Behavior you don’t want to show on social networks

I’m completely fascinated by observing and analysing the behaviors that one can glimpse in social platforms and by the way in which people relate to one another.

How you connect, why you connect or why you decide not to. What it takes to step forward and connect with someone. How your perception changes in regard to someone you’ve never spoken to but who mentions you on Twitter one day. The empathy that arises with someone who suddenly shares an event with you. How much you can have in common with someone who’s seen suggested to you on Facebook or LinkedIn time and time again and whom you’ve never contacted until they contact you. Or the interesting, rewarding blog you discover one day when the person running it mentions your blog.

social media behavior

Behaviour you read between the lines

In the same way there is an unwritten contract in the social web, there are certainly unwritten and unspoken behaviors too. We don’t talk about them because it’s not in our best interest to point them out. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist:

  • Speaking greatly of great work carried out by others isn’t a sin (even if you don’t follow them or if they don’t follow you, you won’t be going to hell for it!)
  • Following someone, reading what they say, supporting them, sharing their projects, articles or videos, recommending them to possible clients isn’t a felony (even if this person doesn’t follow you, doesn’t always get back to you or doesn’t hang on your every word!).
  • Saying that someone you share your profession with (what someone might call “your competition”) is simply brilliant and counting on them for a project, a conference, a blogpost or a client won’t make you less respected, believable or influential. Quite the opposite!
  • Reading, sharing, following, mentioning, praising someone for sharing a programme, course, conference, tweet or anything of the kind, doesn’t really say anything interesting about you and doesn’t really add value to the other person or yourself. There is no real connection!.

They say that the social web is socialising but are we really sure about this? We become more select, twisted, Machiavellian, sarcastic, even cynical and intolerant. The only thing that’s changed, really, is that we can add a smiley at the end of every sentence, “J”, and then everything seems to make sense.

Let’s start by being ourselves, being honest, clear and direct. There’s nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a full stop; quite the opposite, it should be the most common and coherent way to do so. I find it really hard to believe you can get along with everyone or that you can refer to everyone as your “sweetie” or “dear”. It’s like you want to be at every party, be accepted by any circle of Tweeps or be chosen as a panel member at every social organisation conference.

I don’t think I’m a pessimistic type of guy, tedious or a cretin. However, I’m also aware I’m not interested in being worshipped or revered in the comments to my blog or in every tweet I get as feedback after a conference or in reaction to one of my own tweets. Whoever you are in your real life, so should you be in the digital world; otherwise, something’s not quite right!

  • The ways we connect are changing, we have new tools and trends. However, our values and personality shouldn’t be altered by such changes in our environment.
  • Answer back when you feel the need, not out of obligation.
  • Speak when you have something relevant to say, not because you’re supposed to say something.
  • If you need to be forceful with someone, you’re entitled to be so, but be prepared for an equally forceful comeback.
  • Empower the small people who do great things, not self-centered celebrities.

The key lies in our reaction to social (unfortunately, not human) stimulus.

I’m increasingly certain that we react to the “social” stimuli provided by the social networks. And I believe that “react” is the right word. The opposite of this would be to take initiative, to find something valuable (something that will normally happen right in front of us), pay attention to it, value it objectively and offer the acknowledgement that that person, product or project deserves.

If we limited our interest, anxiety, ego and arrogance to things that make a difference, we wouldn’t have to worry about what will happen if we act sincerely and with dignity!

Photo credit: stevenvanbelleghem.

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What needs to be done in Social Media so it doesn’t die?

During my intervention at the Madrid Music Days event last year, I stated my idea, reasoning and examples of why social media marketing as we know it is coming to an end. I rescue here four of the most important points of my speech about what we can do so that Social Media doesn’t die. Note: this won’t avoid its evolution, however.

what needs to be done in social media so don't die

What needs to be done in Social Media so it doesn’t die?

This is the approach we’ve been working on for the past two years and it’s working.

