3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

In this digital age, it’s nearly impossible to miss local, national and world news in real-time. No matter where you are or what you’re doing chances are you most likely have breaking news in the palm of your hand via your smartphone. In fact, 30% of American adults get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.

Surely your heartstrings (and attention) have been tugged by all those feel good people and pet stories in your News Feeds. If you dig deep enough, you’ll discover similar stories within your own business or nonprofit. It’s just a matter of being open to listening and discovering the human-interest and news pieces that attract today’s busy editors, reporters, and producers.

After you write your story and take some high-quality images and possibly some video, you’re ready to post and share your news on social. Review these three ways to tell your story on social media:

1. Tweet to meet and engage media sources.

In addition to emailing a release, engage in dialog on social media to build your media network. According to ING’s 2014 Social Media Impact survey, 57% of journalists consider social media to be ideal for contacting PR professionals and vice versa. Use social media to build relationships with journalists and bloggers to gain a better understanding of what they write about, when they need resources, and how they prefer to work with you.

According to a 2014 report from the Indiana University School of Journalism, 40% of journalists said social media networks are very important to their work. Over a third said they spent between 30 and 60 minutes each day on social networking sites. Twitter was the most popular type of social media used by journalists, and over half of those surveyed said they regularly use the platform for gathering information and reporting stories.

Use your website blog as a home for your story, images and video to live and use a tool like Hashtags.org to incorporate trending hashtags into your tweets for greater visibility.

2. Be in the know about Facebook’s new tools for media publishers.

Facebook recently introduced new and exciting ways for news accounts to target posts, remove posts that are no longer relevant and identify popular links that they haven’t shared. One widely anticipated and requested change is Facebook’s Smart Publishing tool, which identifies and publishes stories that are popular with people on Facebook. Once the setting is enabled, frequently shared links will appear more in the News Feed for people who like a publisher’s Page. Make sure to like news sites covering your industry and region to get a sense of the news stories being shared on their sites and thus popping up more in your News Feed.

Once you understand and follow how the media will be using the new tools, you can deliver producers and editors the type of content that’s being shared on social media. Facebook will regularly share announcements and tips on its News Feed FYI.

It’s wise to learn firsthand from Facebook and its content creators what’s trending in the news. Your research will give you a better chance of securing media coverage when pitching a story.

3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

3. Proofread your social media story teasers.

Make sure to proofread your tweets and posts for accuracy and working links. Check the spelling of key names (brands, people, etc.) as well as contact information. Editors may use your release or blog post for the facts and as a potential resource for larger features. If you spell a name two ways or a phone number is wrong by one digit, this will frustrate the contact who has to get ahold of you to double check.

Here’s an example of a tweet with a typo from Grub Street, a blog about the New York City restaurant scene from New York magazine.  Their fans were pretty accepting of the typo and appreciated the afternoon chuckle. I’m sure the editors, however, were pretty crabby about the error ;).

3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

Start engaging with the media on social and best of luck on your PR efforts in the New Year.

Have any questions, please feel free to comment on this blog or contact us. Subscribe to inBLOOM’s blog alerts, and you’ll get Social Media Marketing and Public Relations tips for success emailed to you weekly.


Pew Research Center: How Social Media is Reshaping News

ING 2014 Study impact of Social Media on News: more crowd-checking, less fact-checking

 The American Journalist in the Digital Age:  Key Findings from Indiana University.

 photo: picjumbo

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5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative Reviews

5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative Reviews

It’s inevitable, your business may be new or maybe it’s been around for years, but it will happen – eventually someone will take to the Internet and type those haunting words about their bad experience that you just can’t shake from your thoughts (or review sites).

It may be that they didn’t get a warm greeting at the door or maybe a dish wasn’t served to their expectations? No business (or customer) is perfect, so breathe a sigh of relief and cut yourself a break. As long as reviews matter to you, you’ll be armed with the right strategy to handle them and do the right thing.

Safeguarding your reputation by being on top of customer complaints before they rear their ugly head on Yelp, Facebook and Google should be a priority for your business.

There are many companies offering their reputation management services to cure your bad review woes. Be sure to do your research before entering into one of these relationships. Many of the times, these companies will attempt to clog the Internet with new directory listings, blogs and press releases that bring little value to your business. Although blogging and sharing stories with the media are excellent ways to boost your reputation and Google ranking, the work needs to be done strategically and authentically, not via a mechanical process of pushing out random keywords and fuzzy content.

There is great value in paying attention to these reviews and comments, and as a publicist, I always recommend responding. They may even help you to make changes within your business that address core issues you already knew you needed to handle.

A little goodwill goes a long way. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, of the customers who received a response from a company after posting negative feedback, 33% turned around and posted a positive review of the brand, and 34% deleted the original negative review.

For business owners who are dealing with negative reviews right now, let’s review a few steps you can take to respond appropriately and lift your spirits just in time for the New Year.

5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative Reviews

1. Regroup.

Before typing away, you’ll first need to meet with employees to discuss the complaint, hear from the key staff involved in the incident, and draft a response that takes the reviewer’s concerns / complaints into account.

2. Respond.

Address the complaint politely and with facts. Keep it short and sweet as people can become overwhelmed by a long response. Have a few proclaimed editors in your life review your response for grammar, punctuation and tone before posting.

3. Reach out.

If possible, attempt to contact the reviewer by email or phone if you have their information and offer them a reimbursement or ask about how else you could rectify the situation. They may even be appreciative enough to remove the negative review.

