to the discussion for
WEEK 2. Please respond in
complete sentences for each question, unless directed to do otherwise, demonstrating in your reply that you have read the material in order to receive full credit. AND ONLY USE THE MATERIALS PROVIDED
Topic 1: Social Media
This week, you watched
the Social Media Revolution 2019 #Socialnomics and read The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media.
As you review the multiple statistics that display in
Social Media Revolution 2019 #Socialnomics, and reflecting on what you read about social media, assess the impact of social media in your life.
What role does Social Media play in your life? Are you aware of the social media policies of the organizations where you work, attend school, or volunteer? Have you used social media to resolve problems, participate in a cause you are passionate about, or to learn about UMGC? How does Social Media impact your personal and professional communications?
Topic 2: Digital Humanitarianism
This week you also watched
Innovations in Humanitarian Relief (PBS online video)
In the wake of natural disasters and acts of terror, several tech companies are making an effort to improve traditional responses effort in humanitarian relief.
Do you think that humanitarian aid workers constantly need new ways of thinking, new products and new processes to better respond to disasters? Why or why not?
Topic 3: Cyber Psychology
This week you read: Cyber psychology and cyber behavior of adolescents-the need of the contemporary era
Cyber psychology evaluates how we interact with others using technology, how we can develop technology to best fit our requirements, and how our behavior and psychological states are influenced by technology. Cyber psychology applies psychological theory to explain how individuals interact in cyberspace and how these interactions might affect our offline lives. It offers a new way to define the self and society.
How does technology impact psychology? List
at least three advantages and
at least three disadvantages.
Question #2: Do you present yourself differently in different online spaces? In what ways are you different and in what ways are you consistent? Why do you think this is?
Please make sure you answer EACH item and LABEL each item (#1, #2, #3, etc) so that I can easily check that each item has been answered.
After you post your response, please review it to make sure it is
formatted correctly and is
easy to read.
Please find below the content and items you need to read this week.
The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media (PDF – 12 chapters)
How social media has changed politics (web page)
Cyber psychology and cyber behavior of adolescents-the need of the contemporary era (download the full text pdf document)
Please find below the content and items you need to watch this week.
Socialnomics 2019 (YouTube video | 2:11 mins)
Innovations in Humanitarian Relief (PBS online video | 3:57 mins | closed captioned)
Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media!
Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media! Whether you’re new to social media or just looking to close a few
knowledge gaps, we’re glad you stopped by. By now, we’ve all heard how valuable—even essential—social media can be.
Whether your current sentiment leans more toward enthusiasm or trepidation, there’s no way around the fact that social
media is a far more complex field than it first seems. Diving in without a sense for what it’s like can be overwhelming, and
building a network that provides real value takes both savvy and hard work, but fear not—we’re here to help! We hope you’ll
find this to be one of the most comprehensive social media resources available, and that no matter what your skill level is,
there’s plenty in here to help you improve your social presence. What are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!
The Value of
Metrics and ROI
Find the Right
Network for You
What is social media?
“Social media” is a way for people to communicate and interact online. While it has been around since the dawn of the
World Wide Web, in the last 10 years or so we’ve seen a surge in both the number and popularity of social media sites. It’s
called social media because users engage with (and around) it in a social context, which can include conversations,
commentary, and other user-generated annotations and engagement interactions.
Publishing content has become exponentially simpler over the last several years, which has helped skyrocket the use of
social media. Non-technical web users are now able to easily create content on a rapidly growing number of platforms,
including those that are owned (hosted communities, blogs, etc.), rented (social networks or third-party communities), and
occupied (commenting, contributing, etc.). Today’s web has shifted from a “one-to-many” to a “many-to-many” method of
engagement, and we’re loving it.
For businesses, the shift in web consumerism and accompanying rise in social media brings both opportunity and
responsibility. The sheer amount of data that customers make available through social media alone has web marketers
jumping for joy. The real magic, however, lies in the opportunity to grow lasting and scalable relationships with your
organization’s customer base through social media. This is also where your online responsibility to your customers begins to
take shape. Just as your customers’ behavior has shifted, so have their expectations for yours. Whether your business is
listening and engaging or not, customers are having conversations relevant to your operations. It’s better to be part of the
conversation, right? We sure think so!
Is social media just a fad?
Over the last several years, there has been an explosion of growth in popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter,
Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and many others. It’s safe to say that the era of social media is just getting started,
and the need for social media in business will only become stronger over time. The whole world has seen the impact of the
expansion and adoption of social media tactics, and the rising stats speak for themselves.
Why does my company need social media?
Whether you are running a small, local operation, or heading a global, enterprise-level effort, the statistics above make it
clear: Your customers are online. They are interacting in social channels with their friends, colleagues, and other brands in
search of information, recommendations, and entertainment. If your company is not around to answer, a competitor will be.
In doing so, your competitor will quite likely take away the customer at hand, along with anyone else listening.
There are tons of opportunities to add value—
even to delight!—and making that connection
can help build a person’s relationship with a
company, brand, or representative. Those
relationships create the foundation for what can
eventually become one of your greatest
marketing assets: customer advocacy.
If you ever find yourself in a bind, your advocates will help remind the rest of the
world who they’re rooting for. Advocacy is not something that you can stumble
upon or buy. Advocacy is earned over time through continuous and positive
engagement with your customer base. It is earned through experiences that
delight, and through the delivery of the highest class of customer service.
Advocacy is the nirvana of social media, and it is through advocacy that your efforts start to
truly scale and grow. It shows that your brand is doing such an amazing job that your customers shout about your brand
from rooftops, sharing their opinions and experiences with their networks. That sharing is the best marketing a brand can
Identifying potential advocates is a good first step. You can use social tools (many of which are outlined in the rest of this
guide), site data, customer data, and even your own observations to help you pick out which customers are likely to go to
bat for your brand. You’ll want to figure out what is most important to those potential advocates. What are they looking for?
Are they fishing for recognition? Are they excited by exclusive access to news and/or content? Figure out what type of
advocates your brand attracts and find ways to recognize them for their advocacy. It is important to note, though, that most
of your greatest community relationships will be built organically. While your research and brand knowledge encourages
people and helps you put the right foot forward, relationships take time.
The transition from a passive web to an interactive web has brought with it many changes affecting how individuals connect
with one another and also how businesses operate. At this stage in the game, it’s fair to say that a web presence is critical to
the success of a business. You can’t get ahead if you’re ignoring your customer’s online conversations or opting to look the
Because so much of the customer experience
now lives on the web, social media enables
brands to take part in a customer’s online
experience outside of the typical channels.
other way. Use this opportunity to get closer to your audience than ever before—reach more people in a genuine and
authentic manner, drive more qualified site traffic, increase the authority of your brand, engage the people who influence
your customers’ behavior, and gain the data necessary for insights-based business decisions.
Maybe a better question is, why wouldn’t your company use social media?
How can social be a springboard for success
in other marketing channels?
Keep in mind that neither your customers’ experience nor your brand starts with Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Social
media should take your existing brand and solidify it, galvanize it, and bolster it. Your efforts in social media should be an
extension of everything else you do in all departments of your company. Capturing your company’s voice and sharing it with
the world through social media will open up unique opportunities in all other channels of inbound marketing, including SEO,
branding, public relations, sales, and more.
To get the most out of social media, make the relationships you build with it your
end goal. That might sound a bit utopian for anyone who is grounded in more
traditional and tangible business measurement and metrics, but take a step back
from the bottom-line, ROI-seeking aspect to look at the big picture for a minute.
The relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other
aspects of your business can and will flourish.
Relationships flourish when you cultivate them, and no other area offers you the
opportunity to do this as well as social media. Social channels have broken down
the walls between individuals at an unprecedented rate. In 2011, Facebook
released data showing that its users were, on average, 3.74 degrees of separation
away from one another, making them nearly as connected to each other as Kevin
Bacon is to the rest of Hollywood. In the years since that study, the network has
only continued to grow. That’s pretty amazing, and social media can take credit for
making it happen.
Some of the most successful SEOs and public relations professionals earn their
notoriety, at least in part, from the relationships they are able to build. They’re also
good at what they do, of course, but great relationships bolster their already solid
effort. The relationships you build with your customers lead to advocacy and
loyalty, traits that can support your brand during both the good and the bad times,
representing an investment that will remain strong on nearly any platform and
under nearly any circumstances.
Information can be shared through social media at an amazingly fast pace, and
users are increasingly turning to social channels to share information in real-
time. This information often takes the form of opinions, so if you’re listening for
the right cues from your audience, social media can become an invaluable
source of insights and feedback. Incorporating social listening into product
development work can act as an early warning system, save on customer
service costs, provide valuable development feedback, and even help identify
ideal beta testers without much expense.
Social media is not something you can simply “tack on” to the rest of your marketing, branding, PR, and advertising efforts;
it needs to be a fully integrated part of the mix. In doing so, you can create a cohesive and scalable experience for your
customers. Think of it as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Also, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
Be sure to integrate social media into your marketing efforts as early as possible to help amplify and solidify your work rather
than waiting until the end of a planning cycle to explore social options. If a social
presence is clear from the start, your branding will benefit from additional customer
touchpoints, PR will see a lift in impressions and reach, and customer service can
proactively listen and activate where necessary.
As you can see, a social presence can have far-reaching impact for your
organization when it is executed in an authentic and thoughtful manner. By making
social engagement a core part of your operations rather than an afterthought, you
have a better shot at fully leveraging its power.
How much of this guide do I need to read?
As you can probably already tell, there’s more to social media than often meets
the eye. While this guide is designed to be helpful no matter how much you read,
we really recommend going cover to cover. Although every section might not
apply to your social campaigns now, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the
moving parts you might want to implement later, and you will be well-poised to
create the most effective strategy you can.
If you’d rather print it out and take it with you, we have a of
the entire guide available for you to download.
Building and engaging a community
Perhaps the greatest value of social media marketing is your ability to
foster and engage with a community of other people. That engagement
is at the heart of social media, and without it, you’re left with a
megaphone and no one to hear you. You have the opportunity to interact
with customers from all over the world—including those who are right
down the street—on a huge scale. If a current or prospective customer
has something to say to you or about you, you now have the ability to
In addition to responsive communication, brands and businesses can
begin to build relationships with their customers beyond those that
happen during normal transactions. These relationships are what keep
customers coming back, increasing both loyalty and retention. If those
customers become advocates and increase your word-of-mouth
presence, you’ll start seeing amazing returns.
By providing a great place of engagement for your community and helping build valuable, authentic resources for your
brand’s niche, you’re also building up authority for your brand within your industry. You’ll find your customers increasingly
trusting what you say and coming to you for resources that can help them solve their own challenges. Heck, you may even
find yourself lending a hand to a competitor in the space. All brands start in a similar unknown place, and the more you give,
the more authority you’ll get back. A great example is REI, which not only sells outdoor gear, but is also a known resource for
tips on hiking, snowshoeing, zombie survival, and a whole host of other activities centered around the outdoors.
Moving from “like” to “love” to “defend”
The feelings of any community member toward your brand can range from resentment to adoration and beyond. We’ll
address the negative feelings later on; the people we want to concentrate on now are those we hope to move along a
spectrum from simply “liking” you all the way to being willing to defend you and your brand.
The first step is getting people to simply like you, whether on Facebook, by word of mouth, or however. The people who like
you are consistently having their expectations met. This typically feels transactional with a low level of engagement, though
there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
Like any relationship, forming bonds that take you to the next level highly depends on the needs of both your brand and the
individuals with whom you’re interacting. You want to form these bonds on positive experiences you have together that
benefit both of you. (This is not to say that bonds can’t be formed through adversity, but having say a positive Twitter
exchange around helping someone is better than one around how your product is malfunctioning.) Even better if these
experiences bring delight and build your unique brand voice. For example, when Kotex started their Pinterest account, they
selected 50 female users and sent them unique packages based on their Pinterest boards. Not only were these women
surprised and happy, but all shared about what Kotex did on their social networks, creating a cascade of warm feelings.
The Value of Social Media
There is another level where this relationship grows even deeper. When a customer becomes willing to defend your brand,
you know you’ve really outdone yourself. This final “willingness to defend” stage is brand and social nirvana, as community
members are not only engaging frequently and providing recommendations, but also standing up to advocate your work and
defend you from brand detractors.
You can never expect your community to handle 100% of the customer service issues or questions that arise. They aren’t
fully equipped, and it’s not their job. But you can expect, after your initial investment and cultivation, that some community
members will begin to step up and help out when they can and where appropriate. (This is a good time to think about about
how to recognize and even reward your most active participants.) When that happens, you begin to see how your efforts will
start to scale as you continue to boost your community engagement efforts. It frees you up to work on other engagements,
and as you might imagine, an advocate standing up for a brand is far more powerful than a brand standing up for itself.
There’s a level of authenticity built into that sort of peer-to-peer interaction that can’t be found in brand-to-customer
It’s not just about marketing
The community engagement that social media affords is beneficial to nearly every part of your organization, from the product
team to HR and more. As an added bonus, getting more colleagues involved will lighten your load. To get you started, here
are a few areas that see the most obvious value.
By using your search traffic data, on-site engagements, and social listening efforts, your social media presence can help you
determine what people are looking for and create content that fulfills their needs. (Not to mention giving you a wonderful way
to share that content once it’s available.) Topics for content will likely fall in one of three buckets:
Learn and improve
This type of content is designed to optimize your customers’ tasks or workflow. You are attempting
to make their lives better by more fully utilizing your product (feature education, etc.), or even by
offering assistance. The main goals of this content type are to build authority, drive connections,
and increase engagement.
Explore and discover
Customers wanting to get creative and find new ways to use your product are looking for this type
of content. For this group, building relationships is going to be tantamount; these relationships will
breed ideation and community.
Question and answer
This type of content serves to meet customer support needs. Something has gone wrong, and
customers seek a solution. This can range from a detailed forum thread on resolving a technical
issue to a simple question and answer on how to make a product return. Your main goal is to drive
Also, don’t overlook the content that can be generated within your own community. User-generated content can be amazing
—a gift, even! Your users can help write what your audience finds interesting, relevant, and useful. The possibilities are
Using analytics tools like SimplyMeasured, True Social Metrics, as well as tools from the networks themselves, you can
measure the conversations you’re having on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and even YouTube for content creation ideas. The
big takeaway: Members of your community are openly talking about what they want. In order to reap the benefits of that
conversation, all you need to do is listen. It’s remarkably easy to derive meaningful insights when you’re looking in the right
It’s a pretty natural human reaction to complain when something doesn’t go our way. In the past, we might simply have
vented our frustration to a couple of friends. Now, we turn to Twitter and Facebook. A much larger audience is listening there
—one that is not limited by geography and has the ability to easily amplify any complaints. As a company, when individuals
use their social channels as a means of complaining about you, it can be frightening at first. It can feel like you’re being
attacked and like you have no control. But these truly are opportunities to jump in and help rectify the situation, even
improving the customer’s experience with your brand.