1. Social platforms are communication and marketing channels and, as we’ve proven, are still viable sales channels. However, they need to be led correctly. They need a coherent strategy and execution that focuses on results, on connecting with our community, therefore creating certain resonance with our people in a dynamic, interesting and brilliant way.

Social Media doesn’t create a different world; neither does it invent or define. This is something that only comes about with an idea, initiative, project or business. At the end of the day, it’s only marketing through a new means of communication. Navigate your project or brand through these channels, seeking a clear, defined project. Do so without losing track of the people because, most of all, you need them right now. The value you provide is the value that the world will give in return.

2. Symbiotic models have always worked best (except in the case of Spiderman and his alter ego). Throwing conventional communication and marketing out of the window was, still is and will always be a dumb idea!

Look for a cross media strategy. Traditional communication isn’t dead, PR is extremely useful for word-of-mouth, there are still a variety of offline means to cross over to digital communication. Use what you do well out there, such as sales, to bring your customers to your company blog or to have a 24/7 customer service over Twitter.

3. Companies that claim to care about people but who can’t be bothered to interact with their buyers can ignore all of this. We’re ignoring you in one way or another.

Ask, listen, do something with all of this. Look out for conversations, take part in them. Recommend services that are in line with your audience, become “the person to turn to if I need something” and let the results speak for themselves.

4. If you want to use the social web and the great opportunity that lies therein, at least attempt things, learn from them, fail often, experiment, fine-tune, use any feedback you get, be creative and try something different; all of this before, during and after using social media. There’s no other way. That’s my recipe to get to where you’re so good that no one can ignore you.

Should you advertise on Facebook? If that’s your concern, there’s so much more you should be concerned about. Is being on Pinterest worth it? Who knows. Should you programme your tweets? Have you ever tried this and measured the results obtained? The only way to get an answer to these and many other similar questions is to just go for it and try it out. You need to work with the social web thoroughly to understand what works and what doesn’t. The best –or worst– thing about this is that it’s a day-to-day job. What worked yesterday may not work today, or what works today may not work tomorrow.

The direction that such work is taking means that if you want to make the social web to work for you, it must become a part of all your business processes. It’s not less important but, rather, the driving current. The work you carry out is part of your marketing, your customer services, internal communications, human resources; it’s part of your company’s wiring. It’s a part of it all!

What else needs to be done here? What’s your role?

Photo credit: hollywoodhollows.

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What you can do with this opportunity to create change

Communicating, marketing, selling, gaining visibility, sharing content, writing posts, maximising your brand’s reach, starting promotions, working from home, optimising your time, tweeting, uploading photos or building your personal brand. These are only some of the things that you can do with the social web and the Internet of things; but I guess you already knew this!

the opportunity to chenge things

What we don’t see is the other side of the social web; the side that changes it all. How can we dedicate our time to social media yet show no interest or dismiss the importance of people?

That is my favourite part. This is what you can do with this entire new world in front of you:

  • Make an impact on the world.
  • Develop your professional profile and both your professional and personal skills and competences.
  • Create connections and interactive bridges.
  • Start-up your business.
  • Connect with people you don’t know personally.
  • Build a community of people interested in something they have in common.
  • Head a charity cause.
  • Modify the expected result.
  • Study, learn and grow.
  • Find a purpose.
  • Start a movement that inspires others.
  • Start a new business – it’s never been easier or cheaper!
  • Gather ideas together and check out what happens when they hit the market.
  • Decide how you’re going to help those in need.
  • Communicate with and reach anyone you wish.
  • Start a revolution.
  • Educate people through shared knowledge and experience.
  • Share stories that are worth knowing.
  • Add value to your industry.
  • Create your own story.
  • Change people.

How can you do this and more? That’s where you need to step up and work towards this tirelessly.

Reading the above, I think we sometimes don’t realise the times we’re living.

