Large ShoesThe only place I can buy shoes in my size is the United States of America. Sounds crazy, I know, but we don’t have large-size shoes in stores back home in India. But what do large shoes have to do with your social media brand-advocacy program? Everything!

Brand advocates and social media

Brand Advocates and Social Media - BedfellowsDo social media and brand advocacy sound like strange bedfellows? Well, they’re not. Being social involves engaging with customers across a huge number of channels — using which networks your customers favor. Social proof causes people to find a third-party independent advocate much more credible than an official company representative. That’s the reason why you and I take the time to read a review on sites like Amazon by complete strangers and tend to believe the unknown reviewer.

However, it’s difficult for any organization to manage this on their own, considering the limited resources, the volume of conversations and the myriad social channels out there. (read more…)

When it comes to social media, a lot of people have the “media” part nailed but their “social” game is lacking. Sometimes it feels like if it weren’t for scheduled, self-promotional updates, my feeds would be empty. Do you ever wonder if there are any actual humans interacting on social media?

I can promise you, we’re out there. But some of us get in front of our keyboards and forget to be human! We go into self-promotion mode. Our updates seem more like megaphone blasts than interactions. Social media, like every form of human communication, takes effort, creativity and hard work to be meaningful and effective.

If your time is limited but you still want to use social effectively, here are four simple ways to show your humanity online:

  1. Talk back. We’ve all heard the advice that a great way to engage others through social is to ask questions. Another great way is to answer them.
  2. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Are you considering closing your Instagram account following its privacy-policy update?

  • I never used Instagram — 50.63%
  • I’m considering closing my account — 25.94%
  • I’ve already closed my account — 12.55%
  • I’m not considering closing my account — 10.88%

Instagram has tried to walk back recent changes to its terms of service, but the damage may have already been done. More than two-thirds of SmartBrief on Social Media readers who use the service say they’ve either closed their account or are considering it.

What can you, as a social media professional, learn from the fiasco? Simple: You can’t take your fans/members/customers for granted. If they have certain expectations from your brand, you need to take great care in managing them. If you feel the need to alter your model, you need to communicate that to your fans directly in a way that’s sensitive to their needs. (read more…)

Social media loves beauty brands, and Avon is no exception. But with more than 6 million representatives in 70 markets speaking more than 40 languages and selling five lipsticks per second, the company had inconsistency issues to work out — as well as some huge opportunities. According to Avon Senior Manager of Social Media Leigh Acton and Digital Project Leader Robert Jacobs, the brand needed to give representatives the right social media tools to do what they’ve been doing for more than 100 years: be a local advocate for their brand.

Because Avon has always been about letting representatives speak for the brand, it wanted to create a branded social media tool that could be tailored to representatives’ style. The company made an applications page for representatives to personalize and share widgets on their own Facebook pages, and Avon made it easy for them to translate and localize content based on which widgets fit their style. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Does your social media presence take a break during the holiday season?

  • No — 68.10%
  • Yes — 31.90%

The holidays are a time of relaxation for many people — but the pressures of the social Web never stop. More than 2 in 3 SmartBrief on Social Media readers say they won’t put their social media efforts on hold during the holidays. People using social for personal reasons or small-scale entrepreneurs with tiny fan bases may be able to get away with taking time off. But if you are using social tools for a successful business, it’s easy to see why taking a break can be difficult: Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media universe is open for business 365 days a year. (read more…)