5 Ways to Influence your Influencers on Social Media

You’ve done your research and you know who you would ideally like to connect and network with on social.  Armed with who – here are some tips to help you succeed in developing purposeful networks:

  1. Retweet and share their content.  If you are trying to court your influencers, what better way to show them that you are tuned into what they are saying than ‘retweeting’ their tweets to your audiences.  Each time you retweet – the originator of the tweet receives a notification to let them know.  That way, you are drawing attention to the fact that you are interested in what they have to say.
  2. Compliment them on their content.  We all like to be flattered – and we all like to think that our content is purposeful and resonates. If one of the influencers you are trying to connect with shares something – reply and make a comment – or retweet and add your own view eg:  Love this, great article or a simple ;) .
  3. #FF (Follow Friday).  On Fridays there’s a etiquette on Twitter, whereby you share the @handles of all those that you think others in your audience should take a look at.  It could be that you have particularly enjoyed their tweets that week – or you just love what they say generally.  Again, mentioning your influencers in this way – means that they get notified that you are advocating them.
  4. @ them.  You can send a public message directly to them (as you can only send a private direct message if they are following you)  – if you use their @handle at the very beginning of a tweet – then only their followers and your followers get to see it. So they will again, be notified that you are sending a message to them.  Eg:  Loved your latest book – Chapter 2 really insightful and useful. Great work.
  5. Say thank you.  Really simple, but often forgotten – if your tactics steer your influencer to follow you – then be sure to go back to them to say a simple thank you for connecting.  I’m  not suggesting you should thank all the people that follow you – as that could get a little sycophantic  – but if they are an important influencer that you have converted into a follower – then be sure to start nurturing your relationship and start out in the right way.

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

Facebook to Drop Sponsored Stories in April 2014

If you’re not aware about Sponsored Stories, then to simplify things for you – these are ad like updates shown when a user’s Facebook friend interacts with a sponsored Page, App or Event.

They will appear in your Facebook News Feed because a business or individual has paid to highlight them in the hope that there’s more of a chance others will see them and click ‘Like through to the Page as well.

However – it has been known to many, that marketers and Facebook users have had a love-hate relationship with Facebook’s Sponsored Stories. Proving to be a source of confusion for the marketers (who want to get as much out of their advertising budgets as possible – and a source of annoyance for News Feed noise.

Facebook has announced in a blog post that they plan to put an end to Sponsored Stories altogether – so if you’re looking to purchase a Sponsored Story then you better do it fast – because by April 9th 2014, this feature will be completely removed!

What will this Mean for Marketers? What is the Next Step?

The company confirmed that they were planning to drop Sponsored Stories back in June 2013 – however it wasn’t until recently that we have an official date for when they will disappear from the site altogether (April 9th 2014).

Currently it’s not that clear as to what will replace Sponsored Stories – however what we can tell you is that the existing Sponsored Stories will transition into the ad format “Social Context.”  What ‘social context’ means is that – if your friends like something, then it may get shown to you too on the assumption that you also may like it.  The ‘social’ element of ‘social context’.

The removal of Sponsored Stories only changes the way these ads are delivered to Facebook users, not the fact that the information can be collected and used. A key difference with Social Context ads however, is that they will appear in the right hand sidebar, rather than directly in your News Feed.

So rather than have your News Feed bombarded with ads – the Social Context ads will run in the usual right hand bar where we have become used to seeing  all Facebook’s advertisements.

Social Context will be offered as an option to advertisers alongside other advertising options. With Social Context, Facebook will continue to gather information on users and deliver that information back to those users in the form of ads.

Here’s what Facebook announced in June:

“Wee’re bringing the best of sponsored stories — social context — to all ads. Since this update makes sponsored stories redundant, we will no longer offer them as a stand-alone ad unit for marketers. Social context will continue to appear with all ads where eligible. Our social advertising honors the audience that people choose, so nobody will see information in social context for an ad that they couldn’t already see.”