Photo credit: Benoit Tremblay.

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How to Market your Online Store through Social Media

Before we get started, let’s get back to basics: you need to have a great customer service that is fast, efficient and useful. If you also send your orders in less than 24hrs then you will have come a long way. Similarly, it is equally important to have a well-structured e-commerce platform that is practical and easy to use.

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

1. Prepare a Launch Campaign: spotlight news on your website, sending a newsletter to your database (offering them something, don’t just send an email), a special promotion.

2. Pinterest: create boards; for instance, for a clothes e-shop, the boards could be ‘T-shirts’ (distinguish between men and women), ‘Accessories’, ‘Shirts’, ‘Jackets’. Categorise according to your range of products. For better social media optimisation (SMO) include the original link to your website. Also, include the price (check here to learn how to do it) and a description that is rich in keywords. To avoid too much work, you can import them directly using the “pin it” button on your browser.

3. Instagram: publish only the most relevant and attractive items together with a link and picture. If you wish, you can adorn them using the effects available in Instagram.

4. Facebook: as your store probably has many items, a good option can be to publish something daily, marketing a concept: for instance, “a souvenir for today” or “recommended item”. This can be done daily, every two days, weekly; it will depend on your target audience. Don’t forget to measure the results of these actions.

5. Google + : H&M has the most popular  Google + page. They don’t sell directly but when when you check it out you realise they’ve done a good job of it. Take a look for yourself. They use lots of pictures (also by importing them from Instragram), videos, etc., not to sell but to create conversations that will later generate traffic.

6. Foursquare: if you have real-life premises (that is, a place where our products can be located besides our online store), you can include the best items from one or more stores, choosing 4 or 5 for each store. Choose always what you believe will sell best. Don’t forget to add links to purchase the items directly and your “call to action.”

7. Yelp: Business pages on Yelp can advertise their promotions and the products located in the store (considering we have a physical store). The more adverts you publish, the greater the visibility.

8. Flickr: open photo galleries with your products on Flickr. It is in your best interest that your items are found. For the “Flickr” search to work correctly, all items need to be named, described and tagged correctly and, of course, include back links.

9. YouTube: use the photo shoots that you’ll be carrying out for the website or for promotional images to create videos with them (a “making of”). Publish them but make sure that you make them more human and less superficial: tell the story behind the pictures. Another alternative would be to show your products in the form of a video. Also, you can have someone for the company talking about each product in different episodes. That may help as a prescription element.

All of this work must be supported by working on community engagement, creating conversations, providing answers, clarifying doubts, seeking information, connecting, measuring, analysing and evaluating.

Photo credit: Daniel Broche.

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Community Leaders and Social Media Managers In Depth

I want to go beyond some simple advice for community managers, the keys to handle social media efficiently, how to increase sales on social networks or tricks to optimise your social media strategy. I believe there are some aspects regarding the community manager and social media scene which have to be looked into in depth to understand their implications.

community management in depth

Understanding the play between Social Media and Online Community Leadership

These are some of the things we should pay more attention to when working in the field of the social web so that we’re able to understand what we have on our hands, what we’re facing and how to do something of relevance.

Hybrids

I have always believed, and have confirmed, that we will never be a simple Community Leader/Connector or Social Media Manager but a hybrid, located somewhere between Social Media, Community, Marketing, Digital, New Media, Communication, PR, Sales, and HR. That is where the potential lies. Oh! And also in remaining human.

That is, many tasks which aren’t fully defined or detailed. Are you dedicated solely and exclusively to leading online communities? I very much doubt it. You’re likely working also in Marketing, Communication, even PR if necessary, Sales Management, Customer Services and even in screening job candidates. We’re hybrids. You can take a look at this role in depth and how to develop it, here.

