According to affilinet’s survey of UK consumers, blogs are the third most trustworthy source of information (behind friends and family). Perhaps you’ve got a good website, your social media is gaining traction: now what? Well, according to a recent independent survey, a blog is your best bet!
So if you’re blogging and sharing information on your website, you’re likely to be more trusted than journalists, celebrities and politicians! (Ok that last one isn’t all that surprising).
What does this mean for your business?
Taking the time to draft real, relevant and informative content tailored to your audience is worth more than a multi million dollar celebrity spokesperson spruiking your brand!
Have a look at the full affilinet Trust Index list below. It’s also interesting to note that social media contacts come fourth on the list. In fact, the first four items fit very well into Businessary’s approach to creating a digital marketing strategy for micro, small and medium size businesses. Building your digital marketing presence should be part of a holistic and integrated strategy, which is designed to share your key messages at the right time, to the right people and in the right channels.
affilinet Trust Index: Whose opinion do you trust the most?
Social media contacts
Further affilinet comments about the study
UK Managing Director of affilinet Helen Southgate, commented on the findings, “…I’m not surprised to see politicians at the bottom of the pile but perhaps a little surprised to see brands so low. What is encouraging though is the role that bloggers and social media play within consumer trust. But we must as marketers respect that and not take it for granted or abuse the position of trust earned by these affiliates.
“Is this a wakeup call for celebrity endorsement? It seems consumers are growing cynical of this tactic because celebrities are also at the wrong end of the trust index. Advertisers need to work smarter and look at who’s really influencing their target markets.” said Southgate.
What kind of content should your blogs be about to be trusted?
The survey also revealed the kind of content that consumers are particularly looking for when they arrive at a blogger’s site, and tips, hints and how-to guides were what consumers were particularly after (52%), as well as content that’s on a particular area or niche interest.
Southgate added “The fact consumers look to bloggers to provide them with information about areas of specific interest, goes right to the heart of the evolution of digital marketing…The media industry has changed so much in recent years. For bloggers to have become more influential on consumers purchasing decisions, speaks to the importance of why brands need to be reaching out to them to connect with their audience, as much – if not more – than they have done with more traditional media outlet.”
Right – what’s next, how do I get a blog?
Are you convinced? I hope so. Blogging is one of the most effective things you can do to improve the digital marketing footprint and performance for your business. Done correctly, creating a blog and regularly posting good content (and sharing your posts to your network via social media) will give you one of the best returns on your time and money investments.
If you already have a website by Businessary, getting a blog is easy! Just contact me for a tailored quotation to get you started. The quote can be for just blog set up, or it can also extend to include a range of content creation or management options.
Don’t have a website with us? Don’t stress. Give us a call on 03 9662 9900and we’ll help explore the best options for the next step of your digital marketing solution with you.
There may not be scientific research behind my 4 “P”s of social media, but after six years of looking after various small business and corporate social media accounts, I can speak from practical, hands on experience and share what has performed well on my social media channels.
The evolution of the 4 “P”s
I had an epiphany when I was working with a client, John*, the other day. We were going through our content plan and scheduling and I needed a few things from him. We had built in some elements to the plan to share in addition to his key messages, such as photos of teammates and events.
Half jokingly I wrote ‘and if you can work in an angle to use a puppy photo, that would even be better.’ I say half jokingly, because one of our Businessary social media posts was from our ‘work from home with puppy day’ at my colleague Lauren’s house, and the post went BALLISTIC.
I mean, just look at that face. Big thanks to model and Golden Retriever ‘Fasa’ and his family for the social boost. That got me thinking about the social media posts that have performed well across a range of our clients, and from that, most can be distilled into roughly four categories of high performing posts.
Read on for the remaining three “P”s (I’m assuming you may have already guessed that one of them was ‘Puppies’, but more on that again shortly) and some examples to demonstrate what has worked and why I think it’s working.
First and probably most importantly, posts about people! Your people, your clients, even your family.