4. Rally.

If a review is completely false, you should try and resolve the issue through private messaging first. If you feel a public comment is necessary, present your case as simply and politely as possible, and do not attack the reviewer under any circumstances. Remember that potential customers will be reading your comment and you want to leave them with a positive impression of your business.

5. Reward.

You can also thank the people who left positive reviews. A simple “thank you” and “we look forward to having you back again soon” will suffice. Many review sites advise against telling a reviewer that you have a gift for them as a way to acknowledge their kindness. Note, however, what you do offline is your own prerogative and will be surely appreciated by your loyal customers.

On the flip side, asking your customers to leave reviews is good practice as well. Sometimes a simple ask is all it takes to motivate a loyal customer to take action. Just don’t run after them with your laptop asking for the review on the spot. You will come off as aggressive and desperate.

If you think you don’t have the time to respond to reviews, here’s a stat that may motivate you to find the time:

5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative ReviewsGraphic: Help Scout

Now let’s review how to respond to negative reviews on Yelp and Facebook:

Responding to negative reviews on Yelp

Responding to reviews is a great way to learn from and build goodwill with one of your most vocal customers. Yelp allows businesses to respond publicly and privately to user reviews. Yelp recommends keeping your message simple: thank the reviewer for the business and the feedback. If you can be specific about the customer’s experience and any changes you may have made as a result, this could go very far in earning trust. Public comments are a way for business owners to add a helpful comment to a user’s review.

Responding to reviewers’ concerns shows that you value their feedback, you’re always striving to improve, and that you are hands-on in the daily operations of your business.

Note: Yelp requires business account users to upload a real photo before messaging customers in order to make the message personal. Photos should clearly show your face (no sunglasses please) and not include too many people.

Go to the “Reviews” tab after logging into your business account. From there you’ll be able to add a public comment to any review of your business. Your comment will appear directly following the review that you’ve commented on.

Responding to negative reviews on Facebook

You can report reviews that don’t follow the Facebook Community Standards or focus on the product or service offered by your business. Facebook will review your report and may remove reviews that don’t follow the guidelines. You cannot delete a rating or review from your Page. You can like and comment on reviews on your Page. To like a review, go to the review and click Like and leave a comment. The reviews that show on a Page may be different depending on who is viewing the Page. The order is based on a number of factors, such as when a review was posted, how much engagement it received, and whether someone visiting the Page is friends with someone who wrote a review.

A Page’s star rating is the average of all public star ratings that the Page has received. Keep in mind that when someone posts a rating, they can select an audience. For example, if they post a star rating and select Friends as the audience, only their friends can see their rating. Only star ratings that are shared publicly are included in a Page’s overall rating. To see the breakdown of a Page’s star ratings, go to the Page and hover over the stars.

Facebook recommends you handle negative reviews by responding privately and immediately. Handle negative ratings with compassion and brand integrity, no matter how upsetting the situation might be. Respond publicly after every attempt has been made to clarify the issue and resolve the customer complaint. Make a public response in the form of a comment on the star rating.

Subscribe to inBLOOM’s blog alerts and you’ll get Social Media Marketing and Public Relations tips for success emailed to you weekly. And if this post helped you, please consider leaving us a great review on our Facebook Page. Wink. Wink.

Cover photo: Robyn Lee

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New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business

New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business

As always, the New Year brings change as many of us make our long lists of resolutions. We hope to change our diet, attitude, exercise regimen and achieve personal goals. But this New Year, those of us who manage Facebook Pages can expect to add another resolution to our lists – to keep our Page posts on our followers’ News Feeds.

Beginning in January 2015, Facebook users will see less promotional posts on their News Feeds. Through an ongoing survey of hundreds of thousands of people, Facebook determined that people want to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content. You’re probably thinking that means less ads, right? Well, Facebook actually determined that the content people see as too promotional are posts from Pages they like, and not ads.

News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Facebook is bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.

So what qualifies posts as being too promotional?

According to the results of Facebook’s survey, these are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app

  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context

  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Here are two examples, provided by Facebook for Business, of types of promotional posts that will keep you off your audience’s News Feeds:

New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business




New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business

As more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. Because there is continually more and more content from your family and friends, as well as businesses, it’s becoming harder for any post to gain exposure in News Feed.

The good news is that Pages publishing great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed. However, if your Page is posting promotional content, you should expect your organic distribution to fall significantly over time.

If you ever doubt the importance of your Facebook Page, remember that constantly maintaining your Facebook Page matters ALOT!

Your Page is an important destination for current and potential customers. Statistics show that very many Facebook users are still visiting Pages. In October, for instance, nearly a billion people visited Facebook Pages. Of those visits, more than 750 million happened on mobile devices.

Because of the large amount of traffic to Pages, Facebook is now exploring ways to build more features into Pages. A lot of this is in response to how they are seeing people interact with business Pages. Interactions include messaging to communicate with a business directly or browsing video and photo content. They’re also exploring ways to better customize Pages based on the industry a business is in, similar to how they rolled out menu sections for restaurant Pages.

Despite the News Feed changes, you can still reach your audience organically.  Monitor the reach of your Page posts by checking the bottom of each one to see how many people you’ve reached. You should also be checking Insights to monitor post engagement and organic and paid reach. All of this will give you an idea of what works for your Page.

You should also allocate some of your advertising budget towards boosting posts, as well as video ads. Both will enable you to target specific audiences with predictable reach. Learn more about video ads here.

If you have any questions about the changes to Facebook’s News Feed or need assistance with your social media efforts contact me.

photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo

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