20 Easy-To-Implement Business Social Media Tips

Biggest Secret to Growing YOur Business Social MEdia ProfileWant to know the biggest secret to grow your business social media profile?

Of course you do! (What marketer worth their salt doesn’t???)

Before I tell you, it’s important to understand that most businesses are NOT power media upstarts like Upworthy and ViralNova that average 60,000 social shares per article and get 99% of their social shares from Facebook.

But I’m sorry to burst your bubble. Most companies need to work VERY hard to build their business social media profile and maximize their distribution.

Most companies need to use a mix of social media networks and they still can’t compete with these viral super stars.

Tweet This Brands use an average of 7.5 social media platforms according to L2 Research.

L2′s results are similar to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs data; they found B2B firms used 6 social media networks and B2C firms used 7 social media networks.

Business Social Media Tip

The BIGGEST secret to growing your business social media profile:
Encourage and support your employees to share your content on social media using their personal accounts. 

Biggest Secret to Grow SOcial Media Profile

When employees use their personal accounts, your employees reach family, friends and colleagues they know personally. As Nielsen’s findings underscore: people trust people they know. They don’t trust advertising in any format.

By encouraging your employees to share your brand or company’s content on social media, you expand your social media reach exponentially. Hootsuite research confirmed these results. Connect via Hootsuite New York-1

20 Business social media tips

Here are 5 easy steps to get your employees on board and contribute to raising your business’s social media profile. Biggest Secret to Growing YOur Business Social MEdia Profile

1. Encourage employees to share your organization’s content via their personal social media accounts.

To this end, tap into the 5 keys of social sharing and The Psychology of Sharing: Why People Share Online research conducted by The New York Times.

  1. Appeal to customers’ motivation to connect with other people.
  2. Build trust with your audience to get your information shared.
  3. Simplify your message to facilitate sharing.
  4. Give your audience a reason to act, NOW.
  5. Go beyond sharing content to build relationships with your audience.

Business Social Media Tip

Of course, when dealing with your staff, be transparent in your request. Explain that you’re seeking to expand your organization’s social media reach and would appreciate their help.

Ideally, your request shouldn’t sound like a “big brother” order, rather it should give your staff an incentive to participate.

To this end you must understand what motivates your target to be active. You should ask “What’s in it for me?” for your employees. This means what’s the benefit for them personally.

Depending on your firm, your employees and their jobs, it may take as little as letting employees use social media during business hours to making it part of their job description.

This translates to helping them to build their various social media presences because by extension it expands your business reach.

Actionable Business Social Media Tips:

  1. Help employees improve their social media presence. While this may be difficult for some managers to appreciate, ensure that your staff represents your firm and reflects well on your brand. This includes changing job titles on LinkedIn so that they are easier to understand.
  2. Have a professional photograph for each employee. This is one way to ensure that your staff has consistent business profiles that portray your brand effectively.
  3. Take short videos of your employees. They can talk about themselves to show the personal side of your business or answer customer questions about your product offering. It can be a great way to get your firm’s experts to convey their wealth of product knowledge.
  4. Encourage employees to link to your website in their personal profiles. This encourages their social media contacts to check your firm out.
  5. Ask employees to share your business’s social media shares. Consider an internal contest to see which employee does the best.
  6. Get employees to contribute to your firm’s groups or communities (depending on the social media network.)

2. Create a set of corporate social media guidelines.

Roche, a global pharmaceutical firm, has 14 guidelines for its employees and customers. Even the US Army has explicit social media documentation that’s over 50 pages of guidelines and related details.

The bottom line: Employees must understand the information they’ve access to in the course of their work roles and the need for its confidentiality.

Actionable Business Social Media Tips:

  1. Define what your employees can and can’t do when they represent your firm and when they’re engaged in social media in their personal lives. Where appropriate, let your staff know what the consequences are when they disobey these rules.
  2. Monitor employee social media activity. Ensure that it’s aligned with your business objectives and brand.
  3. Respond quickly and decisively when there’s an issue. Your goal is to protect your brand. To this end, ensure that you have a social media crisis plan ready to respond. (BTW, Gini Dietrich’s book, Spin Sucks has a great section on how to handle this type of crisis.)

