Cats, babies, and selfies go business. What cute stuff to tweet/post from an event?

regarde le cielWhile participating in a conference on social media best practices, I candidly asked what engagement is. The young gentleman who was kindly bestowing his knowledge upon us answered: “You’ll know when HE asks you!”, suggesting, in quite a sexist manner, if I may add,  that engagement is somehow the equivalent of the excitement  the marital “will you?” will most likely bring about.  Then, one day, light years away from the said event, while sneaking a peek on the Facebook page of a local pop star, there came the answer to my question. She had just posted a cute selfie with the succinct, yet so eloquent heading “Hello!” and gotten back around 14 k of likes and a dozen of comments. Now, that’s engagement! Or is it?

Businesses, at least those not dealing in cute cats and baby paraphernalia, will most likely have to invest more than a selfie to gain a like, a re-tweet, a comment or any other sign of engagement. One area in which they can, however, go a little wilder than usual and add some cuteness to their professional communication packages is that of live event reporting.

I set out on a quest for the cutiefic photographic or video items that one can tweet or post in connection to a business event and here’s what I found:

  • a crowd. As simple as that. Before your booth opens, post this image together with directions on the exact location of your booth. You do know about the universe conspiring for your success, don’t you?
  • a landmark of the city your fair or exhibition takes place in. Yes, do brush up on your Tour Eiffels, pyramids and the like. This will add a human touch to your tweets/posts as it will point out the beauty of travelling the world for business: you actually get to see places, even if only briefly. If you’re staying home, add a dolled up image of the venue you’ve chosen.
  • eye-catching advertising reflecting your company’s presence at the respective event. Think buses, airport walls, outdoor banners or mashes, anything big and bold will do! If you don’t have any of this, you can always think and act bold by cleverly creating a trompe l’eoil with a magnified ticket or badge that’s placed against a nice background.
  • any graffiti, disparate words or images that give a sense of the city you are in and which reflect the main idea of your event.
  • any wonder of nature (flowers, trees, animals, clouds, a ray of sun, etc. ) that you can cleverly slip into the conversation about the highlights of your show/fair/launch. Thinking of talking about cloud technologies? Well, just look at the sky!
  • got a badge, t-shirt or any other giveaway? Make it a star, (photo) shoot it and send it out into the world as participants’ luckiest charm of all!
  • any plans for setting up a fancy booth, reflecting the unquestionable awesomeness of whatever it is you are offering the world? Pictures or it did not happen. If you don’t have a King Kong size replica of your logo or mascot, just choose any furniture item, shoot it from an interesting angle, add a touch of anything (lights, shadows, textures, poster features) to it (plenty of free tools for lightweight photo editing) and it’s good to go.
  • candid moments from before the booth is set up. Put that Vine of yours to some good use!
  • a shiny shoe, a perfect tie, any other detail that spells out: “we’re ready, come see us!”

How about you? Anything else you’d like to add on the list?

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Birdie nom, nom. Quick tips for increasing Twitter engagement

Is your business present on Twitter? If the answer is yes, you probably already know that just sending out 140 long character messages  about how great your business is doesn’t help you achieve specific goals either in the short or long run. Twitter can be a really powerful tool for businesses  and, just as with all other social channels, using it requires that you have a strategy , a content plan and  some  objectives to start with. Let’s say you’ve got a decent followership. What do you do with it? How about connecting with it in such a way as to build a strong community and to find your very own your brand endorsers who will keep your tweets rolling?

Twitter offers some best practices for success, but I’ve also put together a list of tips that, in my experience, can help you send your message across loud and clear  across the sea of social noise out there

