Archives for engagement

How to get more Twitter followers (Ethically & Organically)

twitter follow mePeople always want to know how to get more followers. Many people ask if they should buy followers? The answer to that question is definitely no. Buying followers does not get you anything but numbers. No engagement. No link clicking. No retweets. It does nothing for you.  Organic followers are always the best followers. But how do you get people to follow you?

  1. Have interesting tweets.
    This means tweeting more than your breakfast or pictures of your cat. You have interesting things to say, observations on life and general commentary. So don’t just think them, post them on Twitter.
  2. Follow other people
    When you follow people, they will often follow you back.
  3. Retweet
    When you see something you like, share it by retweeting it. This is a great way to tell them that you like their tweet and can open up further conversations. Plus your followers will appreciate it when you share interesting content from across the twitterverse.
  4. Jump into conversations
    There are a lot of interesting conversations happening across Twitter. If you see one, jump in. All you have to do is tweet to the people having the conversation. Add a few thoughts and you might make some new friends.
  5. Join a Twitter chat
    These are topic based discussions on Twitter. They are a great way to get involved in Twitter communities.

These are all great things that you can do. Interesting tweets. However these are not the only ways to get followers. Twiends, a Twitter user and app directory, has a great list of things you can do to ethically grow your Twitter following. Their recommendations are focused on cross platform and off twitter growth suggestions, such as webinars, Twitter widgets and blogging.

So if you are ready for your Twitter following to start growing faster, take a look at your engagement but then also look at the Twiends Guide for some off Twitter ideas.

 

Got a Troll? Tips for responding to comments?

Social Media TrollThe more active your Facebook page gets the more comments and wall posts you are likely to get.  The big question is: how to reply?

  1. Always reply!
    Unless the comment is just a quick “Thank you”, you should pretty much always respond. This does not mean that you have to write a full reply, sometimes giving the comment a “like” is sufficient.
  2. Don’t delete.
    It is generally a bad idea to delete any comment or wall post, even if it is negative. People will tend to think that you are avoiding an issue and will make a bigger deal out of deleting a comment than if you just respond.  The only time you should delete a comment is if it is truly inappropriate, like porn or hate speech. If you do delete a comment that was in a discussion thread, I would recommend making a comment in the thread that addresses the deletion and why you did it.

Those are the two golden rules of managing your comments, but obviously there is more to it than that.

Comments tend to be one of four types:

  • Positive
  • Constructive Criticism
  • Negative
  • Spam

Positive Comments: These are usually praising your brand or your product. The person is commenting on the value you bring to their consumer experience. These are really important to respond to. This is how you build brand loyalty. Thank the person for the comment and try to add some additional value, like a fact relating to their comment – or tip them off to some exciting developments.

Constructive Criticism: This might be negative feedback but it is usually in an area that can be improved, like customer service or an issue with the product. Consider these as opportunities for flexing your customer service muscle. You can take the feedback and expand it to an email to help resolve their issue. Or if there is a solution, you can tell them how it is being addressed and thank them for bringing it to your attention.  When you address the criticism head on, you are also building brand loyalty. It shows the person that you value their opinion.

Negative: These comments are usually from a bad personal experience.  It can be an opportunity to remedy the situation if possible, or at least apologize. You may not gain a new friend, but it will smooth out the situation and show other people that you are invested in the customer/client experience with your brand.  Plus, if one person had an unsatisfactory experience there is a good chance that others have as well, but aren’t telling you.

Spam: This is pretty much the one thing you can delete without the worry of getting pushback from your fan base.  In fact, most will appreciate you moderating comments and getting rid of the spam; it will show that you care about the content on your page.

 

Social Score: Measure your Impact in Social Media

 

Stacked Coins

How do you measure up in Social Media?

Influence, engagement and reach are words often tossed around in social media, but how are these elements measured and assigned value? The average social media user definitely influences and engages with their followers, and although the audience might be small, your reach can extend beyond your social network.

Measuring influence, engagement and reach can be difficult, but these criteria all factor in to a user’s overall social media value score.

So how do you measure up? There are many quick ways to see how your social media use compares to others on the general index:

Follower counts:

You can get a quick read on your social impact simply by looking at the number of followers you have on any of your accounts. Assuming you are practicing white hat audience building (ie: not paying for followers or using follow-back apps that tend to falsely inflate your numbers) your follower count is an excellent indication of just how many people value your input on social media. This is also a rough gauge of your reach, as your followers constitute your direct audience and often your most easily influenced contacts.

