6 things social media marketers know

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No-one knows what you do

  1. Most people have no idea what you do. ‘Oh so you do the Tweets and shit?’ is something I get almost every time I tell someone my job. Yeah, I do write Tweets and shit, but that is the most basic part of my job. A lot of my time is spent on creating a strategy, building relationships with influencers, curating and creating content in the form of video, imagery and blogs, graphic design and customer service. I also run adverts, reports and plan and execute creative campaigns and manage budgets. In my industry (travel) a lot of time is required training teams around the business, a strong link between product and marketing, and sales and marketing is key to being successful on social media.

You speak to customers every day

  1.  Service is key. As social media marketer, you spend a lot of your time communicating directly with clients, something very few others in the marketing team do. You regularly engage with clients who LOVE your brand, but you are also the person who has to diffuse situations where clients are very unhappy. A great thing about this is that you have access to insights about your customer that others don’t, you can see what they like to engage with and create content in line with this.

    People ask questions on social media because they want an immediate or at least quick response. You have to be able to respond as soon as possible, so you have to use your initiative. If the customer asks you something really in-depth about your product or service and you don’t know the answer, you need to be resourceful and ask the right people.

You overlap with PR

  1. Although social media is predominantly a (very powerful) marketing tool, it overlaps with PR a lot. A big part of being successful is building relationships with people. Your content will be reaching both potential customers and the press, and by sharing your company blogs and expertise on social media, you are opening up organic promotional opportunities. You must be able to network and build relationships with people within the industry. It is you who sits behind the company logo on Twitter, so it is you who needs to build the rapport.

    You need to keep up to date with big news and trends, both so that you can jump on them for brand exposure, but also so that you can avoid talking about topics which could cause negative engagement or show brand insensitivity. In travel, we need to be very aware of natural disasters etc. in destinations so that we can avoid promoting them when needed.

You understand your brand

  1. You must understand your brand. The intricacies of a brand can be one of the hardest things to get your head around in a new company. I find that treating the ‘brand’ as if it were an individual is a good place to start. When planning a campaign or advert ask yourself ‘would my key demographic understand this and want to be associated with it?’In social media, you will be finding out what the business focuses are and planning monthly or quarterly themes of content in line with this.

    On social media, images and video are the most powerful things, you need to make sure all your imagery and video content is ‘on brand’ and flows with your company’s website, emails, brochures, magazines etc. In many cases, you are the person telling people what imagery to create, because you are the person who is using it the most. If it stands out and is too different, it is not doing its job.

This is anything but a linear role

  1. You must be versatile. Many marketing departments outsource their campaigns to creative agencies. In social media, you have the power to create smaller scale (and large) campaigns in-house. This can be by gathering user-generated content to show how much your customers love your product/service or running a competition to gain sign-ups to your newsletter/magazine. The sphere of social media really is as big or as small as you want to make it.

Your audience doesn’t change

  1. The biggest myth is that your market is somehow different on social media: it isn’t. Your demographic and potential customer base doesn’t change, the things that do are the way you engage with them, and the way they use the platform. A customer reading a magazine will give your article more time because they have chosen to sit and read it, your beautiful Instagram post has popped up while they’re quickly scrolling on the train needs to grab their attention a lot faster.

Setbacks are freeing

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Setbacks are freeing. They make you see more critically and analyse.

The start of a New Year brings with it a sense of inspiration, a need for growth and a craving for goals. If your year has started with a new project or a new challenge, it can be a great time to throw yourself into it, conversely, if it has started with a setback of some descript, it can make you feel a little lost and in need of direction.

A mantra I live by is ‘everything happens for a reason’. My close friends are probably sick of me saying it, especially when they are going through something tough, but I truly believe in it. When something goes wrong (or right), there is always a reason, it can take a long time to realise what that was, but it all makes sense eventually.

There have been times in my life when I have needed clarity or direction which cause a period of feeling lost, but they are always, always followed by an Epiphone or an experience where I grow substantially.

