Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Measuring Social Team Member Effectiveness


An often neglected way of measuring the success of your social media marketing efforts is looking at the contributions of each team member.

Undoubtedly, your team works hard to drive ROI across all of your social channels; therefore, it is important to identify who’s contributing what, where there are missed opportunities and how to better optimize each team member’s contributions to the overall cause through reporting.

The need to assess efforts at the micro level becomes even more imperative when you consider the impact social has on sales. In fact, according to Internet Retailer, social media influences purchasing behavior even more than retail websites do. Below is the breakdown of impact score by channel, according to the report:

  • Retailers’ social network posts and pages: 35%
  • Price comparison sites: 35%
  • Shopping apps: 34%
  • Brands’ social network posts and pages: 33%
  • Product reviews: 33%
  • Printable coupons: 32%

When it comes to this important function, then, you’ll want to take the following tips into account to ensure your organization is positioned for long-term success.

Choose the Right Team-Focused Goals

To truly understand if your social team’s efforts are paying off, it’s critical to establish what goals your organization is looking to accomplish on each channel. Goals give your social media strategy a focus and help identify what isn’t working to ensure you’re able to quickly adjust your campaigns to account for any missteps.

Setting team-focused goals can both measure the performance of an individual’s contributions and populate data on how well overall campaigns are performing.

Potential Social Media Goals

Goals worth considering for monitoring the success of your social team include:

  • Strong team participation: Gain an understanding of what each team member is contributing to your overall social media management process.
  • Increased efficiency: Develop an overview of which team activities, such as social monitoring or measurement, take the most and least amount of time as well as how each of these features impacts overall results. This will better inform challenges faced by the team while identifying the potential need to hire more talent.
  • Improved customer service: Understand the time it takes for each team member to address customer service requests, then use those insights to improve your team’s response protocols.
  • Proper resource allocation: To better allocate your resources, you need to understand where your team spends the most time and effort on social.
  • Proven impact on ROI: Above all, monitor your team’s contributions to increasing sales, visibility, customer retention and engagement. This will quantify the importance of having a strong social team and enable your organization to optimize the most effective channels.

Pair Metrics to Each Goal

Once you have a clear vision of your larger objectives, match each of your team’s goals with specific, decision-based metrics.

Pure-vanity assessments, such as the amount of followers or Likes on a particular Facebook post, are less meaningful than metrics that illustrate the depth of a customer’s engagement, such as the amount of comments or shares received or the number of customer service requests answered in a given time frame.


Embed This Infographic:

Applying Insights Accordingly

The measurement of your social team’s efforts will provide insights into how your organization can continue to grow and improve, as you sift through your data to create an action plan for your entire organization. Here are a few ways team data can be used to impact growth:

  1. Identify team members who aren’t engaged with their job, due to a low task-completion rate; then either better train them, transition them to another role or, if this issue isn’t resolved, let them go.
  2. Understand where the team’s time is spent, then allocate resources to the areas that are the most critical.
  3. Learn more about customer service requests in terms of how they are both received and resolved through social as compared to email, live chat and phone.

Pull Your Own Team Reports

Gaining insights to inform your broader social media strategy is much more manageable with the right tools to help. Below is an example of how to measure and report on team performance, using Sprout Social. In addition to analytics around publishing and task management, this tool will alert you of the speed and rate at which your team is responding to messages. As a result, your organization will be able to increase its efficiency while ensuring your brand is making the right connection with your most valued customers.



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How to Use Social Media for Small Business

How to Use Social Media Insights to Improve Your Marketing


Are you marketing on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest? Do you know which type of posts your followers prefer? Social media analytics let you see who your followers are and what they like. In this article you’ll discover how to use your audience insights from Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to improve your social media marketing. #1: Track Follower Preferences on Twitter […]

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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

New in Sprout: Attach Images to Your Twitter Direct Messages


More and more, customers are reaching out to businesses on Twitter. From asking for store hours to reporting a service issue to troubleshooting a technical difficulty, Twitter provides the right channels (both public and private) to help people solve everyday challenges.

Several recent improvements to Direct Messages in particular have helped to better facilitate the private side of the business-consumer conversation, and Sprout Social has been quick to incorporate these updates.

Today, as we continue building upon these enhancements, we are excited to provide an even better experience for our customers. Because of a deepened partnership, Sprout is one of the first Twitter ecosystem companies with access to new API functionality that supports the ability to upload an image when crafting a Direct Message.


Use Images to Communicate More Effectively

The ability to add an image is an important part of the Twitter Direct Message experience. There are several instances where including an image would help both parties communicate more effectively. For example:

  • When troubleshooting a technical issue, customers can safely share screenshots that may contain personal or confidential account information.
  • Social customer support agents can save time by attaching a visual asset, such as a step-by-step tutorial, to their DMs rather than transcribing instructions as text only.
  • A brand can demonstrate personality in the same way it might on a public Tweet by including a lighthearted image after resolving an issue.

Attaching an image to a Direct Message from Sprout is easy. Whether replying to a DM from the Smart Inbox or initiating a conversation, simply click the camera icon in the lower left of the compose box, then upload your file.

Twitter as a Platform for Customer Care

As detailed in the Customer Service on Twitter Playbook released earlier this summer, “Twitter offers a one-to-one-to-many interaction, which allows the broader community to form an opinion on your service interaction. Tweets are conversational and public.”

What’s more, as an increasingly important backchannel, Twitter DMs empower businesses to meet growing customer expectations with a tailored, one-to-one experience. In doing so, Twitter not only offers businesses a platform to deliver exceptional social customer service, but it also can enhance operational efficiency to save time and money.

As Twitter expands upon its platform, Sprout will continue working closely with the company to incorporate any new features in a timely manner. This will ensure you have the most up-to-date and powerful set of tools to communicate as openly and as effectively as possible with your customers.

The post New in Sprout: Attach Images to Your Twitter Direct Messages appeared first on Sprout Social.

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[Infographic] Your Own Checkable Social Media Checklist

Social Media Managers Checklist-01

Social media is a diverse marketing channel and it can get difficult for managers to remember all the things that make up their workload. That’s why we created this checklist you can consult if you ever feel like you’re forgetting something.