Total RTs, @ mentions or posts:

Another quick gauge of your audience impact is the number of times your information is shared, or someone shares information with you. A glance at your Twitter RTs and @ mentions will tell you how influential you are among your network, Similarly, your Facebook wall will often give you a good sense of how engaged your network is with your posts or your profile. Most social networks are net up to provide notifications to help you monitor your pokes, messages, comments, likes and mentions. Check out your notification settings to see what information might help you measure your engagement.

Third Party ‘Scores’:

Your daily social media activity and data can also be summarized by companies like Klout and Peerindex, who calculate and assign you a score which reflects your social capital. The upside of these services is that they are free (at least at a basic level) and they collect data from multiple social media profiles automatically. On Klout, for example you can connect not only Twitter and Facebook, but now YouTube, LinkedIn, foursquare, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger and Last.fm accounts to factor in to your score. Peerindex is more limited, but offers Quora integration.

Another popular ‘tool’ is EmpireAve, which works like a stock index of social media users. The site works like a large monopoly game, and makes it fun to invest in and support others. Your value on the index is both a factor of your social media activity and your use of Empire Avenue; not a true social score, but an excellent means of comparison. If you are an avid social media user, these tools are the easiest way to gauge your overall influence; however you can also glean insight on your topics of influence, the users you influence most, and the users who influence you!

Good old Google:

Last but definitely not least, is the good old Google gauge. Google has set the bar for tracking data on the web, with rich analytics and evolving algorithms that try to fairly sort, rank and categorize information. Social data is no different, and a quick Google search can give you an idea of how prominent your social presence really is. When Google reintegrates real-time searches (temporarily turned off, at the moment) you’ll also be able to see your reach, impact and influence in real-time; not to mention the Google+ project which aims to eventually index and assign rankings to all social data on the web.

 

Whichever means your choose to apply when measuring your social influence, engagement and reach, remember that the value is subjective; don’t be discouraged by what you perceive as a low score. Set goals around increasing your scores and monitor them carefully to discover how your social influence, engagement and reach truly measure up.

 

Tagging Photos: Engagement or Spam?

Facebook has made a bunch of changes to their tags.  First, you can shorten them. Second, you don’t need the @ symbol. Now, you can tag Fan Pages in pictures.  Wait –  did I read that right?  Yes!  Facebook is now allowing you to tag Fan Pages in pictures.

Tag SpamWhen Facebook launched the upgraded Fan Page, they significantly improved their ability to engage. You could use Facebook as your Fan Page identity. You could write on walls and comment on the posts of other Fan Pages. You can even Like other Fan Pages. But you could not tag another page in a picture.

For Fan Pages that post a lot of pics, this was actually a hindrance. I manage Fan Pages, and being able to engage with people and other pages on a variety of levels is incredibly important. For many of us who have a professional presence on Facebook, our Fan Page is our public face. So if you are going to tag us, we want you to tag our page.

Photos hold a higher level of engagement for people. Your posts are more likely to been seen and read if there is an image attached. People are just generally more interested in visuals, and more likely to comment on a photo than on a post.

The ability to tag a page in a photo will open up the opportunity for some interesting  marketing strategies, like product placement contests. It will also drive engagement higher. This is because just like tagging in a post, if you tag a photo, that photo will appear on that page’s wall. This will also make it much easier for fans to share photos with pages because they won’t have to upload a pic to their wall; all they  have to do is tag the pic. It is one less step, and that ensures a lot more sharing.

The big concern is abuse. This does open up an opportunity for more spam tagging and generally inappropriate tags. Thankfully, tags can be removed by the original poster. So hopefully tag spam will be monitored by the community.

I am very excited about the ability to tag photos!

Facebook gets Casual

Tagging is a great way to let someone know you are talking about them. You are creating a link in a post that sends the other person a notification that you tagged them in a post. It also puts a copy of the post on their wall. This has been excellent for engagement, but it has been a bit stuffed-shirt in it’s implementation. Facebook has finally fixed that and made tagging casual.

One of the big problems tags had was their somewhat formal nature.  Though being able to tag was great, studies showed that it was not giving the boost to engagement that people were hoping for. The reason behind this was that people were skimming over posts in the news feed if they looked too long or too formal. Seeing someone’s full name managed to accomplish both simultaneously.

