Monday, June 4, 2012

Social Media 101: Why your business needs a strategy

Since I started my new gig three weeks ago, naturally I've found myself having more and more conversations about social media. It wasn't until I spoke with my neighbor that I realized I am in the 1%. And no, not that 1%. I am talking about the fact that the general population can easily be intimidated (or bored) by those who can spew facts, dream up grandiose ideas, and jump at the chance to chat about the next big internet thing. Since social is so engrained in my very being, these type of epiphanies sometimes baffle me. But it's those a-ha moments that help keep me in touch with the fact that many companies, both big and small, still have no idea how or where to start when navigating the social waters. 
Which is exactly why I think it's important to routinely get back to the basics and brush up on social media 101. Because I can literally talk about this topic F O R E V E R, I'll keep it simple and steer clear of referring to any one particular industry, company, or what may be the "best" approach.  Below is some general info I put together regarding social media, how to get started, and links to a few infographics that I just lurve. So whether you are a "newbie" or consider yourself a season "expert" (a dirty, dirty word in my book but I digress), hopefully this list will help you get started or bring you back down to Earth.

When starting a social media strategy, think about these five things (at the very least):
  1. What is your objective? There is no right or wrong answer. Well, except for "my boss told me to do it." In that case, definitely read on...
  2. Who is your audience? This question can also be answered as "who do you want your audience to be?"
  3. What are you going to say? My biggest pet peeve is navigating to a companies Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram feed, etc. to find ancient content that has been updated only a handful of times. If you're going to do it, commit. That means time, resources, and yes, money.
  4. How will you track & measure success? I am a FREAK when it comes to this question. Not having defined KPIs (key performance indicators), goals, milestones, or any other source of measurement tied to your efforts is like going house hunting without a budget: pointless. You have to start somewhere so even if they are moving targets: benchmark, track, analyze, repeat.
  5. Who is going to manage your efforts? Depending on answers to 1 - 4, your organizational culture, and your budget this could be a toughie. My advice to you is beware of the so-called "experts" out there. Find a partner who fits into your goals, can scale with you, and understands your business. <Insert the perfect opportunity to plug my wonderful new company.>
Defining these five things will help you and organization decide which social outlets to leverage (or not) in order to build a community that aligns with your brand, enables you to achieve your objectives, and allow you to create content that will be valuable to your customers, and ultimately, your overall business.

Ideas for starting small-ish:
  • Create a Facebook Brand Page. I do not believe in using Facebook as an alternative to a traditional Web site. However, having a Facebook presence can be a cost-effective option if you are just getting started and looking to grow your social marketing efforts. At the very east, claim your Facebook Place/Brand page which can serve as a general source of information (hours, location, web site, paying methods, parking, etc.) as you work towards bigger, more involved initiatives such as using "the Book" as a customer service tool, for word of mouth marketing, recommendations, customer engagement, yada, yada, yada.
  • Start a blog. Even if you only write one post a week, a blog is a great tool to establish your business as credible, knowledgeable resource. Posting authentic information, stories, and even pictures is another cost-effective way to manage your brand while helping out  the SEO department. Re: search engine optimization, which is particularly important for people who are trying to find you...or your competition.
  • Cross-promote. Include social links on email blasts, direct mail pieces, forms, and any other customer-facing communication to help spread the word. But please, do not misuse the QR code. In fact if you don't know what that even means, keep it that way (at least for now).
  • Don't try to do everything for everyone on everything. Being selective about your social strategy allows you to focus on building effective communities, generate quality content, and interact with your customers in a timely manner. Is your brand visually-driven? Create an Instagram account. Do you want to give your customers quick snippets of information or industry news? Twitter may be the way to go. Is your primary business B2B? You better be on LinkedIn! The truth is, there is a social outlet for just about anything you can think of, the trick is to explore, find what works and then do it well.   
Link love:

PS. For you "advanced" followers, I am currently reading the book "Grouped" by Paul Adams. Definitely a recommended read and will challenge the entire notion of social media as you know it. Get your copy here.

Was this helpful? Do you have questions? 
I'd love to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave me a comment!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Procrastination at its finest

Well, it's official. One month ago, I made my infamous announcement and now, I have yet another...

After three weeks of corporate detoxing, soul searching, networking, and interviewing, I was faced with making the choice between a handful of wildly different job offers; or the option to venture out on my own. [Editor's Note: "poor job market" is not a concept I agree with.]

As I contemplated my next move, I kept three things top of mind:
  1. Did anything about the job remind me of what I did not like at the Big Red X or were there any other major "red flags"?
  2. Which opportunity would allow me to continue to focus on becoming the best version of me?
  3. This quote by the amazingly talented graphic designer, Jessica Hische:
Her words as designed by me

In full disclosure, not every offer made it past #1. In fact, I started to wonder if I had set the bar too high and would regret turning down what, on the surface, appeared to be a perfectly good opportunity. But that was just it. I wasn't searching for "good". I was searching for FREAKING awesome.

And so when the peeps at Brand Networks, a thriving social media agency, offered up a position as the first Social Insights Strategist, I squealed with excitement and happily accepted. If you know me personally (or even stalk my online life), it's easy to see that I am a l w a y s connected. I don't intentionally "procrastinate" either, it's just that I can't help but want to stay dialed-in and soak-up information like a sponge. Be it Facebook-ing, tweeting, pinning, researching, or simply strolling through a store, I enjoy experiencing the world through seamless connections between my online and offline life. I feel extremely lucky to have found such a kick-ass company and my version of a "dream job" that allows me to stay connected and get paid for it.

And that, my friends, is procrastination at its finest.

PS. Deelightful Studios officially has a Facebook Page! Be sure to hit that "like" button to get updates on the latest inspirations, fashions, and all things creative.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fluorescent Flash

Yesterday I discovered not one, but TWO amazing sites filled with fashionable finds. Now you very well may have already heard of them both but guess what, their new-to-me and I am super excited about it. Ladies, I present to you, an online fashion boutique that features 30% off the new styles that are added daily. And Sabo Skirt, another online boutique full of chic fashions at affordable prices and they ship worldwide.

As I was browsing, I noticed this fantastic fluorescent skirt that looked just like the one I spotted in a recently pinned image originating from Sabo Skirt's blog. According to the fabulous ladies behind the brand, Thessy and Yiota, the entire outfit will be available in late June. However, I have no patience when it comes to waiting for something that I want now, especially when it comes to clothing. Alas, it was the kick that I needed to find the pieces to remake the complete outfit. So if you are searching for a rocking get-up to wear to one of many summer celebrations or bachelorette party, look no further. Below is the inspiration photo accompanied by my finds; all of which are priced below $100.
{Inspiration Photo via Fashion Worship via Sabo Skirt}
The Originals: 
Shirt Available Now

Get it now:
Skirt | Shirt | Sunglasses | Polish | Shoes

PS. Have you purchased from Tobi or Sabo Skirt before? If so, tell me all about it!