If you’re not sure what one of these items means, scroll down to the bottom where we describe each metric and why it’s important to your brand.

social media checklist

Daily Social Media Checklist

Respond to Inbound Social Messages

At Sprout Social, we think of social media as a channel where customers and brands can come together to communicate openly in order to build lasting relationships. That’s why we believe that responding to inbound social messages from your customers should be the first thing on your checklist.

Monitor & Respond to Brand Mentions

Not every person who mentions your brand or product on social media will tag you in the post. That means it’s important to monitor social media feeds for messages mentioning your brand that don’t actually tag you, so you can still engage with conversations involving your business. Try using a social media monitoring tool to track keywords signaling a conversation you should join.

Create Conversations With Brand Advocates

You may have some social media fans who are more than happy to advocate your products within their own networks. Nurture those relationships so those fans continue to promote your brand to their social following. Even something as simple as favoriting their comment will indicate to them that you really care about the work they’re doing.

Find & Engage With Potential Customers

Just like monitoring for brand and product mentions, it’s possible to monitor social media feeds for prospective customers by tracking keywords that signal purchase intent. For instance, a Chicago hotel company could monitor social for messages that say “vacation in Chicago” and reach out to those users with an exclusive offer.

Research the Social Industry

Social media is one of the most dynamic industries out there. Networks are constantly popping up, shutting down and releasing new features. That’s why it’s important to spend some of your day catching up on industry news and best practices (kind of like what you’re doing now). This industry is lucky enough to have some amazing resources online.

Load Your Social Editorial Calendar

Sharing content is the most fundamental thing you can do on social. While we believe engagement is key, you have to create and post content or you’ll likely see a significant lack in social activity. Take some time to sit down and focus on scheduling social posts, and you can line up entire weeks of content in no time at all. Remember, not every social network requires you to post content as frequently as others.

  • Post 3–6 Times on Facebook
  • Post 1–2 Times on Facebook
  • Post 1–2 Times on Google+
  • Post 1–3 Times on LinkedIn

Study Your Products &Services

Social media managers interact with customers more than most other departments. As such, this role requires taking the time to get familiar with products so managers can successfully navigate conversations with customers.

Monitor Your Competition

Every company should be mindful of their competition and social media is a good way to get a quick view of what you’re up against. Try looking out for recently released products, what your competitors’ customers complain about or find unique marketing strategies that you can adapt to match your own campaigns.

Work On a Blog Post

It’s great to do something that helps develop your own personal brand, especially since every social media manager has a unique perspective they can write about. Try writing a blog post for your company’s site, or for an adjacent site in your industry. You can then use this new article as a piece of content to share with your social media following.

Weekly Social Media Checklist

Engage With Thought Leaders

Almost every industry out there has thought leaders. These are the folks leading their specific market with the latest tips, tricks strategies and advice. It’s great to get yourself in front of the thought leaders in your industry so they may mention you to their large following.

Engage With Marketing Partners

Some companies work closely with other brands on content like events, webinars, eBooks and podcasts. If you have partners like this, it’s always good to interact with them on social in order to grow that relationship.

Discuss Tactics With Your Team

Social media is a team sport. Those working at agencies need to navigate with account managers for each specific company. Specifically for enterprise-size companies, there can be several people working on a single social media profile. Take some time to chat with your co-workers about what you’re seeing and how you can best tackle issues that arise.

Run Your Social Media Analytics

To figure out what will perform best in the future it’s key to look at what has performed well in the past. Use a social media analytics tool to figure out what kind of content resonates with your followers, which networks perform the best for your team, how quickly you’re responding to inbound messages and much more. Then use that information to help plan for the future.

Encourage Sharing Through Employee Advocacy

One of the best ways to get impressions on your social media content is by encouraging your co-workers to share it across their social profiles. This lets employees share content with all of their friends and family members. Try an employee advocacy application to help streamline that process.

Monthly Social Media Checklist

Audit Your Strategy

This is similar to checking out your weekly social media analytics, except it requires you to dive much deeper into your metrics to see what is working and what you need to stop focusing on. We’ve put together a five-step process for conducting your own social media audit that can help you through the process.

Attend Local Events

Part of being a social media manager is actually being social (go figure). It can be fun and productive to attend some local meet-ups to engage with other social managers in your area. The events don’t have to just be about social media either: try looking for some overall marketing or business events as well.

Detox From Social Media

Social media never sleeps: but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to. It’s possible to burn yourself out if you try to keep up with every single message sent to your pages. Train someone on your team to hold down the fort for a day or two each month so you can actually get some much deserved rest and relaxation.

Collaborate With Other Departments

Most departments have a specific place on a business’s social media, and if you can get these groups on board, they can help lighten some of the social load. If you see a question come in on social, simply task it to the proper department and let them respond accordingly.

  • Finance can answer questions about billing.
  • HR can answer questions about job openings.
  • R&D can answer questions about new products.

Quarterly Social Media Checklist

Adjust Quarterly Goals

Set goals each quarter so you know if you’re performing up to your own expectations. If you’re exceeding the goals you set for yourself, create new objectives that continue to challenge you to perform well. If you didn’t hit your goals, revisit where you fell short and analyze what went wrong.

Assess Key Performance Indicators

After you’ve looked at your goals, think about whether or not you’re tracking the proper metrics. There’s not much sense in continuing to hit and exceed your objectives if it turns out that those key performance indicators don’t make much of a difference on your company’s bottom line.

Gauge Team Capacity & Needs

Did you have trouble keeping up this quarter? Even if you managed to stay on top of things, you might have missed some things you wanted test out, but didn’t have the time. If that’s the case, it could be time to think about bringing someone else onto your team to help.

Immediate Social Media Checklist

Check out How Sprout Social Can Help

If you hadn’t noticed, we here at Sprout Social like to provide you with the best tips and advice on all things social. In fact, we have our own social media management and engagement platform that we believe is an amazing fit for social media managers learning from this post.

Our full suite of tools makes it easy to engage, analyze, publish, report, and do so much more with your social media. This makes it easy to quickly check off to-dos from your list. Give it a try completely free for 30-days and see if it’s a good fit for you!

What would you add to your own social checklist? Tell us in the comments so that the next time we update this, it will include everything an active social media manager could ever want.