Bottom line: We’re rising with the tide of our
Not all customers will address you directly, however, so it helps to be
listening. Always make sure it’s clear and easy for people to easily
contact you. It may help prevent a Twitter rant or an upset Facebook
Some customers out there are ready to engage with questions, concerns,
and even complaints, and it’s your job to be there. But you don’t have to
do it alone. Remember that as you move your community members into
more meaningful relationships with your brand, they’ll stand up to defend
you. You have to put in the muscle up front, but after a while, you’ll start
seeing evidence of your community stepping in to help each other on
With some training and an emphasis on consistent voice, social participation can be picked up by other customer service-
oriented departments inside the company. When social engagement is not the sole responsibility of a social media marketing
professional, but rather a distributed effort across functional areas of the company, you’ll be able to better serve your
customers while running an efficient and informed business.
At no other time in history have businesses had more access to customers at scale than they do now, and product
development stands to benefit from this perhaps more than any other group. Input from social media, though, can be both a
blessing and a curse, as people don’t always know precisely what they think or want. There’s a quote widely attributed to
Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, that goes, “If I had asked the people what they wanted, they would have
said faster horses.”
It’s easy to make the mistake of treating all customer input as gospel. Feedback is incredibly important, but that being said,
you should take that feedback in the context of everything else you know about your product and your brand. A few
complaints are not necessarily representative of your entire userbase, so the feedback you’re seeing may not be completely
representative of the truth. There are several tactics you can employ to make sure you’re gleaning all the right benefits of this
customer feedback without assigning artificial weight.
Create beta/tester communities: This can be done in a couple of ways. You can curate a list of community
members who would be most helpful—power users from across the social web, enthusiast bloggers, and so on—into a
group connected by email, a Facebook group, or other social mechanism. You can also create special restricted areas of
your forum-based communities where these power users can converse, engage, and network while participating in
conversations you generate. This special access can serve as a reward for those community members, and it can lead to
incredibly useful insights for you and your brand.
Listen for your competition: As you listen for product feedback, you’ll want to analyze sentiment, look out for
specific problems, and see what the greater community says about your competitors. Conversations happening around your
competition’s products/offerings can provide endless amounts of insight for your own efforts.
Measurement: Just as you can glean insights about your products by sifting through your web analytics, you can gain
similar clues by watching and measuring the performance of your social channels. Do posts about one product frequently
outperform similar posts about another? Your customers might be telling you something about which they like better.
Social media can play a wonderful role in HR, as well: encouraging employee engagement, finding and connecting with new
recruits, and even helping with retention efforts.
A word about governance: Depending on the culture at your organization, your HR department
might need to play a part in any implementation of social media, and regardless of the culture,
getting their buy-in is always a good idea. Working with your HR professionals during the
development of your social media policies and governance can help ensure your organization is
protected from risk while empowering its employees. Definitely get in touch with them before
pulling other employees into your efforts; this is one area where you’d rather ask permission than
Beyond those governance considerations, though, social
media can be a remarkable tool for HR professionals. Some
of the areas you may be able to grow your efforts into HR
Social media is not something that should be solely utilized by any one team within a company. Ideally, the entire
Social channels are the perfect place
to reach new applicants. People
search for job openings online, and
chances are that some of them have
already “liked” you, so why not reach
them where they’re already spending
their time? Given its interest, your
community will also be more apt to
share these openings with its
Internal social networking
There are some social networks that are designed to be used
entirely inside an organization. Some people like Yammer.
Some prefer Chatter. Heck, some even use Basecamp or Jive.
Whatever flavor you pick, social networking tools used
internally can be incredible for knowledge sharing, building a
sense of camaraderie, and increasing cross-functional
collaboration. Internal social networks can also be valuable for
governance and policy awareness efforts.
Being active and fully aware of the “hows and whats” of social
media is quickly becoming a mandatory skill in today’s
workforce. This skill cannot be overlooked, especially for HR
professionals. Social media can also be used to network
online and learn about trending topics in a specific field,
discovering new areas of opportunity for the business that
might include niche communities for related professions.
organization is involved in some facet of the company’s social media and has a deep understanding of their customers
through participation. Cross-functionally distributing the social media effort also helps ensure the right people take the helm
at the right time.
At the same time, it’s important to maintain consistent voice and branding for every aspect of your company’s social efforts,
so you’ll want to at least create a set of basic guidelines for everyone involved.
How to get social media buy-in
As you make your case for your brand’s social media endeavors, you’ll likely need to show value to your leadership or
clients. The good news is that with a little analysis, the data is on your side. Let’s start by building a business case that’s
right for you.
You know your organization better than just about anyone, so trust your gut. If you’re worried about pushback, you can run
some small-scale tests to see how it goes and build a case for your effort. In safe pockets—places where you can play
around and create the foundation for your business case without much risk—build out a trial or two that touch on some of
the most pressing issues your organization faces, and see if you can’t prove the impact of social media in those areas. You
might even look to your competitors for some good examples. Once these tests have yielded results, present your new data
to whomever needs to give the social sign-off. This strategy of starting small helps buy you the permission and trust you’ll
need to work towards some of the more difficult results.
Wow, impressive. I’m a marketer, though—what does all this
mean for me?
As more people throughout your organization realize the benefits they’ll receive
from social media, you’ll be better able to focus your efforts on marketing instead
of on being a help desk or a go-between. Additionally, you have the added benefit
of scaling some of the costs associated with social engagement, and you will
have multiple teams of people on your side helping to make the business case for
investments in engagement evolution rather than going at it alone. This is a
foundation for success.
If you have tried making a business case and you’re still being met with resistance, don’t give up. Try building out specific
case studies to add substance to your pitch, giving higher-ups a feel for what it will eventually look like. If you have an
opportunity to start small, dipping a toe in the water with minimal risk, your results can speak volumes. Once you have
something new to show, you can revisit and strengthen your business case. It’s hard to argue with data.
What kinds of content to publish and share
A common (and understandable) mistake that many people make as they’re diving into social engagement is to limit their
content to promotional updates. This is reflective of the traditional marketing world in which all outbound push messaging is
just that, but things have changed; now we build our marketing efforts on trust, engagement, and community.
There is, of course, a time and place for marketing and promotional messages, but don’t limit yourself. Consider broadening
your scope a bit. This will make your content more appealing and lessen the burden of creation. Some options for types of
updates may include:
Adjacent content: It’s a pretty safe bet that if someone is following you they’re interested
in what you offer. It’s an even safer bet to say their interests don’t stop there. Share content that’s
tangentially relevant to your business or something involving common interests of your audience.
For example, if you are a clothing retailer, you could post about up-and-coming beauty trends or
news from a major designer. These topics quite likely directly align with the interests of your
Tips and tricks: Add
value to the conversation by
sharing content that will make your
customers’ lives easier (bonus
points for tips and tricks that help
them use your products or
Responses: Not every update has to stem from original ideas of yours; you can bounce off
the ideas that other people are already posting. Social media relies on conversations, so jump in
and be a part of them. You can even look for Twitter chats that are relevant to your brand and dive
in. (This is also a good way to get your account and brand more visibility.)
Non-promotional company information: If your company
does amazing volunteer work in your community, don’t be shy about sharing it! If
there’s a rather impressive showing at the company Halloween party, you definitely
want to share that. Giving a sneak peek into the culture and community within an
organization goes a long way to building relationships by humanizing the brand. Social
media provides a fantastic way to go about this.
Social Media Best Practices
Job openings: Social channels can be an incredibly fruitful place to find new talent and
publicize job openings. Job seekers are increasingly using social media as a way of learning about
companies and their open positions; it’s a match made in Internet heaven. Get those listings out
there and be sure to highlight the most important ones.
Jokes: This is a tricky one, and it’s more of a branding
question than anything else. First of all, know what your
brand is and what kind of personality it embodies. If humor
is not a part of that, you might avoid this type of post. It can
backfire and be incredibly awkward. If you are going to try
humor, safety first! Ensure you’re not unintentionally sharing
something that could be offensive by testing it amongst your
colleagues, friends, or even family. Always err on the side of
caution with sensitive topics; a disaster can be really painful.
Once you’ve made sure the humor is acceptable, make sure
it’s actually funny, because a bad joke is just embarrassing.
How to share and publish your content
Frequency of updates
“How often do I need to update my account?” is a common question, and there is no right or wrong answer here—no best
practice set in stone. It simply depends on your audience, their appetite, and what you have to say. There has been some
research on this topic that can act as a general guideline in your efforts; but as with most things, it’s best to test and see
what works best for you and your audience on each platform.
One universal fact is that social media status updates don’t last long. The half-life of a tweet, for example, is around 18
minutes for most users. This number isn’t meant to suggest you should post that often, but rather understand that sending
an update out doesn’t mean it will remain visible for an appreciable amount of time. Users move on to more recent items in
their newsfeeds quite quickly. The takeaway here is to keep an eye on how long your users are engaging and sharing
something. More than anything, this is indicative of the quality of your content.
Again, though, it all depends on what is appropriate for your organization. For example, news organizations or media
publications could easily be expected to update multiple-to-many times per day, whereas a clothing retailer would be
exhausted by this rhythm and consequently turn off users. You definitely don’t want to talk just for the sake of talking; if you
don’t have anything of value to add, don’t post updates just to meet a quota. That said, you will need to make sure your
account updates regularly enough to entice users to follow along. You want them to know they could be missing out on
some good stuff if they don’t.
Fostering engagement as a brand comes in two flavors. The first is responding to users mentions, questions, commentary,
etc. In the beginning of a community’s development it’s critical for a brand to be very present and active, and this means
responding to most user commentary and all of their questions. The volume at this stage in the game should be fairly
manageable for most.
The second flavor of engagement is that which results from a solid data-driven content strategy. By looking at things like
search queries and social conversations, you can begin to build the foundation of a solid content strategy. As you’re sharing
this content throughout your community, you should collect data on how your audience reacts to it and engages with it.
Consider all of this data to be feedback on how you’re doing. You might re-evaluate the timing of your updates, the format or
sentence structure you use (are you asking questions, making bold statements, etc.), and even the type of media you’re
Ask for help: Want your community to help or
participate in a particular way? Sometimes it’s as simple as
asking. If you’ve earned their allegiance by building value
and investment into the relationship, you can ask for survey
participation, product feedback, or whatever else you need.
Maybe you need help supporting or sharing a new program
or piece of content. You’ve made the relationship
investment; they will often gladly reciprocate.
Keep it simple: Too many options may as well be no
options. If your audience isn’t on a certain network, why
would you promote that sharing option on your content?
Conversely, if your main focus is B2B, you may (for example)
not need to include Pinterest as a sharing option. Look at
your social audience and match up your offerings with their
Cross-promote for discoverability:
There’s nothing worse for a user than not being able to find
your content, and cross-promotion is an easy way to help
keep that from happening. Ensure your blog is linked to from
your social properties. Keep all of your profile names the
same across all social channels (utilize a service like
KnowEm to be proactive on this one), and cross-promote
your accounts. And (this is super-important): Develop and
sell a unique value proposition for each account. Think
about it—why would a customer need to or want to follow
you on Twitter, if they already follow you on Facebook?
Make sure you give them a reason.
Monitor and listen: Monitor social channels as
frequently as you can. Utilize services that will help push
notifications to you so you can ensure you’re not missing
meaningful conversations across the web. There are
countless apps for Twitter and Facebook (SocialEngage,
HootSuite, TweetDeck, etc.) available, and you can set up
alerts, as well (Fresh Web Explorer, IFTTT). Often the admin
tools of various platforms will have this functionality built in.
As you monitor, genuinely listen to what your customers tell
you. Social listening data provides endless insights for
brands and companies willing to listen. This can be your
product feedback channel, your user experience
consultation, and even your early warning system for when
things gone awry.
Gamify: People enjoy competition and like being
rewarded for achievements, and adding game-like elements
into your marketing mix can help you motivate a community.
Foursquare is one effective example of this, moving its users
through mayorships and badges. You can identify ways to
incent your own community in ways that align with your
business goals, making engaging with your brand fun. This
can be a great way to increase the number of answers your
community is providing in a help forum—add levels and
achievements for answering questions, for high-quality
answers, or for sharing out unanswered questions. Match up
behavior and goals with reward systems. Companies like
Badgeville and BigDoor have products that can help you use
virtual rewards. These efforts can build on your existing
social marketing, increasing sentiment, retention, and
loyalty, all while decreasing churn, acquisition expense, and
customer service costs.
Consistent branding and voice
There are many elements that go into a brand—both visual and otherwise—but ultimately what it becomes is your promise
to your customers. You define their experience of what your product offering tries to fulfill. A “brand” can feel like a very
amorphous concept; but consider the fact that your company’s brand helps add tangible value to the organization, and
when managed appropriately, it can help to protect the investments made to the business over time. How one actually
determines the value of a brand is a fairly complicated endeavor.
Most of us aren’t trying to compete with the most valuable global brands. That being
said, there sure is a lot you can learn from them:
Your social presence is just an extension of your brand, allowing that brand to reach many more people through networked
experiences. This can be both a risk and an opportunity, so it’s important to spend the time it takes to decide and define
what your brand will be in the social environment, as inconsistency in this area can lead to a disjointed customer experience
(or even a negative impact). Key questions to answer include:
1. How your logo is to be represented
2. What fonts and colors can be used
and in what manner
3. A full brand description and what it
4. Situations in which the brand can and
cannot be used
5. Tone, voice, and manner guidelines
6. Other topographical and structural
elements (primarily for advertisers)
If you do not already have brand
guidelines developed, you’ll
want to start there with your
marketing team. Once you have
those finished, you’ll want to
address how they translate to social
media. Most of the visual
components (logos, colors, etc.) will
remain the same, though you’ll want
to make sure the users setting up
your social profiles have access to
any relevant creative assets. For
more inspiration, take a look at the
. For most small and medium businesses, these will likely feel
overzealous (they probably are), but you can glean inspiration for the parts that make
sense for you. If you have a graphic design team, they should be able to help you with
a lot of this as well.
Know your audience. Be on-brand, but also be relevant to the environment in
which you’re working. Your audience, or the social platform you are engaging on, may
slightly change your tone and voice from your brand guidelines. This is where it’s
important to have a really solid understanding so you can adapt as necessary. It’s not
vital to be absolutely consistent between platforms, but it is vital to demonstrate
Be human. It probably sounds obvious, but this is the goal of social media. Human
engagement is where the magic is, and keeping that in mind as you’re developing your
brand will help you craft a voice that’s not only solid and cohesive, but also one that
users can relate to and build relationships with. You know, like people. 🙂
Integrate your campaigns. Integrating your campaigns across all of your social
profiles can help solidify your brand and amplify your efforts. Using similar visual
elements across all of your profiles will help ingrain your messaging and drive home the
point in ways that are relevant and customized to the platform.
