Content Calendar Part 1: Building a Framework

Creating AContent Calendar

This series is based on the wonderful teaching found in The Social Media MBA by Christer Holloman

If you’ve been following us here or on twitter (@PurelySocialTip), then you would know that we strive to provide you with the most relevant and practical information regarding your business’ presence on social media. And if you just stumbled upon us for the first time then let us welcome you!

Here at Purely Social™ our focus is on supporting small businesses with the information they need to successfully create a presence on social media that gets noticed. We have never claimed to be experts or gurus on the subject, rather we’re entrepreneurs who see the power of social media and strive to learn as much as we can on the subject daily. We love social media, because we’re naturally social people. Social Media is changing everything we know about communicating and engaging with people. It’s exciting, challenging and scary all at the same time!

Gone are the day’s of the elusive corporate voice. No longer is it acceptable to tell customers what they need or want. In our global, 24/7 digital age, customers have taken their power back, telling brands and businesses what they want and need. Today’s customer does their homework! Taking the time to research products for the best price and quality prior to making a purchase. Meaning, now more than ever it’s important for businesses to start listening to their consumer. For those who resist and have dragged their feet to get in the game will find a loss in market share to competitors who have jumped right in! Today’s consumer wants honesty, transparency and authenticity from the companies they do business with.

Brands and businesses that understand this new found opportunity to foster relationships with their customers get the formula:

Formula for Success

It is this balance between marketing the brand and the human element that you as a business owner have to strike. See despite all of our advance technologies, the fundamentals of the human socialization has very much remained the same. People inherently have a deep desire to share, collaborate and create with one another. Social Media is no different, the top 3 things people enjoy doing online are:

  • Share ideas
  • Share product knowledge
  • Help their peers solve problems

Does your business provide any other these services, and if not how can you begin to? Well now that you know what people are doing online we would advise you to take the time to listen to what your customers are saying. Stop guessing what they want or need and start listening to them, because there is a good chance they are telling you everything you really want to know.

Armed with some customer knowledge, now the real work begins. If you want to successfully leverage social media for your business then you’re going to have to be calculated! And by calculated we mean that everything you do from a marketing standpoint has to be accountable. Set objectives and timelines to measure what works. A Content Calendar is a great way to organize your thoughts and efforts.

Begin by developing guidelines for your engagement, especially if your not the only individual who handles your business’ social media. Take the time to think about how you want people to interact with your brand and how your brand will interact with people. Consider the good, the bad and the ugly! It’s work, but trust me it’s better than damage control.

Now you’re ready to start organizing your content. Keep in mind that you want to give special consideration to the fact that above all your plan needs to be flexible to accommodate the unexpected. However, feeling as though you need to regularly get the creative juices flowing and create new content can be daunting. Select four to six topics that you want to cover on your social media every week.

We advise creating a Copy Master List for each platform, modify the drafts as you deem suitable. Having a list of solid posts to pull from will help save time when it comes to automating posts. Lastly, pull out your calendar!

The aim is to plan out the next quarter. Look at upcoming events, sales your planning or major holidays that are significant to your business and fill them into your calendar. Next set objectives that are measurable, consider the necessary lead times for effective promotion and the effort it will take to meet the objective. These posts should be considered additions to your posts that cover your previously determined topics.

To be continued…

Awesome Engaging Brand of the Week — @helper

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 6.08.17 PM

So, we want to start a little something new here. We talk a lot about what business owners and brands should do on social media, (engagement being number one) so we thought it’d only be fitting for us to show you real life brands exemplifying these good habits.

This week, we pulled a screen shot of Hamburger Helper’s Twitter account. This is from a while back when we were doing our research, but if you go to their page now, you’ll still see engagement. Their page is a riot! They have created a personality and a voice for their little oven mitt character and are using it to the utmost effectivity. It’s pretty cool. How many times do you reach out to a brand and actually get a response?!

How can this apply to you? Well, it’s simple. Create a voice that speaks to your target audience: one that they can relate to, one that’s human and engaging, and use it! Reach out to your target audience and engage! Ask questions, share info, comment on their posts!

While you’re at it, comment on ours, too! We’d love to hear from you. What are some brands that you admire? Also, call out some brands that you think aren’t as engaging and tell us why! You can reach us on Twitter or in the comment boxes down below! =D

 

Awesome Engaging Brand of the Week

Engagement: What’s the Big Deal?!

