Posts tagged twitter
Little Debbie Finds The Sweet Spot With Social Media

Yesterday the Social Media Alliance of Chattanooga hosted Emily Barnett, Social Media Coordinator for Little Debbie, to discuss the brand's strategy.  It's clear that the company values social media as an integral part of their marketing plan.  Emily, along with a team of four others, helps manage the Little Debbie brand on Twitter and Facebook. In less than two years, Little Debbie's Facebook page has gone from a few thousand fans to close to 1 Million.  As I'm writing this post, the page has 937,484 "Likes," and it seems likely that Little Debbie will reach their goal of having a 1 Millionth fan by the end of June.

I've listed some of the highlights from Emily's presentation in hopes that you or your business might be able to learn something from their success:

Engagement

Little Debbie does a great job of engaging their consumers.  Whether it's through contests, national promotions, or the content they create, the brand has had tremendous success getting their consumers to engage with them.  The social media team uses HolidayInsights.com to find holidays that they can tie in to their products.  Consumers also provide great ideas for content.  See this recent photo that was submitted for graduation season - "Swiss Roll Diplomas:"

Emily recommends allowing your Facebook fans to sign up for newsletters and your other social media channels from your Facebook page.  This will not only help you gain subscribers but will allow your audience to connect with you in their preferred platform.

It was interesting to hear that Little Debbie keeps all comments on their Facebook page, including the negative ones (unless they're offensive).  Companies need a policy in place to know how they'll handle both the good and the bad.  Emily explained Little Debbie has chosen to show the full spectrum of comments and the brand's openness to criticism and opinions.

Cross-Branding

Little Debbie recently decided to start partnering with other company Facebook pages.  The Little Debbie page showcases these partners in the Featured "Likes" section, and they occasionally may post something and tag the company in their wall post.

For example, Little Debbie partnered with the Bristol Motor Speedway for an event and gave away Little Debbie snacks to everyone in the crowd.  They then used social media to promote this partnership further and engage both their customers and fans along with those of the Speedway.

Outreach

Little Debbie has cultivated relationships with bloggers who can become advocates for the brand, Emily says.  The social media team at Little Debbie attends blogger conferences that relate to their target demographic and looks for ways to partner with bloggers across the country.

While Little Debbie is a national brand that has had major success with their social media strategy, small and large businesses alike can learn from their efforts.  As we can see with Little Debbie, it isn't about the hard sales pitch.  Instead we see how engagement, brand awareness, and outreach go a long way.

If you have any observations about what works for your business or what doesn't, I'd love to hear your feedback!  And if you attended the Social Media Alliance Luncheon yesterday and have other takeaways you'd like to share, please do!

How the Community Used Twitter During The Storms

The storms and tornadoes that passed through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and several other states on Wednesday created a path of destruction that is still hard to comprehend.  In some areas rescue efforts are still underway, and the cleanup and grieving for the loss of life is just beginning.

I’ve never seen anything like it. When the power went out Wednesday, the phone lines were down, and I couldn’t make any outgoing calls on my cell phone, I had one source of information.  I was constantly refreshing my Twitter stream on my phone to get the latest updates on the storm and following hashtags like #CHAwx.

Based on the tweets from our local Chattanooga reporters, The Weather Channel, and citizens reporting what they were seeing, I was getting real-time updates every second.  The fact that local news organizations (@WRCB, @NoogaNews, @newschannelnine and others) and their individual reporters embraced the hashtag, gave the community a place to follow and track what was happening as the news rolled in.  Since tens of thousands of us were without power (and still are), it was imperative that we were able to receive updates and communicate quickly what was happening.

Speaking of power, EPB (Electric Power Board) continues to do a great job of working as fast as they can around the clock to restore power, repair downed power lines, and remove trees.  After the first round of storms passed through, my grandmother called saying there were lines laying across her backyard.  She was having trouble getting calls through to EPB.  After I unsuccessfully tried calling, I noticed they were taking information on their Twitter page (@EPB_Chattanooga) and replying as best they could to people who were reporting lines down.

Once Thursday morning arrived, hashtags like #CHAhelp for the Chattanooga metro area and #CLEhelp for Cleveland, TN began carrying information about where volunteers and supplies were needed.  As the cleanup continues, I'm continuing to see updates today.  Thanks to the United Way (@UnitedWayChatt) I have been able to look at their web page of resources, requests, and needs that are being updated frequently.

