Tips for optimizing your Instagram account and content!

Here are a few of the top things you should consider when optimizing your Instagram account and content.

Business/Creator Account

Instagram offers 3 types of accounts

  • Personal Account
  • Business Account
  • Creator Account

Consider creating or switching to a Business or Creator Account.

The main advantage of using a Business or Creator Account over a Personal Account are the Analytics (Insights) they offer, among other features.

Analytics are essential for the optimization of your Instagram Marketing attempts.

Instagram offers you a lot of data about your:

  • Content
  • Activity (Reach, Impressions, Interactions)
  • Audience (Growth – Follows/Unfollows, Top Location, Age Range, Gender, Followers – when they are online).

This is valuable information that you should take advantage of to maximize your engagement and growth!

Profile Pic

Instagram Profile Picture

Do you have a clear profile pic that identifies you or your brand?

You need to create an image that will be vibrant, convey who you are, set a tone for what your purpose is, and will grab the attention of the audience.

Tip: Make it a “close-up shot” pic and use your brand colors so that it is easily distinguishable.

Instagram Bio and Name

This is a gem.

Your Instagram Bio text is your home base.

Your Instagram Bio text is where you have the opportunity to tell your audience who you are, what you do, what you post about, what your purpose is, how you can help them, and propose a Call to Action.

However, you only have a limited amount of characters you can use for your Bio text (150 characters) so make it clear, concise, informative, optimized and keyword rich in order to enhance it for search results and help people to quickly understand and determine if they wish to follow you.

You can also add hashtags to your Bio text in order for users to be able to click on them and view the posts in those hashtags – making it also a great way to direct them to your branded hashtag if you have one!

Tip: You can add emojis to maximize on character use plus special fonts to make your Bio text more captivating.

You can also add a clickable link on your Bio text and use it as part of a Call to Action (Download, Subscribe, Learn More, etc.) so that people can have easy access to your website and content, products, courses, offers, etc. This is a great way to drive organic traffic to your site!

Tip: Use a dedicated landing page on your website for your Instagram visitors so that you can easily track your Instagram referred traffic!

You can also add a Call to Action button. As a Business you should also take advantage of that feature in the Contact Section where you can set your email and/or business phone number so that people are able to email or call you directly from your profile.

Available options currently are: Call, Text, Directions, Email, Book, Get Tickets, Reserve More Info on Instagram Call-to-Action Buttons

Many have yet to take advantage of the Name section for SEO purposes.

Instagram Name
Instagram Name

Your Instagram name (not your handle, but the name displayed in the section above your Bio text) is also where you can optimize your account for better reach.

Don’t simply write your name or some sort of random description, instead take advantage of the Instagram name section for SEO purposes by using a targeted keyword that will allow you to be searchable (search engines display your Instagram name) as well as shown to people searching for that keyword/hashtag on Instagram.

Content

This is an obvious but very important one – it is where the game is played!

To create good content there is one key rule you need to remember:

Quality is everything!

  • Quality in your Visuals – Images/Videos (are your visuals high quality resolution? are your visuals captivating? are your visuals aesthetically appealing? are your visuals informative? are your visuals in sync with your brand message?, etc.)
  • Quality in your Caption – Text (is your caption engaging? is it thought provoking? is it inspiring? does it appeal to the emotions of the reader? is it filled with value for your audience? does it convey effectively your message? etc.)

Like I have expressed in one of my posts:

When you engage with your followers to find out what content they want, when you select that picture.⁣ when you write that caption. when you create that story.⁣.. don’t start with your needs in mind and aiming to create the “best piece of content” that HAS to go viral to be considered successful. Rather, start by asking yourself WHO is the recipient and HOW do I want this content to impact him/her?⁣⁣

⁣⁣At the end of the day, value comes from the impact you make.

Your content should be Creative, Consistent and Genuine.

There are 4 different types of Instagram content you can post:

  • Feed (Image/Video Content you upload to your profile grid and is then displayed on your followers feed)
  • Stories (Image/Video Content that disappears after 24 hours)
    The Stories feature offers the following modes: Live, Create (Text, GIFs, Quote of the Day, On this Day, Poll, Templates Question, Quiz, Countdown), Normal (Customize your Story), Boomerang (Loop Video Clip), Layout, Superzoom, Hands-Free)
  • Live Video (Live streams where your followers can interact with you in real-time)
  • IGTV (Long Form Videos)
    They are at least 1 min long and up to 15 mins (via mobile) and up to 60 mins (via desktop) and they don’t disappear after 24 hours.

No matter the type of content you share with your audience on Instagram – whether on your Feed, Stories, Live Video or IGTV – remember to make it:

  • Relatable
  • Inspirational (Motivating and Positive Content)
  • Educational (Informative Content)
  • Entertaining (Fun Content)
  • Interactive (Responsive Content)

Hashtags

Are you using hashtags on your post captions to expand your reach?

Generally, you can add up to 30 hashtags on a Post (caption or comment section) and up to 10 hashtags on a Story (sticker, text).

Make them specific, targeted and related to your content.

Research your key hashtags and their alternatives.

Instagram - Hashtags
Instagram – Hashtags
Image reflects actions when creating a Post

Tip: Make sure that you check out the posts under those hashtags, see how relevant they are and comment genuinely and connect with people posting under those hashtags. That is a sure way to make yourself noticeable and increase your engagement and community!

I wouldn’t suggest that you use the generalized hashtags such as #followforfollow, etc. as these might result in some follows but they won’t be by a targeted audience wanting to genuinely engage. Don’t aim for for non-organic ways to increase your following as they have an expiry date.

Avoid banned hashtags – yes there are hashtags that have been banned by Instagram as they have been frequently reported by users and have been deemed as not following the Community Guidelines.

To find banned hashtags:

  • Go to Instagram’s search bar
  • Type and select the hashtag you want to search for
  • go to Recent
  • If the hashtag is banned, you will see a message that states:
banned hashtags
banned hashtags

There are also sites that have already done the “heavy lifting” and have an updated list of banned hashtags you can refer to.

Notice that there as some innocent ones such as #kansas or #streetphoto that have been banned, so to be on the safe side a quick search before choosing hashtags is a good course of action.

Bonus tip:

Carefully approach your hashtag strategy.

If creating a Post for example, mix up your hashtags as follows:

5+ of the top-range hashtags (Millions)

5+ of the high-range hashtags (Hundreds of thousands)

10+ of the mid-range hashtags. (Tens of thousands)

Distribute accordingly.

Remember to use your branded hashtag if you have one.

There is some debate as to whether you should use up all 30 hashtags in a post (as allowed by Instagram).

In my opinion, if Instagram allows it, it is OK. However, I suggest you test with different scenarios and see what works best for you.

Using hashtags that are not that targeted simply to complete the 30 hashtag limit will not render the desired results.

Remember:

Don’t try to game the system by using 30 hashtags within your caption and another 30 on the comment section, for example. This is spamming and Instagram will notice and act accordingly.

Don’t use the same hashtag set repeatedly on posts as this is also considered spammy behavior by Instagram.

Mix it up and keep it fresh!

Tagging

You can Tag accounts and Locations.

Tagging accounts or a Location in your Posts and Stories is a good strategy to get your content noticed.

When creating a Post, you can tag an account (person or brand) by selecting the Tag People option or a Geo-location via the Add Location option when creating a post.

Instagram tagging
Instagram tagging
Image reflects actions when creating a Post

Tip: If Tagging accounts, please do so mindfully. When tagging people or a brand in your posts or stories, make sure that it has some relevance to your post’s topic, not just a random tag. For example, tag a brand if your post shows an image with the brand’s product which you refer to in your caption.

If random and frequent, this action might not be welcomed by the recipient and could cause the exact opposite effect.

Location tagging will allow you to reach people within the area you are in / posting about / targeting.

Add Alt Text to your Post

An important yet underutilized feature!

Instagram allows you to add Alt Text (Alternative Text) to your Posts.

The Alt Text feature facilitates screen-reading tools to describe images to the blind and visually impaired.

Instagram offers 2 options: Automatic Alt Text and Custom Alt Text.

As this blog post by Instagram explains:

Automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader when you use Feed, Explore and Profile. This feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos may contain as you browse the app.

Next, we’re introducing custom alternative text so you can add a richer description of your photos when you upload a photo. People using screen readers will be able to hear this description.

https://instagram-press.com/blog/2018/11/28/creating-a-more-accessible-instagram/

Adding Alt Text also plays an important role with SEO.

It facilitates Instagram’s algorithm to understand the context of your image (In other words, what your image is about) and show it to targeted people interested in that type of content . That is why you should be specific with your Alt Text and use targeted keywords (1 or 2 keywords, don’t overuse!) that will help your post rank in relevant search queries.

To add Custom Alt Text:

  • Select your Image.
  • Add a Filter and Edit Your Image.
  • Select Advanced Settings.
  • Select Write Alt Text.
  • Add your Alt Text and click on Done (iOS) or Save (Android).
Instagram Alt Text
Instagram Custom Alt Text
Instagram Custom Alt Text
Instagram Alt Text
Instagram Custom Alt Text

More info on Instagram Alt Text feature

Add a Call to Action in your Content

Adding a strong Call to Action (a button, link or verbal direction on a video – that prompts a specific action) is an essential part of your marketing campaign success.

An example of a Call to Action is a button prompting readers to Subscribe to your blog 😉

It should clearly and effectively prompt your audience towards the “next step” they should take.

Now, going back to Instagram – in addition to the profile Call to Action buttons, you can add Call-to-Actions in your content.

This can be Verbal (video), Text (within caption), or Link (example: Swipe Up link)

Whichever the Call to Action you use (Contact, Learn More, Download, Subscribe, View, Swipe up, Like, Comment, Share, Save, etc.), you need to direct your audience to take that next step.

If you create a piece of content that is without a Call to Action, you can’t really expect your audience to respond accordingly and risk losing them along the way… that has to be cultivated and guided by you.

