Social Media Managers to Get New Tool for Fielding Feedback on Facebook

Social media has forever transformed the way that reputation managers and PR professionals go about their daily business. So much has this been true, that companies now regularly hire “social media managers,” professionals who are solely responsible for posting on social media, responding to customer mentions and messages, and sourcing/writing new content to keep people interested in liking, sharing, and interacting with a brand.

Facebook, which still sits atop its throne as the biggest social media platform around, is about to roll out the ability to answer comments privately. In the past, companies were limited to responding via the same Facebook channel that they were contacted on (responding to comments by commenting, messages by messaging, etc.). Now, Facebook page managers will have a new option to click when fielding page comments which will take the comment conversation into a private thread with that individual. The thread will include a link to the original comment, and will allow the two parties to communicate privately.

Of course, as the tool is used more and more, more individuals will likely take advantage of the increased speed and communication with companies on Facebook. This will mean an increase in the amount of messaging threads that social media managers have to deal with. To help alleviate message overload, Facebook also announced that they will be introducing new messaging tools.

One of the most welcome additions will be the way in which companies can save boilerplate responses and messages to commonly asked questions.

Customers can therefore be easily responded to and would cut down on the time spent servicing the most common, easy-to-fix issues. This feature has been in testing for several months now, but it will soon be available to everyone.

Facebook itself is one of the fastest growing customer support platforms on the planet, and Facebook has created more incentives for companies to use their pages as their primary response method. For one, the company has created a badge that will display on company pages in order to let customers know that a page is very responsive to its messages and feedback. For the badge to display, Facebook pages will have to respond to 90% or more of their customer messages and have a median response time of five minutes or less; data will be based upon the last seven days.

It’s unclear if “hours of operation” will be available so that companies won’t lose face their status if their support would not normally be open 24 hours per day (or perhaps this itself is a requirement).

What does this mean for you? It means that Facebook is getting more useful as a customer management tool, but along with it will come more responsibility and the need to learn new tools and functions. Let’ be honest, though: If you’re managing social media for a company you’re already likely a digital native who gets excited about such updates, rather than shying away from a new social challenge.

How to Target Early Adopters with Your Next Big Idea

Not to sound bigoted, but let’s just face the facts: some customers are more valuable than others. There! I said it! More specifically, customers who can be classified as “early adopters,” especially in the realm of digital technology, are major players in the success or failure of a 21st century business and/or product. Early adopters are so important because they’re often also your influences; they run blogs, Youtube channels, and everything they say has triple or quadruple-digit retweets on twitter. Get on the good side of an early adopter, and they can bring with them hundreds or thousands of average users. In some writings on the adoption curve and life cycle of new products in our day and age, early adopters are touted as those who can guide a new business across the “chasm.” The chasm is the period of uncertainty where it is uncertain whether a product will make the jump from something a few people try out to a technology that is adopted and integrated by the majority.

Today, we’re going to talk about how you can help your products and businesses be as attractive to early adopters as possible, and how you can best leverage that attention.

1) Find a genuine need. Depending on where you’re at, this might be advice coming too late, but the first step to getting your product into the hands of eager early adopters is to make sure you’re filling a genuine need. People have “cool” ideas all the time, but that doesn’t mean they’re ideas that will come to be known as “needed.”

Sometimes, however, your big idea can simply be an improvement of another system (think: Facebook usurping Myspace), however the barrier to entry with these ideas is higher because your product has to be so good it entices people to drop something they’ve grown accustom to.

2) Have a proper incentive system. Don’t just offer to give people free products, give something above and beyond that. For example, you might take a note from the gaming industry: Often times, these companies will offer their early adopters exclusive titles for their profiles or unique character looks called “skins” that won’t be available ever again after the initial testing or adopting period. Think about what rewards could be relevant to your audience in the same way. Maybe you’re launching a mobile ecommerce platform and you offer “veteran seller” badges or other marks of credibility to those who sign up and start using your site within the first 3 months, etc.