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How to Drive Website Traffic With Instagram


Are you using Instagram to market your business? Want to direct followers to your website? With a few simple tactics, you can generate quality website traffic from Instagram. In this article you’ll discover how to use Instagram to drive traffic to your website. #1: Add a Website Link to Your Bio The most common way […]

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How to Encourage Employees to Share Your Content on LinkedIn


Are your employees on LinkedIn? Do they share your company’s content with their networks? Asking your employees to promote your company content on LinkedIn is a great way to reach more prospects and increase visibility. In this article I’ll explain how to help your employees share your content on LinkedIn. #1: Promote the Program The first step […]

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Monday, 28 September 2015

How to Get More Likes on Your Content & Posts

How to Manage Your Facebook Page Effectively


Do you manage at least one Facebook business page? Are you using all the admin features? Facebook Pages include many tools to help marketers and business owners get the most out of their business presence. In this article I’ll share how to use Facebook’s features, tools and settings to manage your business page effectively. #1: Access […]

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4 Tools to Simplify Social Selling


Do you use social media to sell your products? Looking for tools to simplify the process? The right tools make it easier to build relationships with people who are interested in what you offer. In this article you’ll discover four tools to simplify your social selling. #1: Find Shared Connections With A key part of selling […]

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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Facebook Notes Enhancements: 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 Notes Expands, Becomes Highly Customized: “With this update, you can add a cover photo that represents what […]

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Friday, 25 September 2015

Instagram Images: How to Stand Out on Instagram


Is your business on Instagram? Are you curious about what to post? To discover how to use images on Instagram, I interview Peg Fitzpatrick. 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 business owners discover what works […]

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#SproutChat Recap: What to Do With Reviews


Reviews are powerful. Good ones can validate your business and lead to an exponential amount of new users trying or buying your product based on what peers have said. Bad ones can be detrimental to the success of your business. Either way, embracing all kinds of feedback will help guide your product or service in a positive direction.

With that in mind, here is some advice from the #SproutChat community on how to best solicit and then embrace customer feedback.

Start With Offering an Excellent Product or Service

Before looking at reviews, the most important thing to analyze is your product. If you’re working for a company with a poor product or service, you’re always going to be working with a tough crowd.

Seek out Satisfied Customers to Share Their Feedback

The opportunity to get a satisfied customer to write a good review might be right under your nose. Always stay on the lookout for customers making positive comments, giving your organization a shout-out or recommending your product or service. Also, keep a close eye on brand keywords so you don’t miss any social mentions.

Use Insight From Current Reviews to Improve

People who write reviews clearly care about what you are offering—so consider them your most passionate users. Whether they are dissatisfied or super happy customers, their insights are invaluable. Look for patterns or commonalities, and relay the feedback to others in your organization. If you’re not closing that communications loop, what’s your business’s true purpose anyway? Take points from reviews, and make sure your team is consistently improving. When addressing reviews from dissatisfied customers, be sure to show empathy, appreciation and authenticity.

Attract Potential Customers With Positive Reviews

Reviews are content gold. Find reviews that are particularly insightful about your product or service, and reach out to the individuals who submitted them. Also, strategize where a third-party response might have the biggest impact on converting more customers.

Tell Us What You Think & Join Us Next Week

Speaking of reviews, we’d love if you wrote us one on G2 Crowd. Also, be sure to join us every Wednesday (with the exception of next week, September 30) at 2 p.m. CDT for #SproutChat. Get started connecting with our community now here


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Meet Team Sprout: Alison, Senior Product Specialist

Meet Team Sprout Alison-01 If you’ve given Sprout Social’s 30-day trial a spin, you’ve likely spoken with a Product Specialist. These experts are a vital part of our team, helping organizations large and small find the right social media management solutions for their business.

Alison Garber serves as a Senior Product Specialist for the corporate sector here at Sprout, and in this role, she handles inquiries from organizations of 50 or more employees.

Alison started her career in the nonprofit world, then transitioned to a sales role in traditional media before joining Team Sprout—bringing with her a natural curiosity and desire to help others. Read on to learn more about Alison’s career transition, thoughts on culture and top item on her bucket list.

Name: Alison Garber
Department: Sales
Started at Sprout: April 2014

You started at Sprout in April 2014—can you tell me about your career path so far?

Everybody in my family has been in sales. I was the black sheep of the family, because my undergraduate major was in public policy, and I worked in the nonprofit sector. I really wanted to effect change: I worked at a political action committee, then at a women’s foundation and it was awesome. After a while, I got to the point where it was time to move on and try something new.

I had a connection to someone at a PR agency where I had interned when I was younger, and I ended up joining them and working in sales. I was doing outbound sales, or cold calling, for our public relations and media services.

Were there skills and experiences from the nonprofit world that transitioned to your role in sales?

The connection between the two comes down to helping people, whether you’re working in the nonprofit space or as a consultant in the for-profit space. You’re really trying to be of service to somebody. You’re listening to what challenges this person might be facing and you’re trying to come up with a viable solution that works for that person, team and organization. It was a very natural progression for me to move from working for a nonprofit to working with people in a different capacity.

What brought you to Sprout?

Going from PR—traditional media—to social media seemed like a natural progression. I loved the way Sprout’s culture seemed from the online application. The questions were interesting and challenging.

How does the corporate team approach the sales process?

Our team handles organizations with 50 or more employees, and the kind of conversations we have are a lot more consultative. Often people who are trying Sprout are already familiar with social media management platforms, and they’re coming to us because they have very specific pain points. Working with them is a matter of helping them uncover what their needs and problems are and how we could provide a solution.

In your words, an initial sales conversation should feel…

The best kind of initial call should be conversational—talking about what brought you to Sprout Social and what problems you’re trying to solve and keeping the discussion somewhat open ended. As you continue to explore, then you can really roll up your sleeves and figure out what you’re looking for specifically—what features and functionality will help you do your job better.

What trends have you seen in what customers are looking for in a social media management tool?

When it comes to social customer care, everybody’s looking for context. It’s very rewarding to be able to talk about how we offer that conversation management piece—that social CRM with full conversation history. It’s even more exciting with the new Twitter data partnership, since we can give customers access to even more historical data that’s important for social care.

