets such as blogging and video blogging have been met with such success. People want to be able to share their stories. Humanize Your Brand For a business, using Facebook to develop a story is a very powerful tool. By creating a genuine backstory with interesting facts, a brand is humanized. Customers want to feel like they are dealing with real people, not a company. How many times have you sat battling with automated messages yelling out random numbers and options when all you wanted to do was speak to a representative? A real, live person will always be better than a robot. Haven’t we learned anything from watching Terminator? Using Milestones to Tell Your Story There are two main features that contribute to the development of a personalized story: Milestones and the Cover Photo. Milestones are key moments that are highlighted on your page. Every page should spend some time fully developing their story. If your business has been around for a decade or two, there should be plenty of history to recollect. A good friend of our company owns a Hapkido Dojo and has recently started using Milestones to fill in history. Hapkido, of course, is a form of Korean Martial Arts that is mainly used for self-defense. Once he started adding old photos and creating back stories, his once dead Facebook page started to come to life. He shared photos of his old master, images of when the dojo first opened, his first Hapkido lessons and so on. With those minor additions, his Fan page became enriched with history, tradition and, above all else, a story. Once his Fan page looked less like a ghost town and more like a busy metropolis, people started commenting, sharing and liking his posts. One large company that uses their milestones in an interesting and effective way is Coca-Cola. They have milestones that include historic American events. Thus, they are infusing their brand with America itself. Genius. Your Cover Photo Is Their First Impression Since the Cover Photo takes up such a large amount of real estate on your Fan Page, it should be used wisely. This is simple: Pick something fun and creative. Think breathtaking and eye catchy. You know how you can tell someone’s personality by the type of clothing they wear? This is the same mentality. The type of art work or image you choose will truly define your company. Facebook fans mostly use the Newsfeed for all of their posting needs. However, from time to time they will visit your site. Make sure that you make a good first impression. Facebook and social media are no longer about quick one minute profiles that exhibit simple information. People want to know more. They want to see the person behind the brand.


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How to Use Social Media for Customer Service

Beyond • April 23, 2012

How are you dealing with disgruntled customers? Are you using your social media as a means for customer service? No matter what kind of business you own or how high you value customer service, there will always be at least one disgruntled, unhappy customer. Whether a fault of your own or a complete misunderstanding beyond your control, that customer will go home and tell everyone they know. In the past, this was unfortunate and unwanted, but it wasn’t too problematic for a business’s image. Although word of mouth is a very strong and effective means of delivering a harsh message, it is quite limited by your surroundings and may lose traction somewhere. The emergence of social media has given people power. Like an ideal democracy, everyone is a critic and everyone has a voice. With the advent of social media, that same disgruntled customer may go on Facebook and post a status update blasting your business, tweet rage-filled 140 character digressions or, worse, go on Yelp! and write a review. Instead of a few people getting an earful, you now have hundreds of people seeing and hearing that your business was terrible. In a world where, as social media expert and coach, Frank J. Kenny puts it, “95% of people are imitators and 5% are initiators,” those words and ramblings may carry some weight. For a more established business that has years of credibility, backing and positive social proof, this may not be a problem. However, new businesses may crash and burn with every negative comment. Thus, it is vital for companies to stomp on that lit match before the whole forest goes up in flames. Yelp! is an amazing place for a business. Most of my food decisions come from analyzing reviews. A store that has 3 stars will always lose to a 4 star. It’s like putting a random stranger in a dunk contest against Michael Jordan. No contest. Yelp! It Yelp! is becoming one of those nonsense words that, like Google, is quite versatile with meaning and function. You can tell something has been infused into our culture when its name also refers to the action. I am Yelping it right now. Go Yelp! some reviews. If you haven’t done so already, make sure that you claim your business on Yelp! and other various sites. Yelp! and sites like it are consumer-generated. All this requires is for you to sign up for a business account and then go through various verification processes that include using an automated system. Once you do this, you will be able to fill in the store hours, bio and photos. There is nothing you can do to avoid or remove a hateful comment unless it’s spam. No matter how false or outrageous the review is, avoid arguing with the customer. Businesses will always lose that battle. It is important to remember that people often tend to write reviews in a fever—either they are in love or full of rage, so it’s understandable to see reviews on opposite spectrums. Yelp! allows users to privately message one another. If you do see a negative comment, try to reach out to that user and mend the problem. Maybe there is something you can still do to salvage the relationship. Offer some deals, promotions or coupons to win them back. Bridges don’t have to be burned and comments can be edited by the user. Also remember that Yelp! is not only for restaurants. Any kind of business can be reviewed and claimed on Yelp! Message Me on Facebook Social media offers businesses and users a wide array of platforms to communicate and interact. With the change to Facebook Timeline, users can now directly message fan pages. This changes how people deal with customer service. Make sure that you have this feature toggled on in your page settings. It is very useful. With any kind of messaging, try to be very prompt with your replies. Waiting longer than a day to get back to a customer may not be the best decision. Try to take a few minutes at the end or the beginning of every day to check your social media. The key to satisfying customers is a courteous and timely reply. Use your time on Facebook to thank people, rewards others and to send out promotions. There are many ways to show your appreciation. Be creative! Encourage More Reviews There are plenty of opportunities for more good reviews and Facebook likes. When you see that customers are happy with the food and level of service, encourage them to go like your page or write a review. Incentivize these actions by adding discounts and other neat freebies. Everything adds to your social proof. Many people will judge your business far before ever stepping foot in it. The power of words has been transferred to the people and it’s your job to make sure that they have only words of praise. It all starts with customer service—before, during and long after they utilize your business.


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Managing Your Social Media Impression: Are You Too Needy?

Beyond • April 3, 2012

READ ME! READ ME! READ ME! If I ever started off a blog in this manner, with simply “read me,” then I doubt that anyone would want to stick around for the rest of the article. No matter how interesting or insightful what I have to say may be, this type of marketing tactic will scare customers away every time. Consumers are repulsed by the appearance of desperation and neediness. This kind of overt advertising leads people to believe that something is wrong with the service or product a company is offering. Why are they trying so hard to get me to go there? What’s the catch? Why aren’t people going there already? Your Spam Offends Me It seems that most businesses understand this idea, yet they still seem to commit the same mishaps and pitfalls on their social media sites. While perusing Facebook pages, I see countless posts asking for people to come and try out their businesses. I have unsubscribed to many pages because they kept spamming my newsfeed with those types of posts. Instead of being needy, companies should work on being engaging. Confidence sells much more than desperation. Like most situations in life, people are attracted to the person or company that exudes more confidence. Businesses should treat their followers and fans like VIPs behind a velvet rope. Instead of demanding them to come, give them incentives and a reason. Promote specials, discounts and events. People will come if they know that on Tuesday they will receive a 25% or 50% discount off of chili cheese fries. Let the Client Decide Engage clients by asking them questions and letting them decide what the special of the day will be. Anything free is always welcomed. And content will always be the cheapest free item a business can offer to people. Give out recipes, stories, lessons, how-to guides and so on. The content provided will significantly depend on your type of business. No one wants to deal with a salesman. They want the product to speak for itself. Any good salesman or persuasive speaker understands that a sale doesn’t begin when they mention their product or services. The sale begins when you nonchalantly introduce the need for it. Social media marketing is a powerful tool that should be used the right way. Be engaging, not needy!


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