Online Leaders of your Brand

This is a delicate matter. Would you put your company’s Facebook page in my cousin’s hands? Probably not. Well we’re talking about the same thing here. There’s no one better than someone on the inside to learn and progress until they’re capable of taking on all of these tasks and responsibilities. There is an added complexity –and risk- in giving this task to an intern; representing the brand in the online sphere is, after all, a vital role, and isn’t limited to using Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Remember these people lead people, they’re not directing things.

How to Connect with the Community

Quite simply, don’t invade their space! We live in the era of permission marketing, an interruption of the system, processes based on a human attitude that intends to do something with a meaning, open innovation, creation and chaos. This isn’t an era of communication and marketing, once the interruption created an over-communicated society through intrusive marketing and mass communication a while back.

Now we’re at it again with the social media. Our sole intention is to get our message out there and for our message to have an impact on as many people as possible; feedback is unimportant if we have many likes and comments. That’s ‘short-term gain, long-term pain’! The people who want to reach you will do so because of your content, your interaction, your attention, humanity, closeness, humility, truthfulness and credibility. The only thing you need to do is to be visible at all times and create relevant content that engages your audience. Then, make sure you remain human at all times.

What to Do

Test, try, do something, review what you do, make corrections, launch something again, try one campaign, another one, and then another one, one of them will work, try not to risk too much, remain loyal to your brand value, what you represent as a brand and as a person, make the brand truthful, make the person behind the brand visible, manage the whole online fabric, follow the conversations, observe and measure your content’s scope, the state of your community; if you’re launching a campaign, whether you need to review your Apps, your landing page, the comments, likes, repercussions, etc. Creation and distribution means actions carried out with your content.

You can do whatever takes you where you want to be. You can specialise or not; the advantage of doing so is that you focus on a niche, and the smaller, the better.

How to Coordinate

Work in the distribution of tasks, create GANT charts, timelines for the different parts of the projects and actions, anything that helps you in the structure and architecture of your objectives, responsibilities and team work. This may help you.

Internal or External

An example: we work with a multinational company as Advisors and Online Project Leadership Team. When we arrived at the company and during the first few meetings to carry out an online audit, the topic arose of who would lead the online community operations. The company said it did not have the human resources and that none of them would be able take on any of the tasks as they were all up to their ears with work.

We always recommend someone who’s been trained on the inside. First of all, it’s easier to act as a consultant and educator and to train someone inside the company in the knowledge necessary to carry out the job than to bring someone from outside who needs to adapt to, understand and work in new surroundings.

However, what we did in this case was to bring an outside person; not an intern, but someone knowledgeable in Social Media, Communities, PR, Communication and some Marketing. We established a part-time job for six months (working Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 14:00). During the first month, this person did no online work but simply learnt about the company’s departments, lines of business, products, staff, culture, company ethics, suppliers and other important details necessary for them to carry out their job in an efficient, professional and results-oriented manner.

Once the month was up, this person (a freelance worker) understood the running of the company perfectly and was ready to start. It all went so well that this person now works permanently as part of the company as Head of Social Media and Online Community. We’re happy that this is the case.

Going Beyond

All of this goes beyond what we think is going on. I’m talking about leading, connecting, aligning, developing, integrating, implementing, managing, updating, building, consolidating, driving, comparing, executing, measuring, following, monetizing, listening, reading, commenting, understanding, acting, doing something, remaining human.

Photo credit: Text100.

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8 tasks that define a social media workflow

In 2010 I spoke about the social media workflow to handle and optimise the time and effort you dedicate to social web activity. I updated this in 2012 with a new version that included a graph designed by Luis Calabuig.

While adapting this for a new project, I quite recently realised that this workflow could be further completed by describing its steps and adapting them to the current times.

Which 8 tasks define a “social” workflow?

The following tasks will optimise the time and effort you dedicate to your social web workflow.

