Friday, 31 July 2015

Meet Team Sprout: Jen, Customer Support Team Lead

Meet Team Sprout Jen Juang

At Sprout Social, one of our core values is open communication—both with our team and with our customers. To that end, members of our customer support team are often the first to respond to questions about our app, and in doing so, they get a lot of #SproutLove. For this installment of our Meet Team Sprout series, we interviewed one of the core members of that ever-helpful group.

Jen Juang started at Sprout as a Customer Advocate and was recently promoted to Customer Support Team Lead. She has been integral in training new Customer Advocates, who communicate in English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese while providing support to all of Sprout’s customers around the world. Jen grew up learning about customer service at her parents’ restaurant, so it’s no surprise that today she approaches her professional role with as much passion as her love of food.

Name: Jen Juang
Department: Support
Started at Sprout: December 2014

How did you get interested in customer support?

My parents own a restaurant, which they opened before I was born, so I’ve always been in an environment focused on customer service. Growing up, I remember my dad telling me about what it’s like to run a business and how you have to work with customers—the customer is always right, and you want to make sure they have a really good experience.

My first job in college was at a hotel, which was very customer service oriented. I realized that I liked working with people, and I was pretty good at it, so I continued down that route. The job that I had before Sprout was more tech support related, and I really enjoyed that. Sprout offers the best of both worlds: You get to work with people, but you also get to work out your analytical, creative and critical thinking skills.

How would you define exceptional customer service?

One of the hallmarks of great customer support is responsiveness. When you email support and you don’t get any response for weeks on end, you feel like you’re in dark. It isn’t a great experience even if they ultimately reply and resolve your problem.

As a Customer Advocate—my role at Sprout before becoming Customer Support Team Lead—it’s important to be on top of everything and make sure you’re responding to the customer as soon as possible. When you get back to them, you need to give them a meaningful response. You’re either resolving their problem or explaining why you can’t, if it’s a situation you aren’t able to resolve.

At Sprout, what does a member of our support team do in a typical day?

We’re on the front lines of communication when people reach out with questions or issues. We handle support phone calls, emails and chats when people have questions about Sprout or how to troubleshoot.

How is your team structured?

We have Customer Advocates as the frontline. They communicate with customers on these platforms. Our Support Engineers work with us and the engineering team to identify trends and targets if a fix is needed. We all sit together with our director so that communication happens fast and we can provide the best for our customers. We also have a remote team that covers overnight support, so we can be as responsive as possible to customers around the world.

What is the most common question you get about Sprout?

People generally have a lot of questions about their reports. There’s so much information available within our reports, and while there are a lot of really great resources in the app, if you don’t know where to find them—like by clicking the little question marks—you might have questions. People ask about specific metrics or about interpreting their data. Others are normal customer support questions: billing, account status and stuff like that.

What is the most challenging thing about your role—and the most rewarding?

The most challenging thing is also the most rewarding: You don’t know what to expect every day. Each day is different. It’s also rewarding that you’re helping customers figure out what’s going on, and that reinforces your confidence in your own skills.

What makes someone a good Customer Advocate?

You have to be patient. Sometimes you have to ask a lot of different questions so you can really dig into the issue and figure out what’s going on. You also have to be really organized so that you can take different pieces of what someone is telling you and put it together into a cohesive story. Multitasking is another necessary skill; you need to be able to juggle email, chat and phone calls while making sure to take care of everything.

Finish this sentence: At the end of a successful support experience, a customer feels…

Appreciative. That’s usually when we see the hashtag #SproutLove—people saying, “You guys are the best! Thanks!” And it’s so sweet. That makes me feel loved.

I’m sure you have some challenging days too. What do you do to relax and have fun outside of work?

I’m a foodie. My social life revolves around food. I love going out to eat, going to restaurants and discovering new dishes. I like to work out a lot; I’m kind of an endorphin junkie. I like fashion and playing pool, but I wouldn’t consider either a hobby.

So as a foodie, what’s your favorite snack from the Sprout kitchen?

I eat a lot of beef jerky, and every morning, I eat an English muffin with peanut butter. Probably the best thing in there is the fresh fruit, especially the avocados.

Do you have a favorite social network?

I’m kind of old school. When Facebook came out and everyone started using it, I was in high school. I really stick to Facebook, but Instagram is fun too.

What’s one thing about you that might surprise your coworkers?

I’m classically trained as a coloratura soprano.

Is music something you studied in high school or college?

In high school and college too. I took some private voice lessons when I moved to Chicago, but then I stopped. Singing for fun is still cathartic and an emotional and creative outlet.

What’s at the top of your bucket list of places to go?

I’m a homebody, so being away from my family so much as an adult means that whenever I have time to travel, I just go home. If I could go somewhere else, it would be Hong Kong.


The post Meet Team Sprout: Jen, Customer Support Team Lead appeared first on Sprout Social.

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Twitter Cards: Everything You Need to Know

Twitter Cards Guide

Marketers are always looking for ways to drive qualified traffic to their website, product page or blog post. Tweeting is a convenient way to do this, but sometimes you need more than 140 characters to get your message across. That’s where Twitter Cards can help.

Here’s everything you need to know about using Twitter Cards—from which type is best for your business to installation tips to how to measure each Card’s performance. Read on and learn how to make your Tweets more engaging.

What Are Twitter Cards?

Twitter Cards allow you to go beyond the 140-character limit of the platform and attach media experiences—such as photos or videos—to Tweets. Because Cards enable your Tweets to stand out in a text-heavy stream, they’re perfect for introducing new products, sharing media and increasing conversions. Without leaving Twitter, your followers can download an app, visit a landing page, use a coupon or sign up for a newsletter or contest.

Types of Twitter Cards

There are five types of Twitter Cards:

  1. Summary Card
  2. Summary Card With Large Image
  3. App Card
  4. Player Card
  5. Lead Generation Card

We’ll look at each one of these more closely, including how to set them up, below.

1. Summary Card

Twitter Summary Card

The Summary Card is ideal for a variety of web content, including blog posts, news articles, product pages and business descriptions. With a title, description and a thumbnail image, the Card is designed to give viewers a preview of the content before clicking through to the featured website. If you regularly share content from a company blog, this card is a must-have.

  • Title: 70 characters
  • Description: 200 characters
  • Image: at least 120×120 pixels and no more than 1MB

Here’s an example of the Summary Card being used by Twitter to share one of its blog posts. As you can see, the content is expanded with a title, short description and thumbnail image associated with the post.

Remember, the title will be truncated at 70 characters. As a general rule, it’s good to craft concise, attention-grabbing headlines for your articles. That way, when you decide to create a Twitter Card, the title will automatically fit within Twitter’s constraints. Also, the title is bolded, making it stand out among the rest of the text, so it should be optimized for the extra attention.