3. Provide your employees with social media training.

You can’t assume that your younger employees are social media whiz kids at driving business results on various networks just because they’re under 30.

To ensure your entire staff has equal footing and supports your business objectives on social media, it’s important to provide social media training.

Actionable Business Social Media Tips:

  1. Supply staff with the skills to represent your firm on social media. This differs from how they engage as private individuals. (BTW—we help businesses by providing this training.)
  2. Provide appropriate tools. Help your employees to do a better job of extending your social media reach.
  3. Break down the silos between different departments. This can be particularly useful for sales and marketing. Throw a fun event that involves your team and customers. (Don’t forget to take pictures!)

4. Help employees to create content and related social media postings.

To maximize the impact of each social media share, provide the content that your staff shares.

Actionable Business Social Media Tips:

  1. Notify employees when new content is published. An easy way to accomplish this is to send an internal emailing with preformatted social shares.
  2. Provide a variety of different social media resources that employees can easily modify such as photographs.
  3. Ensure that employees have access to editorial, creative and technology staff to support their social media engagement. Remove the fear of failing or looking bad on social media. This is particularly important for titlesUpworthy Title Test
  4. Encourage your sales team to blind copy (aka BCC) marketing every time they answer a customer question. This is a great recommendation from Marcus SheridanIt takes the work out of answering customer questions. Your marketing team can then transform this information into quality, social media friendly content.
  5. Incorporate social media shares in employees’ signature files. Of course, this assumes everyone has a consistent file that can be modified centrally. This has the benefit of going to people’s personal email addresses, avoiding the junk mail folder.

5. Reward employees who are social media stars and drive results.

At a minimum, give employees recognition for their hard work; it can be an internal social media employee of the month or other monetary incentive.

Actionable Business Social Media Tips:

  1. Ask employees to include a call-to-action in their social media shares. This helps drive prospect activity.
  2. Share employees’ social sharing activity with the rest of your staff. While broadening your social media audience, this provides an example that encourages others to contribute their best stuff.
  3. Spotlight an employee of the week on your blog. Then get your employees to share this content. Orbit Media has a series of interviews on their blog. It’s a great step towards company transparency. Business Social Media TipBTW: Many organizations do this offline with an employee of the month.

When it comes to business social media, it takes a company. To build your organization’s business social media profile, every employee must contribute.

To ensure that your staff’s social media input reflects well on your brand and enhances your social media standing, you must provide your employees with the tools they need to succeed.

What has your experience been encouraging your staff to support your company on social media?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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How Upworthy Crafts Viral Social Media Success

Viral Social Media SuccessWant to create a viral social media success?

Then, take a page from Upworthy’s viral playbook.

Upworthy averaged 60,000+ shares per article, roughly 5 times Buzzfeed’s rate as noted in How To Improve Your Content Based On 2.6 Billion Social Media Shares.

Here’s how Upworthy’s content stacks up.

  • 56% of Upworthy posts don’t break 10,000 views.
  • 5% of Upworthy posts broke 100,000 views.
  • 0.3% or 5 of Upworthy posts broke 1 million views.

Understand that not every post is going to be a viral social media success. Luck and timing DO influence your social media results.

While getting your colleagues and followers to click on your content and share it is important, the key to viral social media success is getting their colleagues and followers to click on your content and share it with their social connections.

To this end, find the middle ground between entertainment and emotional connection.

Upworthy Viral Definition-2

3 Elements of viral social media success

Underlying viral social media success are 3 elements. They are at the heart of effective content curation.Viral Social Media Success

1. Discover epic content.

Viral content has a great story with a hero and a villain involved in an emotional drama that has a “super inspiring message”,  in Upworthy’s words.

Based on Fractl and Imagur’s virality survey of  800 men and women between 18 and 54 they found the following 3 factors needed for virality.

  1. Generate a positive emotional reaction. There was a significant correlation between content views and positive feelings (specifically joy, interest, anticipation and trust). Viral Images Inspire Positive Feelings-Fractil-1
  2. Arouse diverse, complex emotional responses to encourage sharing. Includes both positive and negative feelings.
  3. Add an element of surprise. Include an unexpected twist in what you share.