Our ease of use is an asset as well, especially for customers who have large teams and an increasing volume of inbound messages. It’s rewarding to talk with people as they get started in Sprout and watch the lightbulb go off. When they have questions, customers also want to have the safety and security of knowing they can speak to somebody on our support team right away. You don’t have to be an enterprise customer to be directly connected to someone, so that’s really valuable.

What do you find most fulfilling about your role?

The fulfilling part is being able to be of service to people. It’s rewarding to see that the platform is such a helpful tool in people’s day-to-day professional lives. Everyone wants that ROI—everyone wants to see what’s resonating, what’s working and what’s not. Our app is designed to simplify that process. Our reports extract the most helpful metrics so you can modify your social programs based on the data we’re providing. We don’t give you all the numbers under the sun—we give you the important information so you can make decisions that directly benefit your business.

How would you describe the culture on the sales team at Sprout?

The people here are just amazing. It’s fun to have that camaraderie. Oftentimes in sales, you have a designated territory, and it can feel as if you’re working in a silo. At Sprout, because our team handles inbound sales, we aren’t competing against each other. We help each other strategize, we help answer product questions, and we benefit from each other’s experiences.

I see you all around the office—where’s your favorite place to work in Sprout HQ?

I bounce around so much. I’m never in one place for long, but my favorite spot is the high-top tables. The sun beams through, I can put my feet up, and it’s nice and quiet, but I can still hear my phone ring and run over to get it.


Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I love the outdoors, and I love live music. Ravinia is one of my favorite places to go in the summer. I also love to travel, and my bucket list includes a lot of hikes. Climbing Machu Picchu is next on my list.

So beyond, perhaps, the ability to fly anywhere in the world, what would you want your superpower to be?

Probably time travel. I’d love to see what it’s like in the medieval times—it wasn’t a great time to live as a woman, but it would be so interesting. Or to see what it’s going to be like in the next 100 or 200 years.

What advice would you give someone looking to join Team Sprout?

Having a genuine curiosity has really helped me in my career; it creates a sincerity that I think comes across on the phone when I’m speaking to potential customers. You have to be inquisitive and eager to learn about their use case, not just trying to get a deal in the books. That type of personality will help you in terms of sales, in terms of retention and in terms of culture. If you really care about the product, and you’re interested in working an environment with a variety of different sales teams—sales development, inbound sales, customer success—you should definitely join Team Sprout.


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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Experimenting on New or Niche Social Channels Without Wasting Time

Your Guide to Creating a Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy-01

Business has gone digital and there’s no doubt about it. There has always been a social element to business. Word-of-mouth marketing is still a significant driver of purchase decisions. But that once private interaction is now taking place on a public stage where you and your competitors can join in.

This digital revolution has turned businesses into social butterflies. Social media permeates every aspect of your business, whether it’s across departments or your rank. Today 74% of online adults use social networking sites, yet 73% of companies of companies lack social media policies.

So, how can you make sure your employees’ social media usage doesn’t negatively affect your company? That’s where having a social media policy can help. If you currently lack a social media policy, this guide will help walk you through the creation process. If you already have one, it’s best to use this as an opportunity to review your social media policy and make sure everything is accurate and up to date.

What Is a Social Media Policy?

Let’s start with the basics. A social media policy is a code of conduct that provides guidelines for employees who post content online either as part of their job description or personal brand.

The goal of a social media policy is two-fold:

  1. It sets expectations for appropriate behavior online with regard to the company.
  2. It protects employers from legal issues or potential social media crises.

Too often businesses create social media policies after an unfortunate incident occurred—such as an employee mistakenly Tweeting from the company account instead of their personal account. Creating a policy early on will help you to proactively avoid these situations in the first place.

Red Cross Tweet

The first decision you’ll need to make when it comes to creating a social media policy is the approach. Some companies write one complete social media policy that addresses all currently available social platforms, while others compose policies as they need them.

Choosing the latter is definitely the least time intensive of the two, but it also leaves room for potential problems. For example, if a policy can’t be created before your marketing team adopts a new social platform, it could lead to some confusion about what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Who Is a Social Media Policy For?

Although your marketing and customer support departments are responsible for the bulk of your company’s outgoing messages, social media is for everyone. That means anyone from the CEO to the marketing manager to the quality control intern is using social media, and chances are they’re using it while at work.

A social media policy is especially important if employee advocacy is a priority. It’s important that everyone within your company is clear on the communication guidelines and principles. A strong social media policy will empower your team to take action and make educated decisions while representing your brand online.

You’ll want to be sure to identify who the social media policy applies to within your policy. This can be achieved very easily. Take this example from Cisco:

Cisco Social Media Policy

What to Include in Your Social Media Policy

There are a lot of great social media policies to review from other companies, but keep in mind that your policy should be unique to your company. That said, some components are universal. At the very minimum, your policy should include prohibitions against:

  • Sharing confidential or proprietary company information, including details about clients and customers
  • Posting derogatory, defamatory or inflammatory content
  • Posting pictures or other information that even implies that they have engaged in illegal conduct

Other than those housekeeping items, here are six additional topics to address in your social media policy:

1. Transparency

You’ll want to consider how you’d like employees to represent themselves online. For example, some employees have separate Twitter handles for business communications, while others rely on their personal accounts for everything. In the event of the latter, employees should clearly state that they work for the company—especially if they’re discussing business, product or competitor-related matters.

For those with personal profiles, you’ll also want to think about whether you’d like them to include a disclaimer, like these:

Tweet Disclaimer

Tweet Disclaimer 3

Remind employees that claiming or implying to speak on behalf of the company is not allowed—unless their job description states otherwise. Adding a disclaimer helps your employees’ followers decipher between official company statements and general opinion.

2. Crisis Management

Things go wrong, and it’s natural for people connected to the controversy to want to help. But in the event of a social media crisis, you want to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible, and that means knowing who is in charge of what and when.

Most of employees will take a step back and let those with the proper training, such as community managers, social media managers and public relations teams, take over. In your social media policy, explain how you’d like your team to react during a crisis situation. You don’t have to go into a lot of detail here, but you should have procedures laid out in another document. Our Social Media Crisis Management Guide can help you get started if you haven’t already.

3. Privacy

Encourage employees to be smart about protecting themselves. Whether they’re using a branded social media account or a personal one, proper action should be taken to prevent breaches. This means using secure passwords, logging out of accounts while on public computers and using common sense when creating new profiles and customizing settings. Should an employee’s account become compromised, make sure he or she knows the next steps to take.