How and Why to Engage Engage Engage

Engage design (2)

If you ask any knowledgeable social media marketing professional what is on their top 5 list of important factors for success on any social media platform, we guarantee that the word “engagement” will be somewhere in there. Content may be key, but engagement is the click you hear when you turn the key. Engagement makes the world go ‘round!

Some of you may not even be sure what “engagement” even really means. You hear it all the time, but you’re not clear as to what it entails. Because we’re so awesome, we came up with this acronym to help explain how to engage.

EDUCATE

Share your knowledge! Why not? People sharing knowledge is the reason that anyone knows anything for the most part. If you have something to contribute, don’t hold back! Feel free to lend a helping hand. If you happen to have an article that could prove helpful to your niche or to a conversation, share it!

NURTURE

This goes back to basics, simply be kind to your peers and if you see someone who needs help and you can help them by either offering a resource or assisting them personally, help out. Encourage their growth and build relationships. Once you build a relationship with people within your network, you extend your reach! Not to mention, you now have a dedicated audience who is eager to hear anything you have to tell them, because you developed that trust. Being a decent human being is really all it takes.

GIVE FREELY

Mike Stelzner once mentioned in a podcast that if you’re afraid to give out free information because you’re afraid that people won’t need to buy your product/service after you give them that information, then you need to re-evaluate your business. He’s right! We’re not saying share your innermost secrets that you spent years crafting and perfecting, but tips & tricks and detailed how-to’s? Why not! Give your followers a reason to want more. Give them helpful tips on how to use your product, or tips relevant to your niche, and they’ll notice. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most rampant forms of advertising. You have no idea who they know.

APPRECIATE

If someone retweets your content, follows you, or compliments your work, appreciate it! This goes back to the basic “please” and “thank you” we were taught as children. Somehow, people completely lose their manners when it comes to social media. Don’t be that person! Of course, at some point, it gets a little crazy and you can’t possibly thank every single person that follows you. In that case, a mass thank you is fine. People love being acknowledged; it’s human nature!

GET NOTICED

Don’t be afraid to stand out or say something different or uncouth. Standing out may actually attract positive attention and draw people in to read your post. We’ve seen posts titled “Social media is bullshit” and “You’re pissing into the wind with blogging & social media if you don’t REALLY know what your audience wants.” Sure, they’re both a tad on the vulgar side, but they catch your eye and make you WANT to find out more on the article. Be honest, how many times do you actually read the articles that other people post?

ENTERTAIN

Last, but not least, have a little bit of fun with it. Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to be comical, sarcastic, or animated! Share funny pictures and jokes and show your personal side. People like that! They like to know that they’re talking to a human and not an antisocial broadcaster!

See! Engaging is simple. Don’t take the social out of social media. Focus on socializing, connecting, and engaging, and you’ll see success in no time!

If you’re having any trouble or have any questions, don’t hesitate to @ us on Twitter @PurelySocialTip or leave your comments down below. We practice what we preach and would love to engage with you!

 

Twitter 101- Defining Common Terms Part 2

Last Wednesday, we discussed and defined 6 of the most used terms on Twitter. This week, we’re back again with a few more terms to add to your twitter arsenal. These terms aren’t quite used as often as the others, but are still important to know.  Let’s get started…

Image Tweet chat

The easiest way to explain a Twitter chat is to liken it to a chat room from the days of AOL and AIM. Tweet chats are a great way to converse with others in your niche and engage. They can be arranged by anyone, but usually work better with planning.   A hashtag is used, as previously discussed, to group all tweets covering the chat together and make for easy tracking. #MMchat, for example, is a chat on the topic of social media that takes place on Monday nights. Every Monday night, you can go on Tweetchat.com and participate! A fellow blogger actually has a great post that highlights the benefits of Twitter chats for your business. There are a nice variety of awesome topics to choose from and a wide variety of schedules. Anyone can participate by simply using the hashtag to connect the tweet to the group and chiming in. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and be social!

Trends

This is a term often used to refer to popular topics being discussed on Twitter. Trends occur when a large portion of Twitter users are discussing a particular topic. You’ll often see trends during popular televised events, political issues, popular news topics, and such, and if you go to your home page, you can find these by going to your home page.

*Fun fact: tweet chat hashtags can start trends if there are enough people chiming in*

Lists

Curated lists of Twitter users are great way to organize your Twitter feed into easily view able categories. You can even include people you don’t follow in your lists. For example, if you’re a gardener who wants to put together tweets about summer squashes during the summer, but don’t really want to follow all of the prize winning squash people, (lol definitely could have said that better, but sit with the image of prize winning squash people and tell me you’re not chuckling a little…no? …OK moving on) you can put together a list for your reference and keep that category readily available for your use.

