Tuesday, 28 February 2012


So, you’re up and running on all social media sites and you’re posting on a regular basis and even gaining a fan following?  That’s great!  But, do you know what to do when your fans comment, ask questions or lodge complaints via social media?  Elementary, dear readers – it’s imperative that you respond.  And that you respond promptly! 
A recent article on socialmediatoday cited a conversocial survey facilitated via New York University and its Assistant Professor of Communications, Liel Leibovitz.  The survey consisted of nine questions – all pertaining to customer satisfaction with corporate attitudes on social business sites.  It was sent out online and was returned by 513 respondents.  According to the socialmediatoday article, the survey’s findings were quite surprising in terms of how many businesses are still in the dark when it comes to:
-          how to respond to complaints, suggestions or questions on their social media profile pages
-          the importance of responding promptly (some businesses did not respond at all!!)
-          what kind of tone to adopt when responding
The table below, which I took directly from the article, uses the original data of the conversocial survey and it does a great job of showcasing where companies need to focus their attention with respect to their social media undertakings.  The question posed was:  How Important Are These Things To You?
Interesting findings, I thought!!
Well, here’s the truth about the way these issues should be dealt with:
1.  First and foremost – promptness is all important.  Procrastination when it comes to responding to fans is never a good thing.  The socialmediatoday article advises, in fact, that your response be posted within two hours of receiving a comment, question or complaint on Facebook or Twitter.  Responding promptly lets your fans know that you are a business that values what its clients have to say and that you are accessible at all times.  It tells them that communication with your clients is important to you - that your clients are important to you.  People really do appreciate it when they feel that they are being heard.
2.  It’s not a good idea to have a standard, automated tweet or Facebook post that goes out to anyone and everyone that posts a comment, question or complaint.  What does that tell people?  It tells them that you don’t have time for them.  It’s crucial that each and every fan post you receive be read and responded to individually by you or another designated live person at your company.
3.  Always ensure that the content you’re posting is relevant.  And, as socialmediatoday points out - not only relevant, but unique.  Do you want your business to stand out?  Do you want to maintain further contact with your fans?  Of course.  Your fans are your clients who drive your business.  Keeping them satisfied is where your focus on social media should be. 
4. Elaborating on point #3 – keep your fans posted on what’s going on with your business.  They are interested in knowing – especially if it’s relevant and beneficial to them.  So, go ahead and post about your company’s promotions or specials – who doesn’t want to hear about a great deal? But, be careful – there’s a fine line between promotional posts and spamming.  Don’t go overboard and post the same thing over and over again.  Mix it up and keep it fresh!  That’s what will keep people coming back for more!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Watch out, Facebook & LinkedIn – Twitter’s gaining on you!!   With the launch in December of its new Brand Pages, Twitter is becoming every bit as relevant as Facebook and LinkedIn with respect to business practices.  An informative article on AdAge Digital outlines in detail what Twitter’s Brand Pages are all about.
The article states that, “Twitter is looking to strengthen its relationship with advertisers by launching brand pages… a part of a more comprehensive redesign.”  (I discussed Twitter’s redesign in my post of February 5.)
As of December, 2011, Twitter’s brand pages were limited to companies such as Coca-Cola, HP, Nike, McDonald’s, DisneyPixar and a few more - 21 advertising partners in total as well as a few select charities and individuals. You and I will need to use the new version of Twitter in order to see these enhanced profile pages.
 The AdAge Digital article further sites that : According to an email from a Twitter account executive obtained by Ad Age, the roll-out of brand pages to a larger group of brands and partners will begin Feb. 1, and advertisers must have an active insertion order in Twitter's system of $25,000 to qualify.”
Twitter’s enhanced brand pages allow users to shop and play games, and are similar in theory to Facebook’s brand pages.  According to the article, Brand pages can be customized with large header images that advertisers can use to give greater visibility to their logo or other branded elements, which are often partially obscured by the timeline of tweets in the standard format. They can also be programmed to keep a particular tweet at the top of the timeline, which can auto-expand to reveal an embedded photo or video without the user taking action -- thus giving the page more visual impact.”

It will be interesting to watch what happens with Twitter’s brand pages – obviously at the moment, while in their experimental stages, the average small business owner will not want to spend $25, 00.00 to get in on these brand pages.  According to Twitter, they will “…slowly roll out enhanced profile pages to a wider audience of brands in the coming months.”
As with anything, they will, in the future, (hopefully) become more mainstream and we’ll be seeing more and more of them!  I know I will be keeping an eye on them to see what happens!

