What’s social media got to do with mental health?

A lot. It’s mental health awareness week and I want to touch on the issue in relation to social media from the perspective of a social media manager.

First up my disclaimer is that I love social media, and believe it holds incredible value for business and brands and consumers. I also am real enough to admit that on a personal level it’s not all roses and sunshine – like anything it can be abused or used in a way to abuse ourselves and others.

As a marketer, and curious person, I find it interesting to observe how we interact with each other online, and the different ways we use social media. We’ve really have carved a social culture out online that continues to evolve  and there are some habits that I’ve noticed that haven’t really shifted in the last 6 years or so. I think they’re relevant because our habits have an impact on the way we live our lives. Here are a few quick fire thoughts of habits that I believe we need to be careful of:

  1. Posting or venting your thoughts and feelings on social media doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with an issue.
  2. It’s ok not to have an opinion on everything.
  3. It’s not ok to hide behind social media and use it as a tool to abuse others in the same way it’s not acceptable to do that face to face with someone you do not know. FYI According to my twitter feed today it looks like the law is introducing serious consequences for those who choose to take that path now too.
  4. The need to be known or followed is overrated, seriously. Remember what you see on social media the majority of the time is someone’s highlight reel. I know of people who have large reputable followings who look cutesy and inspirational on the outside, but severely depressed, isolated and lonely in reality.
  5. Comparison in is a killer – this is really relevant in any sphere or walk of life, but especially on social media when we are matching and patching our homes, family and lifestyles against other people.
  6. Time management  and healthy breaks – if we turn our phones off, or delete our apps for a second it doesn’t mean we’re missing out. Actually I highly recommend taking social media breaks to just be in the moment. I have been guilty of this one too, so I recently removed Facebook from my phone (except Pages for work purposes) and I can’t tell you how much time and space in my mind I’ve saved from a developed habit of being glued to social media. Its liberating.
  7. Consumer or consumed? Our attention span has dramatically fallen over the last few years, and whilst I’m no mental health professional, I know this is having an impact on the way we consume content, particularly online. For example, the length of copy, or video clips has continued to shorten and simplify to accommodate our fast-paced lives.

Consumed or consumer? Stay tuned for Friday’s blog post that delves deeper into the question how much does social media impact on our mental health?

7 tips on creating a social media campaign

 

  1. Set your goals – what’s the purpose of this campaign? Think about the gains you would like to see from running it. Is it to engage your audience, drive traffic to a particular place, or action? Is it to increase sales revenue? Be specific as you can.
  2. Choose your channels – Don’t just choose a channel like Facebook because it’s the biggest social networking platform. Think about who you’re reaching, and where they may be. Marketing to everyone will get you nowhere.
  3. Create your content – value matters so make it count. Get creative and depending on your audience and goals you might want to consider the style of your content. Make sure it adds value to your target consumer in some way.
  4. Amplify – consider if this is right for your brand, but make the most of your campaign by using social media influencers on the platforms you decide to target. Of course, make sure they are a good fit with your brand, but if your budget allows for this, then this is a powerful tip to heed.
  5. Paid social – there is no getting away from this if you want serious results on social media, but there are great affordable opportunities to play around with if you don’t have much of a budget for this. A small investment can boost your traffic, leads and with your campaign make it scalable.
  6. Collect analytics – here want to look at the numbers, but also the quality of the campaign performance. How did your users interact with your content, and did they take the action? Have you reached those all important goals you set at the beginning?
  7. Follow-up – What will you do to follow up on the success? Don’t let this be a one hit wonder, but look for lessons you can learn from the campaign and ways you can capitalise or reward those who took the action you wanted in some way. Social media marketing is a moving target so have fun, be authentic and always look for ways to add value to your end consumer.

 

Snapchat 101

  
Have you heard of Snapchat? Do you know what it is? Need a reason to download it? Let me help you.

The increase of people asking me about the mobile platform has rocketed in the last few weeks, so I decided it was time to blog about it and hopefully shed some light on what this mobile app does, and why it’s so cool right now.