The ability to shorten a name will maintain the casual context of the post and retain the shorter length, and therefore should help improve engagement with tagged posts.

Now, when you tag someone in a post you type the @ symbol, just like before, and you select the person’s name from the list that appears.  After you do that, the person’s full name will appear in the post. Previously, if you were to delete any part of the person’s name it would remove the tag. Now, for instance, you can delete someone’s last name without affecting the tag.

 

New Facebook shortened tags

The shortened tag is a great improvement for tagging updates. Facebook is anticipating a significant increase in engagement levels with these new shorter tags. The latest update also includes removing the need for the @ sign.  Now if you capitalize a letter, Facebook tries to anticipate that you are tagging. This will make tagging easier for many people and should increase the usage.

Facebook tries to emulate communication in the real world. This is, in part, is why they have been so successful in creating the largest social network.  The new ability to shorten tags parallels real conversation without losing the power of social share. It brings back the casual in our social.

Facebook lets you Unlike your Fans

black and white picture of screaming fans

Are your fans enthusiastic or crazy? Facebook is giving you control with regard to who Likes your page!

Facebook has added a great new feature for Fan Pages, the ability to unlike a page or person.  This may not sound so revolutionary, but it is because it gives a page control over who Likes their page. Facebook has finally made a big move to help out businesses!

In February Facebook made some big changes to the Fan Page. One of these was allowing Fan Pages the ability to Like other Fan Pages. However, there was a problem.  When you are a profile and someone wants to be friends with you, it has to be a mutual decision; they have to send you the friend request and then you have to approve it. But Liking a page was a one-way relationship – all you had to do was go there and Like it.

Issues arose because some pages were Liking a page and then posting inappropriate content. The page could remove the content, but they could not do anything about the page that Liked them.  Thus, they were being left open to more spam and also being associated with the spammer pages appearing in their list of Likes.  For instance, say a hate group Liked your page. If you went to their page you would be listed amongst the pages they had Liked. With the the Fan Page’s ability to set their featured page, you might even be a featured Like, and see your Fan Page displayed prominently on their sidebar!

Facebook has now given control to Fan Pages to Unlike  and remove a Like from their page.  You also have the ability to ban someone so they will not be able to post, or otherwise interact with your page.

This new feature doesn’t just let you kick people off your page, it will also help you engage better. You can now sort your fans by people and pages, so you can clearly see all the pages that Like your page. This gives you more opportunity to interact with other pages and deepen your relationships on Facebook.

This is an excellent new Facebook tool that will really help boost engagement and give more control over what happens on your page.

 

Tweeting for Good – Engage the Crowd (pt. 2)

Part 2 of Tweeting for Good (Read Part 1: Tweet to be Retweeted)

Tweep Killer

Are you killing your tweets? Instead of engaging your tweeps are you shunning them?

The test

Any Twitter user should take this test:

1.     Click on your profile and look at a list of your tweets. What is the ratio of replies and retweets to ones you have written?

2.     When was the last time your CEO tweeted a picture of her dog?

Many non-profit organizations miss the point of Twitter as social media. Their profile timelines are merely a list of bland, often vague headlines and links to websites or videos. This type of usage merely turns Twitter into a list of PSAs and makes them a boring follow. And in the Twitterverse, boring = ignored.

By following a few principles, any charitable organization (or any tweeter) can greatly increase their influence.

#TEAMFOLLOWBACK

One of the beauties of Twitter is that it is very easy to connect and to say thank you. With a click of a “follow” button, you immediately have the attention of most users. If a legitimate Twitter account follows your organization, follow them back. How do you track following such a large number of people?  Organize them into lists.

Participate in the rise of “Crowdfunding”

Joe Brewer from “Chaotic Ripple” states that “crowd funding is a community-engagement process between an individual or organization seeking money to create something new, and a crowd of supporters who want to participate in the effort in a meaningful way .” Organizations such as 33 Needs and Donors Choose are turning “large numbers of small donations into big bucks.”

I hear many enterprises claim that they simply don’t have time for Twitter. It would delight me if this was a new attitude for these NPO leaders, related to just technology — but it’s not. As a volunteer, board member and employee I have worked with countless organizations that have always kissed the feet of potential large donors while ignoring their grassroots base.

