Category Archives: Social Media

6 Things to Ask Your Social Media Manager

While it’s not quite fair to say that everyone has a social media presence, the reality is that most of us do—and that number is only increasing as time goes by. Businesses and public figures can’t afford not to have a footprint on social media, which is where more and more consumers turn for news, recommendations, and connections.

Yet actively managing a social media presence is almost a full-time job in itself. That’s why a lot of small and mid-sized companies now outsource their social media management to a professional—someone who can coordinate postings, respond to comments, generate reports, and ensure strong, consistent brand messaging.

Before hiring a social media manager, though, it’s important to do your due diligence. Here are a few things you should ask to ensure you’re hiring the right person (or team) for the job.

 What to Ask When Hiring a Social Media Management Team

  1. What do you need from me? In theory, you’re hiring a social media management team to take that workload off your plate—yet for your social media presence to feel personal and authentic, you may need to weigh in on some of the content. That’s a tricky balance, and it’s always smart to find out what your social media manager will expect from
  2. How will you evaluate progress? One of the first things your social media manager will ask you is what you hope to achieve—what your goals are from the process. (If your social media team doesn’t ask this, that’s a red flag.) After telling them your goals, turn the tables: Ask how your social media manager will evaluate progress, and what metrics will be used to determine whether or not you’re hitting those goals.
  3. How often will I hear from you? Communication is key, and as you work with your social media manager, it’s good to have a clear idea of how often you’ll touch base, when you should expect reports to be generated, how accessible your manager will be should you have any questions, etc.
  4. What programs do you use for automation, reporting, etc.? A good social media manager will use programs like Hootsuite to ensure that posts are published promptly, and that data is generated consistently. Ask what kinds of programs your social media team will use, and make sure they’re doing what they need to do to make your campaign smooth and efficient.
  5. How will you respond to commenters? What will your social media manager do to answer questions, pass along feedback, or—if necessary—deal with trolls? There’s not necessarily one right answer here, but do make sure your team has a thoughtful plan in place, and that it’s something you feel comfortable with.
  6. What’s your approach to content? A good social media manager will post a good mix of curated and syndicated content—that is, stuff that’s original to your brand, and stuff from outside sources.

Of course, this is your social media presence on the line—so by all means, ask any questions that come to mind. Our team is happy to field all inquiries. Grammar Chic, Inc. provides robust and flexible social media management services, and we invite you to reach out today to set up a consultation. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Should Your Business Write Longer Tweets?

Last November, Twitter doubled its famous 140-character count, meaning that Twitter users now have the luxury of a full 280 characters in each tweet. At the time, it was presumed to be the death knell for the platform, which had long been celebrated for its forced brevity. Most Twitter users acclimated to the new format pretty quickly, however. And, in the months that followed, Grammar Chic has received a number of inquiries from social media clients, wondering if they should be using all of this available space.

To be sure, this isn’t a simple question to answer—and to a large extent, it depends on your brand, your audience, and the nature of your tweets. We don’t recommend writing 280-character tweets just because you can; if your message works best in 140 characters or less, stick with that.

With that said, there are certainly some benefits to the relaxed character count—and some reasons why your business might take advantage of this new spaciousness.

Media Attachments are More Feasible Than Ever

With the old Twitter, it was challenging to compose tweets that included photos, captions, links, and hashtags; simply attaching a photo to your post ate up 40 of those precious 140 characters, right out of the gate. But with the new Twitter, media attachments don’t count toward your character limit, so you’ve got a lot more wiggle room to include visual content and still have room to do some writing and some tagging.

That’s probably the best way to avail yourself of longer tweets; you don’t have to write the Great American Novel, but you can include fully fleshed-out thoughts, attention-grabbing images, and plenty of hashtags and @ mentions to increase your reach.

