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7 steps to elevate your social media presence [part two]

By now, it is old news that you should blog or be on Twitter, but now that you’re online and have an intermediate level understanding of social media, how do you take it to the next level?

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Getting results from social media

You already know you’re supposed to be on Twitter (and you are), Facebook (you are), and Google+ (you are, kind of). You know your business benefits from a blog and you’ve been at it for a while, so you’re not a beginner. But now that you’re an intermediate user of social networking, you need to know how to squeeze out the most results from online marketing.

You are comfortable with etiquette and can understand basic metrics to gauge results, but you don’t know how to make more of an impact or you want more results. You’re in the right place. In part one of this series, you learned to perfect your timing and get people to buy into your brand. Below are two more testable tips for you to try out in an effort to expand your message and amplify your social media efforts.

3. Energize Evangelists and Enthusiasts

It’s weird to think of a person or company of having fans. If it helps you, instead of picturing a screaming teenage girl holding a picture of Robin Thicke, try thinking about an enthusiast, perhaps a wine lover at a tasting, or a music lover at a jazz concert.

Then think about those handful of people in the groups of enthusiasts who tells everyone they know about the latest new artist or wine they discovered. Haven’t we all been that person? Someone who experienced something so fantastic, that we told all our friends about it?

And we’ve all been on the receiving of the most energized, happiest enthusiasts. Those are called evangelists – a word I tend to dislike but absolutely captures the happily feverish way these wonderful super-fans spread the word about things they enjoy and create new fans for the product they love.

In an ideal world, you’d want to find, empower, promote and/or even befriend all your customers and clients. And in the early stages of your business, you might want to provide spectacular customer service that will not scale, so that it permeates your company culture as much as possible.

However, you’ll come to a point where you won’t be able to do that. So nail down the process of finding out who your top people are, both people who are the most active and most vocal – they may not be the same people.

Once you know who they are, you’ll want to make sure they know that you’re paying attention and that you care. You don’t have to fall in love with them, but it’s great to have supporters who will happily send out a tweet or share things on their Facebook wall just because you mentioned in your newsletter that it would be helpful.
Instead of being the person drawing the attention, or making your product or service the star of the show, make your customers stars – be the star-enabler. Your products will still get the same amount of attention, and are often more digestible as part of someone else’s success story.

4. Co-oooooor-dinate

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I’m not saying there need to be special mushrooms on the inside. I’m just saying first, remember the word coordinate, and second, once you have the attention of the people who love what you’re doing the most, coordinate their efforts as much as you can.

You can go after thousands of people one at a time, or you can go after 3 to 10 people who have audiences of thousands and are willing to bring them to you.

Of course, you really need to make sure your content is on point – compelling is the word I like to use the most, because it doesn’t imply perfection. If you’ve done your homework, you lose more launching nothing in a quest for perfection than sending out something imperfect and correcting as you go.

So let your small group know that you have something that’s pretty good, and you’d like them to help you get it as perfect as you can by a certain date. Then tell them what you changed, and ask them to help you spread it. Thank them within the content when you do, and in public, on your blog, on LinkedIn, where ever you can.

You have to appreciate your evangelicals if you expect to keep them.

But make it very simple, specific and idiot-proof. Work slightly below the scope of their knowledge – if you think your top commenters know how to share a link on Facebook you’re probably right.

What you may not realize is that people who love to share the most, hate to share without attribution. As such they love it when you have an Open Graph compatible site that shares the right image, title and description to Facebook if they use the Share button on your site.

They want you to know that they are in support of you, and may even realize that being able to track where the support is coming from helps. So they’d rather use the Twitter button on your site than have to cut and paste the link in to Twitter and go back and copy and paste the title, then have to see if they can find your Twitter username.
Not to mention that there are times when this is supremely inconvenient for them. Perhaps they’re on a lunch break, or on a mobile phone that’s not so smart.

Don’t assume people use technology the way you do or have more than a passing familiarity with how to use it.

Next week

Next week, I will address viral content and how to shape a community, adding some cool tools to your toolbox. Some advice will be contrary to what the gurus have told you, so stay tuned!

Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the CEO of Leveraged Promotion and a member of Network Solutions Social web Advisory Board. Her website promotion company specializes in reputation management, and engineering demand generation system for businesses, integrating search, expertise marketing and social media.

Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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