This also serves as a reminder for employees to think before they post. Content published online is easily discoverable and will remain that way for years. Employees should use sound judgment before posting or commenting online, and always defer to a professional language and behavior.

4. Compliance

Depending on the industry you’re in, you might have governing principles or regulatory bodies to follow. For example, federal government, alcohol and health care employees face tough regulatory challenges regarding social media engagement.

If employees are using branded social media profiles, you’ll need to ensure workers understand the various rules and regulations associated with your industry. Your social media policy is a good place to introduce employees to the different compliance issues. You might want to create separate documents depending on the regulation or the department.

Employees should also be expected to adhere to general laws and regulations, such as those related to copyright, data protection, financial reporting and so on.

5. Endorsement

People love it when their content is recognized. Liking, commenting or sharing user-generated content is a great way to spark engagement. In fact, 76% of Instagram users believe that receiving likes encourages them to publish more, and 65% said they feel flattered when a brand likes their post. That being said, your social media policy should clearly define rules regarding brand endorsements and how your employees can avoid confusion.

Make it clear that your company doesn’t endorse people, products, services and organizations. Official company accounts shouldn’t be used to provide such endorsements. When using a personal social media account, employees should be careful not to imply endorsement on behalf of the company.

6. Have Fun

Social media is a business tool, but it’s also an opportunity to show the lighter side of your company. Employees should be personable and participate in lively, natural conversations. If they’re constantly pushing robotic corporate communications, then they’re not helping themselves or the company. Followers can see through marketing tactics. Your employees should feel empowered to discuss what they’re passionate about as long as the delivery is appropriate and doesn’t violate any other area of your policy.

Start Writing

As you’re drafting your social media policy, be mindful of the tone and language you’re using. You’ll want to avoid using too much legal jargon because some employees might not understand it while others could avoid reading it all together. You also want to call attention to critical elements with bullet points or some other formatting technique. Don’t over complicate this. A social media policy is an important document for employees to come back to if need be. Do everything you can to make it easy for your team to read, understand and adopt what’s stated within the policy.

Take a look at Nordstrom’s social media employee guidelines:

Nordstrom Social Media Guidelines

It’s empowering, concise and easy to read. Nordstrom did an excellent job of conveying critical communication procedures to its employees.

Remember that social media is all about collaboration. If you have a very active employee advocacy initiative, it’s best to design your policy around what your employees can do rather than what they cannot.

One last thing before you start drafting your social media policy: The suggestions mentioned above are just that, suggestions. The rules you define and enforce will differ from brand to brand. We recommend talking this through with leaders from each department, as well as your legal team to ensure that objectives are being met and nothing gets left out.

The post Your Guide to Creating a Social Media Policy appeared first on Sprout Social.

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How to Use Snapchat for Business


Are you interested in using Snapchat for your business? Wondering how to integrate it into your marketing? Snapchat presents a unique opportunity to reach a new audience that is receptive to clever, creative marketing. In this article you’ll discover how to use Snapchat in your social media marketing. Why Use Snapchat? Snapchat is the fastest-growing […]

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Snapchat Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Snapchat Marketing Guide-01

Right now, Snapchat is viewed as the underground social media app for youngsters. Despite the fact the app has more than 100 million daily active users that send over 400 million Snaps every day, Snapchat hasn’t reached the mainstream level of networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just yet. The app is wildly popular among millennials, but older generations haven’t caught on quite yet. As you can see in the graph below from ComScore, nearly 50% of Snapchat’s users fall into the 18-24 age range.

Snapchat Demographics

If your aim is to reach a younger demographic, specifically 18-34 year olds, then Snapchat is the place to be. Not only is the app growing quickly, but the users are extremely engaged. In fact, 65% of Snapchat users upload Snaps. The challenge with Snapchat marketing is figuring out how to use the app in a way that engages users and drives action without being overly promotional. Even though the app has been around since 2011, Snapchat marketing is still very new since the app didn’t take off until 2014 and 2015.

With all that being said, there is plenty of opportunity to mix Snapchat into your social media marketing strategy. We’ve seen companies like Audi, GrubHub and the NBA have success, but how can you achieve similar results with your own Snapchat marketing campaign?

Snapchat Is Different

The very first thing you have to know about Snapchat is that it’s unlike any other social networking app. The main feature of Snapchat is the time constraint put on the content you share. While Tweets and Facebook posts are archived and can be accesses at any time, a Snap will expire. When you’re sending a Snap to a friend, it self destructs once it’s viewed. But the way most brands use Snapchat is by taking advantage of the Story feature.

With Snapchat Stories, you can combine a series of Snaps together to create a longer piece of content. The advantage of Stories is that your followers can view them as many times as they want within 24 hours. But after that viewing period, the story is gone. That time restraint opens the door for all kinds of creative marketing campaigns, which we’ll talk about in a little bit.

One similarity between Snapchat and apps like Instagram and Vine is that spontaneity is important. These apps are used to capture moments in time. This means you don’t have to necessarily plan out what you want to post. It’s more about feeding off what’s currently taking place. Snapchat just takes that concept to an entirely different level with the self destruct feature.

Let’s say you have an event coming up. You might post Instagram photos of your team together or make a short video clip of what happens behind the scenes. But you could make a Snapchat story of all of the brief moments that occur throughout the day—like the seconds before you go on stage to present.

The other difference with Snapchat is having the ability to draw over your images or videos. This gives you free range to make your Snaps stand out and be much more entertaining than the pictures you you might have posted on Instagram or Facebook.

The key takeaway from this is that your approach to the content you put out on Snapchat should be different than the way you create Tweets, Pins and other social media content.

Snapchat Is Fun

Both consumers and companies have a tendency to only present the best images of themselves on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites. From its inception, Snapchat set out to break that trend. For marketers, that means humanizing your brand. Users don’t want to see Snaps of professional product photos or team pictures that look like stock images. Users want to be entertained by the unique content you share.

You’ll notice that some of the most popular brands on Snapchat post Snaps and Stories that have nothing to do the company itself. This is because they understand the culture of the app. Don’t think about what your company can get out of each Snap. Be real, genuine and entertaining.