You’ve Got More Room for Your Messaging

An even more obvious point is that longer tweets mean you’ve got a little bit more room for your marketing messaging. Now, caution is in order: There’s still something to be said for brevity. With that said, it’s nice that marketers can include links to product pages or to new blog posts, along with some brief commentary and hashtags, without having to worry as much about spilling over that character limit.

Again, our advice isn’t necessarily that you should try to fill up each 280-character tweet with text; just use the space you have to ensure a full-bodied thought, along with appropriate tags, links, and media.

Be Strategic in Your Tweets

The debate over long vs. short content is nothing new, and it’s hardly confined to Twitter. By all means, stretch out your business tweets when you feel it’s appropriate, but make sure you’ve got a strategy in place to guide all your content creating decisions. We can help you develop one; reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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3 Things That Blow Your Social Media Credibility (And How to Avoid Them)

Small businesses use social media for different reasons—to share content, to engage in dialogue with their customers, to boost online visibility, and to preserve their online reputation, among other things. One of the most critical reasons to be on social media is that it can give you credibility; by sharing valuable information, you can build thought leadership and earn trust.

Yet, in some instances, social media activity can have the opposite effect—actually detracting from your credibility rather than enhancing it. In this post, we’ll guide you through three of the biggest offenders, and offer some suggestions for staying on the straight and narrow.

Only Sharing Links to Branded Content

To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using social media to share company blog posts, videos, or sales pages.

The problem comes when that’s all you share—because, quite simply, it makes you come across as salesy, only interested in tooting your own horn rather than adding value to your customers’ lives.

And on top of that, the all-branded-content, all-the-time approach can make your social media presence become static and uninteresting. No matter how you slice it, it’s a bad approach.

But what can you do instead? Our suggestions:

  • Aim for a balance between branded and curated content; ideally, only about 20-30 percent of your content should be branded material.
  • For curated content, look for articles, blogs, videos, editorials, and infographics that convey meaningful information about your industry and add value to the reader’s life.
  • Focus on educating rather than just selling all the time; treat your content like a product in its own right and keep the emphasis on benefits to the end user.
  • Make sure you balance your links with other kinds of content, too—like images, polls, or posts that simply ask questions or offer tips.

Seeking Followers Through Illegitimate Means

As you may have heard, fake Twitter followers are abundant—but now, they are also being investigated by the government. Many big brands, including celebrities and politicians, are losing followers fast.

Don’t try to buy followers, no matter how tempting it may seem; it’s not going to work out in the long run, and when you lose millions of followers overnight, it will cause you to look pretty hapless.

Instead, we recommend:

  • Focus on organic growth! Don’t buy followers but earn them. Use the value-focused, balanced content marketing approach we outlined above.
  • Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint—and you’re not likely to win a ton of followers all at once. Instead focus on patiently building relationships and developing credibility.
  • Finally, remember that 100 real-life customers, who might actually buy your products or recommend you to a friend, are far more desirable than a million bots.

Trying to Please Everyone

There’s nothing wrong with sharing memes or funny videos on your social media profiles—so long as they’re somehow relevant to your core business offerings.

But when funeral homes tweet out funny kitty memes, that’s obviously a little weird, to say nothing of off-brand.

Tactics like this make it look like you’re desperate to win everyone over to your brand—but remember: You don’t want everyone. You just want your targeted audience—the people you’re trying to reach with your products and services. (See your buyer personas for more!)

Use Social Media to Boost Your Credibility

With the right strategy, you can use social media to offer value, entertainment, and engagement—building your credibility in the process.

We’d love to show you how. Contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team for a social media marketing consultation. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Manage Your Online Reputation with These Four Essential Assets

When’s the last time you made a major purchase without first doing a little online research? If you’re like most of us, you spend a little time online doing some due diligence before you ever commit to a high-priced product or service. And after all, why wouldn’t you? Googles makes it quick and easy to do meaningful consumer research, potentially saving yourself from a big, expensive blunder.

For consumers, online research is invaluable; for business owners, things are a little more dicey. After all, you can be certain that your consumers are using Google to vet your brand, your products, and your services before they give you any of their hard-earned money.