3) Communication will make or break you. The world we market in today is one of two-way communication. Social media. You know, that kind of thing. You should be regularly reaching out to and interacting with your potential early adopter audiences through the channels that they use most. Beyond recruitment, this also expands to post-adoption feedback and support. Early adopters will likely be using these channels to either get in touch with you directly or to broadcast their opinions about your product or service. Either way, you should be monitoring social and traditional channels all the time to respond in a timely, appropriate way.

How to Stay True to Your IM Vision

Remember when you first made the decision to pour yourself into internet marketing? Maybe you’ve felt the rush of quitting your 9-to-5 in favor of starting off on a venture where success or failure rest squarely on your shoulders and yours alone, where earning potential is virtually unlimited and the possibilities seem endless. It’s an exciting moment, to be sure, but are you still excited?

Far too many marketers find themselves ambling down a boring dirt road that started out as a gold-paved promenade. In other words, they burn out. They get discouraged as they hit a ceiling, or maybe they just get bored in their routine. Whatever the reason, it’s always important to have a few tools for getting out of a rut on hand.

For starters, the biggest obstacles are always mental: While you want to be constantly learning and getting smarter from your experiences, you don’t want to lose sight of your original vision and mindset. There’s a talent to learning from experiences without letting them make you overly cynical or discouraged. Remember how excited you were to be your own boss? Remember how excited you were to bring your business/product/vision to the world? Good. Now be that person again.

Of course, it also helps if you’ve got the concrete routines and systems in place to help foster such mindsets. Often, the hardest part about working for yourself is, well, making yourself work. Having a strict daily schedule in place can help you stay on task. Many pros use their first few actions of the day as a psychological trigger and launching pad for the rest of the day. For example, you might begin each day by doing a 30 second speed organizing of your workplace, then a 5 minute email blitz, followed by brewing your morning cup of coffee. Repeating your process each day can get you in the mood to work.

Don’t be afraid to expand. Sometimes, you’re starting off with next to nothing and have to do the grunt work for a while, but even someone with the smallest of starting capital (or none at all) should be looking to move to delegation and expansion as soon as possible. A couple of years ago, article/content marketing was huge. The people who made a substantial living off of it, however, weren’t those writing articles day in and day out.

Instead, these people quickly hired a writing and website team under them to allow for rapid growth. Or perhaps they started a large writing outfit to cater to the marketers working with content volume. Either way, they were running a business, not a self-employment hobby.

In a business, you would work toward hiring and expanding, and that’s exactly what you should do. Take stock of your resources, and look at which tasks can be quickly contracted to freelancers to help give you more time to plan company growth. For many, the first task to go is content creation. For others, it might be SEO efforts. Whatever isn’t exciting to you and is within budget to hire out, do it.

Finally, don’t be afraid to adapt. You may have started your IM venture two years ago, and a lot changes in two years these days. Constantly be learning, researching, and ensuring that your own methods are still considered best practice today; never mistake comfort with effectiveness.

Trimming the Fat – Copy Tips for Saying More With Less

Copywriting doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. From the billions of dollars in sales each day that hinge on a well-formatted sales letter, to a polished TV commercial script, to the catchy jingle or slogan you just can’t get out of your head, effective professional, persuasive writing, “copywriting,” does a lot for us as marketers.

It’s unfortunate then that copy is often neglected as a luxury expense or an unnecessary cog in many marketers’ or business owners’ sales funnels.

The reason, inevitably, is cost. Good copywriters know that their words will have a direct effect on your conversion rates, and thus the money you make, and leverage that knowledge for a nice payday. It then goes to follow that many marketers begin crafting their own copy.

To be honest, even if you don’t have the polish and practice of a professional, someone who is a good writer in general can learn to produce decent copy to keep them growing and selling until they can afford a dedicated copywriter. The key word there, however, is “learn.”

Amateur copy is almost always identifiable by a lack of brevity; people often write too much and get too wordy, losing their vital, important, life-changing points amongst superfluous, unnecessary adjectives and ineffective anecdotes. See what I did there? That sentence could have been a lot shorter! Today, we’ll take a look at how you can catch yourself and self-edit copy to stay effective and to the point.