See the diagram below to see how this should work:

facebook image for blog

As you can see, social media advertising is a constantly-shifting medium, especially as the industry is always growing. So the best thing that you can do is try to keep up with these changes and learn how to stretch each pound as far as possible.

Tip: Don’t give up -Facebook is known to be one of the best ways to reach a large number of customers all at once.

Twitter Update – Custom Timelines

For a while now in my training courses, I have been sharing my enthusiasm for Twitter Lists and the ability to ‘Favourite’ – a tweet.

Lists enable you the Twitter user to categorise the people you are following in whichever way makes sense to you.

Whilst the Favourite function on Twitter enables you to effectively ‘archive’ – selected tweets.

You can then share your Favourite link with others – however, Twitter doesn’t allow you to make several ‘Favourite’ lists – just the one.

However, just a couple of weeks ago Twitter introduced Custom Timelines.

Effectively, this function enables you to aggregate any tweets you like into a ‘list format’ – it’s almost a hybrid of Favouriting and Lists. As you can create a public ‘Timeline’ – it has its own URL, description – however, you aggregate the content that goes into it. And you can embed the timeline onto webpages.

The great thing about this function is that it gives you more control over how you want your tweets to be organised, whilst also offering some creative alternatives to simply posting regular tweets and watching them quickly disappear into the swirling current of handles and hashtags.

The only downfall appears to be is that you can only use it on the TweetDeck application – once you’ve come to terms with how TweetDeck works – the rest is very simple.

Adding tweets to these custom timelines can either be done by hand or by the API. When doing it by hand all you have to do is select the tweets you want from the different column in your dashboards e.g. interactions, mentions, lists or any keywords etc.

What you do with each of these timelines after – is entirely up to you!

Custom timelines are perfect for:

  • Capturing any customer testimonials or praise on Twitter and embedding them on your homepage or relevant web page.
  • Showcasing an event you / your business is promoting.

The best thing about Twitter timeline however, is that it increases the lifespan of your tweets! Having separate timeline – your tweet won’t get buried nearly as fast.

There are many ways you can leverage this new feature – and we’ll be keeping you updated with examples and other ideas in the future. However at the moment it seems that you can only create your custom timelines through the social media dashboard – TweetDeck.

This exciting new development from Twitter will really help Twitter to cross over from being a heavily mobile newsfeed – connecting people to the information they want – to being a web service – enabling organisations to leverage the news going on over on Twitter into web pages.

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

Facebook Update: Edgerank is Dead

In Chapter 5 of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for all Businesses – we discuss Facebook’s algorithm, Edgerank.

What are they talking about? -  I hear your brains a pondering.

If you think about Facebook as a huge database (which it is) – then given the scale of Facebook, you can imagine that ordering the data so that updates and comments etc can be delivered to the relevant people is a significant task.

Instead of having a ‘everyone sees all’ activity schedule – (which would be totally unmanageable given the size of Facebook – and how frequently people use it) – then instead, Facebook has to determine who is going to see what.

And of course, it’s not people that decide who see’s what – but instead, the role is in the ‘chips’ of mathematical algorithms that are accessing a number of factors around the content – and then serving the output.

Historically, Facebook promoted Edgerank as their algorithm. An algorithm which considered 3 key factors (each in themselves a complex calculation):

  • Affinity score – between viewing user and edge creator (translation – how engaged you are with specific connections)
  • Weight for the edge – ie: the quality of the type of content – eg: a comment, a tag, a like, a share etc
  • Time decay – factors based on how long ago the ‘edge’ was created

(See Page 102 in the book for more info).

Whilst these elements are still part of the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine who sees what – it is now widely published and accepted that there are significantly more factors now considered.

In fact – it’s rumoured that there are over 100 factors (and in some reports 100,000!).

Either way – the key element remains in that you need to be working hard on Facebook to generate engagement and then keep that engagement going.

