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Social Strategy Vs. Planning

As seen on the Loudoun Small Business Blog

Teams have winning strategies. Businesses have strategies for sales and growth. Teachers have strategies for success. Where is your social strategy for your digital presence?

Social Strategy Vs. Planning

Did you know that having a social strategy and planning for your digital presence are two distinct endeavors? Planning your themes for content sharing is a must-do for digital marketing success this year. Knowing ahead of time the themes through which you will share content makes for easier creation and focused growth. You want your message to remain cohesive throughout your sharing and having a plan simplifies that process. So by all means, do some thematic and structured planning for the content you will create and share throughout the year.

Your digital strategy should be different. Your digital strategy should encompass a variety of plans to pivot, change directions, and meet the curve balls that each platform will throw. A digital strategy is your ability to be flexible and meet the demand of each platform with your content. You should be able to quickly make decisions and pivot your content or ways of sharing at the flick of a switch.

A Protection Plan

I've heard it said before and believe truly that if your favorite platform goes away tomorrow, where will that leave you? I do think that paying the cost of your own hosting, keeping files, videos and content separate from your platform postings is incredibly necessary. You need to have a presence on a variety of platforms. This not only opens you to a variety of new followers and connections but it allows you to pick up the pieces if something were to happen. Save your Facebook live videos, back up your YouTube creations and keep your graphics and images for later use. (ThrowbackThursday, anyone?)

As platforms change your strategy should not remain the same. Be active, be informed and be visible.

If you need help navigating the digital and social world of business in your industry- please reach out! meg@mokupmedia.com

The Power of Follow Through; Don't Waste Your Connections

As seen on the Loudoun Small Business Blog

I recently attended the Virginia Women's Business Conference and was blown away by the amount of networking available. If you have an opportunity to attend next year, DO. IT! As a solopreneur, it is vital that I network, connect, and make myself available to potential clients and business friends. The real power is in the follow through.

Imagine the following scenario:

You attend a local chamber event or networking dinner. The evening is spent sharing your story, connecting with fellow business owners and engaging in productive conversations. You leave with more business cards than you can carry and you are psyched!

What a great evening!

Fast forward to the next business day.
You have a to-do list, clients to attend to and general work to complete. Where does the follow through fall? In short, most times it falls off the agenda.

The Power of Follow Through

You. Must. Follow. Through.
There is no other, more direct way to say it. Many of us are introverts who would much rather stay behind our computers than pick up the phone or reach out. That only hurts your business in the long game. Those connections collect dust, the business cards fade, and so do the positive first impressions. Schedule time on your calendar, before you attend the event, to follow up. That way, you will limit the excuses available for falling through on the follow through. Personally, if I meet someone and they reach out to me on the next business day, I am impressed. I am also more likely to engage with their content or their services as I feel as though I am a priority for them.

Tips for Following Through

Tip 1: Make it a date
As stated above, schedule time into your calendar for the specific purpose of following up with new connections. If you have time reserved for this task you have no excuse not to connect.

Tip 2: Make it personal
A mass email from your email client is great but impersonal. Before you "high-five the monkey" (any MailChimp users here?) reach out personally. A quick email to say thank you for their time and to inform them that you'll be sharing some industry tips or freebies the next day is gold! It'll also improve your open rate, I know from personal experience.

Tip 3: Don't Sell
I know you want to offer your services, product or information for a cost but doing so may cost you the connection. Instead of offering to sell your new friend something, offer to continue your conversation. Reference a question or pain point they relayed to you during your chat. BONUS TIP: It helps to make notes on the business cards you collect for this purpose.

Tip 4: Capitalize on First Impressions
Did you nail your networking chats? Are you invigorated and ready to tackle the world? If so, don't let that positive energy go to waste. If you felt it, your new connections probably did too. Hopefully, they were impressed by your industry knowledge, enthusiasm, and professionalism. Allow those good impressions to work for you by following up in a timely, positive manner.

For example:

Hi Meghan,
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me at the Virginia Women's Business Conference on Friday. I don't know about you, but I am excited about 2018. I am reaching out to let you know that, as promised, you'll be receiving the Twitter Tips and Insta-Greatness downloads in an email tomorrow. If you have any questions after receiving tomorrow's email, please don't hesitate to reach out. You mentioned a bit of a strategy block in planning for next year, and I completely understand- I hope those tips help! I truly enjoyed our conversation and would love to continue it if you feel that would be beneficial to you and your business.


