The Secret To Getting Better Engagement on Social Media

There’s a real secret to getting better engagement on social media. Are you ready for it? Here it is:

Think before you share.

That’s it. It’s that simple. Stop sharing because someone told you to.

  • Share because you care.
  • Share because it matters.
  • Share because you want to provide value.
  • Share because you’re interested in what your community thinks.
  • Share because you want to learn.
  • Share because you want to teach.
  • Share because if you don’t, your competition will.

But don’t share without thinking. It turns people away, it’s easy for your followers to recognize, it damages the online reputation of your business, and it’s a HUGE waste of time.

Need help thinking? Here’s a graphic we created just for you:

Download and print out

::: Click here to download and print out this graphic! :::

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Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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A Social Media Public Service Announcement:

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Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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Brand Storytelling Spotlight: Sweet Leaf Tea

A few weeks ago I wrote that telling your brand’s story was the easiest way to build brand buzz online. Here are two pieces from that blog post that I’d like to reiterate:

The brands that are getting the most buzz on social media are the ones that are taking the time to creatively share their unique stories. They understand the importance of being genuine, and they legitimately care about the communities they’re sharing content with.

 If you want to stand out on social media, if you want people talking about your brand over all your competitors, if you want to get anything back from your social media efforts at all, share your story. Sometimes it’s the only deciding factor between you and the other guy for consumers like me.

To illustrate the power of brand storytelling, I’ve decided to start featuring brands that get it. This week, I’m sharing the story behind Sweet Leaf Tea—because they are one of my favorite bottled teas out there, and because they’ve taken the time to share their story with me.

So let’s begin.

I actually chose Sweet Leaf Tea as my first brand storytelling spotlight because of a bottled jar of their tea that I had last week. I hadn’t ever tried Sweet Leaf Tea before, but the label caught my eye and I decided to buy one to drink with my lunch.

What stood out to me the most was the back of their label—the space that they chose to use to tell their unique story:

As mentioned above, Sometimes a brand’s story is the only deciding factor between you and the other guy for consumers like me. And that was the case for Sweet Leaf Tea. Fortunately, in addition to taking the time to design a great label, the company also takes the time to brew and bottle a delicious tea.

Right before I began writing this post, I decided to find out if Sweet Leaf Tea had gone the extra step and shared their story online. I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed. The brand has a great website, and a strong and interactive presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, and YouTube. The only place I wish I could have found them on was Instagram, but hopefully they’ll read this post and jump on the insanely popular mobile photo sharing app.

I’ll ask that you spend some time looking through the links to their social sites above to get a better idea of what they are doing right as a brand. But just in case you don’t have time, I wanted to share their story right here on this page for your convenience:

Are you telling your brand’s story? If not, start planning. If you have questions about the best ways to move forward, ask me! I’m @RobWormley on Twitter.

Want to suggest a brand for me to spotlight? Shoot me an email.

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Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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The Easiest Way To Build Brand Buzz Online

According to a recent Wikipedia search I did, there are about 157 fast food restaurant chains in the great United States of America today. That’s a lot of burgers and fries. As both a consumer and a foodie, I’m constantly thinking about where I can go to get my next delicious meal. So how do I usually decide? I take out my iPhone and do what I like to call a little ‘social investigating’. I consult apps/sites like Yelp for reviews, I use Google to find restaurant websites and menus, and I look to see if the place I’m interested in has a presence on the social sites I use (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.).

In some cases when I’m trying to decide, the restaurants stack up pretty evenly. They both have positive reviews on Yelp, they both have websites and menus, and they both have an online social media presence. So what is it that really makes a brand—whether it’s a fast food restaurant or a clothing store—stand out when its competition looks almost identical at first glance?

It all comes down to storytelling.

Thanks to social media, it has never been easier for brands to tell their unique stories. And every brand and business has a unique story. Telling it just takes a little time, a little creativity, and faith that you’ll get a positive return for your efforts.

It’s easy for brands to join social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and simply use the same marketing/sales strategies they’re used to using in the traditional media outlets. They upload their 15 second TV commercial to YouTube, they take the last 10 seconds of a radio advertisement script and turn it into a tweet, and they upload their magazine advertisements to a Facebook photo album on their page. You know what most people think of that type of content when they see it on social media? A few words come to mind. Lazy. Ineffective. Promotional. Spammy.