Asking questions (getting people to engage with your Page), quality content and building an influential audience still count.  I suspect as Facebook continues to be a noisy space – then more creativity in to how you corner the eyeballs and activity is going to be needed.

How to clean up your Twitter stream now Twit Cleaner has retired

Yes, Twit Cleaner is no longer.

We refer to Twit Cleaner in our book when talking about how you can manage your Twitter connections – seeing who’s influential, who tweets a lot, who never goes on Twitter, identifying non followers etc .

There’s a great blog on the Twit Cleaner site explaining why they have had to give up the ghost http://thetwitcleaner.com/blog/- however, never fear – Tweepi is here.

The team at Carvill Creative actually prefer Tweepi as the preferred tool to clean up Twitter streams (outside of some of the larger tools we use).

It’s simple, clean and does the job.

So check out Tweepi. It doesn’t do all the things Twitter cleaner offered – but it’s pretty close.

5 Star Praise for The Being of Being Social

David and I often preach about the importance of ‘advocacy’ – and how importance advocacy is in building trust.

After all, only 14% of us trust advertisements, whilst 84% of us trust peer–to-peer recommendations.

Of course, whilst David and I believe that our book, The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for All Businesses -  (the book we wrote, which was published late May this year) – is a great book – what’s more important is what others say about it.

So far, so good. Sales have gone really well, it’s had to be reprinted within the first 6 months – and we’ve got a whopping 56 reviews on Amazon – scoring 4.7 out of 5 (currently, the most reviewed book of it’s type).  And the majority of reviews are 5*****.

We’re delighted – and here are some of the ‘headlines’ from the reviews. So, if you are looking for a practical guide to help you get started with social media channels or to plan your social media strategy – then take a look at what others have to say about our book.

Meanwhile, sincere and warm thanks to everyone that’s purchased, read, shared and reviewed.  Be social and keep sharing…

“Practical and theoretical advice for the professional social media user… .”

“Step by step guide to a vital skill.”

“A must for any small or tall businessman, or woman.”

“Excellent Book.”

‘Brilliant for getting started in Social Media.”

‘Solid, simple and straightforward.”

“Very instructional.”

“Whether you’re experienced or not in use of social media as I guarantee you will learn something.”

“Decent round up of how to utilise Social Media.”

“Thorough, measured and extremely useful.”

“Excellent information and advice.”

“Broken down into manageable sections.”

“Excellent.”

“A must for businesses who want to start social media marketing and don’t know where to start.”

“For businesses wanting to develop a solid social networking platform.”

“Really helpful and practical. Highly recommended.”

“Being social uncovered… The basics and more.”

“An excellent introduction to social media.”

“A great present for social media hopefuls.”

“One Stop Social Media.”

“Guides you through the hype.”

“The Must Have Social Media Guidebook for business.”

“This book is extremely well written. it makes a potentially complex subject easy to read and motivating. Highly recommend!”

“Finally a strategy based social media handbook!”

“Excellent – very good summary and written to inform.”

“Comprehensive and Excellent.”

“Great book for students.”

“Comprehensive guide on using social for business.”

“An essential guide to planning a social media strategy for your business.”

“Best book on social media I’ve ever read!”

“Jam Packed with Advice and Tips.”

“A book for all PR’s bookshelves.”

“Practical, comprehensive advice.”

“Absolutely recommend!”

“Important Stuff.”

“A perfect book for all Social Media needs.”

“Great book, well worth reading.”

“Brilliant read!”

“All you need to know about Social Media.”

“Great book for businesses who need help with their Social Media.”

“Why learn from your own mistakes when Taylor and Carvill can help you to navigate this modern landscape.”

“Finally a practical, business focused social media guide… .”

“Excellent read – am now social media savvy!”

“Simple yet revolutionary way through the jungle of modern marketing.”

“***Must-read for social media users***Highly recommended.”