  • Go visual! – but not with every tweet. As Twitter is becoming more and more of a visual platform, a new feature called image preview has been added.  This means that images (and Vine videos) will appear without the user being required to first click on your tweet.  As visually enhanced  tweets have proven to  generate more engagement, make sure you put your best creative foot forward and  choose the right eye candy to go with your clever message  🙂
  • Starbucks coffeeDon’t make it all about you! –  You know you’re cool, but people need to hear about something else than just your products and news. Make sure your content calendar includes  3rd party content that brings value to your followers; you could for example, post  news from your industry or just a really interesting blog post that you’ve come across.
  •  Reply, retweet, reward (RRR) –your followers will retweet you but they expect you to get involved in a conversation with them , especially when they need help, an answer to a question or some kind of recognition. You could reward your fans by retweeting them, thanking them or just by organizing some #FF messages occasionally
  •  Hashtag your way to greatness –your hashtags are important, but make sure you increase your reach by adding a relevant and active industrys-specific  # to your tweets.
  • Events look great on Twitter– if you are participating in or organizing an event,  don’t forget that live tweeting can help you increase both your followership  and your engagement.  Just make sure you plan for tweets to go out prior to, during and following the event proper. In this way, your audience has a complete view of the event agenda and topics, the unfolding of presentations or workshops and of your plans for similar future occasions.
  • How about a nice Twitter chat? – Twitter chats, whether you organize or sponsor  them, are the perfect opportunity for your audience, customers and prospects  to connect with your business and have a say on one of their topics of interest.   Before hosting a chat, make sure you actively promote its hashtag, get a team ready to respond to questions (and monitor activity) in a timely fashion and have a plan B to fall back on in case of a  hashtag  highjacking.
  •  Organize contests – contests will, undoubtedly, heighten your fans’ interaction with your account. For a true win-win situation, get your prizes rolling during your events, when celebrating a milestone in your business history or for the launch of a product.

asos tweet

  • Haaaave you met…. promoted tweets? when you want to reach a broader audience for your blog post, whitepaper, product message etc, you can use this tool that the platform offers; promoted tweets are great when you are sponsoring an event for example, and you want the audience that posts to the event # to interact more with your messages.
  • Be creative – a brand’s coolness factor is best shown in real-time challenges. We love it when this and this happens, as these are examples of what awesome means in social marketing.

Looking forward to knowing your best practices for twitter engagement, do share them in the comments 🙂

How to look good not naked, but aggravated. On crisis management made cool.

 By Ioana and Raluca

What to do when they shout at you? Shout back or just crawl into a dark corner and wait for the storm to simply go away? Or, perhaps, ignore them into silence. Dealing with critics when they don’t really have a point, but they are desperately trying to make one is a delicate matter. Whatever you do, it might come back and bite you in the rear end, especially in cases where an individual, THE customer, stands up to an organization, THE company. The David in this story may very well hurt Goliath unless said Mr. G puts some clever icing on the cake it is about to respectfully throw into the little guy’s face.  ID-10025700

Do we hear a daring “Pictures or it never happened?”. Pictures and articles you’ve got! We’re discussing today about social media crisis management with some examples that we’ve recently stumbled upon.

I: Kim’s hubby, Kanye made a tweet booboo. Everyone’s been raving about his attack on Zappos, consisting of a reference to a matter which, when hitting the fan, means big, big trouble. The company responded in a very clever manner, namely taking Kanye’s words literally. Yes, we do sell what you said, and there’s a nice irony-laden product page to prove it. To me, that’s a magnificently bold way of halting the shameful matter’s course towards the fan. When you’re right, dare to fight back the clever way, that’s their lesson to me.

R: When companies choose to have a presence in the social sphere they also have to be prepared for possible challenges from any Twitter/Facebook user. Let’s not forget about the guy who used promoted tweets to complain about British Airways. Things could easily go wrong when a celebrity like Kanye is involved  – what with 10,103,083 followers-, but Zappos turned what looked like a major crisis into an opportunity for conversation and for creating  buzz around a clever message.

How can brands cope with a social media crisis? There are a few steps to follow and many of them can also be used in the case of Real time marketing.

  1. Plan ahead – draw up a crisis management plan and set the task force in charge of managing it ; make sure you develop the right procedures, policies and strategies for your crisis communication.
  2. Listen- monitor your social channels for mentions and conversations. Make sure you’re using the right tools for the job. Get a real-time, accurate picture of the dynamic of the crisis.
  3. Actbased on your monitoring results, establish the best strategy and actions to take. Choose the right channel to respond, but don’t hesitate to use a mix of platforms. Most of the times, images and Video will do the trick.
  4. Stay on top – turn the crisis into your competitive advantage. Your company is already in the lime light, why not use this opportunity to send your message across? Just make sure this message isn’t only clever and creative, but also in tune with fans’ expectations.
  5. Follow-up – Put together a list of best practices based on the crisis experience. There’s always a good lesson to learn!