Twitter Card/ Player Card

If you’ve seen people post videos on Twitter and you’re wondering how, they probably used a Twitter card.  These twitter cards make it possible to attach video to tweets that link to your content. As visual marketing is becoming increasingly popular, this will definitely help increase engagement and attract attention.

Tell us what your favorite Twitter terms are in the comments section below or on Twitter and feel free to share this image with everyone you know and tag us!

 

Happy Hump day!

Twitter 101- Defining Common Terms Part 1

The wonderful world of Twitter can hit you in the face like a 6 degree wind chill on a mean winter morning (you homegrown Cali folks probably don’t know too much about that…be glad!). Saying that Twitter is overwhelming to a newcomer is an understatement. With the 140 character rules, hashtags, abbreviations, and specific lingo, it’s pretty much its own subculture.  BUT that doesn’t mean that you can’t acclimate and join along for the ride. To help with your acclimation to Twitter, we came up with this Twitter Dictionary, Twictionary, if you will **wink**

Twitter Dictionary (1)

RT – Retweet

A Retweet happens to you when you’re awesome and have kick ass content that people deem share-worthy, OR when you find someone else who’s awesome and can’t help but to share their content. You can post a Retweet by clicking the button that looks like this Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 12.45.28 AM

Once you click this, you have the option of Retweeting the post as is or editing it a little before Retweeting.

Retweeting is a way to show your appreciation for another users curation (or creation) and share the love to your followers helping to expand their reach. Not to mention, it’s great to use sparingly as a filler when you want to break up posts that you are tweeting yourself. (Check out our blog on that here.) It’s always good to have a balance. Conversely, when people RT your content, it enables you to gain notice across Twitter  and expand your reach; it may even inspire others within your niche to follow you.

 #- Hashtag

You see these everywhere, but aren’t quite sure of the point. A fellow blogger has a great post detailing the what, why, and how of them if you’d like to check it out.

To use a hashtag, you type the pound/ number sign accompanied by your topic without including any spaces. For example, if you were looking to organize tweets or write a new tweet surrounding the topic of wedding cakes, for example, you would use the hashtag #weddingcakes. Refining hashtag usage is highly recommended and it is always beneficial to be as specific as possible. Hashtag optimizers such as Tagboard or Ritetag enable users to choose the right hashtags for their tweets and gain higher engagement.

Hashtags are often overcomplicated and, as a result, misused.  The main purpose of hashtags are to categorize and organize posts and create trends. For example, if you type #smtip into the search bar on Twitter, you’ll find several tips about social media practices. Several brands use these tips to monitor the response to their ads and such. Be careful, though. Hashtags can be used by anyone, meaning if you are organizing a hashtag around your brand, it can definitely be hijacked and used incorrectly. More on that later.

DM- Direct Message

Direct messages are pretty self-explanatory. They are messages that can be sent directly between users. Too often, marketers use this as a way to spam or sell and too seldom, companies neglect to use them. The proper way to use DM is to send a customized private message to a follower, not Auto DMs. I repeat, NOT Auto DMs. Stop it, people. It doesn’t make any sense really. People don’t even read them, but I digress.

@- Reply/Mention

The @ sign is the best way to mention someone in a tweet or let someone know that the tweet you are posting is targeted towards them.  When you sign up for Twitter, you are given a twitter handle which is in the format: @yourhandle and this identifies you across the platform. When you tweet to someone with an @, it shows up in their mentions to let them know that you’re talking to them.

This is a good way to communicate outside of a DM and a great way to thank those who follow you or favorite your content. It’s also a great way to get a conversation started between several users at once.

If you’d like to talk to us, simply click the Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 1.12.26 AMbutton and start off with “@purelysocialtip”. Then you can share your thoughts with us. Brace yourself, though, because we’ll write back and pick your brain!

 FF – Follow Friday

Follow Friday is a Twitter tradition where users recommend to other users who to follow. It’s often used as a hashtag, #FF or #FollowFriday accompanying the handles of the chosen ones.

 MT- Modified Tweet

Modified tweets are seldom used. They are basically paraphrased RTs… that’s literally it.

Hope this helps clear a few things up. There’s more to come, but in the meantime, tell us, what your favorite Twitter lingo is to use or if you have any questions about Twitter lingo you’d like clarified. We’d love to know it! Follow us on Twitter or here on our blog and tweet and comment away.