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How One Businesswoman Embraced Social Media Management

Mashable.com is currently running a great story about Julie Smolyansky, who inherited the position of CEO at the company her parents started in 2002, and was responsible for deciding the company’s direction at the tender age of 27. Since then, annual sales have increased from $12 million to $80 million and Lifeway Foods’ product has never been more popular. Smolyansky attributes much of this success to her early adoption of social media management. So what is the trendy product that has been embraced by internet users? Kefir, an ancient fermented milk drink. Not exactly the stereotypical subject of online popularity.

The product is made by introducing special ‘Kefir grains’, which are really a mixture of yeast and live bacteria, into milk and allowing the liquid to ferment for 24 hours. The resulting drink is rich in protein and in bacteria, leading some to praise its probiotic effects on the digestive system. Kefir has been around for some 2000 years, and Smolyansky credits its popularity explosion to her adoption of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook at a time when businesses did not commonly use social media services: ‘Everything that we do, we make sure that it’s sharable. We become a friend and a trusted source of information’.

At first, the young CEO attempted to manage the accounts herself alongside her other duties at Lifeway. Having realised that she just did not have the time to effectively engage with potential customers online, she hired a social media management expert in 2009. Nowadays, Lifeway employs 5 social media managers, and Smolyansky seems to suggest that she wishes to expand this even further: ‘We want to do more and more of it. You have to be everywhere’.

Lifeway’s story is an extreme one – few businesses can realistically hope to turn over $80 million each year. This case study does, though, illustrate the potential power of active social media management. If you want to explore the possibilities that social media could hold for your business, give us a call.

Why BJ Mendelson is Wrong About Social Media Management

As is my wont, I picked up a copy of the Metro yesterday during my commute in order to entertain myself during my lunch break. Can you imagine my horror when I read that social media management for businesses is ‘myth and hype… perpetuated by marketers all over the world’? U.S. comedian BJ Mendelson, who himself has over 760,000 Twitter followers, was loaned a two-page spread to inform readers of the great social media swindle. He would have us believe that any business investing in a social media campaign is throwing their money away. I might be biased, but I beg to differ – and I think that most will agree with me.

Social Media Management Isn’t Magic

It’s true that businesses can’t just set up a Facebook page, post a couple of boring company updates, sit back and watch the cash flow into their coffers. It doesn’t work like that. But, contrary to what Mr. Mendelson says, social media profiles are viable business tools. Instead of thinking of them as a way to plaster your slogan and product across a million screens, it’s better to see them as they were designed: as communication platforms.

The fact of the matter is that almost everybody spends a great deal of time online these days, and that for better or worse, social media has replaced more traditional forms of communication. It’s good to have a Facebook page because the majority of your customers probably use Facebook. You’re talking to them on their terms, through a platform that they have chosen. Twitter is excellent for keeping customers up to date with relevant news and for lending your company a distinct personality, due to its informal ‘pub conversation’ nature. From a more individual perspective, it’s hard to deny that Linkedin is a great way to find and engage with others in your industry – there’s a reason that even the least ‘trendy’ of professionals have a profile there.

Our Expertise Brings Real Results

Effective social media management won’t guarantee that your business will go viral and become an internet sensation. That isn’t to say, however, that your page or profile is an exercise in futility. It is possible to engage with existing and potential customers, stimulating sales or increasing brand loyalty – providing that you put out an appropriate message and respect the etiquette of that particular site. That’s where we come in. Our social media management services can provide your business with expertly crafted profiles, including professional graphic design, and the interaction that your customers will respond to. If you don’t believe us, ask our clients – why would they keep using our services, month after month, if they weren’t seeing a return on their investment?

Users Can Now Email Tweets Directly

In a prime example of the proliferation of social media platforms, Twitter users may now email tweets directly to those who don’t use the site.

social media management servicesAlongside the familiar ‘Reply’, ‘Retweet’, and ‘Favorite’ buttons, there is now a ‘More’ option giving keen Tweeters the ability to keep email contacts informed of the latest trends. The user can also add their own comments on the tweet.