Snapchat Marketing Ideas

Now that you have an understanding of what makes Snapchat different, let’s talk about how you can use the app as a part of your social media marketing strategy.

Offer Discounts & Coupons

The most obvious marketing idea for Snapchat is to give your followers exclusive promotional offers. Since stories expire after 24 hours, it gives you the perfect opportunity to host flash sales or send out coupon codes. One of the most popular examples of a company using Snapchat for discounts is the frozen yogurt shop 16 Handles. In 2013, the company created a campaign for the New Year, which offered discounts for customers who sent a Snap of themselves enjoying 16 Handle’s yogurt.

16 Handles Snapchat Marketing

Build Anticipation

Snapchat is based off of short clips. Creating a series of Snaps or even Stories to build up anticipation for an event or product release can help spread the word organically, and even add a viral element when done correctly. Universal Pictures used this technique with the movie “Ouija.” By combining sponsored Snaps with a short trailer of the movie, Universal Pictures spread the word about the upcoming movie with its target demographic.

Ouija Snapchat Ad

A creative way you can use this technique is to send out a short 10 second Snap to select people. You’ll want to target influencers and brand evangelists. You could also choose random followers to for a special inside peek, similar to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’s golden ticket idea.


If there’s one company that understands Snapchat marketing, it’s GrubHub. Its app finds local restaurants and lets you order delivery or pickup online. The company uses Snapchat to do everything from finding new employees to giving followers a behind the scenes look. And one of the most popular things GrubHub is known for is giveaways.

Earlier this year, GrubHub launched the #SnapMadness giveaway, which rode the March Madness wave.

Grubhub Snapmadness

Snapchat is a great tool to use for giveaways because you can directly engage with your audience. In the GrubHub example, users got to send entries to GrubHub, and the company replied directly to them. That level of one-on-one interaction makes it a more personal experience. Think about creative ways you can use giveaways to engage your audience.

Tell Stories

Throughout this entire post we’ve been mentioning how brands can benefit from Snapchat Stories. While some brands create stories from random photos and videos taken throughout the day, a more powerful approach is to make a more traditional style of story with a beginning, middle and end. Here’s an example of a story from one of the most popular Snapchat users, Sallia Goldstein.

Notice how each Snap transitions into the next, and there’s a complete story line. You can use a similar technique to keep fans engaged with entertaining content. Brainstorm an idea for a story, map it out on paper and then start creating. Remember, your stories don’t have to feature your products. Get creative and think outside the box.

Combine Video & Images

Another unique aspect of Snapchat that gets overlooked is the easy integration of images and video. You’re not limited to creating Stores that are just a slideshow presentation or one long video. You can combine both of these visual elements into one and have it transition smoothly. Here’s an example of how Nev Schulman from the MTV show “Catfish” combined still pictures and videos into a promo for his upcoming episode.

Push the envelope even further by mixing in additional artwork and graphics like Schulman did to spruce up your stories with color and eye-catching graphics. Just be careful not to focus so much on adding these little extras that you sacrifice quality.

Snapchat Ads

Snapchat Ads are still in its early stages and isn’t available to everyone just yet. But it does look very promising. One of the main benefits of Snapchat Ads for marketers interested in mobile advertising is the fact the ads take up the entire screen of the mobile device, so they’re not an afterthought like what you get with other platforms. Also, since users can skip the ads, they’re a lot less invasive as well.

The real question is do they work? There isn’t a lot of data out yet, but in one case study for the “Furious 7” movie, people who saw the short Snapchat ad were three times more likely to watch the movie than those who didn’t see it. The trick to being successful with Snapchat Ads is keeping your Snaps short and immediately engaging. As you can see in the chart below of a case study presented by Digiday, the percentage of people still watching a Snapchat Ad drops dramatically after two seconds.

Snapchat Ads Case Study

If you’re interested in testing out Snapchat video ads, here’s the inquiry form to get more information.

Start Snapping!

The best time to get active on a new social media site or app is in the early stages. Snapchat has only been around for a few years which is still early for a social media app. That means it’s much easier to stand out and solidify your brand. In case you need even more of a reason to start using Snapchat, expert social media marketer Gary Vaynerchuk predicts that it will be one of the top three platforms for people between the ages of 13-50 in 2016.

Don’t miss this opportunity. Download the app and start Snapping!

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How to Build a Periscope Audience for Your Business


Are you marketing on Periscope? Want to reach more people? You can develop a following on Periscope by promoting your broadcasts, engaging with viewers and repurposing your content on other channels. In this article you’ll discover how to build a Periscope audience for your business. #1: Cross-Promote Broadcasts While content is ultimately king, think about how you can attract […]

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Measure and Increase Instagram Engagement

7 Pinterest Tools for Marketers

Do you use Pinterest for your business? Looking for time-saving tools? Many tools and services can streamline the way you find and pin content to Pinterest. In this article I’ll share seven Pinterest tools for marketers. #1: Trigger Pin Posting With IFTTT IFTTT (If This Then That) is a free service that lets you automate tasks […]

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How to Secure Your Social Media Accounts: 5 Tools

Are your social media accounts secure? Interested in ways to prevent security breaches? There are tools you can use to protect your social and online accounts, and prevent them from being compromised. In this article you’ll discover five tools to keep your company’s social media safe. #1: Get Alerts on Suspicious Activity One way to keep tabs on access […]

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Monday, 21 September 2015

Instagram Analytics: How to Pull & Examine Your Data


“Those unable to catalog the past are doomed to repeat it.” —Lemony Snicket

That line probably sounds like it was announced by your high school history teacher, but it was actually written by Lemony Snicket—though he’s hardly the creator. It’s an old adage that has been spoken in thousands of ways, but it loosely means that we must look to our past in order to plan for the future.

That same theory holds true in marketing. As marketers we should be just as concerned with our past campaigns as we are with those we’re planning, and we should constantly analyze what has proven beneficial in the past so that we may build off that success in the future.

In order to figure out what has worked in the past we analyze our attempts. This particular article discusses how to examine, pull and utilize Instagram Analytics in order to better your social media marketing. This is very important for modern marketers as Instagram continues to grow in popularity.

