When you think of the word brand, you may associate it with a business or organization. However, a brand is much bigger than that. Brands not only represent large companies, such as Lululemon or Coca Cola, they represent people, like you and me.
One of the best quotes about branding that has continuously resonated with me is this:
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder of Amazon
It's no surprise that social media is important as a business owner. If you are looking to market your business for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional advertising, look no further than social media.
Are you a business owner looking to capitalize on your social media? Are you ready to get serious about defining your social media strategy and goals in 2018? Join us for Social Media 101 for Business on February 10, 2018 at the ATB Entrepreneur Centre in Edmonton!
In this two hour interactive workshop we will cover the basics of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, including what it takes to create a great social media strategy. We will also touch on the basics of setting up Facebook advertisements.
Participants will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in group activities throughout the session. Participants will leave with workbooks to complete that will leave them feeling more confident than ever with social media.
Interested in attending? Tickets are only $49 + GST!
We say this every year, but it is truly hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. 2017 has been an amazing year filled with learning opportunities, growth and meeting new people. All of which we absolutely love!
While there are so many things we could talk about from the year, here are a few of our favourite memories and highlights from 2017:
What is the return on investment from social media? This is probably the number one question I get from any prospective or current client. And you're probably wondering it yourself, hence the reason you clicked on this blog.
What is the benefit of paying someone (like us) to manage your social media for you? Well, obviously if you have a business, the goal at the top of your mind on any given day is to increase sales and have more money coming into your bank account. That's what we all want. But it's not that easy!
Marketing is all about three things: know, like and trust.
Everywhere you look there are social media contests. Click like, tag two friends and share this post to be entered to win something awesome!
Contests are a popular way to drive engagement and build your brand. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you kick-off your next social media contest. One very important item we should address right away is the rules. Yes, social media has rules. Facebook specifically has a list of rules on what you can and cannot do with contesting.
Is this ground-breaking information to you? It shouldn't be! Here's one of the most common rules that we see broken time and time again. Can you guess what it is?
Share this post to win! Tag two friends to enter!
*Insert eye-rolling here*
This is a big no-no on Facebook. Here's what they have to say about it:
"Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted)."
Did we just crush your contest ideas? Sorry!
Don't worry! There are still great (legal) alternatives to contesting. The main thing to keep in mind with any contest is that you need to keep your barriers to entry very low to drive engagement. Asking people to do a million things for one entry will result in less people entering your contest.
Instagram Contest Idea
Instagram is a great way to build organic content and user content. Poppy Barley does an amazing job of encouraging their customers to share their product photos with the hashtag #LuxuryForThePeople. When you click on this hashtag, over 1,100 images pop-up! This is marketing gold, people! Not only are you building a loyal social following, you're stocking your own content calendar with photos people actually care about. Not just non-stop stock photography!
Try creating a signature hashtag for your brand. Use that hashtag on everything and encourage your followers to use it. It might take a while to take off, but it's an easy contest idea and will guarantee you an endless supply of content if done properly!
Facebook Contest Idea
And we are back to biggest criminal of them all, Facebook contests! So, you can't get people to share to their timeline, and you can't get them to tag two friends... so what can you do?
Keep it simple!
One really simple contest idea is to pose a question to your audience. Example:
"We've reached 1,000 followers on Facebook. To celebrate, we're giving away "x"! All you have to do to enter is like this post and comment with your favourite color of "x" to be eligible to win. Contest closes October 16, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. (MST).
Pretty easy, right?
Simplicity is your friend and it's legal :)
What are your pet peeves with social media contesting? Let us know in the comment section below.
Until next time friends,
P.S. If you're looking for help setting up your next contest, reach out to us! Simplified Social would love to help.
Wedding bells are ringing as I am preparing for my upcoming wedding this January (this is also why you have not seen a blog from Simplified Social in a while!). I am so excited for the big day, even though I am starting to get ancy about a few items!
As a social media consultant/addict, I have had a few friends and family ask me how I am going to incorporate social media on my big day. Am I going to let people Instagram me walking down the aisle? Do I have a hashtag? The answers are yes and obviously!
I really do not care about the no phone policy during the ceremony. I know some couples have opted out of letting their guests snap pictures, but let's be honest, people don't listen anyways. The last three weddings I have attended, the officiant has clearly stated no phones- yet I look around and see everyone sneaking pictures and blatantly disregarding the instructions. I know the overall ceremony pictures have a better look without phones, but that is not my main concern for the day.
And I mean let's be honest, I paid $2,000.00 for my dress and $250.00 for hair and makeup, I would love for you to Snapchat or Instagram me looking my finest.
