Blog Archives

Promote your hotel Facebook page – some ideas

Staying at my favourite hotel in Gent, I have been discussing with the staff ideas on how they can promote their Facebook fan page. Here are my ideas:

 

General ideas

  • Open your page to comments from people – you can always delete them later if you want, but it’s good to leave people freedom to add something. Personally, I would choose the option to allow comments to be added without moderation from you. There is no real risk if you can delete them anyway.
  • Comment on the pages of local events, businesses, mentioning your FB page
  • Invite your personal FB friends and ask everyone you know personally to do the same with their FB friends
  • Find other people on Facebook that are commenting actively on other related pages and send them a FB message introducing your page and asking them to visit it, like it
  • After you have created a bit of content and the page starts to work, send one email to all existing hotel contacts from your database telling them the page exists and asking them to like it, share it with friends or run a competition
  • Add your FB site address to your email signature, invoices and other social media presence, eg Twitter account
  • Publish diverse content – 2 times a week, Tuesday or Thursday +/- 7pm or during the weekend
  • Plan your posts with www.Hootsuite.com so that it can happen when you are not there. That means that once a week/month, you can spend 30 minutes planning content for the coming period, rather than have to actually do it every time on Facebook
  • Don’t publish so much about your own hotel. Publish more about related on-brand things that encourage people to see your hotel as a good place to be in Gent. Events, places to visit, Gent history, other restautants you like, a new movie opening up, local musicians….
  • When you publish something about your hotel, make it more interesting than a photo or menu
  • Ask questions, eg: “We are listening to “The Bee Gees” this morning. What’s your favourite early-morning music?”
  • Do a mini interview with someone who works in the hotel
  • Use a blend of media, especially short videos of max 90 seconds
  • To make a network platform work, you need to ask, give and thank. Examples….

 

Ask

  • Ask people to visit the page, like, share and leave a review. You can do that on the back of your WIFI code paper, on placemats for drinks at the bar, on papers at each place in the conference centre and fter people have stayed, sending them an email asking for like, share, review or comment.
  • Run a competition, asking people to take a photo of their stay in Gent and publish on the page, then share with friends. The one with the most “likes” wins. This encourages people to share something from your page with their own FB friends, which means more visibility (and maybe likes) for your page..

 

Give

  • Info about on-brand things going on around Gent, eg cinema, events and ther local businesses
  • When confirming bookings, tell people if they like the page they get a free coffee or other drink, a few chocolate etc..

 

Thank

  • “Like” anything anyone adds or says
  • Add comments when people comment
  • Continue verbally thanking people for their effort when you see them in the hotel

 

Finally: My own experience tells me that if you set some targets for Facebook page success, this will motivate you to do more and get better results.

 

Have fun!

@dan_steer

 

Use Yammer to get personal value from your business network

A training participant asked yesterday: How should I use our new Yammer network and what value can I get from it? Here is my answer..

 

The value of Yammer (or other enterprise social networks) in a knowledge environment

In today’s working environment, there is a massive amount of knowledge out there. For people like my training participant who are working in an IT consultancy environment, on client-site, in a distinct business unit doing project work, the potential to lose all that knowledge is huge. Organising regular meetings across the business, with its travel and billable-time issues is not practical. Tools like Yammer can help. They won’t replace the need for face-to-face interactions within your network, but they can certainly help to spread knowledge and stay up-to-date. Eventually this leads to greater competence, more efficiency, innovation and improved business results.

 

Start using Yammer to share ideas, ask questions and stay up-to-date

If you want to start using your Yammer platform in your own business network (or LinkedIN for example) 5 simple individual actions are interesting, based on the golden triangle of networking:

  • Ask a question to your network. If you are stuck on something or need some expertise, let your network know by asking for help. Who knows what you will get!?
  • Share a resource. If you find something interesting for your network, share it. Be careful to first contextualise that information by noting WHY you find it interesting and consider tagging some specific people in the message so that they definitely see it.
  • Answer a question. Do as thy would be done by, no? If you expect to get answers, be an answerer yourself…
  • Thank people for what they share. This can be as simple as a “like”, or could be a comment or exchange of information.
  • Have a browse around from time-to-time. The value of ” aimless wandering” in the business world is IMO massively underrated. Spend 5 minutes just browsing every now and again.