Cambridge Identity Guidelines
If you don’t answer these questions first, your social presence can veer toward one of two extremes: Either your
communication will come across as stiff and corporate, and the people you’re engaging will feel like they’re dealing with a
robot, or your community manager will use his or her own voice in your communications, leading to an inconsistent or even
Providing a cohesive, branded customer experience that is completely agnostic of site, network, or location will serve to
galvanize your community’s comprehension of, memory of, and hopefully preference for your brand.
How to earn familiarity, trust, and
likeability in your community
Building a reputation around these three qualities is part of what goes into building relationships. We’re all in this social
media puddle trying to accomplish big things for our businesses, but step back for a minute—let’s think about this in a
different way. How do you build relationships offline or in person? Building them online for your brand is not all that different.
What is our brand voice and personality?
What do we stand for, and what do we represent?
What is our value proposition and differentiating factors?
What are our defined visual branding elements (logo, font, colors, etc.)?
None of this will happen for you overnight. An investment in these relationships is ultimately a long-term investment in your
community and brand. Keep it up, and be patient—the more you invest, the more you’ll get back.
Show up. Simple as that; just being
present is the first step. But it doesn’t stop
there. You have to continue showing up. Give
people a reason to invest in the relationship. If
you don’t prove you’re going to stick around or
pop in at least somewhat regularly, they don’t
have any reason to connect with you in the
Be human. Be kind. Be real. Be funny. Be
respectful. Be empathetic. Be all of the things
you would expect someone to be toward you
in every interaction. No one can easily relate to
a bland personality. If your effort feels
automated and heartless, you won’t come
across as very likeable. Also good to
remember: When you’re engaging with
someone on social channels, it’s best to
assume all interactions are completely public.
Don’t be exclusionary. This
creates a balance in your relationships. You
don’t want to treat a select few so specially
that outsiders new to your brand or account
feel as if they’re on the outside looking in.
Strive to make every individual you interact
with, and those watching, feel like they are
special and part of the in-crowd.
Be off-topic. Closely related to being
human, it is definitely okay to go off-topic now
and again. If every tweet or Facebook post is
only your marketing, people will tire quickly
and leave. Turn it off once in a while. Post
something that’s relevant, but perhaps only
tangentially. Enjoy a joke now and again.
Celebrate the holidays or world events. No one
likes to be marketed to constantly, and that’s
not where the magic happens!
Add value. Sure, you can show up and
make friends just by being congenial, but
you’re a brand. You want more than just
“friends.” You’re building a network and trying
to establish your company here. Adding value
will help you be seen as helpful and
authoritative, and ultimately, make you a
wanted part of the community. Offer
assistance, answer questions, and
to make someone’s life easier or
Practice etiquette. Do not spam
. Brands have for
this in the past, and it can show your brand in
a disrespectful and distasteful light. Don’t be
too pushy or forward; you want to make a
good first impression.
Be aware of current events. During solemn times, natural disasters, tragedies,
events of terrorism, etc., you definitely want to turn your marketing messaging off. If you’re using
a scheduling service to post content for you, turn it off immediately at the first sign of a
catastrophic event of any kind. Your timing will be and could cause
severe backlash against your brand.
go out of
hashtags gotten in trouble
seen as incredibly insensitive
We hope that we’re never faced with a crisis as a business, and social media can add an extra
layer of complication to such a situation. A real-world incident can be amplified by social networks,
casting a shadow over everything you say, and customer service issues can smolder and quickly
spread through social platforms. At the same time, though, social networks can be a wonderful
way to practice transparency, as the best way to fight chaos is with clarity. Buffer, a social sharing
app, exemplified this type of response when it was hacked in late 2013. Their blog, and the
comments below it, are a testament to the benefits of open communication through social
When thinking about crisis management, all companies
should be in one of the following four stages at all times:
Preparation: Understanding risks, building out escalation processes,
draft responses, roles and responsibilities, training, etc.
Response and measurement: Responding if necessary, following
up, measuring and monitoring reach, volume, etc.
Recovery: Typically consists of more measurement, follow up, case-
studies, and knowledge sharing throughout the organization.
Prevention: Analysis of crisis and existing procedures, identification of
opportunities for improvement, and acknowledgement of what worked well.
When in crisis mode work to first understand the level of severity, identify potential risks, and
escalate accordingly. Work through the crisis by listening intently, showing empathy,
transparency, and a willingness to correct whatever wrong had been done. After the fact,
examining the impact and pulling insight from the situation can help the organization heal, move
forward, and gain traction toward a strong preventative posture.
Measurement leads to action; it’s hard to argue with that. Conversely, what we do must be measured, or there’s no proof it
worked. An analogy with a tree falling comes to mind. 🙂
There are really three big buckets for social media analysis. Some data points will cross between buckets, and others may
even fall outside of these, but for most businesses these three major categories should cover your social data needs.
True Social Metrics
Account growth and competitive
progress will fall into this bucket.
We’re really talking about hard data
points in this bucket. Growth in
followers and likes, reach, and CTR
are all examples of measurement
Listening and insights:
Social media gives us unprecedented access
to conversations. Listening tools help you take
the massive flow of information and distill the
meaningful bits. The insights you glean will
help inform you of key customer pain points,
competitive opportunities, and even overall
Monitoring and response: Getting a little more tactical, marketers need the
ability to monitor all of those social conversations in order to take effective action. These tools
typically have workflow functionality built in, so you’re empowered to not only find, but act. This
is not limited to reactive posting, either. These tools will likely function as your primary content
distribution tool if you’re not doing it directly from within each platform.
Some tools may serve one or more of these needs. They can vary wildly in price and functionality, so taking a critical eye to
what type and form of data you will need will help ensure you pay no more than what is necessary.
Part of the beauty of online marketing is that you can measure nearly everything you do. Before you dive in, however, keep in
mind that measurement is only effective if you know what to measure and why. Collecting data from which no meaningful
insights can be derived can lead to time wasted in what’s not-so-lovingly referred to as “analysis paralysis.”
Ultimately, we’re working towards measuring any return on your investment (ROI). But remember, in order to measure ROI
you need to have an I. Without a serious investment of resources, you may never find the return you’re looking for.
Measuring that ROI can look very different for different campaigns, and opening a metrics dashboard the day after you
launch a social presence won’t provide any useful insight.
For some, goals are as simple as driving traffic and measuring conversions. For many, however, things are far more complex.
Your ROI may come in the form of cost savings from handling customer service issues on Twitter instead of over the phone.
Perhaps you can track increased foot traffic from a Foursquare promotion or Yelp campaign.
One thing is certain: Measurement of useful data leads to action and (perhaps more importantly) budget. Solid data is what
makes your business case compelling; without it, you’re basing decisions and pitches on assumptions and instinct. Those
can be helpful, but by measuring first, you can take your story to the next level.
How, you might ask, do you strike a balance? The key is finding the right things to measure and ultimately report for your
organization. When trying to figure out what those are, remember that you will have two kinds of data.
Social Media Metrics and ROI
Quantitative data is generally numeric
in nature and can be used in true
scientific analysis, with sample sizes of
statistical significance and results that
Followers/fans: This is one of the most
common metrics we see brands track. Be sure you’re
not placing too much weight on this one. It may be
gratifying to see growth, but if it’s not tied to something
more meaningful, it’s just a number.
Engagement: An incredibly meaningful metric
—perhaps one of the most important in measuring your
own success and efforts—engagement can actually
measure a host of different items depending on the
channel. All of these different metrics combine to give
you a sense for how well your audience is responding
to your content.
For a blog post, this could be the number of shares and
comments per post. On Twitter, this could be the
number of mentions, retweets, favorites, and
responses. Engagement tells you how well you’re doing
in having conversations with your community and
whether the content you create piques their interest.
Timing: Take a look at the timing of your
community’s activity as well as your own. You want to
ensure you’re active when they are. This is often
overlooked, as many accounts are only managed
during business hours, but that isn’t always when your
customers are listening.
You can gain a general sense for when your target
audience is online just by looking at the timestamps on
their comments (and other activity), but you’ll get a
much better idea if you use a tool that can analyze an
entire audience. Check out the tools recommended in
chapters 6-11 of this guide for examples.
Click-through rate (CTR): Click
through rate is a familiar metric for most Internet
marketers, and it can be valuable in social as well—
especially if one of your goals happens to be driving
traffic back to your website. Think of it as a sort of
social conversion that you can work to optimize.
Qualitative data is based on
observations, and it often takes the
form of hypotheses that stem from
smaller sample sizes than you’d
normally need for a true scientific
study. These hypotheses can then be
tested using quantitative data.
Influence: This one’s a bit controversial.
Everyone wants to find their community’s influencers,
but there is currently no universal standard for
measuring influence or finding those people. There are
several tools available that offer “influence scores.”
(Klout and our own Social Authority are popular ones.)
Though if you choose to use such a tool, you should
have a good sense for how it determines the score;
you’ll want to ensure it aligns with what you are actually
trying to measure. Beyond tools, also consider looking
at Twitter and Google rankings for influencers within a
certain topic. If you have access to a relevant forum
and its data (perhaps your own), look for influencers
there too. This can help you target the individuals that
will have the audience you’re looking to reach. Our own
Twitter tool, Followerwonk, can be a great resource for
this type of research as well.
Sentiment: Sentiment analysis attempts to
measure the tone and tenor of a conversation around a
stated topic or item. In social media, this is largely used
to tell if people love, can’t stand, or are neutral about
your brand or campaigns. Most sentiment
measurement tools are automated these days, and if
you choose to go this route, you’ll want to make sure
you understand the methodology behind the tool—
particularly the margin of error—to help you understand
the context of your reports. There are also manual
sentiment analysis tools out there to use. However,
there are many drawbacks to these including labor
costs and your time. Not to mention that a really great
manual solution may be much more expensive than an
Conversation drivers: With the right
tools, we can look at nearly any platform (or all of them
for that matter) and see what people are talking about.
When it comes to your brand, you’ll want to know the
topics and context of conversations about you, your
competition, and your niche. This incredibly useful
knowledge can tell you, for example, who your
customers see as your closest competition, what
they’re sharing in relation to your product, their
concerns, etc. This is one of the most important and
insightful qualitative measurements you can use.
A deeper understanding of the tools you use and how they work will give context to the numbers you see. Don’t be afraid to
ask questions, dig deeper, and challenge the way things have been done in the past.
With any data you’re collecting, whether it be quantitative or qualitative, the most
important things to ask yourself are “What can I do with this?” and “What are my
insights?” If you can’t do anything with your data and you’re not gleaning
actionable business takeaways from it, then you should question why you’re
measuring it in the first place.
Deciding where to focus your social media energy can be a confusing process, as time is short and resources are limited. It’s
easy to get distracted by the buzz and articles touting the next big thing that brands “must do.” As with any marketing
channel, though, the more thought and strategy you put into your implementation plans, the greater your chance of success.
You can avoid being overwhelmed by stepping back and starting with your own business objectives, product offerings, and
What are the different types of social
Not all social media sites and platforms are created equal, and each social channel won’t always work the same way in
helping users reach their goals. In looking across the online environment, it helps to organize your social options into
categories. By looking at groups of channels with common themes, it is easier to frame your decisions about when, where,
who, and how best to engage with your community online.
The easiest way to break up the categories is to think of them as owned, rented, and occupied. Here’s how each of those
categories breaks down:
Owned properties may include blogs, forums, or homegrown social
networks, and they can be internal or external. The main difference with
this category is that you literally own the channel rather than occupying a
page on a platform that is owned by someone else. It may be on your
primary site or on another domain, but it is fully under your control.
Much like renting an apartment, a user occupies a portion of a channel
with the permission of the owner. Sometimes there is a cost involved, but
in the world of social media, that doesn’t happen often. Sites like
Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr fall into this category. Facebook owns its
site, and you’re simply managing a presence on it. You may have official
claim to the page, but you have no claim to the platform itself or a say in
how it may change.
This category is the most removed from your control. Your company
might have an official representative who interacts and engages in an
occupied property, but there is no ownership of any kind, and these
channels can be changed at any time. Reddit is probably the most
popular example. Employees of a company will frequently participate in
forums or community sites in either an official or unofficial capacity, but
always on behalf of the company.
Finding the Right Social Network
Consumer conversations take place across all three of these social channel categories, but before you dive into any of them,
it’s important to take some time and think through your channel management plans and participation strategies. For
example, smaller brands with limited resources might select one site based on the high mileage they can get from their
consumer base before needing to branch out into multiple channels. As a representative of your brand, you have the
opportunity to add unique perspective and value to whatever channel will work best for your organization.
Which network should I sign up for first?
There is no one answer to this question. For each and every business, this question will be answered differently. A good first
step for any organization is to visit KnowEm.com. This site allows you to register your brand name across more than 500
social networks. This will help to ensure that your name will be registered where you need it to be, regardless of which
platform you end up deciding is right for your brand. And for those that you may not need to use right away, your brand
name remains protected from squatters. Consequently, Knowem also has one of the most comprehensive lists of all of the
social networks on the web, so it is also a good place to look for networks beyond the obvious Facebook, Twitter, Google+,
That said, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that nearly everyone should have a Facebook page. With over 1.19 billion active
monthly users (as of Sep. 2013), it’s quite likely you will find a healthy number of your customers here. You may find the
same thing in Twitter.
Another tool to help you narrow down the “where” of your social strategy is to go on a bit of a listening journey. Use one of
the many social listening tools to find out where your customers and greater industry are having relevant conversations. This
insight should help uncover where it makes the most sense to set up your presence.
Single vs. multiple accounts
Whether or not to attempt multiple accounts on one social network is a big question. The answer: It depends. Some large
companies, like Nordstrom, have a corporate Twitter account, while many of their stores have their own accounts. This
allows them to communicate rather specific and relevant information to regional followers, while maintaining their corporate
account for overarching news, promotions, and announcements. Other companies have found it helpful to segment their
accounts by product, such as Google, GoogleAPIs, Blogger, and so on. In this case, it makes sense based on their offerings
to divide the conversations up by audience and product rather than geography. Nike, Comcast, and Delta Airlines are good
examples of brands that have successfully implemented multiple accounts for multiple purposes.
Additionally, you should carefully consider your ability to manage multiple accounts. Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and
SocialEngage make it easier than ever to manage multiple accounts from one dashboard, but remember—there’s nothing
sadder than an abandoned social account. It doesn’t send a good message about your brand and its ability to follow
How to get started
The most important thing to consider when
deciding if it makes sense to segment your
profiles on these networks is whether or not
you’re better able to add value to the
customer and the conversation. Are you
better able to address your customer needs
on one account, or are there regional
considerations that may make that more
First things first.
