September 8, 2011

10 ways to #rocksocialmedia Bandwagon

If the cast of ‘The Jersey Shore’ can do it…

Miley Ray Cyrus recently complained about using #hashtags on twitter. She tweeted, “Twitters word limit has a crappy way of not only ruining a good story but making u look like an idiot. I dont like using #s to replace words.”
Touché, Miley. I’m impressed that she does her own tweeting; if the cast of the Jersey Shore can rock it (to varying degrees), then you’re also capable of using social media to its near full potential.

I opened a twitter account a year ago. Finally, I submitted to become involved in the never-ending (enjoyable) journey of online networking. Shadowing in the twitter master, Waylon’s footsteps, I have observed enough that this list of tips is all I can do to stop myself from grabbing innocent ma and pa businesses by the collar and shaking some basic technology-savvy sense into them.

1. Fan page, not friend page! Every second with your online reader counts. Nothing annoys me quite like reviewing a cool local business, going to their Facebook page to find out more and discovering rather than hitting the ‘like’ button and having instant access to their happenings, I have to wait for my friend request to be accepted. Some genius filled out their birth name as ‘Lido Beach Yoga’ and apparently only wants up to 5,000 friends—the max for a personal page. Why wait to get close to 5,000 before painstakingly asking each person to like the correct page?

2. All the social media outlets can be overwhelming! Your business does not need to have a profile on every site. The two major outlets (Facebook and Twitter) are standard, and with a little practice, will become second nature to you. Some things to remember: Twitter is a different entity than Facebook and the Twitter Big Bang Theory does an excellent job outlining the major differences; if you don’t understand the purpose of Twitter, why not? Perhaps a twitter 101 tutorial would help or Top Twitter Tips for Teaching Twitter Tweeters to Tweet.
Ask someone (maybe even your customers in an update!) more tech savvy than you which profiles they’d like to see you have—YouTube, tumblr, blog, etc..

3. Spice it UP! It’s important to be consistent with the brand image you use; however, it’s still okay to play with it and add some color to the same image, or use it from a different angle. This will actually cause your reader, who might automatically gloss over your streams, to pause and take in the new image.

4. Introduce Yourself. My number one pet peeve are all the yoga studios who jump on Facebook/Twitter and think copying and pasting the schedule is the apex of social media. Take a cue from Boulder yoga teacher, Tunde Borrego, who frequently updates about the classes she is teaching. I don’t even live in Boulder anymore, yet I enjoy reading her updates that go beyond her schedule. For example:
“I must remove myself from myself to find myself!!! Crazy huh! Happy to be hOMe…Bring it Boulder on the HILL 12:15 and 5:30p…with a little love at the Farmers market slack it up! Life is GOOD”
Select a few awesome highlights that are noteworthy, introduce events and/or speak from your personal experience. Honesty and transparency drives people to stop and consider your product— What would a hooping class would be like? And should I worry if I don’t have a hoop or have never hooped before?
Teasing is also totally acceptable and is an irresistible way to encourage readers to comment.

“Like bad rap music? You’ll LOVE Shelley’s 12am hoop class! @shelley. Just kidding, sort of.”

Unless your vagueness is really enticing, be specific with your Twitterese. An enticing example: “Why yoga is bad for you.” An example of boring: “This restaurant was a good experience.” Give us details! If you struggle with this, check out Natalie Goldberg’s book, ‘Writing Down the Bones’.

5. Share relevant (neat) links and resources. Go beyond self promoting and share relevant finds to what you are promoting and/or share things you find especially awesome.

6. Spread it out; and repeat! If you have many classes/workshops/events that you want to let the world know about, divide the updates into chunks and spread them out through out the day. Ideally, you want me to find your schedule updates interesting, even if I don’t live near you or know the teachers/space.
Too much to say? Offer a link to an external website with all the info but introduce the link, say why you like it, copy and paste a funny quote as the header and s p a c e the updates out. If a business repeats the same update over and over, or does several massive updates at once, I consider this spam and warn them before removing them. I know many others who won’t give a warning at all.

7. Tag, You’re It! Tag those people and organizations who have similar interests. This is the easiest and best way to help the ‘word of mouth’ process along and to network. Tagging does not mean you need to make this Twitter prison! A good example of tagging overkill:
@heymishka says: Spend @FNOnyc with us + @JessicaRepetto in @openingceremony at @TheAceHotel. We’ll be selling totes with a free @momomilkbar cookie !
Sentences are still hot, even if u have to get creatv with spelling to fit it in 140 characters or less. (140 character limit only applies to Twitter.)

8. Google the interweb for ideas. Search Google for giveaway or contest ideas for Twitter and Facebook… and watch business boom!

9. Follow The Leader. Follow those who inspire you, or whom you aspire to be like.

10. Engagement Party! Ask open ended questions like, “what is the most challenging pose for you?” or “what are your weekend plans?” to get people to engage. Have fun—the more you pop in every day and tinker, the better you will get at finding your brands voice. Always reply to your readers and above all else, have fun.

So, there are my suggestions, of course you could use this list to make sure the social media assistant you hire is doing a good job. What are common mistakes that you see organizations making with their online streams?

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