Category Archives: Social media

Website upgrade – please visit site to keep following

Hi,

We’ve recently moved the site over to WordPress.org to give visitors a better experience free from unwanted adverts.

Unfortunately it means that you won’t be notified of any new posts unless you visit the site and click to follow again.

Please make your way over to www.refresh-marketing.co.uk and enter your email address on the right hand side.

We promise to reward you with regular posts taking a fresh look at marketing and communications.

Hope to see you there!

Refresh Marketing

www.refresh-marketing.co.uk

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Social media: there’s more to social than Facebook

You might be forgiven for thinking that Facebook is the one and only place to interact with your customers online. With a broad demographic of members, a range of apps and marketing tools it’s increasingly seen as the must have social media presence for any business.  However, there’s danger in this single minded view of social media marketing.

Is Facebook right for you?

First of all, as some of my previous post highlight, you need to be sure that Facebook (or any channel) is the right marketing vehicle for your specific business. Ask yourself who your customers are, how do they behave, and where is it appropriate to introduce your business to them.  What is your business trying to achieve with social media marketing – and find the networks that best fit with your objectives.

Create a balanced social media strategy

Secondly, there are such a wide range of networks out there, that cater for different demographics, behaviours and markets, that a single-minded strategy is a bit short sighted. Yes, social media marketing requires a time investment, but it is never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. A strategy that identifies, for instance one primary network, plus a couple of secondary networks for your business is much more balanced in terms of risk and reward.

Own your digital presence

All social media channels are rented real-estate – if Facebook decides to change your terms and conditions or page layout there is little you can do about it. By contrast, your own website is entirely under your control and is owned by you.  To have a Facebook page and no website means your digital presence is on shaky ground.  By starting with your own website, and building social media profiles on top your business can always change its social media strategy without losing everything that you have built up over time.

Innovation good: innovation bad

The digital landscape and social media in particular are continually innovating. That’s part of what makes it so exciting, but also creates a challenge for businesses to keep up to date with what’s happening.  Recently, for instance Facebook relaxed its competition rules (good news) but Facebook now determines how many of your page posts to show to your fans/followers (bad news).  If you rely heavily on Facebook to communicate with your audience/customers then your business fortune is at their mercy.

information overload
It’s a game of many players

Meanwhile, MySpace has relaunched with a new look and better functionality, and LinkedIn is making moves beyond it’s business networking and recruiter home-ground towards all-round information source with it’s new university pages. Let’s not forget the other big players Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Flikr, Instagram, Etsy, Tumblr and so on and so forth. Don’t ignore the other players who are relevant to your business or market as they may one day become more profitable for you than Facebook.  They are all continually innovating, and who’s to say that their next update won’t offer just the marketing tool your business needs.

People moves

At the same time as the networks changing their functionality and design, their user bases are shifting and changing. Facebook was once the exclusive home of US college students and is now home to a very broad demographic, with young people leaving the platform now that it is now used by their parents and grandparents.  Keep in touch with published audience figures such as this one to help you determine whether their audience matches your audience.

If Facebook is working for your business and you’re happy to follow the whim of Facebook’s developers, then great. If you’d like to take a more balanced approach then maybe it’s time to review your social media strategy and check out what the other networks can deliver for your business.

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Filed under Digital, Marketing, Social media, Strategy

How to recruit a social media marketing manager

As the use of social media marketing in your organisation grows, the time commitment can start to become an issue.  Your social media strategy seems to be working, you’re getting likes, follows and comments, but managing your channels is taking up more and more of your valuable time.  Now is the time to consider employing a social media manager to take the task on.

Defining a new role and selecting the right candidate can seem a bit daunting, when there is no precedent and seemingly endless options for the skills and experience needed to do the job. Having been through this process and discovered some of the pitfalls here are some tips to help you on your way.

Start with your current social media activitiesSocial media activities

You may have plans to be the most talked about brand on Facebook, but in reality you are planning to employ somebody because you want them to take over the day job of managing your social media activities.