Ask yourself a few questions:
What behavior am I trying to drive, and to what
Of the social channels out there, which types lend
themselves to the specific products and/or services I
Who are my target customers, and what do I know
about their online behavior?
Identifying your own goals will help you decide which type of social media channel makes the most sense for your efforts,
and clarifying the desired behavior of your community members will help define how you go about engaging with them. For
example, are you trying to increase brand awareness? If so, consider marketing activities that include the collection and
sharing of customer testimonials, highly-shareable content, and buzz-worthy interactions. Are you shooting for increased
traffic and conversions? Look for opportunities to engage with relevant, interested customers who are ready to pull the “buy”
trigger. The point is to match your engagement efforts with the outcomes you want to see.
Let’s look at an example. Imagine you’re running a growing beauty products
company with large national and global aspirations. Here’s a step-by-step
roadmap to choosing the right social platform for that business:
Don’t limit your thinking to vertical. Go horizontal too.
Sure, your customers are interested in your products’ niche, but what about their
other interests and topics—the ones indirectly aligned to your niche? For
example, say you’re a retailer of sailing boats and gear. There are surely some
amazing sailing-related communities that make perfect sense for you to
approach, but there’s a high likelihood that your customers also have a strong
degree of interest in travel, other outdoor activities, and perhaps even food and
wine. Think about how can you participate in those horizontal communities, and
say hello to a vastly expanded audience!
Focus on what is most important to your
community rather than what is most
Once you get going in social, it’s easy to get distracted. There are new apps, tools, and networks that pop up on an almost-
daily basis, and you could easily spend your entire day just checking them all out. The idea, though, is to strike a balance
between tools-obsessed marketing and being an ostrich with its head in the sand. It’s better to do fewer things effectively
than many things ineffectively. But you should also keep your eyes and ears open for the up-and-coming social trends; there
will be a time when it makes sense for you to jump in. Here are some things to consider:
When all else fails, keep your eye on your goals, but don’t be afraid to dip your toes in the water and test, test, test. Invest
enough energy so you can get a meaningful response, and use this as your guiding light on whether or not you should go
As new networks emerge, how do you
launch a new presence?
In social media, there are certain truths and norms. Once you’ve applied those to your business in launching a presence on
one network, you will quickly see that they are portable across nearly all other networks. The rules of engagement may differ
slightly from site to site, as will the semantics, perhaps, but the fundamentals will remain unchanged regardless of the
platform and are always the best place to start when branching out.
Goals and measurement: Determining your new channel’s goals should be
something you think about from the very beginning. Why are you engaging on this new channel?
What are you trying to get out of it? After you have identified your goals, you have to decide how to
measure your success. For emerging platforms, this may take a while, depending on what analytics
tools are available in the marketplace and how the platform’s API is set up. (You could always build
your own if it’s open enough and you have the resources.)
Look for platform functionalities that work with your
product offering or market space. For example, clothing
retailers are well positioned for the image sharing social
networks that have become popular, like Instagram and
Emerging technologies and/or functionality that allow
you to communicate and share with your community in
Additionally, keep an eye out for technologies and sites
that have the potential to reach new demographics that
fall within your target audience or their influencers.
Branding: Your social authority is vital, and effective branding can go a long way to
establishing your authority as a brand. Social channels also provide you with exciting possibilities
to express your brand and increase brand impressions. Make sure your avatars are on point and
your bios are dialed in, and make your first impression count!
Content seeding: There is nothing quite as sad as visiting the page of a social profile
you’re interested in and finding absolutely nothing there. Before you start following people or
actively directing traffic to your new profile, make sure you post some content over the course of
several days. This helps reassure visitors that there is something there worth following.
Influencer connection: After you get your branding t’s crossed and your content
i’s dotted, it’s time to start looking for people with whom you can engage. Start by seeking out
those individuals you’ve identified as influencers from other platforms. You have likely already
established a relationship with them, and relationships are portable across platforms. Leverage
that. As you interact with them, seek out more individuals who are relevant to your space in their
followers. Before long, you should have the basis for a nice little network.
Discovery: Once you have established that this new network is a place where you plan on
investing time and energy, add links from relevant places to help your customers discover your new
presence. Write up content about what you’re doing that is interesting, and highlight it on your
blog. Cross-post from your other social channels to drive awareness.
Content calendar/publishing: As with all of the other channels you have
established, it’s important to keep a content or publishing calendar. You can do some content
scheduling through available tools like HootSuite, Spout Social, and SocialEngage. When planning
a content calendar, you can be as sophisticated as having a plug-in baked right into your content
management system or as simple as using an Excel spreadsheet. It’s really about whatever works
for you, and planning ahead helps to ensure you’re fully optimizing events, promotions, and
interests relevant to your audience.
When you’re ready to get started, there can be so much to do that it seems overwhelming. The great thing about social,
though, is that once you get the basics settled, most of them are transferable to whatever new site comes along that you
want to try. These best practices will help you set yourself up for success in social regardless of your size or what the
When Facebook started in 2004, it was a bare-bones social network focused on connecting college students. Nine years
and more than 1 billion active users later, Facebook has become the most widely-used social network to date and has
shaped online interaction as we know it. From connecting distant friends and family members, to bridging the gap between
brands and their communities, Facebook has taken the way we interact online to a whole new level.
Key stats and demographics
Looking for sources? Click on any of the stats above!
How are people using Facebook?
Since its inception, Facebook has become an integral component of people’s online social presence. For many, Facebook is
the only online social network in which they participate, though the level of engagement varies across the user spectrum.
From those that check the network periodically throughout the week to those who are almost compulsively active, the core
driving force to participation is connection: connecting with colleagues, friends old and new, alumni networks, and for an
increasing percentage of users, even professional connections.
The network itself has transformed into one with highly customizable privacy and visibility settings. Users can dial down their
visibility to the point where they are nearly invisible on the platform. They can choose which posts or updates are visible and
to whom. Conversely, those users who have chosen a more all-in approach can leave everything completely public, from the
images they’re tagged in to their active stream on Spotify.
Features go beyond the individual user’s page to brand pages, events, groups, and now a pseudo-standalone messenger
Groups are user-created and have varying levels of
privacy and security, much like individual profiles. Users can
organize groups around any topic or event they like. From
professionally relevant groups to those organized around
special interests, such as nutrition, the variety is limited only
by interest of the users. These groups have undoubtedly
been a welcome and sticky addition to the platform over
Events allow users to organize around a point in time.
Security here is fairly customizable, allowing for public,
private, and somewhere-in-between events. A key feature
here is the baked-in ability to export your Facebook events
to other calendars, no doubt increasing usage and reliance
on this feature that blends users’ personal and professional
Business pages have been an evolutionary
product for Facebook. Over the years, they have taken
several different shapes, though they are fairly stable today.
Like other types of pages, the feature set is ever-evolving as
they add more to meet the needs of the marketers behind
the brand’s efforts. Facebook has recently added more
features in terms of analytics, reporting, security, and
access, as well as increased the richness available to those
wishing to dive into Facebook advertising.
Facebook Messenger is a new way to
combine email, instant messenger, and Facebook
messages. As new stand-alone group message services
popped up throughout 2010 and 2011, Facebook clearly
saw an opportunity and acquired one of the more popular
group-messaging apps known as Beluga. They have since
re-branded this app as Facebook Messenger. On iOS,
Blackberry, and Android devices, this is a stand-alone app,
but it also integrates across the Facebook app and web
As users increasingly rely on social platforms, these social networks will grow and respond as Facebook has. While there’s
still a great deal of opportunity in this space, Facebook offers users the most choice for the many facets of their lives while
enabling flexibility for privacy and visibility. As users continue to adopt new behaviors and ultimately expectations, Facebook
will need to continue to adapt to stay at the top of the social pile, so expect continued change and evolution. This change is
necessary and beneficial, but can be frustrating from a marketing perspective.
Strategies and tactics for success
As more and more people and brands jump onto Facebook, the noise level for individual users increases. While Facebook’s
News Feed algorithm helps the noise level by showing users what it deems the most relevant content, in order to really stand
out from the crowd, brands must be remarkable, interesting, and add value.
In order to ensure your content is seen, you’ll need to optimize and take Facebook-specific functionality into account.
Content: Everything you post on Facebook is content. As we now know from the News Feed
algorithm, how users interact with that content is important. Consider every piece of content you
post an opportunity for increased and specific engagement, and don’t be afraid to have a little fun.
Take a look at these examples from Delta and GE. While completely on-brand, you can see they’re
a bit unexpected and show they’re not afraid to show their human side. Also, images are incredibly
effective on Facebook—posts with photos get, on average, 39% more engagement.
Post timing: Also related to the ingredients of your content is when and how you post it.
Be sure you’re tracking what time of day your fans are most active. Focusing your engagements
during these times will help you grow your community. Also be sure to pay attention to things like
sentence structure, phrasing, and types of posts that are particularly engaging to your audience.
Many Facebook users check the site on their lunch breaks and after dinner, and while the latter is
outside of normal business hours, it’s worth testing to see if that’s a time when your audience is
looking for content.
Moderation: Brands have increasing
levels of responsibility for user-generated
content posted on their walls or in comments.
You’ll want to proactively think through your
stance on inappropriate content on your
Facebook page, and your best practice would
be to make this stance publicly available. This
lets your community know what you will and
will not allow, lessens the chance of a surprise,
and builds a sense of safety and sets
Facebook is an open and public space, so you
can’t control everything people say. Instances in which it is appropriate to remove user content would include:
advertorial content, harassment and abuse, derogatory or offensive language, threatening posts, and posts that contain
sensitive information (credit card numbers, addresses, etc.). Instances in which you should address the comments
instead of removing them include: customer complaints, negative commentary, and critical statements. You may not like
what people always have to say, but in social, you always have to listen.
Engagement: Because we are building something rooted in relationships, you can take
full advantage by joining in the conversation with your customers. They want to interact with your
brand, and are going out of their way to do so. Honor that. The type of conversation will dictate the
cadence and rhythm of your response. This is largely dependent on your product as well; for
example, an airline’s response rates to customer service issues ought to be rather quick, as their
customers’ needs are likely far more time sensitive than those in another industry. Only you can
determine what is right for your organization and product, but at least in the initial stages of
building a community, it’s better to err on the side of faster responses.
Community: Make your audience’s experience on Facebook
about their experience and their connections rather than your CTR and
conversion rates. Concentrate on them, and you’ll succeed. Your
audience will turn into a community that thrives, grows, and supports one
another. By enabling engagement within the audience, you can help
increase the level of stickiness and affinity they will have to the brand,
moving toward customer advocacy.
User flow: While the page environment Facebook gives brands is mostly set, you want to
make sure you’re directing your users where you want them to go. If I am a user looking for
support or help, will I know where to go? Just as you do when designing landing pages for your
website, consider the goals of your Facebook page. What do you want users to do when they land
on your page? What information do they need to be able to access easily? Make sure these
elements are front and center. You can easily change the order of the apps and even optimize the
icons used to display those apps for visibility. JetBlue is a great example of a clear and obvious
Credibility: A huge part of your brand is built on trust, and the foundation of that trust is
your credibility. Grammar and spelling are universally important, and all efforts for their correct uses
should be made. Fact-check sources and news before sharing them on your networks. Ensure the
safety of your users by not sharing links to malicious sites. Essentially, make sure you don’t give
your community a reason to believe you are anything other than what you are: awesome.
What success looks like
There are millions of companies using Facebook to showcase their brands and interact with their communities, but a few
stand out above the crowd. Take a look at how these leaders in the Facebook marketing space:
Squarespace: This relatively young
company has already built a significant
following, and digging through their page gives
you several reasons why. Regular updates with
a great blend of content, and a team that’s
quick to respond to users’ comments is a
winning combination in the B2B world.
Burberry: People engage at a much
higher rate on Facebook with rich media
content, images, links, video, etc., and Burberry
gets that. Right away, you feel immersed into
their world. The captivating images pop and
beg you to keep scrolling. Their apps add a
great deal of value rather than simply offering
up additional marketing content.
Julep: There is little people like better than
attention. Julep, a chain of Nail Salons and a
membership-based subscription to monthly nail
polish and other beauty supplies, has been
extremely successful by creating their “Fan
#NOTD” (re: Nail of the Day). They highlight the
creativity of their community with their products
by rewarding the most expressive customers
and sharing their user-generated photos.
ESPN: The ESPN Face the Fan Chat is a
regular series of interactive content the sports
network hosts on Facebook via an app. This
live-streamed content does a great job of
integrating more traditional content for a
socially engaged audience. This fan
engagement is nothing new for them, but taking
it to Facebook reaches a whole new
Etiquette tips and guidelines
Like offline social interactions, Facebook has its own set of unwritten do’s and don’ts for users to follow. Facebook is, first
and foremost, a social network built to help users stay connected with one another. It has also evolved into a platform for
businesses to engage with their customers. This hierarchy is important to keep in mind, and means that you must know the
ropes before diving in. Here are a few tips to get you started with proper Facebook etiquette:
Don’t spam: This is a big no through all of marketing. Always be tactful, classy, and do not spam. This includes
sending mass-event invites and messages and invitations to like your brand pages from your personal account. It’s not
impossible to spam as a business page either, but Facebook’s functionality prevents most of it.
Respond: Response times are going to vary based on the issue and the product in question, but in social media
timeliness is critical. Users expect things to happen much faster on social channels than on more traditional web channels
like email. In most cases, same-day responses are required. Don’t ever let your community feel like they’ve been forgotten.
Say no to clustered updates: With the notable exception of image albums, avoid making multiple
updates within a short time span. Beyond News Feed algorithmic concerns, it’s just annoying to your followers. Your signal-
to-noise ratio falls, and you may lose the long-term attention of your audience.
@Name: If you want to call out another public Facebook page or user, you can directly link to their Facebook page,
which also notifies them that you’re talking about them, by putting an @ and then typing their name. (Facebook will help your
selection with a drop-down.) This also makes it clearer to whom you’re addressing. Note that private users can’t be called
out in this way unless you’re replying to a comment they left on your page.
Highlight important posts: If your brand has any very important updates; e.g. acquisitions, sales, or
feature in news articles; you can highlight them in your page’s timeline. This expands the post to both columns, and may get
these important updates further into people’s News Feeds.
Messages: People can send your page private messages. You’ll find the most of these messages will be customer
service-related, so make sure to check them. The messages section functions like an email inbox.
