7 ways to get the most out of social media at conferences

Summer is conference season, and we all know preparing for a conference is an important part of the experience. Social media has become a powerful tool for connecting with people at conferences, driving traffic to your booth and letting your audiences at home know what you’re learning. Below are some simple tips for being social media-ready at a conference or event.


Scott Beale / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Plan ahead. Ensure you have a designated tweeter while you’re attending. If several employees from your company are attending, don’t duplicate efforts and post the same content. Be sure you know the basics before attending: booth number, hashtag, speakers info., etc.

Consider bringing a portable charger for your phone. Outlets can be scarce at conferences and posting on social media all day will suck your battery dry. Most importantly, post ahead of the conference. Let others know you’ll be there.

Use the appropriate hashtag. Be sure to use the correct hashtag while tweeting. We’ve seen companies use two or three different hashtags while attending a conference. This can be very confusing and you may lose credibility.

Post photos and videos. I cannot stress enough how important it is to post visual content while you’re there. People want to see what’s happening. Photos also appear more prominently on the feed and you may have a better chance of being retweeted. What should you take photos of? Include photos of employees, your booth, speakers, etc. Keep it professional. If you’re heading to a bar after, it’s probably best not to include that shot (literally!).

Engage. Retweet interesting posts, mention speakers Twitter handles in your tweets, etc.
Include names. Mention who is at your booth and include name(s) and title(s). Double check to make sure the spelling is correct.

Drive traffic to your booth. Give attendees a reason to stop by your booth. Offer prizes (gift cards, iPads, etc.) or promote a new product.

Don’t disappear when it’s over. Just because it is over doesn’t mean you need to vanish. Discuss your favorite session or speaker, what you’re looking forward to next year, etc.

Before your next conference, you’ll be fully prepared. Enjoy conference season and happy tweeting!

Photo credit: Scott Beale / Source / CC BY-NC-ND

Six steps to launching a new social media account

You’ve decided it’s time to create a new social media account for your company, but you’re not exactly sure where you should start. Whether you’re thinking about creating a LinkedIn Company Page, Twitter account, Instagram account or Facebook Page, you need to think about several factors before you dive in. Here are a few things to consider before you create a new social media account and push out your first message.

Identify your audience. Identify your target audience and determine who you want to reach. Most importantly, is your target audience on the platform you’re considering creating?

Spy on your competition. See if your competition is on the particular platform you’re interested in creating. If they are on a given platform, see who your competition is connecting with on that particular platform. Look at the different types of content they’re sharing. See what’s working well for your competition and what is not working as well. What types of content have the highest engagement?


Foter / CC BY-SA

Identify the content you’ll share. Ask yourself why people would want to follow you. What do you have to offer?  Give them a reason to follow you by positioning yourself as the expert in your given industry. If you’re in the insurance industry, consider sharing tips, industry news, original visual content (such as infographics and photos from conferences), etc.

Frequency. Ask yourself if you and your team are able to devote enough time to another platform. How much time do you have to tweet/post on the new platform? Don’t set expectations too high, meaning, don’t plan to tweet three times a day, if you only have time to tweet a few times a week.

Ensure voice/tone is consistent. Be sure there’s a designated person tweeting and not several. This will ensure your tone is consistent throughout. Make sure your tone is appropriate for the industry you’re reaching out to.

Determine your end-goal and be realistic. Are you looking to increase traffic to your website? Consider sharing company news, blogs and other pages on your domain. Maybe you’re looking to create overall awareness for your company. Share company news while sprinkling in relevant industry news that will pertain to your audience.

Don’t try to tackle too many goals at once. Stick to a few until you’ve perfected your approach and go from there.

Those are just a few things to consider before you jump into creating a new social media account. Have anything to add? Comment below.

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

Working Remotely: Creating the Perfect Atmosphere


socialstratmatt / Foter / CC BY-SA

Working remotely has its perks: no commute, comfy clothes, fewer distractions. But it’s key to create the right atmosphere for yourself. Choosing the right space, desk, wall color, etc. all play a role in creating the right atmosphere. Remember, your bed does not count as an office space. Below, we explore the elements that create the perfect working environment.

Space
If you work remotely, I cannot stress enough how important it is to create a separate work space. “Whenever possible, try to differentiate your workspace from your personal space. For instance, it’s not always the best idea to set up your desk in your bedroom, since you can get easily distracted and want to take a nap,” Curt Mercadante says on his blog.  Try setting up a spot away from distractions. If you’re tempted to take a nap, do laundry or tidy up on the kitchen, it’s probably best to avoid the bedroom, laundry room or kitchen.

