Tag Archives: Social Media

Picking Your Platform

Picking A Social Media Platform For Your BusinessI lived with one of my best friends my senior year of college who exposed me to many firsts, most of them Web 2.0 related. Referred to as “THE Internet” by our outer circle, he opened my eyes to the world we commonly refer to as social networking. He convinced me to join Twitter before it became what it is today, forced me into blogging on Tumblr before I saw the value in it and even pushed me to try Foursquare—one of the most popular location-based apps, which has undoubtedly consumed a plethora of joyous and un-productive hours of my life (as well as earned me dirty looks from my friends at the brunch table.)

Today, I would shamelessly diagnose myself an addict, a user of well over 30+ networks. I blame said roommate for my obsession, but also have to give him credit for teaching me some valuable things about picking and choosing the networks that will bring the most value to an individual and/or a business.

Don’t assume that a popular network means success for you or your business. Just because a particular site has the most users or is deemed as the new “it”, doesn’t mean your business will benefit from using it. Research is essential before jumping on to any platform, established or not. An individual has the freedom to test and try things more freely, but a business really needs to evaluate what audience they are trying to reach and how other businesses alike are using that platform. Certain social networks can provide a useful outlet to interact with your audience while others won’t present any benefit at all. Pinterest, for example, works well for retailers and advertising focused industries because of its visual business model. Retailer’s can pin their products, which will then drive traffic back to their own site. Although fast growing and currently the talk of the social universe, it won’t provide much to a non-visual industry.

Get organized before you get started. Devising a social media strategy for your business is key; whether you create said strategy yourself or hire a qualified firm to help you, this should be your first step. Deciding on your audience reach, where they are, your end goal, deployment schedules and how the network will be maintained are all part of staying organized and using a social network effectively. A consistent plan that’s universal throughout your organization will help maintain your new presence on your chosen platform and keep everyone on the same page internally with the same goal in mind. If you start off using Twitter, decide how often tweets will go out, what the content will include, who the tweets will be geared toward, how you want to be represented, who are your competitors, etc.

Do one thing really well rather than multiple things haphazardly. It’s a common misconception that you need to be on everything in order to be considered a thought leader or, my least favorite term, an “influencer.” People create user accounts on multiple social networks, some collecting dust. Not good. Become a pro at one platform first. Learn the user capabilities and how far you can stretch them, track your progress and audience influence, see what they respond to most and test new ideas to prove their stickiness. If you have decided that your audience is on Facebook, learn the etiquette of the platform. When do people usually post and how often, what are the things your audience seems to react to best and how can you provide that. Learn how to set up tabs, understand the layout (whether it be timeline or the next update). Your network will be a breeze to maintain once mastered, which will then leave room to consider joining another down the road.

All social networking is trial and error, but having a plan before you start a new account will benefit you and your business. Who knew that the guy who purchased my first mullet wig, explained to me the binary numeral system and pushed me to get a web domain would have jump-started my career in social. I should probably go tweet him a thank you.


*Originally posted on the Thinkso blog

Playing Games With Social Media

While increasing visibility and traditional media coverage is a nice perk, you’ll get much more from your social media efforts if you focus on using it as a tool to build brand advocates rather than as just another PR outlet. What’s the best way to do that? By providing something that your audience finds valuable.

“Screw earning media. Start earning value!” was how one of the speakers put it during Social Media Week NYC this month (#SMWNYC.) In other words, the value that social media provides to a brand is something beyond a mention in an article or a retweet; it generates opportunity to build ongoing, solidified relationships with customers and influencers. And in turn, they will provide you with value—referrals, R&D ideas, a knowledgeable focus group, and yes, of course, increased revenue. But how do we do this?

A handy acronym to help you earn value from your customers through social media (courtesy of speakers @shaunabe and@saneel) is:

GAMES – Good, Attention, Money, Experience, Stuff


Good –Whether you’re promoting a charitable organization or showing your involvement in the local community, chances are you will gain more respect from your audience while contributing to the greater good. Participating in a non-profit initiative is the quickest way to humanize your brand. It also can help your social space become more interactive. Whole Foods is a great example, tying a charitable component to their brand and generating value for the customer. This year they started a National Peanut Butter Day event on Facebook, challenging people to buy a jar of peanut butter at participating stores. In return, Whole Foods would donate a jar to the Chicken Soup Brigade.

Whole Foods Facebook Page - Peanut Butter Challenge

Attention – Acknowledging a customer through social media sends a direct message that your brand values them. Re-tweeting them, commenting on something they posted or even using an active follower as customer service for your business shines a little lime light on them. There are lots of ways to do this creatively without taking advantage. @Chipotletweets is really good at interacting with people talking about their brand without seeming generic in their responses.

Chipotle Twitter Feed

Another great example is Charity: water. They created a new channel on YouTube and made as many videos as possible in one day to thank supporters personally as part of the company’s 5th birthday celebration.

Charity Water 5th Birthday Youtube

Money – Obviously the promise of cash can help you drive traffic and expand your brand presence. But try using a money incentive in combination with one of the G, A or E tips to boost engagement further. For example, run a contest where the winner gets to choose a charity your organization donates to or reward a customer with the best story that meets a company initiative. You can generate value for your brand and customer without spending lots of cash. But monitor the frequency of this, as you can quickly draw the wrong crowd just looking for an open wallet.

Experience – Remember that your customers’ experiences with your brand through social media isn’t just for first-time customers. It’s also continuing the relationship with your long-terms fans as well. But the experience needs to be valuable enough for your customer and your organization to benefit from it. Just like a rockstar at a concert, your fans support you. But you can strengthen their experience with your brand through simple gestures like pulling one on stage to sing a song. They will probably talk about you positively to their friends and are likely to buy tickets to the next show. The experience was valuable to them and the spend is justified. A great example of this is the Nike #MakeItCount campaign. Nike invited athletes and inspired users to participate in a conversation via Twitter, using the personalized hashtag to act as a new years resolution tweet. They created an inspiring and motivational experience for their consumers and took the extra step to tweet exercise advice to those engaging. The campaign even extended onto Instagram, allowing users to submit their own images as well as YouTube. The results have been long lasting, and have continued to generate conversation since its launch in December 2011.

Nike Twitter Feed #MakeItCount

Stuff – Rewards generate customer motivation. Incentives are a great way to draw attention to your brand and help breed buzz. It’s important to always tie your incentives to something that will be valuable to the customer as well as your brand tho. Asking people to answer questions on a quiz, providing a reward for filling out a survey or starting a trivia hashtag on Twitter are good examples. Whatever you choose, make sure you compare the value to your customer to the total spend from your organization.

These tips are key to building a solid and loyal customer base for your business, as well as a strong following on your social networks. There are so many creative ways to achieve all of the above and we would love to hear succeses you’ve had in your organization using GAMES!

 *Originally posted on the Thinkso blog.