An Online Etiquette Refresher for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

An Online Etiquette Refresher for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

As of 2016, 88% of American adults use the internet and 69% of online adults now use at least one social media site. Yet, probably more than a third of them act like a buffoon online – business owners and entrepreneurs included.

When you are a business owner or entrepreneur, what you do and say online can have positive and negative ramifications on your business. Yes, you can post freely, however when you are attached to a business or you are your business, the spotlight is on you more.

I decided to update and refresh some of my online etiquette rants and considering that state of the country (and world) right now, a little reminder doesn’t hurt, however this still has a business slant to it.

So, what do you (we) need to do?

Do not ignore people.

Much like how you wouldn’t want to be ignored in real life, don’t ignore someone online. If someone takes the time to respond to something you have out there – a tweet, a Facebook post, acknowledge it. People want to feel like they matter and ignoring them tells them they don’t. Same goes for blog comments. Even if it’s a simple thank you, you’ve acknowledged it. Something else to consider – I know we all cannot stand the generic LinkedIn messages, but if someone requests a connection with you and you do not want to accept it, it’s okay to respond and tell them why.

True story: About 5 years ago, there was a local restaurant here where I live that my husband and I wanted to eat at. I looked them up on Facebook to see their hours (they didn’t have a website – I know!) and saw they were open so we went. When we pulled up, they were closed and there was a different set of hours on their door. Needless to say we weren’t happy. Being the social media person I am, I went online and left a post on their Facebook page’s wall letting them know what happened and asked them to correct the hours on their page. 24 hours later – no response. 3 days later – no response. 4 days later I went back to their page and the post had been deleted. No apology or acknowledgement, it was deleted. Talk about being mad. Up until the day it closed (which was a couple years ago), we never set foot in that restaurant. We were potential customers that they lost out on.

Moral of the story: Respond! Had they responded with something, we would have gone back to try them out and become customers.

Do not steal other people’s work.

Seriously. Plagiarism happens every day on the web. I’ve had it happen to several of my blog posts and a couple of my graphics. Friends have had theirs stolen multiple times too. Google doesn’t like it and we don’t either. There are proper ways to go about reusing published content. Contact the author and ask about their republication policy (we all have them and they aren’t all the same). It adds value to the relationship when you ask first and it shows appreciation on both sides.

True Story: I have a client who is a high-end portrait photographer. She had a fellow peer in her industry have photos she (the peer) took and posted on another photographer’s website. This thief had a family see the pictures and hired them to do their photos. When they showed up, the photographer (the thief) was asking them to help her with her camera and posing – stuff she should have already known had she taken the pictures. The family quickly found out she didn’t take the photos she saw and found out who did and hired the original photographer (my client’s friend).

Moral of the story: When you steal, you will be found out and like pop! goes the weasel, pop! there goes your business.

Act your age.

I really shouldn’t have to actually type this out, but if you’re 35, 55 or even 25, act it. A lot of people try to use social media to make themselves bigger than they are and it comes back to get them (social media professionals included). Acting your age and showing your maturity will earn you respect and authority.

A good tip to keep in mind for yourself and your staff – if it would make your grandma blush, don’t post it.

This applies to content and language. There is absolutely no place for cursing online. Same applies to language that could offend someone (i.e. racial slurs, name-calling). Think of grandma – what would she say? We’re all adults here and we need to act like it (see above). Same applies especially to business owners – there is no place for an owner to respond with that type of language to a post on their business account. Trust me, you’ll end up like Amy’s Bakery in Arizona (read about it here).

Don’t assume.

This applies to just about everything. When you see something online don’t always assume it’s real or legit. There’s a lot of spam out there and do your friends a favor and check it out before sharing it, especially on your business account. We won’t even go into fake news. It’s everywhere and you have to really check your sources because social platforms and Google are wising up to this.

This also applies to tone. In writing it’s so hard to determine the tone of the writer from mere words. For example, I could type “That’s not funny.” and mean it as either a laughing “that’s not funny” making light of something or a harsh “that’s not funny” really getting onto someone. If there is something posted you do not understand, just ask. Ask for clarification. It will save hurt feelings or misunderstandings.