For example, if you are a business the use of a Call to Action (for example, a Learn More or Swipe-Up link in a story) when creating your content is an opportunity for you to direct possible leads to your website (cultivating organic traffic) and converting them to customers – in other words, directing them through the funnel.

Don’t forget to maximize your Instagram marketing results by tracking the effectiveness of each Call to Action!

Tip: Remember you don’t own your Instagram account, it is Instagram’s real estate – so it is good practice to use Call-to-Actions to guide that traffic towards your website, where you can focus on converting and retaining!


Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!

With appreciation,

 Natasha

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Psychology of Social Media – Alignment

What role does Social Media play in Business Alignment and Brand Loyalty?

Social Media has been at the center of my career for many years now.

I have seen how people have been shaped by it.

I have seen how businesses and their marketing strategies have been shaped by it.

We can see how it has changed and grown into a channel that connects.

Connects people with other people.
Connects people with brands.
Connects people with industries.
Connects people with the realities of the world.

We have seen it grow from a novelty to a part of our lives.

What has made this journey so interesting to me is watching the different human aspects of it all.

One that has been talked a lot about, especially in recent time is the aspect of authenticity.

Being real. Being yourself.

I will be very blunt and say that I hope this doesn’t turn out to be just another “hype” and “trend” that is good and popular to talk about now and then disappears, like we have seen with many other topics.

I really don’t believe it will disappear. I believe that it is one that we will invest in and nurture.

I say that as I see that more and more people are indeed recognizing the importance of and yearning for genuine, meaningful human interactions in a digital world and a platform such as social media, that because of its “facelessness” is an easy gate for people to ‘hide’ behind.

Many people use it to portray a version of themselves instead of who they really are and what they actually stand for, creating this chasm.

A “false identity” if you will.

That is the reality. We have all experienced it from different people and in different ways.

Being yourself.

Sounds like a fairly simple and easy concept, doesn’t it?

We’ve heard it many times.

I have written about it many times.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that what is going on in social media is partly because many people are driven by expectations, by what others regard as noticeable and important determined by the followers, likes, shares, comments, etc. received. We as humans are social beings that look for that recognition and attention.

But, the truth behind it is that those seaming expectations are not built on a view of reality.

Moreover, there is also the other side of the coin, where actual authenticity resides.

People that cultivate relationships based on a true sense of self, a more genuine and relatable nature that instills trust – where all aspects come into play and are in harmony with their purpose.

This brings me to the point of Alignment.

This word has been on my mind for a while now.

Alignment is when what you think, say, feel and do are in synch and consistent with your beliefs and your purpose.

But what does alignment offer us?

Well, as John C. Maxwell points out:

“When values, thoughts, feelings, and actions are in alignment, a person becomes focused and character is strengthened.” John C. Maxwell

John C. Maxwell

If we really want to make a difference, if we really want to make an impact – we should first start with ourselves. Define who we are. Define our beliefs, principles and standards. Define our own persona.

“Alignment begins with a constituency of one. These are the individuals whose substance is real, pure and nonnegotiable. They share their vulnerabilities and fears in complement to their strengths. They are comfortable weaving all parts of their lives together in an integrated way. Our level of effectiveness, contribution and integrity of work and life are in direct correlation with our level of integration, self-actualization and total alignment of body, mind and spirit.”

Kristin S. Kaufman

Let your own “values, thoughts, feelings and actions” be your own message.

This translates in your Social Media presence when you let your persona, your profile, your message, the content you create, share and re-post, your words (comments) and your voice advocate for those factors in a consistent manner – without pushing them onto others.

That is real.
That is genuine.
That is you.

This applies to Social Media and Businesses as well.

How?

Generally speaking, businesses (all aspects and departments) need to be aligned with their business goals, vision and purpose to reach their maximum potential and desired outcome.

This includes alignment between those business goals and the company’s Social Media strategy.

“If you believe in something greater than your product and you align the behaviors and actions that reinforce that, that is worth talking about.”… “When an organization, and all the people within the organization think, do, and say the same thing, now you’ve got complete organizational alignment. And this is a marketing plan we can talk about.”

Ron Tite (Source: Bethany Johnson, “Build a Great Brand: Align What You Think, Do, and Say” CMI)
  • Align your Brand with the right Objective.
  • Align your Brand with the right Message.
  • Align your Brand with the right Target (Personas).
  • Align your Brand with the right Strategy.
  • Align your Brand with the right Content.
  • Align your Brand with the right Platforms.
  • Align your Brand with the right Influencers

All of the above have to be followed of course by a Tracking system to understand, adjust and optimize your efforts.

Social Media is basically divided in 2 sections:

Social Media Greece - Business Goals
  1. The Social side of Social Media which leads to building strong, committed Relationships with your audience/consumers. This includes engaging with your consumers, offering them value and top-level customer support.
  2. The Media side of Social Media which focuses on Sales (ROI). This includes organic and paid promotion / advertisement.
Social Media Greece - Business Alignment
BUILD AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION WITH YOUR CONSUMERS

When you as a Brand have effectively aligned the aspects above and all its areas, you can effectively convey your vision and appeal to your audience making your brand relatable and build a bond and an emotional connection with them.

This will lead to consumers following and trusting your Brand and your products or services and ultimately directing their buying decision.

The higher the level of ‘love’ for a Brand, the stronger the consumer is set on buying from that specific Brand and the less likely to change to another one.

This alignment effectively shows what a Brand is about.

This alignment effectively shows what a Brand stands for.

This alignment closes the gap of disconnect between Brands and their Audience/Consumers.

This alignment creates the basis leading to Brand Loyalty and Brand Intimacy.

When businesses and their people are “on the same page” – with shared and aligned goals, a consistent and intact vision and core value system – and they effectively translate this to their audience and consumers via their social media strategy, they will achieve better performance and profitable results.

In conclusion, it is important that you align your Social Media approach with your Business goals as it will guide and make your social media strategy more effective and ultimately result in optimized results and growth.

… and isn’t that the ultimate goal… growth?

“Alignment is a condition in which the key elements of an organization – its people, strategy, customers, and processes – work in concert to serve its primary purpose, thereby increasing value for stakeholders”

George Labovit

Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!

With appreciation,

 Natasha

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Psychology of Social Media – Brand Intimacy

Psychology of Social Media – Brand Intimacy

This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.

Actually, it is at the heart of my work.

The Psychology of Social Media.

When you read those words, you immediately think of “How people behave online“, “What makes people click on the Like or Share button?”, “What makes people Follow others?”, “What makes people Engage with content?”, “How are people affected through their everyday online engagement?”, etc.

Of course, the Psychology of Social Media is more than that and it is multi-dimensional.

It is a very interesting to see how people consume content and how brands prepare and present that content (type, time, frequency, colors, design, etc.).
Moreover, it is interesting to see how they turn consumers into customers by appealing to what affects their buying decisions – emotions. Brand Intimacy.

It is all based on Psychology.

Social Media engagement through the aforementioned reward-activating actions such as Like, Share, Follow, etc. releases dopamine – you know, the happy chemical in your brain directly connected to feelings of pleasure and reward – causing a sense of recognition, acknowledgement, connection, delight, gratification, etc. in people.

As explained in an Infographic by Digital Marketing Information World “we like on Social Media because we want to maintain relationships. We also create a reciprocity effect. We feel obliged to give back to people who have given to us, even in a small way”.

Why We Like, Comment, and Share On Social Media - Infographic
Infographic courtesy of: Digitalinformationworld.com.

We feel connected.
We feel a closeness.
We feel what is known as digital ambient intimacy.

What is digital ambient intimacy?

Digital Intimacy means being present, mindful and aware of your audience… having a sense of “ambient (or social) awareness”as social scientists name it, were there is a connection with and cognizance of the state of the other person through constant contact…in this case, via social media.

In their 2016 study “Ambient intimacy on Twitter”, Lin, R., Levordashka, A., & Utz, S. explain that:

Science writer Thompson (2008) used the term “ambient intimacy” to describe the phenomenon in which people feel a sense of closeness with strangers that they follow for a while on Twitter. From our perspective, ambient intimacy is not restricted to illusionary relationships, with a stranger or a celebrity; it might also play an important role in keeping existing relationships such as with former classmates or colleagues, from fading. Therefore, similar to the definition of ambient awareness, we conceptualize ambient intimacy as a feeling of closeness that is developed in a peripheral way (through constant and regular reception and/or interaction through social media).”

https://cyberpsychology.eu/article/view/6186/5916

In his 2017 PSMag article “How Ambient Intimacy Became So Overwhelming” Kyle Chayka points out the congruent sides of this term:

“Ambient Intimacy”… “The two sides of the coinage are paradoxical: they balance out or push against each other insistently. “Intimacy” is close-up, emotional, connected symbolically to all of the aspects of ourselves we keep private. “Ambient” is ephemeral and diffuse, a word used to describe things that are hazy (see: ambient music).”

https://psmag.com/environment/how-ambient-intimacy-became-so-overwhelming-leisa-reichelt-social-media-97391

Today, digital intimacy has seen a growth in the level to which it happens as the information exchange in the digital world via social media has increased exponentially. Consequently that feeling of closeness has also been amplified.

But this is not only a person to person affect.

People experience this form of emotional connection with brands as well and base themselves on this bond (and feelings of trust and loyalty) to make buying decisions. As stated by Gerald Zaltman 95% of buying decisions are based on emotion (Harvard Business School)… which brings about the topic of Brand Intimacy.

What is Brand Intimacy?

Mario Natarelli author of “Brand Intimacy: A New Paradigm in Marketing” (with co-author Rina Plapler) defines Brand Intimacy as:

“…the science of how we bond with the brands we use and love. These bonds are reciprocal and are fueled by emotion. Brands that build stronger bonds create stronger business return and longevity.” (Forbes Interview by Kate Harrison)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2018/02/08/how-to-create-brand-intimacy/#36061859582c

Brand Intimacy analyzes the level of emotional connection between a brand and their consumers, which ultimately directs a consumer’s buying decision. The higher the level of ‘love’ for the brand, the stronger the consumer is set on buying from that specific brand and the less likely to change to another one.

