Daily Archives: December 3, 2013

3 Dos (and 1 Don’t) for Reaching Out to Bloggers

This week’s topic of discussion dealt with blogger outreach, or, fostering a relationship with, and offering services to, online writers who might prove beneficial to a brand or company in some capacity. From class, we’ve learned that connection is key, but there are definitely right—and wrong—ways for going about it.

Image courtesy of Social Media Marketing University

DO…

1. …Have a goal in mind.

Blogger outreach starts in-house, a point stressed in the ebook, “The Best Practice for Effective Blogger Outreach,” which tells businesses to have objectives lined out. Much in the same way that an army can’t go to battle without a strategy, a business can’t extend itself online without an idea of why. Identifying one’s objectives also means identifying a target audience, effectively narrowing down the wide pool of bloggers on the Web to a relevant selection.

Tips:

  • Research potential target audience first. You should know everything about them going in—not the other way around.
  • Social media isn’t the only factor to keep in mind. PR and brand awareness is good and all, but not if they don’t translate into some sort of revenue.

2. …Be creative with your methodology.

According to “12 Ways Strong Social Brands Connect With Their Audience,” Britt Michaelian makes a point of saying that it’s not enough to just have a voice online; it should also be different from anything else online. Easier said than done, yes, but it helps if you’re already in touch with blogger lingo and etiquette, as referenced in “Building Community in Blogger Outreach.” Do what you see other prominent bloggers doing; tap into their interests and make it work to your advantage.

Tips:

  • As in real life, don’t be afraid to have a quirky personality. “Weird” or “eccentric” just means being one step above the white noise of the Internet.
  • The Denny’s blog, for instance, benefits from being hosted on Tumblr: They can post topical things they see other Tumblr users responding to and reblogging themselves.

3. …Build loyalty for your brand.

The best way of going about this is offering accessibility. In Britt Michaelian’s “How to Build Fierce Loyalty for Your Brand Community,” she argues for helping audiences feel “wanted and needed within the community.” By creating spaces for discussion and thinking in terms of we than I, brands can maintain conversation that will slowly but surely lead to support from within the community.

Tips:

  • Extend across social media platforms. The more places for discussion, the more loyal customers.
  • Lead, but don’t make it apparent. You’re not there to herd people around; you’re there to engage them.

DON’T…

1. …Forget to be human.

This seems to be at the crux of everything we’ve learned this semester, but that’s because it doesn’t become any less true the more we learn about community management. Press releases and cold calling (…blogging), then, are ill-advised ways of reaching out to bloggers. Instead, stay honest and stay personable. Don’t be afraid of humanizing a brand—thinking small-scale also means paying more attention to detail, which works miles on online readers.

Share your thoughts—or any other dos and don’ts—in the comments below!

How To Connect With Your Audience

This weeks topic was all about comments, blogger outreach, and ambassador programs. One article that I agreed with most was titled, “12 Ways Strong Social Brands Connect with Their Audience” by Britt Michaelia which gave great tips for brands to connect with their audience. A great quote in this article is as follows,

“The deeper we get into the social media age, despite its ever changing tides, the more clear it is how important connection is for establishing a bond with your audience.”

That is for certain. We are becoming more and more reliant on engaging with our audience. While there are twelve ways that successful brands connect with their audience, two of these in particular stood out to me and I will explain why.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Ryan via Google Images “labeled for reuse”

 

 

The Top 2

While I have to admit that all 12 of these ways that social brands connect with their audience are important, the two that struck me were:

  • They engage in meaningful conversations with their followers on a consistent basis.
  • They realize that without their audience, their message would not be heard, so they express and show gratitude often.

