Category Archives: Online Brand

Influencer Eileen Brown social media

How to become an Influencer

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular, but not all influencers can be considered equal. In most cases celebrity influencers don’t have as much influence over your consumer decisions as you think. A new wave of influencers are equally important. Micro-influencers – like you and me, are just as likely to influence our peers as celebrities.

So how easy is it to become an influencer?  Here are my top tips for becoming recognised as a credible voice in your industry.

Be a consistent  influencer across platforms:.

Whether Facebook or YouTube, Twitter or Instagram, have a consistent voice. Influencers talk about the same topics, use the same hashtag, post similar pictures. You will start to become recognised for your knowledge in that topic. Whether it is icing cakes, fixing phones, or top-notch welding, the same message reinforces that you are the go-to person for that topic.

Use the same hashtags:

You will be able to use analytics tools to measure the success of a particular hashtag, or campaign across all platforms that you use if you use the same hashtag across Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for example.  You will then be able to get a fuller picture of your breadth reach as an influencer you see your hashtag propagate.

Focus on a few credible platforms.

Try to stick to two or three main channels to broadcast. People will tend to follow influencers across two or three platforms. If Instagram and YouTube are the channels of choice, then make sure you add quality content to them on a regular basis. Frantic bursts of activity followed by long periods of silence don’t tend to work well with media followers.

Influencers use followers and fans to deliver their message for them:

92 percent of people trust word of mouth recommendations  so make sure that your existing followers get fabulous content that they would be happy to propagate further to their network.

Be  an authentic influencer:

Authenticity is a really important part of the news we want to receive from our influencer connections. Facebook has recognised this for a long time, and has honed its algorithm to make sure that you get the news that is most relevant to  what you want to see in your life.

Avoid the single point of failure:

Try not to rely on one channel to get the word out. Google stopped focusing on Hangouts, Facebook has throttled organic reach for brands, and there is no longer any guarantee what your fans will see. Try to spread your message across different channels, so that if your message fails to deliver on one site, then it might get through on another

Get your followers to a place that you own.

Point people to your own blog, your own newsletter, encourage signups on your own site. Then if your chosen site disappears, restricts visibility of your posts or goes behind a paywall, then you have a list of loyal followers that you can move to another platform.

Keep at it. over time, your fans will come. If they like what they see, they will stay…

Being happier on social media and make everyone around you feel good

Users take to social media to vent their spleen as soon as a brand stumbles online. There are thousands of examples of complaining users. Last month a blind passenger and his guide dog were removed from a US Airways flight – and the passengers complained across all media channels.

Users took to complain about the behaviour of the restaurant owners at Amys Baking Company’s social media meltdown after appearing on Remsays Kitchen Nightmares TV show.

We seem to complain about anything on social channels – hoping that the brand will listen to us. Angry tweets get retweeted more often. Sina Weibo analysed over 70million posts from 200,000 users and found that anger elicits faster responses from the largest number of people.

But wouldn’t it be be great if we had an opportunity to be nice from time to time? Good news spreads. Happy, funny items are more likely to get shared – especially if they are about ourselves, a study has found.

Social networking site Happier aims to change our attitude to the negative side of life. The site is filled with things to make you smile and make you feel a little bit better about your day.

image

Happier is a Boston based company with “a mission to inspire millions of people to be happier in their everyday lives”. Based on research Happier focuses on making people happy. Circuits in our brains light up when we are happy and when we are happy, folks around us become happy too.

Nataly Kogan spent the first 13 years of her life in soviet Russia. The family escaped to Vienna before taking the train to Italy to spend months in a refugee centre. On getting to the US, she tried to “chase the big happy” but found that after 20 years of doing this she wasn’t happy at all. 

Her nirvana moment was realising she was “chasing the non-existent impossible state of happy” and was missing the “small happy moments” that made up her day. Collecting your own positive moments will make you happy.

Stop saying “I’ll be happy when” and start saying “I’m happy now because”.

Focusing on small positive moments have been scientifically proven to make you feel happier. It seems like a really small principle to capture these moments – but you can capture this “emotional bookshelf in your pocket” with an iPhone app that reminds you to collect your small moments every day.