Adding a Summary Card to your Tweets is a simple as adding these meta tags to your website. Just be sure to add in your own site attribution and content.

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary" />
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@flickr" />
<meta name="twitter:title" content="Small Island Developing States Photo Submission" />
<meta name="twitter:description" content="View the album on Flickr." />
<meta name="twitter:image" content="" />

2. Summary Card With Large Image

Twitter Summary Card with Large Image

Functionally, this Card doesn’t differ from the standard Summary Card. The only thing that separates the two is the size of the image. The Summary Card With Large Image features a more prominent, full-width image (as opposed to a thumbnail image) to attract viewers to your website.

  • Title: 70 characters
  • Description: 200 characters
  • Image: at least 280 x 150 pixels and no more than 1MB

In this example from TechCrunch, you can see how much larger the image is than on the standard Summary Card. We haven’t found any data linking the larger image to better performance in the Twitter stream. But if you have a particularly compelling image associated with your article, you might consider using the larger option.

Also, don’t forget that you have 200 extra characters to work with, thanks to the description. After being limited to 140 characters for so long, take advantage of the extra space by adding more context and enticing viewers to click through.

Just as with the standard Summary Card, you can install the larger version to your website by adding these meta tags:

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image">
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@nytimes">
<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@SarahMaslinNir">
<meta name="twitter:title" content="Parade of Fans for Houston’s Funeral">
<meta name="twitter:description" content="NEWARK - The guest list and parade of limousines with celebrities emerging from them seemed more suited to a red carpet event in Hollywood or New York than than a gritty stretch of Sussex Avenue near the former site of the James M. Baxter Terrace public housing project here.">
<meta name="twitter:image" content="">

Note: As of July 3, the Photo, Gallery and Product Cards have been retired. According to Twitter, these Cards “represented just a small percentage of the total Cards shared on Twitter,” and the company wants to “pour resources into the ones that are making an impact and into new ideas and products on the horizon.”

Existing URLs marked up for the Photo and Gallery Cards will be automatically mapped to the Summary Card With Large Image, while the Product Card will be mapped to the standard Summary Card.

3. App Card

Twitter App Card

The App Card is a fantastic way to promote mobile apps on Twitter and drive installs. This Card has been designed to allow for a name, description and icon as well as to highlight rating and price. Twitter can use app IDs to pull in some of that information.

  • Title: pulled from app ID
  • Description: 200 characters
  • Image: app logo pulled from app ID—image should be at least 800 x 320 pixels and can be JPG, JPEG, PNG or GIF format

Your app must be publicly available in an app store, otherwise Twitter won’t be able to pull its information. By default, it searches the US store, so you’ll have to specify via the twitter:app:country meta tag if your app is in another country.

Also, the image for the App Card is downloaded directly from the app store on which your app resides. In order to display properly, Twitter recommends that the image uploaded to the app store be less than 1MB in size.

It’s also worth noting that Twitter automatically creates App Cards for Tweets that contain a link to either the App Store or Google Play. This enables you to create an App Card experience just by sharing links to the download page for your app.

Currently, this Card is available on, iOS and Android. It’s not yet available for the mobile web.

To use the App Card in your Tweets, add the meta tags below:

<meta name="twitter:card" content="app">
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@TwitterDev">
<meta name="twitter:description" content="Cannonball is the fun way to create and share stories and poems on your phone. Start with a beautiful image from the gallery, then choose words to complete the story and share it with friends.">
<meta name="twitter:app:country" content="US">
<meta name="twitter:app:name:iphone" content="Cannonball">
<meta name="twitter:app:id:iphone" content="929750075">
<meta name="twitter:app:url:iphone" content="cannonball://poem/5149e249222f9e600a7540ef">
<meta name="twitter:app:name:ipad" content="Cannonball">
<meta name="twitter:app:id:ipad" content="929750075">
<meta name="twitter:app:url:ipad" content="cannonball://poem/5149e249222f9e600a7540ef">
<meta name="twitter:app:name:googleplay" content="Cannonball">
<meta name="twitter:app:id:googleplay" content="io.fabric.samples.cannonball">
<meta name="twitter:app:url:googleplay" content="">

Note: Platform-specific URLs are deep links into your app. If you don’t support a particular platform, omit tags for that platform from your site.

4. Player Card

Twitter Player Card

The Player Card supports streaming media experiences by putting a live video or audio player inside your Tweet. This is great for businesses that produce a lot of video or audio content, such as Vines or a podcast.

  • Description: 200 characters
  • Image: displayed in place of the player on platforms that don’t support iframes or inline players. Same dimensions as your player; no more than 1MB
  • Video: H.264, baseline profile, level 3.0, up to 640 x 480 pixels at 30fps.
  • Audio: AAC, Low Complexity Profile

Twitter Player Card Example

This Card requires more than simply copying and pasting some meta tags. For easy installation, use the Twitter Card Getting Started Bundle, which includes sample code and detailed instructions. The basic steps to get started are as follows:

  1. Unzip the bundle into a publicly accessible path on your website.
  2. Open the index.html file, and ensure the twitter:image, twitter:player and twitter:player:stream values point to your server and file locations.
  3. Ensure all paths are specified as secure (https://).
  4. Test your URL—follow these instructions.

It’s important that you test your Player Card experience across all Twitter clients, including Twitter’s iPhone and Android apps as well as on and Cards that don’t work in all Twitter clients won’t be approved. To expedite the approval of your Card, read through the Player Card Approval Guide.

Note: All video and audio content must default to “sound off” if they play automatically and must include stop, pause and play controls. Also, you can’t require users to sign in to your experience.

5. Lead Generation Card

Twitter Lead Gen Card

The Lead Generation Card makes it easy for marketers to find and connect off Twitter with potential customers. Adding this Card to your Tweets enables people to express interest in your business without having to fill out a form or leave Twitter.

When people expand your Tweet, they’ll see a description of the offer and a call to action. Conveniently, their name, @username and email address are already pre-filled within the Card so that all they have to do is click a button to send the information directly to you.

  • Title: 50 characters
  • Call to action: 20 characters
  • Post-submit message (optional): 100 characters
  • Image: at least 800 x 200 pixels with a 4:1 aspect ratio and no more than 3MB

Twitter Lead Generation Card Example

Just like the Player Card, the Lead Generation Card requires additional steps to set up. Although the Card is free, it has to be composed and sent from inside Twitter Ads. According to Moz, here’s how to get started:

  1. Log into Twitter.
  2. Click the Setting icon and select Twitter Ads from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click the Creatives tab in the top navigation menu, and select Cards.
  4. Click Create Your First Lead Generation Cards.
  5. Once it’s set up, click the Tweets tab, and then click the blue Compose Tweet button in the top right corner.
  6. Compose your Tweet and click Attach a Card to This Tweet when you’re ready.
  7. Select the Card you’d like to attach, and then send out your Tweet.

