Face2face interview on the SitePoint Podcast

sitepoint logoI was just interviewed about my new book (Face2face: using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools to create great customer connections) for the SitePoint podcast. Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy on Twitter) did the interview, and we talked about digital media in the modern library and (of course) connecting with customers and visitors via online social tools.

Here’s a link to the interview (and an embedded tweet version of the link below):

Anyway – you might find it an interesting listen … so take a listen!

Be Business Casual

In a previous post, I said I’d talk more about being “business casual.” What exactly does being business casual mean?

First off, I have a whole chapter devoted to this idea in my new book, Face2Face (and I’d love it if you bought a copy!). If you want more detail, it’s in the book.

Here are some thoughts on how to be business casual in your interactions. These ideas work for blog posts, status updates, and even in videos:

Write Like You Talk. Most of us were taught that writing was a very formal, proper thing. We were taught to write business letters and academic papers. Guess what? Don’t write like that (Karol, guest blogger over at ProBlogger, agrees). Forget some of those rules, right now. It’s a more formal writing style, and it makes you sound more formal and less approachable.

Instead of a formal writing style, just write like you talk. This is very hard for some people to do! They’ve been trained to write a certain way, and suddenly writing in a different way doesn’t come naturally. If writing like you talk doesn’t come naturally, you can …

Say it out loud. If writing like you talk is hard for you, here’s a simple trick: Simply say it out loud. Read, out loud, what you just typed. Does it sound like you? If not, then rewrite your text so it sounds like something you’d actually say.

Write to your friend. Another trick – pretend you’re writing to your best friend, or a sibling. When you’re writing an email or a Facebook message to a friend, you probably write a bit more casually, as if you were standing there, talking to your friend. You’re familiar with that person, so you are using casual, friendly language with them.

That’s the voice you need to use (minus the inside jokes and potentially off-color language) when writing to customers.

My new book - Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer ConnectionsWear fun clothes – not a suit and tie. If you’re a visual person, here’s another way to think about this concept (and this is why I say to write “business casual”). Picture yourself wearing casual clothes when you write, rather than a tuxedo. It’s another trick to help remove formal language from your writing. Write like it’s “casual Friday” rather than “meeting Monday.”

Use language your customers use. In a library setting, we have to really work at this one – and most businesses are in the same predicament because of industry jargon. Remove all instances of technical language and jargon on your site. An easy way to do this is to simply ask your customers what they’d call something. For example, we removed one bit of jargon at my library by asking our customers what they would call “the room where we put a book they reserved to be checked out.” We actually stationed one of our Marketing interns by our check out line for a day, and had her poll the people waiting in line. We received some great feedback – the room is now called the “Holds Pickup Room” and it works great. Our customers know what to look for, because we named it using our customers’ language. You can do a similar thing with your organization’s products and services. Pick something your customers do, and simply ask them what they’d call it.

Do some behind-the-scenes videos. Show what goes on in the office or behind-the-scenes. This type of video captures workers in their element (at the office, doing their work), rather than artificially standing in front of a backdrop, with lights shining on them, talking to a camera. You can even interview them. Blip.tv does a great job of this with their Blip on Blip video series. They walk around their workplace, taking videos of staff and and sharing those videos with the Blip.tv community. This type of video shows real people at work, having fun. Getting to know someone by watching them in a video helps customers. When a customer has to call in for support, for example, they might just “know” who they’re talking to – because they just watched that customer service rep in a video.

Represent Your Organization, not Yourself. Finally, remember this: when you share that slightly casual, personal voice, and you’re doing it for your organization … you are essentially representing that organization. You become the voice for your organization or business. Your website, your content, and your employees have unique personalities. This uniqueness will come out. Your brochures were written by people who have a voice, and some personality comes from those, too. All that adds up to an organizational personality. Even your physical building (if you have one) has a feel or personality. The challenge is to make these match so you can present a uniform image. Sit down, do some planning, and map out each aspect of your organization – the building, the marketing, the website, the staff. Plan the voice of your organization.

These are some ideas of how to be business casual online – do you have others? I’d love to hear them!

Business casual image by Bigstock

A visual Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell

face2face at inc.comMy new book, Face2face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections, was just mentioned in this Inc.com article – Better Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell. Sweet!

In the article (sort of an author interview type article), I provide five tips on communicating with your organization’s customers using visual social media tools like Pinterest, Facebook photos, and Instagram.

Here are my five tips to create great visual communication that are mentioned in the article:

  1. Show your stuff
  2. Show your staff
  3. Get close
  4. Great lighting is key
  5. Make your photos helpful to customers

Each point is explained in more detail at Inc.com, so go read the article for more information (and thanks, Marla Tabaka, for the mention!).

And if you like that info … remember to buy my book!