2. Improve the content’s framing.

Position your social media content to make it so persuasive your audience can’t resist finding out more. “If you don’t make it compelling enough to click and share no one will find it. “ according to Upworthy.

Remember you can’t give away your key information in the headline, share image, or share text or there’s no reason to read or click further.

I learned this the hard way. My ClickZ article entitled: “27.7% of Senior Management Champion Social Media – Does Yours?” garnered lots of social shares when it was published. BUT very few people clicked through to read it since the punch line was in the title.

Here are the 5 factors to improve your social media framing.

1. Leverage the power of authority in your share text. Play to the social media notion of scarcity. Don’t just focus on benefits. Add commentary about what’s unique about the content and what readers may lose by not acting on it. Include an element of FOMO (fear of missing out).

2. Remember:  your social share headline is critical to content consumption. This echoes David Ogilvy’s headline rule: only 20% of your readers will ever get beyond your headline.

Upworthy follows  the 25 Headline Rule. You must draft at least 25 headlines before choosing the best ones to test. Upworthy Title Test

Incorporate a curiosity gap into your social media headlines. Specifically, be clever but NOT TOO clever. Always allow your reader to form their own opinion. (Need more headline tips? Check: “The Secret to Headlines That Attract Readers and Shares Every Time.”)

3. Optimize your content to encourage clicking on social media. Take the time to re-imagine your social media commentary to target your core audience and hit their hot buttons. To this end, create a social media persona.

4. Select an image to associate with your shared content that attracts shares and reshares. This isn’t just based on Upworthy’s experience. Academic research on virality of images on Google+ proves this point. (Here’s a complete analysis of the research including 5 keys to social media use of photographs.)

5 of Upworthy’s secrets to amazing social sharing photos are: pit X versus Y; heavily annotate your image; use video; include screenshots, arouse curiosity, and keep it PG-13.

No one cares about your logo on social media!!!

Instead, use interesting celebrity photos, cutest things in the world photos, a weird face close up, or a combination of a cute-weird face but skip adding your logo.

5. Consider your mother when crafting your social media content. Women are key to massive sharing and, like your mom, they expect a level of social acceptability.

3. Promote your content for the world to see.

Upworthy focused their social media attention on Facebook since it’s where people spend their time on social media. According to BuzzSumo and Frac.tl research of 1 million articles, Facebook had 81.9% of all the shares in the study, over 4 times the amount of all the other networks combinedsocial shares by platform

This is another way of saying that you must spend a significant portion of your content marketing time on distribution, not  creation.

BrightEdge’s analysis of 4+ million tweets found that including a Twitter button increased Twitter mentions almost sevenfold.

  • Sites with a tweet button were mentioned 27 times and
  • Sites without a Twitter share button were mentioned 4 times.

Incorporate social sharing buttons into your content presentation. Don’t make your potential audience have to think or search to share your content.

Use persistent share buttons that hover adjacent to the content as readers scroll through. Upworthy measured a 398% improvement in shares with this test.

Showcase influencers’ commentary on your socially shared content. By highlighting famous commenters and sharers on their post page, Upworthy generated a 10-30% increase in likes.

While difficult for newbies, test using egobait to attract influencer attention. Include something  worthwhile for the influencer such as promoting or linking to their work. Don’t just use their name to trick them into clicking on your information. It doesn’t work!!!

Incorporate a call-to-action to encourage sharing. Upworthy tested a call-to-action button and it yielded a 419% lift. Dan Zarrella found that your call-to-action’s wording mattered on Twitter, specifically “please help” and “please retweet”.

Optimize your website to continually improve your user experience (or UX). Always be testing to increasing social media shares. Your website is your path to sharing. For example, Upworthy considered delaying the appearance of their Facebook slider by 16 seconds and increased likes by 70%.


While no one can guarantee that your content will go viral, the benefits of a viral social media success are so great that it’s worth testing every element of your social media sharing.

If you’ve had a viral social media success, what were the salient factors?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

For those of you in Raleigh, NC, please join me for Internet Summit November 11th through 13th. Internet Summit
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