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15 Common Social Media Mistakes Brands Should Avoid

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With over 2 billion users across the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, engaging with customers on social media requires a good strategy and more than a little personality. Sharing news about events or products is important, but making sure people want to see the message is crucial.

However, it’s easy to misstep and drive away customers. Flooding users with messages, regularly begging for shares and likes, or simply going too far off brand can all damage your audience’s interest, possibly permanently.

So what should you do? And, more importantly, what should you avoid doing? Below, 15 members from YEC talk about the common social media mistakes they see companies making, as well as why they matter.

1. Sending Out Too Much Content

Social media users don’t mind hearing from brands they follow. But many brands push followers’ patience too far by bombarding social media streams with way too many posts each day. Attention is valuable, and you shouldn’t waste it. Share a small number of posts every day, and focus your efforts on ensuring that each post is high-value, sharable and unlikely to be considered spammy.

Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

2. Not Addressing Complaints

Consumers turn to social media when they have a problem, and it’s a bad look to avoid complaints that come in via this channel. When you address an issue right away, it can turn a previously upset customer into a raving fan of your brand. Also, it shows other prospective customers that you truly care and will be there in the event that they have a question or issue. It builds customer confidence.

Jonathan Long, Sexy Smile Kit

3. Trying to Grow Too Many Social Media Platforms at Once

It takes considerable knowledge and consistency to grow a rabid, profitable audience with social media. Too often, companies decide that they want to dominate multiple platforms at once. This is overload, and it’s highly unlikely — unless your company is experienced and resource-laden — that you’ll do well on any of them. Pick one, hit it hard for a year and then reassess others.

– Alex Miller, Upgraded Points

4. Jumping Into the Political Arena

Brands have tried to appeal to online activists and jump on trends by becoming more engaged politically. Why a brand would want to potentially alienate 50% of their customers with a political opinion is mind-blowingly shortsighted. If you are selling a quality product or service, it should be able to sell just fine on its own — keep your political opinions to yourself.

Nicholas Haase, Startup Drugz

5. Not Reviewing Automated Status Updates Before Posting

It’s tempting for brands without the internal resources to turn to automation to help manage their social media presence. Unfortunately, automating status updates sometimes results in a presence that looks and feels automated. Followers can sniff out an automated account fairly well, and when they do, they tune out. As a general rule, review all status updates before sharing on a social channel.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

6. Repeating Content, Word for Word, Across All Channels

Consistency is important, but it does help to make small changes to the content or repurpose it in a way that makes it fresh for every channel. Otherwise your audience will just think you are lazy and have nothing different to offer.

Angela Ruth, Due

7. Being Overly Promotional

Naturally, you want to use social media for branding and promotion. But if all or most of your posts are simply ads or links to product pages, people will tire of this quickly. Remember that people go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social sites to socialize and be entertained, or maybe to learn something new. So provide value as well as promoting your business!

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

8. Begging for Likes and Shares

Begging for likes and shares is something most teenagers have learned not to do, so it’s always a little awkward when a company is doing it with content that hasn’t found a voice yet. Don’t ask for engagement. Earn it by producing good content and interacting with the people who are willing to engage.

Adam Steele, The Magistrate

9. Getting Stuck in a Long Back-and-Forth

When there’s a lot of back-and-forth or detailed information that needs to be shared to resolve an issue, take it to email to keep it from cluttering up your pages and to help the customer more effectively. Some issues just aren’t handled well in a long thread of 140-character messages. This will also help you avoid futile comment wars and decrease the risk of third-party topic derailing.

Roger Lee, Captain401

10. Ignoring the Public Relations Options

Social media is a great tool for brands to communicate concise messages and interact with customers, but the opportunity of utilizing PR is often ignored. If you ever have a PR issue, social media is very effective for managing the situation, taking responsibility, reacting immediately and responding to feedback.

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

11. Lacking Community Management

A high engagement rate is every brand’s goal. You can have amazing content, but if you don’t manage your online community by responding to comments, answering inquiries and facilitating conversation, then your engagement will fall flat. Have a community manager who will be the voice of your brand and create an inviting and welcoming online environment for your online community.

Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

12. Posting Meaningless Content

As tempting as it is to fill your timeline, stop posting meaningless content. All of your posts need to be focused on your core message or in response to a customer’s problem. Anything else is pointless.

Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media

13. Being Boring

What interests brands — particularly executives — is rarely what interests customers. The best social media pros think about who customers are and what they’re interested in. It can be hard for entrepreneurs to step back and realize that their obsessions aren’t likely to produce a compelling social media presence for the average consumer, which is why social media professionals are in great demand.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

14. Not Having a Schedule

Your audience should know when to expect new content from you, and having a schedule helps you remain focused. A brand with a social media presence that only posts intermittently can confuse current customers and it’ll be tough to build trust with new ones. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

15. Straying Too far Off Brand

In the pursuit of likes, comments and views, some brands create social media content that strays too far off brand, making it difficult for consumers to associate their business with the right ideas and themes. Companies should instead craft posts and stories that demonstrate their interests, values and mission to ensure their social media strategy is coherent and effective.

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

Social Media is Your Gateway to the World

If you aren’t currently using social media to its full potential, you are likely missing out big time. While most brands and bloggers have a preferred platform for growing their following and sharing content, if you are using each of them separately, you are going to be missing out on a big chunk of traffic. Be sure to implement each of the social media tips above to get the most out of your online marketing and branding efforts.

We hope you enjoyed this latest expert round-up full of actionable tips and advice from industry experts around the world. Be sure to read through our how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts who have already found success in the world of blogging.

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Attract More Instagram Followers with Kicksta

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With its incredible reach and unparalleled level of user engagement, Instagram has quickly become the social media platform of choice for brands, agencies and influencers alike. But because of this remarkable popularity, it can prove challenging to get noticed and to gain a substantial following, especially if you feel like you’ve hit a plateau. How can you reach new audiences and convert them into a loyal fan following?

If you’re interested in getting real followers who will actually engage with your content, you might want to give Kicksta a look. It’s an automated platform that will free up hours of your time, so you can focus on creating awesome content, curating real relationships, and converting your newfound connections “into more gigs, paid partnerships and sales.”

What Does Kicksta Do?

Instagram, like all other social media platforms, is predicated on two main tasks. First, you need to create the kind of content that users actually like and engage with. This is true whether you are a brand hoping to attract new customers or an influencer looking to extend your influence (and land more branded content deals). There’s certainly no shortage of resources online that can help you achieve just the right Instagram look.

The second part puts the “social” in “social media.” It’s all about engagement. It’s not enough to treat Instagram as a means of broadcasting your message to the masses; you need to engage with actual people too. And if you want to grow your following, you need to engage with users who are not already following you. That can be very time-consuming to do manually, because you want to seek out individuals who align with what your Instagram account is all about.

What Kicksta does is zero in on these potential followers, “liking” one or two posts from each of these users. The goal is to get their attention. When they see that you’ve liked their post, they may come around to check out your page. And when they see that you have the content they’d like to see, they might start following you. Organically. This automated process repeats at scale, so you can continue to grow and attract real followers each and every day.

You Are Not Buying Followers

There are at least a few key factors that differentiate Kicksta from seemingly similar services. You’re not playing the follow-unfollow game. Kicksta will not go around following accounts on your behalf and then unfollowing them if they don’t follow back. This is a practice that’s questionable on a number of grounds. Similarly, Kicksta is not going around posting canned comments on random posts (i.e., “Great post! Check out my account for similar content!”), because that can easily be interpreted as spam. You’re also not “buying” followers, which is against the Instagram TOS.

Instead, the objective is to appear as organic and natural as possible. When you first get set up with Kicksta, you enter your own Instagram credentials. Then, you provide information about the audience you’re trying to attract. With the “Creative” plan, you can target up to 10 accounts whose followers might be interested in following you. For instance, if you’re a food blogger, you might target other food bloggers.

If you upgrade to the “Professional” plan, you can target up to 40 accounts; you can also target based on gender, location, and hashtag. The “likes” appear organic, leading to “real” Instagram growth, because the targeted users are following you of their own free accord. This automated service frees up several hours from your week to focus on other efforts.

Navigating the Dashboard

Getting around the user interface with Kicksta is a relatively simple affair. You can connect and manage multiple Instagram accounts if you’d like too, but each will need its own monthly plan.

After connecting and selecting your account, you’re shown a general overview where you can review the engagement on your most recent post, your best performing post and your worst performing post. From the main navigation, you can also click to see all your posts to see how many likes and comments they received. More importantly in the context of Kicksta, though, is adding your targets for the tool to decide what posts to “like” on your behalf.