Try to keep things vanilla enough that your readers/fans will understand your tone. If it’s something that may be confusing, make a video and post it!

Selfies.

Okay, enough with the selfies. Personally, I cannot stand them. Professionally, I just don’t get it. If it’s a part of your personal brand to post 10+ selfies each day, fine. If selfies are something you want to do for your business, just make sure they relate to why you are using social media in the first place. You do not want to hurt your brand by over-posting these. And also be careful what types of selfies you post as well. We don’t want to see a bathroom stall.

Spell check! Please!!!

There is nothing more unprofessional than misspellings and incorrect grammar. Proof everything you write BEFORE hitting the post/tweet/publish button.

I know we will all make a type here and there, we’re human, it’s going to happen. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes look over something before it goes online. Not everything has an ‘edit’ button.

Ross Gellar from “Friends” points out a popular one… (sorry, had to!)

via GIPHY

To be honest, I could write another 3000 words about social media/online etiquette. How you (and you staff) act online says a lot about you – your character, your beliefs, even your business practices.

In a day where the negative spreads MUCH faster than the positive, we all have to be careful with what we do. say and publish online. The internet is world of mouth now. How well does your actions reflect on you as the business owner or entrepreneur? If it’s not what you want, it’s not too late to change. Take some time and look at what you are doing and write out some proactive steps to shape your actions the way you want them.

Now it’s your turn – what are best practices for social media etiquette that YOU would share?

 

13 Social Media Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Tools to Make Managing Your Social Media Easier

TRUE STORY: A few months ago I attended a conference (no surprise there). Throughout many of the sessions, many, and I mean MANY social media tools and programs were mentioned. I saw people feverishly jotting down the names, looking up the apps on their iPhones and such. People were all over these programs like they had never heard of them before. Owning the business that I do, I have tried just about every single one that was mentioned.

There are SO many programs out there that anyone could spend a month trying them all out and still not know which one to use or what direction to go. Trust me, I’ve been there. After five years in the social media business, I’ve seen so many programs come and go, you have to look for ones that have staying power.

So to make it easy for you, or aynone who stumbles upon this post, here’s my list of social media tools you can use to make YOUR life and your business run MUCH easier…

Social Media Management/Post Scheduling 

Being able to schedule out posts will make your life A LOT easier. However, you still have to be available to engage in real time with people – respond to questions, take care of issues that pop up – you can’t brush it under a rug. Here are four programs you can’t go wrong with. I do suggest you take the time to explore each of them on your own, rather than me list out the pros and cons of each 🙂

  • Hootsuite – With both free and paid options, this program has both mobile and desktop versions.
  • Sprout Social – This program starts out at $59/month but does allow you to try 30 days free. This is the program I have been using since I started so I would say I am biased towards it 😉
  • Buffer – A lot like Hootsuite, with the capabilities, Buffer offers a free option all the way to Enterprise levels based on your needs.
  • Facebook – Every Facebook page has the ability to schedule posts itself. This I love. For all of the Facebook pages I manage, we do this no matter if we manage their other social accounts as well.

Instagram

  • Schedugram – Even though Buffer and Hootsuite can schedule and post to Instagram, if you just need to only schedule to Instagram, this would be the program for you. It’s not free though – the cost is $20/profile.
  • Iconosquare – This one provide analytics and more marketing choices for your Instagram account and starts off at $49/per Instagram account.

Pinterest

  • TailWind – If you are seeking a program just for Pinterest scheduling, this would the one for you. They’ve just added some Instagram abilities, but I haven’t played around with that year. For annual cost of $120/account, this is the way to go for Pinterest, in my opinion. They have larger plans, but unless you want mack daddy analytics, which is what you would be paying for (and you can get the majority from Pinterest for free), go with the cheaper version.

