What’s the deal with Reddit?

Think back to your Myspace days… If you remember, on your home page there was a bulletin board section. Users could post anything they want from articles to questions to, my favorite, surveys and everyone that they were friends with could see the bulletin.

This is essentially what Reddit is. It’s “an entertainment, social networking service, and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links, making it essentially an online bulletin board system,” according to Wikipedia.

Reddit’s demographics are almost two to one between males and females. Males, especially young males age 18 to 29, dominate the site. There are many opinions as to why this is. Many believe it’s because a lot of the content is directed towards men or interests men over women. Others believe it’s because of sexist, hateful, and degrading posts amongst women.

The site has received a lot of backlash on the inappropriate content from males against women. From what we learned in class, the content management team at Reddit is very aware of these posts and depending on the severity of the content, they will take it down, but for the most part they keep it up because of the people who defend and stand-up against the posts. This is what, they believe, makes Reddit the site that it is. The ability to say what you want, defend, and stand-up for what you believe in wouldn’t be available, if it was highly regulated like other social sites. Unfortunately, that sort of freedom can get out of control, but most of the time, it inspires in-depth and intelligent conversation.

In terms of how Reddit fits in with the promotion of your business, it doesn’t work very well if you’re blatantly promoting your brand. Instead, it’s better if you post a bulletin related to your companies product or service, but also pertains to the interests of your audience and the interests and popular topics on Reddit.

Other than interest-related posts, your business can utilize Reddit for customer service, for company news and an event calendar, perform interviews, create community, and set-up your own sub-Reddit for information related to a specific topic.

It may not be the most conventional social media site to use to promote your business, but if your audience is mostly males, especially young males, Reddit could be the perfect fit for your businesses promotional purposes.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reddit

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/reddit/

Google+: Not Worth Your Time

Awhile ago, in class, we dabbled on the Google+ and whether it is a valuable social network or not. You may even be reading this and be thinking to yourself, “Google+?? What the heck is that?” That’s a great question! It took a little bit of research for me to understand exactly what it is. And now, with my greater understanding and with all the other social media sites floating around, Google+ is worthless to your business.

So what is Google+? Google says that the platform is, “a place to connect with friends and family, and explore all of your interests.” Hmm… sounds a lot like other more popular social media platforms or maybe a combo between a few. “Share photos, send messages, and stay in touch with the people and topics.” So what makes this platform any different than Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or other popular sites?

Circles are the forefront of this platform. This is the element that sets them apart from other social media sites – or so Google says. Circles organized people with similar interests into groups. Once the group is completed, users can share content within each circle that is private and unseen by anyone outside of the group. Interesting… Sounds just like a private Facebook group to me!

In my opinion, Google+ is not worth your time. You and your business can find the same or, I’d even argue, better reach through other social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are places to connect with friends and family. Pinterest is the ideal place to explore your interests. These sites focus on a very elements and therefore, are very successful with that element. For example, Pinterest specializes in allowing you to explore and find information pertaining to your interests. This would not be an accomplishable task on Pinterest.

Still though, Google+ has quite the following. As of 2013, they had 0ver 300 million active users. More recently in 2015, Google+ has a reach of 38 percent and 13% of small businesses are using the platform to help reach their audiences and build a following.

The way I see it, if they really focused on making Google+ a platform for businesses, they would be extremely successful. It has a very professional look and it’s a perfect way to connect users as their Gmail account is connected to their account. Until they really narrow down their platform to be business oriented, I don’t believe they will be successful and it’s not worth you or your business’s time.

Statistics source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/google-plus-statistics/

The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Reviews as a Business

Normally, we wouldn’t consider review sites to be social media platforms, but if you really think about it, it’s a perfect way for a business to get feedback from its customers, build their reputation, and show their consideration for their customer and their involvement in the company.

However, review sites are tricky. It’s easy for customers to go on their and write a wonderful review about their amazing experience at your restaurant, but it’s also extremely easy for them to write a terrible review bashing every little aspect about your company because they didn’t get pepperoni on their pizza. And when someone bashes something you’re invested in, it’s easy to respond emotionally or rashly and, in turn, hurt your company.

So what’s right and what’s wrong? Below is a list of dos and don’ts to help your business use review sites to their benefit.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t tell the reviewer they are wrong. When people review a business, they are sharing their opinion of their experience with that organization. The situation will never go in your favor if you tell someone that their opinion is wrong.
  2. Don’t over-react, get angry or argue. We are only human, so when someone pushes our buttons, it’s natural for us to respond defensively. It is unprofessional for a business to react in anger and furthermore, it can kill your reputation.
  3. Respond to every single review. Unless you are a small business, there is no reason to respond to every single review. This could potentially ruin your credibility, as customers may think, you’re just responding to respond instead of actually caring about the review at hand.
  4. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it. Seriously! If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. There are other ways to show your concern for a situation than saying sorry. Explore those options.
  5. Don’t use it as an opportunity to self promote. If someone raves about your restaurant on Yelp, this is not a time to promote your product. The review will do that itself. That person is already going to tell their friends and family – no need to remind them to do so!