 

There is real value in narrating your work regularly

One of the big problems in the consultancy world is that people in the same company often don’t know what other people are doing. Sometimes they don’t even realise that the guy next to them on client-site is actually a fellow colleague! A good way to deal with this issue on platforms like Yammer is to get in the habit of narrating your work. This is easy and can being real business value. A simple way to do this is to regularly update your status or add a message to let the network know what you are working on. Examples:

  • “I’m creating a training course on creating influence with a network”
  • “Currently looking for ways to improve intra-participant interactivity on social media platforms between training days”
  • “Interviewing the director of the EPHEC on her experience with flipping the classroom”
  • “Developing my conference speech for ASTD TechKnowledge in Las Vegas in January”
  • “I will welcome my 4000th human being (since going freelance) to training some time in December”

..these kind of status updates take literally less than 30 seconds, but they keep people informed on who is doing what and may even get you some spontaneous input from other to improve your work. Of course you can go further and start doing educational narration (“how-to” guides etc) or even implement a formal knowledge-sharing initiative like BT Dare2Share.

 

…but don’t expect to see massive results from day 1

I have seen some Yammer fails in some of the companies I work for. These are mostly due to poor vision about the tool, lack of communication or education and bad “change management”. If Yammer has just arrived in your company, you cannot expect everyone to see the value over night. This is for 2 main reasons, which seen interchangeably can lead to failure:

  • Some people will simply not like it and not want to use it
  • There will not be much content in the early days

 

If you are someone who doesn’t really “dig” social media platforms, then you will need to be convinced to get on the tool and start doing stuff. The trouble is that conceptual information about how the tool is great is not very inspiring. What you need is results. So, you go to the tool and ….  … …find nothing.

Those who are active on the tool in the beginning are active because they do believe. But in a classical organisation of 500 people, you might only have 50 believers. Those 50 believers might not yet even be competent in getting the most out of the tool. So it takes time to see the value. And when the other 450 non-believers get pushed on the tool too early, they STILL don’t see the point. So they were right, right?

My ideas for passing this adoption-gap include:

  • Try to encourage the right people to get started – not everyone, just the early-adopter types
  • Know that even if there are no “likes” or comments, people may still be reading what you put on the tool – don’t be disheartened
  • Educate people on the golden triangle. Its really key!
  • Make sure key influencers in the organisation put an effort into using the tool. They need to walk-the-talk. If people see management and the “cool folk” on the train, it will be more appealing.

 

 

For more ideas on getting success from the tool, read:

 

Thanks for reading!

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37 easy Twitter tips for new users to get started

So, you’ve been on Twitter but you’re not sure of the best way to proceed. You thought about buying “The Twitter Book” but don’t have 20 euros to spend before Christmas/the end of the world/your next paycheque (choose appropriate). You can’t seem to find the free downloadable introduction to “Twitter Power” by Joel Comm.

Never mind.. just read on and follow these instructions for a great start to using Twitter. If you have questions, Tweet Me!

 

Choose a good Twitter handle

Take a little bit of time to choose your Twitter name (“handle”) well. Although you can change how your actual real name looks on your profile, you won’t be able to change your handle. Chances are your actual real name doesn’t exist anymore, so what can you do?