CMS Integration

Here are some tips if you plan to integrate any of the Twitter Cards mentioned above into a content management system, such as WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr.

WordPress, for starters, offers three plugins—Jetpack, JM Twitter Cards, WordPress SEO by Yoast—that help automate the integration. You can read detailed walkthroughs for each plugin in Twitter’s CMS Integration Guide.

Tumblr, on the other hand, has Twitter Card meta tags enabled by default and “smart suggests” the Card based on your post type. If you’re looking for additional customization, Twitter recommends reading this Quora post from Dan Leveille.

Unfortunately, on Blogger, it gets a bit trickier. Since the platform doesn’t support plugins like WordPress, you’ll have to manually add a few lines of code into your template. This blog post from Blogger How offers a solid walkthrough.

Regardless of which CMS you’re using, be sure to test an example post via the Twitter Card Validator.

Twitter Card Validator

If you’ve gone through the process of setting up your Twitter Cards, it’s important to make sure they work. Once your meta tags are live, the Twitter Card Validator ensures everything is running smoothly.

Twitter Card Validator

Simply copy and paste the URL of the page with the meta tags in order to ensure they’re working properly. If they are, you’ll see a preview of the Card associated with your site as well as details about how many meta tags are installed and whether they’re loading successfully. If you run into issues with the Validator, check out Twitter’s Troubleshooting Guide.

Twitter Card Analytics

Once your Twitter Cards are up and running, use analytics to better understand how they’re performing.

Twitter Cards Analytics is divided into three tabs: URL Clicks, Install Attempts and Retweets. How you navigate these will depend on the types of Cards you’re using and wanting to track. Regardless of which tab you choose, your data will be divided into seven sections: Snapshot, Change Over Time, Card Types, Links, Influencers, Tweets and Sources. Let’s take a closer look at some of these.


Twitter Cards Snapshot

This section provides an overview of how your content is performing on Twitter and displays the number of Tweets that contain a link to your website or app. Remember, once a Twitter Card has been installed on your site, any Tweet featuring your URL will expand as a Card—regardless of whether you created it.

Your Snapshot will show you the overall data for Tweets containing a link to your site—including impressions clicks, app install attempts and Retweets—posted by anyone on Twitter. These are the bigger circles. The smaller, inlaid circles represent the Tweets linking to your site that originated from your Twitter account.

Change Over Time

Twitter Cards Change Over Time

This part of your Analytics dashboard enables you to see how Tweets featuring Twitter Cards affect your impressions and URL clicks within a specific date range. The overview could help you pick up on trends—both positive and negative—and might influence how you integrate Twitter Cards in future campaigns.

Card Types

Twitter Card Types

The Card Types section compares the top performing Twitter Cards that drove clicks, enabling you to measure the results from different types of Cards you’ve used. In order for this to work and accurately measure results, you must implement the twitter:site property in your Card.

For a more holistic understanding of your performance, this section also includes average click-through rates for other sites, enabling you to compare your results. Keep in mind that different Cards are optimized for different results. These are important insights and, if leveraged properly, can make you a better publisher on Twitter.


Twitter Card Sources

The Sources section displays the apps, websites and widgets your influencers are Tweeting from. Some common sources you’re likely to see are web (, Twitter for iPhone, the Tweet button and other third-party clients.

Links, Influencers & Devices

These sections provide you with additional information that will help structure your content strategy moving forward.

The Links section helps you to understand which pages of your site get the most engagement on Twitter. As a result, you’ll be able to pick up on trends related to which content is resonating with followers.

The Influencers section displays the top accounts that Tweeted links to your content. Once you know who’s sharing your content, be prepared to interact. Engaging these accounts will promote future interaction with your content.

The Devices section shows you the percentage of people who have viewed your Twitter Cards and also have your app installed. This is especially valuable if you’re using, or plan to use, the App Card.

When used strategically, Twitter Cards can lead to increased visibility, click-throughs and Retweets. Before you can use them effectively, talk with your team about your campaign goals to determine the ideal Card type for your content. Be open to experimenting with different Cards, but make sure to measure their performance. And remember, not every Tweet warrants a Twitter Card; for a balanced approach, mix both promotional and conversational content.

The post Twitter Cards: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Sprout Social.

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Online Reviews for Local Businesses: What Marketers Need to Know

Do you own or manage a local business? Are you leveraging the full power of online reviews? To discover how to leverage online review services, I interview Martin Shervington. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and […]

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Engage With Instagram Followers From Sprout

Sprout Social recently added Instagram to our supported social networks. This development helps our customers manage their social efforts more holistically—putting all their social media messages in one central place.

Getting started is easy: Just connect any and all of your Instagram profiles, and give your colleagues permission to manage the account.

Comment on & Interact With Your Instagram Posts

Whether you’re a one-person show or part of a much bigger team, Sprout provides a professional approach to social media management, with a focus on engagement. While you are not able to publish media through Sprout right now—due to Instagram’s not providing this feature as part of its API—you are able to send messages and respond to comments that stream through Sprout’s Smart Inbox.

Engage With Your Instagram Followers in Sprout Social

Participate in meaningful, two-way communication by clicking on any comment or sent photo or video. The comment stream simplifies responding and/or tasking so you can efficiently work through incoming messages.

Reply to Instagram Comments in Sprout Social

Report on Sent Messages

You already use the Sent Messages Report for measuring success for Twitter, Facebook and Google+ posts; now Sprout gives you the tools needed to analyze Instagram posts too. Sprout’s Sent Messages Report provides insights into which posts perform the best by tracking comments, likes and engagement rates. You also get context behind the data with thumbnail images and captions that accompany individual stats, so you don’t have to switch back and forth between Instagram and Sprout. Use the Sent Messages Report to find the true value of your Instagram posts, and set your strategy accordingly.

Report on Your Sent Instagram Messages in Sprout Social

Upcoming Enhancements

Over the next several months, Sprout will continue to develop Instagram capabilities to meet our customers’ needs. One focus will be integration with our mobile app that includes commenting, tasking and sent message reporting. Another enhancement will be advanced reporting, which includes hashtag data and an Instagram profile report. And, Sprout users will also have the ability to monitor their brand’s hashtags in the Smart Inbox.

Stay tuned for more updates, and as always, let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

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15 Tips to Build a Social Media Presence

15 Social Media Presence Tips2-01

On the surface, social media marketing seems like a fairly simple concept. Just create your accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, then post some links and you’re done right? Not necessarily.