Thank you and have a great day, 
Meg

 

Do you have a strategy or gold nugget of wisdom for following through on your new connections? Share it below!

I recently shared a video about this exact topic! Enjoy!
The Power of Follow Through

 

Strategies for Businesses Online

As seen on the Loudoun Small Business Blog

As we take time this month to count our blessings and be thankful, let us not forget our followers. Doomed is the business that does not interact. By nature, social media is a platform for discussion and interaction. We find all too often that businesses are collecting followers but not utilizing them as people. The following suggestions and strategies are great ways to show followers the gratitude they deserve.

Strategy 1: It's Not About the Number

Numbers, especially large numbers, are awesome but what do they mean without engagement? In short, nothing. A large number of followers without comments, shares or likes is akin to shouting into a room before the party begins. Businesses will be much more successful if they have an active following versus one that is silent. Advertisers looking for new influencers are becoming savvier. They are starting to notice not only follower number but engagement as well. A company may well have thousands of followers, but one or two 'likes' per post isn't going to cut it.

Strategy 2: Variety is Key

Variety is the spice of social media. This refers to platform usage as well as types of content. A business will want to have a presence on several platforms for many reasons. The biggest reason being that algorithms and platforms change. One day a business' content could be performing well and the next it disappears. Whether this is due to a glitch or bug, or if it is due to a new algorithm rollout, a business' social presence should have other avenues to share its content. When this happens, let the platform rest- post as necessary, but don't obsess over the changes. Take the time to explore and beef up the presence on another platform.

Strategy 3: Relationships Equal ROI

Any decent digital marketer will stress the importance of storytelling and building relationships within the content. A stronger presence of content that resonates with the audience help followers to connect with a business both online and in the real world. Social media will not create new clients or be a magic money-making button. A strong digital presence will support a business' thought leadership and subject matter expertise. It will help to build trust and create an emotional relationship with potential clients.

Social media is a necessary part of a business plan, but it will not be the only thing a business must do to bring in new business.

If you're looking to promote your digital presence, identify strengths and weaknesses in your platforms or jumpstart your content, take part in the MOKup Media Free Digital Diagnostic. Email meg@mokupmedia.com to get started.

Social Media Tricks & Treats

Follower growth is among the top search queries in social media. You may be stagnant in your follower growth or worse losing followers if you’re making some common content mistakes. This post serves as your October tricks AND treats to aid in the growth of your followers and your overall digital know-how.

https://youtu.be/gS_0qDVPx4s

Your Content is Boring

Are you sharing the same home for sale? The same October or holiday special across all platforms? Let me ask, do you enjoy watching the same commercial at every break? No. Your followers do not enjoy seeing a multitude of similar posts either. They would prefer to learn the story behind your company. They want to meet the important and new players in your office as well as helping to celebrate you and your endeavors- so share with them!

Leave Politics for Your In-Person Discussions

Times are radically charged with systems, ideas, and political mayhem regardless of your beliefs. Unless your direct business is of one side or another, leave politics or other spurring topics off of your platforms. Otherwise, you risk alienating at least half of your current following as well as those who may look to follow you in the future. As we say in the social media world, stay in your lane when possible.

 

Your Content is Unoriginal

I hate to break it to you but if you're borrowing content from other sources and reposting it (which is an infringement in the most basic of ways) you are simply on borrowed engagement. I implore you to create original, value-added content in order to help tell your story and build a solid foundation for your company.

 

Your Content is Inconsistent

Posting once a week is commendable for being on one's radar but to truly move the needle and create a foundation more consistency is necessary. I recommend a minimum of 3 times a week on a platform such as Facebook for engagement building and growth. This may be a daunting task if a business has multiple platforms. A dedicated manager or team is advisable to focus solely on a company's digital presence. Please note that this team should be comprised of individuals who know, well, the voice and goals of the company as a whole- a task for more than an intern for sure.

Avoiding these pitfalls will help to well-round your endeavors and build your story online and in circles for networking.

How to Build Positive Relationships Online (for your business)

As seen on the Loudoun Small Business blog.

Dating apps and websites are at an all-time high. People find love in all kinds of places, and your consumers and clients can fall in love with your business and brand too! Don't worry; this is not that type of blog. As we all know a sense of community, of belonging, is imperative to positive interactions. Social media in the name evokes a sense of community. The purpose of using social media in business is to help tell the story of your company and build positive relationships with your followers.