Start by documenting the daily tasks you undertake to manage your social media marketing activity. For example:

  • Posting regular updates to Twitter in line with the key themes agreed.
  • Responding to direct messages from all social media channels.
  • etc

Once you have those listed you have the broad outline of what the day-to-day of the social media job will be. It is really important to be honest here, as there is no point attracting a strategist if you actually want someone who will be happy posting daily updates. It won’t be fulfilling for the job holder and you will find that you are recruiting again sooner than expected.

Think about where you want to be

Next, consider how you would like to develop your social media marketing plans.  You may have a fixed goal in mind or just a vague notion of what you want. You may want your new recruit to be setting the vision for your social media activity, but as their employer you need to have a way of measuring whether they are effective in their job or not, so stick your neck out a little, even if it is something fairly generic:

  • Define a new social media marketing strategy with measurable goals,

or for the less ambitious:

  • Develop social media engagement plans to increase the number of interactions with our Facebook page.
  • etc

Pitching this too high might scare off some of your possible candidates, so make sure that what you are asking for is realistic to achieve.

Write up the job description

Write a formal job description, starting with the daily tasks. People perceive the first points on the JD to form the bulk of the work, so start with the regular activities. Lead on to the more strategic or stretch objectives for the role.

When you read the JD back to yourself does it sound realistic? Is it likely that one person could do all of that? Are the strategic and daily aspects of the role likely to be undertaken by the same person? If not, perhaps you should divide up the role into responsibilities held by different people (either new, or already within your organisation).

Skills, qualifications and experience

Every job description should be accompanied by a person specification which outlines the skills, qualifications and experience needed to do the job.  This document needs to be realistic – for instance, do they really need to have a degree to undertake this role? Secondly, a person specification is an important document to help you filter candidates as it can be used as a check-list to compare each application.

Consider what marketing qualifications and experience this person should have – particularly if you are looking for more strategic input to your activity.  There are plenty of people touting themselves as social media marketing experts who don’t even have the faintest understanding of marketing principles. If you are recruiting someone to do the day-job then that might not be such an issue.

When it comes to experience, I suggest asking for past experience in using social media to develop a brand, club or organisation. We can all use social media for our own purposes, sharing holiday photos and status updates.  It is a very different matter to employ social media tools to develop a brand, generate sales, or create engagement with a community.  Just because my kids can use watercolours doesn’t mean they’ll paint me a decent portrait, and it is the same in the social media world.

The ability to keep up to date with changing trends is an essential part of any social media manager role, regardless of level.  Given the market is innovating and shifting so rapidly you will need someone who can let you know if there is a new way of posting updates, or if a new social network is emerging that could be relevant for your brand. Include something about this in your person specification.

Full-time, part-time, contract or freelance

Do you need a person working for you full-time? Do they need to be based in your office or can they be home-based? Will you want to meet up with them or will you be happy to liaise via phone and email? Do you want to offer this role on a trial basis, would you be happy with a freelancer who billed you by the hour, or do you want someone who is dedicated to your company full-time?

Decide on answers to these questions before you advertise so that you can be specific about who you are looking for.  Check out the going-rate locally for similar types of roles before you decide on a salary. Whilst you are at it, compare your job description and person specification to what they are asking or, so that you can align your needs to what the market norms are.

Social Media ManagerThe selection process

A robust selection process will take up some of your valuable time, but if you do it properly it will repay you that time many times over.

You may want to use a recruitment agency to help you with the advertising of the role to ensure that you reach as many people as possible.  If you plan to handle it yourself then advertise your vacancy as widely as possible – ideally using the free tools you will be wanting the job holder to utilise.  Twitter is a great place for jobs, and if you are recruiting locally don’t forget the regional media.  It may be worth paying for sponsored posts to deliver greater visibility for your campaign.

Ask for a written application from every candidate and filter down to an interview shortlist. If you can hold physical interviews then do so, as it gives you the best opportunity to understand the candidate and see if you see eye to eye. If a physical meeting is not possible, then a Skype call or phone conversation could suffice.

Either way, ask the same questions to every candidate, based on the job description and person specification.  In particular, ask them about their experience of managing social media profiles in a business context.  A presentation is also an excellent way of sorting out who knows their stuff from the bluffers.

