Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Rose: a retro film review 

You’re either old enough to have seen this film at least once, or you’re so young that you’ve not ever heard of it. There really isn’t an in-between. 

Bette is an icon, a gay icon of the highest stature and though she had a moment of breakthrough to the pop culture zeitgeist a few years ago with a Kardashian Twitter fued, and despite a coveted ‘belle of the ball’ appearance (and win) at this year’s Tony Awards for her universally acclaimed performance in Hello Dolly, she’s not held the American imagination as much as when she first broke through in the 1970s. Or even during her return to form, a film renaissance in the late 1980s. 

The Rose takes place over just a few days, following the tour of Mary Rose Foster, who is known by all as only ‘Rose’ or ‘The Rose.’ The film’s narrative momentum, the two-hour-long crescendo to its climactic scene, is a stadium performance in Rose’s hometown somewhere in Florida. In between, we witness brilliantly photographed performances in (we’re told) New York City and Memphis. 

Rose is exhausted, an alcoholic who repeats at least three times that she’s no longer interested in drugs. She pulls a large green liquor bottle from her oversized handbag and tips it back so frequently that, had the film been made today, the internet would give it a name and we’d be overrun with memes. She repeats as well, beginning with the very first scene, that she wants to take a year off after the hometown performance in Florida. 

Her manager, played by Alan Bates, refuses to entertain the idea, though we’re never told why. We know the tour is financially lucrative but the narrative suggests it is a bluster of non-stop movement and chaos, that these few days are indicative of the entire experience. Most every film review defines him the bad guy but, aside from Rose’s obviously erratic nature (which, perhaps my fault, I assumed was an immutable characteristic), he seemed to make the most sense of anyone involved. 

Over the course of those few days Rose falls for an MIA military (title) — note the fort Campbell shout-out! — and brings him along for a ride, drops in backstage at a country musician’s show where she’s perfectly humiliated, performs impromptu at a drag show (where, this is sort of interesting, all the queens sing live), gets lost with Huston and then gets found, meets up with a female lover (in a scene that’s more fascinating by the interpretive stretch were supposed to take as viewers, that they’re lesbian lovers), loses Huston, finds him, and then loses him again. 

At one point she stops and says to (name), “you were really all alone for six whole days?” We feel for her because, though she longs for that sort of solitude, she claims to want an escape from the pressure of her tour and career, it seems increasingly obviously that she wouldn’t know what to do with herself, should she ever carve out a few days alone, much less an entire year. 

It’s aspires to be the sort of film that defined the 1970s: think of Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather, The Deer Hunter, even the original Rocky, and especially Nashville. But it doesn’t quite do it. 

It’s based on the life of Janis Joplin, of course. Notoriously, permission was not granted the producers of the film–one of whom was Midler’s manager at the time, with whom she ironically had a major falling out post-The Rose –to use original source material, and so the film to some degree struggles in its effort to effectively step aside from that iconic performer’s influence. The Rose takes place in 1969 yet the music is undoubtedly a product of the 1970s. A scene that finds Rose and Huston facing discrimination for at a diner (“We don’t serve hippies here”), along with Rose’s wardrobe, though an assumption that it’s stagewear is valid, are the only references to the time period. 

It’s a film designed for Midler to flourish, to outshine and perhaps even upstage all the others. I fell in love with Bette as a young boy when I saw Ruthless People in 1986 and then it’s followup, Outrageous Fortune, in 1987. Back then The Divine Miss M (a moniker she assumed from nearly the beginning of her career in the early 70s) was described as brash and brassy, outspoken, and in those mid-80s roles she entirely lived up to those adjectives. So with those two film as a starting point, and decades of reading how The Rose was a great dramatic departure from that personae, it comes as a surprise to see a similar over-the-top performance here.  

Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a great film. Long outdated references to rackjobbers unwittingly add to the period piece setting. The musical performances are absolutely top notch; at times the director Mark Rydel allowed a single song performance transition without a scene break to another song, giving the film a documentary quality. The end is a bit of a stretch. It relies on the audience’s ignorance of the stresses put on a performer, or perhaps drug culture. We don’t feel Rose’s descent over these few days. In the end it feels like a rollercoaster and, as with all rollercoasters, it hits a breakneck pace somewhere in the middle and then abruptly, incongruously, it just stops. 

Madonna: Truth or Dare/Who’s That Girl Tour


There was a time when I was young — and I mean, like, super young — when I routinely brought to school with me the Madonna and Like a Virgin albums, as well as the “Angel/Into the Groove” single. Cassette tape versions, no less. The little school desks we had back then included a small compartment on the inside right at the inside edge, molded by the metal form, designed to hold pencils and other utensils beyond the text and notebooks that were pushed back into the hollowed out workstation. It was on the furthest left side of that compartment where I stored those cassette tapes; in fact, that section was exactly the width of those old cassettes.

Not once in my memory do I recall them played in the classroom, or in a “ghetto blaster” at recess, or a Walkman. I just brought them with me and stored them in the desk all day like jewels, artifacts that a collector wouldn’t dare leave out of eyesight for a sustained period. 