Some of the key factors in the Brand Intimacy Model as stated in Natarelli’s (2018) article “The Principles Of Brand Intimacy” are:

Being a user: To be intimate with a brand, you need to have repeatedly tried it or be engaged with it. Think of this in terms of human relationships; you cannot be intimate with someone you don’t know.

Strong emotional connection: Emotional connection is at the heart of Brand Intimacy and aligns with all we’ve learned about decision making from neuroscience and behavioral science. To start an intimate brand relationship, a consumer must exhibit a strong emotional connection with a brand. Not everyone who has an emotional connection with a brand is necessarily intimate with it; however, everyone who is intimate with a brand has a strong emotional connection.

Archetypes: Six patterns or markers are consistently present, in part or in whole, among intimate relationships. They identify the nature and character of these relationships. A factor analysis from our quantitative research validated and refined the archetypes, which were discovered through our earlier qualitative work. We observed how people explained and defined their close brand relationships, and over and over the same types of words and experiences were used to explain the bond a person felt with a brand. The more we reviewed these, the more we realized these markers were among the most effective tools to leverage in building brand intimacy. The six archetypes are: fulfillment, identity, enhancement, ritual, nostalgia and indulgence.

Stages: These measure the depth and degree of intensity of intimate relationships. Each of our three stages (sharing, bonding and fusing) comprises a number of emotional and rational milestones that are achieved when brand relationships become more intimate. People might vacillate between two stages before moving forward; some stages, due to a variety of potential factors, might move faster or slower than others. These stages of brand intimacy are grounded in psychology and have been further corroborated by our quantitative research with consumers.

Brand Intimacy Quotient: This is a score out of 100 assigned to any brand that is part of our Brand Intimacy research. The score is a shorthand way to compare brands within and across categories, as well as to identify a brand’s performance in terms of generating brand intimacy. (For example, in our most recent study, Apple was the highest ranked intimate brand, with a score of 77.) The score is based on prevalence (the percent of intimate users a brand has), as well as degree of intensity of the stages.

Intimate Brands

Any brand of any size can apply the principles of brand intimacy to succeed. Essentially this involves building deeper and stronger bonds with stakeholders by leveraging emotion and reciprocity. This requires examining the bonds a brand currently has with its priority audiences and assessing their strength. It also requires a brand to be grounded in a strategy that enables it to forge powerful emotional connections and has design and communications that resonate with the right audiences and invite engagement. Managing a brand effectively and optimizing the marketing mix is key to ensure its channels and campaigns are aligned and relevant.

https://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2018/04/the-principles-of-brand-intimacy.html#.XRRaS2hRXIU

The MBLM Brand Intimacy Report (2019) shows how companies ranked in Brand Intimacy (U.S.A).

The top 10 out of almost 400 presented in the report are:

1. Disney
2. Apple
3. Amazon
4. Chevrolet
5. Netflix
6. Harley-Davidson
7. PlayStation
8. Youtibe
9. Ford
10. Chick-fil-A

https://blog.hubspot.com/news-trends/brand-intimacy-report-tech-companies

Download the report here
Check out the Ranking tools here

As stated in HubSpot’s analysis of the Brand Intimacy report (2018) the advantages presented in Revenue and Profit based on Brand Intimacy are:

• Provides greater price resilience (as consumers move from non-intimate to highly intimate (fusing), so does their willingness to pay a premium for the brand. They are willing to pay 20% more for brand)
• Centers on emotion, which drives behavior and willingness to purchase
• Encompasses latest advances in neuroscience and the science of decision-making
• Measures and details our emotional connections with the brands we use and love
• Customer-centric and based on reciprocity
• Leverages technology to establish an ecosystem for building bonds

see more here

However, where does a brand start to understand all this?

Natarelli suggests 10 steps to assessing Brand Intimacy in a 2018 Marketing Journal interview by Christian Sarkar:

• Examine the bonds your brand builds

• Articulate and motivate through your brand essence

• Align your brand and your cultural values

• Design and communicate for today’s aesthetic sensibilities

• Manage your brand and foster your marketing community like an operating system

• Drive your brand to inform and please customers in every interaction

• Use the proliferation of devices and platforms as an ally

• See your brand as a community and yourself as the activities coordinator

• Don’t let the deluge of data drown out the signal from the noise

• Create and sustain ultimate brand relationships

http://www.marketingjournal.org/brand-intimacy-an-interview-with-mario-natarelli/

As established, brand intimacy is essential to the appeal that brands have on consumers, their preference for their products or services and consequently their purchase. Many factors play a role in establishing this bond. No matter how big or small the brand is, companies are becoming more and more aware of the need to focus on being more consumer oriented and creating and nurturing these connections, aiming for a maximized return.

In conclusion, and as said by Meghan Keaney Anderson (HubSpot VP of Marketing):

“We feel close with the companies and technologies that have become engrained in the way we live our lives.”

https://blog.hubspot.com/news-trends/brand-intimacy-report-tech-companies

Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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Interview Series: Gene Petrov

Interview Series: Gene Petrov

We are back with another NPLUSG Interview series post.

One of the reasons I truly like Social Media is because it allows you to connect with people from different industries, backgrounds and cultures, and learn from their journey as well as get to see things from a new and unique perspective.

It was such a pleasure to be able to interview Gene Petrov (Petrov LMC) – Leadership and Soft Skills Coach to Marketers.

We connected with Gene a while back via Twitter where we take part in different TwitterChats (a great way to connect, share with and learn from other entrepreneurs).

What struck me the most was how welcoming, supportive and down-to-earth he is, his positive approach and his insights!

We have established and nurtured a friendship online since then and I have been lucky to learn about his journey.

This came full circle recently when I was lucky enough to have been able to meet Gene in person in San Diego at the Social Media Marketing World Conference.

The power of Social Media!

So, today I want Gene to share his story with you!

In this Q&A, Gene shares about his professional journey, the Servant Leadership philosophy, his beliefs and also opens up about aspects of his life that have played an integral role in his personal and professional development.

So let’s start!

Can you please give the readers a quick run-through of your experience and how you came to be an advocate, professional, and expert in Leadership and Marketing?

Now, I’ll put a caveat here.

It’s nice when somebody calls you an expert, or somebody says the word guru. G-U-R-U is thrown around too much, but in all humility I would just say that I don’t like to apply that title to myself, but I have had quite the journey as far as all things Leadership.

Having said that…

When I came out of the military I was fortunate […] to go back to school for a Management degree. I got a BS in Management and then went ahead and also got an MS in Management (I was blessed to be able to use that post 9/11 GI bill which covered all those expenses).

From the Marketing side of things, [the journey] has not been quite as long. It has really only been over the last couple of years as I’ve been engaged in this business and in building a brand. The concept of Personal Branding was something completely foreign to me up until a couple of years ago, but I feel like it’s definitely something that’s integral to what I do.

From the Leadership aspect, I think I do have a good handle on things [although] there is always more to learn. That’s why I [believe] you have to approach that with humility. [Continuous] learning [is something] I think happens in the trenches, working with people. I have, at this point in my life, over 20 years of Leadership in some capacity or another, whether it was through education or experience.

Even nowadays a lot of the leadership principles that I feel like I’m learning have a lot to do with psychology, parenting, and dealing with this idea of healing. Especially with my kids (my wife and I adopted triplets out of the foster care system and having to deal with a lot of their emotional, behavioral and psychological issues) we’ve had to do a lot of education in that realm.

I would say Leadership has been in my blood and in my journey for a long time.

I think that it is an incredibly important skill that can be developed […] It just takes time. It takes practice. It takes diligent, hard work.

I advocate on behalf of the idea of Leadership because I think it’s that important.

I think it’s not going away far into the future… even in this world where we see things becoming more technologically advanced (AI, Virtual Reality, etc.)

I think Leadership is still going to be one of those skills that is going to be in demand, even though it’s kind of one of those softer skills, people skills. […] I think even in an age where there’s going to be robots doing a lot of [the work] for us there’s still going to be a need for Leadership and people leading other people.

I’m an advocate for it and I’ve loved being able to be engaged in that.

Can you tell the readers a little more about Petrov LMC?

Petrov LMC is the name of my company and LMC stands for Leadership and Marketing Consulting.

[…] I wanted that little acronym to be something that helped people to identify what the business was all about.

At first it was for Leadership and Management consulting (as mentioned previously, I hold an undergraduate and graduate degree in Management).

However, I think [it is] more than just Management [as] I kind of delineate the two.

The Management side of things is basically operational efficiency and making things run smoothly at all levels. I can help people iron out inefficiencies, analyze a big data set to help figure out where money is being lost, etc. That’s something that’s a good skill to have.

I think the Leadership side of things […] is more about the people skills. It’s about inspiring people. It’s about working with people. It’s about connecting other people to each other. It’s just such a neat experience.

Leadership is all about people.

Gene Petrov

I went away from the Management side of things.

I worked for one of the two largest paint suppliers in America basically for just shy of three years. During that time I managed eight pai nt stores and each one had their own manager. They had their own employees under the manager as well.

I [have experience analyzing] numbers, balance sheets, profit and loss statements. These are all good business skills to have. If that’s something that interests people, I can always help them with that. However, as I entered into this business for myself, I thought that the more important side of things, the part that I could help people with even more, is Leadership because of the people side of things and not just looking at the money side of things, how the operations are working.

What factor(s) played a role in your connection with Leadership, Marketing and Social Media?

When I started this business almost two years ago I didn’t really have a ton of experience in Marketing and Social Media.

I don’t think I ever took a single class in college for Marketing!