  • Beware the addition of cheap numbers after your name. Who wants to be @johnSmith6875? If you can find a creative way to use numbers, go for it…
  • If you are on Twitter to sell a product or service on Twitter, use your Twitter handle to reinforce your brand(name) – example @babybrussels
  • If you are tweeting for or from your place of employment, be careful to not badly use their name in your Twitter handle
  • Creative name creation is great. I use @BoyTurnsTurtle for non work-related tweeting and nobody said you actually have to use real words
  • Be careful with other wierd characters – you may want to communicate your Twitter handle orally, so don’t use odd characters – I think my own handle @dan_steer is about as non-letter/number as you might want to go
  • Make sure it is not too long. Twitter is limited to 140 characters and if you want people to “mention” you, you don’t want your long Twitter handle eating into their tweets – this will only annoy them

 

Take the time to make your profile good and complete

Along with your tweets, your bio is one of the first things people will see. Spend a moment on this…

  • Write something about yourself in the bio and make sure to Be FAB to Be Heard
  • Be consistent with other platforms – my original Twitter Bio is in line with my professional slogan: “I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating infinite learning opportunities”.
  • Include a URL to your website, LinkedIn profile, book etc..
  • If you are working on something specific or mid/long-term, you can consider having your bio as a kind-of static tweet. At the moment, mine is about the conference I will speak at in May 2013 – this will not change for a month or so

Background, colours etc..

 

Use your Twitter photo

  • Not having a photo/logo just looks sad – don’t be the guy with the wierd default Twitter egg. Fix it.
  • If you use a personal photo, make sure we can actually see you. People like faces. But you can still do something a little different like I did.
  • If you have a product or company logo that can look good as a Twitter logo, go for it
  • Be consistent with other branding

 

Create 1 or 2 first tweets before you do any more

Its a chicken and egg thing: Should you start tweeting first or start following first? If you tweet first, no-one is following you, so its pointless. But the first reaction of many people you follow will be to look at your profile to see who you are and what you share. If there is nothing there they might not find you interesting and not follow. So, write 1 or 2 tweets before you follow people.

  • Its OK to write something that announces your arrival on Twitter, but please don’t write the classic “So, this is Twitter. What is all the fuss about?” – its getting old…
  • Include something useful in your first tweet that sets the scene – this could be a link to your own website or could already be a resource that is on-brand or related to your own area of expertise

 

…then start following people

Twitter offers you a bunch of ideas of who to follow. Personally, I think you should follow in the following order:

  • Start with people who are on-brand with regard to your own interests (personal or professional) – in my case, this would be learning people
  • Add only the famous people that won’t make you look stupid or bad. Sometimes your new visitors will look to see who you follow, in need of inspiration of a final push to follow you. Hopefully they won’t see porn-stars, random Justin Beibers or other odd people.
  • By all means let Twitter use your contacts list to invite people to follow you, but think first if this is just going to be more spam in their inbox or if they are actually going to be interested in your tweets. Filter your list to include only the right people.
  • Follow people who follow you?? There are lots of thought on this topic. Should you follow everyone or not? Personally, I have switched between “follow everyone who follows me” and “only follow people who tweet interesting things” without having ever decided. To meditate on…

 

What should I tweet?

The first answer to this question will always be “Whatever interests your (potential) followers” but to add a little weight to that I advise you to read points 5, 6 and 7 of my “9 must-remember guidelines to succeed with social media marketing”:

Personally, I try to offer as many relevant resources as possible via my Twitter account, mixing in my own ideas (like this blog) with those of others. I like to mention people and I try to make every tweet work as a stand-alone tweet when possible. Every now and again, I slip away from reference sharing to social or personal commentary, but this is quite rare.

 

Technically, HOW do I tweet?