Can You Really Build Positive Relationships Online?

Like it or not, you are at a disadvantage from the beginning when building a digital presence for your business. Consumers in this day and age are not only skeptical but often distrusting of businesses on social media. Do not fear! This mountain is small, and you can climb it with a little consistent effort. Consumers today seek transparency and trust in their interactions with businesses online. So be genuine! Twitter is a huge component for the cheers and jeers type mentality as it gets rapid results. Businesses who interact professionally yet in a way that is relatable and human often find themselves with an easier path to traverse. Businesses who take a snarky or sarcastic approach (unless done very well in rare cases) can harm their brand. Mainstream media picks up on the well done, and not-so-well-done social interactions of businesses and their consumers. The ability for you to communicate exists- you simply have to start interacting.

The Best Way to Build Positive Relationships

The best way for you to build positive relationships between your brand and your consumers is to show up. Social media is not a mentality of "I made a Facebook page, bring on the followers." but one of consistent value-added sharing. You need to show up and share regularly on your social platforms. For this reason, many businesses outsource their social strategy; it's a full-time commitment when done correctly. Part of showing up to your followers includes being a consumer of the platform. Not only must you post consistently and with value, but you must also engage in other ways. You should be liking, sharing and commenting on posts that reflect your values or those which you support. You must spend some time getting to know your followers, their likes, and dislikes as well as other brands similar to yours that they follow. Appearing in places other than your Facebook Business Page or your Instagram feed are great ways to showcase your well-rounded social side.

Note that this is the best way, not the easiest way. As an entrepreneur, you know that good things take time and the same is true for your digital presence. If you invest your time, or your funding in creating a strong, meaningful social strategy, your foundation for building those positive relationships will be strong.

Remember, your business lives and breathes online, give it the opportunity to shine!

If you have questions or would like to learn more about creating a strong foundation for your digital presence, please email Meg Kerns at meg@mokupmedia.com or visit the MOKup Media YouTube Channel. You can also request a FREE digital diagnostic to assess your current social media activity!

Should Your Business Be Using Video Content?

“Social Media Times, They Are A-Changing”

Just when we think we’ve figured out how our digital presence is performing, things change… again. The innate nature of digital media is that it has the ability to pivot and adhere to the ever-changing confines of accepted use on the internet. Gone are the days when we started every Facebook post with “Meg Kerns is…” In their place stands a preference for posting articles, value added content and updates with blog-like acuity. Businesses wouldn’t dream of posting an ‘is’ update on Facebook for fear of being labeled ‘digitally inept.’ So that begs the question, why are they fighting against the next trail?

Is Video Here to Stay?

Video is assumed to be the next bandwagon effect of digital marketing. If you look deeper, we've pointed toward video since the birth of the digital sphere. Books such as The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage have taught us much. Highlighting the ability for digital media to move forward as our greatest advantage in learning and growing. Utilizing video as a means of storytelling and relationship building from a business perspective is almost obvious, so why the push-back? Put yourself in the shoes of a current business owner. They hear that they must have a digital presence, use photos and curated content of a visual sense and now their primary focus should be video, they may be understandably burnt out. A significant number of business owners are planting their feet behind their own lines in the sand and refusing to incorporate video. This being to their ultimate detriment.

 

The Case for Video

A business’ followers are finding content primarily on their home feeds when they scroll through Facebook. It is the job of the business to create content that causes the user to pause. They then hope to digest the content ultimately leading to some sort of positive action. Originally, businesses were using wording along with colorful, eye-catching images to gain the attention of followers and potential clients/customers. Look at the feed of the majority of Facebook’s users, one might notice an abundance of colorful, eye-catching content. This overabundance makes most people immune to its certain charms.

Enter video; Facebook has the advantage of automatically setting videos to begin playing. This forces the user’s eyes to momentarily pause in order to register the moving images. That may be all it takes to make a decision in continuing through the video’s entirety or scrolling past. If a business’ video is entertaining or interesting enough they're hooked. They’ve captured their audience and can then request a call to action that is favorable to their goals. Without this video engagement, business posts are relying on the follower entirely instead of pushing them toward a specific action.

If given two options, a stagnant yet well-crafted image versus a mediocre video, the video will almost always outrank the image in terms of engagement and visibility due to the platform’s preference for video content.