I tell people all the time that Marketing had a bit of a sour taste in my mouth because I identified Marketing with people who are pushy salesmen, who only care about meeting their sales quotas.

They don’t care about actually serving their customer’s needs. They’ll push people into an option or a solution that doesn’t quite fit. That definitely happens. That’s for sure in the world. It’s an imperfect world, and it’s an imperfect Marketing world.

What I see more as being the correct way… the proper way… the more beneficial way… the more productive way… the way to actually build a real business is to have that Marketing component be about making genuine connections with people. To be incredibly helpful, really wanting and having this incredible desire to help people out and to find them exactly what they need even if, and this is the part that is hard for a lot of people… even if […] I’m not the proper person.

Can I connect you to the right person to deliver the right solution for you?

That’s hard for some people. They want to hold on so tightly to this one potential customer even if they end up servicing them poorly, and that customer leaves. They’re just looking at that small win instead of saying “Hey, I’m sorry. I don’t have quite the right thing for you, but I know this great person who has exactly what you’re looking for” and then you refer them out to that person.

With this kind of action [serving others], first of all you’re helping a friend out by sending business their way which is always great, but [you are also paving the way for] that potential customer to come back at some point in the future or even refer you to another friend of theirs that might need your services.

I firmly believe that helping other people, and doing it the right way, eventually comes back around to you (call it karma, law of attraction, golden circle, virtuous circle, the golden rule, etc.).

That’s my philosophy on Marketing.

As far as the Social Media side of things… when I started my business I knew for a fact that Social Media was going to be an integral part of how I did business, how I grew the brand, and how I grew awareness. I didn’t quite know exactly all of what that entailed.

I just kind of threw myself in there and just tried to understand how I could make Social Media something of benefit for my company and for my brand.

Even though I didn’t understand all the ins and outs, I was willing to learn about it. I was willing to say, “I don’t have a clue. I gotta find some resources.” so I read many articles, watch videos and these days I do a lot of Twitter chats.

It is very educational and helps me to “sharpen the saw”.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t know exactly what Social Media and Social Media Marketing would entail.

I only knew I had seen some people over the past several years who had used Social Media as a way to create their online business and that online lifestyle.

I wasn’t going to try to duplicate exactly what they did as I believe there can only be one, for instance, John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneur on Fire.

Side Note: I remember early on when I was getting this idea that I needed to strike out on my own I was reading a book that mentioned John Lee Dumas’ podcast, and so I listened to it. He’s done a phenomenal job. Obviously that guy is great!

I was encouraged by those people who have made their online business work for them. I was encouraged by their stories. That was something that started getting into my mind, like… Okay! there’s other people out there doing that! They did it and I think I can do it as well!

That was my mindset going into this business and growing my own brand from the ground.

I didn’t always have this solid idea [strategy] in my mind. I think probably that’s something that a lot of people say you have to have – a more solid business plan. However, in my case I’m kind of figuring it out as I go along, and that’s okay for my particular situation. For other people it might not work. They might need to probably have something set up and bringing in money right away.

At this point for me it is a couple years in and I [have managed to keep] the expenses for my business pretty low, with the exception of going to conferences such as Social Media Marketing World, for example. It costs some money to go out there (San Diego) including flight, hotel, plus the actual conference ticket, but it is a great investment […] when getting into Social Media.

I didn’t actually think I would be this big Social Media Marketing person when I first started out, but that’s the way it’s been going and that’s where I found the most traction – in the people I was connecting with, the people I just really enjoyed being around in an online presence, and then being able to take that relationship offline and meeting them in person at a conference.

I’ve actually got another conference coming up this September in Boston and it’ll be another great opportunity to meet up with these people and just further deepen that relationship… and just be able to say “This is an awesome person. I’m so glad I’ve met them, and I’m so thankful that I’ve had a chance to connect with people who are incredibly honest, genuine, authentic, just very helpful people, very unique and gifted, qualified, talented, etc.” […] – they’re also very hard workers which I can see that from their presence online as it does take some time.

You have to have a Social Media component [in your strategy] if you’re going to have a business these days. For me, it’s a no-brainer. Especially if you’re going to try to have your own small business (consultant, freelancer, etc.), you have to make connections. You have to be on Social Media. You have to be putting yourself out there.

That’s a huge factor why I’ve gotten into that.

[…] It’s so amazing when you can connect with people and collaborate, work together, put out amazing content, create… I think it’s just a phenomenal thing!

I’ve connected with people all over the world and it’s terrific!

How would you define your Leadership style? Can you share with us what this method entails?

For the most part Servant Leadership is the idea that I like to be all about and strive to inform people of as it is a great way to lead.

There are different types of Leadership.

I think about some of the old school Leadership ideas.

Peter Drucker […] was like the father of modern Leadership and Management.

I think Servant Leadership just comes down to putting the needs of your people and your teammates first. It’s quite simple to me.

I’ve adapted this from my own background.

I’m a person of faith and my Christian faith is very important to me. For me, Servant Leadership is something that comes directly out of the Bible and I pull that into my own life.

I try to be a good servant leader whether that’s at home taking care of my wife and my kids or whether that’s out in the community taking care of other people whether within my church community or the geographical community. I also try to serve people as best I can within the online realm of my Social Media presence, trying to just help them to grow their own brands, just giving them a little bit of exposure to other people.

For me, it’s really just all about finding ways to help people and sometimes it’s a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

[…] This is something I mentioned in an article that I wrote for another friend of mine […] Lady Anita Bradshaw […] for her magazine called Powerhouse Global Magazine, where I focused on Leadership.

The article is called “3 Postures of Leadership from an Adoptive Dad.

It came out of the postures of Leadership that I adopted from being a leader as well as my experience as a leader for my kids and the adoption process.

In the article […] I told a little story of my time working at a paint supplier.

It was a difficult position […] as I was managing eight paint stores while having to literally work inside of one of them tinting paint which was just very arduous, physically demanding labor. In this small store it was me and just two other part time people actually manning that one store while I had seven other stores that I was responsible for.

What ended up happening was this:

I had a guy who was working for me who was a great guy and a great worker. He was coming to my store for a part time job while also going to school part time. He was driving about an hour and a half, sometimes two hours in Atlanta traffic (which is ugly, ugly traffic) […], one way, to get to the store so he could work part time.

I was just like, “Oh, man.” I really felt for him because I knew that it was a lot of hours being spent on the road where you’re not able to really accomplish anything. It takes away from your quality of life.

I warned him when he first applied for the job and said “Are you going to be okay with this long commute?” but he said he would and to his credit he did it for a year and a half, and he didn’t really complain about it.

When I saw an opportunity to transfer him to another store location that was about five minutes away from his house I jumped on that opportunity because I wanted to serve him. I wanted him to have a better quality of life, and I wanted him to reclaim those hours on the road […]. This happened a year and a half in as we didn’t have a spot for him to be working closer to his own home. However, once we did I jumped on that and I made that transfer happen because I wanted him to be able to reclaim those hours.

That was a sacrifice because that meant I had to look for and hire another brand new person for that store […] but I thought that the sacrifice was worth it to serve that particular part time employee.

Servant Leadership.

That’s what I attempt to do in my life and in my business. Personally and professionally.

I highly recommend it.

Being able to identify those ways that you can serve people takes some practice, and you need to get to know your people in order to serve them appropriately.

Getting to know people, that’s a huge thing right there!

What role has Social Media played in this?

I approach Social Media and Marketing just like anything else… based on Servant Leadership.

It’s simply helping other people first. I try to help as many people as I can in this Social Media thing. In the process, I end up helping myself. It’s as simple as that.

It’s answering questions, helping people to connect to the right person. It’s sharing resources. I’m glad to do that! I like to read Social Media Marketing blogs [such as] Social Media Examiner, Buffer, etc. all these places that have these articles to help you to grow and develop.

I think it’s so great! It gets me excited! It gets me fired up!

There are so many opportunities to learn and to grow. There are so many opportunities to be a leader… but first you gotta be a leader of yourself.

Being a leader of yourself involves educating yourself, getting better as a person, getting better intellectually, emotionally, psychologically.

I’m happy to tell people “Hey, you need to check this out!”

These resources have helped me immensely and they can help other people as well.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Les Brown

That’s got to be something that you do because if you want to be a leader… well, leaders are readers!

For example, you can listen to audio books, podcasts and you can get a lot of great resources online!

Some resources I suggest are:

On the leadership side:

  • Les Brown
  • Brain Buffini – one of my favorites!
  • Zig Ziglar, Entreleadership, etc. – cover the personal growth and development, leadership, people skills, etc. – I love those!

On the social media side:

  • Definitely love listening to “Communities That Convert” with Madalyn Sklar and Kami Huyse.
  • Madalyn Sklar also has the “TwitterSmarter” podcast.
  • Convince and Convert” has a podcast as well with Jay Baer.
  • Tyler Anderson who’s “Casual Fridays” has a podcast about Social Media that’s pretty good.

Social media is all about serving other people.

In your opinion, which are some of the key factors that play the most important role in Leadership for a business? Why?

Well, I think the big thing in Leadership is it has to start at the top.

They have to be the example. From the CEO all the way down to the CFO, COO, CTO, CIO, and CMO… the whole C suite!

It’s got to trickle down from the top.

You have to really be invested in the relationships and in the people.

I think what needs to happen is at most, if you’re a leader, you’ve got to be pouring into the next level down.

Mentoring is a great part of that pouring into those relationships, getting to know them, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses and figuring out how can you help them be better at their strengths and then compensate for those weaknesses (not necessarily to get better at their weaknesses).

I’m the kind of person that thinks that what needs to better happen is if you know you have a weakness, you need to find somebody else that can do a better job and engage them, connect with them.

Ask for help.

That’s a huge part of being a leader.

[…] In 100% honesty, I have a tough time sometimes asking for help too.

It’s a difficult thing for some people.