Notifications: The notifications box will show you the most recent likes, comments, wall posts, etc., on your
brand’s page. Depending on the volume of incoming activity, this administrative section can be useful when tracking activity
by your community. Due to Facebook’s focus on recent activity, you’ll probably only receive comments and likes on recent
posts, but the notifications can help track activity on older posts.
Page favorites: You can mark other brand pages as favorites on your business’ page. This is a helpful way to
promote partners, good causes, or others you’re connecting your business with.
Posting: While many social media tools allow you to post from them to Facebook, you’ll have the best results by
posting directly to Facebook from Facebook itself. Facebook’s algorithm biases toward post that originate from its own
interface. Responses and comment moderation, however, can be done via social management software without issue.
Scheduling: Thankfully, Facebook does allow scheduling of posts directly in their interface. If you are sharing linked
content, this content must already be live on the web, which can be a pickle for those scheduling unpublished blog posts or
other content. Scheduled posts will appear only to the moderators in the “Activity Log.” Keep in mind, though, that
engagement is a primary goal, and you’ll want to be around for the responses to your scheduled posts.
Business: A helpful portal for
business page owners offering
support for page creation, ad
campaign management, and other
True Social Metrics
are incredible resources for
Facebook measurement and deep
analytics for your brand pages, as
well as for competitive analysis and
benchmarking across industries.
Facebook recently launched its
studio, which highlights great
marketing and campaign work from
across its platform. Here you’ll find
case studies, awards, and examples
of great work to inspire your efforts.
Insights: (available in the
admin panel of any business page):
This tool offers up increasing
amounts of data specific to your
brand page. While this doesn’t give
you any type of competitive insight,
this panel tells you about who your
fans are, where they’re located, and
how much they’re engaging with
your page and individual posts.
Much of this information can be
downloaded into an Excel
spreadsheet for further analysis.
Facebook Brand: Like
any good organization, Facebook
has implemented guidelines for
using its own brand materials. This
page gives you official logos,
images, and all you need to know
about how to mention Facebook
without furrowing Mark Zuckerberg’s
Facebook Ads: If your
brand has the resources, you can
give your content a boost by buying
ads on Facebook. These ads can be
fine-tuned to the exact social graph
of your target customers.
Founded in 2006, Twitter’s 140-character bite-size updates have transformed the world’s access to real-time information. Its
simple interface allows for sharing anything from breaking news to sports, to great content, to worldwide politics. In a time
when we’re oversaturated with media, Twitter also allows us to access what we need to know. Much of the reporting from
the Arab Spring uprisings was done directly through Twitter. Through all of this, brands are joining the network not only to
promote their messages, but also to quickly and succinctly address the needs of their customers.
Key stats and demographics
Looking for sources? Click on any of the stats above!
How are people using Twitter?
Twitter has become a tool for everything from facilitating the collapse of governments to showing off your newborn. Through
Twitter, athletes have added sideline commentary and Hollywood has dialed up the drama. Consumers use the service to
share and find content. For many, Twitter has replaced their RSS subscriptions and traditional news media.
Due to its mostly public nature, Twitter’s most powerful use is connecting people. The platform allows complete strangers to
come together over common interests and ideas and to participate in conversations that range from the relatively mundane
to the incredibly important.
Some users may choose to essentially live-tweet their day, while others limit their contributions primarily to content sharing.
Your goal is to identify what types of users you’ll be looking for and engaging with and gain an understanding of how and
why they’re using the tool. By understanding their motivations behind using the site, you’ll be better able to target your
efforts and content in meaningful ways.
Strategies and tactics for success
Your success on Twitter depends on your specific goals, of course, but there are some universally applicable strategies that
can start you off on the right track. By continually keeping these tactics in mind, you can speed your progress toward your
Branding and voice: Being aware of who you are and who you aren’t is critical on
Twitter. You only have 140 characters to communicate your thoughts, so every word matters. Your
company’s brand and voice seeps into every interaction, passive or active, that you have here. As
you grow, you will naturally get a good sense of whom the idealized brand representative should
be. How would they talk? How would they respond to conflict? How would they joke around?
Questions like this may initially seem silly, but it’s better to answer them ahead of time than to
create answers based on your mood or the amount of sleep or coffee you’ve had in a given
moment. Consistency of voice is important, as people like to know what to expect in their
interactions with you. Over time, this consistency will help you build trust and confidence with your
Participate in relevant to the interests of your brand’s customers.
You’ll find like-minded people to help expand your network.
Save searches for common interests or popular hashtags to find people talking
about those topics.
Use tools like or to find like-minded users. Also look at
who they interact with and get engaged with those communities.
Tools like and integrate with Outlook and Gmail to help you
uncover social profiles of people you already know.
Twitter’s experience can help you dive into different conversations.
Also, check out Twitter , which lets you browse the best accounts on
a wide variety of topics.
Also, ensuring your account name and profile are filled out according to your brand guidelines is
critical. Think of these fields as your “first impression.” Many people will visit a Twitter profile only
once to decide whether or not they want to follow you. Your bio should be on-point, and your
handle branded and appropriate. Your location should accurately reflect where you are. Your
follower count may come into play here as well. Controlling your follower:following ratio can help
you further establish credibility, showing that you care enough to follow your community members
Responsiveness: Due to the condensed format and quick pace of Twitter, it’s essential
to respond to your community as swiftly as possible. The platform makes it easy for people to find
your brand, and you’re sure to get many customer service requests that need your immediate
attention. If you ignore a critical tweet for too long, you may find that one person’s voice is soon
amplified by their followers. Also, don’t just respond to emergencies or questions—make sure you
also say hello and respond to kudos given to your brand. As you grow, you’ll have to figure out
how scale, but too much tweeting is a great problem to have.
Measurement: The beauty of Twitter is that data is plentiful; the tricky part is setting up
those measurement frameworks and dashboards so that they align as closely as possible with your
business objectives and goals. Data is what really influences your bottom line in social; it helps you
tell your own story and find both opportunities and successes.
What success looks like
Developing hordes of followers is no small feat and, providing enough value to keep them engaged can be tricky. Companies
consistently earning the attention of the Twitterverse are worth keeping an eye on; here are a few particularly impressive
Utilize tracking and variables in all of your shared links. This will help you to better evaluate the
success that individual content pieces have. Look at the day and time your audience is most active,
the types of content they engage with most frequently, and the style and tone of your language. From
there you can better understand how to share and engage with your community.
Be interesting: There’s nothing worse than boring tweets. “Boring” is understandably
subjective, but you should strive to be interesting to your target audience. Streams that constantly
push promotional messaging get old very fast. How do you establish brand loyalty when the only thing
you say is, “Here’s 50% off [something]?” There must be more than that you can say about your
business, and if there’s not, you may need a new lens with which to view your organization.
Add value: It’s important to be consistently present, but not so loquacious that you tweet simply
to hear yourself speak. Every tweet you send should add value in some way. A good rule of thumb is
to ask yourself why you would want to see this information if you were a follower.
The fast-food chain is quickly
gaining a reputation for their spicy
snark (no pun intended).
Consistently funny, engaging, and
sometimes a little irreverent, Taco
Bell is completely on-brand, and it
works quite well for them. From a
content development perspective,
give them a follow and take a look
at how they reach out and engage
with their audience.
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods, an organic grocery
store chain, uses Twitter to really
reach out and engage their
consumers around relevant
content and interests. Not just
about their in-store experiences,
but also about their experience
with food in general. Take a look at
their weekly Twitter chat, using the
tag #WFMdish, where the topic
varies weekly, but centers on
healthy foods and cooking. This is
a great example of expanding your
thinking about content and
engagement horizontally, not just
A wildly popular non-profit
movement, Charity: Water largely
gained traction on Twitter. In three
years, they raised over $15 million
dollars to bring clean water to
people around the world. Charity:
Water relies heavily on engaging
content to get their message out.
This includes video, impactful
images, and consistent branding
on Twitter backgrounds and profile
images. By artfully telling their
story and building connections
between the audience and its
mission, they created true
momentum and support.
Etiquette tips and guidelines
Like any social interaction, Twitter has its own set of best-practices to follow in order to be successful. Here are a few tips to
get you started:
Don’t spam: This should be a rule across all of your marketing efforts, but it bears
repeating here. There are many new accounts popping up with marketers behind them
having the best intentions, but no matter how you slice it, spam is spam. Jumping in on
irrelevant hashtags to market your product is unhelpful. Likewise, relentlessly mentioning
every person in your feed to draw their attention to a piece of content or offer is typically
received as annoying. Be sure to keep your tweets relevant, helpful to followers, and spam-
Direct messages: DMs are great when you need private information, like a
shipping address. Traditionally, you can only DM people who follow you and vice versa. If
you have a verified account through Twitter, you can select a special setting to allow anyone
to DM you. However, you cannot respond via DM unless the person DM’ing you follows
Never send automated DMs as it’s considered spam. Do not, under any circumstance,
send auto-DMs to your followers. Auto-messages aren’t engaging, and you aren’t reaching
out personally for relationship building. If you’d like to reach out to every single person that
decides to follow you, do so in a personalized and unique way.
@ replies: When you start a tweet with an @username, only people who are following
both you and @username will see your tweet. If you want more people to see it, just put a
period or other marker in front of the username. Or you can always just rephrase your
Hashtags: By using #hashtags, you’re exposing yourself to a wider audience. Many
people follow conversations using various hashtags, but possibly won’t be following you.
Hashtags are meant as a shortcut to explain what your tweet contains or to show you’re
part of a conversation or event. If your brand’s jumping into a hashtag, you should make
sure that you’re contributing value to the conversation instead of just promoting your
Retweet (RT): There are two ways to RT, manually or through Twitter’s native RT
function. RT’s a great way to boost your community’s members content, make them feel
good, and say “you’re awesome!” If there’s a link you want to track or a grammar/spelling
issues you want to fix before RT’ing, you can edit the tweet and post it as “RT @username:
Puppies are cute!”
Scheduling updates: A variety of tools help people schedule out tweets.
Scheduling updates is the community manager’s very best friend as you are not always
online or otherwise available to update Twitter when you need to. You create the tweet, set
the time and date, select the account you want to send it from, and schedule. Scheduling
allows you to publish content when your community’s most active.
Make sure to watch your scheduled posts. Scheduling posts can be an incredibly useful
tool that allows you to scale your energy. However, pre-scheduled tweets can be
detrimental in times of crises, e.g. global disasters, national tragedies, etc. It’s important to
quickly turn any scheduled posts off even if these crises are not directly related to your
brand; global events can erupt, creating an inhospitable environment for off-topic content.
Worse yet, your posts may unintentionally become the source of controversy during a crisis.
For example, LiveNation went horribly wrong with Twitter, during a horrific accident at a
RadioHead concert, which they were liable for. Be sure to keep an eye on your scheduled
posts if you choose to do so.
Shortening links: Twitter now auto-shortens your links, but you should
consider using a separate shortening service with built-in analytics, as it will allow you to
track clicks of your content that don’t point back to your own web properties. Bit.ly, Buffer,
and HootSuite are all good options. Your may even consider buy a customized shortened
Twitter lists: Making lists of users can help your targeting efforts when you’re
trying to reach industry influencers or join in conversations relative to your niche. If you’re
making a public list, remember to be empathetic to people who aren’t on it; it’s best to stay
away from lists that qualify or rate people or their services. Making the lists private avoids
Use Twitter handles: If you’re talking about someone who’s on Twitter, use
their @username. It’s just polite, and your community wants to know when you’re talking
about them, as it’s an easy ego boost. This also encourages the people mentioned to share
what you’ve posted or further engage with your community.
Admittedly, we’re a little biased
about our own tool. Followerwonk
takes a data-driven approach to
measuring an account’s audience,
but bias aside, we think you’ll love it
too. This tool helps you identify
demographics, growth, interests,
what time your followers are most
active, and even tells you what
audience members you share with
competitors. Followerwonk helps
you explore the social graph and
really understand who Twitter users
Engage, and Sprout
Social: These apps allow users
to manage their Twitter accounts
more effectively. With varying
degrees of control and functionality,
you’ll want to take a look around and
figure out what works best for your
needs and your team. These tools all
do essentially the same thing: help
you engage, measure that
engagement, and interact with your
followers on Twitter in ways the web
interface sometimes makes difficult.
Depending on the size and number
of accounts you are monitoring, this
can be a free tool. It offers a fast and
lightweight view on growth and
what’s working from a content
IFTTT: “If this, then that” allows
you to set up rules for your online
activity. Essentially, macros that
work across your social accounts
and even your website to create
conditional triggers for events.
Helpful for many activities beyond
Twitter for Business:
Twitter’s own one-stop shop for
hitting the ground running with your
business. It’s a great resource for
those just getting started with the
Simply Measured: This
rich analytics tool allows you to
measure follower growth,
engagement, reach, and even figure
out who your influencers are.
Twitter Cards: By setting up your web content with the right metadata, you can make rich
content appear every time someone tweets a link to it. There are currently several varieties of cards,
including templates for articles, photo galleries, apps, and even products.
Additionally, Twitter launched Lead Generation Cards, which go the extra mile in helping businesses drive
conversions. They include rich content and a clear call to action, allowing new customers to engage with
your content in a single click.
If you’re like most of the Internet, you’ve probably delayed your investment in Google+ in hopes of a sign that it’s time to
make a move. Consider this your sign.
Google’s social endeavor, Google+, became the new kid on the playground in 2011. It initially adopted many features from
Facebook and Twitter, mixing in its own unique functionality like Circles and Hangouts. The platform is a little different from
other social networks, in that it acts as a social layer across many of Google’s own properties—including the display ad
network—thus connecting millions of sites. With nearly 67% of US search engine volume, Google is still the biggest player
in the search engine game. And, with Google+ posts passing link equity to other pages, building a presence here is a better
idea than ever.
So how many people actually use Google+? The latest numbers from Google, posted in October of 2013, show that there
are about 300 million active monthly users who upload 1.5 billion photos every week.
While exact numbers aren’t available, reports commonly estimate the site’s users as about 70% male and 30% female.
CircleCount reports the US as the biggest audience, followed by India and Brazil. Perhaps most interestingly, by a large
majority, those reporting a job role are students. The large majority of the remaining top are in either technology
(developers, engineers, designers) or photography. The secret here is really about determining if your audience is there,
and at this point, it’s a safe bet it is.
How are people using Google+?
Google hasn’t released much in the way of stats and information about how people are using the network aside from raw
usage data. G+ is anecdotally believed to be largely male and techdriven, which much of the available data seems to
support. Early adopters are still the largest and most active groups on G+.