Think about the posts that you like to see – well, at least for me I love seeing friends, family and teammates in the photos. Preferably not in a super-staged type of photo, but more in a natural setting or in action (interacting at a conference).
I went through some of our higher performing posts and one of them that stood out was in the early days of when I joined Businessary, when Managing Director Annabel Rees and I attended a Salesforce Conference (note: we use Salesforce IQ and I think it ROCKS.)
Here’s the post (left, and I’m the one on the left, hello!)
Why do I think this one worked well? Here may be a few reasons:
Firstly, who doesn’t love a photobooth?! They always make for more relaxed and fun photos I think.
New role – I had just started with Businessary so friends and colleagues may have missed my LinkedIn title change and cottoned on to the news for the first time or were just being lovely and sending their best wishes.
New business – at this time Businessary was only just over one year old. Friends, family and colleagues in the business have been so supportive and one of the easy (and free!) ways you can support a start-up business is to like and share its social media posts. We’re lucky to have a number of friends and clients that understand the challenges of a new business so they’re happy to lend us a ‘like’ when we’re up to interesting things.
We tagged in the big dogs – tagging the relevant organisations and events does wonders! In this case the social media guns behind Salesforce liked/shared/retweeted our posts across all their channels! It’s a win all around.
If there’s any advice I can give around posting your people on social media, it’s simple: make it real, make it natural, get their permission and TAG them in!
The idea is not limited to just puns, but they are one of my favourite dorky forms of online humour, even for business posts (within reason and as long as it’s not offensive).
This particular gem was during the 2016 NIBA Convention (so again some key network and location tagging). It may or may not have been after a few cheeky wines at the event the evening before (curse my socially excited personality and occasional party eyes!) and all I wanted in the world was bacon. You know the only place I found it? In the dang convention hashtag #2016NIBAcon
So we went for it, and you know what? People enjoyed laughing at my pain. Or the joke. I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that there’s something about bacon that is inherently funny. And humour is a solid strategy for your social media.
So if you’ve got a dad-joke expert or a meme-generator-extraordinaire, let them loose**!
I’ve found that if you’re ACTUALLY funny (even if it’s ‘groanworthy’ funny), you’re more likely to get shared by people that don’t personally know you but are happy to give their network of friends a little morning laugh. One of my favourites is George Takei – I follow him on Facebook and can be assured of a decent pun-a-day (today’s morning message on the plight of honeybees ‘make this issue your bees’ness’ <3).
“But I’m not funny!” you say? Never fear – I like to think I’m witty (shush, I know that’s subjective) but even clever cats get a case of writer’s block sometimes. I personally think everyone has their own brand of humour, but I bet you KNOW someone who is funny. So just give them the context and ask for some suggestions. Or else it’s also quite fun and interactive to put up a photo and let your followers ‘caption this’ (if you’re brave and if you are on hand to delete things just in case someone finds ‘the line’ and dashes across it with their post).
Good luck and happy LOLs to you!
As you may have noticed in the intro with the photo of dear Fasa the Golden Retriever, puppies are ADORABLE. But I think there’s a few reasons why they can work well in social media. Firstly, common ground – I honestly only know one person who is not a puppy person…but does such a good job of being diplomatic and appreciative when we all make her look at our puppy/kitty/pony photos, like I try to be when people show me baby photos (oh I know, I shouldn’t admit online and in writing that I like puppy photos more than baby photos but at least 90% of the time it’s true). So aside from M2, most people that I know like (and hit ‘like’) for puppy photos. Actually, our friend M2 even liked our puppy photo on Instagram #goodfriend #selflesslikes
But in all seriousness, I would argue that the photo is also in line with our brand values and what we stand for. We’re a progressive business, we value our friendship with our colleagues, we value work/life balance and flexibility (haha, ‘peternity’ day) and having fun. A puppy isn’t a bad way to demonstrate that, especially since the puppy is an honorary part of the business now (aww, a Businessary fur-friend), so it’s not just any puppy. Having said that, I have never tried just using ‘random puppy image I got from Google’ before, so if you ever do and it works, let me know.