I had no idea what “Like a Virgin” meant so, perhaps needless to say, it wasn’t my favourite. In fact, I can’t recall the original allure, but I was a fan back then in a way that I never could be again. One day Noreen asked me if I’d heard the new song, it was “Live to Tell,” and, coming from a household that listened to only country radio, I said no. I got the True Blue album on vinyl soon after,  woefully convinced it would be the format in which I’d continue from that point to build my collection. The following year, I bought with my allowance the Who’s That Girl soundtrack… on cassette.

And as far as Madonna goes, that was it for me.

Too young to understand what was happening artistically with the You Can Dance compilation as well as the Dick Tracy soundtrack, by the time Like a Prayer and the first Greatest Hits albums came out I was exclusively a country music fan. But even in my young mind the promotional antics (the Pepsi commercial, the Sex book) proved more a turn-off than attraction.

This morning I watched Madonna: Truth or Dare for the first time and I love it, but I think only from an historical perspective. It predates The Real World, the grand-daddy of reality TV, and so doesn’t pack nearly as much a provocative punch as it must have 25 years ago. From this distance, as a 2016 entertainment, it still works. Remarkably. 

In an age of information abundance, it seems necessary to search out the things beyond what’s spoon fed to us. Two years ago I found the extended mixes of “Who’s That Girl” and “Causing a Commotion,” two of my all-time favourites. I personally edited them down to a more manageable (for my ears) 4.5 minutes, and fell in love with the small flourishes, deviations from the 30-year-old original mixes that made the songs new all over again.

Likewise today, Truth or Dare wasn’t enough. While browsing online after the film ended, intrigued by the bit players (my “Where Are They Now?” concerns regarding the backup singers and dancers), about a half hour of mindless clicking and reading led me to Ciao Italia: Live From Italy, the concert video from 1988. Apparently it’s the full performance from the 1987 Who’s That Girl Tour. This is the tour that preceded Blonde Ambition and it very much prefers performance and song over spectacle. “Like a Virgin” was part of a medley, for example, that included “Dress You Up” and “Material Girl,” and somehow managed a delightful mashup with “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch.”

It’s perhaps the one Madonna tour I would’ve preferred, had I ever the option to see any one of them live.

You can almost sense the idea of a film like Truth or Dare developing from that 1987 experience, in the same way we’ve all taken our turn at some point to say, “my life should be a reality show.” Compare the little boy dancer who shows up every few songs on stage to the way she later refers to herself a mother-figure in the movie. It’s like Who’s That Girl was a transition tour, a mile marker separating the “take over the world” ambition from the Dick Clark interview on American Bandstand from the self-aware performance artist that came almost immediately thereafter. 

Sweet Jesus, is it already 2016?!

The last post here is from 2014 and when I took a glance at it just now I was like, “ah, that was just last…”

No. It wasn’t just anything. That was a long time ago. And man, so much has changed. Here’s a fun fact…

People don’t blog anymore! LOL. Of course that’s not true. Having said that, I’m not even sure if people say “LOL” anymore. I do know that asking people to click on a link somewhere in Facebook or Twitter that’ll bring them to an outside website is sometimes too much to ask, and that we should be pontificating right inside those online worlds.

But I’ve already paid the bill for this site, for this year anyway, so I’m gonna stick around.

That's me. 2016 version. Wispy grey hairs an' all.

That’s me. 2016 version. Wispy grey hairs an’ all.

JosephBrant.ca has been like that aunt and uncle you say you’re going to stop in and visit some time but rarely ever do: the idea pops in your head every now and then, that you should engage, fulfill the promise you made (if, and sometimes only, to yourself), that there’s nothing to lose… but then … I dunno… it’s time for dinner, or it’s time for bed. Or it’s time to write.

My biggest excuse for avoiding josephbrant.ca is that my priority these past couple years has been to write and read, the work of earning an MFA in Creative Writing, as well as my work online with a couple side jobs I keep. At the end of the day, many days, I’m like “I been on this computer too damn long.” So then I go eat, or to bed.

But I’m back. That’s the good news. Now… about that aunt and uncle…

… and the migration from my old site is complete

It took a far, FAR shorter amount of time than I’d anticipated. In fact, I think I was able to make this happen within an hour. Unbelievable.

I’d been concerned about losing the links and embedded video, in particular, and it was like magic the way they were just cut-and-pasted from my old site to this one.  It was SO easy.

I’m leaving Typepad for obvious reasons (if you’re familiar with Typepad). It was the original blogging platform that my blog-hero Andrew Sullivan used way, and I mean WAY, back in the day. For years people and the Internet in general had recommended WordPress (the more difficult to set up .org version) and because it seemed so daunting, I held off. Setting up Typepad was easy, though costly in the end. The main reason I’m bailing is the $11/month I’m paying just to access it. (Again, possibly my fault. The hosting here I’m paying for annually instead of monthly).