The small-print

When it comes to employing a person within your organisation, or making use of freelance resource, be sure to check out the legal and financial obligations on you as an employer. I am not an employment law specialist or a financial advisor, so please ensure that you obtain proper advice on those fronts before you employ anyone.

What if your recruitment process fails?

You’ve refined your job description, person specification and job advert yet you have not attracted the wonder-kid you expected to find. What has gone wrong?  Maybe you were asking for too much, or maybe the salary offered wasn’t right.

In one instance I did not appoint after the interviews as I didn’t find a candidate that I felt was right for the role. I re-wrote the job advert and received many more applications of a higher quality as a result.

It could be that any of the stages in your process let you down, or it could be that the language that you were using was not hitting the spot.  If it is not obvious ask for a second opinion from a colleague or trusted advisor.  Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can really help.

Welcome to the team

If you’ve recruited and found your ideal social media marketing manager, then congratulations! I look forward to hearing more about your organisation on the www! Just remember to set your employee some SMART objectives and measurable deliverables – it’s very easy to spend a lot of time on social media without making head-way.  Ask yourself how will you know if this person/role has been a success in 6 to 12 months’ time.

Free templates available

For advice on recruiting a social media marketing manager for your company, or for a template job description and person specification just get in touch.

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Filed under Digital, Management, Marketing, Social media

Myspace (without a captial s)

Check out the new Myspace at http://www.myspace.com

 

Remember the days of a buzzing MySpace homepage? A social network which brought strangers together from every corner of the globe, through the power of common interests and music? Well, it’s back, and it’s making sure everyone knows about it.

From 2005 to early 2008 it held the title as the most visited social network in the world, but users began to move their social networking business elsewhere as rival social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo became to rise in popularity, leaving MySpace to lose millions of users.

But it seems Singer and Actor; Justin Timberlake has got inspiration from his 2010 film the Social Network, and decided to take on the task of re-launching the site. Redesigned as a social music site and rebranded with a lower case ‘s’, it displays bigger, bolder images of people and album artwork with a strong emphasis on music, musicians…

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Here’s the Proof: How You Post on Facebook Fan Pages Affects Views

How Facebook ranks your page posts – one person’s test shows interesting results.

Jumpset Strategies

How you present your posts on Facebook Pages impacts the number of viewers that see your posts.

Here are the results of an experiment I did this morning on my business’ Facebook Page. I posted an article about what drowning really looks like (BTW, very important information, please read: Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning on Slate.com. It could save a life).

The following article was posted in two different formats within 5 minutes of each other.

First, I posted a commentary about the article with a link. I removed the preview at the bottom of the post that Facebook automatically produces when you post a link.

Within the first 53 minutes, 36 people saw the post including one “share.”  Of those:

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Social media road-crash: Amy’s Baking Company

Just in case you missed it, Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona is the latest company to get social media wrong – oh so wrong – and on an epic scale.

The company already suffered from poor reviews on the Yelp review site, to which owners Samy and Amy responded with insults – thus inviting further negative reaction.

Amys-Baking-CompanyThey then featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Their intention was clear – they wanted Chef Ramsay to re-enforce their own opinion that the food was great and prove the reviewers wrong.  When the 14-Michelin starred chef gave them feedback that their food wasn’t great, and that frozen shop-bought food should not be served up as home-made, they simply couldn’t take the criticism. It’s the first time Gordon Ramsay has walked out on a struggling business in his TV series.

After the show aired things went from bad to worse, with the store’s Facebook page being used by owners and commenters alike in a running battle of capitals and abuse. Quite what they thought they would achieve from such a public rant is beyond comprehension.

The latest instalment is that a PR consultant has been hired to turn things around for them, starting with the dubious claim that their Facebook account had been hacked, and it wasn’t actually them posting the abuse.  Secondly there is now a re-launch planned to enable customers to meet the real Samy and Amy.

A selection of links to the show Facebook pages and stories are below, and I’m not even going to talk about the other allegations made against them, or how they came across on the show.