1. Reputation – Active listening.

Monitor and follow up on key words regarding what people say about the brand from one day to the next. Analyse and classify mentions according to their nature (positive, negative or neutral.) A new tool has recently appeared to help you with this: SocialVane. It has an interesting ‘artificial intelligence’ feature: the more you use it to filter words out, the more it can classify mentions according to their nature, offering better search and filtering results. There are other tools on the market that can do this, such as Pirendo or Mention. The latter is quite complete, boasting a more comprehensive search feature that searches not only across social platforms but in other channels too.

Once you’ve gathered and analysed this information, select the results that are of greater interest to your organisation. Present a daily report or document with active links to each news item, mention or post.

2. Updating and interacting.

First of all you will need to define your social objects according to a content plan (a day early or even previously for the entire week or month; see below.) Now you need to create this content and disseminate it using the different channels available, not only social platforms. Interaction is another significant moment in your workflow: respond to comments, offer and get feedback, provide information and connect with the brand’s community through bilateral interaction on any of your ecosystem’s platforms.

3. Content marketing – Distribution

Draw up a content plan for the next day (or for the next week or month) and decide how to promote and circulate your content through different platforms and channels. Decide also what pieces you will create: press releases, videos, audio, newsletter, pictures, etc. You must also take into account the call to action linked to every piece of content you publish and how you will measure its result: what action are you expecting once the content reaches your community? Make sure that the result is in line with your objectives: subscriptions, visiting the online store, download of ebook or podcast, contact form requesting more information or a request for a quote.

4. Blogging

If you have a blog or offer news on your website, you should previously define what this section will be like as part of your content marketing strategy. At this stage you simply have to write, optimise and publish your post, news item, event or whatever it is you will be publishing. If you’re writing a post that is meant for the following day, leave it ready to be posted by scheduling it. Consider sharing it on platforms or using tools such as Buffer, Twylah or ScoopIt.

5. Planning and brainstorming

It may be interesting, even advisable, to spend up to one hour every day thinking about creative actions, contests, promotions, campaigns and other tactics that are in line with your objectives. They must add value to your community and your brand. By doing this on a daily basis you will be able to run a tight operation that works constantly.

6. Community engagement

Identify the conversations held by your community and take part in them. Share content that is valuable to them, engage with them by putting them in contact with resources, allies or people that meet their needs and interests. Do this by being one more in the conversation, not the one dominating the conversation or the flow of content.

7. Search and analysis

Monitor how your organisation performs in online conversations. In this case, intervene in the case of both negative or positive comments (acting to put a positive spin on things or, in the latter case, to reinforce such comments). Remember to watch your tone in doing so!

8. Eventualities

The chances are you’re not only in charge of the “social” side of things. You therefore need to combine all of the above with any other duties you have outside this area. Don’t worry if you can’t always follow this workflow strictly; there will always be other distractions: emails, phone calls, unexpected meetings, you co-worker’s love life, etc.

Find your own formula

The best thing about this is you don’t need to follow the precise order of tasks and responsibilities I set above. Distribute them across your day however they work best with your strategy and time. You can repeat more than one task within a day; some may take two hours, others 15 minutes. This will depend on your objectives, the time you can dedicate to online tasks or how relevant all of this is to your organisation.

Everything boils down to what you require. The idea is for you to define and structure what tasks need to be carried out. Don’t approach them all at the same time and dedicate time to each one separately. Online activity is increasingly integrated into the day-to-day running of companies, so perhaps they’re part of customer services and you need to integrate the social media workflow into your own workflow mix.

What is your workflow like? Are there any other tasks you think I left out?

Photo credit: woodlyewonderworks.

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Improve your results using the social web

improving your results using the social webWhat goes on out there when we use the social web to communicate our product, improve our organisation’s marketing or connect with our potential target? After a year spent observing, analysing and measuring actions and cross-referencing behaviours, this is the pattern that I’ve seen repeated the most by brands, companies and even people and professionals.

