Ashely Hall, the Social Media Manager at Voices.com & I got into a great social media conversation on a webinar tbk Creative hosted yesterday.

I wanted to bring Ashley on a call to knowledge share because Voices.com has had meteoric business and marketing success in the last two years and they don’t seem to be slowing down.

ontario's-top-social-media-manager

The main topics we covered were: 

i. How Voices.com has adapted to the new Timelines with some tips,

ii. How they went from 0 to 70,000 fans within 2 years,

iii. Tips for your website to make it more socially intuitive,

iv. Habits Ashley has developed to produce lots of high quality content,

v. What social channels the company uses and why (they’re even now on Google+ and Pinterest!),

vi. How Ashley manages negative conflict when it occurs,

vii. And more,

You missed a great interview with Ashley & I, but I want to hand you a few delicious points that you can run with:

1. Sponsored Stories – Ashley called Facebook’s Sponsored Stories advertising model The Secret Sauce to how they company have driven past the 70,000 fan mark.

Most advertisers are fluent in regular Facebook Display PPC but are shy of Sponsored Stories (it’s somewhat of a new concept to the marketing world).

Sponsored Stories is another form of Facebook advertising that you can setup in your Facebook advertising portal. The difference is you are delivering activity from what happens on your Facebook page to your fans’ friends.

There are two popular ways to do this:

a)    Likes,

b)    Posts,

Here’s how this works: You can setup your advertising so that when someone new becomes a fan, you can deliver advertising to their friends letting them know that their friend just became a fan of your page. The second popular way to do this is when you create a post on your Timeline, you can have your post shared with a greater % of your fans and also their friends.

facebook-sponsored-stories-example

This is incredibly advantageous for two reasons:

i) Recently at the fMC conference in New York City, Facebook stated that the avg. Facebook page will only reach 19% of fans (my research with clients is showing 30-55%). Regardless, Sponsored Stories lets you reach a greater audience than you would without.

ii) By using Sponsored Stories you get to reach the friends of your fans. This is powerful and Ashley emphasized this yesterday with this example:

She said, “Think of it this way, if we have fans, some of which are customers who are Voice Professionals, it is likely a Voice Professional would know other Voice Professionals. This is our way to reach those people through their friends.”

What Ashley is alluding to and you’ll know this – social association (referrals, social proof, etc.) is the most powerful form of marketing.

Sponsored Stories has played a monumental role in the growth of the company’s Facebook page, but also getting the right quality kind of growth.

2. Content Creation – Every Community Manager probably has their own ways of creating high quality content.

Ashley shared her habit. What she does is schedules herself once per week to sit down and create multiple blog posts, status updates, tweets etc. for the week. If she’s not feeling inspired or writing well at that time, then she will reconvene at a later time.

The key she has found is when she gets on a roll she’ll keep pumping out the content non stop for about two hours. This habit gives her loads of juicy content for the week to come.

3. Website Social Integration – A lot of websites suck in this area and Ashley & I dug right into this chat.

The biggest take away here was Ashley pointing out Voices.com’s use of the Facebook social plug-in where you can install a Facebook page box onto your website that lets people become a fan without leaving your website.

I’ve always been a big fan of this website tactic. Why have people who may be on your website looking to buy your product get distracted, leave your website, become a fan, and forget to buy your product?

voices-facebook-social-plug-in

To expand, there’s generally 4 forms of social integration on your website:

i)    Social Sharing Tools – Social Media hyperlinked icons that let users share your page in their own social networks.

ii)    Social Links – Social Media hyperlinked icons that let users access your social channels (whether it be Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, etc.),

iii)    Social Boxes – Just like Voices.com use of the Facebook social plug-in above,

iv)    Feeds – A news feed of social media content from various social channels (for example, tbk Creative has a Twitter feed setup on our main page here.)

I also liked how Voices.com has created its own subpage only for their community. This is a good practice of digital architecture because it lets the main index page still focus on new customer sign-ups (we all still have products to sell) and still gives the social media channels lots of play but in the right spot. See Voices.com’s Community Page here to know what I’m talking about.

4. Managing Conflict – Many business owners new to social media butcher this one up. Many like to delete community posts that are negative towards their brand.

Here’s what Ashley does to manage complaints on the company’s social channels (we see eye to eye here):

If it’s a customer service complaint, Ashley leaves the post up and responds to it with openness, empathy, and responsibility.

Her reasoning, as she put it: “If you delete, it’ll just upset them more. If you respond to it publicly, the entire community will see the company addressing the complaint and they will think more highly of your company.”

I’ve always said this: “No body expects brands to be perfect (sort of like humans). However, what people expect are brands to be responsible when they screw up.”

With this said, Ashley and I discussed that there is a fine line that community members can cross when their posts become inappropriate (vulgar, discriminatory, slanderous etc.). We both concluded: Don’t tolerate it and remove it. People still need to behave. If someone is clearly getting out of line on your social channels, your community will know it too and will have no problem with you doing whatever actions you need to, to get the Troll/Griper under control. I’ve even seen multiple instances where the community does step in to help.

There were about 4 or 5 other major points we discussed but my fingers are getting sore from typing now.

tbk Creative will continue to bring on rock star digital & social media performers to knowledge share and collaborate with to help with your digital and social media campaigns.

If you want to be added to the email list so you know when the next Webinar arrives, fire me an email to andrew@tbkcreative.com

Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a national award winning, London Ontario based web design & social media marketing agency. The company exists to instigate and accelerate consumer action around brands, digitally.

To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. To join tbk Creative’s growing Facebook community dedicated to optimizing your digital marketing efforts.