5 Instagram Analytics Reports to Run

The top Instagram metrics to track change from one company to the next, so you’ll really need to consider which metrics you want to analyze for your own business. These should be metrics that are important to your business and that roll-up into your general marketing strategies.

1. Instagram Engagement Analytics

The number one metric we promote at Sprout is social media engagement. We’re firm believers that social media networks should be a place for brands and their customers to come together to engage with one another.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 3.33.47 PM

  • Likes. Likes are how your customers and followers let you know they appreciate your content, and they’re the quickest way that Instagrammers can show their approval. There are 2.5 billion Instagram Likes daily–so go out there and get your share.
  • Comments. Comments should be most companies’ bread and butter. Similar to a Like, this typically means that someone enjoys what you’re posting. Not only do they your content, they like your photos and videos so much that they want to start a conversation with you and your team. Be warned that sometimes you’ll receive a negative comment. Don’t sweat it too much; a negative comment is a great opportunity to turn someone who may have had a poor experience with your brand into a loyal customer.
  • Engagements per Follower. Engagements are relative, and multi-million dollar brands are likely to receive more Likes and Comments than your corner mom and pop shop. But it’s also possible that your lovable mom and pop shops will receive more engagements per individual follower than their conglomerate counterparts. That’s why it’s important to look at the engagement per follower. The more often you can get an individual to engage with you, the better the chances they will respond positively to your brand when it comes time for them to make a purchasing decision.
  • Engagements per Media.While your engagements per follower shows how active your Instagram community is, engagements per media give insights into which of your posts are garnering the most interaction. This is great in that it can shed some light into what types of media you should post more frequently, as you’ll want to keep creating content that gets a solid amount of engagements.

2. Instagram Hashtag Analytics

Though hashtags have been stigmatized in recent years, they’re still very important for brands taking advantage of social media marketing. So it’s important to figure out which hashtags will help your brand gain an increase in visibility.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 3.37.42 PM

  • Most Used Hashtags. How many times are you using a certain hashtag? This tells you exactly how many times you’ve used a hashtag over a given time period. Use this data to see if you need to diversify your hashtag usage. Make sure you’re always testing new hashtags to see which helps get your content the most exposure.
  • Most Engaged Hashtags. While the above analysis tells you which hashtags you used the most, this metric shows you which of those hashtags received the most engagement (likes and comments). This stat is key because it shows which of your hashtags are driving the most communications with your fans and customers. Utilizing those hashtags–and hashtags similar to those–will lead you to an increase in engagement on Instagram.
  • Hashtags Frequently Mentioned With. A fantastic way to figure out which hashtags to use is to look and see which hashtags are already associated with your brand. Try a tool like Sprout Social’s Trends Report to see which hashtags your fans are using with your handle and in what context, then use that hashtag to join the conversation.

3. Instagram Follower Analytics

Since the dawn of social media marketing, audience growth has been one of the most important metrics for marketers. Though the importance of audience size is dwindling as engagement becomes the number one metric for social, it’s still important to monitor your audience growth. A growing audience is a key indicator that your business is doing well both on and off social media.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.20.00 AM

  • Followers Gained. The number of new followers that you received in your chosen time frame. Try looking for days with massive spikes in audience growth and look at what you were doing on that day.
  • People That You Followed. One of the biggest vanity metrics in social marketing is the number of followers you have compared to the number of people that follow you. It’s something that is not indicative of your skills on social media, so don’t be afraid to follow your fans

4. Instagram Content Analytics

In order to figure out what type of photos and videos resonate with your audience you need to dig into your content analytics. When you have a better idea of exactly what it is that customers are engaging with you can continue to create similar content to drive additional likes and comments.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.34.27 AM

  • Top Posts. You’ll obviously want to know which of your Instagram posts perform the very best! Not only will this give you an idea of what to continue posting, but it should also make you feel proud to have created such great content.
  • Photos Sent. If you find that your pictures resonate most with your audience you’ll want to monitor this number to make sure you’re posting steady content. If you’re not posting frequently enough you could be missing out on getting additional reach and brand engagement.
  • Videos Sent. If it isn’t too difficult for you to create videos quickly, and you find out that they perform well with your audience, monitor this number to make sure that you’re creating enough video content to keep up with your fans. Instagram videos can be between three to 15 seconds long, so it shouldn’t take too much time to create videos quickly.

5. Instagram Profile Analytics

Many social media managers have to manage multiple profiles across a number of different networks simultaneously, and constantly logging in and out of networks to analyze performance can be a huge time waste.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.55.20 AM

That’s why it’s a great idea to find a tool that will show your Instagram Analytics at a high-level by profile, then you can dig into the profiles you think need some work.

Pull Your Unique Instagram Analytics

Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have its own analytics platform to monitor your performance. However, Instagram has partnered with key social media analytics providers like Sprout Social, and we have the access to pull and present all of your analytics data to you in a beautiful, meaningful way.

Using Sprout Social’s Instagram Analytics

Sprout’s Instagram integration is available at every plan level, so no need to worry about limited access. Just follow these steps to pull and access your own report.

  1. Access your Sprout Social dashboard. If you’re not currently a Sprout Social user, you can start your own free trial with no software to download or credit card information to submit, and once you’ve setup your Instagram account we’ll start to pull in your data. Those who are current Sprout users should head on over to their unique dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the Reports Tab. Once in your dashboard click the tab toward the top of the page that reads Reports. Several of our proprietary reports have some form of Instagram integration, but for running the analytics we discussed in the first section of this article choose Instagram Profiles on the left hand side.
  3. Choose your date range. You have access to all of the data since your Instagram account was attached to your Sprout plan. So make sure that you choose a date range from after that point, and a date range that you’re interested in learning more about.
  4. (Optional) Export your report. You can export unlimited PDF or CSV versions of this report, allowing you to use the data in a number of unique ways. For instance, you can send the designed version to company stakeholders, work with a pen and mark up the physical document or manipulate the raw data in a way that makes sense to you.
  5. Dig through your analytics. Section one should have given you an idea of which of the metrics you’d like to track for your business. Now you can use this report to look at all of those stats you care about.
    • How many likes you received
    • How many comments you received
    • Your engagement per follower
    • Your most used hashtags
    • Your most engaged hashtags
    • Your total followers
    • The followers you gained
    • Your top Instagram Content
    • Your analytics by profile

Use These Analytics to Improve Your Instagram Marketing

Spend some time really studying your past Instagram Analytics. If you really want to be able to use this information to guide your strategy, ask yourself some tough questions, like:

  • Which of my photos get comments?
  • Which of my videos get comments?
  • Are my followers really engaged?
  • Which of my profiles are doing well?