Current strategy

  • Four tweets regarding business purposes.
  • Two or three updates of the company’s Facebook page; photos and videos mainly.
  • Spending about $400-600 per month on Facebook Ads campaigns to increase the official page’s fan base.
  • A couple of images in Instagram and Pinterest.
  • One or two links shared on LinkedIn and perhaps another in the group that is closest to our industry and has the most members.
  • Perhaps posting a news item on Google+; you know, for SEO purposes and stuff.
  • Very occasionally, carrying out a promotional video about our company or about what we do, basing it on a current reference that we liked.
  • If we’re lucky, our SME, business or personal brand has a blog. Perhaps we might publish something once a week or every two weeks; more often than not, on a monthly basis. Then we massively (sometimes, intrusively) promote our post (and blog).
  • Sending a commercial newsletter to every contact that has ever given us a visiting card, whoever we exchange emails with, whoever subscribes to our blog or whoever’s in our database through subscriptions.

I’ve also seen lots being said about content marketing and strategy. Although there are some large brands using content marketing (very well in some cases), there are still many smaller companies and organisations, personal brands and self-employed workers out there. I’ve read about 40 posts that talk about content marketing as the trend for 2014. Wasn’t it the trend for 2013? Of course, content marketing is very different from filtering and publishing links that are coherent and that build towards a common goal. This is what I’m talking about.

So, it’s hard to measure change. However, I know that when you’ve done the work that matters, your social media efforts will decrease and be more focused. The more people turning their heads to take a look at you, the more things you should be creating.

The deal here isn’t the content but, rather, the results you get. Create processes that help you achieve your goals. The following ideas may help you improve your results using the social web.

What else can be done?

  • Instead of (aimlessly) publishing on Twitter, try to link with your potential audience more and pay greater attention to your customers. Look for conversations, analyse and measure them and then take action in them.
  • Set up your fan page as a place to get test samples, special offers, peripheral services that are only carried out on this platform (for instance: a form for free samples). Publish blurbs from your customers or show different ways your product can be implemented.
  • Focus your Facebook Ads budget on achieving leads to your end point of sale on your website or online store.
  • Carry out visual contests through Instagram with attractive incentives. Use Pinterest as a catalogue for your products, experiences or featured services. In the case of products, include the price so they can appear in lists of “gifts”.
  • Try to connect through LinkedIn with the contacts that can strengthen your organisation. A sales agent in the UK, a legal adviser in Colombia, etc.
  • Create a community in Google+ with the people who have things in common with what you do and share with them. Use your Google+ page to tell funny, surprising and attractive stories that resonate with your industry.
  • Create a video every month or two explaining the craft involved in the work your organisation carries out (for instance, how you prepare your rye bread or how you prepare fruit milkshakes)
  • Publish the most important thing you’ve worked on at least once a week, explaining what you’ve learnt from it and whatever may serve as a recommendation for your potential target.
  • Work on content marketing based on your strategy, defining the actions you carry out and, most of all, measuring what happens with each piece of content. It should help you.

Was this useful? Did it help your ideas? How do you use your social web to get results?

Photo credit: ntr23

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Strategic Human Media Integration Model

How can we work in social media if we show no interest for people, if we don’t consider their relevance? How can we be professionals in the field and, at the same time, ignore what happens afterwards? Can we learn to accept change without doing the work, simply expecting applause and a standing ovation? What changes can we implement in the digital world to connect with and change our own audience?

I created the first theoretical social media integration model in December 2009. What I find fascinating is how it has evolved over the years, until now, with 2014 just round the corner.

How has strategic integration evolved?

New skills in an interconnected environment, the adaptation to social platforms, the different approaches to new online tools, the change in strategies and tactics towards further interaction, engagement and the consolidation of relationships, perception and understanding of ecosystems in the social web, and the digital revolution, of course. All of this has made social media integration become a more direct, human and connected model, creating a more powerful social and human web. The start of Human Media.

I have been working for a while towards understanding and figuring out how the new environment works and how a new conception of all the above changes social media integration in the business environment.