The fourth and final “P” is probably just a good one to summarise the other three above: personality. The success of our social media, and that of our clients, relies on knowing and being true to the brand personality and the character of the business.
We’ve worked hard to understand what we want the ‘voice’ of our business to be, and to consistently maintain that voice. This shouldn’t be something be done by one person unilaterally within the business. It’s not just up to your CEO or MD, or your Marketing Manager to create the voice and brand personality of your business – it’s a summation of your people and your purpose and should therefore be the result of a wide range of input and collaboration. In our case we had our team and even ‘friends of Businessary’ that helped us define who we are and how we present ourselves to the world.
There are some businesses that need to have a more gravitas and serious voice, which requires a different approach for social media (indeed likely a different selection of social media channels as well – I don’t necessarily think all businesses need to be active on all platforms). For those businesses (and for ours as well), the most important component to social media success is sharing important, relevant and informative content that will be useful to your followers’ businesses.
Take your 4 “P”s of social media and get posting!
So summing it up, take some time to think through the personality of your brand and create a content management plan and schedule that reflects that personality. And feel free to pepper in posts about your people, add some puns and when all else fails, maybe a picture of a puppy.
*That is his real name. Thanks to John Manserra at Hillross FP for the blog inspiration!
**Note: Occasionally. Like every other Thursday and public holidays.
It’s great to see so many businesses embracing social media and becoming active across the various social media channels. Whilst the adage ‘any media is good media’ applies to the advertising game, within the social media forum perception can be more fickle and getting it wrong can be worse than doing nothing at all.
Here are the top 5 mistakes that leave your followers shaking their heads or worse, unfollowing you:
5) Posting on the wrong channel – LinkedIn is generally accepted by the audience as a forum for work related content only, posting holiday snaps, personal photos or informal team activities can leave your audience annoyed – Facebook is the more suitable option for informal content, even if it is business related. Better still, don’t forget to use your internal channels such as Yammer.
4) No point to the post – random quotes, comments or one liners that don’t seem to have a point can leave your audience confused and lose respect for you and your business. Ask yourself – why am I posting this, what do I want my audience to feel and what am I hoping to achieve?
3) Not responding to negative feedback – if unfortunately you find negative feedback on your channel, respond! Not responding is a little like leaving a dead fish on the kitchen floor – everyone sees it and sooner or later it affects the whole house! Better to politely respond in a neutral tone, be factual and thank the writer for taking the time to provide you with the feedback.
2) If you don’t use it, lose it – whilst it is good to have a presence on various channels, if you don’t post regularly then you are better to not be public! If you thought Tumblr was a good idea at the time but you haven’t used it for 6 months, hide it and come back to it when you plan on being more active.
And the number one mistake I see on social media:
1) Poor grammar and/or spelling errors – use spellcheck, ask someone to read through your posts, check it twice, avoid spelling errors and grammar mistakes at all costs! Nothing shoots your credibility and brand in the foot more than a post with a simple spelling mistake – it shouts ‘if I can’t spell correctly, how can you trust my work?!’
Navigating the challenges of appropriate employee social media use
Last week an SBS sports reporter tweeted personal opinions about Australia’s war activity on ANZAC Day evening. On it’s own this is not newsworthy, however SBS terminated the reporter’s employment based on the content of these tweets. So how can SBS do this and what was the infrastructure that provided the framework to do so? And how can you implement the same to protect your business brand from an employees opinion on social media?
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid provided a number of clues for fellow business leaders in his statements immediately following the reporter’s termination.
Mr Ebeid was quick to point out that social media use is encouraged with SBS – “…employees on and off air are encouraged to participate in social media, however maintaining the integrity of the network and audience trust is vital.”
Despite encouraging employee social media use Mr Ebeid went on to describe the reporter’s tweet as “highly inappropriate and disrespectful comments.”