Sometimes a moment can be as simple as enjoying a giggle with a friend – or as simple as “getting to go to the bathroom after needing to go all day” Smile

Smiling releases endorphins and you have the ability to impact others’ happiness. Making someone’s day will make them feel great – and make you feel happier too.

  • People who write down three positive things about their day report feeling happier, less, anxious and more optimistic. People who continued to do that for a period of three weeks reported feeling more optimistic and positive for up to six months afterwards.
  • People who think more positively are 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack, catch a cold or the flu.
  • Functional MRI shows that focusing on a few positive things every day can permanently alter the chemistry of the brain to become more positive.
  • Being happier is contagious: If you have a friend who is positive, you’re 25 percent more likely to be positive.
  • People who express thanks to others feel better about their lives, exercise more, and go to the doctor less.

So what does Happier recommend that we do to become – and stay happier?

If you feel that your Facebook feed is full of people complaining and moaning – then trying to be a little bit happier might be just the tonic you need. Write down some happy moments and share them with yourself – or  your friends. Paying it forward – and sharing your happiness will make everyone around us all feel better today…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Job seekers: 5 tips to protect your online brand

imageYou are at home. You are browsing the web looking for your next role. You are online anyway, so you turn to your social media platforms to update your status.

After all, you now have time to focus on your friends.

But beware of oversharing. You might want to maintain a certain persona online whilst being different offline.

The 2012 annual technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide shows that almost 40% of respondents’ companies check out potential employees’ profiles on social media sites.

The report also says that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.

“The fact that one in five applicants disqualify themselves from an interview because of content in the social media sphere is a warning to job seekers and a true indicator of the digital reality we now live in,” said Mads Christensen, Network Director at Eurocom Worldwide.

There are some hard and fast rules for keeping the right items private.

Your Facebook Profile image is Public. Facebook says that ‘Your name, gender, username, and user ID (account number), along with your profile picture, cover photo, and networks (if you choose to add these) are available to anyone’. Make sure that the image is suitable.

Facebook Public Status updates change the default setting. If you choose Public for a post, your next post will also be Public unless you change this audience when you post.

Don’t Friend colleagues – or your boss.  70 per cent of young professionals on the Cisco Connected World tech report have friended people at their company. This could lead to disciplinary action if you share something you shouldn’t.

Keep your work and personal profiles separate. If you have two Twitter profiles, make sure you never talk about work on your personal profile. Direct any potential employers to your professional profile

Control your syndication settings. Beware of linking Facebook and Twitter together, or using a tool to update LinkedIn. Control what you post, where you post, when you post.

Try to give a positive impression on your online profile, so that when recruiters look for candidates, you are online, active and have a strong positive brand.  There is no need to stay silent if you manage your online activities carefully.

If in doubt – don’t post…

Image Credit: Alex E. Proimos

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Time to create enchanting online content

imageSome blog content is compelling, some falls far short of your expectations. But after you have gone past the title page, how do you find, and more importantly write compelling copy that will keep your readers craving more?

Inspiration time

Look across your social connections.  look for content ideas on Facebook, Twitter and, Google+ and blog posts.  Subscribe to Posterous and Tumblr for content ideas

Take an idea and run with it.  My inspiration for this blog post was ‘Brainstorming’  Content for your blog.  I thought I’d add my own perspectives and create a complementary post. ideas come from anywhere.  Be open to new thoughts and inspiration

Watch some videos on YouTube and write about them. Look at other blog posts for ideas. Have a look at infographics, if you are a visual person and create a blog post.  My infographic the other week on the Pinterest drinking game could easily have turned into a blog post about how Pinterest is evolving behaviours, some good, some bad

Thinking Time

Ideas come from everywhere. Be open to new pieces of news that will spark off a discussion.  Use tools such as one note or evernote to save these snippets so you can consolidate them into a richer article

Think about your audience. Do they have questions that need to be solved? Perhaps a series of how to posts would help them out.

Get together with a friend and chat about things. Ask questions and come up with new ideas. In the office this is called brain storming, in personal life it is just a chat. It can crystallise your thinking time and help you write.