Clicking on “targets” shows your current targets, and then adding a target is as straightforward as adding the username of the account whose followers you’d like Kicksta to engage with. Once targets are added, you can toggle them on and off. You can also see the performance in terms of conversion rate and overall quality of the target. With these two features, you can experiment with what targets work best and only enable those.

There is also a section with analytics where you can review followers gained for a defined date range, as well as your net followers gained day-to-day.

But Does It Actually Work?

It’s important to note that Kicksta cannot guarantee any specific number of followers, because users are real people and they’re choosing to follow you on their own. What they can guarantee is that they’ll consistently keep up with liking one or two posts per user; you need to have the quality content they desire if you want them to follow you. In other words, your mileage may vary.

Kicksta shares a number of case studies on their website to illustrate some of their notable success stories. These include a bridal company that generates 50% of their revenue through Instagram, an e-commerce giant that drives 15% of their online sales from the platform, and an influencer who grew from 2,000 followers to over 12,000 followers in two months using Kicksta.

Really, the only way you’ll know whether it works is to try it out yourself.

How Much Does It Cost?

As mentioned above, Kicksta offers two monthly pricing plans, depending on the level of growth you desire.

The $49 Creative plan promises “moderate” growth with smart filters and up to 10 targets. The $99 Professional plan (discounted from $149) increases the target count to 40, adding in gender targeting, hashtag targeting, location targeting, blacklisting, premium email support, and live chat support. There’s a 14 day money-back guarantee on both plans, no questions asked, and you can cancel at any time.

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Top 10 Tips to Run a Perfect Expert Roundup Post for Your Brand

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Perfect Roundup Post

Roundups are common – it’s been happening for a long time now.

However, running one isn’t that simple.

It requires the right ingredients – Good Topic Selection, Outreach, Presentation and Sharing.

But that is just the basics. What makes a roundup success isn’t an easy to cook recipe. It will need a lot of dedicated effort, several weeks of emails and follow-ups – too much editing and coding and finally a lot of sharing.

Here’s a small guide on how we run roundups and receive several thousand social shares – once it goes live.

Social Experts

1) Topic Selection:

Roundups end up getting several thousand social shares on an average but much of that depends on the topic that you have selected. Spend enough time to thoroughly research titles that generates a lot of attention. This title must be related to the site where you are going to post the roundup – else there will be little benefit of it.

Think of what your target audience wants to hear, for example for a finance blog – “43 Millionaires Share their Tips on How to grow your Money Quickly” – In short, relevant, catchy and actionable.

Do note that you have to find enough willing influencers on the niche to justify the roundup.

2) Email out Reach

Once the topic is decided, start the outreach process. Look for list of sites related to your niche and send them an email.

Use Google and search for terms related to your roundup, see what sites comes up. Look up their email ids and contact details and send them a basic pitch email.

This is the first pitch and it should be small and catchy. People hardly have enough time to read more than a few words – no point sending them huge paragraphs. Simply email them a small line about yourself, tell them that you are hosting a roundup where you need their participation. Let them know that your past roundups have received several thousand social shares and that should be enough for the first pitch.

When they reply back send them all the details. Keep the email small and mention everything in points – for example, where the post will be published, names of a few huge influencers who will participate, the question and the deadline.

3) Social Media Outreach

Outreach shouldn’t be limited to emails only. There are facebook groups, LinkedIn groups etc. which are very active and have good discussions. Use those places, post a small update and ask people to participate in an upcoming roundup. You will receive several replies from these groups and these are excellent places for promoting the roundup too.

These are the same people who will share your roundup once it goes live and these groups will send you so many social shares too.

To learn more about what’s working for other big name sites and branding that have completed their own roundups, and have seen massive results with social sharing, check out these 21 examples.

4) Using Lists

If you are someone like us who likes to carry out these roundups regularly then it is best that you use an email service like Mailerlite, Aweber, MailChimp etc. and start making a list of people who likes to participate in roundups.

Send an email and ask for participation when you are carrying out the roundup.

Every time someone sends you their roundup entry, make sure to ask them to sign up for the roundup list – that way they won’t ever miss out on the next roundup you will be doing.

5) Direct Submission

People like to participate in places where they find entries from other familiar people. If they see a word document with some entries from people they know, they would want to add their own entry as well.