Human-media-integration-theory-model

The meaning of this

Users generally prefer connections over sales, sharing over creating, resonance over influence and relationships over promotions. This is further amplified by the sheer number of elements that take part in the integration of online platforms and tools in any communication or marketing model today. Platforms that humanise, filter and select contents (content curating) improve the chances of a social object being shared by a larger number of kindred spirits.

Connectivity between platforms results from the users’ “shareability” ratio: the more relevant, emotional and segmented the content you share, the greater connectivity you create with kindred spirits (you can call them potential clients or community). This will inevitably lead to positive visibility and will make it easier for your brand to interact with the people in the community to which you have gained access. This generates a continuous feedback flow resulting from the high level of input generated from visibility to a potential audience, connectivity with these persons and the resulting interaction. However, such inputs are meaningless without perception, understanding, assessment, implementation and reaction to the feedback channelled from social networks and from actively listening to these platforms.

It’s convergence, it’s connection, it’s human

Integration converges with an ecosystem that focuses more on connecting with users than on bombarding them with promotions. A good handling and use of the feedback provided will inevitably generate more traffic and trust, as does sharing what you’re interested in with your audience (usually as a result of feedback), only that it will also afford you credibility and exposure, and a certain authority resulting from having something of value to offer. Authority is a good thing, something you wish to have. Something which is helped daily by microblogging services, geolocation services and online publication services.

A factor to be taken into account is how, as a result of the emotional, human and relational impact of this economy, platforms remain on the outside of such integration; even in the case of a vital element such as a blog: the effects and properties that favour the people remain on the inside and build a crucial system, a resonance between brands and people.

Is there a happy ending to all this?

Of course! The agents that truly strengthen, influence and act as a lever in this setting and all its different channels, aren’t the social platforms or tools. These are only the means towards strategic integration.

How do you think that the social web converges, collides and integrates with this increasingly human and interconnected economy?

Appeared first on Social Media Today.

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What to do with your online influence

online influenceAre you influential on the Internet and the Social Web or any other field influenced by this connected economy? Tip 1: all fields have been affected. Tip 2: we’re all influential to some extent or other. However, what do you do with this influence? Anything at all? Have you ever thought about doing something that benefits not only you but helps those who probably provide you with such influence?

To save you some time racking your brain, here are some tried and tested ideas that may help you return some of that influence to those who created it and deserve it –your audience, community, fans, followers, supporters, you name it. Clue: Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Brtiney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Pete Cashmore, Robert Downey Jr. or Sergio Ramos aren’t really considered to be part of your community.

Things you can do with your influence

So, here are some ideas that will help you know what to do with your influence so that you can contribute to helping the people who make you influential.