As someone who has heavily utilized social media to engage guests and enhance event experiences, here are three ways I am incorporating social media into my wedding day.
1. A Signature Hashtag
This is cliché and not news to anyone. Almost every wedding I have attended in the last two years has a hashtag. Hashtags are a great way to get your guests engaged on social. It is also a great way to easily find photos in the days following the wedding by simply clicking on the hashtag itself.
The problems I have found with wedding hashtags in the past is the ease of use. If you are using a hashtag, make it simple enough for your guests to use- even after a few cocktails! Having an overly complicated hashtag will make it hard for guests to use, therefore no one will even use it.
Another important thing to keep in mind with hashtags is that it's better to start using them sooner rather than later. Use them on your engagement photos on Instagram, put the hashtag on your invitation, literally spam people with them. This will allow your guests to easily pick up on the trend on the day of the wedding instead of wondering, "what was their hashtag again?".
I have put my hashtag on my invitations, my wedding website and on literally every social media post about my wedding (although I am trying not to spam my Instagram followers with non-stop couple photos).
If you are really stuck with trying to think of a witty hashtag, I recommend checking out this hashtag generator from Wedding Wire. It get's the ball rolling for ideas.
Treat your hashtag like any marketing campaign. The sooner you start your marketing, the more posts you have, the more it will be utilized on your event day.
2. Ohhhhhh, Snap!
If you're like any other millennial in this world, you know Snapchat comes out in full force when you have had a few drinks. Those stories that you post under the influence of tequila shots, the ones that probably get deleted in a sober self-refelction in the morning, this is what I am talking about! I am making Snapchat geo-filter for my wedding. When my guests are pulling out the snapchat filters, they will be able to scroll and see a custom filter made for my wedding.
The beauty of this feature is that not only is it relatively inexpensive, Snapchat helps you design your filter which is a savior for those, like myself, who are not graphic designers.
Essentially, all you have to do is pick your design, pick your geo-fence location (which you can easily do by entering your venue address) and then set the amount of time that you want the filter to last. For my wedding, I chose the option where my filter will become active 30 minutes before my ceremony and stay active until 2:00 a.m. This was only $22.00 (USD). Not a bad price for an engaging, fun social media option for guests! I am pretty sure that more than half of my guests are on social media so I am hoping this option will be used, heavily!
3. #InstaFamous aka a Live Instagram Wall
Okay, this is by far my favourite part of my social media wedding strategy. I have been to many events where we set up live tweet walls. Live tweet walls are so much fun and a great way to engage your guests! I have had many events trending on Twitter just from implementing a live feed. Why? Because people like to feel noticed. Having a live wall encourages people to pick up their phone and post about the experience they are having at your event.
When planning my social strategy for my wedding, I thought heavily about this option. I want to find a way to encourage people to head to Instagram, use my hashtag but also feel noticed. Instead of running a PowerPoint in the background the entire night, I will instead be hosting a live Instagram wall. Anyone that uses the hashtag will have their photo displayed on the big screen.
This could get potentially messy as the night progresses, but there is also a great option where you can moderate the photos before they hit the big screen. To be honest, I am not overly concerned about this. As long as people keep it semi-pg and don't offend my Grandma, we're good!
I plan on using Wedding Hashtag Wall for this feature.
These are three very inexpensive, user-friendly social media options for your wedding. How have you utilized social media at weddings? I'd love to hear more in the comments section below!
Until next time,
Alex is the Founder and Lead Social Media Consultant of Simplified Social. Simplified Social is an Alberta-based organization dedicated to making social media easy and affordable for business owners.
I recently watched (or should I say binge watched) the show The Black Mirror on Netflix. If you haven't checked it out yet I highly recommend it. There was one episode in particular that really hit home for me. It is called Nosedive.
In this episode, Lacie Pound lives in a world where people can rate one's popularity out of five stars, from friends to strangers on the street. Lacie, who is obsessed with being well received, begins the episode with an approval rating around 4.2. She lives with her brother Ryan, who has a lower approval rating and does not worry about it. Their lease is expiring, and Lacie is eager to move out to the "luxurious" Pelican Cove, against her brother's advice. In order to be able to afford to live there, she must either pay an exorbitant rent or earn a discount by having a rating of 4.5 or above.
The concept is kind of crazy, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it really isn't far off from reality. In today's world, we are obsessed with likes and follows so much to the point that Instagram is now paying the bills for many pretty girls on Instagram (a.k.a every girl who has ever stepped foot on the show The Bachelor).