The answers to questions like these will help you paint a picture of what’s working on Instagram, and will allow you to get out their and get even more love from your community.

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Changes to Facebook Ads Manager: What You Need to Know

Do you advertise on Facebook? Have you noticed recent changes to Facebook Ads Manager? While Facebook regularly updates the Ads Manager, most of the recent changes affect navigation rather than function. In this article you’ll discover the latest changes to Facebook Ads Manager and how to navigate them. Understand Facebook Ad Campaign Structure Let’s start with a quick review […]

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How to Automate Your Tweets: 3 Useful Twitter Apps

Does tweeting take up a lot of your time? Do you want to share content automatically? There are tools you can use to automatically tweet your best content when your followers are most active and engaged. In this article you’ll discover how to automatically schedule your tweets at optimal times. Why Automate Twitter? Putting together a Twitter content […]

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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Signal for Facebook and Instagram: 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 Introduces Signal for Facebook and Instagram: Signal for Facebook and Instagram is “a free discovery and curation […]

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Friday, 18 September 2015

#SproutChat Recap: Bringing Social & SEO Together to Build a Robust Online Presence


Social media and SEO have never been so intertwined. Although these practices may not be managed by the same person within an organization, it’s critical that your team coordinates to align messaging and employ effective tactics in order to reach the right audience. These three takeaways from this week’s #SproutChat will help.

Strengthen Social & SEO by Embracing Their Commonalities

Although it has been debated, it’s more and more apparent that social plays a significant role in search. With this in mind, your team will want to maintain strong and engaged profiles. Take the first step by making sure Google knows what social profiles are linked and attributed to your brand.

Create Valuable Content to Make Yourself More Searchable

Monitor search volume to keep your brand top of mind among current and prospective customers. Post content that’s timely and interesting, and align the format with how individuals are searching. Openly connect to ensure your brand’s presence as SERP’s get more personalized.

Earn Inbound Links Through Strong Relationships

Strong relationships on social create more visibility for your content. If your followers know and trust your brand, they’re more likely to link to your site through social or even from their own site. Always maintain an active presence, and test and post at ideal times on the most effective networks.

Join Us

During next week’s #SproutChat, we’ll discuss how to garner reviews and what role they should play in your digital marketing strategy. Join the #SproutChat community on Facebook to stay informed of other upcoming chats and announcements.

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Facebook Advertising 101: How to Get Started With Facebook Ads

Are you considering running Facebook ads? Have you tried Facebook ads but have had little success? To discover how to run successful Facebook ad campaigns, I interview Amy Porterfield. 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 business owners discover […]

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Periscope Marketing Tips From Broadcast Pros


Live streaming video is being hailed as the next big thing in social media marketing—and with good reason. Since Periscope, owned by Twitter, launched earlier this year, it has reached more than 10 million accounts and is seeing 40+ years of video being watched on its network each day.


Of course, there are other options when it comes to live-streaming apps—including Blab, Facebook Live, Meerkat and YouNow—but none has captured quite the same amount of attention as Periscope.

As with any growing social channel, it is essential to evaluate whether this one is right for you and, if so, how to develop an effective outreach strategy for your brand.

Why Scope?

For years, social has facilitated communication between people and brands, but the rising use of live-streaming video now enables face-to-face interaction at scale. This means your employee advocates can showcase the personality and culture of your organization in new and exciting ways.

The rawness of live streams, similar to what’s found on Snapchat, showcases a more authentic side of your business—something most audiences appreciate as a part of a well-curated content mix. Unedited and unfiltered content also invites your customers to connect with your brand in a deeper way, proving you’re actually listening to their feedback and not just reading off a prompt. Your feedback as the broadcaster is also live, which adds to the honesty of the conversation.

Lastly, your Periscope marketing efforts can be repurposed into other formats to further serve your community and expand your brand’s reach. For example, Katch lets you to capture any scopes for viewing later as video clips. Author Michael Hyatt does this well by turning his scopes into YouTube videos.

How NPR, BBC & USA Today Approach Live Streaming

If you decide Periscope marketing is a good fit for your brand, you’ll want to execute your broadcasts in an engaging way right from the start. To that end, here are some insights from two broadcast journalists at leading news outlets.

According to Rich Preston, International Bureau Producer at NPR and BBC, the top tips for live-streaming broadcasts are as follows:

  • Start with a game plan. “Like any broadcast, have an idea what your focus is, what you’re going to tell people and what you’re going to show them. This is your chance to give your viewers the extra info and background that doesn’t make it into your final piece.”
  • Be responsive. “Interact with your viewers. Converse, be human and answer questions.”
  • Use an external mic. “As someone with a radio background, this is a biggie for me. Smartphone mics aren’t very good. They pick up all the surrounding sound and are even worse in a bad weather. Get the correct cable, and use a proper mic. It will make your broadcast much more slick and professional.”

Meanwhile, Tanya Sichynsky, USA Today Sports Social Media Editor, offered NiemanLab some suggestions for Periscope marketing to ensure your scopes get maximum exposure:

  • Craft compelling descriptions. Sichynsky suggests clearly titling what each scope is about to ensure the notification that goes out on Twitter accurately describes what the broadcast is covering. Context is important, Sichynsky says, since your audience might see a notification on Twitter and not be exactly familiar with what you’re talking about.
  • Allow your broadcasts to be replayed later. “Periscope gives you the option to replay your broadcast after filming, but depending on how good your Wi-Fi or 4G service is, it may take a long time to save,” Sichynsky wrote. “If you’re trying to do one live stream after another, that urgency may cost you the replay function.”
  • Cross-promote your content. Sichynsky has been known to include a link to USA Today’s sports-focused Periscope account at the end of her articles.


Keep these suggestions in mind as your organization starts experimenting with Periscope marketing—and put your best face forward.

The above Periscope marketing tips are the views of Rich Preston, not the views of the BBC or NPR, and Tanya Sichynsky, not the views of USA Today.

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