If you know of other resources or needs in our area, please leave them in the comments below.  And if you used Twitter as a resource during the storms, I'd love to hear your story.

This Month in Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A lot has happened this month in the world of social media, so read on for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

First up, there have been some major milestones this March:

Twitter turned 5 years old, and March 21st marked the anniversary of the first tweet.  Since that day in 2006, Twitter’s numbers have been pretty impressive.

  • It took 3 years, 2 months, and 1 day from that first tweet to the billionth tweet on Twitter.  It now takes only 1 week for users to send a billion tweets.
  • There has been an average of 460,000 new accounts per day over the last month.
  • Over the last month, people sent an average of 140 million tweets per day

LinkedIn also hit a major milestone this month by surpassing 100 million members.  The company announced their success on the blog:

The Bad

Chrysler

Earlier this month, a tweet from Chrysler, via their social media agency, New Media Strategies (NMS), created the type of publicity the auto manufacturer wasn’t hoping for.  The NMS employee who sent the tweet, says he thought he was using his personal account when he sent the following:

Following the tweet, Chrysler issued a statement on their blog stating they do not tolerate inappropriate language, and within an hour, the NMS employee was fired.  Chrysler later annoucned they will not renew their contract with New Media Strategies.

The Ugly

Aflac

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac Duck, sent several offensive tweets following the Japanese Tsunami.  The insurance company was quick to act and fired Gottfried, issuing this statement:

"Gilbert's recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac.  There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times."

This month we’ve seen the good in social media, and how important it is for your business to have a presence on networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.  As these networks continue to grow, it is increasingly important for businesses to be utilizing these marketing tools as best they can.  Unfortunately, we've also seen the bad and the ugly this month, more of a guide on “what not to do.”  It's important to remember that social media is an extension of your company, your brand, and your other marketing efforts.  Make sure you have a solid social media strategy in place, whether you're managing your company's social media efforts in house or through another agency.  Your online marketing efforts should complement each other, get the results your working toward, and positively represent your company at all times.

Social Media and Your Business: Twitter 101

If you’re new to Twitter or you’re setting up your business' Twitter account for the first time, you may be wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into.  Twitter can be a confusing thing at first if you’re not familiar with how to use the “@” symbol, the hashtag (#) or what it means to “retweet.”  This post is designed to give you the very basics in Twitter 101 for your business.

Delegator Tweet

Usernames

First things first, if you don’t have a Twitter account and username for your business - get one!  Every username is unique, and your business’ name may already be taken.  This might require you to get creative (Tip: You can use an underscore in your username which may help.  Try Acme_Business if AcmeBusiness is already taken.)

Profile

Complete your profile.  You’ll need to create a short bio (160 characters or less), add an avatar (your profile image), add your website, and add your location if you choose.  You can customize your profile further, but like I said - we’re just going over the basics here.

The Language

Learn the Twitter language.  I won’t leave you hanging - if you want to learn more about the “@” symbol, hashtag, and retweet, see the Twitter Glossary.  It may take some getting used to, but the more you use Twitter, the more you’ll get the hang of it.

Tweets

If you’ve read the glossary, you know that a “tweet” is a message posted on Twitter with 140 characters or less.  You need to start tweeting for a few reasons:Twitter Bird

  1. You need content on your profile.  If you want people to pay attention to what you and your business have to say, you need to be saying something.
  2. You need to engage your audience.
  3. You’ll get the hang of things.  Learning the Twitter language and how things work takes you actually using it.

Followers and Following

Again, if you’ve read the glossary, you know that there is a difference between followers and following.  (Twitter does a good job of explaining the difference between the two.)  Most people on Twitter want to increase the number of people following them.  When you’re starting out though, you start at zero just like everyone else did.  There are several ways to devise your business’ Twitter strategy, which could be another post by itself.  Since we’re keeping this brief, I would suggest starting with these two:

  1. Follow other respected people in your industry.
  2. Make people aware that you have a Twitter profile.  (Link to your Twitter account from your website, etc.)

Hopefully this post will serve as a good starting point for launching your business’ Twitter account successfully.  Once you’re underway, you can begin tracking your success and building upon your efforts.  If you have any questions about this post or how Twitter could benefit your business, let me know!  Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at heather.e@delegator.com.