For this you can use the G Suite or use Guest Crew status updates like we do. This way, when you add a status update people will both participate and tweet it out as well – which results in more participation.

5) Formatting

How you present your roundup is totally up to you. Here are a few quick tips to format a roundup for success.

At the top of the roundup before you get into the expert answers – make a small list of clickable names, that way people can quickly reach the expert that they want to read. This hashtag navigation is very important.

Once you start formatting the roundup make sure to include a small image of the expert and next to the image – post a tweetable answer. Post the longer answer below it, that way it becomes more readable.

Do note that many people prefers small roundups where less than 15 people participate like this one published at MYUKMailBox – just make sure to keep the formatting in the same style.

6) Tweetables

People like to share content and making catchy tweetables make the process simpler. When you pitch your question to an expert, always ask for a smaller answer which will be added to the tweetable. Most people will send their small answer but some won’t. This is where you need to edit out a small sentence from the longer answer and make a tweetable out of it.

While making the tweetable, include your own username – so that when someone tweets it out, you will get a notification too.

7) Graphics

Canva is the best option here – or you can use a graphic tool if you are blessed with more talent.

Try to make a graphic for every entry you have received. Simply include the image of the expert, their tweetable answer as a quote in the image and mention some details of the site where the roundup is published and the name and website of the expert on the graphic.

Place the graphic below the tweetable and chances are that most people will use the graphic for sharing the answers.

While Canva is great for creating visuals, it’s also easy to create animated white board and explainer videos as well. A perfect tool for this is mysimpleshow.

Through their drag and drop video creation tool, it’s quite easy to take the information provided by your experts, add in a photo of the expert, and then have an animation video created with all of the information already presented in your roundup. The great thing about this is that it can greatly improve the overall branding and reach of your content, while also making it easier for the experts to share with their social audiences as well.

If putting in the time and effort to create your own video isn’t something you are interested in, you can also refer to their full service site at simpleshow. Through this premium service, their brand can create completely customized and professional videos to match the look and feel you are going after.

This is the ideal solution for bigger brands that want exposure from their expert roundups. The build it your own solution at mysimpleshow is also ideal for freelancers that might be doing all of the expert roundup outreach and work, then looking to upsell a premium package even further.

8) Sharing it out

At this point the entire roundup is ready. This is where you need to start sharing the roundup.

While sharing, make sure to carefully tag the experts on every social site where you will share the roundup. You will receive many social shares if you tag carefully. Don’t limit the sharing to only social profiles, share it on the groups that are related to the roundup, share it further on forums where it is relevant. Ask your friends to share it further.

When it comes to running a successful expert roundup and promotion campaign, there are many tools to use to your advantage. Outside of the traditional WordPress plugins and social sharing methods we are all accustomed to, you can also look for other working methods — such as outreach tools, Facebook Groups, email finder tools, and also automation follow-up tools.

9) Outreach and Letting them know

Finally, send the experts who have participated – an email with all the details of where the post is published and a few quick links where they can share the roundup further.

Don’t be pushy while asking for shares – simply give them the links to make the sharing process easier.

10) Keep sharing further

This is your roundup and you should be the one to keep the sharing going – everyday after the roundup is published and socialized.

Do note that most people are busy and they can only share when they have enough time on their hands. This is where you need to fit in. Use the tweetables you have created and start tweeting it out – at least 10 tweets a day. This will take several days to complete and your roundup will keep getting social shares in the coming weeks.

Roundups are so far our best marketing method, it does takes time – most roundups take a full month of time to get it ready and published but they are always worth their time and effort.

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15 Unconventional Social Media Tactics That Encourage Engagement

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Just about every brand is on social media nowadays, but not all of them know how to use it effectively. It’s not enough to have a profile on multiple platforms and post content regularly. You need to provide the right kinds of content and posts that will make your followers want to react, share and comment.

To find out what works, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members for their favorite lesser-known strategy for boosting a brand’s social media engagement. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Hold Contests and Giveaways

A great way to drive engagement and social growth is via contests and giveaways. “Tag and win” contests are a great way to drive action and at a relatively low cost. We use these to gain new followers and build brand awareness. It is a good idea to make it as easy as possible to enter and share with friends, as this will drive the viral nature of the post and go much further.

Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

2. Promote User-Generated Content

User-generated content is a great way to encourage social media engagement. If you come off as being too promotional or professional, you give off the impression that you’re only there to do business. Encouraging customers to develop their own content allows businesses to show off their products from a more personalized point of view will increase engagement by highlighting your customers first.

Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

3. Create and Share Useful Infographics

A great way to drive up engagement for image-based social networks, especially if your business is based on written content like mine, is to post infographics. If they contain interesting information presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner, readers will be inclined to reblog or retweet your posts. Small businesses can easily find freelance designers to help make them on sites like Fiverr.

Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute for Success

4. Offer Exclusive Group Access

To entice our audience to engage with our Facebook Messenger bot, we entice them to join by giving them exclusive access to a free Facebook group that only our Messenger subscribers will have access. It includes exclusive training and Facebook live speed coaching that can’t be found anywhere else. By creating a unique “club,” it keeps the right people in our group and increases engagement.

Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

5. Jack the News

Newsjacking is not “stealing the news.” Instead, it’s a valuable way for you to use a breaking story to shine a light on something you are doing at your business. While people are searching for the topic, new viewers will stumble upon what you are saying about the topic. It is a simple, cost-effective way for small business to generate tons of media coverage and social media engagement. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

6. Have a Virtual Party

Who said parties can only be offline? You can take your party online as well. We like to invite our customers, prospects and partners to join us for a virtual party. This is the easiest way to get discovered because when people share their voice, their audience sees what they are sharing as well.

Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

7. Add Facebook Messenger to Your Website Homepage

It’s really easy (and free) to install the Facebook Messenger widget on your company’s homepage. As live chat becomes the No. 1 communication preference for online customers, bringing Facebook’s chat capabilities directly to your site encourages more interaction with customers. Plus, it’s a clever way to draw them into your social ecosystem.

Eng Tan, Simplr

8. Thank Your Customers Using Video

We love to use video on social media to thank our customers. A short, 15-second post identifying a great customer by name can create an amazing ripple effect. That person will likely share it on social, which will then create positive brand awareness. A small business can do this with an iPhone — just dedicate five to 10 minutes a day to these posts and watch the shares stream in.

Yaniv Masjedi, Nextiva

9. Say Hello to Your Neighbors

As a physical location business, I love using Instagram’s geo-location feature. We can say hello to all the neighbors, to potential clients and to anyone who’s tagged themselves in or near our location. For example, I can see who’s nearby our massage studio based on who’s tagged themselves at the local gym, yoga studio or juice bar, and then “Like” and comment on their posts so they know we exist. – Rachel Beider, Massage Outpost

10. Focus on Image-Based Content

Several of my clients who are startup founders post images that are not necessarily about the product or service they sell but it talks about the industry they serve. For example, a pregnancy care app used to post images about newly born babies, which made them very popular. A picture is better than a thousand words — people always respond to something that is visually appealing.

Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

11. Join a Relevant Group

Creating and joining engagement pods or groups with a similar niche is one of the underutilized methods to gain more engagement within your social media platforms. It’s essentially creating a community of loyal supporters to follow, like and comment on every content that you post. This will work for both personal and business brands.

Fritz Colcol, Simply Thalia

12. Integrate Offline Promotions

If you have a store or retail related market, you can introduce items and posters within your store that will encourage people to engage with you via social media. It’s important to have a strategy in mind when you’re using social. How much promotion will you do? Discount offers? Value-driven content? Contests? Let people know you intend to provide this via social with in-person marketing items. Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting

13. Reach Out to Them First

I go through my followers’ followers and reach out to them on their pages. This means asking questions, commenting and retweeting their posts. I find that they then take the time to see who I am and discover what I do. This has significantly raised our followers in an organic way.

John Rampton, Calendar

14 Take Advantage of Polls

Using polls in your Instagram stories is a great way to simultaneously encourage engagement and tap into valuable customer feedback. Pose questions in a fun and light-hearted way. This is a great way to take the temperature of your community. Are they willing to take two seconds to engage with you? If not, it may be time to re-think your overall approach to social media.

Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

15. Share On-Brand Memes

Especially to the younger generations, memes are unique to our times and there is nothing like it in terms of engagement. Business owners sometimes have problems to not only understand memes but also to use them in successful campaigns. You need to have someone in the team that keeps up with pop culture and creates memes according to your brand, but you won’t regret it.

Brian Condenanza, Fluo Shoes

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