Jerks are going to be jerks: Do’s and Don’ts for dealing with jerks online

December 4, 2014

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter

Sometimes in life you encounter people who are jerks.

Via Mike Licht

Via Mike Licht

As children, we were often told to ignore the jerks. As adults we find ways to cope with the jerks we encounter throughout our days.

It’s a little more difficult for companies to deal with the jerks on social media. Unfortunately social media also provides jerks with a megaphone for their poor attitudes.

You can’t make everyone like you on social media, but you can take the high road when it comes to the social jerks who you encounter.

Don’t fire back at them.

If someone tweets nasty things at your company, don’t tweet nasty things back at them. It makes you look petty and like a jerk yourself.

Do fix legitimate problems.

People often use social media for customer service problems. If someone is having a problem that has them upset, they might come off as a jerk on social media. Publically respond that you would like to do what you can to fix their problem and ask for contact. For example, “We’re sorry to hear you’re having a delivery problem, please direct message us your email or phone number so we can find out more about your problem.” Or “We have been experiencing some issues with x, please call customer service at 800-xxx-xxx for an update.”

Don’t let jerks scare you away from using social media.

Often when we consult with a company who either refuses to join social media or has their channels locked down, it’s because they’re concerned about negativity on their social media channels. People will say what they want, if you let them say it on your channel you can be aware of it, try to fix it, or let your community come to your defense.

Do let the rest of your community support you.

Social media jerks (they are usually called “detractors”) tend to show themselves for who they are. Social community members are great at identifying the jerks out there and will sometimes shut them down for you by responding with their own positive tales. Definitely foster a positive social media community, it can work for your organization.

Don’t be a jerk yourself.

Whether this is on your personal or your company’s social media, do what you can to not be a jerk. If you have a problem with a product or service and choose to try to solve it on social media, do so in a human and respectful manner. It sets a great example for all around you.

Do report abusive users.

It is absolutely okay to report a social media account that is spamming or harassing your company. On a promoted tweet program for a client, one user took their hate for promoted tweets so far as to abuse our client’s account and claimed to report us for spam. (All social media ad programs that we run are in compliance with the platform’s policies and are in no way spam.) So we reported the user back for harassment. Make sure you read the terms before reporting a user so that you aren’t being a jerk. (By the way, if you don’t want to see a promoted tweet or post, click the dismiss button and Twitter won’t show it to you again.)


Social Media For Manufacturers

September 25, 2014

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer

Awhile back, we presented a webinar on social media for industrial manufacturers. Many in our clients’ industries wonder if social media is worth their time, and we typically say yes.

Social media is a broad and sometimes intimidating part of marketing. To simplify it just a little, we focus on the four areas where we see manufacturers receiving the greatest value:

  • YouTube
  • SlideShare
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogs

To get the scoop, you can watch the webcast on YouTube and follow along on the slides below.

 

Webinar: Social Media In Manufacturing

Are you Having Trouble Getting the Staff on Board Supporting Social Media?

January 8, 2014

I think most marketers realize that social isn’t going away and they need to plan to incorporate it into their overall marketing strategy. Marketers also know that adding social means more work for their existing staffs.

One of the biggest issues is push back from others within the organization. While marketing may be in charge of social media, it doesn’t mean they have to carry the entire load. I recently read an article by Stephanie Shkolnik in Social Media Examiner that outlines suggestions on why to get employees involved. Here are some highlights:

  • Define the end goal - like any other initiative, we need to define objectives on what we’re trying to accomplish and how we are going to measure its success.
  • Create a task force - whether you’re a one-man band marketing department or have a big staff, you need to get others involved and they can and should come from other departments. Tap into sales, customer service, engineering, R&D and general management to be part of the process.
  • Develop a strategy - that will involve the whole company.
  • Be consistent - hold regular meetings with the team and track your progress.

If you get others involved and explain what the goal is, it will become easier to get others on board and share the responsibility.


A Picture is Worth…

December 12, 2013

Today’s post is from our PR Engineer, Rachel Kerstetter.

We’re deep into mapping out marketing plans for 2014. When meeting with an editor to talk about their content needs in the next year, one comment stood out to me the most, “We found that pictures are the most popular.”

The #1 item they requested from us (and our clients) next year is photos. If you’ve been paying attention to marketing and social media trends over the past couple of years, you know that the entire internet is becoming more visual. In fact, a picture might be worth far more than a thousand words now.

According to Jeff Bullas’ blog post 6 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Include Images in Your Marketing, images encourage people to engage with your content. When I think about my own news browsing habits, I’m more likely to click on an article that has an intriguing image.

Jeff shared some interesting stats, including:

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views.
  • Including photos or videos with press releases increases views by more than 45%
  • Facebook engagement rates for photos are 37% higher than plain text

I highly recommend reading the rest of his blog post for some tips on integrating photos.

Courtesy of: B2B Infographics

Relevant Social Media and SEO

November 14, 2013

Today we have a guest post from Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, about the evolution of social media and SEO.

logo4wIn our B2T niche, as well as in the general B2B market, we use the word “relevant” frequently.

When it comes to B2T social media, quantity does not equal quality. Quality social media engagement can’t be measured in simple number of followers or likes. The relevance of those follows and likes is where we find the quality.

It can be hard to keep up with current SEO tactics that will land you on the first page of Google search results since the algorithms change every day, but as social media continues to grow, SEO is getting easier because it’s no longer optimizing for search engines that will land you on page one of Google.

Social engagement is becoming the new SEO. One of the many benefits of being involved in social media that I explain when we create social strategies is improving search visibility.