If you like what you just read, the only thing now is to know how to ACTUALLY do it. Here’s a few simple ideas to get started with:

  • If you see something interesting elsewhere on the internet, tweet it – example
  • If you see something interesting on Twitter, retweet it – just click the button ..or “quote tweet” and use the letters RT if you want to add something to it yourself, like I did here
  • Mention people with @ + their Twitter handle
    • …you might “cc” them, just to say “hey, this is interesting” like here
    • ..you could say “I got this (on Twitter) via @name” like here
    • ..or if you included them in your own work, why not state it, like here
    • ..or maybe ask someone a specific question, like here
    • ..and thank people for retweeting/sharing your tweets/work, like here
  • If replying to tweets, remember that your followers won’t see “the full picture” without extra effort – when I look at the Twitter streams of people who regularly have bits of conversation with people on Twitter, I get annoyed to not understand anything and my first impression is never “Here is someone who is useful for me to follow”.
  • Favourite things you want to look at later, or to show you “like” the tweet
  • Use a hashtag # to show that your tweet relates to a specific topic. As a general rule, place this at the end of your tweet, like here… unless you use the hashtagged word as part of your tweet sentence, like here.

 

Have fun!

 

Thanks for reading!

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9 must-remember guidelines to succeed with social media marketing

In training on professional usage of social media with Kluwer Formations today, I’ve been helping 9 people from different organisations get started with social media. Despite their different levels of experience, different skills and different needs, they all have one thing in common: They want to use social media to market a business, organisation or product – they want to find their clients, communicate with them and reinforce brand loyalty.

In a series of several blogs over the coming weeks, I will be giving tips for anyone getting started with social media for marketing: Lots of references based on different type tools, functionalities and issues. Enjoy!

 

MY FIRST POST = 9 BASICS TO KEEP IN MIND WHATEVER YOU DO TO MARKET VIA SOCIAL NETWORKS

 

1 – Know what you are trying to achieve before you get started

Despite all the hype around social media platforms, they are still only tools. Don’t get on the train unless you’ve got a good reason. And define your reason clearly you get started. Your goals will affect the choices you make in terms of tool and activity. Defining your goal is the first step to creating strategic action.

 

2 – Know where your customers are and meet them there

As I said in my article for the December issue of T+D Magazine for ASTD, if you set up shop in the middle of nowhere and expect your customers will accept a long painful walk into the middle of nowhere, you will soon learn it doesn’t work. Don’t choose your platform for what YOU like to use. Choose what THEY like to use:

  • Which tools are your customers already using?
  • Where are most people most active?
  • What seems to suit your activity best?

 

3 – Know that not everyone uses social media platforms in the same way, to the same extent

The engagement pyramid, as explained by @charleneli in “Open Leadership” shows the 5 different types of social media user. The % of people acting in these ways diminishes as the list advances (watchers are the highest percentage, curators the lowest):

  • Watchers – the majority of people active on social networks are not SO active. They just look at stuff, soaking it all in without saying or “doing” much. You won’t know what they are thinking or how they react. But they are still there and they ARE part of your customer base.
  • Sharers – these people actually put stuff out there themselves. When they see something interesting, they share it. From what they share, you can tell what they like, what they are interested in and what they want more of (or not). Very good intel. And of course, wouldn’t it be great if they shared YOUR stuff?
  • Commenters – the next group will comment on or “like” (rate) what they find on any given platform. They actually given an opinion on what other people share. You can see their reactions and use this information to improve your offer and find out who is interested.
  • Producers – these are people that actually create something themselves. In my opinion, this should be one of YOUR main activities if you are using social media to market. You should write blogs, make videos, take pictures etc… What these people produce is what the others share, comment on and watch. No producers, nothing to look at.
  • Curators – like the curators in a museum, the role of this person is to collect, organise and share different things and put them together in one place for the others to come and find. They make sense of what has been produced, in order to make it easily accessible for the others. A key role in community management and other online activities.

 

4 – (Given point 3…) Be ready for disappointment in the beginning

The vast majority of people on a social network platform do not produce, share or comment/rate. This means that much of the time, what you put out there will not create an obvious reaction. Keep in mind 2 things:

  • It takes time to get reactions. If you have 500 followers on Twitter, you might hear from 50 of them, from time to time, if you’re lucky. If you get 5000 hits on your blog a month, you may only get 5 or 10 comments or likes. The same is true for YouTube videos.
  • ..but that doesn’t mean you are not being read. Believe in the numbers. If you have followers and friends, what you are putting out there is getting seen. If you are confident that your 500 friends and followers are well targeted potential customers, keep sharing and keep producing.

