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Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide

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December 2013

Fun Twitter accounts to follow

For a long time on Twitter, if you wanted to recommend another Twitter account to others you’d participate in #FF (follow Friday).

Some people still use #FF but it’s largely fizzled out. This post is a bit of an #FF for a few fun accounts that were recommended to me recently. (If you see your recommendation below – thank you!)

These accounts are imaginative, silly and in some cases fascinating. Above all, they will put a smile on your face. We know that Twitter is a great platform for breaking news, supporting causes and quick conversations. But it’s also a great platform for creative accounts that reflect people’s talent and quirky sense of humour.

FacesPics shares that extraordinary pastime that you might have enjoyed when you were a child – noting the ‘faces’ that appear in ordinary objects. See the samples below:

Closely related, Half Pics shares images of things which have been halved. Does it have a YouTube channel, I wonder?

I like UberFacts but I was sceptical. So many Twitter accounts would share silly facts – was UberFacts doing the same thing? But reading a few articles about the man behind the account, it seems he does a lot of research into the information he shares. This makes UberFacts fascinating indeed:

 

I’m not a cat person, but you can’t deny that cats rule the interwebz. The very cute Emergency Kittens  account shares the sweetest fluffy images to brighten your day:

 

Real Carrot Facts has been around for a while and if you can get past the typos (intended?) its tweets will make you laugh:

 

Now, the next account is not the most scintillating account- you wouldn’t be checking in every day – but you might follow Count Von Count just for the sheer silliness and to give a nod to the creator:

Count von  Count on Twitter
Count von Count on Twitter

 

Boringtweets celebrates what Twitter is sometimes derided for. It publishes mundane tweets (and many people who aren’t on Twitter imagine that is what it is all about). It has the perverse effect of tempting me to tweet more mundane aspects of my life. Just because I can.

 

My own favourites?

KimKierkegaardashian is a wonderful mashup of celebrity Kim Kardashian and Danish philosopher Kierkegaard. Just read through some of its brilliant tweets below:

 

Brilliant Ads is fun in particular if you work in the comms industry. It reminds me of some good Pinterest accounts where marketing professionals have collated inspirational ideas they’ve come across.

And I also enjoy Norman Reedus’s Twitter account – primarily used for sharing Instagram photos. He stars in The Walking Dead. Granted, it’s a “celebrity” account. That could be the topic for another day …

December: time for your social media clean-up!

My eldest son is sitting on his bedroom floor wading through bits of paper from his first year in high school. He’s on holiday and throwing some things out, while ensuring he keeps work he’s particularly proud of.

It’s a good time of year to do this, especially if your office is winding down or you’re finding it hard to focus on larger projects.

How about your social media accounts? Are they looking a bit messy? Finding it hard to keep up with the people that mean more to you?

Try some of these quick wins to tidy up your social media activity:

  1. Unsubscribe from Facebook Pages you don’t want to hear from any more.
  2. Perhaps there’s a Page you really don’t want to miss out on – see the images below for instructions on how to help them appear in your newsfeed.
  3. Check your Facebook friends list – do you really want to keep them all? Are there a few you could … let go? Look through your Facebook newsfeed. You may want to hide some updates from some friends.
  4. Using Twitter Lists yet? If not, maybe it’s time to start. They’ll give you an easy way to sift through your tweetstream, especially if you follow hundreds or thousands of others.
  5. Check out your LinkedIn profile. Does anything need updating? New title? Maybe your Summary could be improved. Don’t forget to capitalise on the ability to add links and video to any part of your profile.
  6. Reading a lot of blogs? If you don’t have an RSS feed yet I recommend Feedly. It’s super-easy to add blogs (in fact, updates from all sorts of spaces including your favourite Instagram hashtags) and also to put them into categories that are meaningful to you.
Click below 'Like' on your Pages to see your choices
Click below ‘Like’ on your Pages to see more choices
Select the level of updates to suit you
Click Settings, then adjust the level of updates to suit you

I could go on, but nobody needs a long To Do List at this time of year, do they?

Let me know how you go with these recommendations. You’ll be all prepped and ready for 2014!

Take a breath: how to deal with customer complaints on social media

No business owner likes customer complaints.

But a public complaint on social media? That can have a larger impact – and it can feel so much worse.

Customers with smartphones: sharing coverage of your venue
Customers with smartphones: sharing coverage of your venue

Yesterday I came across a story about a Sydney café owner and the colourful response to a complaint posted on the business’s Facebook page.

The customer’s complaint was six words; the response from the business was lengthy, fluctuating between reasonable and vitriolic, and full of emotion. It shared some frustrations about running a business and lashed out at customers who don’t take the time to share their feedback directly with venues while they’re there.

I don’t want to dwell on this one example of social media argy-bargy, but offer some broad tips when it comes to dealing with published customer complaints. These tips may seem like commonsense, but they’re very important especially in the heat of the moment when you may be feeling incensed.