Much of how users actually engage on the network is the same as on Twitter and Facebook. However, because circles
force categorization of people, Google+ is far more easily customizable and allows a greater level of flexibility and dialed
privacy. This would, in theory, allow users to enjoy the network with more people in more relevant ways. For example, you
could share content specific to your professional network with people in that circle, while sharing the pictures of your kids to
a more private circle, all from the same platform. Another feature that seems to be growing in popularity with users,
marketers and brands alike is the Google+ Hangout. Hangouts can be public or inviteonly and allow users to connect with
one another with voice and video without needing to download any software. Google has also added communities, which
appear to mirror Facebook’s groups, giving additional functionality and interaction opportunity to the site.
Strategies and tactics for success
Finding success on Google+ will—at least for now—be largely dependent on your audience and whether or not they have
made the jump to this network. If they haven’t, you’ll need to either find a way to relevantly target the users that are there
with your content in hopes of leveraging the benefits to your advantage, or you’ll keep an eye on the network and test the
waters here and there, waiting until your audience arrives to dive in.
The increasing functionality of the network is exciting. With
the addition of Communities, it is easy to see potential from
a conversation and engagement perspective. As an added
bonus, Google made it so your community can be tied to
your brand page. Awesome.
Now the ability to add events through interactive posts to a
brand page gives even more functionality. You can invite
users to an event and notify them directly; when they RSVP,
it will automatically be added to their calendar. Consider the
impact here to both your online events and even those held
at brickandmortar locations. Extending your offline events
to your online and shareable audience could help net
exponential reach (and ultimately attendance)!
Regardless of the platform, there are some universal truths to social media marketing for businesses that will hold true on
Google+ as well. It’s important to spend time clearly identifying the objectives you are trying to meet. Having these goals
laid out will give you a way to measure your success, making the rest of your effort far easier.
Brainstorm: Gather and invite brand and
product influencers into a specialized
“community” where they are allowed and
encouraged to have conversations with brand
representatives. Use this as a forum for
troubleshooting, gathering feedback, and
generally engaging with particular
Promote Google+ pages in
Leverage your other channels (social and
otherwise) to increase visibility to your
burgeoning page. This increased visibility will
help build the community there while also
presenting an integrated front.
The G+ community responds well to imagery,
particularly professional photography. Social is
a channel that rewards authenticity, though, so
mix some more “homegrown” media in with the
highlypolished brand imagery.
Use the * and _ and other operators in
conjunction with paragraph spacing and post
layout to call attention to your content and
make it more professional and appealing to
your audience. And don’t forget to tag relevant
people using “+” and their name.
Find and befriend
It is easy to find key influencers on G+. It’s still
a smallish community where it may be easier to
get the attention of and build relationships with
influencers in your space. Tread lightly though;
don’t spam and always be respectful.
What success looks like
Though many companies initially delayed their efforts on Google+, there are many that stand out as shining examples, and
they have the +1s to prove it. Here are a few of our favorites:
MATLAB: A company that helps coding professionals
better use their respective languages, MATLAB
continuously provides its community with educational tools.
They share content from their six blogs and numerous
webinar series, offering an official certification program and
general advocacy to grow the coding profession.
Additionally, they reach out to audiences speaking both
English and Japanese.
RedBull: The varied content that RedBull shares on
Google+ is a great example of how to think horizontally
about your brand and what it means to engage with
consumers. In every post, the brand appeals to interests
that exemplify what it means to be a part of the RedBull
community and a RedBull drinker. You will not see posts
about the product itself, its attributes, or even direct value
propositions. What you will find is exciting images of
extreme sports stars, video content about risktaking, and
even engaging music videos.
Asos: Asos does a great job of highlighting highly
engaging and interesting content on its page. The best
part? They are present and accounted for in the comments.
While many comments on Google+ can be spammy and
add little value, the brand clearly monitors the page and
reads through the replies to help grow their community.
This gives the user a reason to actually reach out and
converse with the brand and follow them.
King Arthur Flour: It’s the little flour company that
could. A once small and regional flour company has been
able to blossom on the web. One of the tactics they’re using
and seeing impressive success with is engaging on
Google+. Sharing lots of recipes and using delicious
pictures gets a lot of people talking. You’ll notice that they
put a lot of effort behind their yummy content!
Etiquette tips and guidelines
Inexperience doesn’t have to be a drawback when you’re building your circles. If you keep your conduct classy, you’ll have
no trouble earning the respect of your audience. These tips will get you started.
Add value: Create good stuff. While trite, it is true. Giving people something to get excited
about and a reason to want to follow you is the best way to grow your community. Google+ allows
you to target who gets to see your content if you wish, so use that tool to your advantage and get
creative. Can you create a special circle just for your top influencers and advocates? You betcha!
The sky’s the limit!
Engage: If you’re putting out quality content and giving people a reason and
opportunity to engage with you, you must be there to backup that conversation. Be
there to get involved, address questions, and add to the conversation.
Respond: If a follower takes the time out of their day to ask a question, come to you for
help, or even just share something with your brand, it is simply the right thing to do to engage and
respond to them. Don’t ever leave them hanging. The only thing worse than not being present in a
conversation is being around and ignoring half of it.
Frequency and scheduling: As with other platforms, timing is
important with your posts on Google+. It’s a little easier here because of the builtin
filtering that circles offer, but like other networks, you’ll need to figure out the optimal
times and frequency for posting to your Google+ page. Currently, there is no way to
prescheduled posts in Google+, except through a Chrome extension called Do
Share or thirdparty tools such as Sprout Social or Buffer. Do beware, though, that
not all thirdparty tools allow for formatting.
Don’t spam: Google+ is no different with regard to spam. There are even unique ways to
bother people on Google+. For example, when “events” were introduced, there were waves of
complaints coming from users who had felt as though they had been spammed by those trying
out the feature. Users can share a post directly with groups of people sending them specific
notifications of that post, or even via email, as opposed to simply showing up in their feed, a
feature susceptible to spam. The “communities” feature attracts shameless spammers, too.
These features must be used very thoughtfully to avoid annoying your audience. As with all social
networks, Google+ will surely adapt to prevent some of these issues over time. In the meantime,
avoid exploiting them for the sake of reach. You will be sacrificing authority and the respect of
+Name: If you want to call out another Google+ page or person, you can
directly link to their Google+ page (which notifies them that you’re talking about them)
by putting a + and then typing their name. (Google+ will help you with a dropdown.)
This is similar to the @ symbol in Twitter, and helps make whom you’re addressing
clear to everyone. Definitely try to include author names when you post blogs, so
they can engage with commenters too.
Notifications: As a page manager, you’ll see the infamous Google+ notification bell on
the righthand side of your screen. This will show you all of mentions of your brand on Google+,
shared posts, new circlers, or community invites. To keep track of which ones you’ve already paid
attention to and engaged with, you can x them out on by hovering on the right side of the
individual notification box.
CircleCount: If you’re
curious how the Google+
demographics align with that of your
clients or brand, this site can help.
By analyzing millions of profiles, they
look at top influencers and show
your posts aggregated in a quick
snapshot of how they’re doing.
Having already analyzed over 23
million profiles, they are working to
become the numberone data
source for Google+.
Google+ Ripples: From
a marketer’s perspective, this is
probably one of the most exciting
tools available to us as a part of
Google+. Ripples shows you just
how your content is shared in an
easytonavigate manner. If you
want to see who your influencers
are and how they’re impacting the
effectiveness of your content efforts,
using this tool will put a giant smile
on your face.
Policy Guidelines: As
with any social platform, you should
be familiar with Google’s intentions
behind the Google+ platform,
including the company’s own
explanation of how to use it. The
policy guidelines from Google
highlight actionable restrictions and
also include features of the site,
resources for brand to get support,
and information around custom
Simply Measured: The
Swiss Army knife of social analytics
tools also has measurement for
Google+, along with most of the
other major players in social media.
The world’s largest professional social network connects colleagues with each other and businesses with current and
potential employees, all while enabling community development and content sharing. LinkedIn’s potential lies in its power to
build authority, establish thought leadership, and cultivate a robust network. Join us for a peek behind the curtain to see if
LinkedIn is a match for your business.
Key stats and demographics
Looking for sources? Click on any of the stats above!
How are people using LinkedIn?
If you took your water cooler, networking event, business
card holder, and Rolodex, smooshed them together, and put
that concoction up on a domain, you would approximate
People build out their profiles to showcase their professional
background and resumes. They are able to connect with
individuals they know or have worked with, leave each other
recommendations, and find new connections. LinkedIn can
also be a great place to look for and find a job, as it takes
the utility of job boards and adds in the human connections
that are so invaluable in finding the right position.
For companies, especially recruiters, that is just the
beginning. Business professionals have created their profiles
and gotten recommendations from co-workers, making it a
solid fit for brands looking to recruit new talent. LinkedIn
allows hiring managers to search and filter candidates based
on multiple factors, and users can join groups based on
Beyond recruiting efforts, LinkedIn is a great place for a variety of
helpful social activities to boost your business.
LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for generating B2B leads, with nearly three times the conversion
rate of Facebook or Twitter. Your mileage may vary, but this certainly signals the platform is one
that comes with great opportunity. Some tips include:
Keep your company page up-to-date
Use the products and services spotlight
Solicit recommendations for your products
Establishing thought leadership:
Establishing yourself and your brand as an authority in your area of focus will help build authority
and trust among your customers, both current and prospective. LinkedIn’s feature set can help
brands stay up-to-date on users’ professional networks, in addition to establishing a business
presence and sharing company news.
Building customer advocates:
Be careful not to overdo self-promotion. Advocacy and word-of-mouth magic happen through
positive engagement. When brands engage customers and build strong relationships based on
respect and trust, customers will “like” the brand and perhaps even love it. LinkedIn makes it easy
to be both personal and specific. You know a lot about the person you’re interacting with, so use
LinkedIn drives business value because it is based on a user’s professional interests. This makes it an obvious and natural fit
for sharing brand-based updates, news, and info; as well as driving traffic to company-focused websites.
Add your blog’s RSS feed to a widget that will
automatically pull the feed in and showcase to the
company page followers.
Groups are a great place to offer professional
assistance and advice, although they are only open
to individuals, not to companies.
Strategies and tactics for success
Personal use Business use
Complete your personal profile thoroughly
Find your connections and reach out. Every
once in a while, pick someone you haven’t
talked to recently and send them a note—
without needing anything—just to say hi or
share something interesting that you think
Link to your profile from your blog,
Facebook, and/or Twitter accounts to help
people find your profile. (In fact, if the
content being shared is relevant, link back to
those pages from your LinkedIn profile.
Keep in mind, though, that those links might
draw hiring managers to those associated
Participate in Groups. Your personal
authority and trust can be boosted, leading
to new opportunities, leads, and
connections. Note that this functionality is
currently only available to individuals.
As LinkedIn continues to become a place for
people to share quality content, we will see
more engagement around that content. Be a
part of that movement: Share your own
content and share high-quality content from
Complete your company page and ensure it
is always up-to-date. If you change your
structure or have company news to share,
be sure you’re updating your company page
on LinkedIn; this will update in your
Make updating your LinkedIn page part of
the compliance process when fundamental
updates occur at your company, as LinkedIn
is often a source of truth for individuals
Make sure to respond to your posts,
reviews, and questions. If a user leaves a
product review, thank them. If they have a
complaint, address it. Answer questions and
offer advice and assistance.
LinkedIn can be an amazing source of
competitive intelligence for your business.
Follow your competitors’ pages and watch
for their news, updates, and employee
changes. Certain exits and job openings can
provide insight into strategic direction.
What success looks like
Companies that have found ways to grow professional communities have seen the most success on LinkedIn. This task
requires more than just posting valuable content; the superstars of LinkedIn have found ways to facilitate meaningful
interaction within their networks. Here are a few that stand out.
Teach for America: The Teach for America team clearly recognizes that LinkedIn is a
valuable and high-potential platform for their recruiting efforts. They have a very well-developed
page taking advantage of all of the features available. This creates a deep experience that adds to
the authority they’re building here. They not only share openings they’re trying to fill, but also work
to start conversations through the content they share. Additionally, they have worked to build and
showcase testimonials on their company page, adding a level of trust to their presence.
The Bridgespan Group’s LinkedIn Groups: Bridgespan
builds relationships with and supports non-profit organizations, and when it comes to
community-based engagement, it has taken a bit of a non-traditional approach.
Where many companies would attempt to build out and maintain their own on-domain
forums, they’ve chosen to curate their community on LinkedIn with nine separate,
functionally different LinkedIn Groups. They have broken up the Groups in ways that
are meaningful for the community members, thus ensuring valuable conversations.
SAP: Companies can also have their own Groups centered on their product, offerings and
related topics. This can be a great opportunity to host discussions, much like one would host a
networking event. The SAP Group on LinkedIn allows the company to post targeted jobs and
recruit new employees, with data and demo information about the group helping the recruiters
narrow their searches.
Etiquette tips and guidelines
Connecting with professionals on social media involves a mindful and even graceful back-and forth; it’s all too easy to come
across as insincere or even spammy. The best relationships are cultivated through a natural and careful progression of
communication. Pay attention to social cues, and you can avoid the many things that might result in a complete social train
A business card is not
an invitation to be
annoying: We’ve all likely
seen this happen: the business-
card crop duster. The high-speed
networker at an event circling the
room like a Roomba looking to
collect and distribute as many
business cards as they possibly
can. LinkedIn requests are
immediately sent, likely without a
personalized email, and invites are
sent for a bunch of groups, events,
or even to download their eBook.
Please don’t be that person. 🙂
Cold mail: You might find
someone on LinkedIn with whom
you’d like to get in touch. If you
do, use a personalized approach
and give context to the email you
send. Let them know who you are
and why you would like to
connect. (Your “why” should never
be because you have something to
LinkedIn has no smart user alerts,
using the @name when responding
to comments on your Page or in
Groups is a good practice to keep
conversation flow coherent and
directed. However, LinkedIn did
recently start doing an activity
alert; instead of just emails, it now
tells people when conversations
that they’ve been part of are
Fix broken windows:
You want to make sure to clean
any spam from your LinkedIn
those who need new jobs or other
types of promotion—sometimes
have a problem telling spam and
low-quality postings from what you
need to engage and grow your
community. Be gentle and
empathic, but make sure to have
rules for your group which you can
cite when moderating comments.
Be genuine: In every
interaction you have on LinkedIn,
be yourself as much as you
possibly can. When connecting
with someone else, avoid sending
the standard “I’d like to add you to
my professional network on
LinkedIn.” Not only is it less likely
to be accepted, you may even get
marked as spam, resulting in your
inability to send future connection
requests. Personalized interactions
make the other people feel like you
actually value and care about them
and take interest.
LinkedIn recommendations can be
an incredibly powerful thing, but
should only ever be solicited from
people you know well and who
know your work. The
recommendation itself will be
much better for it. If you request
one, feel free to tell the person
you’re approaching about a
specific goal you may have for the
recommendation. You don’t want
to do this in a pushy way, but you
may get a more useful
recommendation, and it can
actually make their life easier as
well since they’ll have a
predetermined area of focus.