Setting up profiles and tweeting links is easy. Building your brand to the point where you have significant reach and influence in your industry is an entirely different story. Brands like Etsy on Facebook, L.L. Bean on Pinterest or Starbucks on Twitter all have a dominating presence on social media. But how did they get to that point? And more importantly, what can your company do to achieve similar results? Follow these 15 tips to build your social media presence.

1. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals and Objectives

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The very first step in building your presence on social media is to set goals and objectives. If your answer to “why are you on social media?” is because everyone else is on it, that’s a problem. Start by setting S.M.A.R.T goals. That means your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. An example of a good S.M.A.R.T goal for social media marketing would be: Increase our Twitter response rate by 25% by the end of the first quarter.

  • Specific: We’ve specifically identified the social channel (Twitter) and a metric (response rate).
  • Measurable: The response rate can be measured from the Sprout Social dashboard.
  • Achievable: We didn’t make an outlandish goal of say, a 100% increase in 10 days.
  • Relevant: Our goal will have an impact on our overall social media presence, making it very relevant.
  • Time-bound: The goal has to be met by the end of the first quarter.

Give your social media marketing efforts a purpose and you’ll be able to avoid wandering around aimlessly.

2. Identify Your Audience

Who are you looking to reach on social media? There are millions of consumers on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but you have to narrow down your target customers to know where your focus will be. Identifying your audience is going to play a role in determining:

  • Which social media sites you’re active on
  • Your posting schedule
  • The type of content you publish
  • Your “voice”
  • The information in your profiles

Once you’ve segmented your audience, get to know what their challenges are, how they use social media and what other brands they engage with on social media. Looking at how your audience interacts with other brands they follow will give you an idea of what resonates the most with them. Then it’s just a matter of mixing in those elements with your own style.

3. Be Human

One of the worst mistakes you can make on social media is coming off as the faceless corporation with zero personality. In today’s age of transparency, people want to get to know your company on a more personal level.

A lot of companies have gotten into the practice of creating separate Twitter accounts specifically for handling customer support issues. This is an amazing opportunity to humanize your brand. A great example is the Toronto Transit Commission’s TTCHelps Twitter account. Every response to a customer has the initials of the person who sent the Tweet. On top of that, it uses “I” when replying instead of “we,” which really makes customers feel like they’re having a more personal interaction.

TTC Twitter Customer Service

4. Build Relationships

It’s easy to neglect the social aspect of social media. But if you want to build your presence, you need to start interacting with customers, influencers and other people in your industry. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to build relationships with people all over the globe within a matter of minutes.

Instead of focusing on getting as many followers as possible, focus on getting engaged followers. The difference is that engaged followers with whom you have established relationships with are more likely to Retweet, Like and +1 your content than someone who only followed you because you followed them first.

Here are a few tips for relationship building through social media:

  • Always @mention people you reference in your social media posts.
  • Answer questions people ask.
  • Reply when people @mention you or share your content.
  • Don’t just Retweet and Like other people’s content; reply with a comment to start a conversation.

5. Create an Editorial Calendar

It’s true that each social media channel has its unique nuances and best practices. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take an integrated approach for planning the content you publish to each one. Instead of having five different content calendars, you can create one and specify how you want to syndicate content on each channel. For example, if we were sharing a link to this article on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, each headline would look slightly different. A Tweet would be short and include a hashtag, a Facebook post would have an eye-catching headline and the Google+ update would include a summary preview of what the post is about.

Editorial calendars allow you to plan what and when you want to publish content. That allows you to optimize every headline and send them out at the right time.

6. Automate the Right Way

Scheduling your social media posts ahead of time is a good way to automate your campaigns. On the other hand, sending out auto-replies to customer complaints is an entirely different story.

Avoid automating any type of human interactions on social media. Automated responses come off as insincere to customers that are hoping to interact with your brand or express their concerns.

bank of america auto response tweet

7. Help Instead of Selling

Social media is one of the best platforms to use for content marketing. One of the main concepts behind content marketing is providing value to your audience without always expecting something in return. Use that same approach when you’re building your presence on social media.

For instance, if your company sells powder for itchy feet and someone Tweets “just came back from the beach and my feet won’t stop itching!” don’t just reply back with a link to buy your product. Share a link to a blog post about what to do when you’re itchy after coming back from the beach. Or better yet, create a blog post with solutions and share that link with them.

By offering solutions to problems instead of just pitching your products all the time, you’re proving your company is an authority and potentially earning a lifelong customer.

8. Optimize Your Social Media Accounts

Use social media optimization to help your brand stand out and be found by new people who aren’t already connected with you. When people are searching Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for keywords related to your industry, you want to make sure your account shows up. You can do that by:

  • Adding relevant keywords in your profile
  • Sharing content related to your industry—include keywords in your posts
  • Connect with popular accounts in your industry

9. Get Visual

Social media and visuals go together extremely well. In fact, images were rated as the most important tactic for optimizing content for social media. They also get more engagement. So if you want to make a big impact on social media, start posting more images.

What type of images should you post? Generic stock photos aren’t going to do the trick. Some of the most shared types of images for social media are:

  • Team photos
  • Photos of customers
  • Photos of events
  • Behind-the-scenes photos
  • Quote photos
  • Infographics

The one thing that these types of visuals all have in common is that they’re made by you. Don’t forget to brand custom graphics with your logo or website name so people can trace them back to your company. There’s always the potential for a selfie to go viral or an infographic to get shared by authorities in your industry. That’s a quick way to add a boost to your social media presence.

ellen viral selfie

10. Make Your Profiles Known

This is one of those tips that’s so simple that it’s easy to overlook. Use every opportunity possible to promote your social media profiles. That means:

  • Adding social media icons to your website
  • Adding links to your profiles in your email signatures
  • Putting your social media usernames on printed materials
  • Linking to your social profiles in guest blog posts

People shouldn’t have to search endlessly in order to find out whether you have an Instagram account. Prominently showcase your profiles whenever you can.

11. Stay Active

How often do you publish content to social media? A lack of activity is a quick way to get overlooked. Nobody wants to follow the company that only posts once a month. Add the fact that content moves extremely quickly on sites like Twitter and Facebook, and it’s easy to see how you can get lost in the mix if you’re not active.

Using tips #5 and #6 to schedule your content in advance is a good way to avoid stagnant periods of time without putting out content. But don’t forget to keep interacting with your audience too.

12. Track What’s Trending

Being on top of the latest trending topics on social media is a good way to land in the feeds of consumers who aren’t following you already. On Twitter, when people look at what’s trending, they’re able to see the most popular Tweets related to that topic regardless of whether or not they’re following the accounts.