  • What about dedicating a section in your personal or professional blog to talk about the people around you who’re doing a great job? This can be local businesses, your own team members, stories from people you don’t know but who inspire you, stories that may also help your community and readers. You could do this on a set day of the week (Fridays for instance?) or every other week.  You can give it a special name to identify this series of posts.
  • Create a local event making the most of your reach, influence and network so that people with great ideas and best practices can take part, people who may not have 10,000 followers on Twitter or a fan page on Facebook. They may not even have a blog, so no one needs to freak out and start running. You may encourage them more than anyone else and, more importantly, make them known to people in your network who would benefit from meeting them. There are several options: seminars, round-table conferences, workshops or even online events.
  • Prepare a monthly video recommendation about the person who has contributed, helped, impacted, encouraged or influenced you and your people the most. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person who has done the most for you. Sometimes, someone will simply arrive and do something that no one else has done for us. It could be the polite way someone greets you or treats you at a restaurant or hotel, or a good morning smile when you’re going to breakfast or a sincere apology that was truly unnecessary.
  • Make the most of your YouTube channel to interview young entrepreneurs who know what they want. Let the businesspeople in your neighbourhood/town/city tell the story of how they started a business that is now the leader in online sales, ahead of their competition.
  • Talks and meetings with young people who’re off to university or university students who’re about to finish their studies. These two groups are often lost in this system. Your influence may become a beacon to them.
  • Share interesting businesses in your area or neighbourhood in your Twitter or LinkedIn accounts. I’m not talking about multinationals, but rather local businesses.
  • Use Foursquare or Yelp to leave tips or reviews about these businesses and share them with your community so that people know about them. Checking-in and sharing on Twitter will also help. Tip: it doesn’t take an invitation on their behalf for you to recommend them or post a picture on Instagram. You may offer before getting anything from them; it’s a great way of helping.
  • You can use a hashtag on Instagram to upload pictures of places, people or businesses you love and that you believe others should know about and visit.
  • Go all-out and gather stories, experiences, thoughts and practices from ordinary extraordinary people who wish to inspire and equip other people through such personal and professional narratives.
  • #FF people who’ve helped you in your work during the week or more anonymous people who’ve made you change the way you interact significantly, or simply people who’ve had a special consideration towards you, someone from your team or professionals who’re doing their job well. I’d love to see more #FF for “ordinary/extraordinary” people and not so many rock stars!
  • When you want to help by sharing, don’t just RT or ‘share’; this requires a special gesture. Explain why you’re sharing, offer a personal reason why others should pay attention to it. This is the fun part, you can’t do this truthfully if you don’t read or pay attention to what you share. This is what leaves many “influencers” out of the game.
  • Use LinkedIn to recommend those service providers, workers, employees or entrepreneurs with whom you’ve had a satisfactory professional transaction or interaction.
  • Create an eBook about the people who help you in your day, month and year; publish it as a blog, on Twitter or other places. And please, keep it free of charge; getting to know these people should be a right, not a privilege.

Self-absorbed or change?

One more thing before we finish: there’s a good number of ideas to make the most of your influence to favour others in a positive way.

So, as you can see, there are myriad ways to do it. What we’re sometimes lacking is intention and purpose in using influence as a way to funnel change and not as a resource for personal gain, becoming increasingly self-absorbed. Being that kind of influencer is clearly overrated.

I’d love you to share with us any ideas that come to mind to make the most of online influence, helping to make a difference in other people. Thank you.

Photo credit: Stuart Foster.

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Other metrics you may want to consider to measure the social web

Besides the well-known metrics, old and new that exist for social networks, why not use the following measurements to better define your activity:

  • Related comments: who’s talking about your brand beyond your own community?
  • Actions: actions you’ve carried out. How many, how well did they fare, how long did they last, what were their results and their qualitative and quantitative impact.
  • Statistics of the impact of your content in real time: what happened before, while and after you uploaded content at an event, meeting, presentation, gig, etc. What has changed and how?
  • Percentage growth increase: compare natural growth in other years and estimate how much you should be growing this term, comparing whether you’re above, below or at the same level as your natural growth.
  • Compare yourself with your competition: use tools like hyperalerts to do this job. Measure engagement, reach, popularity and rank in Alexa and Google.
  • Conversions: using URL builder and Analytics you can know how many people visit your website from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Youtube and go where you want them to go.
  • Reach, feeling, passion: use social mention to understand the qualitative state of your brand in social media.
  • Social assistance: how many interactions do you carry out with your community every day? What happens in these interactions, both positive and negative? How many are related to questions regarding your services and products? How many are related to direct or indirect sales? How many lead to future purchase? Which are the most frequent questions or doubts? What are the complaints about exactly? Then, do something with all this information.
  • Other tasks you have carried out: measure what else you’ve done besides the above. Work with other departments, collaborations in other campaigns, mediation with clients and suppliers. The fact that these tasks are less flashy or not directly related with your job doesn’t mean they don’t count!

We can always search for something simple instead of something complicated.

What other metrics would you consider in this list?

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