Sharing content: Not all
your content needs to be shared
on LinkedIn, as what you share
here can very easily reflect on your
professional reputation or make
you look selfabsorbed. Avoid tools
that automatically transfer posts
from other platforms. Above all, be
conscious and aware of what
you’re sharing, and try not to share
too much—since connections are
so important, LinkedIn is one place
where you really don’t want to be
hidden from people’s feeds.
Discussions: There are
ways to view LinkedIn Group
activity in “Discussions” under
“Choose Your View: Latest
Discussions” and “What’s
Happening.” “What’s Happening”
shows the discussions with the
most recent activity, so you can
keep tabs on current
Discussions” shows the most
recently posted discussions.
Building a professional community can be a very different experience from business to business, so finding the right features
and functionality that work for you is an essential step to success. Here are some of the more useful tools to help you
customize your LinkedIn experience.
Outlook: If you use
Outlook, this tool brings
your professional network
right into your mailbox. It
also scans your Outlook
contacts and finds new
connections for you on
LinkedIn. Having this
information in your inbox
can help you better keep
track and engage with
Buffer: This app,
which raced to its millionth
user in less than three
years, will help you
schedule posts and give
basic click/reach analytics
for all posts on your
company page, in your
groups, and in any of your
For the analysis
you a huge amount of data
about applause and
engagement on your
Brought to you by
LinkedIn Labs, this nifty
tool lets you log-in with
your LinkedIn credentials
and visualize your network
over a map.
After its humble beginnings in 2005, YouTube has become more than just a place to watch cat videos. Eight years later,
YouTube has morphed into the world’s second-largest search engine, a driver of online culture, and a springboard for
Internet fame. There’s still plenty of cat videos to go around, but YouTube has its sights on bigger, better ideas.
How the network is being used by
In a word, sharing. Content is being uploaded and shared through YouTube at record rates. Users can follow channels (which
have gotten more sophisticated in their design and functionality over the years), upload their own content, comment on and
discuss videos, and follow other users’ content. With the ability to link directly to or embed videos, YouTube has become a
primary source of video entertainment for users all over the web. Its ability to monetize through ads—both for itself and its
users—adds a layer of financial sustainability.
YouTube and Pinterest
YouTube sees over one billion unique visits each month
Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month
100 hours of video are uploaded every minute
Mobile devices account for more than 1 billion views each day
According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages
18-34 than any cable network
Thousands of YouTube channels are making six figures
Source for statistics
Key stats and demographics
Strategies and tactics for success
Engagement: The comments on YouTube are famous for being a bit of a wasteland. Many of them are meaningless
and often from trolls. Many brands shut off their comments for good reason. You may opt to leave comments on, just to see
what type of engagement you get, and that is okay too. What is not recommended, though, is to leave them on and ignore
them; either tend to the garden or get rid of it altogether. And you can see powerful results by choosing to engage with your
In order to improve commenting on YouTube, YouTube comments are now directly tied to G+ accounts. As a business, you’ll
need to link your G+ brand page and your brand’s YouTube account. First, you need to make your YouTube account an
administrator on your G+ page. Then make sure you’re logged into your YouTube account and then follow YouTube’s
connect instructions. After everything’s connected, alerts for new comments on your YouTube videos will appear in your G+
notifications, and your YouTube videos will show up in a tab on your G+ brand page
Measurement: Just like your other marketing efforts, it is imperative that you know what
success looks like. Tailor your efforts (content, engagement, etc.) toward initiatives that help you
move the needle and prove your success by measuring progress against your identified goals.
Help content and other how-tos: For some products, tutorials and
how-tos are going to be incredibly valuable. Help your audience learn how to
better use your product, including ideas about how to use your product in
novel ways. Help them learn how to do things that may not be directly related
to your product, but are highly relevant to their interests.
For example, a nail polish brand may occasionally highlight how-tos for special-event hair. This is
incredibly relevant to their audience, but not directly related to their product. This is a tactic we’ve
mentioned before: think horizontally.
Exclusive content: This can take the form of early access to new products, special channel-
specific promotional deals, or even insider company news. Giving these limited audiences
exclusive access to different types of content will make them feel honored and “in-the-know.”
Also, creating channel-specific content will give each individual a reason to follow you on more
than one channel, increasing the depth of their relationship.
Incentivize participation: Have your community create content and share it on your behalf
across their networks. You then can curate based on hashtag or on a central repository (e.g. a
blog post holding YouTube content), or find some other way to help draw attention to and
connect the user stories. This activity can drive awareness of your presence and help engage the
audience while cutting down on the amount of work required of you.
What success looks like
Old Spice: You almost can’t have a conversation about
YouTube marketing campaigns without talking about what
Old Spice did in 2010. They changed the game with their
personalized response campaign, and its results proved it
worked. The secret sauce for them was taking something
that worked and resonated with their audience and made it
more engaging and interactive. More recently, REI used the
channel in a similarly responsive and agile way during a
Zillow: With a broad range of videos uploaded
(everything from real estate industry news to an adorable
video of a four-year-old teaching you how to use the iPhone
app) and a separate presence to teach agents and brokers
how to market houses using Zillow’s tools, this online real
estate firm is a great example of how to think outside the
box when it comes to YouTube.
Etiquette tips and guidelines
Engage responsibly: If you have comments enabled on your videos, make
sure you moderate them and stay engaged, as YouTube is more prone than other
platforms to generate spammy comments. You’ll want to make sure your channel
continues to provide value. If you happen to find yourself in the presence of trolls (and
the sun isn’t out to turn them to stone), remember to keep your cool; you act on behalf
of your brand in a public forum.
Comment wisely: Whether you have comments enabled on
your videos or not, there are likely going to be times when you’ll need (or
want) to comment on other threads and videos. The standard advice
applies there, as well: don’t yell at people, check your spelling and
grammar, use your brand voice, and definitely don’t leave spammy
Advertise safely: This isn’t a decision to take lightly. For high volume
channels, it can be revenue-producing, but that needs to be weighed against the
brand impact and the customers’ experience with your content.
Favoriting and subscribing: If you favorite a video, it also
shows up on your profile page as a video you favorited, sharing it with
your friends and subscribers. Subscribing to someone’s channel means
that you’ll see all of their latest uploads and favorites in the feed on your
page. This the equivalent of following someone on Twitter.
Uploading videos: Luckily, YouTube takes about every video format under
the sun. Uploading the video is the easy part, filling out the information about the
video is the real work. You want to make sure that your description is SEO- and
people-optimized, that your title and keywords are on target, that your videos are
properly categorized, and (if possible) that you provide a transcript of each video.
Every bit of relevant information you can add to your YouTube upload gives you more
opportunity for people to find your video and makes it accessible for all types of users
and search bots.
This works much like Gmail Labs.
For those of you looking to stay up-
to-date on potential, new YouTube
features (or even just get access to
some neat elements), you’ll want to
occasionally check TestTube and see
what they have to offer.
This offers the equivalent of
Facebook Insights for your videos.
You’ll find numbers on engagement,
discovery, and demographics.
Advertisers: This is a
central hub where you can get an
idea of what other brands are doing
for inspiration, and it’s also a portal
with a great deal of content about ad
YouTube Charts: A list
of videos sorted based on most
views, popularity, comments or other
criteria. Looking for content ideas?
This is a great spot.
Through beautiful images and easy-to-use “pinning,” this website has taken the online community by storm. Following its
beta launch in 2010, Pinterest provided a way for users to simply share and create image collections for hobbies, style,
businesses, and more. Whether you’re a business owner connecting with your users through images or simply trying to
redecorate your home in DIY-fashion, Pinterest has something for just about everyone.
How are people using Pinterest?
Image-based sharing is becoming increasingly important for brands and consumers alike. The effectiveness of imagery has
led sites like Pinterest and Instagram to quickly become the new staples in daily digital life. In a world where people don’t
necessarily want to spend a lot of time reading, rich media helps users share, communicate, and consume stories quickly
and easily in meaningful ways.
Pinterest has (70 million
More than 50 million unique visitors per month
5 million ” ” per day
Women are as likely as men to use Pinterest
Pinterest users in the US spend each
Shoppers spend more on their purchases when referred from
Pinterest— as referrals from Facebook
Pinterest than Twitter, LinkedIn,
and Reddit combined.
20 million monthly active users
about an hour on the site
roughly twice as much
drives more referral traffic
Key stats and demographics
Strategies and tactics for success
Engagement: The Pinterest community is growing quickly and can be very
engaged. This is a great opportunity for your consumers to interact with you, so be
sure to pay attention to your comments for opportunities to have conversations. They
may be asking questions or just offering words of praise or concern. Using a tool like
PinAlerts or Pinterest’s analytics to monitor where and how your content is shared can
help you catch opportunities that don’t come directly to you.
Discoverability: Set your site up to be shared socially on Pinterest. Make
sure the social sharing buttons on your content pages are easy to find and use.
Directing people’s attention to your Pinterest page will also help them find your
content and enable sharing in new ways. Also,don’t forget to implement appropriate
tracking so you know how well these are working!
Highlight customers: Highlight customers using your
product, content they’ve created, or even their stories. It will
appeal to their natural desire to be acknowledged and included.
This also helps them feel like they’ve added value back to their
community and instills a sense of ownership.
Behind the scenes: Give your audience a look behind the curtain by showcasing behind-the-
scenes pictures. This increases the feeling of getting special limited content, and thereby, their
affinity for your brand.
Community relations: If your business is involved in community or charity activities, share
that with your audience. You may feel like this comes off as bragging, but it can be done in a
humble and selfless manner. Your customers follow you because they’re invested in you and
what you’re doing, and your efforts outside the office are an extension of that relationship. You
might even get them involved!
Know your audience: Know everything you can about your audience, and give them what
they want to see. Humor works particularly well on video, for example, and beautiful imagery of
any kind tends to work incredibly well on Pinterest. You might even try to get to know people by
spending time on the platform in your personal profiles. You can use that to get to know what
works there and how people share and communicate.
What success looks like
Sony Electronics: There are so many things right
with what Sony is doing on Pinterest. From brand new
products to a collection of vintage products and all the way
to highlighting sale products, they’re utilizing a mixture of
content for their brand fans. Sony use their ads as
interesting points of content as well, but also don’t shy away
from some of the more off-topic boards. They’ve got the
content nailed down.
Starbucks Beautiful Objects: The social
media-savvy brand has extended its reach to Pinterest. One
of their boards is only slightly related to coffee and shows
how Pinterest doesn’t have to be just about your product
images. Go off topic a little, but stay relevant.
Nordstrom: From naming their social team members on the page to regularly posting on boards as broad-ranging as
“Totally Throwback,” “Nautical Vibes,” and “Beach Wedding Ideas,” this is one department store that knows how to pins.
And, with a following of more than 4.4 million people, their strategy clearly works. Nordstrom gets bonus points for bringing
their social integration full-circle, adding “Top Pinned Items” displays in its stores.
Etiquette tips and guidelines
Give credit: Sharing other people’s content is at the heart of Pinterest, so
giving proper credit is of the utmost importance. Ideally, everything is pinned from its
original source, even if that means digging a bit to find it. You want to provide the best
user experience possible, and if you pin content directly from a Google Image SERP,
for example, users would be linked back to that SERP instead of the page where the
Change captions: Repinning isn’t like retweeting on Twitter.
You’ll want to be sure to update the caption on a repinned pin to make it
your own. It should represent you and your brand, and should show
relevance to your community. Don’t forget to use target keywords that
your audience searches for so they can easily find your pins.
Don’t flood: Pinning throughout the day is going to be a brand’s best bet, and
there are tools to help you schedule pins in advance. If you pin all of your content at
once, you’ll flood your followers’ streams, and it could annoy them enough to unfollow
Organize: Keep your boards organized, as people will follow them for specific
content. A user who subscribes to a “recipes” board doesn’t want to see images of
fancy cars or interesting furniture. If you want to share new types of content, create
Group boards: Group boards allow more than one user to pin to
a board. You can collaborate with partner companies, your coworkers,
and anyone else with whom you’d like to collaborate on unique and
interesting content. You’ll definitely want to have a strategy and purpose
behind a shared board.
Secret boards: This is probably not a feature you’ll use for your
brand, but you can create boards that are shared with a limited group of
people and invite them to pin on them as well.
Verify your site: In order to have a verified account and have Pinterest
Analytics for your site, you’ll need to verify your site. Pinterest’s Analytics will show
you statistics on how many pins have been pinned from your site, what sort of traffic
Pinterest drives to your site, and more.
Pinterest’s Blog: They
highlight a variety of users and brands
and showcase interesting news. Keep
an eye on this blog to stay on top of any
changes and also as a source of
inspiration from users doing interesting
Postris: Helps you find the most
popular boards, pins, and people on
Viraltag: A bulk scheduler for
Pinterest helps you avoid overwhelming
your audience and upload several pins
at a time. Viraltag also feature analytics
and allows you to upload to multiple
Curalate: This tool helps you
measure board and pin engagement,
generate traffic, find advocates, and
more, depending on the pricing
package. It also helps with Instagram.
PinAlerts: Basically Google
Alerts for your website’s content on
Pinterest, among several other
Rich Pins: Pinterest has made it
possible for your products to show up
as more than just photos. By prepping
your site with the right meta tags, you
can add rich content like prices and
reviews to other people’s pins of your
First things first: This is nowhere near a comprehensive guide to blogging. There are dozens of good books written about
creating, growing, and maintaining a blog, and if you’re interested in going down that path, we’d recommend you find a few
you like. We hope, though, that this chapter provides enough background to give you a solid understanding of whether or
not it’s the right endeavor for you.
As web publishing has gotten easier, blogs have become more prevalent. Individuals with little to no technical experience
can start up and run a blog using any number of different platforms. Consumers read blogs at greater rates now than ever
before. Exact numbers are difficult to find, given how widely distributed blogs are, but there are more than 33 million new
posts each month using WordPress alone.
How are people using blogs?
Every blog has its own set of objectives. Some are run by individuals, some by companies, and others by some combination
of the two. While you can find a blog covering just about anything, there are several overarching buckets they usually fall
What does the blogosphere look like?
There are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the US alone. (source)
In one survey, almost 87% of bloggers had been actively blogging for at
least two years. (source)
57% of bloggers report having more than one blog. (source)
35% of businesses blog at least once every month. (source)
60% of bloggers report to be men. (source)
Nearly 2/3 of influencers earn revenue from blogging, but 80% of them
report earning less than $10,000 per year. (source)
Corporate: These blogs are written by a company for its consumers or stakeholders. They
are often found on the main company website or a dedicated subdirectory/subdomain therein.
