Archive for the Social Media Category

Social Media Outreach

First of all, what is it? According to an article I read written by Sprout Social’s Dominique Jackson, social media outreach is utilizing social networks “to raise awareness for your brand, content, or to build new relationships.” While it sounds like a formal way of saying social networking, outreach is truly more than that, and there’s a right way and a wrong way of doing it. To illustrate what I mean, we’re going to use Twitter.

Let’s start by taking a quick look at a screenshot of a few tweets posted by Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder. First, all four of these tweets are original content; there are no re-tweets or replies to anyone else’s tweets in this picture. As the picture shows, each of Snyder’s tweets have been retweeted at least five times and received at least three favorites. And even though you can’t see it here, all of Snyder’s tweets have replies from other Twitter users. This shows very little interaction, or outreach, on Snyder’s part. In fact, after reviewing the 17 tweets Snyder posted over the course of five days, there are no re-tweets or replies from him at all! He’s just not engaging with his audience.

Screenshot of Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder's Twitter Account taken on 9.27.16.

Screenshot of Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder’s Twitter Account taken on 9.27.16.

 

Now let’s look at American television personality Montel Williams’ Twitter feed. In this picture we see two re-tweets (the first and last tweets), an original tweet (the second), and a reply (the third tweet). Williams’ second tweet, the original content, has been favorite-d by 395 people and re-tweeted 254 times. Next, we see his response to a tweet a woman named Stephanie posted that’s been favorite-d by six people. And finally, Williams has re-tweeted two other Twitter users’ posts. In fact, in a period of 15 hours, Williams has tweeted, replied or re-tweeted a total of 58 posts. In 15 hours! To say Montel Williams is engages with his audience is an understatement.

Screenshot of American TV personality Montel Williams' Twitter Account taken on 9.27.16.

Screenshot of American TV personality Montel Williams’ Twitter Account taken on 9.27.16.

In view of these two accounts… Which of the two Twitter users do you think has better social media outreach? Gov. Rick Snyder, whose usage is overwhelmingly static, or canned, if you will? Or do you think Montel Williams, who engages with his audience, has better outreach? Which one of these users would YOU follow? And finally, ask yourself: which kind of user are you, and which kind of social media outreach does your audience want?

Live broadcasting is trending

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: social media has taken traditional media (print, radio and television) and turned it on its ear. Since its inception, traditional media hasn’t changed much except in its formatting, whereas social media is always advancing. And now, with the advent of live broadcasting, social media is progressing even further.

Currently the hot trend in social media revolves around live broadcasting. While this brings about the discussion, “Live broadcast where mistakes happen or a video where I can piece together three or four takes to create one fluid, (hopefully) mistake-free product?” let me point out a major deciding factor. With live broadcasting, you have the possibility of audience interaction that can be seen in real time. Yes, you can now interact with your audience and broadcast at the same time. Game changing, right?

There are three major contenders in the live broadcasting arena right now: Blab.im (Blab), Periscope and Meerkat. All three platforms allow for unlimited video lengths and the possibility of interactivity that can be seen in real time. Also, the trio of platforms all use Twitter for real time interaction between the broadcaster(s) and viewers. And that’s where the similarities end.

Blab.im

Blab live broadcastingBlab, in my opinion, is the platform that’s going to bring about the most change, especially for professional use. Of the three new platforms, Blab is the only one with the ability to broadcast from a computer or an iPhone. Another distinction: Blab allows up to 4 people to broadcast on air at once from different locations. These two advantages have already begun to revolutionize the way webinars are conducted. It’s also the only platform to keep broadcasts available for replay for an unlimited amount of time. One (minor) downside to Blab? Right now, it’s only available for iPhone (but plans for an Android app are already in the works).

Periscope 

Periscope live broadcastingTwitter-owned Periscope gets major accolades across the Web for its user interface. Its said to be more intuitive and when broadcasting and much less intrusive to the broadcaster than Meerkat’s interface. With Periscope, a follower’s handle pops up onscreen and then fades away while broadcasting while Meerkat keeps a constant stream of followers on the broadcasting interface, thus limiting the broadcaster’s view. Periscope also allows you to choose whether or not your broadcast is private (only your followers can watch/view later), manage location settings, and limit the chat/tweet live stream whereas Meerkat automatically sends out public tweets while you’re broadcasting live. One con to using Periscope however is that once your broadcast is over, it’s viewable for only 24 hours, and only on the app itself or Apple TV.

Meerkat 

Meerkat live broadcastingWhile Periscope is often made out to be the live broadcasting darling, there are Meerkat features that makes it more attractive for businesses and professionals. Much like Blab, Meerkat allows you to schedule a broadcast ahead of time, which allows for adequate promotion. Also, Meerkat has Cameo, an interactive feature where the broadcaster allows a viewer to take over the stream for up to 60 seconds; contest opportunities in the making right there. On the other hand, a downside to Meerkat is that once you’re done live streaming, your followers cannot go back and watch your broadcast. However, unlike Periscope, Meerkat broadcasts are downloaded to your library and from there, you can share the link and watch it in the app or on the Web. Meerkat also has a smart embed code allowing you to embed your feed elsewhere. It will show your live stream if you’re live, show the date and time of your next upcoming stream if you’re not live, and if you have no upcoming streams scheduled, it displays stats from your last stream. Again, these are distinctions that may make Meerkat more appealing to professionals and businesses.