“Best I’ve read on using Social for Business!”

“Great book, simple to follow and the case studies really help.”

“This book should be essential reading to anyone who wants to get started in social media but doesn’t know where to start.”

Up to 55 Amazon reviews for The Business of Being Social

We’re really thrilled to see that The Business of Being Social now has 55 reviews on Amazon – with 40 of those five-star. Reviews are the lifeblood of books and while we are proud of the book, it’s great to see that others agree with us.

We thought we’d post the latest review by Hugo Minney in full as it neatly sums up what this social media book is all about. Take it away Hugo:

This book is about making money, not wasting it.

It would be easy to spend pages and pages explaining what tweeting is, and how much fun it is. It would be easy to jump straight in at the “How” (as in, “this is HOW you do it”), forgetting that a busy business doesn’t really want to spend any time at all on something that costs but doesn’t deliver a return. So this book doesn’t do that.

It starts with a foundation – this is what businesses do, and this is what they should do, and most importantly, this is what they can expect to get back (WHY social marketing).

Then it goes on to explain, step by step, WHAT social marketing is. The undercurrent is that humans have communicated and carried out commerce for years – well hundreds of thousands of years actually – and it’s only been in the last 2-3 hundred years that we’ve tried to rely on push marketing or loud posters selling snake oil.

If you can’t necessarily prove the benefits of marketing this way, that’s probably because it’s difficult to prove. Social marketing, with all of this modern technology, is a return to old-fashioned conversation and commerce, which is why it caught on so quickly and is proving so successful.

With the foundations in place, Carville (sic) and Taylor can explain HOW to do social marketing. And they point out that it’s very much like a good old-fashioned conversation. In a conversation, you won’t make friends or influence people if you simply race in and start shouting.

The rules (for success) are always the same – decide what you want, listen to find a group of people who seem like the right crowd, converse to build relationships (usually by agreeing with the people closest to your point of view), and then, and only then, have you won the right to tell them about whatever you are selling.

Carville (sic) & Taylor repeat this again and again – don’t start posting or tweeting, decide what your objective is. Lots of companies don’t know what their aim is, so they are remarkably accurate at getting it. Your objective is probably to sell more product to this target client base. OK where do you find the client base?

Are they on twitter with a hashtag that they tend to watch and chat under (a hashtag seems to be a little like a chat room – a marker that you can search for to follow conversations about a particular subject). Are they on facebook, or linkedin, or Google, or somewhere else? You don’t want to waste time building relationships with people who, no matter how much they like you, simply have no use for your product. Find your potential clients, and build the relationship.

They discuss the characteristics of the different media – on Twitter you probably have to post every few hours, on Facebook every day or so, on LinkedIn every week, and so on. They discuss what you post – a bit of humanity, a bit of professionalism. Above all, be yourself (but not unprofessional).

They also discuss blogs and other ways to build a community, a committed group who not only will buy your products, but will tell you what else they want so you can sell it, and will tell you what’s right about your product (do more of this) and what’s wrong (put it right). A community of friends who are all friends of you.

A very useful book. Also very well written and easy to follow. One to keep on the shelf with markers in for future reference.

Click here to read all the reviews – including the less flattering ones! Thank you to all of you who have left comments – they are all appreciated!

Have you claimed your Google+ personal or business URL yet?

Great news – you can now claim your own personal Google+ URL for your personal G+ profile and any Company profiles you have or manage.

There’s some basic criteria as to whether you are eligible to claim a personalised URL – but nothing too daunting – your profile simply:

  • has to have a photo
  • has to have at least 10 followers
  • and the account must be more than 30 days old.

So, provided you qualify as above – simply visit your Google+ profile and click on the Settings link.

Once in your Settings, click ‘Edit my Profile’ (link found under your photo) – and if your profile is eligible – at the top of the screen you will see a green notification asking whether you wish to ‘Claim your personalised URL’.