You can probably relate. You casually scroll through on Instagram and see a photo of Jillian Harris promoting her exclusive discount code to some retailer or Sophie Gray of Way of Gray showcasing all of her new furniture from HomeSense for her beautiful new home. Is this a coincidence? Does Sophie just really love Homesense? Maybe. But the real answer is that she was more than likely paid a lofty amount to not only get free furniture and home decor but to post about it on Instagram.
Influencer marketing is a huge strategy for larger companies. Whether it's HomeSense, Protein World, or those silly Gummy Hair Vitamins, influencer marketing is where many companies allocate large amounts of their marketing budgets towards.
This marketing is so popular that new companies have emerged making a business out of connecting companies to influencers. The average influencer campaign can range from $25,000 to $50,000. The real question is does it really generate anything? Will your business see an ROI from this large investment? The answer is always dependent on a number of factors. These include:
1. Choose The Right Influencer For Your Brand
Picking someone who aligns with your brand is key. A collaboration that (in my opinion), is extremely wise is Jillian Harris and Poppy Barley. Jillian speaks well to Poppy Barley's key demographic and has a similar lifestyle. If Poppy Barley decided to go the route with one of the new Bachelor contestants, I don't think they would see the same authentic engagement.
It is also important to remember that Influencers are real people. From my experience, many local influencers are often extremely young. Just because someone has 40,000 Instagram followers does not mean they have their business life together which leads me to point number two...
2. Set Clear and Realistic Expectations For Your Influencer
When I first started experimenting with influencer marketing, I was very naïve and just assumed that the influencer would have my company's best interest in mind. I was wrong, very wrong.
Layout everything in writing with your influencer from:
3. Determine Your Budget. Don't Let Them Determine It For You (Unless it's Beyonce, in that case there is no negotiating).
When working through an agency to connect with an influencer you really have limited control on the price you pay. If you are working with an influencer directly, you are eliminating the middle-man and have the ability to negotiate. I find most influencers with 500,000 or less followers are usually quite flexible on the arrangements. Sometimes they may just want to trade for free things such as products or services, however this is not always the case. Some may have strict guidelines and prices so you will have to determine if it's worth it (and you really won't know until after the fact).
What do you think about influencer marketing? Does it annoy you? Do you ever buy anything that an influencer is promoting?
Let me know in the comments section below!
Simplified Social is an Edmonton-based social media company. We believe is making social media easy and affordable for business owners.
One thing that I often say about social media for businesses, is that while it’s not super hard to be good at it, it’s really easy to be bad at it. With the right strategy and time put into it, social media is a great way to engage your audience and attract and retain customers. But things can also quickly go off the rails if you're not careful. The internet has the unique ability to be both instantaneous and forever, and we’ve all witnessed a few major companies have some serious social media fails over the years.
One of the more challenging areas of social media is not really a new problem at all. Negative customer feedback is something all businesses have had to deal with historically. Now, with social media, that feedback is just more public than ever before. Luckily for most small businesses, negative Facebook comments or tweets are something that only happens once in awhile (this is the part where I thank my lucky stars that I don’t run the United airlines twitter account) and not a daily occurrence. With that said, it’s important to know how to handle it ahead of time so that when it does come up you’re prepared to respond appropriately! The exact response will vary on a case-by- case basis but there are a few basic rules for dealing with customer complaints:
1. Don’t delete legitimate feedback or complaints
Just because the customer isn’t physically in your store or on the phone with you, doesn’t mean that you can just make can make them go away with the click of a mouse. If you hide or delete every negative comment or review that you receive it can often do more harm than good. At best, it’ll make you appear inauthentic and like you’re censoring your page. At worst, the person who originally commented will get even more frustrated and spread more negativity via social media or by word-of- mouth. Even if you can’t fix the problem, it’s better to at least acknowledge the complaint.
2. You should respond promptly but you don’t have to respond immediately
It is important to respond in a timely manner (people don’t like being ignored!), but it’s also important to take the time to think about your reply. It’s easy to take criticism of your business personally, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. The last thing you want to do is have a knee-jerk reaction that makes it look like you’re arguing with your customer rather than listening to them. Sometimes if I’m responding to a comment that involves a sensitive subject or a negative comment I’ll run it by a colleague just to get a second set of eyes and make sure my tone comes across the way I want it to.
Also - if you typically don’t monitor your social media over the weekend make sure you clearly communicate that on your profile!
3. Keep it short and sweet
A good response will contain three things: an apology, a indication that their feedback will be considered and passed on to the appropriate person, and an opportunity to take the conversation offline. Ask them to DM you with their contact info, or provide an email/phone number that they can get in touch to talk about their experience.
Your response might win the customer back. It might not. Either way, you will demonstrate what kind of company you are, and that you’re willing to listen and address concerns.
How have you dealt with negative feedback on social media before? Let us know in the comments!