[…] I think maybe it’s partially a male thing, partially the way I was raised… a strong father figure.

He [my father] never really asked for help. He was a good dad, don’t get me wrong. I love my dad. God bless him. He’s 73 years old now, and he’s still running around doing his gardening and everything!

However, the concept that you need to be asking for help was one of these things that he didn’t really teach me as a kid.

As a leader, that’s a huge part… investing in the people, investing in the relationships, mentoring, being in the trenches with them showing them. You don’t necessarily show them exactly what to do in every situation, but you can always draw upon your experience and let them know “Here’s something that I have done in the past that’s worked. Maybe this will work for this situation, but maybe you’ll find a different option that will work even better.”

You encourage them.

You love on them.

Love and Leadership is [a huge concept that is] starting to [make its way] a little bit more I would say, but 10 or 20 years ago you would never hear anybody talking about the concept of loving the people that work for you.

Love is just so huge.

So, key factor that plays the most important role in leadership for business?

Love.

Taking care of your people, connecting with your people, developing those relationships, honoring them, cherishing them. These are some words that people […] haven’t heard before in a business sense, but that are so important. I think it’s incredibly important.

So, I would say love. Yeah, that’s a great part of that right there.

In your opinion, which are some of the key issues that businesses are being challenged with today in Leadership and need to change or invest differently in? Why?

One thing that comes to mind is […] the generational differences.

  • Millennials
  • Gen Z
  • Gen X

What it ends up coming down to is just having an awareness, a sensitivity, and trying to figure out how best to serve these people … [and] understand that there are differences in the way they view the world.

For instance, some people view working for a company for 30 years [as] a very antiquated way of looking at things (with some exceptions). I think most people [will not be] working in the same place for 30, 40 years and then retiring.

A lot of days people are job hopping because that’s the way to get the experience that they need, to get the fulfillment that they desire in their jobs. I think a lot of organizations have identified that as part of the business needs going forward – in bigger organizations especially.

We need to be serving these different generations. We need to be taking care of them in different ways.

For Millennials for instance, you might have to approach them [in business] with the mindset [that] “they might not be here for very long” and rather give them the opportunities for growth and advancement, give them freedom and work from home, etc. Remote work […] is a big hit! That kind of leadership I think is prevalent… more [in] the tech sector organizations and companies, but it’s kind of slowly coming around to some of the other industrial organizations.

Leadership needs to be the one, but in some cases you just can’t.

For example, if you’re working at a retail store, obviously you can’t really work from home on a lot of occasions. You gotta be in the store to service the customers that are coming in. But that’s a challenge that I see in a lot of organizations today. They need to invest in this mentorship idea [called] Reverse Mentorship – this idea that the younger employees are able to also teach the more mature employees some new skills, new ideas.

I think it just has to come down to being aware that there are some differences. You don’t pander to people, but just take care of people.

That’s what leadership’s all about.

Who is (are) your mentor(s) or example Leader(s)? What key characteristics set him/her (them) apart for you?

Mentorship is a huge and important thing.

I think there is mentorship in two fashions.

  • Direct mentorship.
  • Indirect mentorship.

For direct mentorship, […], I consider I’ve had mentors through the years [meaning] “[…] This is my mentor. This is the person that I go to. I seek out advice on this or that. They can help me identify blind spots and weaknesses.”

One mentor that comes to mind, coming from the spiritual side of things (through my church), really helped me to develop not only spiritually, but also intellectually and emotionally.

He and his wife mentored young, married couples.

My wife and I were just married. We were with six other couples being mentored by this more mature couple.

It was a very good thing because he specifically […] mentored the guys, did one-on-one [sessions], [we] went out for lunch, we would talk, […] go for a walk, etc.

He definitely helped me to identify this blind spot for me.

I was just not able to be… I wasn’t teachable.

That was the way he put it. I wasn’t teachable.

That’s a hard thing to hear from somebody.

You can’t just hear that from anybody… “You’re just not teachable”. That’s a hard thing to hear.

That’s kind of like saying, if you’re not teachable you’re arrogant. You know everything. That was the attitude that I had. I think that [it] doesn’t go away 100%, but I’m definitely more aware now and I try to strive to not be arrogant, or proud, or […] too proud.

There is something that is good about being confident, but then there is the over-confidence, cockiness, lack of humility that I think really causes people to fall.

That mentor really helped me out in identifying that blind spot and start getting in the process of overcoming that a bit.

I also think of my parents, and especially my dad, as being a mentor in my life.

From my dad I learned this hard work ethic, how to be a good family man, how to take care of people, provide for the family, and just love your wife.

I think that’s so important in this day and age where we have so many marriages falling apart.

My wife and I are like this.

We try to be a model of what a happy marriage could be, and is in our case.

We just passed 10 years, and we’re so in love, more in love now than we were when we first got married. It is possible. It’s possible to still have your marriage partner as your best friend […] even 10 years later.

Hot tip: Make sure you go on dates. I don’t know how often you can do it, but once or twice a month for us seems to be really key.

My dad was my mentor [and] my mom, obviously.

I was blessed to have a mom and dad. I know that that’s not the situation for everybody.

So blessed because I learned different lessons from mom versus dad.

Mom was all about love, affection, and taking care of people. She also taught a lot more about generosity too. I try to be generous in my life.

These are all kinds of things that are key to who I am as a person, who I strive to be, and how I strive to be helping other people.

Mentorship starts there.

I didn’t have a lot of athletic coaches. I played a little bit of sports when I was real young. I wasn’t very good at a lot of team sports (basketball, soccer, baseball, etc.). Later on in life the biggest thing that I did as a sport was just basically lifting weights.

However, at the younger level – and this is something that I love about having my kids being enrolled in sports – [it is good] having the coaches be there… to be another type of mentor.

For instance, my son just started playing football. Third graders playing football, you wouldn’t expect that it would be all that intense, but actually down here in Georgia (it’s the south) they love football and so the coaches, they’re very demanding but in a good way. They expect the kids to try their hardest, to work hard running back and forth, up and down the field, just learning the plays.

I think that’s something that’s really important to learn, discipline.

Discipline is something that I’ve had to learn and that I sometimes struggle with.

As a solo-preneur, a full time dad (first of all) and a full time entrepreneur it’s very hard to just discipline yourself to get that time in with the business.

I learned that [type of] discipline from my dad as well.

You could also have a mentor on the job.

Maybe it’s your boss.

Maybe they’re not a great boss, but they can teach you what not to do too.

Maybe there’s somebody that’s not in your direct chain of command who can’t fire you, but somebody who’s up and adjacent. That way they can help you out, and they can give you perspective. They can show you from their example.

I highly encourage people, if [they] can [to] be mentored or coached.

There’s [also] this idea of indirect mentorship (via sites, books, podcasts, videos, seminars, etc.).

I think that works best for me because I love to read.

I’ve just had a great love of reading for a long time. When I was a kid I used to read through so many books. I read all the time.

I think that’s helped me to develop over the years as well. I end up reading a lot and absorbing from other people’s great Leadership books.

[…] I’ve got John Wooden, Jim Collins, and a lot of these classics. I’ve even got a book from my friend Tom Reed who sent me his Leadership book that I still have to read!

There’s so many opportunities between reading, listening to books, listening to podcasts, watching videos even and I think that you have to grab onto those opportunities as best you can.

I listen to Zig Ziglar. He’s passed away. I never met him, but I feel like his voice echoes in me sometimes. It’s been a blessing and it’s been a help.

Just this general idea of optimism, positivity, and helping other people is so prevalent in his messaging, and I agree with a lot of what he has said.

What are the biggest challenges you have found when incorporating your method?

I suppose the biggest challenge with this Servant Leadership style is when to apply it appropriately and just making sure that you’re not becoming a doormat [by] letting other people take advantage of you.

What I would say is that it’s going to take some practice and some time as you’re going to have to get to know the people that you serve in order to understand when they’re trying to take advantage of you.

The best example I can give of this is one I pull straight out of parenting.

I’ve got eight year old triplets.

Parenting is tough. But parenting triplets is tough, and then add into the mix our kids having this background of trauma that they have to work through which creates some additional layers of complexity and things for us to deal with as well.

We adopted them. It’s now been two and a half years we’ll call it (They came to us three and a half years ago. They were in the foster care system for a little over a year, then we adopted them.)

Over the course of three and a half years we’ve gotten to know their personalities, and we’ve gotten to know when they’re trying to manipulate us and manipulate a situation. I definitely happens. They try to play you and just try to be all teary eyed, etc..

You just get to know.

I would say in the work place you’re going to probably get the same way. You’re going to understand when somebody’s trying to […] take advantage of you and you’re just going to have to say, “I’m sorry. I love you. I care about you. I want the best for you. Right now, this is not the best for you. I’m sorry.”

Sometimes you just have to be very direct and very blunt while still being compassionate, soft and gentle with them. That is something I have to work on for myself personally – just continuing to be gentle with my own kids in that leadership regard. I find it’s actually easier to be calm, gentle and patient with people I don’t know, who I don’t have to interact with every single day, but kids will frustrate you. They will exasperate you. They know how to push your buttons.

So, the biggest challenge I think is just finding that balance, finding the way to incorporate Servant Leadership the correct way without becoming somebody who […] just [does] complete damage to yourself and your own career.

In your opinion, are businesses open to and embracing the use of these Leadership methods?

I think so.

Part of my job is just educating people.

I think [that by] educating people who are at the higher levels of the organization, the corporation or company, they have to understand that Leadership is important and that it has to be prevalent at each layer.

You want to be developing that bench, so to speak. Develop the talent. Start letting people have opportunities for Leadership so they grow into greater positions of Leadership.

I think that there are a lot of companies that understand that Leadership is important and Servant Leadership is definitely something that they are open to embracing.

It’s just really about people who are in this business embracing that [concept], educating people and getting the message out there.