Get innovative and come up with creative ways to take advantage of hot trending topics just like the notorious Oreo Tweet during the Superbowl XLVII blackout.

13. Don’t Be Afraid To Pay

There’s a huge myth that social media marketing is 100% free. It’s true that social media levels the playing field for smaller companies bootstrapping on a shoestring budget, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t spend money. Running ads on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn can give your company an added boost and more visibility quickly.

Advertising on social networking sites gives you the advantage to target on a much deeper level than you’d get by paying for a banner on a single site or even using Google AdWords. For example, Facebook lets you narrow down your demographic according to age, education, location, Pages they’ve Liked and a wide range of other criteria. You can get started on a minimal budget and get a great ROI.

14. Use Tools to Monitor Your Activities

If you want to get serious with your social media marketing campaigns then you need the right tools in place. You need social media management software like Sprout Social to give you reports on your engagement, follower growth, popularity of the content you’re sharing and all of the other data that’s going to fuel your campaigns.

Unless you’re running paid ads, most social media sites won’t give you enough information to track campaigns on a deep level. Use tools to get a full picture of the impact you’re having across your different social media accounts.

15. Create & Share Amazing Content

We’ve saved the best tip for last. Above all else, you need to commit to creating and sharing the most high quality content possible. That means creating share-worthy blog posts and curating the best content related to your industry. Where a lot of companies fall short is they’ll only share their own content to avoid sending traffic to other sites. That can end up doing more harm than good.

Your followers want great content regardless of what site it’s on. By being the source on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to find that content, you’re giving consumers a reason to follow you. Not only that, but you’ll also have a much better chance of getting people to engage with you. An example of a company that does a great job of sharing not just their own content, but also curating other articles is HP. Its Google+ Page is a mixture of curated and original content.

HP Google Plus Content

Start Building Your Social Media Presence

Put these tips into action to make your presence known on social media. Prioritizing your audience and focusing on content is a winning formula for social media success.

What are your tips for boosting your social media presence? Let us know in the comments.

The post 15 Tips to Build a Social Media Presence appeared first on Sprout Social.

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Visual Content Marketing: A Resource Guide for Marketers

Do you want to discover how to better market yourself and your business with visual content? Are you looking for a resource guide for your visual content marketing efforts? This article will help you find tools to create the perfect image, drive traffic and engagement with your images and use visual content to improve your […]

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Sprout Social Index: Most Brands Ignore 7 in 8 Messages on Social Media—Does Yours?

The Sprout Social Index Header
Social Customer Care More Critical Than Ever

Consider this: 7 in 8 social messages to brands go unanswered within 72 hours. Imagine if your customer service team answered only 1 in 8 emails right away, waited more than 3 days to get back with an answer or just flat out failed to pick up the phone 88% of the time. Unacceptable, right? Despite significant gains in the perception and value of social media, many brands remain unmoved in the quest to institute a fully functioning social communication strategy.

According to New Media Voice, poor customer service in the US costs companies $41 billion each year.

Never before has a brand’s responsibility to be responsive and engaged been so critical—and Sprout Social has captured data behind customer expectations that speaks volumes. As open communication with brands shapes a new wave of interaction, the need for social teams to to be active and authentic day in and day out matters more than ever.

In 2013 and 2014, Sprout identified benchmarks and trends in customer engagement across Twitter and Facebook, brought seasonal peaks and valleys to light and shared actionable insights about social habits to help brands meet growing customer demands. In this latest edition, we explore the surging need for faster responses, highlight movement in 15 key industry categories and, for the first time, delve into global data across regions.

Our mission with The Sprout Social Index remains focused on analyzing social data to draw out trends and pinpoint actionable insights that will equip brands to create stronger, longer-lasting customer relationships.

Jump to highlights from The 2015 Sprout Social Index.

Social Trends: Shifts in Engagement

Social media is no longer a luxury marketing tactic; it is a necessary business communication channel. Resources—human, financial and technological—are increasingly dedicated to social media efforts at organizations around the world, which, in turn, should improve output. Still, despite these gains and a growing prominence for social in the C-suite, many well-intentioned brands struggle to stay in front of the conversations.

Since the last Sprout Social Index, the volume of messages that people send to brands on social continues to rise. In fact, we calculated that there has been a 21% increase in messages to brands globally, compared to a 18% increase in the US. Increasing message volumes—a trend that has been consistent throughout every iteration of The Sprout Social Index—proves social media continues to assert itself as a primary customer communication channel.

Increase of Social Messages Needing a Response From a Brand Graphic

Of all inbound messages, Sprout calculates that 4 in 10 of messages need a response from the brand. That means that customers aren’t just mentioning a business; they are looking for that business to respond and interact with them on social. Similar to overall message volume, the raw number of messages needing a response has increased steadily for the past two years, more than doubling, up 110% since the last Sprout Social Index. This is your chance to strengthen your bond with your customers—and gain a competitive advantage in doing so.

According to Zendesk, 40% of customers switch loyalty because a competitor offers better customer service.

So how have brands responded to this continued uptick? In the last iteration of The Sprout Social Index, we saw a 5% decrease in the response time—a promising sign that brands were making social customer care a priority. But since then, brands have slipped, and response time has increased by 4%, meaning customers are waiting longer to hear back.

Brand Response Time & Rate

Further exacerbating the trend, brand response rates have also decreased by 2.5%. Simply stated: 7 in 8 messages to brands are ignored on social.

7 in 8 Messages to Brands Go Unanswered in 72 Hours Graphic

To highlight this focus on publishing versus engagement, Sprout compared the average number of posts to the average number of replies. Currently, brands send 4 times as many posts as replies. This differential explains why many customer requests via social go unanswered.

Average Brand Posts vs. Average Brand Replies

But listening provides enormous benefits. In fact, according to a report by Medallia, when certain Best Western properties started responding to more than 50% of their social reviews, they observed twice the occupancy rates as less-engaged properties.

Solution: Make a Deeper Connection

Engage with your customers at every level to establish a deeper emotional connection, using an authentic voice that shows you care about their concerns.

Customer Service Example

Engagement Index: Industry Benchmarks

As an ongoing benchmark to our previous reports, The Sprout Social Consumer Engagement Index outlines the industries that receive the most inbound messages requiring attention, and The Sprout Social Brand Engagement Index focuses on how responsive and timely each industry is in interacting with those messages. In the four quarters, there have been some significant shifts in rankings, and we’ve noted the biggest movers, positive and negative.

Brand Engagement Index Graphic

Consumer Engagement Index Graphic

Industry Spotlights

To determine which industries prioritize engagement over push marketing, consider the differential between the average number of social posts and replies.