Desk ergonomics and color play a key role
Having the right desk set up is essential. How you sit can affect your posture, productivity and comfort level. If you’re slumping over and uncomfortable, you may be less likely to perform at your highest potential. Try different desk options and see which one suits you best.

Color can play a big role in productivity and mood. As mentioned in the Huffington Post, the color green can make you more creative. Avoid “loud” colors like red and orange – as they may be distracting and too harsh on the eyes.

Noise
Try setting up a spot away from noise. For example, if the front of your house faces a busy street, set up your space opposite of that. This may seem little in the scheme of things, but it’s an important factor to consider.

All these factors play an important role in creating the ideal atmosphere and increasing productivity. What is your ideal work-at-home space?

Photo credit: socialstratmatt / Foter / CC BY-SA

Employee Travel: Preparing for Summer Travel

For Kimball Communications, summer is packed with conferences, workshops and events. Our employees attend conferences across the U.S., and since we cannot physically be together each day it’s important to have a plan before traveling. You, too, can keep everything running smoothly by following this simple, yet effective strategy.


Eelke de Blouw / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)
  • Prepare ahead of time. Have an internal meeting to go over everyone’s travel plans. Be sure you know when and where everyone will be throughout the summer. Keep a calendar of employee’s travel arrangements and daily schedules.
  • Stay connected. Technology is key. Skype, voice call, text and email will keep everyone informed.
  • Be aware of time zones. Remember, there’s a good chance you will not be on the same time zone. Schedule calls with each other appropriately.
  • Delegate tasks. Make sure all your bases are covered. Assign timely tasks to colleagues. This will ensure deadlines are still met and will simplify things tremendously.
  • Reach out to clients. Ensure clients are aware when you’ll be out of the office. It’s important to let clients know there will always be someone they can reach out to if a problem or question arises.

How do you stay connected during travel? Follow #KPRontheroad to see where we’ve been, and where we’re going, this summer.

Photo credit: Eelke de Blouw / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Consistency Matters on the Social Web

When it comes to managing social media platforms, consistency matters. From the content that is shared to the voice/tone, being consistent is vital. Below we explore a few ways to keep everything in sync.


mkhmarketing / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

A few things to consider …

  • Frequency matters. Ensure content is shared regularly on platforms. Posting four to five times a week? Stick with that posting schedule that disperses your posts evenly across the week. Avoid disappearing on platforms for an extended period of time.
  • Avoid randomness. Stick with content related to the industry or your brand identity. It can be confusing when seemingly random content is shared especially if someone is visiting the page for the first time.
  • Voice consistency matters. Be sure the voice and tone is similar when posting, responding or engaging with others especially if a few people manage the account. This helps establish a friendly rapport.
  • Keep the company name consistent. Avoid confusion and stick with the same company name. For example, decide whether or not your will use your company or brand’s full name or acronym.
  • Keep the logos uniform across all platforms. If you have different versions of your logo, ensure you are using the same one across social accounts. This helps people find and recognize you across platforms.

Feel free to share any additional tips in the comments!

Photo credit: mkhmarketing / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Responding to Consumers on Social Media

It’s vital to respond to posts, tweets, questions, etc., on social media, but there’s a right way to handle responding. It’s important to be present for your customers. You certainly do not want to be a ghost on your social media accounts. Below, we explore the right versus wrong ways to respond.

ivanpw / Foter / CC BY
  1. Wrong: Do not acknowledge a mistake a customer brings to your attention via social media. Right: No matter how small the mistake, always acknowledge a mistake and apologize promptly.
  2. Wrong: Listen but don’t respond. Being a ghost and not responding to customers is not a good reflection on your company/brand. Right: It’s important to respond to both positive and negative posts.
  3. Wrong: Respond to everyone with a generic message so everything is consistent. Right: Craft responses that can be personalized to handle different types of comments.
  4. Wrong: If there’s an issue, don’t ask for personal information such as an email address or phone number when responding. Right: Ask the customer to email you (be sure to provide an email address that will go directly to you and not a generic email response center). This also ensures the conversation will be handled privately and not online.
  5. Wrong: Take your time to respond to followers. Right: Ensure someone at your company responds to posts in a timely manner and directs the posts to the appropriate person if there’s a question or issue.

Social media managers, do you have any additional tips to share? Comment below.

Photo credit: ivanpw / Foter / CC BY

Why it’s a bad idea to link Facebook and Twitter posts

I sometimes cringe when I see Facebook and Twitter posts/accounts linked. Linking accounts automatically posts the same content from one account directly to another account. My initial thought when I see a Facebook account linked to a Twitter account or vice versa is a robot is running the account. I fear no one is listening to their customers on a given platform if the two are linked.

