He­len Steem­son seeks guid­ance from some of the coun­try’s top so­cial me­dia man­agers.

So­cial me­dia may not have killed tra­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing as promised. But it’s still cru­cial. So He­len Steem­son asked a few so­cial man­agers for their tips on how to in­crease en­gage­ment.

New Zealand Marketing - - Contents - He­len Steem­son He­len Steem­son is cre­ative di­rec­tor of Words for Break­fast. he­len@words­for­break­fast.co.nz.

So­cial me­dia. Wasn’t it sup­posed to solve our prob­lems and make us mil­lion­aires? For a while there, some of us be­lieved it. Then we got off our uni­corns and re­alised it was just an­other way for our brands to con­nect with peo­ple. Sure, con­sumers could talk back, but we still needed to em­ploy all of the strat­egy, ex­per­tise and fore­thought you need in any other mass me­dia.

There are prob­a­bly hun­dreds of thou­sands of so­cial ac­counts lan­guish­ing in the land of no en­gage­ment, aban­doned af­ter too many hours net­ted too lit­tle re­turn (or af­ter the re­cep­tion­ist’s teenage daugh­ter got bored with post­ing about things).

That said, so­cial me­dia are use­ful plat­forms if they’re used right. So if you’re in charge of busi­ness ac­counts, and would like to get even whizzier at it, here are a few so­cial tricks from some of New Zealand’s clever­est dig­i­tal in­sid­ers.

Talk about the weather

– Keren Phillips, CMO, Weirdly

Keren Phillips is in charge of mar­ket­ing at Weirdly, a hot­shot tech startup de­signed to make re­cruit­ment eas­ier, bet­ter and more fun. The na­ture of the startup beast is that she works with squeaky-tight bud­gets, so dig­i­tal is a big part of her me­dia mix. With such in­ten­sive fo­cus on the plat­forms— Twit­ter, most fre­quently—she’s no­ticed some­thing odd (read: ex­cel­lent).

You might think that post­ing beau­ti­ful pho­tos of the weather, the ocean, the sun­set or what­ever she stum­bles across might be just pretty trivia. But she says those pho­tos make good bait.

“They al­ways get great play. Peo­ple no­tice, like them and in­ter­act with them”

Great, but where’s the busi­ness value in con­nect­ing with peo­ple about the weather?

“That photo will flag in peo­ple’s heads that your pro­file is worth notic­ing.”

So the next time they’re scrolling past a mil­lion mes­sages, they’re more likely to stop and read the next thing you tweet. That means if you post a link to a new blog straight af­ter, it’ll get more clicks.

“Any­thing I tweet right af­ter a beau­ti­ful im­age gets way, way more at­ten­tion.”

It’s a way to boost your post with­out fork­ing out a cent.

Save your fol­low­ers for a rainy day

– John Lai, dig­i­tal plan­ner, Ogilvy Malaysia

John Lai was one of New Zealand’s ear­li­est so­cial adopters, which means he’s seen lots of plat­forms come and go. What hap­pened to brands that in­vested in Mys­pace or Bebo? They prob­a­bly had to start from scratch on Face­book once those plat­forms bot­tomed out.

Un­less you’ve moved your fol­low­ers off the plat­forms, the brand con­nec­tions you’ve care­fully cul­ti­vated could be gone with two shakes of the stock ex­change. So Lai rec­om­mends us­ing so­cial to build a sep­a­rate data­base, not a so­cial pres­ence.

“Yes, it is great see­ing your fol­low­er­ship grow, but at the end of the day if Face­book or Twit­ter de­cides to pull the plug, all that hard work goes down the drain. Treat so­cial as the front door of your brand with the goal of con­vert­ing them into a life­time cus­tomer us­ing things like CRM sys­tems or EDMS.”

Be so­cial

– Danika Revell, di­rec­tor, We Are An­thol­ogy

You know what gets no­ticed? No­ti­fi­ca­tions. And you get those by tak­ing the time to in­ter­act with peo­ple and other brands. This should be a long-term strat­egy of ac­tu­ally build­ing your on­line com­mu­nity, but also works in the short term, says Revell.

“One of my team, Ni­cole, spot­ted this one. If you go and like or com­ment on other posts right be­fore and af­ter you put some­thing up, you’ll get a lot more in­ter­ac­tion.”

It makes sense, re­ally. If you talk to other peo­ple, they’ll talk to you.

“They feel more con­nected to you, so are more likely to feel a con­nec­tion to your posts.”

Her warn­ing: “Be gen­uine. Peo­ple can tell when you’re try­ing to scam them.”

And I’ll fin­ish with mine.

Eaves­drop on peo­ple’s con­ver­sa­tions – He­len Steem­son, cre­ative di­rec­tor, Words for Break­fast

Don’t be all hack­ing into peo­ple’s Face­book ac­count, now. Do your eaves­drop­ping on open plat­forms like In­sta­gram or Twit­ter. That way you can whee­dle your way into con­ver­sa­tions that are al­ready hap­pen­ing about your brand or in­dus­try.

Use a tool like Hoot­suite or Twilert to search for phrases or words rel­e­vant to your busi­ness, ser­vice or prod­uct. That way you can jump in on the con­ver­sa­tions that are al­ready hap­pen­ing.

This ap­proach got me hand-on-heart sales. When I’m run­ning an ac­count I set up searches to de­liver me any tweets or posts that in­clude my client’s brand name, or rel­e­vant phrases.

So of­ten peo­ple are talk­ing about us—good or bad—or ask­ing for rec­om­men­da­tions for prod­ucts just like my clients’. I jump into those con­ver­sa­tions as the brand to max­imise pos­i­tive feed­back, re­spond to com­plaints and con­nect with new fans. Peo­ple love it. You win ku­dos for the brand and make ac­tual sales off it.

Ev­ery one of th­ese so­cial man­agers re­minded us of some­thing we should al­ready know: ge­nius as they are, th­ese hacks won’t save a flawed strat­egy or patchy com­mu­nity man­age­ment. Get those ba­sics right first, then hack to your heart’s con­tent.

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