Your Online Reputation is One of Your Most Valuable Assets

As an exercise, you might take a minute to Google your brand, and see what comes up. If it’s all good, positive stuff, then congratulations—you have a solid online reputation, one that should encourage potential customers to buy from you in confidence.

But if your Google results are less than stellar—if they include negative reviews or unwanted news headlines, for instance—then you may actually be losing customers at a fairly high rate. We’re not exaggerating, either; online reputation can be truly make-or-break.

That’s why we recommend taking a proactive approach—something that’s not nearly as difficult as the high-dollar online reputation management firms will claim. Actually, a dedicated content marketing effort—focused on a few key assets—can help you preserve and even enhance your brand’s online image.

Online Reputation Management: A Four-Pronged Approach

Your Business Blog Provides Thought Leadership

For starters, if you want people to find positive listings when they Google your company name, it’s important that you actually create those listings. Positive content won’t write itself!

A regularly-updated business blog is helpful for a few reasons:

  1. It provides regular updates to the Google search algorithms—feeding the content monster and keeping your brand’s listings fresh.
  2. It allows you to display thought leadership—earning the trust and confidence of your customers.
  3. It provides opportunities for social media shares—another important way to generate some positive online mentions.

Press Releases Create Buzz

Getting some local news coverage is another important way to boost your positive Google listings—and that’s why we still recommend press releases for many of our content marketing clients. While this is seen as something of an old-fashioned approach, the reality is that it’s an easy and effective way to build buzz.

The important thing is to send out news releases about actually newsworthy events—such as:

  • New products or services
  • New locations
  • New hires
  • Involvement with a local charity or non-profit

Social Media is an Avenue for Customer Services

Something else you’ll want to do is maintain some active social media accounts—and not just for the obvious reasons. Yes, social media channels make it easy for you to distribute positive, brand-enhancing information—but they also provide a way for you to engage with your customers directly.

This can be either a blessing or a curse. To use social media effectively, it’s important to check in every day and respond to questions and complaints professionally—essentially viewing it as a chance to flex your customer service muscles. This can help minimize the occurrence of bad reviews or negative listings; if your customers see that you respond to their issues, they may not be as tempted to vent about you on Yelp or Foursquare.

Online Review Sites Add Luster to Your Brand

That brings us to the last of our vital assets—and that’s online review sites. To many business owners, these review sites are a scourge and a threat. Certainly, they pose a risk to your brand—but they also offer some opportunities. Here’s our advice for tangling with these site:

  • Above all, make sure you monitor your online reviews; always know what people are saying about your business.
  • If you spot some positive reviews, take a minute to say thanks.
  • If you come across negative ones, pause to offer some customer service. Coolly and calmly try to make things right.
  • Actively seek positive reviews; ask your best, most loyal clients to help you out by offering some positive feedback.

Take Your Reputation Seriously

Given the centrality of online research to the consumer experience, you can’t afford to think of online reputation as secondary, or as optional. Your brand will have a reputation, whether you like it or not; it falls to you to make sure it’s a good one.

And we can help! Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to discuss any and all of your content crafting needs—including blogs, social media, press releases, and beyond. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Brainstorm Content Ideas for Your Small Business

Often, the most challenging part of content marketing is simply coming up with good ideas. Perhaps you’ve had this experience: You set aside an hour of your day to write a post for your small business blog, then stare at your computer for a good 45 minutes trying to think of a topic. By that point, of course, you hardly have enough time left to write a solid introduction, much less a full post.

Something we recommend is keeping a list of topics ready to go—so that when you have those moments of scheduled content creation, you don’t have to waste time fumbling for inspiration. Still, the question remains: How do you come up with good ideas to populate your list?

Start with Content Categories

A good place to begin the brainstorming process is not with specific topics, but simply with categories.