Dos:

  1. Stop, drop and roll. As mentioned before, it’s easy to respond rashly to negative comments. Follow these steps when handling an upsetting review:
    • Stop: Take at least 24 hours to respond. Responding in the heat of the moment could cause you to react with inappropriate emotion.
    • Drop: Let go of the harshness of the review. Getting caught up in the negative will only lead you to respond negatively.
    • Roll: Just go with it! Okay, so this person wrote a terrible review about your business… It’s time to accept that and respond in the most appropriate and beneficial way for your business.
  2. Stick to the facts. As said before, people write reviews to share their opinion. No need to counter act their points based on your opinion. Just stick to what you know about your organization and its values and provide the customer with the information they need.
  3. Always thank them for their valuable feedback. There is a lot of misinterpreted value given in negative reviews. Negative doesn’t always have to be bad. Use there criticism as a way to build a stronger brand and make your experience better for them in the future. Thank them for helping you make these changes that you might not have changed otherwise.
  4. Respond to both good and bad. It’s just as important to respond to the good as it is the bad. Recognize those loyal and happy customers and thank them for positively reviewing you. However, keep in mind from before, you don’t want to respond to every single review. Select the few best reviews of the positive and reply to those.
  5. Offer a token gesture or a peace offering. Depending on the situation, a small gift can act as a peace offering to help mend the ties between the customer and your business. It’s recommended that these gestures take place in a private message. Otherwise, people get greedy and soon enough, you’ll be sending coupons to every angry customer.
  6. If necessary settle the dispute through a private message. Don’t hash it out with an unruly reviewer publicly over yelp. Contact them privately and deal with matters in private. Lord knows that we humans misinterpret messages over cyber space. God forbid someone sees your conversation with this unruly reviewer and misinterprets one of your replies. Next thing you know, your conversation is a headline and more and more bad reviews are flying your way.

Overall, go into every situation positively, let people have their opinions, and move onward and upward. Reviews should be a way for you and your organization to get a better understanding about what’s working and what’s not in term of your product and/or service. Take advantage of it – it could bring your business great success.

Pinterest as a Business Platform

I’ve never really looked at Pinterest as anything other than a platform for personal use. I use it to pin materials that I’m interested in. I wouldn’t have upfront thought it to be a way to brand a business.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed a trend of business advertising popping up throughout my home page feed. That sprung my curiosity and interest of how businesses might use Pinterest as a way to reach their audience.

Last week, our Social Media Management class Skyped in some experts in the Pinterest business field, PetPlan. PetPlan is a pet health insurance company. Their goal as a company is to focus on the good health of the animal rather than selling their product.

They saw Pinterest as an opportunity to build a community among their audience. They pegged the bulk of their audience as young twenty-something to thirty-something females who (obviously) love and own animals. Coincidentally, the majority of Pinterest users are within that age range, making it very easy for PetPlan to effectively reach their audience.

Pinterest ended up being a very effective platform for PetPlan. It actually got deemed a business success story by Pinterest itself and is nominated for a Shorty Award based off of their success on Pinterest.

I’m sure a lot of PetPlan’s success was due to their ability to plan and post material that was beneficial to their audience. Judging by our guest speakers from the company, they really did know what they were talking about. However, I think they had a lot of assistance in the very fact that puppies and kittens are highly a highly search subject these days.

For companies that may not have such a highly searchable subject pertaining to their product or service or just aren’t very savvy with Pinterest for professional use, here’s a few pointers:

  1. Know your audience. As said before, the majority of Pinterest users are females in there mid twenties to mid thirties. If you’re company is trying to target that audience, then Pinterest is probably a good platform to use.
  2. Provide useful content. People use Pinterest to find information. They typically want to learn how to do something or find information on a specific topic. Be creative and find a way to build brand awareness through how to’s and informational tidbits related to your company and the product and/or service you provide.
  3. Don’t sell your product. Sounds weird, right? Your first instinct as a business would be to sell your product. However, it’s been shown that businesses, like PetPlan, that show that they know what they’re doing and provide useful information, have more success and drive more business than those who just advertise and try to sell their product and/or service.

These are just a few of the ways your business can use Pinterest to drive success and build brand awareness. Depending on your product and/or service, your goals as a business, and the community you want to reach, Pinterest could be the perfect tool for you and your business.

A Social Media Controversy: Facebook Screening

If you’re looking for a job these days, odds are your employer is going to look over your resume, cover letter, and oh yeah… your Facebook! Yep, that’s right. A series of surveys have reported recently that 91% of potential employers use Facebook to screen their applicants and two thirds have declined their applicants jobs based off what they found on their profiles.