Brands may think it makes sense to link these accounts for a few different reasons. Someone running the account simply may not realize he/she should not be linking the accounts. Brands may think it saves a significant amount of time and cuts out a step.

Though it may save brands a minute or two, it may hurt the business in the long run. Yet, some companies still link their posts. Below, I’ll discuss why it make sense not to connect Facebook and Twitter accounts.

striatic / Foter.com / CC BY

Here are a few reasons not to link Facebook and Twitter posts/accounts:

  • Linking accounts gives brands a robotic feel. It can make it seem like brands are not listening.
  • Less clicks may occur when posts are the same across networks.
  • It lacks personality. It’s like a machine is just spewing out information and tweets instead of a human.
  • There’s no conversation/engagement when Facebook is linked to Twitter. Brands could be engaging with other accounts and mentioning Twitter handles.
  • Often people pause when they see accounts linked and may be less likely to visit a page.

If time is an issue, which it is for most, take advantage of a social media management platform. This will allow brands to login to one account to manage multiple social media networks. This way businesses won’t have to login to Facebook and Twitter separately. We like HootSuite and SproutSocial for managing our accounts.

Photo credit: striatic / Foter.com / CC BY

4 Social Media Mistakes Brands Make

Social media can enhance brands, but sometimes brands make social media errors that could potentially hurt its reputation. Let’s face it, not all brand are flawless when it comes to social media. Brands large and small have all made a mistake at one point or another, but you don’t want your brand to lose credibility due to social media mistakes.

Social media platforms should be a priority. After all, posts are there for everyone to see. Below are 4 common social media mistakes brands make.

fireflythegreat / Foter.com / CC BY

Don’t Make These Mistakes

  • Incorrect links. Nothing is worse than coming across an article with a link that leads to the wrong website or does not work. Always double check links!
  • Long links. The never ending link is hard on the eyes and it can appear spammy. Please use a link shortener.
  • Generic posts or irrelevant posts. Posting generic posts or completely irrelevant can make your followers stray. Be original and creative.
  • Little or no Engagement. Being a ghost on social media platforms may be the worst mistake a brand can make. Let other know you’re listening. Make a point to interact with your followers.

Those are just a few mistakes brands make. Which mistake makes you cringe the most?  Comment below.

Photo credit: fireflythegreat / Foter.com / CC BY

PR pros, take a lunch break!

Lunch at Koinonia

Wouldn’t it be nice to eat without getting mayo all over your keyboard?

We’re all guilty of not talking a lunch break and eating over our laptops at times. Even if we do step out for a “break,” we’re usually fiddling with our phones, checking emails, etc. Many PR professionals eat lunch at their desks. “Sixty-nine percent of PR professionals eat lunch at their desk rather than joining that chatty klatch heading out to a nearby deli, according to the PR Daily Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey” (PR Daily) With the year coming to a close, PR pros are especially busy planning for 2014, but it’s not an excuse to skip lunch.

Why it’s vital to take a lunch break

  • Food=fuel. If you take some time for lunch, you’ll have more energy to tackle the next project.
  • If you step away from your desk, you’ll be able to clear your mind and take a break from the digital world.
  • Heidi Mitchell (WSJ) discusses other benefits of taking a lunch break in this video, “Is Taking a Lunch Break Better for Your Health?

A few things you may want to do on your break

  • Refuel, but not with coffee. Try an apple or fruit instead.
  • Take your dog for a stroll if you’re nearby or work from home.
  • Take some time to breathe in the fresh air to help relax your mind.
  • Pamper yourself occasionally. Why not schedule a massage?

Like this post if you’re sitting at your desk reading on your “lunch break.”

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / Foter.com / CC BY

Refreshing Your Content This Fall

Autumn is the perfect time to evaluate your company’s social media performance. You can consider what has and hasn’t worked, and adjust accordingly to make the most of the holiday season. It’s also the ideal time to map out your content strategy for the following year based on this year’s analytics.

Below are five tips to help you refresh your content this fall.

Nature Pictures by ForestWander / Foter / CC BY-SA

5 tips to refresh your content this autumn 

  • Are you attending conferences and events this fall? Make the most of them by doing your research early. Ensure you have your booth numbers and appropriate hashtags.
  • Peruse each platform and see how you can make your content more visually appealing.
  • Check out the competition and see what  they’re posting. Are they sharing seasonal articles and specials?
  • Sift through your current content. See how you can make it more exciting and shareable.
  • Relate some of your content to the season. If you own a salon, consider creating fall specials, sharing the latest trendy fall looks, etc. Overall, be aware of fall holidays, awareness months and seasonal weather.

Do you have any tips to add? Do you review your content each season?

Photo credit: Nature Pictures by ForestWander / Foter / CC BY-SA