Writing time

Consider the structure of the final article.  How will you write it?  Will it be short and punchy, long and peppered with examples?

Talk about an issue you have had and how you solved it. My posts often talk about issues I have had and how I got round the problem. Others are from emails i receive.

Consider your target audience.  Are they your future customers or people you want to really connect with? Your copy should be targeted at these people.  I no longer write about deep technology.  Over the last few years, my audience has changed so I write to connect with new people. Some of my posts resonate with my old audience, some don’t  Be prepared to be flexible and adapt.

Sharing time

Your carefully crafted pieces should be read by as many people as possible. Consider syndication and sharing buttons.  Try to get your content to as wide an audience as possible.  Encourage your readers to share your content by making it as easy as possible for them to broadcast your content (see the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post).

Think about the best way to express your ideas. Some times it is paragraphs of text, other times, it is a list or set of bullet points

Finding time

Use scheduling features to post content when you don’t have the time on that day.  When you have lots of inspiration, write several posts and stack them up for later.  Good quality content is timeless

In our busy lives it is often easier to send a text than a letter, a tweet than a post. Tweets are transient, as are texts.  Well written blog posts and copy are searchable, linkable and more importantly discoverable years down the line.  Spend the time to create great content, and you will always be able to find it again 

Most of all, don’t give up on great content.  You don’t want to spend the rest of your days communicating in only 140 characters. Our language surely deserves better than that

Image Credit: Orin Zebest

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Are we the same person online and offline?

Heck no.

image

I craft my online words to create an impression of me that I want you to see.  I want you to believe that I truly am the person in my tweets, my blog posts, my Facebook and LinkedIn profile.  But is is the real me?

I’m sure I’m a much nicer person online than I am offline.  I’m always cheerful online, helpful, friendly and kind.  I try to write warm witty and wise blog posts – with the emphasis on the warm.  I don’t want you to know when I’m having a bad day.

I don’t want you to know when I’m feeling vulnerable, scared, sad, lonely, insecure or down.  I want you to see ability,  stability, confidence, employability, hireability.

But is it healthy?

Forbes splits this ‘split personality’ behaviour straight down the middle.  Some women are truly authentic online,  such as Penelope Trunk who pours out her life on her blog.   Others are less authentic online. I probably fall into this camp.  I try to use Paretos 80:20 rule for my online activities.  I’m 80% authentic – keeping the 20% for face to face conversations with offline friends.

Some keep their professional lives totally separate from their personal musings on Facebook.  One of my good friends uses Facebook entirely for the business connections it brings her.  She knows she needs to have a Facebook profile, but she doesn’t update it at all, and yet she has thousands of Facebook Friends.

Some use Facebook to keep in touch with colleagues, some with close friends and family.  I’m still connected to lots of my ex Microsoft colleagues on Facebook.  some are friends, some mere acquaintances.  I mix my Facebook conversation from professional to personal musings.  My Facebook Page however, gets only the business relatedor book related updates. My Facebook profile gets the more honest updates.

But event these updates aren’t truly ‘authentic’

The updates are a nicer, better version of me  — the me, I’d like you to see.  The me, perhaps I’d truly like to be.

But are we sharing too much?

Perhaps we don’t want to know what our friends are reading using the frictionless sharing feature on Facebook.  Are we oversharing or peeking into private lives?  Some people think that they are chatting to just one friend when they post updates on Facebook and are not careful what they post.

Perhaps I’ll stick to outpourings of angst, anger and ire when I’m offline.  Where no one can hear my miserable ranting, emotional outbursts and weeping.

Would it make me a better person online if I shared more? Or would reading these ramblings only serve to reduce your opinion of me – or anyone else that overshares their life?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: misteraitch

 

Facebook pages: Really worth the effort?

image

These figures from the All Facebook blog, don’t look too good do they?

Companies spend a lot of money creating their Facebook page and are disappointed with the percentage of fans that actually see the page. 

If you’re not actively canvassing likes and comments then your page posts might be disappearing as Facebook scores other pages higher than yours.  The Facebook Edgerank weighting may mean your posts are never seen – even if you have hundreds of fans.

So is it all worth the effort?