Twitter

  • Tweetchat – Tweetchats are a great way to expand your brand online and increase your community. If you are going to hold or participate in a Tweetchat, then this program is the way to do it. You won’t keep up otherwise. Oh, and this is free.
  • TribeBoost – This program is based out of Brunswick, Georgia and does a marvelous job of helping you grow your Twitter following.

Analytics

When it comes to analytics, each platform has their own and they typically provide the best. Google Analytics provide THE best website analytics I have come across. Of course, when it comes to comparing your social accounts to your competitors, well, that could be another blog post all in itself since there are another set of sites and programs you could use. We’ll stick to this list for now:

 

I’m not going to get into photo editing and such – that’s another post for another day. These tools are here to make your business’ social media run easier so you can get back to running your business.

If you have questions about these programs, just tweet me at @memktgservices or drop me an email at mandy@memarketingservices.com!

 

 

(Disclosure: Sprout Social link is my referral link as a part of their Sprout All-Star Elite program)

What to Expect When Using Social Media to Market Your Business

What to Expect When Using Social Media to Market Your Business

Using social media to market your business is not easy. There’s a science and strategy behind it. Fortunately, there are many of us who are here to help you with that so you can do what you do best – run your business.

 

I could write all day along about why you need social media and what to expect, so this time around I gathered a few of my friends who work in social media marketing and asked them to answer this one question…

 

What is one thing you want businesses to know about using social media to market their business?

 

Here is what they want YOU to know.

 

dominique paye using social mediaDominique Paye, Digital Media Director, The Southern C

“Establishing your following and achieving results will not happen overnight. View this as a long-term strategy. Understand that there is not only a ton of competition, but the additional challenge of consumer overload means you will have to think deeply to show what really distinguishes your brand or business. This is the only way to grow an engaged audience and, in the long run, see results.”

 

 

 

jonathan payne using social mediaJonathan Payne, Founder and Digital Marketing Consultant, My Social Game Plan

“One major thing businesses need to tackle before jumping into social media is whether they truly have the resources and budgets to support both an organic and paid social presence. The reality is it’s far more difficult to grow an organic community today than it was just two or three years ago. With the exponential increases in content publishing and competition for attention, combined with the strict algorithms we’re seeing across the big social platforms, you’re going to need ad support behind your brand to grow a community.

Businesses need to make this determination up front, before they sign any agency contracts or start allocating internal resources: do we have the budget to consistently produce exceptional, organic social media content at a high volume, or should we produce much less organic content and shift more dollars toward paid advertising?”

 

 

sara nickelberry using social media

Sara Nickleberry, Social Media Consultant and Owner, Social with Sara

“You need a social media marketing strategy!

When you’re marketing your business on social media, don’t try to “wing it”, you need a plan! A strategy is mandatory for social media marketing success. Start with your goals and objectives in mind. What are you trying to accomplish? You could be trying to build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website or increase your email sign ups, but do define your goal and make it measurable. Who are you targeting? Where do they hang out online? What social platforms do they use? Keep in mind, people don’t like to be sold to on social media. So think about what value you can provide to your audience to inform and entertain. What makes you unique and sets you apart from your competition? Think about the type of content you will create and how often you will post and promote your content. Understand that you will need to analyze your efforts to see what’s working and what’s not, so you can adjust your plan and improve your efforts.”

 

 

erin phillips using social mediaErin Phillips, Social Media Consultant and Owner, Pinckney Palm

“It’s necessary. With the average person spending an hour and 40 minutes on social per day (and this stat is growing!) you don’t want to miss out on your opportunity to get in front of your target audience. Find out which platform they’re spending the most time on and create some compelling content for that one platform. Don’t spread yourself too thin! You got this!.”

 

 

 

 

brooke sellas using social mediaBrooke Sellas, Founder & CEO, B Squared Media

“Based on my experience, one of the most (if not THE most) important things businesses must know when using social media to market their business is WHY.

WHY are you using social media to market your business? HOW will you tie your social media efforts to business outcomes, key performances indicators (KPIs), and return on investment (ROI).

When we get started with clients, we always determine KPIs during our launch meeting because effective social media KPIs are crucial to determining progress towards their/our goals. We also use a spreadsheet or “scorecard” to track these KPIs month-over-month, year-over-year.