The brands that are getting the most buzz on social media are the ones that are taking the time to creatively share their unique stories. They understand the importance of being genuine, and they legitimately care about the communities they’re sharing content with.

So why aren’t you sharing your story? Why are you being lazy and repurposing advertising pieces and promotional content that none of your followers really care to see?

To illustrate the power and effectiveness of storytelling on social media, I wanted to share two videos with you from two well-known fast food restaurants. Both videos were made to promote the same thing: french fries. The first video is from Wendy’s. The second video is from McDonald’s. I trust you’ll have no trouble at all figuring out which brand is using social media to tell their story.

Video 1:

 

Video 2:

 

Which fast food place do you think I chose after watching those videos? If you want to stand out on social media, if you want people talking about your brand over all your competitors, if you want to get anything back from your social media efforts at all, share your story. Sometimes it’s the only deciding factor between you and the other guy for consumers like me.

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Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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5 Apps in 30 Seconds: Volume I

If you haven’t realized it yet, 2012 is all about two things: visuals and mobile. In an earlier blog post, I wrote the following: “That’s why 2012 is also the year of the photo-editing/sharing mobile apps. There are so many apps that exist within the iPhone/iPad App Store and Android Market that you can be using to share unique photos for your business or brand. So why aren’t you?” (Read the full post here).

When I published that post, it was my hope that readers recognized how important having a smart phone is when it comes to creating and sharing valuable content on social media sites.

I’ve had my iPhone for about four months since dumping my Android device. In that short span of time, I’ve gone app-crazy. I spend a lot of time reading about new apps. I download them, I teach myself how to use them, and then I recommend the ones I like to friends and coworkers.

Since I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from others about the apps I recommend, I decided to launch a new series on this blog that I’m calling 5 Apps in 30 Seconds. In each installment, I’ll decide on a theme to focus on, choose 5 apps based on the theme, and share them with you in a quick video.

In this first installment, I’m focusing on content creation apps as my main theme. The apps mentioned in the video below are apps that I believe businesses and brands could and should be using to develop interesting, entertaining, educational, and original content for their social media sites and overall online presence. Watch the video below now to hear my recommendations.

To download or learn more about the apps mentioned in the video, look for the links in the description section of the YouTube video. 

If you do end up downloading and liking any of the apps I recommended, please let me know! Come back and leave a comment on this blog post, or let me know on Twitter. I’m @RobWormley.

By the way, you might notice that I focus mostly on iPhone apps in this series. That should be a hint. Dump your droid and get an iPhone. It’s worth it. If you are too stubborn, however, click here for a list of the top 100 apps for Android.

Want to suggest an app for me to test out? Let me know! Send me a tweet or email me directly.

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Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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How Bold Can You Be On Social Media?

Everyone and their mother is jumping on the social media bandwagon. Companies know they need to have a social media presence but aren’t sure where to go with it. What seems to be the biggest question they ask themselves?

How do we stick out as a company that “gets it” on social media and grow our audience base?

You don’t want to get lost in the inter-webs as just another tweet, Facebook post or boring blog, and you don’t want to be labeled as the dinosaur company who isn’t on social media. We’ve talked a lot about how your business needs to be providing value in social media, but how else can you stand out from your competition?

Be Bold.

How Bold? Well, let’s take a look at the examples of three companies mentioned by Mashable in their article about the “10 Sassy Brands on Social Media.”

Wonderful Pistachios

This brand could just sit on social media and talk about the health benefits of pistachios, share recipes or other boring value pieces, but instead, they chose to be BOLD. Their “Get Crackin’” campaign has featured popular entertainment figures and Internet memes (think Honey Badger, the Winklevoss twins and Snooki.) Their TV commercials have really made a splash on the airwaves. How else are they bold? Check out how they respond to followers on Twitter. Not only do they choose to respond to people directly, but they’ve established a voice of quirkiness as well – a tone you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a nut company.