Good news, the answer is yes…

If you have a great strategy, you can encourage engagement.  There are ways that you can grow engagement and keep your fans interested. 

  • Post regularly.  Add polls, quizzes and questions to encourage interaction – especially if there is an incentive to answer.
  • Offer a prize for the best answer to the question
  • Encourage creativity, haikus, poems, limericks, tongue twisters
  • Allow posting of user generated content such as photos to the site.
  • Target your audience – encourage people who are more likely to share your page with their friends
  • Celebrate winners.  Fan of the week, etc will encourage further sharing as fans vie for attention

Hardly anyone pays attention to your Facebook posts.  You will miss lots of status updates from your friends, so unless you are really active on your Facebook page, then your fans will miss that activity too.

So if you’re a page administrator, use the page as often as you use your own profile – and keep the engagement going…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

8 ways to spot the social media snake oil salesmen

image

 

Everyone is a social media expert right?  I mean social media is so pervasive that everyone must know about it?

Wrong…

There are lots of companies just starting in social media and wanting to take their first steps – their first correct steps online.  They need help to get it right.

Unfortunately, there are lots of people who claim to be experts in social media.

They are advising companies on social media implementation without implementing a strategy or a plan.  They don’t have any ROI examples and they don’t have the depth or the breadth of experience to be able to offer balanced advice across the channels.

They don’t even have a plan implemented for their own company…

If you’re looking to hire a social media consultant to help you with your community implementation or social business strategy, there are some things that you can watch for when you’re looking around for a good consultant.

Be wary of anyone that is keen to push you towards one solution such as Facebook for your business.  Facebook is not right for every business, nor is Twitter. Make sure you talk through ALL of the possible choices with someone who knows the features and benefits of each

Watch out for over promotion.  Snake oilers are keen to promote their services over everyone else’s.  Watch what they write about.  If their blog is full of self promotion and self congratulatory posts, avoid them.  If their Twitter feed exhorts you to retweet them all the time, or like their Facebook pages, they are just trying to make themselves look good to other customers.

Look for longevity.  How long have they been working with social media?  Have they got years of experience across different platforms or are they new to the game – and only one step ahead of you? For example, Twitter has been around since 2006 and got popular at SxSW (South by SouthWest conference) in early 2007.  Enthusiasts and early adopters of the technology should have been on Twitter for at least a couple of years.  If you want to find out how long someone has been on Twitter use a tool such as When did you join Twitter to check them out

Personal disclosure.  Social media experts know how much personal and business information to share in their updates.  Whilst talking about business constantly can put people off, so can sharing too much information.  It might be ok for friends to hear their deepest secrets, but it doesn’t look good to businesses looking to hire consultants

Twitter follower / following count.  Lots of Twitter accounts automatically follow back, so some snake oilers follow these accounts to increase their follower count.  Be wary of people who follow thousands of users in the hope of getting a follow back.  The overhead of tracking thousands of followers means that quality engagement can not happen.   I know that tools such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite can sort followers into lists, but the rest of accounts followed will be ignored

Tools and channels.  Blogs, wikis and forums are equally valid social channels for social engagement.  Your business might thrive with forum based implementation.  Make sure your social media specialist can talk through all of the different forum, wiki and blog options including in-house implementations and proprietary solutions.  Remember, it’s not just about WordPress and Joomla…

Engagement models.  Your snake oiler should be able to discuss engagement best practices, frameworks and crisis plans.  They should also be able to give practical examples of companies in similar to your industry.

Are they ‘walking the walk’?  Is their blog up to date with practical, considered credible posts?  Do they engage with their customers?  Are they practicing what they preach?  Do they understand legal, IP and data protection issues, and more importantly – how to solve them?

Remember – you are the customer.  you don’t have to hire someone when you’re not sure about their experience or credentials.  Ask them why they are proposing this type of solution for you.  Ask for examples, ask for ROI proof.  Check them out, ask others about their credibility.

Look for history.  Look for evidence. Suss out the snake oil salesmen and become more savvy with your social business hiring.

You can then relax and know that you’re in good, safe, social hands…

 

Image credit: Tim & Selena Middleton

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.