Because links contained within the original tweet remain live when they hit the recipient’s email inbox, this could prove to be a valid marketing tool for small businesses who want to draw attention to positive or exciting messages from themselves or influential figures. However, initial reports suggest that the email mechanism used by Twitter results in a high percentage of failed delivery due to overzealous spam filters. This issue will need to be ironed out before the idea can really take off.

Here at I Say! Digital, we keep on top of the latest social media developments so that we can offer your business the best possible return on investment. Check out our social media management services for more info!

Social Media – Instagram Disables Twitter Functionality

According to Mashable.com, rumours abound that Instagram and Twitter are at each other’s throats over issues encountered by users who try to share images using the micro-blogging platform.

Social Media Management

Instagram, who were bought by Facebook for the princely sum of $1 billion earlier this year, reportedly disabled key functionality that allowed users to share their images via Twitter. This fueled speculation that a war was beginning between the two blue giants of the social media world, with Instagram’s new owners encouraging a break from a key competitor.

However, Instagram’s CEO appears to have put paid to the rumours, promising that the two platforms will “always be integrated“. Despite this public denial, keen observers will note that Twitter had earlier stung the photo-sharing site by denying it the ability to use its API. Regardless, it would appear that users can depend on stability for the time being.

The fact that these kind of conflicts crop up in this constantly-evolving field only lends further support to the argument that your business needs a team who are always up to date with industry developments. If you want to know how we can boost your social media presence, give us a call – I Say! Digital are the social media experts in Brighton.

 

Social Media and the Law – Or, ‘What Not to Say Online’

Today, Tom looks at what you can, and can not say, on social media:

 

Imogen Thomas' football lover was hot gossip on Twitter in 2011If you’ve read Paul’s recent blog post concerning Chris Brown’s Twitter PR disaster and subsequent departure from the platform, you’ll be aware that what you say online can have a real impact on your reputation. That might sound obvious – after all, much of the time, anything you put your name to online is in the public domain, for better or for worse. Much to the chagrin of those who treat social media sites as forums for political debate (or, in some cases, pure mudslinging), anything you write in a public place online is treated as being ‘published’ in the same way that a newspaper article or book is published, bringing millions under the weighty gavel of defamation law. But this simple truth can distract us from the fact that the line between public and private in the online world is becoming increasingly blurred.

Is a Facebook Status Private?

What if, for example, you post a defamatory status update on Facebook; one that is only viewable by your friends? Is this to be classified as public, and thus subject to the full force of the law? Or is it more similar to the oft-referenced ‘conversation in a pub’? What if your privacy settings mean that your friends’ friends can also see the message? For the moment, it would appear that the law is falling on the side of free speech – see the case of Adrian Smith, who expressed a belief that gay marriage is ‘an equality too far’ and who won his case against an employer that penalised him for saying so. It seems obvious that this is not a problem which will go away, and that advocates of free speech will have a difficult fight ahead as test cases are fought in the courts.

Libel in 140 Characters or FewerTwitter and the Law

Twitter seems much more black and white. Though the average user might not think of it as such – after all, people are always braver behind a keyboard than in person – it is a completely public platform which warrants care. However, because of the fact that so many users ignore its public nature, the law faces yet more test cases. If 10,000 English users retweet a defamatory phrase, are they all liable? Practically speaking, how would a claimant gather the details of so many users in order to sue them? Could Twitter itself be held responsible for a failure to censor offending tweets, and if so, is there a certain number of retweets beyond which it is safe to assume that the site knows something is going on?

Steer Clear of Trouble with Social Media Advice

The law almost always lags behind evolving cultural trends, and the increasing usage of social media is no exception to this rule. Libel law is just one more reason why it’s essential to have a solid social web strategy. Users of these platforms would be wise to watch their words, and social media management professionals should be careful not to get their clients into hot water.

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