Think about your areas of expertise—the services your company provides, the niche it serves. Try to think of five to seven big “buckets” into which content can be placed. For example, say you own a plumbing company. Your buckets might be Commercial Plumbing, Plumbing Repair, Drain Cleaning, Bathroom Remodeling, Household Plumbing Tips and Tricks, and HVAC.

Now, for each of these content buckets, try to come up with some subcategories—further ways to classify content. For each bucket, aim for a good five subcategories. For example, under Plumbing Repair, your sub-categories might include:

  • Fixing leaks
  • Water heater maintenance
  • Removing clogs
  • Preventative maintenance
  • When to call a plumber

Once you’ve written down those big buckets and their related sub-categories, you’ve got a pretty good blueprint to work from.

Brainstorming Content Ideas

Now we come to the part of the process where you actually jot down some content ideas.

Start with any of those subcategories you wrote down, and approach it from a couple of different angles:

  • First, there is the expertise angle—wherein you’re simply trying to impart some knowledge to your customers, sharing your expertise on the topic in question. What are some things you’d like your customers to know, as relates to this topic? What are some of the most common questions you get?
  • Second, there is the offering What are you trying to sell, as relates to this topic? Generating posts with an offering angle might mean listing the perks, benefits, or pros/cons of a specific service—for example, under the Preventative Maintenance category, your topic might be The Benefits of Preventative Plumbing Maintenance, underlining the value of homeowners having routine inspections from a certified plumber.

Even if you only come up with a couple of topics for each of your subcategories—an expertise angle and an offering angle—you’ll still have a fairly large list of topics at your ready.

And there are ways to take those topics and spin them into additional ideas. For example, if you land on the perfect angle for a blog post, type your working title into the Google search bar and just see what comes up. You may find that competitors or industry experts have written related or thematically-adjacent posts that can inspire your own work.

Outsource Your Content Creation

Having a list of pre-determined topics—and periodically spending some time expanding and revising it—can make content creation much more fluid, and much less frustrating.

And if you’re serious about generating quality content, you can take the next step—outsourcing your content creation to the writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. We can provide a full spectrum of services, from topic generation to writing, proofing, editing, and formatting. To talk content strategy, reach out to our writers at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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10 Things You Should Remove from Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Today

Jobseekers depend on their resume—and, to a slightly lesser extent, their LinkedIn profile—to inform recruiters and hiring managers about the skills they bring to the table. With that said, there is such a thing as having too much information on your job search documents—or, rather, having information that does more harm than good.

It’s worthwhile to periodically go through your professional documents and eliminate anything that’s dragging you down. We’ve prepared a checklist for you—10 things you’re safe to eliminate from your resume and your LinkedIn profile now.

What to Exclude from Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

  1. Secondary skills. It’s commonly assumed that your resume should mention every skill you possess—but that’s not always the case. If there are skills you’d rather not continue to hone at your next job, it’s often best to leave them off; focus on the things you love, the things you’re good at, and the things you want to keep doing.
  2. Silly email addresses. If you’re still using a goofy email handle from your college days—that Hotmail account you signed up for back in the day, perhaps—it’s time to set up a new, professional email account through which you can handle your job search.
  3. High school jobs. Unless you’ve just graduated from college and these are the only jobs you can list, it’s better to forget them.
  4. Hobbies and leisure activities. There are some isolated cases in which your hobbies belong on your resume—specifically, if they dovetail with the job you’re applying for—but usually, you’ll want to leave them off. Believe it or not, hiring managers don’t care that you love to play golf or collect vinyl records. They care about the value you can bring to their organization.
  5. Antiquated technology. By this point, there’s no need to specify that you know how to use email, Microsoft Word, or the Web browser. Everyone should be able to do these things—and listing them on your resume just dates you.
  6. Your home phone number. Just include your cell; make it clear to employers that you can always be reached, no matter what.
  7. Paragraphs of text. Your job descriptions should be easy to read—and for that matter, easy to skim. Always use bullet points. Big blocks of text are a major turn-off.
  8. Salary figures. You’re likely to either sell yourself short or position yourself as unattainable—and either way, it’s undermining your prospects.
  9. Generic job titles. Make sure your job titles give a pretty clear indication of what you actually did in that role; just saying “Manager” is usually not descriptive enough.
  10. Duties. This one may surprise you—and to be clear, your resume should provide some insight into what you’ve done at your different jobs. The point here is to focus more on achievements as opposed to a laundry list of responsibilities, whenever possible.