The more we get that message out there the easier it will be to help people to get to that [point] where they are incorporating Leadership, whether it’s Servant Leadership or another style.

How do you see Leadership evolving in the near future?

Seth Godin said in his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? that:

“The new form of marketing is leadership, and leadership is about building and connecting tribes of like-minded people.”

The idea is that Leadership and Marketing really go hand in hand. Marketing is connecting people and leadership is connecting people.

It’s all wrapped up in the same thing, in my opinion.

One thing I’ve kind of grabbed a hold of [is] this concept – and I’ve put it out there for people to see.

Some people don’t see this connection, and I think that that’s probably a mistake. When we talk about Personal Branding, and Content Marketing, and all these different things that get wrapped up in all this, being a leader is going to be almost mandatory.

Be a leader in some sense, whether your business is Marketing, Auto Glass Repair or Pet Grooming. You’re going to have to be a leader of some sort in order to be successful in your Marketing, in your branding and in your growth opportunities.

If you’re, for instance, like I said a pet grooming business, you need to be out there providing leadership in that industry in order to rise above the competition.

We talked [with a fellow TwitterChat attendee] about brands and companies that are purposeful. They might be a pet grooming business […] providing leadership by also being in the community and raising awareness about pets that need to be adopted (pets that are being treated poorly). They’re engaged in that front. That could be a leadership position for a pet business.

If you’re not doing that then you just sort of become [just another] pet grooming service, I guess. There’s probably a ton of them. It just comes down to… the price?

You definitely don’t want to be somebody who competes on price!

I would rather stand out from the crowd, have a higher price point, show a leadership position and show that you’re a purposeful brand.

I’ll get that message out there too.

Leadership is mandatory for brands in the future.



Gene Petrov
is a Leadership Coach with over 21 years of experience in leadership from the military, corporate, and small business sectors. He is a US Air Force Veteran with an M.S. in Management. He is trilingual (Russian/Spanish) and loves to spend time with his wife and 9-year-old triplets. Gene is purpose-driven with a heart for kids in need (foster care & adoption).

He can be found on these social sites:

Twitter: GenePetrovLMC
Instagram: GenePetrov
LinkedIn: Gene Petrov
Website: www.petrovlmc.com

 

 


Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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5 tips to deal with Social Media Exhaustion

Social Media Exhaustion

As I sit in front of my computer preparing to write this post, I am reminded that this virtual world called Online is like an endless ocean.

An ocean that has its rough tides and its tranquility. An ocean that when navigating it, requires you to be 100%  focused, alert and present in order to effectively steer your ship (yourself) to your destination. An ocean that, if you are not careful enough, can also throw you off and sink you in.

Like with everything in life, there needs to be a balance.

That’s also very relevant to the Social Media reality, which brings me to a topic that is very important and that we all have to start acknowledging the reality and effects of: Social Media Exhaustion (or Social Media Fatigue).

I have been seeing the topic of Social Media Exhaustion being talked about increasingly.

What is Social Media Exhaustion or Fatigue?

“Social media fatigue refers to social media users’ tendency to pull back from social media when they become overwhelmed with too many social media sites, too many friends and followers and too much time spent online maintaining these connections.”

Technopedia

For Social Media users, whether on a personal or business capacity, it is an everyday ‘race’ to keep up with everything.

Keeping up with connections.
Keeping up with engagement
Keeping up with new features
Keeping up with content creation and distribution
Keeping up with the competition
Keeping up with algorithm changes
Keeping up with Follower growth
…. and the list goes on.

People see their social media success and popularity as well as the effect that the ever changing algorithms can have on their following, their engagement and other similar factors as a reflection of themselves and/or their brand.

As a result, pressure and anxiety are elevated.

In the 2018 eMarketer article “Are Young Adults Growing Tired of Constant Social Connectivity?“, author Jennifer King quotes a Hill Holliday survey conducted by Origin (December 2017) that reports that:

more than half of young adults ages 18 to 24 said they’re “seeking relief from social media.”.

She goes on to highlight that many (34% of those surveyed) have gone so far as to delete their social media accounts as a result.

There are many reasons people are feeling exhausted, fatigued or even down right fed up with Social Media.

Some of the reasons for quitting Social Media are presented in the following eMarketer infographic (based on data from the survey mentioned above):

Social Media Exhaustion

Reasons that US Young Adult* Social Media Users Consider Quitting Social Media, Dec 2017 (% of respondents) (Source: eMarketerHill Holliday survey conducted by Origin)

Whoa! That is quite the data!

This raises the question – How you do you deal with Social Media Exhaustion?

  • Do you monitor and simply manage your time on Social Media?
  • Do you go on an extended Social Media hiatus?
  • Do you permanently delete your accounts?

That varies for each individual, but fact remains it needs to be dealt with.

I am a Social Media Marketing professional and as such my work is linked to and requires that I am active on Social Media.

A different approach, yet Social Media Exhaustion does not distinguish according to purpose or profession. We have all experienced it to some extent and have had to find ways to deal with it.

5 things to do when dealing with Social Media Exhaustion

Decide

I know… sounds obvious, right?

However, it is actually what keeps many from taking the first step.

Realizing you are facing Social Media Exhaustion and deciding to do something about it is key to making a change and sticking to it.

Why do people find it hard to “quit”?

Well, humans are social beings. As shown by research, people seek for the instant gratification that comes with interactions, likes, shares, comments, follows, etc. – plus let’s not forget the famous FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) ‘condition’ which is linked to feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, etc. It has always kind of existed, but social media has amplified its form and effect.

Having said that, I believe that choosing your well-being over FOMO is a no-brainer. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or LOMO (Love of Missing Out) – it is your choice.

But, what if you use social media for work? Can you really step away?

The key element in any aspect is moderation.

  • You can consider focusing on specific networks and accounts that are directly related to your work.
  • You can consider monitoring and limiting the amount of time on each network.

There are many tools out there that can help you monitor and manage the amount of time you are on social. Some of these social media time management tools are:

Yes, even the same social media platforms recognize the issue at hand.

Facebook and Instagram allow you to monitor and control (via reminders) the amount of time spent on each platform.

For Facebook:

Go to the Settings page and select the Your Time on Facebook option.

For Instagram:

Go to your profile and tap .
Tap  Settings.
Tap Your Activity.
(Source: Instagram)

Social Media - Instagram Usage

(Image Source: Facebook)

There are many other helpful tools that allow you to oversee and regulate time spent on social media which in turn will allow for more productivity and effectiveness.

This brings me to the second step:

Select

If you try to be everywhere you will end up being nowhere.

We tend to persuade ourselves that we NEED to be on every channel so as not to miss out (there’s that FOMO again!), grow our network, increase our content reach, so on and so forth…

As such, we create accounts on most (if not all) channels and consequently become overloaded trying to maximize our presence.

It is better productivity and time management all around to monitor, select and focus only on those channels that render actual value and results for you AND your brand.

That, in and of itself, makes the use of social media a bit less overwhelming not to mention more effective.

Clean Up

Oh yes… spring cleaning is great 🙂

What do I mean by clean up?

Do your research and monitor the accounts you are following.

Go over your Follower list and see which accounts are real, active and that you genuinely interact with as well as which accounts offer you value, are not overly promotional and add to your overall social media experience, etc.

Start unfollowing those accounts that take up your timeline AND time but do not offer value.

It will make your timeline a lot cleaner, friendlier, comprehensive and targeted plus it will make you dread less going through it.

Narrow down

Narrowing down posting is helpful.

Many research outlets out there have determined the optimal amount of content you need to put out there daily, per medium, for the effectiveness of your campaigns.

We all understand the important role that content plays in your social media strategy… let me rephrase that, we all know the important role that valuable content plays in your social media strategy.

As such, you should not aim to put content out there just to satisfy an algorithm. You should put content out there to satisfy the reader’s want for value.

If you are experiencing Social Media Exhaustion and before adding unnecessary pressure to yourself, think of how more effective it is for you to release content on the basis of how it adds to your reader’s experience rather than to push content out there that is not as significantly helpful to your target base as a means to comply with a set standard and consequently even risk losing them.

You need to offer value consistently which is not necessarily equivalent to frequency.

Consistency does not equal frequency

Chris Strub @chrisstrub

Recalibrate

A final key step – log off and recalibrate.

Yes, you read correctly.

When you are feeling Social Media Exhaustion, it is important that you take a real break from social media to be able to revise and adjust.

If limiting your time on Social Media is not doing the trick then make it a point to disconnect from social media for a period of time.

But, what if my work is linked to social media?

Easier said than done, right?

Trust me, I get that you cannot leave your social media accounts unattended.

This is where planning and automation comes in handy.

Select your preferred content automation tool and automate content to be posted during the days you choose to take a break.

That way you won’t loose momentum on your social media accounts and activity. At the same time you will be able to take a step back and concentrate in what needs your immediate attention.

Some content automation tools you can use are:

Actually, once the dependency and habit wear out you will see significant benefits such as your brain readjusting from the triggers and distractions caused by being constantly connected, your attention span increasing and you becoming more focused, less anxious and more productive.

Take that valuable time to:

  • Build your energy levels up
  • Reconnect with yourself and your surroundings
  • Set boundaries and restructure your time management strategy focusing on balance
  • Be more present
  • Find new ways to allow your creativity and productivity to flourish
  • Forge new personal and professional goals
  • Create new in-person connections and collaborations
  • Produce more value

“Treat your attention with respect”

Cal Newport

When used responsibly, mindfully and in moderation social media can offer opportunities, allow for new connections and collaborations to develop, provide enriching informational exchanges and much more.

However, it is an undeniable reality that people are becoming more and more overwhelmed by social media and as such we need to remember that if we are experiencing social media exhaustion it is a signal, and a clear one, that it is time to moderate and/or go without as the results will be on a negative rather than a positive return, and ultimately you will be hurting yourself (health) and your brand (work).