In the end, if a business wants to remain relevant, transparent and authentic they need to begin utilizing video or risk burial under the myriad of content being pushed out every minute vying for attention.

So, let us ask again- why aren't you using video?

If you'd like to learn more about using video as a business, please jump over to YouTube and check out the Business BootyKick Series! I look forward to answering any of your questions and offering you a free social media diagnostic to get started!

Business Netiquette and Digital Presence

As seen on the Loudoun Small Business blog.

How do you promote a positive digital presence as a small business or brand?

-Restaurant Berates Customer for Bad Review
-Local Business Spars with Customer Over Quality of Services
-New Brand Makes Waves with Sub Par Products

These could very well be similar headlines to some seen online just this week. Businesses could avoid these eye-catching taglines with a quick lesson in online etiquette or netiquette.

There are many opportunities on the World Wide Web when it comes to small businesses, but those opportunities can turn toxic quickly. Often, netiquette goes straight out of the window when it comes to small businesses online. Having a plan and a comprehensive understanding of internet etiquette can serve to save a business from undue criticism in a digital world.

The following tips can serve as reminders for companies and brands to improve their digital prowess and avoid common pitfalls online.

Be Present Online:

A business should have a digital presence on whatever platform makes sense for them. They should choose the platform with which they can consistently engage. Avoiding social platforms may be detrimental as customers and clients often head to the internet first when researching new brands. Companies want to 'show up' in more ways than simply a website.

Be Intentional:

What businesses post online should align with their brand and the goals for their digital strategy. If a company is looking to promote transparency in a behind-the-scenes approach, the published content should reflect that feeling. If they are seeking to educate, the content should be consise, clear and informative. One of the biggest blunders made by businesses is muddying their messages with an overabundance of disjointed content. Stay consistent. Stay Concise.

Be Professional:

Most business owners would not choose to have a knock-down drag-out verbal altercation with a customer in their establishment, yet we see the online equivalent all too often. In our current landscape of connectivity, the chances of a negative review or perceived experience are high. If a business is on the receiving end of such a review, defending, arguing or negatively engaging is a poor choice. On the other hand, completely ignoring the review is also a poor choice. Striking the right balance in responding can preserve a positive digital presence.

Be Patient:

Consistent and on-brand content will help to promote the overall presence of a business. It may also serve to create new warm-leads as potential customers get to know a brand. The practice of sharing content consistently and positively engaging with followers will help to genuinely and authentically build an audience. Patience is the name of the game.

Overall, netiquette follows a few golden rules: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" as well as "Say it forget it*, write it regret it." If businesses don't want words to haunt them, they shouldn't post them online. *Companies are best not to say things they don't want online as well with the abundance of video popping up online.

If you're looking to jumpstart your business' presence online or have questions regarding the creation of a digital strategy or netiquette guidelines, email meg@mokupmedia.com for a complimentary Digital Marketing Audit. MOKup Media

Social Civility

Social Civility

There are many things to remember when running a brick & mortar business. 
Most are easy: Don't pillage & plunder, take care with your language and generally refrain from acting like a buffoon. 
Many of the same things can be said for your online presence, yet many a faux pas is made by savvy business owners who just don't understand the rules of managing their brand online. 
 

Own your Brand

MOKup 3 (1).jpg

Building a brand isn't done overnight. It takes careful thought, trial, error and intentional decision making. Those who tell you to 'just do what you feel like doing' have never built a brand from the ground up. They have no clue what they're talking about.
I'll let you in on a big secret...
You. Are. Your. Brand.

If you're running a business or building a persona online, you are your brand. If you don't want something plastered on a bus in the biggest city in the country, don't put it online. When building your brand, in the beginning, you are your brand's only ambassador. Everything you do and put out with your brand in mind must be for the greater good of your image. 

Here's another secret... 
Patience is paramount.

They say Rome wasn't built in a day for a reason. It's to remind you that overnight success is a pipe dream. How many videos and products can you name from a viral video? What happened to the stars of those videos? If they didn't know how to utilize their instant success, if they didn't know how to build an online presence, they're sitting right next to you at level 1. 

So, you need to OWN your brand image.
Your colors, your fonts, your messaging and your overall feel. 
Start with those few identifiers and you'll have a strong foundation for brand building. 
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was your brand.