"For every minute spent organizing an hour is earned." - Benjamin Franklin
Real talk. I'm not always the Type A person I pretend to be. My kitchen table is a disaster and my laundry pile is bigger than I'd like to admit. One thing I do pride myself on is organization when it comes to my business. Okay, so my Accountant secretly hates me because my receipts are crinkled in a folder- but they're in a folder so that counts for something right?
When I started Simplified Social I had one very small client. I am so proud to say we are are now at 12 monthly accounts, 2 employees and we keep growing! Growing comes with many amazing accomplishments, but it also comes with some pain- especially when you are responsible for managing over 40 social accounts per month!
To help make social media a simpler process and ensure clients are achieving results, I've come up with a list that may help you get real with your social media.
THREE EASY WINS FOR STAYING ORGANIZED WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
1. Look at the month ahead as the big picture.
For each account you manage, determine what content ties best into your business goals. Are you looking to acquire other businesses are your clients? How does your LinkedIn strategy pair up? Do you have a book you'd like to give away? How can you utilize Facebook ads to create leads? Don't focus on the day-to-day in this step. Think BIG! If you have an event coming up determine how many social posts you need per week, per day, per hour leading up and following the event. This helps build your content calendar and makes your life SO much easier.
2. Schedule what you can, but don't forget to be a real person.
I am a huge fan of scheduling what you can in advance. Like indicated in point one, you should have a general idea of what's going on in the coming month. If you know the event is happening on March 25 schedule some tweets or Facebook posts to go out in advance and remind people to buy tickets. But please, for the love of God.. do not pull a Live Nation disaster.
Long story short, it was the worst scheduled tweet timing. EVER.
While it's good to schedule what you can, remember that customers don't want a bot on the other end- they expect an actual human. Engage at least once a day with your audience. Find 5-10 new accounts to follow per day and have some fun!
3. Kick-it old school!
My Kate Spade day planner is literally my saving grace. While I do enjoy being able to utilize technology to sync my phone and computer- there is something about actually writing it down on paper that feels so good! Each week, I plan out what I want to accomplish for each client account. Investing time in determining goals, outcomes and content is what keeps me sane. While it's another step in the social process, it really helps my team and I stay focused!
Questions about your social media and how to stay organized? Feel free to reach out! We would love to answer your questions and get you started on the right track!
Let's keep the conversation going! We love your questions and comments in the section below.
There is a famous quote that we are sure you are sick of hearing: "Fail to plan, plan to fail." While this quote is cliché, is it vital to the success of any good social media strategy.
Content calendars are an amazing tool to align organizational goals with online opportunities. Creating a calendar may seem like one more step on your to-do list, but we promise it is a step worth taking!
To help get you started on the right path, we have broken down five steps with helpful resources that will allow you to create the perfect content calendar.
1. Set a monthly online objective for your company (DUH, right?).
Each month you probably have some goal in mind. Whether it be to increase sales of a specific item or increase brand awareness of your new service. Start from the beginning. Think big picture! From there you can decide how many Facebook posts, tweets or Instagram posts you need to promote your objective.
2. Create a Spreadsheet (YAY Organization!)
We're not asking you to start from scratch. There are many free content calendars you can take advantage from great sources such as Hootsuite or Hubspot. Map out your month. What does it look like? Making physical notes of when certain business activities are happening is a great way to keep track of your month in an organized manner.
3. Involve Your Team! #TeamWorkMakesTheDreamWork
While you may be the main resource for your monthly business activities, it is important to involve your team in planning your content calendar. Are your team members heading to any events you can mention? Do they want to write a blog? Ask! This will help fill gaps immensely.
4. Write Everything Down, Seriously.
Are you planning to run any online advertising with Facebook or Google? Will you be publishing a blog? Is it "National Whatever Day" that ties to your business? Include everything in your content calendar.
You do not necessarily need to have the exact copy of what your post will include but have the idea on paper (or in your beautiful spreadsheet). This will help guide you throughout the month. Instead of guessing what to post, take a look at the calendar and say "oh right, I remember what I should be posting today!"
5. Make it Routine!
Social media is probably not your favourite thing to do. However, having a plan makes all the difference! Creating a content calendar each month will allow you to guide the process and share the work with your team to help fill-in the gaps.
By creating a regular social media content calendar you are able to track your initiatives, be proactive (not reactive!), and overall make your life so much easier. Create your plan for the month ahead at least one to two weeks before the month actually starts. This allows you to start the month of fresh and hit the ground running!
Questions? Reach out to us! We would love to help guide you through the content planning process.
Alexandra is the creator behind Simplified Social, an Edmonton-based digital media company.