Live broadcasting isn’t just trendy

As of February 1st, both Facebook and YouTube have jumped on the live broadcasting wagon. You may have even recently noticed that certain pages you follow on Facebook are in your Notifications as being live with videos (for example, I’ve received notifications for xojane.com and HuffPost and Dorothy receives reports from Good Morning America). Both social media giants are still beta testing their live-broadcast offerings, but expect to see them up and running sooner rather than later.

Similarities and differences across the three major live broadcasting platforms

The similarities and differences across the three major live broadcasting platforms.

Social Media 101

What social media is, what it isn’t, and how to decide what platform to use for your needs.

Social media… in less than 10 years, social media has taken traditional media (print, RBD Creative Social Media 101radio and television) and turned it on its ear. Social networking is the #1 activity on the Internet, and everyone from tweens to nonagenarians (the tech savvy ones, anyway) are using social media to connect and engage with the world around them. It’s also been estimated that 1 out of every 4 people use social networking worldwide. Now, with a potential audience of nearly 2 billion people, the question goes from, “Should I use social networking to reach my target audience?” to “How will I use social networking to reach my customers?”

What social media isn’t. It may seem overly simplistic, but the first rule of social networking is to remember two things: 1) it’s social, and 2) it’s networking. While traditional media is static, social media is the complete opposite; the entire point of social networking is to have engagement between your company and its target audience. Engagement drives traffic to your website and grows your branding, therefore increasing sales and likely your customer base.

What platform do I use for my company? There are two things to consider when choosing social media platforms. First, what kind of product or service are you selling, and second, who is your target audience? Let’s take real estate for example. If you’re a residential agent, your product is very visual and you’re targeting individuals. Therefore, you should use a platform that allows you to post pictures and encourages dialogue. Facebook is a great option, as are Instagram and Twitter.

However, if you’re a commercial real estate agent, your target audience are businesses. The best social media platforms for you? Start by using Facebook, as it keeps current and potential clients informed of what your company has to offer in addition to fun things that may be going on within the company. Next, think about using LinkedIn. Not only does LinkedIn offer the opportunity for you to network professionally, it also allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field by participating in LinkedIn groups, “publishing” white papers or by sharing pertinent items of interest with your connections.

You may be thinking at this point, “Why can’t I just use all of them?” It’s tempting, isn’t it, since your target audience most likely uses multiple social networking sites. The problem with trying use every social networking site to broadcast your message is that social media is time consuming. When you’re trying to be everything to everyone, the result is that you spread yourself and your company thin and you transmit a watered-down version of your message. Not only will your audience be overloaded and think of your company as “spammy”, but they’ll also think you’re trying too hard. And let’s face it, if you’re busy shouting your message out, you’re too busy to listen to the incoming messages from your audience, which goes against the very point of social media.

How You’re Hurting Yourself by Not Using Social Media

A few years ago, I worked with a small local business that had no Internet presence whatsoever. Any new business was acquired through personal networking or referral. However, it wasn’t until after a few new employees were hired that the company discovered the new recruits almost didn’t come to their interviews simply because the company had zero web or social media presence. The employees had, in fact, thought they were going to be scammed.

Remember when you were younger and your mother would say something along the lines of, “The only person you’re hurting is yourself?” This is one of those times (yet again) Mama was right.

How are your current clients discovering your new product offerings? How are you finding prospective clients? How are you learning more about what both your current and future clients need from your product? How do you know what your competitors are up to? What are you doing to establish yourself as an expert in your field? How do you know what people are saying about you, whether it’s clients or your competition, if you don’t have a social media presence?

All of these questions I’ve put in front of you can be answered when you start using social media.

By participating in social media, you’re able to:

  • Engage with your current and prospective clients in real time
  • Easily drive traffic to your website
  • Form and/or participate in groups that will help establish you as an industry expert
  • Deal with a crisis proactively rather than reactively

Best of all? You’ll save money. Social media is, for the most part, free. Upgrading your profile on LinkedIn, for example, will cost some money, as will “boosting” your Facebook posts. If you decide to do any advertising on social media networks, it will cost money. But basic profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., are free. Engaging with clients, both current and future, is free. Participating in group discussions with peers is free. Promoting new products and services is free. Driving traffic to your website, free. Checking out what the competition is doing is free.

You can’t afford to not be using social media.

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RBD Creative is a great design and marketing agency located in Plymouth, Michigan and serving Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Southeast Michigan. We specialize in print and web design, tradeshow and event planning, and social media management.

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RBD Creative
9349 N Haggerty Rd
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(734) 927-7168
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