In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, 75% of giving to charitable organizations was by individuals with single donations averaging around $150.  Social media such as Twitter present an unprecedented opportunity to engage large numbers of individual donors, particularly the Millennials and Generations X and Y.  We want our $150 to change the world. If a prominent activist talks back to a tweep, even just “Thx for the RT!”,  that tweep feels empowered.

Your daily Twitter habits should be to schedule and space out broadcast tweets about your organization and then replying to or retweeting any mentions you may have a few times a day. This has been covered in-depth elsewhere. In the article, “Where do you find time to tweet?” see how Aaron Lee engages a large number of Twitter followers during his busy day as a student and entrepreneur.

Say “Thank you” (or Thx or TU)

When someone retweets, replies or mentions your Twitter handle in a positive way, they are giving an endorsement of your organization. Think of the followers retweeting and mentioning  you as micro-blogging volunteers. Your volunteers would not stay engaged for very long with acknowledgement, and neither will your supporters on Twitter.

One of these “crowdfunding” organizations is Global Giving, a website where anyone can organize a fund to benefit projects anywhere in the world.  Since 2002, 179,303 donors have given $41,625,501 to 3,832 projects.  A look at Global Giving’s Twitter feed illustrates the best practices in community engagement.

One of Global Giving’s supporters, Cheap Ass Gamer, offered to match donations to Global Giving’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund up to $10,000 and met that goal in just two days. How many hours has your organization spent courting known potential $20,000 donors?  If they call, most likely you drop everything and answer. If a gaming forum administrator named @CheapyD follows you, you’d best be following him back.

Make it fun

One reason I’m addicted to Twitter is because I spend so much time laughing while I’m using it.  Usually, this occurs when I’m tweeting back and forth with everyday, ordinary individuals like myself, or reading tweets from my new favorite follow @BronxZoosCobra, the escaped snake that is now micro-blogging about his visits to destinations throughout New York City.

Crowdrise, another site where individuals can sponsor any charitable project, has the stated goal of making “fundraising so fun and addicting that everyone wants to do more of it. The power of the crowd is real, lots of small donations really do add up, and the Crowdrise community can have a monumental impact on causes around the world.” Crowdrise gives away a T-shirt a day on Facebook and Twitter and encourages users to send in pictures of themselves in Crowdrise gear but are “required to have seen ‘The Big Lebowski’ at least nineteen times.” @CrowdRise makes an interesting follow on Twitter and always says thank you.

Ultimately – it’s personal

Twitter is an important tool for engaging a large number of supporters on a personal level.  In less than 140 characters, you can immediately thank someone for their support. It is this personal engagement that turns followers into avid supporters. Twitter can be a fun medium, a break from stuffy galas and board meetings. So go ahead and let your tweeps get to know you: tweet a cute picture of your dog. Make sure you mention @ipaddenver or @twilidiot so I’ll be sure to see it. I’ll retweet — and I won’t be the only one.


Gretchen VaughnProfessionally, Gretchen Vaughn is a social media enthusiast and writes about the iPad for Examiner. She can be contacted on Twitter @ipaddenver or at  ipaddenver@gmail.com.

Personally, Gretchen is an avid Twilighter and conducts the Twilidiot’s Tuesday Twilight Trivia on Twitter contest. Follow @twilidiot from 9-11p ET to play. After connecting on Twitter through a mutual adoration of actor Robert Pattinson, she and @MelbieToast created designs to raise funds for relief organizations working in Japan. Please visit their store at www.cafepress.com/tweetforgood.

Got the new Fan Page? Yes you do!

Facebook logoYesterday the new Fan Page dropped for all Facebook users. The early adopters helped pave the way for the roll-out. Many of us converted our Fan Pages in February, when we were first given the option, and because we did we experienced the highs and lows of what the new version was about. In fact, we even started an online rally against some of the negatives regarding the Fan Page wall. Our cry to bring back chronological posts on the Fan Page wall was a success, and now that the issue has been fixed, my feeling about the changes are pretty good.

Your Fan Page is visually more like a profile now. This will make it easier for people to engage with your page, because familiarity breeds comfort.

You also have the ability to use your Fan Page identity as you build relationships on Facebook. This is a great feature, which allows you to interact with other pages, post on their walls and comment on their posts. This will dramatically help your communication and networking. Previously, you could only interact with other people as your Fan Page “self” or brand if you were on your own Fan Page.