In conclusion, taking breaks so as to reset and evaluate is a good way to keep a balance and be able to optimize and maximize your social media experience not to mention that of your audience since, if you use social media for your brand, you can take the opportunity understand based on your own experience how your audience might be receiving content and find ways to optimize its creation and distribution in order to make it less overwhelming.


 Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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Quick start guide to creating your Social Media Communication Strategy

What is a Social Media Strategy?

A Social Media Strategy is a plan of action (set of actionable steps) that focuses on the objectives and goals you want to achieve for your business through the use of social media, how you will go about executing them and how you will measure the results.

The key to a successful strategy is being very specific as to what you want to achieve and maximizing the benefits that social media has to offer in order to effectively reach your objectives.

So, let’s take a look at the steps you need to focus on when creating your Social Media Communications Strategy:


Planning

ask-blackboard-356079


What is your Brand’s message?
What are your goals & objectives?
What do you offer?
What makes you unique?

Determine your purpose, objectives and unique proposition.

Define your brand needs and how Social Media can help you achieve your objectives.

Outline specific goals and how you will go about achieving them. Set KPI’s you want to track, based on your objectives, which will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy (ex. reach, leads, views, mentions, shares, etc.).

Differentiation is key to your social media success, as such you should focus and leverage on what sets you apart in your area of expertise.


Research

blur-close-up-conceptual-1194775

Examine the social media networks you are using and any additional ones that are in line with and beneficial to your brand and goals.

Specifically, look into which platforms your audience is actively engaging in. Moreover, do some competitive research and review which platforms your competitors are utilizing to engage, what communication strategy they are implementing and how effectively they are communicating their message (content strategy).

Some of the social media networks you should consider that can benefit your strategy are:

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.

Be where your audience is!


Be recognizable and consistent

Be easy to find and distinguishable on Social Media.

Design and build your online presence (handles, profiles, descriptions, taglines and links, cover images, tone, visuals, etc.) keeping in mind a consistent look and feel throughout all platforms in order to be identifiable.

Furthermore, prepare a plan as to the clarity and consistency of your brand message, voice (tone) and presentation.

To get you started I am sharing articles by Hootsuite and by Sprout Social comprising all the image and video dimensions for the different social media networks (which includes header, profile, in-stream, etc.) that way you can prepare your material according to the set requirements of each platform.

Resources:

HootSuite: Social Media Image Sizes, Nick Zarzycki https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-image-sizes-guide/

Sprout Social: Social Media Video Specs & Ad Sizes Per Network, Alex York https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-video-specs-guide/

Social Listening

Monitor and gather insights

With the use of Social Listening tools you can monitor and gather insights as to what people are saying about your brand, the competition, industry, influencers, topics and what your audience’s needs and preferences are.

plan

You can determine how your brand can leverage on the gathered information towards building a relationship with your audience, creating value for them and structuring your general strategy.

Social Listening tools are your gateway to insights that ultimately allow you to define and refine your brand strategy, offer higher quality products and services, and deliver optimum and valuable customer service and content to your audience/consumers


Quality Customer Service

Additionally, Social Listening allows for immediate presence and a great opportunity for you to offer prompt and quality customer service.

You can elevate the quality of your customer support by getting notified when your brand, products, special (branded) hashtags, etc. are mentioned and customer support requests are made, that way you can assist within a timely and efficient manner.

Social Listening not only will get you started but will also carry you through your journey as it is an ongoing process.

Some Social Listening Tools that you can use are found below. There are plenty more out there that also offer you a lot of features, it all depends on which one works best for you and your needs.

Resources:

Connecting


Connect with your target audience

The first step to interacting with your audience.

Pin point your targeted audience, follow them and start building relationship momentum.

Communicate and engage with your targeted audience by following conversations and determining key pain points and shortlist those for which you (your brand) can offer focused, unique and essential support.

Remember your main purpose should be to serve your audience and consumers. To do so, you need to first understand them and what they need. Build trust. Be genuine, helpful and generous.

Start offering value!

Creating


Create captivating interactive and engaging content

chart-content-flow-chart-900108

Make a content calendar and start creating and releasing captivating, interactive and engaging content and material around the specific needs that your audience has or topics they are interested in.

Focus on responsiveness so that you attract, offer value, establish relatability and trust as well as become their go to source which in turn will help you establish authority and solidify the relationship.


Research, evaluate, asses and track

Research the different requirements each social media platform has and determine what and how you will publish based on the type of content your audience consumes most and is most responsive to.

Evaluate the competition by looking into the frequency and type of content they publish, the amount and quality of the engagement it creates, how active their following is, etc.

Assess what times are best to publish your content and how frequently you should be posting, and then schedule accordingly.

Optimize your landing pages and track which of your posts generate most engagement, sharing and leads.

Publish and repurpose

Publish content that effectively speaks to your audience by presenting information in a reader friendly manner, displays interactive material, triggers your call-to-action, is engaging, and captures your audience’s attention.

Repurpose your content to increase momentum and reach, maximize your results as well as effectively adapt to the needs of each targeted platform and your audience.

accounts-applications-apps-267350

Some of the different types of content that you can use are: Blog Posts, Infographics, Images, Posts with GIFs & Memes, Video, Live Streaming, eBooks, Podcasts, Tutorials & Guides, etc.

To give you an idea of how important it is to strategically determine the type of content you should use for your social media strategy, it is important to consider that research shows:

87 percent of people working in marketing use social media for content delivery.” (CMI)

Source: 30 Content Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data for Your 2018 Strategy,
HigherVisibility  https://www.highervisibility.com/blog/30-content-marketing-statistics-trends-data-strategy

elephants-hand-lady-88476

As seen from research, online video has demonstrated to be a highly adopted content delivery method as it results in increased engagement (shares, views, etc.) and conversions in comparison to other types of content.

  • 74% of all traffic is video.
  • Video is expected to get 80% of online traffic by 2019
  • 13% of online traffic will have Live Video as a source by 2021
  • 90% of customers find videos helpful when making buying decisions.

Source: “The State of Video Marketing in 2018” Digital Information World http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2018/03/the-state-of-video-marketing-in-2018.html


“1 minute of Video Content equals to 1.8 million words!”
James McQuivey (Forrester Research) Source

Some Content Management and Planning tools you can use are:

Resources:

Interacting


Be present, engaged, interested and invested

A simple click of the “Like” button does not a relationship make. It is a metric that speaks as to the acceptance or recognition of a specific message but, to turn followers into supporters you need to take it a step further and be present, engaged, interested and invested.

As such, you need to keep the momentum going before, during and after. Make your audience feel they are being heard.

Comment, respond, establish conversations, follow up, and offer stellar customer service by being actively supportive via social media.


Don’t broadcast

“46% of people will unfollow a brand on social for posting too many promotional messages.”

Source: 61 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark for 2018, Alex York https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics

Do not follow a broadcast, self-promotional or “quick sell” scheme. You will lose your audience’s interest and consequently you will lose them.

Rather, invest in the consolidation of your relationship with your audience and in their future conversion and retention.

Be prompt, generous and helpful in your interactions!

“To be interesting, be interested” Dale Carnegie

Community Building

Focus on Community Building

Community Building may be in the form of:

  • Social Media based communities (such as Facebook Groups, Twitter Chats, etc.)
  • Online based communities (such as Forum Threads, Channels, etc. focusing on insights and discussions about topics relating to your industry, type of service, etc.)
  • Brand based (site hosted) communities (where your members can join and offer insights, feedback and support which helps elevate the customer experience and results in them advocating for your brand.)

All having a common purpose of bringing together individuals to share value around a brand, service, industry and serving a pivotal role in awareness.

Create a value based ecosystem

Create a well-structured and effective ecosystem around your community – create the path to turning your audience into becoming community members and successfully keeping them there by making it a value filled place

Collaborate

Reach out to and build collaborations with Influencers and industry people that align with your brand message and will effectively spread it, will complement your value adding purpose and will also expand your reach to a wider audience.


Analyzing Data

Monitor and Evaluate

I can’t emphasize this enough. It is imperative that you have a comprehensive understanding of your data.

Monitor, Analyze, Understand and Improve!

Track KPI delivery (traffic, engagement, views, shares, leads, conversions, etc.) and drill down on what your insights into your social media campaigns say and which attempts and approaches have rendered the best results so as to invest more in them – what I like to call define, refine and multiply.

Some Analytics Tools that you can use to track & analyze your data besides the native analytics tools offered by each social media platform (FB Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, Youtube Analytics, etc.) are found below:

Resources:

  • Google Analytics
  • SproutSocial
  • Buffer
  • BrandWatch
  • Hootsuite

Turn your audience into your most devoted brand ambassadors!


Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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5 Twitter features Brands need to focus on

5 Twitter features Brands need to focus on

So lately I have been asked about Twitter and best practices, and how they can be applied for Brands.

There are a lot of articles and videos out there that will show you exactly what you need to do in order to create a Twitter account. That is all great to set you up and get you started.

I could also advise that you:

  • Select a username related to your Brand (@) that is easy to remember and will stick!
  • Have a profile pic that contains your Brand logo making the visual aspect of your profile more appealing and your Brand image identifiable to your audience.
  • Have an optimized bio that perfectly and clearly encapsulates in just a few characters your Brand’s message and purpose. Use relevant hashtag (don’t overdo it though!) and link to your site (or preferred landing page).
  • Be creative and pack your message in 280 characters that need to be accompanied with visual creatives so as to cause your reader to stop scrolling and start reading.
  • Tweet during peak traffic hours 🙂
  • Pin a Tweet you want to highlight to the top of your profile page.
  • Don’t start following just for the sake of following – and be careful of those pesky bots & automated accounts!

And many other tips…

But, what you need is more than that.

That is why today I want to touch on some “heavy duty” features you will need to focus on in order to take your Twitter marketing efforts to the next level.