Nothing good ever comes from feeling comfortable, and occasionally it takes something negative to happen to make you realise your growth was on pause. I think in order to grow and be successful as an individual you need to live in a state of certain discomfort, you need to be constantly challenged in some way. That doesn’t need to be extreme; it can be as small as giving a presentation on something you are passionate about, giving 100% at work, or starting a big project. If you are in a situation where you don’t feel challenged, you aren’t going to grow. I am not just talking professionally either, there are many ways you can challenge yourself and grow as an individual, from travelling to meditation or surrounding yourself with people who make you the best you, and don’t want to see you settle for average.

Sometimes things don’t work out, you don’t meet your goal or you fail. But failure isn’t a bad thing, failure will make you ask yourself ‘was that right for me anyway?’ We are often told to never give up and to reach our goals, but sometimes we are so focussed on reaching our goals, that we don’t question whether they are actually worthwhile.

I am a very spiritual person, and I believe that if you are in a period of feeling lost, then look for the signs, during these times opportunities for growth are everywhere, they might just take some searching for. In 2016 I achieved everything on my goals list (and then some), but this year my goals are already scrapped because I have realised, they weren’t the right ones. I am now free to choose my inspiration and focus for the next few months, or years, and that is very liberating.

Rouge x

Let go

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A turning point in my life was the moment I realised I didn’t like very many people. I know that sounds negative and cynical, but it is actually a really positive thing to realise, by doing so, I understood that not everyone likes me either, and that’s ok.

Nine whole years ago I was 15 years old, and at the time I was very rebellious, I hated school with a passion and hated being told what to do, so I did things my own way. I used to drink heavily and go clubbing every weekend, I got into trouble at school because I mirrored the teachers’ lack of respect and in the end, I got kicked out my house. The school I was at back then was terrible with no discipline and no interest in individuals, and most of the people there were not good for me at all. It wasn’t until I left that situation and went to sixth-form that I realised what a bad time of my life that was. During sixth-form I struggled a lot with depression and apart from one or two good friends, I was surrounded by people who shattered my confidence.

Since leaving school and really discovering myself, I couldn’t be farther from that person I was all those years ago, but for a long time I felt haunted by who I used to be. When I was feeling low I used to behave recklessly and selfishly because I felt like there was no consequence, I didn’t really care about anything so I had nothing to lose. Since then it was like those stupid things I did and said somehow stayed with me, as though it didn’t matter how successful and happy I became, there were people out there who knew what a mess I had been.

These days I have a few very good friends whom I trust deeply and have a lot of respect for, these people make me feel like they love to be around me and they make me believe I can do anything. When negative things happen in my life they put it down to the insecurities and weaknesses of other people. It took me a long time to find these people, and usually it is an effort to see them because our lives have moved on and so we stay in touch because we want to. In the past I have compared myself to people who seem to have hundreds of friends or large groups of girls they hang out with, but when I spend time with their group I realise none of them actually care about each other, they just want someone to go to a bar or a party with, it doesn’t take long to see that those are the flaky, superficial friendships I had in the past which left me feeling empty.

I have always been someone with big dreams and had things that I want to accomplish which seem impossible to most people. Up until now, everything I have wanted I have achieved for myself, I didn’t go to Uni and I have worked really hard to get where I am without a degree. It is only recently I have worked out what success means to me, and it has changed my entire perspective. I realised that for so long I was harbouring the past when it really didn’t matter, and I was being a road-block to my own success because I was subliminally obsessing over a time in my life which was so long ago, and worrying it would somehow get into my present.

The main thing I have learnt is that you have to be true to who you really are. Even if that person is disliked by people, when you start to look beneath the surface and stop criticising yourself, you can ask yourself whether you actually care and allow yourself the luxury of not giving a shit.

Since changing my perspective I have felt more grounded and focussed than ever, I am feeling inspired and motivated to fulfill things. I don’t know if it is a New Year’s Resolution per se, but more of an attitude I am going to adopt, to stop criticising myself based on other people’s behaviour, and to let go of the person I was at a dark time.

Use trending hashtags to promote your brand on Twitter

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What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is essentially a category. Any (public) post with a specific hashtag included will appear in a feed with other posts. Anyone who clicks on that hashtag can see all the posts listed. The most popular posts will usually show at the top, with ‘live’ posts showing below or in a separate feed.