Facebook screening has been widely controversial. Many people believe that their personal life should be kept separate from their professional lives.  However, employers use it as a way to get to know the applicant on a more personal level. It helps them to understand the person’s character better and then from there, they can determine whether or not they would be a good fit for their company.

In my opinion, your potential employer has every single right to look at your personal Facebook. It’s a great way to find out more about a person than just what jobs they’ve worked and what business related skills they can complete. Facebook was created as and still is the best networking tool out there. So while you may be just connected with your friends and family, it’s completely normal for people in your work circle to want to connect with you through Facebook. You should take that as a compliment.

And if we are being honest here, you shouldn’t be posting anything unprofessional on Facebook anyway! I don’t mean you have to be super formal on Facebook. No, I mean keep it clean, keep it classy. That means don’t post those selfies from last Saturday night after a long night of drinking and do not be cussing up a storm or starting fights with everyone.

That being said, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Like I said before, you’re employer wants to get a better idea of the kind of person you are and Facebook is a great place to individualize yourself and show the world who you truly are. Invest in what you love and let it show through your profile. If your passions show, you’re probably more likely to get picked for the job.

Sources:

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~koneill11/socialmedia/controversies.html

 

Crisis managment 1-0-1 as told by communications expert, Carissa McCabe

On Tuesday, our class rang in a skype call with Ground Floor Media’s Vice President and one of their best crisis management experts, Carissa McCabe. Her experience in the field and through some difficult situations with client’s has led her to confidence in crisis management. Ground Floor has laid out 3 steps of crisis management to ensure that confidence through every incident that presents itself. Here are those steps that could help your business prepare, avoid, handle, and recover in the event of a crisis.

Stage 1: Before the Crisis

This stage is all about preparing for the worst. It’s always best to know as much about a situation and know every direction it could go wrong before it happens. This stage involves a lot of research. This means checking every bit of social media and seeing how the organization is being talked about amongst community members. Follow the conversation so closely, know what’s going on in the industry, and then make a plan for action regarding each possible scenario. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the better chance you have to handle and recover in a crisis situation.

Stage 2: During the Crisis

So now the crisis has happened. McCabe jokes that it’s usually a Friday afternoon when you’re about ready to go home and relax for the weekend (of course…). Now, it’s time to take action and address the issue to your audience. The most important part of this stage is communication, communication, communication. The best thing you can do in the event of a crisis is keep your audience updated and let them know that you are doing everything you can to make things right.

Another important part of this step, is to continually monitor the conversation on social media and in the mainstream media. Doing this will help you know what’s wrong, what your audience needs, and how to tailor your messages to solve the problem.

Stage 3: After the Crisis

Phew!! You made it through the crisis. It was tough, but you did it. Things are starting to settle so what do you do now?

It’s crucial that after a crisis, you don’t just let the event slip under the wrong. No, this is the chance to prove that your organization knows what it’s doing. Start a new conversation. Shed a new and positive light on a previously terrible situation. Learn from your mistakes and prepare for the new ones. And above all, keep the conversation open to your audience. Understand what they want to see from the organization in the future and use that to build an even stronger and more successful brand.

Top 3 social media trends

It may not seem very obvious as social media has become such a routine part of our day-to-day lives, but it has changed and is still changing… A LOT. Content on social media platforms have been added, taken away, altered, and re-imagined. Although many trends have developed, this is my list of the top 3 trends happening on  social media right now.

1. Advertisements aren’t as noticeable.

They just appear as apart of the rest content. When scrolling through Facebook, it’s hard to tell if the video on my feed was posted by one of my friends or by a random company advertising through Facebook. They aren’t noticeable because the advertisements are personalized for every specific user. Facebook has learned how to individualized the content for each user based on their search history.

A couple months ago, I bought plane tickets to Orlando, Florida. I bounced around from all sorts of different travel sites looking for the best deals. I STILL see advertisements in the side bars on Facebook trying to sell me “the best deal” on flights to Orlando.

2. Blogging has become an ingenious marketing tactic.

According to Social Media Examiner, 68% of marketers plan to increase there blogging presence. It’s become one of the hottest ways  to draw in clientele and create a more personal relationship with them. If the only relationship an organization has with there consumer is one of buying and selling, than they’re going to have a hard time succeeding. Blogs give organizations a chance to “strut there stuff,” show competence in their field, and allow for a deeper conversation with the consumer.

3.  Visuals, visuals, visuals!

Pictures, graphics, and other visual elements have become the majority of social media. Pictures aren’t just icons anymore, they take up the whole screen. You no longer have to click on the video, wait for it to load in a separate browser, and click play. The video is already expanded and plays automatically for the user. And text has become minimal.
As humans, we like things that are aesthetically pleasing. Social media and various other media sites and organizations have learned that users would prefer a story to be told through visuals on their platforms. Therefore, they have highlighted, enlarged, and increased the number of visually-related content on their platforms.