 

5 – Tools differ, but the golden networking triangle remains the same

Whatever you do on social networking tools for marketing purposes, you will need to consider 3 main types of activity, otherwise known as “the golden triangle”. Suggested by Jan Vermeiren in his currently free to download and highly practical book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”, these 3 activity types will create a kind of snowball effect where the number of people you reach gets bigger, the number of reactions grows and the community continues to flourish over time:

  • Give things away. Share references. Not always your own content, but also other “on-brand” things you find on the web that might be interesting for your customers.
  • Ask for things. This can be a simple answer (a large piece of market research done via a poll), a request for expertise on a given topic or a fully crowd-sourced project development. Ask people to get involved and some of them will.
  • Thank people. From literally saying “thank you” is a start. Liking, commenting or sharing what you have seen is ever better. So is mentioning people. We are all in this together, so be nice to each other.

 

6 – Stay on brand. Always.

Your brand is the image you want to present of yourself, your product or service. Whatever you do on social media platforms, you have to reinforce that image. Think about it beforehand. What kind of style do you want to have? What do you want people to say about you? What do you represent? What are you the expert of? What are you offering? What can people expect from you?

 

7 – Consider a blended approach to what you put out there: 70/20/10

I know a man who tries to sell his products via Twitter. Every tweet says “Buy this or that product of mine”. It drives me crazy. My preferred approach comes from “The Twitter Book” by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein and I think it’s much better way to position yourself and your products and services without being too pushy:

  • 70% of your posting should be sharing other people’s stuff. If you are a hypnotist trying to sell MP3s to help people quit smoking, 70% of your tweets will be sharing resources you have found about smoking, health, fitness, cancer (whatever…), but not actually pushing your product. Your customers will understand you have an opinion on these things and you stay up-to-date and interested in what they are interested in.
  • 20% of your posting can be your own products and services. You have the right to let people know about what you have to offer and they will be interested and believe you, because of the other 70% of your activity.
  • 10% can be a little light playful personal stuff that shows the world you are not just a marketing machine out to get their money. People buy from people and your followers, friends and potential customers want to know about you too. Let them know from time-to-time what you are up to at the weekend, or how that traffic jam drove you crazy. The human touch is nice… And this 10% doesn’t kill what I just said about branding.

 

8 – Cross pollinate your posting and sharing

This doesn’t go against what was said in point 2. But most of the time your customers will be spread across different platforms, so your activity must be as well. If you have posted a blog-post (like this one) on WordPress, tweet it. If you think it’s OK to post on LinkedIn as well (more on in another post) update your status there as well, or put the link in a group you have created. If you find a relevant blog from someone else and your new post could add some value, add it as a comment. If you just added a video to YouTube and your post could be a nice follow up reference, mention it in the comments.

 

9 – If what you have to say is worth saying, saying it twice, three times, four times, five times…

Take a look at your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter homepage. What do you see? Depending on how many people you follow/friend/connect to and how often they update things, the answer will differ. But over time, the same thing happens: Stuff disappears!

On most social network platforms, there is a “half-life” phenomenon which means that what you post disappears from your audience’s timeline exponentially at a certain rate, depending how many people they follow and how often those people are posting things. Concretely, this means that what you post now will be gone from view later. So what must you do?

  • Firstly, think about what time of day you are most likely to be read. Just after lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a good time. People aren’t desperately steaming ahead at the start of the week and they aren’t doing highly productive work while their lunch goes down. A good time to be read.
  • Secondly, re-post new things several times over a given period. But don’t forget point 7.

 

That’s it for this post. I will be back with specific tips for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to put these ideas into practice… Sign up to follow my blog and you won’t miss a thing ! (Look in the right-hand menu bar)

 

 

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