Make Your Resume Sleek and Effective

Writing an effective resume is as much about what you leave off as what you put on. For help fine-tuning your resume and LinkedIn profile—and making them powerful personal marketing collateral—contact us for a consultation. Reach out to the resume writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. via www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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3 Ways Google’s SERP Changed Last Year—And What It Means for Your Business

Google is constantly tweaking its search engine algorithms—and often, those changes are plainly evident from the search engine results page (SERP) itself.

Why is the SERP such a work in progress? Simple: Google wants to provide its users with the best product possible—that is, quick, relevant, practical answers to their search queries. And it’s constantly devising new ways to make that product just a little bit more appealing.

The downside for business owners is that there’s a lot of fluctuation to keep up with. The SEO efforts that worked in years past may not work as well today. In fact, 2017 saw a few significant changes to the SERP—and those changes all have some implications for small business marketing efforts.

PPC ads take up more of the SERP than ever before.

There was a time when the SERP was occupied mostly by organic search listings—the kind of listings you could attain through the right mix of content marketing and SEO. But today, paid ads are placed more prominently than ever before. Users have to scroll further down the SERP before they even arrive at organic listings; meanwhile, PPC ads have infiltrated parts of the SERP they never appeared previously, such as the Google Map Pack.

Does this mean SEO and content marketing are dead? Far from it. It just means that a comprehensive approach is needed. If you want to blanket as much of the SERP as possible, you can’t rely solely on organic listings or on paid ads. You really need a strategy that encompasses both, and balances them appropriately.

If you’re not already augmenting your content marketing efforts with PPC, make 2018 the year you really get a handle on ad bidding, targeting, and copywriting.

Featured snippets occupy prime SERP real estate.

Another important change? Google wants to empower users to get the answers they seek from the SERP itself—without actually having to click through to a link. One way this is evident is in the rise of featured snippets.

You’ve probably seen these before, even if you didn’t realize what they were called. Have you ever done a Google search, and had the SERP give you a direct answer, in the form of a little “answer box” appearing just above the organic search listings?

These are featured snippets, and they occupy the “zero position” on the SERP—coveted online real estate. Getting your content to rank in the zero position can be a major boost to your brand visibility.

This is a tough thing to attain, but not impossible. The best bet is to format your content in the form of a bulleted list, a table, or a Q&A—especially when it comes to more fact-based and objective subject matter. Remember, Google wants to provide quick, clear, authoritative answers to its users, and it’s in your best interests to help it do so.

More people are arriving at the SERP through voice search.

We’ve blogged before about voice search, which is quickly becoming the most popular way to search for content on Google. But as more and more search engine users arrive at the SERP via Siri or Alexa, it’s important for your content to accommodate them.

Again, a lot of it comes down to formatting—with bulleted lists and Q&A formats being especially useful. Also remember to write your content in a conversational style that reflects the way real voice searches are done. A traditional Google search might be phrased like this: Jimmy Kimmel age. But with voice search, you’re more likely to ask: How old is Jimmy Kimmel? For content to rank well for these voice-based queries, it’s important to emulate that casual style.

Making Sense of the New SERP

As you seek to get your content ranked on this new and ever-changing SERP, don’t hesitate to seek guidance. Grammar Chic, Inc. has diverse experience in content marketing, and we always have the latest SEO strategies in mind. We’d love to consult with you about your content marketing and Google search needs. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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