As  one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, Snapchat has taken the market by storm in just a few short years. Overtaking Instagram, and potentially threatening to knock the social media king, Facebook down a few pegs or two, with the migration of young adults and teenagers moving to sites such as Snapchat, Whatsapp and even Periscope to some degree. The social landscape is constantly changing, but there’s a very good case for businesses looking to reach a younger audience to at least consider entering the world of Snapchat and instant stories. However, as a disclaimer, I’d like to add this post is aimed at the individual that it is to business, although I will add some comments around this, and post specifically about business use at a later date.

So here’s what you need to know

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is an real-time video and image sharing platform that you can instantly share with a specific friend, or to all of your friends, or even your entire city – providing they are on Snapchat, of course.

Why should I be on it?

You don’t. It’s a choice. If you are an individual wondering what all the fuss is about, then it’s just a cool way to send a message to one of your friends, in a similar way to Whatsapp, however, Snapchat let’s you send video and text together, and allow you to draw, message, or use one of their wacky but outrageously fun filters. At first this seemed to strike me as a great way to send an image to someone with a timer on it, so you don’t need to worry about sending a picture of yourself in your PJ’s and the receiver doing something dodgy with your image. We liked this very much, and reports have shown that in January 2016 around 9000 images are posted to Snapchat every second. We clearly like this a lot.

What can you do with it?

You can take a picture, or a video, add text to it, and select a filter before sending it to one or more of your contacts. You just need touch the lined square at the bottom right of your screen, to then select from your list of contacts who you want to share with. Now it’s not the easiest of apps to explain, but I just want to highlight the cool things you can do, so any specific questions that you have please do get in touch with me.

What else you need to know?

You can send it to a specific person, or group of friends by selecting their names in the list I mentioned, or you can check the My Stories box, and it will automatically save your snap to your ‘timeline’ if you will. This is a cool feature because it lets you go back and download your snap, if it’s something you want to keep. Remember when I talked about the images/video having a timer? When you send your Snap to a friend, you can’t undo or see that image again, but when you send it to My Stories, you can – at least for another 24hours. If you take several photos in one day, then it will string them together making one story for you to share with all your followers. You can also download that story if it’s something you would like to keep on your phone.  Just make sure you do it before the 24hours is up.

Oh, and don’t forget to play around with it, and try out some filters. They’re a mixture of funny, scary and weird. Feel free to add me by searching for my name @leemac85 too, and send me your snaps on Twitter to let me know you got it.

One last thing that I forgot to mention – you can also send it to [insert the name of your city] story. So for me it would be London story. It’s pretty cool to watch a day in the life of your city from many different perspectives.

I hope that helped. I need to run, but here’s one I made earlier. 😉 Don’t forget to add me!

Here’s one I made earlier…

  
Also don’t forget to follow me on @leemac85 on Periscope too! I am about to start #BreakfastwithLee Saturday’s where I share, make and take you to some of my favourite spots in London for the best food. 

Three Social Media Strategy tips for 2016

We’ve all heard and know the importance of being on social media by now, and how important it is to be able to build an audience through content that sits across multiple platforms. However, did you know that over 50% of purchases are influenced by digital? Now it’s really not good enough to say you’re investing in social media and you have an account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and You Tube, without providing a valid reason as to why you are on there.

Firstly, I think we need to be thinking larger than those five obvious channels. We’ve seen incredible growth in instant broadcasting platforms like Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram and Vine. In 2015 we also saw the likes of messaging apps like Whatsapp and even dating app Tinder, but in the world of marketing we are still in the early stages of figuring out how best to use these channels.

Yes, I do believe there are still some businesses out there (well known brands) who appear to be covered in social media bling, but if they were honest they would tell you we are on social media, but we don’t really understand how it works for our business and what to do with it.

Here’s my three tips for

  1. Quality over quantity

It’s better for brands to choose the right channel and have a few than have 20 empty profiles online. In the same way that it is better to have one great piece of content, over three. Ok, I’m exaggerating here, and I do feel like I’m repeating myself, but I recommend we look at value over volume.

2. Make content that will spread across a number of platforms

If you create a 3 minute video promotional video, can you cut or take a still image from your footage that could be used on Instagram, or Vine? You may have heard the phrase multi-channel marketing. Where content is used and squeezed of all it’s juicy goodness ensuring you are getting the most of your marketing spend.

Side note: Those little extra’s don’t cost that much to produce, but they go a long way in helping you reach your target audience. 