Friday, 10 February 2012


So, you’ve got your blog up and running and everything’s moving along swimmingly until one day you hit a dreaded patch of writer’s block.  Think you’ve run out of ideas for great blog content?  Well, think again.  I’m going to share some ideas with you that will ensure you never run out of ideas for your posts!     
1.  Take a Break – As counter-productive as that might sound, it’s actually not a bad idea if you’re stumped for something to write.  Sure, you can sit there and bang your head against you monitor hoping to jar some brilliance within your tired mind, but chances are, you need to take a break from thinking so hard.  Give it a rest for a few hours or until tomorrow.  You’d be amazed at how many bright ideas can come to you when you’re rested, de-stressed and looking at your monitor with ‘fresh eyes’.
2. Scour News Sources – Great blog content can always be generated out of news items you’ll find online, in your morning paper or in your favorite monthly publications.  Put your own spin on an interesting story; share your opinion (especially if it’s opposing – who doesn’t like to read someone’s scathing contradiction of a popular topic?).
3. Read Other Blogs – If you read blog posts written by other people that are within the same vein as your own, you will no doubt be inundated with inspiration and will in no time be typing away.  Again, put your own spin on what you’ve read and make it work for your audience.
4. Write Drafts/Partial Posts Even if You Think they’re Going Nowhere – It happens to me quite often.  I’ll have a brilliant idea for a post and start researching and writing it, then think to myself that maybe the idea isn’t so brilliant after all.  This might simply be because I’m not in the mood to write at that very moment, or it might be because I run out of steam with my idea.  But, rather than scrap it, I always leave partial work on my desktop because more often than not, I revisit what I’ve written and when I look at it with fresh eyes, I’m able to work some magic and turn it into an interesting post – even if it’s not the same post as it originally started out to be.  The idea is to always have ideas!!
5.  Always Have a Pen & Notebook Handy – You never know when brilliance is going to strike – and when it does, you want to remember what was so brilliant.  Like lightening, bright ideas don’t often strike twice in the same place.  There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing that you had a great idea, but not remembering what it was.  I even keep a pen and notepad handy on my bedside table, because as weird as it sounds, I have awoken in the middle of the night countless times with ideas churning – and good luck remembering those after falling back asleep and awakening five hours later!
6.  Hit Your Local Library – Check out a few books related to your niche and voila!:  an instant plethora of fresh ideas.  Libraries are still a great place to source information and to even do some writing (remember the days before the internet when we did our research at the library?)!! 
Ideas can be sparked anytime, anyplace.  You can be inspired by so many different, ordinary things.  Just use your imagination, do some good, old-fashioned research and give your mind some time to decompress and come back with fresh thought.
Remember, blogging can be a very enjoyable undertaking as opposed to a daunting task - have some fun with it and the ideas will come pouring in!
For more on blogging and how to get your ideas for infinite content rolling – why not join one of our Social Networking for Business workshops, where we’ll offer you a multitude of tips and tricks for optimizing your blog.  Check out our schedule at:  http://www.escomputertraining.com/courses/details/industry/2/course/20
If you have any tips you’d like to share about how you come up with ideas for you blog posts, I encourage you to share in our comments section.
And, keep checking back here for more on blogging – my favorite topic! 

Friday, 3 February 2012


You’ve probably noticed by now that Twitter looks and acts a bit differently than it did a couple of months ago.  So, what do you think of the re-design?  Hopefully this will help you navigate the changes Twitter has made to the popular microblogging site!
How is it different than it was before?   Visually, here it is:

Essentially, Twitter has rearranged all of its features so that they fit neatly into four categories: 
Home; Connect; Discover & Me.   Here’s how each category functions:

Home:  This is where you’ll find your new and improved newsfeed.  Notice that it’s been reconfigured visually.  Plus:  You used to be able to view photos and videos to the side of the feed, but now you can view them right there in the tweet when you click on them. 

Another new feature is the Open button.  By clicking on it, you have access to information pertaining to retweets and @replies for any tweet.  Furthermore, Twitter maintains that your feed will now always be viewable across platforms.

Connect:  Under Connect, you will find two new tabs:  Interactions & Mentions.  Under Interactions, you can see everyone who is following you and who has retweeted you, etc.  Under Mentions, is where you’ll find all of your @replies / mentions.

 And, now, you can type in a person’s handle and instantly see relevant information on that person as well as connect with the person right there.

Discover:  A great, revamped search function!  You no longer have to search by hashtag for topics that interest you (unless you want to!).  This wonderful feature brings you news stories and developments according to your location, language and of course, connections.  Think of it as your own, personalized little newsfeed.

Me:  Right – it’s all about you!  This is your profile – only bigger, better and more organized.  And, it’s slightly reconfigured, with your information now viewable on the left as opposed to the right of the page.

The reason, according to Twitter, for the changes it’s made to the site, is simple:  it wanted to make its interface more appealing to new users as well as to improve on the overall functionality of the site.  For the most part, user response has been favorable. 

What do you think of Twitter’s re-design?  Please take the time to leave a comment and let me know!  

And, stay in touch for my upcoming post regarding Twitter’s new Brand Pages.