What is a trend?
A trend is a topic or hashtag that lots of people are sharing content about. On Twitter, a hashtag must be shared 1200 times in a short period of time to ‘trend’. A list of current trends can be seen on the left of your screen if you are on a desktop, or by clicking the search bar on mobile.

Why

Jumping on trending hashtags is a great way for new people to find your brand. Here are five reasons why:

  1. It is a free way of showing your content to accounts who don’t follow you
  2. It adds variety to your timeline
  3. It shows you are reactive and current
  4. You can use it as an excuse to re-share old content
  5. You can use it to drive new content and show your expertise

Before you start

It is, however, important to be discerning when choosing which hashtags you use. Obviously, this depends on your industry, but more importantly your brand. Sadly, the power of social media isn’t always recognised and some brands see it as an easy environment to take shortcuts. Actually, in many cases, social media is the first place people check to see your brands credibility, if you have a strong following and are sharing high-quality consistent content you’re ok, if you are struggling for engagement and your latest tweet is a little cringe-worthy, many potential clients or customers will turn away.

Therefore, it is important not to jump on a hashtag jut to get likes. Before you use the hashtag, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Imagine your core customer, would they use this hashtag?
  2. Would the topic you are about to tweet be an acceptable blog post?
  3. Are your demographic using this hashtag?

Good examples:

Once you have answered these questions it’s important to get the angle right. A good example is #InternationalTeaDay which falls on the 15th December every year. (Get it in your diary for next year)! I manage social media for a tailor-made travel company so I shared content about a unique tea ceremony you can experience in Kyoto, Japan.

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Conde Nast Traveler either had this article pre-planned for the occasion or they re-used some relevant content on their website:

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If you are a recruitment company, you could take a photograph of a cup of tea next to an iPad with your job listing web page open, with the text  ‘Happy #InternationalTeaDay, take fifteen minutes out of your day to apply for your dream job.’ then link to your website.

If your brand is actually a person, you could try a point of view photograph of a desk with a cup of tea on it saying ‘All good plans start with a cup of tea… #InternationalTeaDay’.

Rouge x

Girl on a plane

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“Is this your first time in India?”

“Yes.” I replied, “Do you live here?”
“I am actually American, but my family are from Kerala, I am here to visit some of them”.
“Sorry I have lost my voice” I breathed huskily, but there was something about her openness to talk to me that drew me to persevere with the conversation. We were travelling by plane from Delhi to Udaipur which takes just over an hour, from here I was to continue my journey into the foothills of Rajasthan to learn about the local communities.

“This is my younger sister, my other sister is sitting towards the front with her husband” her name escapes me, but the conversation which followed will stay with me for a long time. She seemed very eager to talk to me, so remembering she was American I led the conversation towards the recent election, this was also my way of determining her political stance. “I didn’t vote” she said, “but I am glad Donald Trump won”. Surprised, I took a sip of my bottled water, a gesture for her to continue. “He is anti-corruption and anti-establishment, he is a great underdog for America, an honest man who will do great things”.
“To me a white male billionaire who makes damaging remarks about women, ethnic minorities, immigrants and LGBT people, is not an underdog, in fact he is the epitome of an establishment and a system I am against”. I countered.
Now we had established our different political views, but the discussion continued, both interested in each other.

She was around 26, Indian but spoke with a soft American accent. Her approach seemed quite frantic, as though she really wanted to tell me things. She began telling me about her childhood, she had grown up in Kuwait, raised a Christian by her grandparents, she told me about how they secretly prayed in a Muslim country, something that was punishable by jail time. She told me how she grew up angry with her mother for not being there for her. Her mother was a nurse in India for the first 14 years of her life. Why she decided to tell me about herself in such detail I don’t know. Lots of people confide in me in random situations, on the train, in restaurants on the bus and I often get the remark “people always talk to you, you’re like a magnet”. But this time it felt different, it was like she was drawn to me, and like she knew she had limited time to tell me so much about herself, even when I barely said much back because of my sore throat, and even with such contrasting views on the world, she wanted to speak to me.