The best part of the new functionality is the notifications. When someone comments on a post, you will receive an email (if your settings are set to do so) and you will see a notification alert just as if you were normally using Facebook. This is a great way to know when people are interacting with you, so you can respond. The notifications will also let you know when you have a new fan. You’ll still see your number of Likes increasing, and now you can discover who recently Liked you. This is great for demographics and networking.

No doubt there will a lot of discussion about the new Fan Page as it is released for everyone. Stay tuned!

Spam Tag, You’re It!

Can of spam with a tag on it that says "Tag..You're It!"

Tagging is great for engagement but can also be used as spam, which can get you deleted.

I was recently tagged in a picture of shoes.  I’d been friended by someone who runs a Fan Page.  When they held their next big sale, they posted a picture of a shoe, and then tagged me and a dozen other people in it. This is not a good engagement technique nor is this a good sales strategy.  This is called spam tagging, and it can get you deleted.

What did this do?

  • Posted in my newsfeed
  • Posted the pic on my wall
  • Posted the pic on my photo-strip (since it features your most recent photo tags)
  • And posted on my friends’ news feeds that I was just tagged.

Yesterday we talked about new opportunities for business engagement using the Use Facebook as admin” option that is now available. But just because you can does not mean that you should.  This technique of tagging people just to get real estate on their walls and news feeds is not new, but it is still as obnoxious now as it was on the day someone thought it up.

Tagging can be a great way to interact with people.  If you have pictures of fans on your page, tag your fans.  If they put up pictures at your business site, or images of your product or you, tag those. But just taking a photo of a product and then tagging people you have friended is not engagement, it is spam.

If someone reports you for doing this and Facebook sees that there is a pattern of this behavior, not only will your Fan Page be deleted, but your profile might be deleted as well.

What’s the difference between engagement and spam?

Spam is blatant and unwanted promotion.  The only reason you are reaching out to the person is to try to get them to click your links.

Engagement happens when you are joining or trying to start a conversation with someone.  It is based on the idea that you actually share something in common, you want to have a conversation with the person or page, and you’re interested in what they have to say. Engagement is not all about promoting you, though it can include that as long as it is done in a subtle and/or appropriate way. It is about building relationships with people first and promoting yourself second.

Engagement is key to growing your network and generally maintaining a successful presence on Facebook. With the new options available, be careful that you are actually engaging and not spamming.  And never EVER arbitrarily tag people in posts, notes or pictures.

Making a list, checking it twice…

Santa checking his list

Adding people to a list can help you grow your network and improve your engagement. Are you using lists to help your Twitter presence?

Lists are an important tool in Twitter. They can help you keep an eye on the people you really want to pay attention to. They can help you organize your tweeps into content-related groupings, like “Funny Tweeps” or “Real Estate Tweeps”.  You can also use lists as a way to grow your network and your sales.

A great tool was recommended to me by one of my tweeps.

The interface is easy to use and the lists are easy to manage. Once you create them they are synced with your Twitter account, which means that they will also sync with applications like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.

Formulists.com

This is a tool that links to your Twitter account and creates lists for you.

It has suggestions for the types of lists you can have or you can create your own custom list.

What makes this so useful is that it aggregates the list for you based on selected criteria and updates the list daily.

Suggested Lists

These are the lists that Formulists.com suggests for you.  They are a good starting point and give you some great building blocks.

  • Filter your following
    This allows you to add filters like location, tweet frequency or keyword. So you can limit a given list of people you follow to filter only those who talk about their cats.
  • Track your Interactions
    This is a great one for keeping track of your engagement levels. You can create a list of people you talk to, people you retweet and people who retweet you. Set yourself a goal for growing your engagement lists.
  • Manage your followers
    Who is following you? Who is not following you back?  Here you can see what is going on with your follows and followers. If you see a lot of fluctuation in your Twitter numbers this can be a good tool to help get to the bottom of why people are unfollowing you.
  • Expand your interactions
    This is my favorite tool for growing your network.  You can create a list to find people who are like you, based on Twitter suggestions. You can set it to find people who are like someone you follow, so you can find an influencer and then easily find more people like them. You can follow the people your friends are talking to, or people who are mutual friends.  This makes it very easy to target your networking to people who are likely to be interested in you.

Set yourself a goal to increase the size of your engagement base list every day and watch your Twitter network grow!

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