I was reading, “6 Reasons Social Media is Critical to Your SEO” on Social Media Today and Stephanie Frasco explained the concept so well when she wrote about the old SEO strategy of link building,

“Think about it – why did Google ever allow links to determine which websites ranked above all the others? The answer is simple: links were like “votes” for your website. The more votes you get, the better off you are. So SEO companies started building links (aka “votes”) manually[…]The idea behind links as a ranking factor is a very good idea, but since it’s become so easy to manipulate, Google has been forced to turn to social media channels which do the same thing but are much harder to manipulate. Link building was always about social proofing.”

The shift toward social search is an excellent opportunity to market more efficiently. Connecting with people (even in business-to-business social media, the decision-makers are still people) won’t have constantly changing algorithms because people have been communicating in similar ways basically forever. Social media is simply taking the natural, conversational form of communication that history shows taking place in the gathering places (think the Greek agora or the city coffee shop) and put it online, where it’s easier to be involved with the conversations that are relevant to you.

You can read the rest of Stephanie’s article here.


The Scary Side of Public Relations

October 31, 2013

Today Rosemarie and Rachel from our PR department are sharing some of the aspects of public relations that can be the scariest to clients.

jackolantern05We find the realm of public relations to be fun, exciting and consistently fresh, but some areas of our field can be scary to our clients.

Here are the top five fears people have about public relations, and why you shouldn’t be spooked by them.

1. You can’t control what the media does with a story once you’ve given it to them.

“Earned media” is highly credible because readers know that you didn’t purchase the space to promote your company. Public relations and media relations professionals cultivate positive relationships with media, we work with these folks on behalf of multiple clients most of the time so we’ve built the foundation for positive coverage before they even get your story. In B2T public relations, we’re working with trade publications primarily and their goal is to be a source of helpful information for their readers.

It can be scary not to see the actual article before it’s published, but with long lead times of trade media, it can be a sweet surprise to see your words in print.

2. Negative comments on blogs and social media.

Your responses to negative comments offer an excellent opportunity to show off your wonderful customer service. Negative comments happen, and if they happen on your social media, you can control the outcome with your response and the community response from your other fans. It’s actually scarier to hide your head in the sand or cover your ears when it comes to social media.

3. Giving interviews is intimidating.

When we set up interviews with trade publications, they often send some sample questions ahead of time to help you prepare. Knowing how you would answer those questions provides a foundation of confidence. Media people are not out to get you, and by providing an interview you’re helping them educate their readers and they’re helping you get your name and expertise out there.

Think of interviews as a conversation rather than an interrogation. Sometimes our clients are even given the opportunity to review and approve their quotes! And they’re often surprised by how articulate their quotes sound.

4. Am I missing out on all of the new things that pop up overnight?

There is actually a name for this condition, it’s a condition called FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. Your company can’t, and shouldn’t, join every new platform or use every new tool that is introduced. If you’re suffering from a severe case of FOMO, work with your public relations people to set your goals and evaluate which platforms and tools are the best for us to get our hands dirty with and which ones would be a waste of time and resources.

5. I want to use the excellent testimonial from my customers, but I’m afraid to share customer information that my competitors will find.

When you’re confident with a customer relationship and know that you’re giving that customer the best quality and service, there’s no need to be afraid of telling their story. Testimonials are an excellent tool for building your credibility, when others read about what your company made possible for that customer, they’ll wonder what your company can do for them too.

When you feature a customer in a testimonial, you’re also helping them get their name out there and gain more visibility. And they’ll love you for that!

 


What’s a #Hashtag? And 5 Ways to Use Them in Marketing

July 25, 2013

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer, answering one of the questions she’s frequently asked and sharing some tips on how to use hashtags.

The basic mechanics of making a hashtag include putting a pound sign (#) in front of a word, phrase, acronym or combination of characters (but not punctuation).

But beyond calling attention to the words in a tweet, post or whatever, hashtags allow you to join into a more broad conversation. Hashtags have become a standard part of online conversation and stretch across many social platforms. Hashtags originated on Twitter and very recently Facebook added hashtag capabilities to the platform, but you can also use hashtags on: Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and newcomer Vine.

There are many ways to use hashtags, but they all boil down to participating in public conversation. Here are some common ways to use hashtags in marketing communications:

  1. Promote engagement during events. Whether your event is online or offline, it will have a presence. When you create your own hashtag (and publically identify it) you can then monitor and interact with the conversation around your event. Most conferences, trade shows, webinars and other events announce the “official” hashtag, put it on publicity materials and have a designated person using it. Mostly this happens on Twitter but permeates into other social media use.
  2. Host or take part in a Twitter chat. Twitter chats are a simple way to have a conversation with multiple people on the same topic. Chats are traditionally an hour and have a prescribed hashtag. Most chats happen weekly at the same time and center around a prepared set of questions, due to their growing popularity services have been created to help you participate more easily, for example Tweetchat is a Twitter application to organized the tweets on a hashtag and shows them in real time, allowing you to tweet in the action and pause the conversation to catch up.
  3. Run and follow a marketing campaign. If you have a campaign that will get people talking, adding a hashtag to it isn’t a bad idea. Often you’ll find ads that have hashtags to see more online.
  4. Contests. Hashtag-powered contests work the best for photos but can also be used for sharing experiences or answering a question. Just ask your fans/followers to post their entry using your hashtag.
  5. Research. See what people are saying or posting about a topic, brand, event or anything by searching hashtags. If you see a relevant topic hashtagged on your own feed, click it to see what else is being said.

If you still aren’t sure you’re ready to use hashtags, at least get your feet wet by identifying them when you see them and find out how they’re being used.

What are some ways that you’ve seen hashtags incorporated into marketing plans?


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