Tips for dealing with complaints on social media:

  1. Take a breath.
  2. Don’t respond immediately. You may regret what you publish.
  3. Write a draft response first – on paper or in a Word document or whatever – but not on the platform. You might even want to write a mock angry response to let your emotions out. You might want to show your draft response to a colleague or friend or partner.
  4. Think of it in context. What platform did it appear on, and where? On a Facebook Page for example, one fan-initiated comment does not get sent to all fans of your page – it appears in the Recent Posts by Others panel (see below). You may be the only person who ever reads it. Was it a complaint directly tweeted to you? How many followers does that person have, and was the tweet phrased so it would reach them or just you?
  5. How you respond will reflect on you perhaps more than the original complaint. Be diplomatic, generous, interested and tactful.
  6. If the customer is wrong, diplomatically put forward your side of the story. Don’t be afraid to correct them – nicely. They might have confused you with another business, they might have published incorrect pricing or menu details for example. But be succinct. If you find yourself ranting about supplier prices, your employees, the state of the economy … it is definitely time to stop typing.

 

The 'recent posts by others' panel on a Facebook business page
The ‘recent posts by others’ panel on a Facebook business page

Also remember:

  • This happens to a lot of organisations. It’s the social world we’re dealing with. It’s not just you. In your personal life, you probably value other people’s reviews and recommendations.
  • An occasional bad review can lend more veracity to your good reviews  – there’s balance on your page and you’re clearly not censoring or stacking feedback.
  • Other people will look at the overall context of published reviews on your social media accounts – and they will make up their own minds. One of the things they’ll take into account is how you’ve responded to complaints in the past.
  • Most people can spot unreasonable gripes and whingers. They’ll be on your side – just make sure to keep them there by demonstrating your empathetic customer service skills.

Have you ever had someone complain about you online? How did you deal with it?

Recommend this! The tricky world of online endorsements and testimonials

This week I’ve received a bunch of written testimonials for my social media training.

Like the handwritten letter, this doesn’t always happen, but they are lovely things to see.

A client sent me to New Zealand last week to provide a one-day social media class and the students were asked to fill out evaluation forms. They scored me 10/10 (3 votes), 9/10 (3 votes) and 8/10 (3 votes) with one forgetting to vote … Was probably another 10.😉

Another client gathered feedback after a two-part webinar series we ran. Some of the comments included the following:

“I had a good understanding of social media and its use, however was still hesitant in putting myself out there due to previous experiences. I have been concerned with privacy … I signed up to Facebook and Twitter as a result of Prakky’s session and have enjoyed the last week knowing that I do have control over my social media life”.

“Finally someone explained Twitter in a way that I understood. I really enjoyed getting on Twitter for a walk-through with everyone else”.

“This was an excellent session and gave a great overview of social media and the benefits and also downside of them. I learned heaps about Twitter, opened an account and started tweeting”.

These written testimonials caused me to think about the world of recommendations again. It’s a regular hot topic in relation to LinkedIn, where people muse over the usefulness of the Endorse feature, and also LinkedIn Recommendations.

For myself, I appreciate (and ask for) LinkedIn written recommendations and would never give or accept a recommendation from anyone I hadn’t worked with and couldn’t vouch for. Endorsements are a little more erratic and take time and forethought to control. Today I have deleted one type of endorsement because it just didn’t accurately capture what I do for a living today – even though more than 60 people had endorsed me for that skill.

LinkedIn - see Prakky's profile
LinkedIn – see Prakky’s profile

This also touches on the tricky world of online etiquette. Do you need to endorse or recommend someone because they vouched for you? If it’s “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine”, then how authentic can we expect online testimonials to be? What happens if you refuse to provide a requested recommendation?

Like lots of netiquette questions, I do think it pays to have a plan and your own set of standards. Know what you will or won’t do and stick to your guns. Don’t feel pressured to endorse (or even connect to) someone. Social media should be an enjoyable and beneficial experience for you.

You should take care of how you represent yourself online – for ethical reasons and also to comply with evolving laws and regulations. Jamie White (@podlegal) wrote an interesting post called Do You Really Want To Be An Expert where he outlined some of the things we should be thinking about.

On Twitter, I ‘favourite’ those tweets where I’ve received nice feedback. It makes for an interesting and vibrant list of testimonials, like the following:

If you think online testimonials would be good for your business or career, the main thing to remember is: ask for them! Many people may be happy to write one, but they need prompting. Don’t make it onerous for them – something like a LinkedIn recommendation can be short and easy to supply, for example.

I deliver LinkedIn training sessions to corporate groups – I even develop company-wide LinkedIn strategies. Email admin @prakky.com.au for more info.

How and where do you use online testimonials or recommendations?

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