Keep in mind that every brand’s KPIs are different … some companies want to measure follower growth and shares, while others prefer to measure click-through-rates, social traffic, and leads from social. While there’s no “one-size-fits-all” KPI, businesses using social media to market their business should know what their WHY, determine their KPIs and business goals, and track those things diligently.”

 

 

jenn herman using social mediaJenn Herman, Social Media Strategist, Jenn’s Trends

“The biggest thing I want business owners to understand is that social media is not an overnight rocket ship to success. Social media is about building relationships and cultivating trust in your customers. It can take months, or even years, to drive conversions. But, when done effectively, social media does foster that trust and loyalty that builds long term customers.”

 

 

 

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, these answers should not come as a surprise because they all echo what I’ve been writing about.

 

To sum it up, what should you expect when using social media to market your business?

 

Has anything surprised you with using social media to market your business? Is there anything you are struggling with? Share below and let us know!

 

THIS is the Facebook Content Your Fans Want You to Post

THIS is the Facebook Content Your Fans Want You to Post

Let me ask you a question, and let’s be honest, how many times have you seen a business post on Facebook and you wished there had been an eye-roll button to click?

 

Don’t lie – there have been times we have all wanted to respond to a post that way. I’m going to be brutally honest – some businesses still just do not get it when it comes to what type of content to post to Facebook. Here is what I am seeing in my newsfeed, and see if any of these match what you are seeing too –

  • Misaligned posts that do not match the brand’s message
  • All sales pitches, aka broadcast messages
  • Posts with spelling and grammatical errors

 

Facebook, in May, released a guide for publishers that clued us into what Facebook values from it’s users. Here is what they found:

 

People on Facebook value meaningful, informative stories.

In their algorithm, Facebook looks at a user’s personal signals, such as “how close someone is to the person or page posting, stories they’d want to talk to their friends and family about, spend time reading, and videos they’d spend time watching.” Also taken into account is the post’s overall engagement. People value content that is informative as well. Think about what you take time to read or share, or even comment on. It is content you find meaningful and informative. You should put yourself in the your audience’s shoes and post the type of content they will spend time on, much like you would.

 

People on Facebook value accurate, authentic content.

With the wave of fake news on Facebook, accuracy is SO important more now than ever. Facebook users have told Facebook that authentic stories are the ones that resonate with them the most, so Facebook ranks those types of posts higher in the News Feed. Some tips from Facebook include:

  • Clear headlines – do not mislead the person viewing the headline.
  • Spam – “do not deliberately try and game the News Feed to get more distribution.”
  • Accurate Information – make sure what you are posting is true.

 

Around the same time as the Facebook release, Sprout Social released its Q2 Sprout Social Index. This edition of the quarterly social media insight report focused on what consumers are looking from from businesses on social media – and it echoed a lot of the Facebook release.

 

Every business wants to be ‘cool’ on social media – they want to relate to their fans, but there is a limit to that. According to the Sprout Social Index, social media users want brands to be honest online, you know, authentic. They also want you to be friendly and helpful, not snarky and sarcastic. You can leave that for your private personal channels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, where else do social media users want to see this honest behavior? Overwhelmingly Facebook. If anyone, professional or not, tells you Facebook is dead and you need to look elsewhere, run and run fast.

 

 

Let’s talk content – what TO and NOT TO post.

 

TO Post: Meaningful, informative stories.

This could include tips, articles – items that are relevant to your fans. What this is NOT is sales pitch after sales pitch or “look at what we do” post after post. I see so many businesses doing that and it’s annoying. Stop the constant self-promotion and build the relationship!

Example: You are a pediatrician office. The content that would be meaningful and informative to your fans would be articles that keep your fans informed on the latest research on vaccines or when your office will be having their annual flu clinic.

 

TO Post: Accurate, authentic content.

Example: You are a restaurant. The accurate, authentic content that would be relevant to your fans would be your updated menu and pricing and any specials you may have.