One of the best (and most creative) parts? Employees dressing up in giant pistachio suits to accompany their snarky, creative Facebook posts. Check it out!

wonderful pistachio social media

 

Pepsi Next

This faction of Pepsi decided to bring in partners for their social media boldness. The main weapon? Video. Teaming up with Funny Or Die, Pepsi Next created a marketing stunt where improv comedians impersonated the Facebook personas of their followers.

The campaign, called “Internet Taste Test,” required fans to opt in, then based on their profiles, the improv comedians created a 30-second clip of what the follower would act like trying their product. Here’s an example:

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

This beloved product (to people of all ages) decided to mix the old with the new to create the bold. In celebration of their 75th anniversary, Kraft decided to temporarily pass the social media torch over to a couple of lovely women in their 80s. Using the hashtag #OldBirdsNewTweets, followers joined the conversation as the two ladies learned about memes, Internet slang and technology. An entertaining experience for all!

The best part? These lovely “old birds” learning the concept of planking. Talk about bringing together older and younger generations. Kraft got this one right!

 

What does your company do to stand out and be bold? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

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Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Social Media enthusiast who loves reading about and experimenting with the newest forms of communication. I'm a news and political junkie who loves advocacy work, the Green Bay Packers and working in this fast-paced environment.

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Can Social Media Be an Artistic Outlet?

In my last blog post, The Language of Social Media, I wrote about how social media is changing the way we write. Our vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation all take a back seat to being casual and brief.

Whether this movement is good or bad is entirely debatable: there’s no objective answer. But regardless of your view on the matter, some people are embracing this change and seeing it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle. Here’s one of them.

Teju Cole is a Nigerian-American writer, who has spent time living in both countries. Cole’s experiences give him a unique perspective on life, death, and the different social issues that America and Nigeria face. Along with being an accomplished author and photographer, Cole uses his Twitter account as an artistic outlet of a different kind.

Cole’s tweets mix social commentary, American history, and Nigerian culture– only he writes them as poetry. This unique blend of content and delivery often come off as morose obituaries or headlines, and they certainly aren’t for the weak-hearted. Still, Cole achieves a goal that most of the Twitterverse has yet to reach: he makes you think. Here are some recent examples of his tweets:

What Cole proves without a doubt is that social media can be used as an artistic outlet. And I don’t mean in the way that bands, artists, and authors use it to promote their newest product– I mean it in the sense that social media is providing the actual basis for creation. Twitter is Cole’s canvas, not just a place where he can post a link for people to view or buy his canvas.

On top of that, Cole hardly ever self-promotes on his Twitter. After going back through a week’s worth of tweets (probably about 100), the only kind of posts I could find besides the ones shown above, are the occasional wordy (albeit macabre) joke, and a lot of interaction with his followers.

Cole is showing how to make a personal brand through social media while keeping his integrity as an artist. So what can we take from his example? A lot of things:

  • Be unique.
  • Provide value in a way that nobody else is.
  • Don’t be overly-promotional.
  • Write about what you know and care about.
  • Don’t be afraid to be provocative.
  • Be persistent.
  • Don’t complain about or shun change: use it to your advantage
  • Be consistent.
  • Turn obstacles and restrictions into opportunities.
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Tom Hummer

Tom Hummer

Tom’s two biggest passions in life are writing and music. In his free time, Tom reads, writes, and works on musical projects.

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The Language of Social Media

In this video from the TED Education series, Terin Izil talks about the relationship between brevity and clarity in language. “Ten-dollar words are rendered worthless if they’re not understood,” she says. According to her, the secret to great communication is efficiency: get your point across in as few syllables as possible.

 

All you need to do is read the comments on this video to get an idea of the controversy it’s sparked. Some people think this is a dangerous idea, and that it would mark the death of artful language.

But despite the opposition, society has definitely moved toward simplicity. In National Treasure, there’s a scene where Benjamin Gates (played by Nicholas Cage) reads the following line from the Declaration of Independence:

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

After he’s done, Gates says “People don’t talk that way anymore. Beautiful, huh?” and his friend, Riley, responds, “No idea what you said.” This conversation sums up the gap between the 18th century and now quite well.

Unsurprisingly, social media has definitely played a large role in this trend. On Twitter, for example, where users only have 140 characters to make their point, brevity is key. And that brevity often comes at the expense of interesting language. Even on Facebook, in text messages, and (shockingly) LinkedIn, punctuation and grammar are commonly thrown to the wind.