She said the anger she felt towards her mother had led her towards Jesus, she told me about her first ‘vision’ something she said she only told a couple of people. The ‘vision’ happened when she was 7 years old, her mother was visiting and she wanted to use the bathroom -located outside the home – in the middle of the night. The light was broken and she was scared to go alone so she asked her mother to go with her. Her mother said ‘no, stop being weak’. In the darkness she cried until a man with thornes on his head appeared with a stool, she described in great detail how he got onto the stool and fixed the light and then led her to the bathroom. The next morning her sisters and mother awoke and marvelled at the fixed light, while only she knew what had happened.

I think of myself as a spiritual person, and do not follow a religion, I take the parts of religion I feel resonate with me such as Karma, but I don’t believe in things like sin, and a set of rules. I didn’t want my opinion to influence her, probably because I felt like she needed to believe in this ‘vision’. So I feigned a neutral expression and didn’t respond to her story. I don’t believe her story, but I felt sorry for her child-like conclusion and felt it would be cruel to disagree with something she found comfort in. I saw the 7 year old child in her eyes, just wanting someone to come and look after her, and finding relief in what she told herself had happened.

She moved the conversation onto sin, and I prompted her about homosexuality, she immediately replied that this was a sin, and wrong. “Did you know that there has been a study conducted onto the minds of gay people’? She went on, “they have physiological problems, and part of their brains are damaged”. Usually I would try and educate people like this, or laugh off their ridiculousness and promptly end the conversation. But I felt a duty to listen because she had confided in me, so I let her carry on.

“You can’t be gay and be a Christian, Jesus knows the truth, there is only one truth, and this is wrong.” She went on getting wide-eyed and excited about the topic. I talked about how it has only recently been acceptable in the UK, and there are many people who have been married and had kids who have now come out as gay because they feel empowered, and how this happens around the world. I talked about how it is estimated that 1 in 4 people are gay or bisexual, and how I presumed it to be higher, because no one has been brought up to be gay, most people have been raised being told being gay is weird or wrong, whereas everyone has been brought up and told they must be straight, so the amount of people ‘coming out’ cannot be considered conditioned.

I talked about my stance, which is ‘live and let live’. She said she hoped I would find Jesus, because the people who engaged in such things or enabled it would not go to heaven, to which I responded that I didn’t believe in heaven and hell. This conversation went on for a while, where she tried to educate me into becoming homophobic, she talked about the inability to reproduce, and I explained that there was a lot more to sex than reproducing, and that there was a lot more to being a parent than just being a mother or father, something I thought she could understand based on our previous conversation. She told me that although she wouldn’t actively tell gay people how to live their lives, she wouldn’t want to befriend them or talk to them.

We talked about our travels, she had travelled a lot which surprised me for someone so closed minded. It reaffirmed her child-like ways, to just believe what she was told, an obedience very different to my own British culture, where (most of us) question what we are told at school or on the news, and we rebel against things which control or oppress. I told her about volunteering work I had done in Ethiopia working on gender equality and some other places I had been.

She opened up more about her life and showed me a picture of her priest, someone she saw as a father figure, and told me about her school life and how she struggled to make friends with people.

As we neared the end of the flight, she said that she had really enjoyed getting to know me and would love to see me again. “I really hope you find Jesus” she reiterated. I scrolled through my phone and found a photograph of a beautiful blonde woman, smiling on the escalator in London underground. “I have something to tell you about myself”. I said.
She looked intrigued.

“I am in a relationship with this woman, and have been for almost two years”. I said plainly.

“Oh my god” she shrieked and put her hands over her mouth. “I am so embarrassed”.
“Don’t be” I said. “I just want you to learn from this, I am someone who spreads love and equality in the world, I open my mind to learn about other people, I travel, I have a great job, and I am in love with a woman.”

She paused, then put her hand on my knee, the first physical contact we had the entire journey. “I feel like it is a going to be a rough landing, we may all need to hold hands”. I felt like this was her way of apologising and symbolising her acceptance of my life choice.

I thought this journey was so interesting, because she started the conversation trying to enlighten me, but by hardly saying anything, it was me educating her.

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