1) Cut out very. The concept of “cutting out very” is probably referenced in proper copywriting books somewhere, but here’s my take on it. The tendency in sales writing is to be, well, selly. The way to do this however is with proper punctuation and, more importantly, by getting inside your audience’s head and telling them what they want to hear. Unfortunately, amateur writers usually use “filler” words. The word ‘very’ is one prominent example, because it is a false enhancer that is rarely needed.

Don’t say “It’s very good,” say “it’s the best.” Another example is the use of very before the word ‘unique’, which is redundant. Something is either unique or it isn’t, it’s not “very unique.”

2) Boil it down to exactly what someone needs to know. One of the biggest things you can do to make your copywriting effective is to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re writing to. This gets you out of salesman mode and helps you think about what someone with the problem you’re offering a solution for actually wants to hear.

Sometimes, doing this can help us see that what we’re put down is over the top, too selly or spammy, or even just flat out unhelpful!

3) Proofread 80 times. And I’m not just talking about any usual proofread. Sure, you’re going to be checking your spelling and grammar and making sure everything lines up, but a copywriting proofread should see you putting on another hat as well, the “could this possibly sound any better?!” hat. Read each sentence and look for words that could be dropped, phrases that could be made more appropriate for your customers, etc.

Of course, just like every facet of IM, there’s always more to learn on the copywriting front, but this should get you headed in the right direction until you can hire a personal Don Draper of your own.

Twitter Advertising Seeks to Evolve with New “ads editor” Tool

Advertising on social media has been a dominant force for several years now. In fact, search advertising has even taken a hit in recent years due to the amount of time people spend browsing social networking sites. It’s not like Google’s trembling in their Adwords boots right now, but it’s probably been on their radar.

That said, social advertising has had the disadvantage of being relatively uncertain for a time, due to the platforms and tools that facilitate it not having as much time to evolve like the ones that support more traditional online advertising. Twitter, long the number two social media network in the English-speaking world, is looking to rectify this by rolling out a feature they call “ads editor” – yes, all lower case, which allows advertisers to bulk edit the parameters and copy of their twitter ads using excel spreadsheet uploads. The use of such techniques is far from new, but it could certainly be a blessing for those who manage hundreds or thousands of different twitter advertisements for their clients’ campaigns (or their own, for that matter).

Things like end dates, budgets, and targeting criteria can be changed en masse by simply downloading a spreadsheet of your campaign, making the appropriate edits, and re-uploading it, explains twitter’s project manager Deepak Rao. Once uploaded, a single click will apply the changes you’ve specified to all affected campaigns; it’s that easy.

The tool will be especially useful to large-volume advertisers, who have the budget to bankroll massive trial and error campaigns based around hashtags and keywords much in the same way Adwords giants work: They begin with ads based around thousand of keywords, sometimes with multiple variants of copy each, and slowly trim the fat, taking away those that perform poorly and focusing instead on split-testing frontrunners. In theory, twitter’s new ads editor will allow advertisers to conduct these types of changes with relative ease compared to the manual editing required before.

Of course, your own intuitive (or learned) marketing savvy will be your best tool here, but no one ever complained about a little time-saving help from technology, right? The tool itself is not available to the public yet, but twitter plans to begin rolling it out to select advertising partners over the next few days. These individuals and firms will get the first chance to test the new product, before twitter expects to have the platform fully rolled out for everyone within two to three weeks. If you’re keep to see if you’re one of the chosen few for this tiered testing, keep your eyes peeled for a notification from ads.twitter.com

Of course, early skeptics of the tool have already emerged, arguing that the use of such a primitive tool as Excel might mean limiting the capabilities of users on ads editor. For example, finding a simple way to factor potential reach and suggested bid into spreadsheets will be difficult, as a spreadsheet will exist as a static, offline document once you edit it on your computer. If the tool worked in a browser-based office variant, however, it might be able to make suggestions in real time in accordance with your edits.

Of course, only time will tell how well the tool actually catches on, but here’s to hoping for the best.