As a business leader, you may find that your employees too tweet or post comments that you disagree with, you find inappropriate or run contrary to your brand. Mr Ebeid emphasised that SBS found that the reporter’s comments compromised the integrity and trust of the SBS brand. However, it was one very telling sentence that is the most important:
“Mr McIntyre’s actions have breached the SBS Code of Conduct and social media policy and as a result, SBS has taken decisive action to terminate Mr McIntyre’s position at SBS, with immediate effect.”
The two policies mentioned – the Code of Conduct and the social media policy are a businesses insurance policy and an employees guiding light on what is acceptable within the organisation. A code of conduct is a core policy for an organisation outlining what behaviours are expected, what won’t be tolerated and the repercussions of breaching the policy. A social media policy, a newcomer to the standard HR policy suite, outlines an organisation’s approach to social media use for employees – what is acceptable and what is not. The details can vary greatly based on your business and your appetite for social media use, however this is the place you get to be very clear what these expectations are.
Without these two policies, SBS may have found the reporter’s tweets inappropriate but could have been powerless to do anything about it. Even worse, if they had terminated the reporter and were later shown to have done so unlawfully (without the policies to back up the decision) they could have found themselves facing Fair Work Australia for unfair dismissal and damages.
What steps do you need to take to protect your business:
Have a comprehensive HR manual with policies that protect your business – each business is different and we recommend tailoring policies to reflect your expectations and the culture of your business.
Your policies need to be living within your business not in the bottom drawer – as an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees know the policies, know where to find them if needed and understand them.
Do as you say you are going to do – your policies are no use if you don’t enforce them. Even worse, if you repeatedly allow behaviours that go against what you have outlined in your code of conduct you will find you have created the very culture you didn’t want and any legal body will find against you the one time you try to enforce them.
Following process is crucial in employee performance and conduct matters – regardless of the actions of a employee if you do not follow the right process you will not get the outcome you are looking for!
Businessary can provide you with a standard suite of HR policies or can tailor these for you so that that truly reflect your business. Our HR packages provide you with all the policies, processes, templates and most importantly advice to guide your business through any breaches and help you prevent them occurring in the future. Contact us to discuss your unique needs further.
If you wish to read more information please click here .
How to get started in managing your social media presence
If you google “social media” today you will find over 1.3 billion results! Another crazy statistic I heard at a recent Salesforce event is that 90% of the world’s data has been produced in the last 12 months! The availability of data, reviews, content and information has moved from word of mouth within a community to someone in Germany reading about a post relating to a Melbourne coffee shop instantaneously – this can be scary or exciting but cannot be avoided any further.
If you are in business, you are also have customers and by default your business is active on the web whether you like it or not. By extension, whether you like it or you are active on social media – but is it controlling you or you controlling it! Social media is defined as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking” (Google, 2015).
The challenge for many businesses is their people are personally active on social media, their customers are active on social media but at any moment a poor customer review or disgruntled employee post can go viral and your business reputation can be in serious trouble.
So, what do you do about it? Here a five simple tips to get hold:
Learn the basics – what’s the difference between Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for example and when would you use one over the other?
Set up your own accounts – your first stop is your webpage, but then register your business in at least the top 5 applications so that you own your businesses domain name / username / page name – if your business name is gone you have two choices – try to buy the original (NB: this is often very expensive so consider carefully!) or create a unique version of your business name that your customers can still find.
Get in first – the more positive content, recommendations and testimonials you collect and publish the more believable you are – people believe other people, fact.
Respond to negative feedback – a polite but refuting response is better than letting a negative post hanging out in the wind. Be careful to respond politely but firmly with facts – if you sound angry it looks worse than the original post.
Leverage your workforce – your business has an untapped network of potential advocates working for you. Put together a strategy and get your people involved – this can be a scary step and not to be taken lightly but with clear guidelines and an expert guiding you, you can tame the social media beast and turn your strategy into commercial results.
To talk to our social media and communication experts and embrace your social media identity email us at [email protected] or phone 03 9662 9900.