Since this new style isn’t going away anytime soon, the real question becomes: Is it good, or bad? Or neither?

As a social media professional with a background in literature, I’ve seen enough “LOL”s and “OMG”s to make Chaucer and Whitman roll in their graves. But surprisingly, the lack of engaging language in social media doesn’t bother me– after all, it’s about context. There’s a place for fancy, artistic language, and everyday communication isn’t that place. Izil makes that point when she talks about knowing your audience. A novelist’s audience expects different things than an online audience, because they serve different purposes.

The language of social media is here to stay. Rather than complain about it dumbing down the way we communicate, we should try to improve its efficiency. Remember– you can still read Shakespeare and Hemingway any time. But when connecting and understanding is the goal, simple is better.

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Tom Hummer

Tom Hummer

Tom’s two biggest passions in life are writing and music. In his free time, Tom reads, writes, and works on musical projects.

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Why You Should Be Using Instagram For Business

2012 is the year of the visual. We’re finally getting to the point where most businesses are—in someway or another—participating on social media sites. So how can you ensure that your business Facebook page or Twitter profile stands apart from the competition in the eyes of the consumer? It’s all about sharing high-quality, unique, and original content. And it’s all about visuals.

Anyone can go to Google and find a photo to post on their Facebook page or Twitter account in an effort to spark interaction. But few brands understand the true power of an original image that can’t be found (and hasn’t been seen) anywhere else online.

That’s why 2012 is also the year of the photo-editing/sharing mobile apps. There are so many apps that exist within the iPhone/iPad App Store and Android Market that you can be using to share unique photos for your business or brand. So why aren’t you?

Instagram is one of the most popular iPhone photo app that individuals AND brands are using this year (about 27 million users total), and it was recently announced that the Android version is set to be released soon.

About a month ago we started sharing a few original visuals with our social media communities to illustrate how effective Instagram actually is. We’ve posted a few of them below with the hope that they’ll persuade you to start using Instagram (or any other similar app) to add a little spice and professionalism to the photos you intend to share on your social media sites.

It’s great if you have established and are maintaining a presence on popular social media sites for your business or brand. However, the key to finding continued success with your social media marketing strategy has everything to do with your ability to constantly be sharing unique, creative, informative, entertaining, and valuable content with your communities. Are you? It’s the only way you’ll stand out from the crowd.

To get started on Instagram, click here.

For other photo sharing/editing apps, click here for iPhone or click here for Android.

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Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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Using Pinterest For Business

Earlier today Kelsey and I aired our live show that runs every Wednesday at 3 PM Central. The topic for today’s show was all about how businesses could and should be using the increasingly popular social media site known as Pinterest. At the end of the show, I promised to publish a blog post that offered a few extra details and information about the site and how you can use it for your specific business and/or industry. Before I get into the additional information however, I wanted to share the archived recording of the show for those of you who weren’t able to watch live. Here it is:

Here’s a brief description of what Pinterest is, from the site itself:

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes (Source). 

If you haven’t been following Pinterest very closely lately, here are a few facts you should know:

  • 10.4 million Registered users on Pinterest
  • 1/5 Ratio of Pinterest’s registered users who visit the site every day
  • 11.7 million Unique monthly U.S. visitors for January 2012, according to comScore. Pinterest crossed the 10 million threshold faster than any other standalone site in history
  • 18 to 34 Age demographic of women propelling the site

Sourced from: http://theweek.com/article/index/224399/the-webs-growing-pinterest-obsession-by-the-numbers 

Naturally, as more and more people have started using Pinterest, the brands that really understand the power and reach of the site have established their own unique presence. Here are just a few examples (click the images to explore the profiles) from a number of different industries:


Now is the time to create a Pinterest account for your business. There are a lot of “big brands” jumping on the site each and every day, but there aren’t nearly as many small or mid-sized businesses taking advantage of the opportunity to reach a new community to interact with.

To take the first step, click here. 

Rob’s Extra Tip: Want to learn even more about how your business could be using Pinterest? Click here to download a FREE e-book from Hubspot.

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Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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