For most industries, the average number of social posts far outweighs replies. The only industries closing that gap somewhat are utilities and retail—though both industries still post more than they reply. Utilities send 1.4 times as many posts as replies, and retail sends more than twice as many posts as replies.

This ratio may seem high, but compared to other industries, it is an achievement. For example, media/entertainment (an industry that traditionally lags on the engagement front) sends 8.4 times more posts than replies, and real estate sends 11.7 times as many posts as replies.

This reliance on social media as mostly a broadcasting channel will not work for brands in the long run. Based on the frequency by which people are reaching out to brands on social for answers, a lack of response may lessen a brand’s impact over time as customers begin to see its social efforts as inauthentic.

According to Bain & Company, brands that engage with customers via social earn an average 33 points higher Net Promoter score (a measure of customer loyalty).

Average Brands Messages Sent vs. Average Brand Replies Graphic

Let’s take a deeper dive into when those industries are actually responding and look at both their response times and response rates.

When looking at the industries that are responding, the clear winners are education, utilities and surprisingly, media/entertainment. Media/entertainment is actually neck in neck with utilities for the No. 2 spot in response times; however, that might be due to the fact that they respond to so few messages.

If customers are looking for a response from the consumer goods/services industry, they might be waiting longer than they would like. As the slowest responder in The Sprout Social Index, the consumer goods/services industry has a response time that is nearly 40% slower than education (which has the quickest response time).

Industry Response Times Graphic

As we’ve already determined earlier in The Sprout Social Index, response rates across all industries are not great. Currently, only 1 in 8 customers looking for a response on social actually gets one from a brand.

That said, there are a few industries that are responding to more messages. Both the utilities and retail industries reply to about 1 in 5 messages requiring a response. In fact, the retail industry took the lead last quarter and now replies to more messages than utilities—a surprising shift based on how much importance the utility industry has put on social customer service.

Not surprising is the media/entertainment industry’s continued trend of ignoring people on social. As a category, it currently responds to only about 8% of messages, but as we mentioned, that 8% is getting a response a little quicker than before, which is a move in the right direction.

Solution: Use the Right Customer Service Tools

Integrate your social media management with a customer service platform, such as Zendesk and UserVoice, so that your teams can assign tasks accordingly and the right people can respond.

Industry Response Rates Graphic

Global Engagement

Message volume has increased all over the world, but there are some key differences based on what region an organization calls home.

For instance, brands in Asia receive more than 3 times as many messages from customers as brands in Europe, Africa or North America. What’s more, nearly half of those messages actually require response. That means that brands in Asia must not only monitor but also respond to a high volume of messages.

Regional Changes in Message Volumes Graphic

Since the last Sprout Social Index, some interesting trends and patterns by region emerged.

Asia has seen a 92.5% growth in message volume since the last Sprout Social Index—by far the steepest increase worldwide.

The Middle East has actually seen a decline in messages to brands (down 7.5%)—the only global region to experience a decline. But it still saw a 8.9% increase in the amount of messages that require a response. This signifies brands in the region should be even more accountable for responding to those messages (since they’re getting fewer messages overall).

Regional Changes in Message Volumes to Brands Graphic

How is each region responding to the increased messages that they’re receiving from customers? The Middle East has the best response rate (at 13.1%). Also, the Middle East is only one of two regions, along with Asia, that has actually improved its response rate since the last Index. Unfortunately, Middle East response time has increased by nearly 14% in that same time period.

Europe, however, is leading the pack when it comes to response time. Customers of European companies can expect a response 28% quicker than they would if they were speaking with a Middle Eastern organization (the region that is currently the slowest to respond to its customers on social).

Regional Brand Response Rates Graphic

Regional Brand Response Times Graphic

So how does each country stack up when it comes to engagement? Looking at both response time and response rate for brands in each region, Europe is leading the pack and is ranked first for engagement, while Asia is down at the bottom, most likely due to the fact that it is hard for brands to keep up with the influx of messages they’ve received lately.

Regional Brand Engagement Rate Rank

The Sprout Social 2015 Index Infographic

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About the Data

The Sprout Social Index is a report compiled and released by Sprout Social. All referenced data is based on 97K public social profiles (52K Facebook, 45K Twitter) of continually active accounts between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015. More than 200 million messages sent during that time were analyzed for the purposes of this report. Some data from Q1 2013 to Q4 2013 may have shifted from the last Sprout Social Index report due to a shift in the social profiles analyzed; however, all overarching trends remain consistent.

Industry classifications were based on LinkedIn industry categories. In some cases, closely related industries were merged into a single overarching industry. All messages analyzed that were considered casual mentions or not in need of a response were excluded from engagement, response rate and response time calculations with the intention of eliminating noise. Analysis of which messages required attention was done using Sprout’s proprietary technologies, with brands given 72 hours to respond. Response time and response rate calculations were done using Sprout’s Engagement Reporting technology found in The Sprout Social product and at

For questions about the Index data, please contact

The post The Sprout Social Index: Most Brands Ignore 7 in 8 Messages on Social Media—Does Yours? appeared first on Sprout Social.

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How to Create a Promoted Pin Campaign on a Budget

Do you want to add Promoted Pins to your marketing mix? Are you wondering how to budget for a Promoted Pin campaign? You don’t have to spend a lot of money on Promoted Pins for them to be effective. Because they have long-term visibility, they’re a sound addition to your Pinterest marketing. In this article, […]

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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Social Media Optimization for Marketers

Social Media Optimization-01

Most marketers are familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on some level. Using the reach of search engines such as Google, Bing or more recently Duck Duck Go to fuel your marketing campaign has been a strategy that’s been successful for years. But as social media has grown to become one of the top platforms to reach consumers, new approaches to digital marketing have started to emerge. One of the top strategies being used by businesses looking to maximize their reach online is Social Media Optimization (SMO).

What Is Social Media Optimization?

Social Media Optimization is essentially using social media as a catalyst to grow your company’s online presence. Where some companies tend to just set up a Facebook Page, Twitter Profile or Vine because it’s the “cool” thing to do, SMO is about strategically creating, building and maximizing your social media plan to connect with your target audience. SMO allows you to:

  • Strengthen your brand
  • Generate leads
  • Get more visibility online
  • Connect with your audience

Why SMO Is Important

The lines between social media marketing and search engine marketing are becoming increasingly blurred. In the past, they’ve been looked at as two separate and distinct aspects of marketing. But the reality is that they’re more intertwined than you might think.

While Google hasn’t stated that social media directly influences its search algorithm yet, there’s evidence to suggest that it does. One survey found that 50% of companies that aren’t succeeding with SEO aren’t integrating social media marketing.