If you’re in retail, this point should be of particular importance to you as research shows 78% of consumers will look on digital before they buy in store. That is higher than 72% who buy online after trying on in store.

3. Be present and consistent

Show up. It’s bad business if you open late one day, and close your store early the next. If the customer doesn’t know where they stand you will give them more reason to divorce you. Those who are customer facing, make sure you have a strong customer service presence on your profiles, and please try not over complicate it by having 10 different Facebook pages that leave the consumer on around a maze of confusion. Post consistently, and don’t forget to go back and engage with those all important customers who take the time to leave a comment/share their thoughts. Use private chat for those more in depth and personal conversations that will quickly solve a customers problem, or defuse a possible hostile situation.

It was hard to pick just three, but I believe if you take these three strands into consideration this year you will most definitely be in a stronger position. Don’t forget to be creative with the content you produce too, yeah?

Ciao! 😉

 

 

 

Being a light

Being a light to the world requires action, requires energy, requires substance.

I could go on, and probably will in posts to come; however, today I thought I’d like this cool little fella share a word that if you press play will surely speak to you. Now it’s great to be inspired and encouraged, but go do something with it.

‘Create something that will make the world awesome!’ Are you doing so already? Well what can you change, what can you do to make your team, company, life, relationship better? Remember what is great today, will be good tomorrow if you let things go and don’t continue to invest in staying fresh.

#kidpresident

Surfing for content

Surfing Along Malibu Beach, California. 10/1972

Picture supplied by the National Archives and Records Administration.

 

How do you surf content when there is so much of it going around? With social bookmarking websites like Digg, and Redit losing ground, where are we ‘the consumer’ looking for information?

 

Are we looking to flasher, more socially adapt aggregator apps like Flipboard, Hootsuite, Timeline and Twitter for content of interest.
Brian Solis, a fellow social media expert is famously known for the following statement, ‘News no longer breaks, it tweets,’ and this is true. However; what if I’m not looking for the latest news story; but the top trending outfits, or some true life story like the kind of articles you get in a woman’s glossy magazine (i.e. Marie Claire, Company and so forth).

 

And how do we make our decisions about where to shop online when there are thousands of online shops to choose from? Do we take them largely from the recommendations of friends and family – like Facebook tell us, or do we venture out and find new shops to shop in, new books to read, and new photographs to like?

 

I’d love to hear how you go about finding the content that interests you?

 

  For example, I am a huge Marie Claire fan, but I very rarely buy their magazine for multiple reasons, at the moment. Still, I enjoy reading their articles and in a moment I decided to look for something interesting, I found myself overwhelmed by choice.

 

  Looking to my iPhone and flicking through my apps, it seemed Flipboard was the obvious choice. It’s neat display, magazine style app is easy to share and combine with several of my key social networks allowing me to stay in touch with various magazines, blogs and networks at any one time – This is great, but it is only one app. Have you found others?

 

  How do you locate interesting content? Do you have to do anything at all, or do you find it’s all laid out in front of you via Timeline, and other newsfeeds?

 

  Leave your thoughts below, or on @leemac85

An idea to improve your social influence

Simply posting on timeline what you had for dinner, or items of clothing that you wish to buy are all great if you wish to do so, on your own personal profile. However, the same principles that you use when posting on your personal profile do not apply when posting from a Facebook page; or through any other  business-related social media channel for that matter.

We must learn to engage and move away from the spectating side of social media – Myself included. I don’t claim to be anything more than a work in progress, but I do have a fair idea about how things should be done and aim to hit those standards continuously.

Some ideas on how we could all improve our social influence online;

1. Start using our networks to connect and engage. We use those words way more in speech than in action.

2. We are all human and despite, the fact that we are interacting via a computer screen of sort; we need to be willing, open and honest as a business to say, ‘I suck at this, but I can help with this.’ People want to know there is a real human behind the profile and no matter how great you are at your job, we will all make mistakes, so have a little grace.

3. Not every negative comment needs to be a crisis, some can even be constructive. At least then we can learn, change and help someone else avoid making the same mistakes.

Let us inject some of the resilience that we require in every day relationships into our teams.

A man who has skill and experience is skillful, but a man of great intelligence is worth far more.

Don’t forget if your reading this and you have a question, or what to find out more. You can chat to me @leemac85 on Twitter too.