 

NOT TO Post: Political commentary.

According to the Sprout Index, “Seventy-one-percent of consumers surveyed think political commentary from brands is annoying.” In this day and time, the ground is too shaky to endeavor on posting this type of content. Unless that is your business, steer clear.

 

NOT TO Post: Making fun of customers.

You would think this is a given, but some businesses do it. As seen below, 88% of consumers find it annoying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO Post: Responses to questions.

It should be a given to respond to questions to that are asked, however you would be surprised how many go unresponded to (and I’ve had this happen to me!). According to Sprout Social, 68% of consumers want brands to participate in conversations they’re mentioned in, and 83% want brands to respond to them.

 

NOT TO Post: Slang.

You may think it’s cool to use the lingo of a particular generation, but most generations find it annoying. See the graph below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what happens if a business is posting content that their fans find annoying or uninformative? They are unfollowed or marked as spam. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Your mom probably has done it too. The problem is that many businesses just don’t care – or they do not know better to know how to correct what they are doing wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a bright side. If you post the right type of content and you are engaging and responsive, your fans will respond. According to Sprout Social’s research, “it may be as easy as being present and providing value–answering a customer’s question on social prompts 49% of consumers to purchase, 45% are swayed by promotions and contests and 42% say they’d be converted by educational content.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tying this all up, if your business is posting meaningful, accurate content that shows you are honest and you are being engaging and responsive online, you are on the right track. Of course, all of this should relate back to your overall social media strategy.

 

What types of content have you seen on Facebook that has made you cringe or made you want to give that business a high-five? Share with us in the comments!

20 Facebook Statistics for 2017

20 Facebook Statistics for 2017

If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know I love statistics, especially statistic posts. And with Facebook reaching 2 BILLION monthly users last month (June 2017), I thought it appropriate we take a look at some of the statistics that make up the world’s largest social media platform.

 

• Americans LOVE Facebook – 79% of American adult internet users are using Facebook. (Pew Research Center)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• 76% of Facebook users LOG IN DAILY. (Pew Research Center)

Image Source: Pew Research Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Almost one-quarter of the earth’s population (22.9%) uses Facebook. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Facebook’s mobile app is the most popular app in the United States, followed by their Messenger app and Instagram, which they own as well. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Shakria has the most Facebook fans of any musician on Facebook. Two of the top ten are deceased. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Facebook spent $3.2 million lobbying Congress in Q1 2017. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• People have created over 2.5 TRILLION posts on Facebook. (TechCrunch)
• As of July 2016, there were over 2 BILLION searches PER DAY on Facebook. (TechCrunch)
• Every 60 seconds, Facebook users generate 4 million likes. PLUS, 500 new users join Facebook, 100,000 new friend requests are sent, and 243,000 photos are uploaded. (SumoCoupon, now Dealhack)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Facebook Reactions have been used more than 300 billion times since launched in February 2016. (AdWeek)
• Facebook is the most important platform for marketers. (Social Media Examiner)

Image Source: Social Media Examiner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• 40% of Facebook users have never liked a Facebook business page. (Kentico)
• 39% of Facebook users like or follow a page to receive a special offer. (Kentico)
• 93% of social marketers use Facebook advertising regularly. (Social Media Examiner)
• 85% of video on Facebook is watched with the sound off. (Digiday)
• In the Facebook News Feed, people consume a given piece of content faster on mobile than on a computer. (Facebook)

Image Source: Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• People are 1.5x more like to watch video daily on a smartphone than on a computer. (Facebook)
• Daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew 4x over the course of 2016. (Facebook)
• On Facebook, 1 in 5 videos is now a live broadcast. (Facebook)
• In Q1, Facebook earned $7.86 billion in advertising revenue. (Facebook)

 

Facebook is here to stay and we all better just fasten our seatbelts and enjoy the ride! I’ve been a Facebook user for 11 years and it has definitely changed over the years. It will be interesting to see where it is 11 years from now!

 

For some more Facebook stats, check out this post on KlientBoost, which provided some of the sources in this post.

 

 

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