This road-crash is however a prime example of how NOT to manage your social media channels:

  1.  If you receive a negative review, don’t defend by attacking. Take note of what they have said and make changes to your business.
  2. Don’t swear or call your customers names online. It is not professional!
  3. Don’t make threats against reviewers. Apart from it being nasty you could be legally in the wrong.
  4. Using capitals = SHOUTING – it’s not friendly, so don’t do it.
  5. Don’t respond to every negative review – sometimes it is better to stay silent.
  6. Don’t get personal. Amy and Samy started to attack Gordon Ramsay’s credentials as in ‘what does he know’. Judging by the success of his business; quite a lot more than you apparently.
  7. Don’t challenge reviewers to a showdown. ‘Bring it on’ will be taken up as a challenge by social media commentators and you will not come off looking the best.
  8. Don’t attempt to take on a battle publicly via social media channels.  It will look nasty and it’s there for everyone else to see.
  9. Don’t lie to your customers – the claim that their account was hacked has not been believed and has invited yet more criticism.
  10. Don’t dig yourself a bigger hole – if things are going badly call in professional help fast. In this case a PR consultant has been brought in, but way, way too late to be able to turn this business’ reputation around.

What’s next for Samy and Amy at Amy’s Baking Company? Some social media etiquette training?

Useful Links:

Amy’s Baking Company Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/amysbakingco

Yelp review site http://www.yelp.com/biz/amys-baking-company-scottsdale?sort_by=date_desc

Kitchen Nightmares show (C4 has blocked most of the Youtube links to the show due to copyright issues in the UK) http://youtu.be/bnJFH8wgegI

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/amys-baking-company-kitchen-nightmares_n_3274345.html

http://uk.eonline.com/news/418895/kitchen-nightmares-amy-s-baking-company-goes-nuts-on-facebook-claim-they-were-hacked

http://www.velocitydigital.co.uk/an-update-on-amys-baking-company-social-media-meltdown/

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Social media: why its not ‘one size fits all’

One of the common misconceptions about the use of social media for marketing is that there is a single ‘magic formula’ that, if followed, will lead to easy success. Whilst digital marketing is accessible to all, that doesn’t mean that everyone should be using it the same way.

I’ve interviewed a few organisations who are completely disillusioned by social media because they have been advised that if they do X, Y will happen, and when it doesn’t they are put off digital media all together. This (bad) advice is typically based on the ‘one size fits all’ model of social media marketing, which is unlikely to work for the majority of businesses.

One size does not fit all

Consider these two example organisations:

  • a local clothing retailer targeting teenagers
  • a consultancy business targeting national and international business decision-makers

A social media plan developed for one for is never going to work for the other. Their objectives, proposition and target markets are too different. One is trading clothing items, the other is sharing expertise.  One is local, the other global. Their tone of voice and objectives will be different. Their target audiences won’t be using the same social networks, have the same needs or be behaving in the same way.  Each business requires their own digital marketing plan tailored to their specific needs.

Use best practice guidance in context

social media hand printThere are clearly some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for each social media channel, and some great case studies of what has worked for other businesses. There’s also a wealth of best practice guidance available online from some leading thinkers.  Such guidance should be taken on board by anyone planning to use social media as part of their mix, but it should always be taken in context of your organisation’s own marketing needs and adapted accordingly.  How, for instance, would a social media guru in the USA know what the right frequency/timing of tweets is for my UK based business? Do they know my target audience like I do?

Create your own social media strategy

There are so many social networking sites that are available for businesses and marketers to use, that selecting the right one(s) forms one of the first steps of any social media plan.  That resolves one question, but exactly how you use the channel is equally important. Are you sharing useful resources, creating a community or offering special offers? Being clear about your objectives, and planning how you intend to interact with your audience are critical steps towards social media effectiveness.

So next time you are advised that you must do X, Y or Z, take the time to relate it back to your business objectives and adapt it to meet your needs. Otherwise, you are delivering someone else’s marketing plan, and not your own.

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Filed under Digital, Marketing, Sales, Social media, Strategy