First, I think it’s pretty simple to understand that in order to connect with your audience, you are going to have to converse with them. But, the first bullet point states that you must engage in meaningful conversations with your followers on a consistent basis. That is where it differs from just simply engaging. Meaningful and consistent really make this bullet point stand out to me. There is a difference between a conversation and a meaningful conversation. Does the conversation pertain to your business? Will it positively help your company in any way? Also, the other word consistent is also very important. You can’t expect to connect with your audience if you are rarely engaging. Being consistent will keep the audience engaged. How many times do a week do you engage your audience? Are there days when you do not converse at all with the audience? All of these questions are ones to consider. I know that I personally do not like it when it feels like a brand goes M.I.A. and doesn’t respond or engage the audience for a while. This really puts a deep impression on them and routinely engaging with followers can eliminate this completely. 

Image courtesy of phat-kat-creative via Google Images "labeled for reuse"

Image courtesy of phat-kat-creative via Google Images “labeled for reuse”

Second, in order to connect with your audience, brands need to realize that they are nothing without their audience. Without them, their message would not be heard nor would it mean anything. This reminds me of a sport I particularly like. I am a big fan of snocross racing (snowmobile racing) which relies on fans and the audience. They are nothing without their audience. One of my favorite racers in particular realizes that he is nobody without them. He always has his race trailer open for people to come and engage with him in between races, as well as actively engaging with his fans via multiple social media platforms. It’s easy to see why he’s the most liked guy, and he has his audience to thank for that. He continuously thanks his fans (the audience in this case) and shows gratitude. This is pretty much the same as the second bullet, which is that the brand has to realize that without their audience, their message would not be heard, so they take the time to express their gratitude. Engaging with your audience makes all the difference and realizing how important they really are can go a long way. Showing your gratitude towards your audience can go even further.

Conclusion

I am not saying that these two are definitely the most important 2 from this article, but to me, they stood out. I think all twelve really encompass ways to connect with your audience. I ultimately think a little can go a long ways in terms of reaching out and engaging with your audience. Is it so hard to take 5 minutes out of your day to shoot a quick, “Thank you so much to our followers! Without you we wouldn’t be here!”?

Questions to consider:

Based on the list of 12, would would your Top 2 be and why?

Are there any more that you would add to the list?

 

My Week as a Moderator

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 11.15.55 PMI took on the role of moderator this week for the second time and the experience was a little more eye opening as I was moderating alone this time rather than with a classmate. I was also in a unique position because there was no assigned reading so the class was able to spit ball a little more than usual about interesting topics. A major disadvantage, however, was the fact that I moderated at a very busy time for students and didn’t see the high levels of engagement that many see during other weeks, which made discussion difficult on some topics.

Which network is the RIGHT network?

Many community managers must deal with this question on a daily basis. What content is best for a given social network? As moderator, I found that no one was engaging on twitter for whatever reason, so I posted the majority of my content on Google+. But I was cross-posting some content to twitter and now that I think back, I’m realizing that those two audiences are exactly the same, so what’s the point of posting the same content on each? Maybe they’ll see it one place but not the other? I think different content does better on different platforms but it’s harder to tell what that is in this small scale example.

Successful Conversation

I was so proud of one of the conversations that developed during my week as moderator. It was surrounding the subject of a brand’s influence and if they had an ethical obligation to help out when tragedy hits. Of course, they don’t have any legal obligation, but what about special ethical one? Some argued that there’s no real ethical responsibility but it really helps their public image, while others argued that with influence comes responsibility. Social media managers, community managers and public relations professionals are really starting to have a voice in the overall mission and objectives of companies, so this is an important question to be asking ourselves.

A great career

One item of content that came up during the week was the Wall Street Journal’s list of best and worst jobs of the year. I asked the community who was interested in actual pursuing the position as a career someday. The fact that community manager ranks in the top 40 of the list is definitely an incentive. I think the line of work is so appealing because of the daily interaction with people, even though it’s digital. Social media is obviously a huge up and coming industry. Combining that with building interactive and engaging communities sounds like a fun line of work. The negatives are that it’s a 24/7 job. You never really get a break in this line of work because communities don’t rest. You always have a responsibility to always be sparking conversation when it’s dull. And most importantly, you need to be ready to respond in a time of crisis.