Social media optimization SEO

Aside from that, the benefits of social media marketing have been well documented. If you want a solid overall approach to online marketing, you need a healthy balance of SEO and SMO.

Now that you know the “why,” let’s talk about the “how.”

Optimize Your Strategy

A lack of social media strategy has been a roadblock for companies for a while now. Partly because it’s still fairly new, and also because social media is always changing. 28% of companies feel that a lack of strategy is the top barrier keeping them from becoming a social business. In order to optimize your social media marketing campaigns, you have to have a strategy with clearly defined goals and objectives.

top social media marketing barriers

A social media strategy should focus on growing your presence, and achieving measurable results. This post outlines how to setup your strategy in seven steps:

  1. Ensure Your Social Goals Solve Challenges
  2. Extend Efforts Throughout Your Organization
  3. Focus on Networks That Add Value
  4. Create Engaging Content
  5. Identify Business Opportunities Through Social
  6. Engage Instead of Ignore
  7. Track, Improve and Market Your Efforts

When you have a documented strategy in place, you’re able to measure where you stand and make improvements wherever necessary. We’ll touch on that topic more toward the end of this post.

Optimize Your Profiles

Creating your profile seems like a pretty simple task, yet it’s one of the first areas of SMO where businesses fall short. Think of your company’s profile page as your foundation. If it’s weak, it’s hard to build anything on top of it. Here’s what it takes to build a strong foundation.

Optimized Social Media Profile

  • Username: Use your company name. Social media username availability is starting to become a big factor for companies when they’re choosing a business name. Use Knowem to check if your company’s name is available on different social media channels.
  • Profile photo: Your profile photo should be your company logo. You can use a head shot of yourself if you’re a freelancer, consultant or personality.
  • Cover photo: Use a photo or graphic that represents what your company does or showcases your core message. Refer to this post for up-to-date social media image sizes.
  • Bio: Clearly state what your company does. If possible, place a trackable link back to your website within your bio to drive more traffic. Using relevant keywords in your bio will also give your page more visibility in search.

Most importantly, fill out your profile completely. Sites like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn give you the ability to enter a lot of information about your company. Unfortunately many businesses leave these fields incomplete because they rush through the process. But the more complete your profile is, the more your page will stand out.

Pro Tip: Dedicate a block of time for completing your social media profiles 100% so you can give it the attention it deserves.

Optimize Your Content

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Content Is King” when it comes to SEO. Well the same thing is true when we’re talking about SMO. Content drives social media. You can’t succeed with social media marketing without sharing quality content.

There are two types of content that you can publish on social media:

  1. Original content
  2. Curated content

Ideally, your strategy should have a mix of both.

Original content is content that’s specifically made for social media, and is usually part of a campaign. For instance, the cast of the movie “The Interview” hosted a live Twitter Q&A.

The Interview Twitter Content example

Curated content is content that’s shared from various sources around the web. Content curation is more than just tweeting out links. In order to optimize it for the best results, you should only share content that’s valuable and relevant to your audience. Quality always beats out quantity. Determine what content your audience finds the most relevant by measuring the clicks, Retweets and favorites each post gets. Guy Kawasaki is one of the top Twitter users/experts in the world, and his Tweets largely consist of curated content.

Guy Kawasaki Tweets

You can use Sprout Social to monitor which content of yours gets the most engagement, then start sharing similar content.

Sprout Social Tweet stats

When you’re publishing to social media, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Test Headlines

When you send out a Tweet or Facebook post, don’t just use the same headline each time. Some headlines will work better than others.

Use Images

A study from B2B Marketing Mentor found that images were the most important tactic for optimizing content for social media.

Social Media Optimization Tactics

Include high quality images in your social media updates whenever possible. You can use Canva to make sure that all of your images are sized correctly for each social media site. There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of pixelated stretched out images in your Twitter feed.

Pro tip: Include a featured image in all of your own blog posts. Whenever people share your content on social media, the image will automatically be included. Check out this post on how to use Twitter cards.


Hashtags have become synonymous with social media marketing. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and all other top social media sites integrate hashtags now. They make it easy to track trending topics, categorize social media posts and they can be entertaining.

Hashtags help with social media optimization by giving your posts more reach, and making it easier for your content to be found even by people who aren’t following you.

Even though hashtags can seem kind of random, there’s strategy involved in getting the most out of them. Here are some tips to use hashtags effectively on social media:

Post Length Matters

Twitter gives you up to 140 characters per Tweet, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Knowing the ideal status update length can increase the likelihood of people engaging with your content. Here’s a breakdown of the ideal post length for the top social media sites:

  • Twitter: 100 characters
  • Facebook: 40 characters (anything less than 80 characters)
  • Google+: 60 characters
  • LinkedIn: 25 words

Optimize Your Posting Schedule

When you post is just as important as what you post. What’s the point in crafting great content if nobody sees it?

Best Time to Post on Social Media

The optimal posting time depends on your audience and the social media site you’re using. Luckily, tools like Sprout Social are able to make this process a lot easier by calculating the best time to post on your social media accounts for the highest engagement. Quicksprout made a handy infographic that outlines the best days and times to post for the most engagement on each social network. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Facebook: 1–3 p.m.
  • Twitter: 12–6 p.m.
  • LinkedIn: 7–8 a.m. and 5-6 p.m.
  • Pinterest: 8–11 p.m.
  • Instagram: 3–4 p.m.
  • Google+: 9–11 a.m.

How Often to Post on Social Media

The second part of timing your social media posts is choosing the right frequency. You want as many people to see your posts as possible, but you don’t want to completely bombard your followers’ streams and timelines. Here’s a breakdown of the optimal social media posting frequency for different social networks according to research from Constant Contact:

  • Facebook: 3-10 times per week
  • Twitter: 5+ times per day
  • LinkedIn: 2-5 times per week
  • Pinterest: 5-10 times per day
  • Google+: 3-10 times per week

Stay organized by making a social media editorial calendar for your business.

Track and Improve with Social Media Analytics

Just like with SEO, you should track your SMO efforts with analytics. Some of this can be done through Google Analytics using UTM codes. UTM codes and shortened URL’s allow you to attribute the traffic your website gets from social media to a specific channel or campaign. In addition to that data, use the reports you get from your social media marketing tool to get a full picture of the impact your campaigns are having.

Aside from tracking traffic, tie in social media specific metrics too. A great place to start is Avinash Kaushik’s four social media metrics. Kaushik’s metrics are good because they’re straight forward and focus on the key aspect of of social media—engagement. They answer the question: Do people like what you’re sharing?