Specifically, I will talk about  the use of:

Video

“Tweets with video attract 10X more engagements than Tweets without video” 

Source: Q&A article by Marissa Window (data source: Twitter Business )

It is undeniable that people are more responsive to video than plain text.

Video offers a more interactive & impactful method of content distribution leading to effective emotional responsiveness from audiences and a more powerful way of establishing lasting relationships with them.

As a Brand you should plan around data available as to the type of content, the type of video (informative, tutorial, etc.), video length, etc. that you should use and promote your Brand through.

Some data to be considered are for example, as shown in Nick Reese’s Video advertising best practices for Twitter Video Ads article that “93% of video views on Twitter take place on mobile devices”. Additionally, “Promoted Tweets with videos saved more than 50% on their cost-per-engagement, helping their ad budgets stretch further.” Moreover, “videos that were 60-90 seconds long actually had the best engagement.” (Source: Twitter Business ).

Different points play an important role in strategy for maximizing return on your video campaigns, make sure you research and apply accordingly to your strategy, target and goals. For example, Video Ads.

As explained in Nick Reese’s article “In-Stream Video Ads let you run an ad before a publisher’s video on Twitter. This ad format has been shown to increase ad recall by 70%, resulting in a 6% higher purchase intent compared to people who weren’t exposed to video ads.” (Source: Twitter Business )

Wow! Impressive, right?

Overall and as stated in Mo Al Adham’s “How In-Stream Video Ads on Twitter help marketers tell their story” article, “People come to Twitter in a discovery mindset, making them more attentive, responsive, and trusting of the video ad content they see on Twitter in comparison to competing platforms. This leads to video ads on Twitter being almost 2X as memorable when compared to the same ads on other premium sites.” (Source: Twitter Business )

Live Streaming and Audio (Podcast)

Live Streaming has been a feature on Social Media that people have been highly adopting and seeing results from. It offers an elevated form of communication with your audience centered in the immediacy it offers. Twitter Live Streaming feature is powered by Twitter’s Periscope.

The impact can be seen from the data provided by Christina Newberry in the “28 Twitter Statistics All Marketers Need to Know in 2018HootSuite article where she presents that in Q3 of 2017 “Twitter live-streamed more than 830 events, almost three-quarters of them to a global audience. Twitter also live-streamed 96 million hours of live user-generated content in Q3 via Periscope.” (Data Source: Twitter’s Q3 2017 Letter to Shareholders ).

On a different note, the new Twitter Audio Only feature offers a way to re-purpose live-streaming content as live podcasting and other audio based type of broadcasting content (news broadcasts, shows, etc.). This gives Brands a lot of possibilities and opportunities in using this feature allowing them to take advantage of the growing podcasting (and audio) industry.

Streaming or Audio, the future is in interactivity!

Twitter Chats

This is a gem.

In summary, Twitter chats are hashtag driven public conversations held on Twitter that you can join, share insights on the topic being discussed, network and meet like-minded people, etc.

Twitter chats are also an amazing way to build a community and brand awareness.

As explained by Gabriela Cardoza in her “3 easy ways to grow your Brand on Twitter” article (Source: NPLUSG ):

You can find a Twitter chat for almost any topic of interest (marketing, branding, leadership, advertising, design, etc.) and as a brand, you can utilize these conversations to network with others in your particular industry, market and field. Furthermore, it’s an opportunity for your brand to communicate its value and thus, build its image, reputation and thought leadership.”

You can check out Gabriela’s complete list of Twitter Chats here .

Twitter Lists and Moments

Twitter Lists are another great way to organize and keep tabs on specific accounts (people, competitors, brands, news, etc.) you want to follow (or not!) as well as conversations.

Simply:

  • Go to Profile and Setting (top right icon on your Twitter Account Homepage)
  • Click on Lists
Twitter Lists
  • Click on Create A List
Twitter Lists
  • Add List Name, Description and select Privacy option
  • Click on Save List
    Twitter Lists


Twitter Moments
follow a somewhat different ideology.

As stated by Camilla Dudley in her “How to use Twitter Moments to connect with customers“, Twitter Moments serve as a way for you to “create and curate a collection of your customers’ Tweet conversations, live commentary, and longer-form content to connect with your audience in a new way.” (Source: Twitter Business )

As proposed in the article, some uses for Twitter Moments you can apply are:

Showcase your customers’ feedback
Resurface your own Tweets
Promote a new product launch
Hype up an event

I’ll add that it is also used by many as a tool to offer a complete recap of a Twitter Chat (or the top replies) so as to service people that were not able to join “Live” in the chat, also as a way to highlight specific Tweets (on a specific topic) that you want to record for later access or create a ‘moments list’ with (i.e. book suggestions, AI articles) etc.

The options available are just a matter of creativity!

Customer Service

Ah, one of my favorites!

In my opinion, customer service is crucial to the success of any Brand’s social media marketing efforts and general standing.

As stated in Christina Newberry’s article 28 Twitter Statistics All Marketers Need to Know in 2018, Eighty-five percent of small and medium business Twitter users say it’s important for businesses to provide customer service using the network.” (SourceHootSuite ) which helps in building brand trust, authority (status) and establishing solid relationships with your consumers.

Twitter allows for the extension of these options through Twitter Customer Support Features (Source: Twitter Blog )

Some of the Customer Support Features as explained by Liz Alton on the ”4 tips for providing effective customer support on Twitter” article are:

Display your support hours so people know when they can expect to hear back from you.

Enable direct messages, so more complex issues or private customer details can be shared directly with you.

Turn on the “support” option so customers immediately see that your brand’s Twitter account is customer-service friendly.

Use “welcome messages” that prompt people typing a DM on what message to share.

(Source: Twitter Business )

Twitter is a Social Media platform that Businesses are tapping into more and more and making use of its features to maximize return on their Social Media Marketing efforts and to focus on closing the gap between them and their consumers by offering a more immediate, interactive and high quality experience.

As such, these 5 features will get you on the right track to establishing an effective use of Twitter for your Brand!


Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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The power of the human connection

Social Media Engagement – the power communication

So I know that I have written about engagement in Social Media and the benefits it brings to brands and businesses.

It is, as I like to say, the gateway to your community.

If you are in my audience and reading this, then you know that I advocate for one aspect of Social Media that has the biggest impact of all: The human connection.

Whether it is in building your community, your content strategy, your customer services approach, etc. – no matter the area, the human connection is that defining factor that brings together brands and their audience.

The human connection plays an important role in:

Relationship Building
Successful Innovations
Human Leadership
Elevated Customer Experience Success

… and  much more.

But I won’t talk about brands or business today.

Nope.

I will talk about the power of the Human Factor.

That force that connects you with another person or entity.

That force that opens an understanding between humans.

That force that is based on a shared link.

This is something that as a Psychology major has always intrigued me.

As Brian Solis put it:

“Social media is about sociology and psychology more then technology.”

As a Social Media professional, you do your best and focus on ‘your tribe’ and build relationships with them. You interact, you share, you support.

You build an Online ‘life’, if you will.

Then, you also have your Real life.

Two separate things, right?

Now. I will make a small pause here and state this:

There isn’t (or at least – shouldn’t be) an Online life YOU and a Real Life YOU.

There is only YOU.

This is not a cloning party. It is not a “Multiplicity” movie sequel.

If it is, SPOILER ALERT! you will get caught.

Authenticity is not one of the options on the Menu. It is the ONLY option on the Menu.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown

OK. So let’s get back to our originally scheduled programming. 🙂

Many people use the well-known IRL abbreviation (In Real Life).

It is used to distinguish the Online from the Not-Online world.

And one should, in my opinion.

Specifically, you should protect yourself. You should keep your private life, private. You should keep a balance. But never be something other than yourself.

Reasons vary, but that can be another blog post.

However, I want to point out, remind & emphasize that the person on the other side of the screen… is real. You are real. The medium doesn’t change the fact that those two people are actually … wait for it… real! (that goes from both a personal and professional standpoint).

That is not to say that there is not enough fake out there to go around.

As you navigate this online world, you come across A LOT of people. Some good and some… well, you get the idea.

Let’s stick to the good ones, shall we? 🙂

When you come across people that you click with, have common interests with and build a bond with:

  • You build a community
  • You connect
  • You are open
  • You share value
  • You listen
  • You support & encourage each other
  • You respect & are kind to each other
  • You focus on the social part of Social Media.

You nurture that bond.

You focus on the human factor – the human connection.

And if you are lucky, everything comes together and at some point you even get to meet in person with these people.

I won’t lie or sugarcoat it. Truth is, it can go both ways. Really well or really bad (that’s where the authenticity factor referred to earlier, as well as purpose, comes to play).

I came to experience the undeniably good side of human connection, recently.

I got to meet in person with people from an online community I am part of. Flying in from different countries, we took the opportunity and made it happen.

People I am inspired by.

Spread across the globe, working in various industries, all making a difference

On a daily basis, the people in this community share snippets of their day & life,  personal and professional achievements, goals and aspirations, collaborations, struggles and frustrations and have come to form a bond.

Real life (see, there is that word again!).

Their faces and voices were already familiar of course as in today’s world, videos and virtual hangouts provides that 🙂

HOWEVER, when meeting them the power of the hugs shared is something that cannot be described or be compared with… it was priceless.

I could define hugs as a silent language. OK, sometimes not so silent 🙂

And that language was spoken. Loud and clear.

Those hugs were received and given by the truckload! 🙂

Laughs were shared and memories were made.

Long conversations were had and life stories were recounted.

Adventurous moments were plentiful.

Like I said, priceless.

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Thank you Bricelj and Beattie for the above and for your friendship.

I was reminded of the importance of these types of connections.

These types of connections show and solidify the best there is in communities.

These types of connections prove that within Social Media there is more value in the human connection than anything else.

Not just from a professional standpoint, but from a personal standpoint.

That is why I work in Social Media.

That is why I build and create through Social Media.

That is why I love Social Media.

First and foremost because of the power of the human connection.


Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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