 

3 Ways to be more Social in Social Spaces

Successful posts in social media spaces like Twitter or Facebook are the more social, friendly posts (at least for my library, anyway). How can you be more “social” in those spaces? here are three ways to do it:

  1. Think “Business Casual.” Anyone like that formal, stilted, edited to the max writing style that appears on brochures and markety emails from businesses? Nope – didn’t think so. That type of language doesn’t help you connect to the organization, does it? So don’t do that. Instead, try to make your photos, videos, blog posts, and status updates more “business causal.” How do you do that? Here’s one way – write like you talk. That way, your posts will naturally sound more conversational. More in the next post!
  2. Ask, then Respond. Ask questions. Ask for input. Ask readers to add their thoughts. For example, if you share a list of five favorite action movies in Facebook, make sure to include a question asking readers to add their favorites, or to add what’s missing in the list. People love adding their own favorites to a list!
  3. Include your customers. So you asked your customers to add their favorites to your list in #2. That’s awesome … and that can be your next post! Compile that list of customer favorites, post it, and include everyone’s name that added to the list. The people you included might share that list out (i.e., an appeal to vanity), and more customers will add to the list, too.

So – those are some ideas to be more social in social spaces. Do you have any additions to this list (yes, I’m doing #2 right now)? Please add them in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you’ll also like my new book, Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media tools to Create Great Customer Connections. Get it now!

My new book - Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections

Image from Bigstock

Getting More Facebook Clicks – an experiment and some thoughts

our popular facebook post

My library has been running some experiments and pilot projects on our Facebook Page – some on our own, and some with help from Ben Bizzle (who’s doing some research on Facebook Pages) and so far, they have been really successful. This post explains one of them.

See the ecards image? Ben had posted this to a couple of library Facebook Pages, and it was pretty successful – so he asked if I could post it to Topeka’s Facebook Page. So I did – at what I thought would be a rotten time to post – 9:08 am on a Thursday morning.

I was wrong.

This post is the most popular post EVER for Topeka’s Facebook Page. Here are the basic stats I’m getting for it so far:

  • 237 Likes
  • 88 Shares
  • 33 Comments

And from Facebook Insights, I’m seeing this:

  • Reach – 3900 (Reach is the number of unique people who have seen the post)
  • Engaged Users – 748 (Engaged Users is the number of unique users who have clicked on the post)
  • Talking about This – 660 (Talking about This is the number of unique users who have clicked like, commented on, or shared the post anywhere – not just on your page)
  • Virality – 16.92% (Virality is the percentage of people who have clicked the story from the page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it).

A bit more about Virality, because for us anyway, this is HUGE. The median Virality rate for Facebook Pages, according to ZDNet anyway, tends to be around 1.92%, and a really stong Virality rate, meaning your post was pretty popular, is around +2.5%.

So you can see why I’m getting a wee bit excited about a 16.92% rate, right? That is HUGE. And not just “huge for my little ole Topeka Library” huge. This is actually a pretty big accomplishment. And one I’d like to see more of on my library’s Facebook Page.

So what’s going on here? Why did this particular post get so big? Here are some thoughts on that (you might have some ideas too – I’d love to hear them):

  • It’s visual. Visual is HOT right now. Think Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, etc. And honestly, those victorian ecard thingies are pretty hot too at the moment. So we were picking up on a trendy thing.
  • Visual is also pretty useful. The image supports the message of the post, so more people get it (i.e., those visual thinkers).
  • Another trend – images with words. People like finding an image and putting funny words on them. So … another trendy thing that people might enjoy if done well.
  • The message connects with something our customers love. As in books and reading.
  • Hit on an emotion. This particular message touched on a feeling that apparently many readers have – that horrid feeling towards the end of a book, when you know you’re almost done and there’s NO MORE. I can relate – I had that feeling towards the end of book 7 of the Harry Potter series. So we hit a nerve that our customers could relate to.
  • We asked for it. We asked a question in the post (“We’re curious – does this ever happen to you?”) and people answered the question.

OK David, so you got a lot of likes and comments and shares. So what? How does that help the library? I have an answer for that. A couple of them:

  • Helps your message Rise to the Top: Here’s how Facebook works right now. You don’t see everything. Most people only see highlights (called Top Stories) of the daily postings of the people and organizations they have friended (that’s the default setting – you have to actually click Sort to see everything). If you post stuff that’s popular and a bit viral, that means that those particular posts will “rise to the top” and will actually be seen by more people.
  • More eyes is a good thing: When someone likes, shares, or comments on your post, that post has a good chance of being seen by that person’s Facebook friends, too. So the more interaction you get, the farther your reach spreads out.
  • Like once, might like more: If someone likes one of your posts, they are more likely to watch for and interact with more of your posts. So be silly, funny, or tongue-in-cheek sometimes, and share links to books, events, or online resources other times. Your Facebook fans will start to notice, and will end up seeing and interacting with more of YOUR LIBRARY.
  • Time of day: experiment with posting at different times of the day. We have been posting a lot at night, getting that evening Facebook crowd. By posting at 9am, who did we get? My guess – people who just got to work … who also have their Facebook account up, either on their work computer or on a mobile device sitting at their desk.

I’d love to hear your Facebook Page successes! Share away!

Oh – and if you like this post, you might also like my new book, called Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media tools to Create Great Customer Connections. Get it now!