We hope you enjoyed our tips and examples and we invite you to share with us your tips and experiences with social media crisis management 🙂

 To paraphrase Gloria’s joyful tune “Turn the tweet around/ Want to hear percussion (as in drum rolls, ya’ll!)/Turn that post upside down/Love to hear discussion…

 

Image courtesy of  Michal Marcol/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ouch-ing one’s way back into social. The JP Morgan case.

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by Ioana and Raluca

How ‘bout that! $omeone tried to pull a “TwitterTakeover” stunt and got hurt. The financial giant’s “ouch!” was heard loud and clear, with plenty of ironic to angry chirps raising up from the virtual branches we’re all perching on, waiting for the next 140 character key to the mysteries of the universe. Didn’t they see it coming?

What in the tweet’s name were they thinking of? That’s exactly what we asked ourselves in our second round of social chit chat. Here’s what we ended up with when trying to find not something that went wrong (everybody knows that!), but something that shoulda/coulda/woulda gone right.

 J: Everybody’s wearing their devilish grin when looking at this story. Honestly, so am I. But for a lawyerish, as in “devil’s advocate” reason. What good could come out of this story? How about some pressure relief? Let’s say they’d postponed this type of activities on Twitter for when things got a little calmer. Well, given the size of the crisis financial institutions are blamed for, that would have been a very long while. Making the move now, they handed a “Kick me” note to Twitter users out there on a silver plate. But they also offered them the chance to vent a bit, thus increasing the chances of the next thing they do on Twitter to be met with less outrage or anger. So, what do you say, R? Ouch much?

R: I see you’re taking the silver lining approach to this. Not sure the pressure venting scenario worked here. “How are you planning to spend the savings made from firing your social media team?” That’s only one of the embarrassing questions they were clearly NOT expecting to find on their TweetChat. Ouch indeed! Was banging their head against a brick wall the objective of their Q&A? Were they seeking to make the best of a bad situation? One thing’s for sure: Twitter didn’t seem the right channel to open up to the public, and that definitely was not the right context for an open conversation. The internet has witnessed many hashtag hijacks and the #askJPM will, unfortunately, end up on this list of shame. As a fellow social media professional I can only imagine the mental strength it takes for their staff to deal with the rancorous tweets pouring in every minute.

To end our second post on a more positive tone and praise the “HOW TOs” that help social media stunts from backfiring, here’s a pretty cool Twitter Brand Conversation that we can all learn from. Natural and fun. Right words in the right context. Well done!

Image courtesy of  bp bplanet/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s not that I don’t LIKE you, but I’d rather STAR you

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by Ioana and Raluca

The social star news is out. Slowly testing out the new feature, Facebook seems to be on its way to sending good old Mr. Like into retirement. Or not. Raluca and I sat down, not because of the shock, mind you, but to think this change through and see how it might impact the performance of business pages. Are you pondering what we’re pondering? Let’s see:  

J: So, Ralu, let me get this right. Are they really saying that stars will kick likes’ butts?

R: I guess for Facebook pages, if the option is mandatory, it will mean making managers more aware of the fact that they should provide interesting and valuable content for their fans and not rely on fan acquisition and post promotion only. Even though eliminating the iconic like could offer a more sentiment-like endorsement from the fans, the rating system could get brand owners confused. Are fans starring the page or the products? Or are they expressing an opinion about the service they received? How do you feel about the stars?

J: I think you’re right in saying that this is another wakeup call as far as content quality is concerned. What troubles me is that if it did not work out with the likes, I don’t really see the stars doing the trick. Why would they? Just because they’re stars? One more thing: rating systems, to my mind, work if there’s some kind of similarity or common ground of the compared items. Simply put: apples go with apples, pears with pears.  Where do stars fit in with the variety of business domains that pages belong to? Is a two star rating for a niche brand as good as a four star rating for a widely used consumer good brand? Who’s doing the math there, do you think?

R: Totally agree with you, Jo!  Some brand pages could naturally attract more stars than others so the ratings wouldn’t actually reflect the precise amount of love that the fans really express. Anyway, we’ll keep commenting on any updates on this story from Facebook. Plenty of social chit-chat material there!

Meanwhile, if you feel like rating something we invite you to share or like our first post here. That is, of course, if you find it reeeeeeeeealy interesting.  🙂

Image courtesy of Pixomar/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net