(Side note: there’s good evidence that says a subdirectory is a better choice than a subdomain.)
Topics can vary from news and announcements to product launch info and even community
Personal/diary: Bloggers who keep a personal journal online may have
aspirations to develop them into other types of blogs, but their primary function is
sharing their lives and experiences and generally target existing friends and family.
Hobby or interest: These blogs are focused around a theme. It could be professional in
nature (tech blogs often fall under this banner) or completely personal (involving something like
fashion, beauty, sports, etc).
Professional: These folks are in it to make a profit. They may base their
income on ads or even affiliate sales, or they may have other means of income; the
key is that these blogs earn them a paycheck.
Community/communal: This category often looks like what is often called hyper-local
news. A local Seattle blog, the West Seattle Blog, is a great example of this working quite well. The
blog covers news related to its particular neighborhood and has rich user forums that often
generate a great deal of the content.
Strategies and tactics for success
Successful blogging is a lot of work. Depending on what success means to you and your company, it can involve any
number of people—marketers and product managers are just the beginning. A blog is your opportunity to showcase your
company’s culture and personality while shedding some light on the products you offer.
Authority: Your blog should be used to help establish authority through content that adds
value to your industry as a whole. That said, how you set your blog up can impact the authority in
some niches. A self-hosted blog is going to be the safest bet for everyone. It is an extension of
your website and should be treated just as professionally.
Content: Depending on your industry and the frequency with
which you’d like to publish, content creation can be a challenging task.
The key is to stay creative and think like your users. What kind of
information would they like to see? What kind of information would help
them use your products more effectively, or would make their lives
easier? What would entertain them? You can get to the bottom of many
of these questions by looking into your site analytics. It’s a bit more
trickier with Google now masking people’s search keywords with “(not
provided)” in your GA dashboards, but there are plenty of other sources
of valuable information about your users. If you’re using AdWords, you’ll
still have access to some keyword data.
You can also look to your competitors’ sites, social conversations, your
inbound Q&A, customer service requests, and any other feedback
channels you have. Just look around you, and you’re bound to come up
with other ideas. Another idea is to open the conversation to your
colleagues, and even the customers themselves, to make it a group
effort. Creating a content calendar where you can organize these ideas
will work to keep you on track and prevent you from losing any of those
Timing: Timing isn’t actually everything, but it sure is an important part of the puzzle. It is
especially important today, when we receive a constant flood of information from social channels.
The perfect timing will depend on your audience. Ideally, you want to find the time and day when
your community is most available and willing to receive and share your content. This is going to be
a time when they’re very active, but not so active that the your message is lost among the noise.
Try experimenting with different times of day until you get a feel for what that “optimal” time is for
you. Tools like Followerwonk can help. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for industry happenings,
news, and othermajor events that may impact the attention span and appetite of your community.
Style: Blogs afford you an opportunity to step outside the bounds of the heavily vetted copy on the rest of your site and
really develop your company’s brand voice. Take advantage of that opportunity, and don’t be afraid to show the world who
you are. Raise that brand flag with pride!
At the same time, make sure your choices are intentional. Have a good sense for what your voice sounds like before you use
it, and stick to it. That’s not to say that individual authors or even individual posts can’t have different tones, but they should
all pivot from one primary brand voice. While this may sound limiting, it actually makes content easier to create, because you
have a good sense for how your brand persona would approach a particular topic or situation. There’s only the writing to
figure out from there. That’s the easy part, right? 🙂
Frequency: The only thing worse than never blogging at all is starting to and not
maintaining the effort. As a visitor to a company’s blog, it is disheartening to see that the most
recent post is from several months ago. This gives the visitor no reason to subscribe or participate.
You certainly don’t need to blog every day, or even every week for that matter. Find an attainable
cadence, set expectations with your audience, and stick to it. Perhaps you only do a monthly
industry roundup. That’s cool. Just tell people in advance so they know what to expect.
Engagement: As we’ve mentioned before, engagement is where the real magic happens.
Posts really come alive when they start to see comments and conversations from the audience.
Engagement is also where a community starts to take shape. The biggest key is how you moderate
it. Comments left unchecked are a golden ticket for spammers, who are crawling the Internet for
opportunities to drop links. Not to mention the trolls. There are a several good ways to moderate
the comments on your blog, depending on your goals. Some people choose to have an approval
process, but the more popular a blog becomes, the more labor intensive that strategy becomes.
Some choose to have a site-specific log-on and profile, but this can cut down on engagement for
those unwilling to take the time to create one. It’s up to you and your own workflow to determine
what the right strategy is for you.
Beyond the comment moderation, there is a lot of work that can go in to actually responding to
comments and engaging with the audience on your blog. The same fundamental truths we outlined
for social networks apply on your blog, as well. Be respectful, prompt, honest, and personable. Oh,
and don’t feed the trolls.
Consider creating a “reader’s bill of rights” for your blog as your community grows. This document
should outline what the standards for your community engagement are, including what the
behavioral expectations are for both your community members and for your employees. It can help
to not only keep you honest, but instill a sense of fairness and faith in your audience. At the highest
level, it can be the “True North” you get to point to in times of conflict.
What success looks like
Successful blogs become known as reputable and enjoyable sources of information, earning the trust and admiration of their
readers by providing valuable content on a regular basis. Valuable content, though, can take different forms for different
people. Take a look at these success stories for a few examples.
West Seattle Blog: Perhaps one of the most celebrated hyperlocal blogs there is, the
West Seattle Blog represents a small, but civically active neighborhood in Seattle. The blog began
when a power outage in the neighborhood sparked the need for an instant and neighborhood-
specific news source. From there, it has only grown. Now averaging a nearly half a million visits
each month, the site has an avid community forum where discussions regularly end up on the front
page of the blog, and from there, sometimes even the evening news. The West Seattle Blog is a
regular source for reporters in the area and a “first-thing-in-the-morning” read for most residents in
West Seattle and beyond.
Moz Blog: Born in 2004 as a venue for Rand Fishkin’s thoughts, struggles, and discoveries as
he learned SEO, the Moz Blog has expanded its scope alongside its parent company. The blog is
now a hub for thought leaders in the inbound marketing industry, with an average of a million page
views each month and many posts garnering more than 100 comments. With its focus on
educational content that empowers readers to make effective decisions, the Moz Blog has become
a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about inbound marketing.
OkCupid: The dating site struck gold when it turned its lens inward to dig up content for its
blog. It pulled back the curtain and showcased the data behind their users’ behavior, which is not
something many sites like theirs are too eager to do. It paid serious dividends. Their blog alone has
over 38,000 backlinks from nearly 900 linking domains, and while they stopped posting quite a
while ago, they stand as a great example of success even today.
WordPress: One of the most
popular blogging platforms in
existence, WordPress is a free and
open-source tool that can be hosted
either on WordPress or on another
domain of your choice. Incredibly
flexible and easy to use, it is often
the default option for both advanced
and novice bloggers. There is an
entire industry built around the
creation and sale of custom themes
and skins for WordPress, making the
otherwise templated platform more
personalized and customizable.
WordPress can be used with existing
sites as well, making it an frequent
choice of businesses and
Blogger: A free blogging
platform built by Google. This tool is
quite similar to WordPress in theory,
but without many of the features and
flexibility. Blogs here can either be
self-hosted or left on blogger.com.
It’s much better-suited for a casual
personal blogger than a business or
Measurement is a must if you’re
interested in tracking your progress
against business objectives (which
you really should be). Google
Analytics (GA) is a free analytics tool
that provides insights about user
behavior, traffic, and social behavior
on your website. Your GA account
can provide tons of useful data that
will help you get to know your
customers, what they’re looking for,
and how you can better serve them.
Comment Plugins: Most
of the blogging platforms come with
built-in commenting features, but for
one reason or another people may
choose to go with a different tool
(often because of features, sharing,
or concerns about spam). Some of
the most popular are Disqus,
Facebook, and IntenseDebate.
Google Alerts: Another free
Google tool, this one helps you keep
an eye on your online reputation
across the web. You can freely
program the tool to send you alerts
via email whenever it finds a mention
of a keyword or keyword string you
specify. You can set these up for
yourself, your business, and even
your competitors. When you’ve put
some muscle behind a particular
piece of content, it’s also a good
idea to set up a Google Alert for the
title of that post. This will help you
identify extensions of the
conversation that you will want to
get involved in. This is also a useful
tool in protecting your content, as it
can help you identify when your
work has been stolen or scraped.
Fresh Web Explorer
Alerts: This is one of our favorite
Moz tools. With a subscription to
Moz Analytics, you now have access
to set up e-mailed alerts for new
mentions of custom queries. We like
to think of it as Google Alerts, only
Linkstant: By keeping an eye
on when people are linking to your
blog, you can follow the
conversation. People will often read
a blog and then start a conversation
on their own site, usually linking
back to the original spark—your
blog. By participating in the
conversation on the new site, you
can usually generate a circular flow
of traffic and engagement driving
your readership, traffic, and links.
This tool will alert you via email every
time someone has linked back to
your site, helping you uncover these
Aside from the most popular social networking sites that we know and love, there are plenty of other places around the web
for users to interact and for companies to build relationships. Here are a few of our favorites.
Instagram: Now owned by Facebook, Instagram is for creating and
sharing photos and short videos. With over 150 million monthly active users,
the network boasts an incredibly active and vibrant user base that posts over
55 million images per day. Users can subscribe to pages curated by their
friends and brands they like. Through the “Explore” function, users can also
view the most popular videos and pictures across the network and search
using keywords and hashtags. The app has lightweight editing features
allowing users to creatively alter their images before they’re shared. The
videos have a maximum length of 15 seconds, so creativity counts.
Instagram allows users to share their videos and pictures to other networks,
including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, and through emails.
Tumblr: Tumblr is a web- and mobile-based micro-blogging platform
that allows users to publish (often in short format) text, images, and other
content, both publicly and privately to their blog. Users can follow one
another and in turn re-blog (share content from someone they’re following).
The platform boasts over 140 million blogs and 65 billion blog posts. Now
owned by Yahoo!, this popular platform may undergo updates and changes
as the acquisition takes hold.
Social Media Doesn’t Stop There
Forums: Forums are perhaps one of the most mature forms of social
media. In fact, many of the features associated with our more modern social
networks, such as threads, discussions, and PMs (private messages), began
in forums. Forums are made of various boards full of individual threads of
user comments and conversations. They are highly customizable, set to
either private or public, and hosted on nearly any website. Some stand alone,
while others may live on a subdomain.
Vine is a Twitter product that acts very similar to Instagram video.
Creativity reigns on Vine, where short 7-second looped videos created in the
app are then shared on Twitter or across other networks. The major
difference here is that Vine is a standalone product, whereas Instagram video
is integrated into the Instagram experience. It’s also worth noting that Vine
content must be created in the app, whereas Instagram content can be
loaded into the platform. Vines are growing in popularity and adoption. To
see what some of the leading brands are doing, check out
Reddit: One of the elite few of the social networks to have had a special
event hosted by President Barack Obama, Reddit is a social news and
content network that is truly “the front page of the Internet.” Users are able to
submit either a self-post or a link, and the topics tend to vary wildly. The
community is able to then vote the post up or down, thereby dictating its
placement or proximity to the front page. Comment threads on the
submissions become a large part of the community and the entertainment
value. One popular feature of Reddit is their Ask Me Anythings (AMAs). Their
AMAs have featured such prominent public figures such as US President
Barack Obama, comedian Louis C.K., Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings,
and internet celebrity The Oatmeal.
Social media goes global
There is no doubt that Facebook and Twitter are the current major players in the social media space. If you have a global
presence, however, there are some other highly relevant places to invest your time—especially if you’re operating in parts of
the world where Twitter and/or Facebook may be censored.
Qzone: Created by Tencent in 2005, this social site permits users to
blog, share photos, and listen to music. It’s highly customizable (like the
old Myspace), and there are paid participation elements.
Key markets: China and South Korea
Users: Over 600 million
RenRen: Known as the “Chinese Facebook,” this site is particularly
popular with college students.
Key markets: China
Users: Over 194 million
Badoo: Founded in 2006, Badoo is a social discovery site centered
on dating. The site operates in 180 countries.
Key markets: Spain, France, Italy, and Latin America
Users: Over 195 million
Kontakte (VK): This site is very similar in design and functionality to Facebook. Keep in mind that they’ve recently
acknowledged a spam problem, which likely inflates user numbers.
Key markets: Russia and former Soviet republics, including Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Moldova
Users: 79 million
Quora is a question and answer-based social network, which
started in mid-2009. Users follow one another to interact and can even follow
topics they’re interested in. They are encouraged to participate and answer
questions through various points and voting mechanisms. These same
mechanisms also help to ensure that answers to questions are high-quality,
authoritative, and relevant. Quora is not alone in the Q&A website space;
Yahoo! Answers, AOL Answers, Formspring, and Google’s Baraza keep it
Odnoklassniki: Most similiar to a Classmates.com (in fact its
name translates to Classmates), the site was created in 2006. Most of its
users tend to be under the age of 35.
Key markets: Russia and former Soviet republics, including Belarus,
Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Moldova
Users: 65 million
Mixi: Started in 2004, Mixi focuses on making connections based on
common entertainment-focused interests through community forums and
Key markets: Japan
Users: 14.5 million
Daum: Starting in 1995, Daum is the primary community forum,
blogging service, email provider, and search engine for South Korea.
Key markets: South Korea
Users: 38 million
Orkut: Started in 2004 and now owned by Google, Orkut focuses on connecting you with friends and sharing videos,
photos, and microblogs in a way very similar to Facebook.
Key markets: Brazil, India, and Japan
Users: unknown (Google hasn’t recently shared any official numbers)
Cloob: Created in 2004, Cloob has managed to work within Iranian laws to bring social networking to Iran. In order to
stay in business, the site does censor content.
Key markets: Iran
Users: Possibly 1 million or more
Line: Founded in 2011, Line has taken social sharing through instant messaging, photos, video, and audio and video
conferencing by storm.
Key markets: Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Spain, and more
Users: 230 million and growing rapidly
That’s it! Well, for now, anyway. Social media is an area that changes with every
passing day, and we’ll do our best to keep this guide up-to-date with everything
you need to know.
We’d like to wholeheartedly thank for writing the content of the guide and bearing with us through
the publishing process, for designing much of its graphic content, for wrangling it into
shape, for managing the final stages of the project, for her tireless efforts updating
the content as we moved toward launch, for her long hours of thorough edits, for his
superb design prowess, for making blindingly quick work of the development, and everyone else who
devoted many (many) hours to seeing it completed.
Thanks for reading; we hope you found it valuable! 🙂
Rob Eagle Ashley Tate
Trevor Klein Erica McGillivray
Lindsay Wassell Derric Wise