You’ll see that Google automatically offers you an option of what that URL could look like eg: mine was google.com/+MichelleCarvill

On personal profiles you get the option to accept or change the suggested URL – so if you wanted to make it something else, you seem to be able to do that.

For Google+ Business Profiles – you follow the same process – Google will suggest a URL – for Carvill Creative the profile name offered was google.com/+CarvillcreativeCoUk

I tried to change this to just +CarvillCreative – but you don’t seem to have any options to amend their suggestion on G+ Business profiles (as yet) – however, it does make it clear that if you accept that name, then you can’t change it in the future. For Google+ business profiles, you can accept or not – there doesn’t appear to be a way to amend.(Or not one I found anyway).

So there you have it – very simple to do, takes just a few minutes – so get personalising your Google+ Profiles and Business Profiles.

This blog was brought to you via Michelle Carvill – Founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility agency, and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for all Businesses.

 

 

 

 

Promoting your company’s content on LinkedIn

Many businesses are now using a LinkedIn Company profile to build their brand online. Indeed, it was recently revealed that LinkedIn is the best generator of leads to a corporate website. (More here).

However, while many brands will have customised their Company Profile and uploading interesting and engaging content, chances are that few people on LinkedIn will see these updates. Also, attracting Followers may also be problematic.

So, in a similar way to Boosted and Targeted Posts on Facebook, it is now possible to promote your content to a wider audience in order to raise your visibility further and reach out to new B2B audiences on the site.

Known as Sponsored Updates, these are very easy to use. Simply upload content to your Company Profile as you would normally do. You then get the option of promoting this content to a target audience drawn from a selected demographic, using factors such as Location, Company and Group.

Payment is either via cost per click (CPC) or cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). Like any form of CPD advertising, whether LinkedIn, Facebook or Google, the amount you pay is down to how competitive the marketplace is.

It is then a case of measuring the performance of these ads using LinkedIn anaytics, Google analytics and LinkedIn’s own campaign manager.

Do remember though that when running any form of advertising campaign to do the following:

  • Get your content right. You’re paying to sponsor an update so it needs to be interesting and engaging.
  • Choose the correct target audience
  • Ensure that you have a properly optimised landing page to direct people to
  • Test and measure the performance of the ads

Check out this excellent article on Social Media Examiner which goes into more detail about Sponsored Updates.

 

Twitter now allows Direct Messages from all Followers

Anyone that uses Twitter to communicate frequently either publicly or privately may find this new update extremely useful!

Up until now, you were restricted in that you could only send direct messages on Twitter when the other person had followed you back. In other words, only users who followed each other could send direct messages back and forth.

But now Twitter has opened the lines of virtual communication with a new option that allows users to receive direct messages from any user on Twitter – however that person has to be following you. Yes that’s right, you can send anyone a direct message even if you do not follow them back!

The opt-in feature appears to be rolling out now, and although it’s not yet available for everyone, some of us are now seeing the option in the ‘Settings’ menu.

If you want to see if you have this new feature, go to the settings on your Twitter account and scroll down to the ‘Content’ section. If this option has been made available to you then you should be able to check the box next to “Receive direct messages from any follower.”

Then this note will appear:

Twitter DM image

 

 

 

Enabling this option could potentially open up your Twitter inbox to everyone, which is probably why it’s off by default – but if you think that dealing with a potential influx of spam is worth opening up a new channel of communication for you, then go for it!

Even though this option is fairly minor, it’s useful for brands and business due to the fact that it’s easier for them to receive private messages from their followers – thereby eliminating the hassle of receiving massive amounts of @replies that ask you to follow back just so someone can DM you.

Please remember that when you use this feature, don’t overdo it and start spraying masses amounts of information to other peoples’ DM inboxes hoping to score a follower in return – you’ll just put them off.

Just because you’re now able to send DMs to anyone who follows you, that doesn’t give you a reason to start spamming people – so be sure to use it wisely!