Social Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

“The world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites. This equates to 22 percent of all time online or one in every four and a half minutes.”

- The Nielsen Company, NielsenWire

Social media has become a world-wide phenomenon - one that businesses have learned they cannot afford to ignore.  However, as businesses enter this new territory, there’s bound to be some examples we can learn from.  This week’s blog post will focus on The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly as it relates to social media:

The Good

The following companies make sure their social media efforts reward loyalty, encourage interaction with their audience, and mimic their brand or business.

  • iTunes: If you want to reward loyalty and increase your fan base, take a look at iTunes Featured tab.  If you “Like” this page, you get 10 free songs on iTunes and you have access to other special offers.  Give your fans a reason to “Like” your page.

Good-Facebook-Example-iTunes

  • Cranium: The Cranium Facebook page encourages interaction through quizzes and games, while promoting their brand and product at the same time.

The Bad

We know audience engagement is key (see my last post on the Rules of Engagement), but there are thousands of companies out there showing us all what not to do.

  • Wealth_Formula:  This Twitter profile (http://twitter.com/Wealth_Formula) completely lacks the human element.

Bad-Twitter-Example

While tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite make it possible for us to schedule Tweets in advance, this user goes about it the wrong way.  Instead of engaging the audience,         Wealth_Forumula “yells” at them and tweets identical posts time after time.

  • Nestle:  Below you will find some of the negative criticism on Nestle’s Facebook page over its use of palm oil in products.  Things went from bad to worse when the employees behind Nestle’s Facebook and Twitter pages fired back at their critics.  Eventually, a Nestle representative apologized to fans for being rude.

Bad-Facebook-Example-Nestle

The Ugly

United Airlines learned the hard way that social media can have a significant impact on your business.

  • United Airlines:  This company had a customer-service nightmare on their hands after a passenger made a YouTube video about how the customer service department ignored his complaints that his Taylor guitar was broken during his travels.  The story was picked up by the LA Times and now has over 9 million views on YouTube.

In response to this customer’s video, Taylor responded in a YouTube video of their own, offering to help the guy out.  The video now has over 489,000 views.  Taylor properly used social media to capitalize on this oversight by United Airlines.

How to Stay in the “Good” Category Make sure your company doesn’t make these same mistakes.  An effective social media campaign requires thought, planning, and time.  At Delegator we understand that time may not be something you have to put toward a social media campaign.  From general consulting hours to comprehensive monthly plans covering any number of social networks, we tailor our services to fit your needs.  If you’re interested in learning how Delegator can help you manage your social media efforts, contact us.

Social Media: Rules of Engagement

While many businesses today have begun to embrace social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, many have yet to realize how they can best use these resources.  The primary focus of any social media campaign should not be sales-driven.  That’s right - I’m suggesting businesses focus first on engaging their audience or customer.

Listen to Your Audience

Engaging with your audience requires that you listen first to what they have to say.  Do you really know who your audience is?  Social media exposure, by its nature, can be broad and dynamic, with a bit of a “Six degrees from Kevin Bacon” element that can get you noticed in ways you never expected.  In any social media campaign you should focus on two groups of people:

  1. Your customers or potential customers - These are the people you already know well.  They buy products from you and use the services you’re offering.
  2. Influential players - A person in this group may never buy your product or personally use your service, but they can be a major player in placing your content and your brand in front of a large number of people that could fit into group #1.

To properly engage these two groups, all of your content needs to be focused toward them.

Engage Them

Now that you know whom you should be engaging with, it’s time to discuss how to engage your audience.  It’s important to have a conversation, and save the sales pitch for another day.  Your goal should be to develop personal connections and a dialog with your audience.  Interaction is key.

  • Ask open-ended questions that encourage comments and responses.
  • Respond to all comments promptly.
  • Monitor and moderate your social media accounts frequently.
  • Add creative content constantly.

Social Media

Listening to and engaging your customer sounds simple, and in some ways it is.  But getting all of this done takes time, attention and, often, creativity.  Here at Delegator, we help our social media clients get it done-- from setting up to managing social media marketing plans.  Whether you have an existing plan, or you’re new to the social media game, Delegator can help.