  1. Conversation Rate: The average number of comments and replies your posts get
  2. Amplification: The average number of shares and retweets your posts get
  3. Applause: The average number of “votes” your posts get (+1, favorites, likes)
  4. Economic Value: You social media ROI

Social Media Optimization can drastically improve the way you approach marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. Start taking a strategic approach to social media marketing and amplify your results.

The post Social Media Optimization for Marketers appeared first on Sprout Social.

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5 Twitter Tools to Boost Your Productivity

Do you struggle to keep up with your Twitter activities? Interested in tools to improve productivity? Managing your Twitter account doesn’t have to consume all your time. There are tools that can make the work easier. In this article you’ll discover five Twitter tools to boost your productivity. #1: Schedule Content via Tweet Jukebox Tweet […]

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5 Ways to Use Snapchat for Business

Are you thinking of adding Snapchat to your social media marketing mix? Interested in ways to use Snapchat to strengthen your brand? With Snapchat, you can increase community engagement and brand awareness through innovative marketing campaigns. In this article you’ll discover five ways to use Snapchat for business. Why Snapchat? With over 100 million daily […]

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Monday, 27 July 2015

6 Tips for Pinterest Marketing in Just Minutes a Day

Is your Pinterest marketing taking too much time? Are you ready for a better Pinterest marketing plan? Timesaving Pinterest marketing tactics can deliver more results with less effort. In this article, you’ll discover 6 tactics to help you market on Pinterest in minutes a day. Get Started on Pinterest If you haven’t already done so, […]

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The Future of Google+, What New Research Reveals

Are you interested in Google+ marketing? Wondering where the platform is headed? Despite a number of detractors, Google+ has a number of fans and supporters who say Google+ has grown into a platform that wins them business. In this article you’ll discover findings from recent studies focused on the current Google+ activity as well as speculation about what […]

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Saturday, 25 July 2015

Facebook Announces Secret Videos for Publishers: This Week in Social Media

Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention. What’s New This Week Facebook Announces Secret Videos for Publishers “Secret videos give Page owners the ability to upload videos that are […]

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Friday, 24 July 2015

Segmenting by Constituents: Why Brookings Treats Twitter Different From Facebook

Bookings Segmentation-01

Great minds may think alike—but that doesn’t mean they have to walk in lockstep too.

As a leading Washington-based nonprofit, the Brookings Institution specializes in producing independent research through five programs, 14 centers and 26 projects for an audience that spans the world. In doing so, it discovered that a smart segmentation strategy is the key to success on social media.

Here’s how the world’s top think tank—and a loyal Sprout Social customer—engages with its constituents through Twitter and Facebook and, more importantly, why it treats the two platforms so very different.

Making the Decision to Divide & Conquer

Understandably, the desire to keep social channels centralized is strong for many brands. But with five distinct research programs—including foreign policy, governance studies, global economy and development, metropolitan policy program and economic studies—the Brookings Institution has made a name for itself targeting specific constituent groups. From politicians to public health officials, the organization’s social media team has a clear understanding of who its audience is on Twitter and thus separates its various initiatives into different handles.

As a result, Alison Burke, Brookings’ Senior Social Media Strategist, says the organization is reaching a much broader audience than if it relied on a single feed alone. Through its program, center and project accounts, Brookings has attracted a strong following of more than 237,000 people, so breaking them up into groups for more direct and relevant conversation just makes sense.

“This allows for greater engagement and opportunities to promote relevant events, research and scholars with these more specific audiences,” said Ashley Wood, Brookings’ Social Media Editor.

The primary Brookings Institution Twitter account maintains a Twitter List of all of its feeds, making it easy for different audiences to find the most relevant content stream.

Brookings Institute Twitter Feeds

“It provides more flexibility for covering live events and creating an echo chamber for scholars, 150+ of whom are actively Tweeting more than they’re using Facebook,” Burke said.

As a major part of their social strategy, Wood and Burke use Twitter more frequently and with a more diverse range of content. More direct audience engagement takes place on Twitter as well—with the team regularly answering questions, Retweeting others, live Tweeting events, breaking relevant news and encouraging Brookings scholars to participate in conversations. Wood says this wouldn’t be as natural of a fit for Facebook, where fans might be turned off by an influx of updates in their Feed.

So what is Brookings strategy for Facebook?

“We have found that sharing a broad selection of our most important or interesting content works best on Facebook rather than trying to build up smaller audiences,” Wood said.

There, community members are encouraged to talk among themselves, with Wood and Burke monitoring and addressing any direct questions.Bookings Segmentation-02

One Mind, Many Parts: Brookings’ Advice for Social Segmentation

If you’re interested in developing a similar segmentation approach for your social channels, Brookings’ team suggests asking yourself the following three questions first.

  • Audience: What new audience(s) would you reach with this property that aren’t already served through existing handles?
  • Content: Do you have enough content to keep the feed active?
  • Staff: Do you have the staff capacity to adequately manage the account?

Even if you don’t end up with multiple Twitter Profiles or Facebook Pages, you can still create a segmentation strategy through organic targeting.

Finding Ways to Interact & React

Once your segmentation strategy has been activated, the next—and perhaps most important—step is to engage.

By participating in conversations with your fans and followers, you will not only be building greater brand awareness, you might also be gaining a competitive advantage. In fact, research from Bain & Company found that brands that engage with customers on social earn an average 33 points higher Net Promoter score (a measure of customer loyalty).

To maintain a balance between branded posts versus actual conversation, Brookings frequently engages with influential people who aren’t affiliated with the institution and, through its targeted accounts, asks specific questions around niche topics.

The team also regularly engages with public health specialists, security experts and other scholars by Retweeting their updates or mentioning their work.

Brookings Retweet Scholar

Whether you have one social media profile or dozens, to ensure longterm success, you should set goals and then measure them against the right metrics.

For Brookings, that means monitoring mentions of:

  • Its Twitter handles
  • Its name
  • Specific pieces of content it has published

Tracking these assets keeps the organization aware of sentiment around its work and how influential people are talking about it. It also means Brookings reps are ready to address any questions in a timely fashion.

Using Sprout’s Smart Inbox—which streams all social messages in one place—Brookings also watches what its scholars are Tweeting about and responds to any mentions of their work. The team maintains a quick pulse on these queries by assigning tasks to various staff members across the institution within the Sprout platform.

“Sprout helps us break down silos and manage a large, diverse team,” Burke said.

Segmenting your audiences can be challenging—especially if you have dozens of profiles to manage—but such efforts also tend to pay off tenfold. By providing audiences with relevant content, you’re not only developing stronger connections that lead to increased engagement, you’re also gaining credibility within your community. That’s important for any organization looking to position itself as a thought leader—think tank or not.

The post Segmenting by Constituents: Why Brookings Treats Twitter Different From Facebook appeared first on Sprout Social.

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