Last summer, 2013, I found a social media program at Seneca College that walked me through the entire process of WordPress.org so I’m glad I’m finally here. Another reason i’m grateful to #SenecaSoMe: I learned that for SEO purposes it’s smarter to just have quality and consistent posts on a site than to just get a fancy URL. The previous site was called Critically Country but the URL was countrymusicincanada.com. I thought that was all it would take. I was wrong.

And there were other quirky things. I absolutely hate headlines where each word is capitalized, and there was no way around it in Typepad. A world of difference here at WordPress. My only concern with WordPress, of course, is the unrelenting spam comments. Now that I’ve updated all the plugins here, I’m really hoping that won’t be a problem. Fingers crossed.

So when you browse through the history of the posts here, the ones from Critically Country will be labeled “CLASSIC” in the headline, and before it you’ll find some old assignments from the #SenecaSoMe program. I haven’t looked through them since I submitted them, so cringeworthy as they may be, something inside is telling me to keep them for future reference.

 

Using Sysomos for the final capstone project

Our capstone objective regards high school graduating students who’ve been accepted to Seneca College. Beginning February 1 each year, Seneca sends out letters of acceptance and each accepted student has from that point until the first day of classes in September to accept the offer of admission, or not. Our objective is to increase those conversions in a timely manner so as to effect academic planning in time for September and the first day of classes.

Though we’re using real-life information relevant to this year (i.e. Google Analytics), our ultimate deliverable to Seneca’s director of marketing, Marianne Marando, is the creation of a plan that she and her team can use for next year, that would regard spring 2015.

I found Sysomos incredibly helpful in the social listening phase of this project. It was important for us to uncover instances where newly accepted students, as of February 1, would comment online regarding their offer of admission.  In many cases, they were saying things like “I’ve received acceptance letters from George Brown, Humber, and Seneca,” which provide a perfect opportunity for Seneca to engage that student.

We found that Seneca’s social media team was effective in engaging those students who’d tagged Seneca in their post (i.e. “I’ve been accepted to @SenecaCollege”), but we also found there were was no engagement — and discovered a perfect opportunity for Seneca — when students did not tag the school (i.e. “I’ve been accepted to Seneca College”).

While I loved — LOVED — using Sysomos for this portion of our project, it actually was the source of some disillusion regarding the software, and ultimately Radian6 as well.  The reason: I have a fairly good handle on my next steps once I’ve completed this program and, unfortunately, I’m confident I’ll not have access to either of these services then.  So part of me really doesn’t want to embrace or appreciate Sysomos and Radian6 right now because I know that very soon I’ll have to settle for a far inferior service out in the real world.  <insert frowny face here> … because it was SO easy and enjoyable to use!

Building a Social Media Team

Every company, non-profit organization or government agency will want to best utilize its social media investment. In a hypothetical case, wherein each sector builds a team of five members, each will place a higher value on the roles they create, though there are similarities among them.

Shared among all three sectors are the roles of “Social Media Strategist” and “Community Manager.”  The SoMe Strategist is essentially the manager or leader of the entire division or department; he or she is the highest ranking staff member who oversees the work, designs the overall strategy, and reinforces the organization’s commitment to the value of social media.  The Community Manager is the single point of contact between the brand and the audience/community.

Shared between Companies and Governments is the “Social Analyst,” a role that emphasizes listening to online conversations regarding a brand or legislation/constituent issues.  To be clear, this role is important to non-profits as well but, in this scenario where team membership is limited to five, there are five roles of greater importance to a non-profit.

Shared between Non-profits and Governments is the “Social Media Manager,” an operations-oriented role that oversees every element of the various projects the team is engaged in.  He or she will manage the resourcing of manpower, time-limited targets, financial resources, and the relationship between the entity and social media partners, agencies for example.

Shared between Companies and Non-profits are “Agency Partners,” which are third parties deployed by the company or non-profit to oversee roles that each deems itself incapable of completing internally.

Uniquely valued by Companies is the “Business Unit Liaison,” a relationship-builder internally who works to bridge departments in realizing social media goals across the organization.  Uniquely valued by Non-profits is the “Content Strategist,” a role that is becoming more and more necessary across all sectors; he or she works to develop and align content for the multiple audiences/communities where the non-profit participates.  Uniquely valued by Governments is the “Education Manager,” a role that is similar to the Business Unit Liaison in that he or she works internally as a promoter of social media as a communication tool.

Social Media Content Strategies: What to say and how to say it

Though they all share the social web, companies, governments and non-profits have different purposes with regard to the messages they want to transmit. Each sector needs to take the time to comprehend not only what it is they want to say, but the best way to go about saying it.

For-profit companies want to build trust especially.  We live in a world where the consumer has become immune to hard sales and can quickly eliminate your channel from their newsfeeds, so the work for companies is to provide helpful information about the industry, details that make the lives of their target audience better, and then, rarely, make the pitch for their organization’s service or product.  They want their followers to be convinced of their product when the time comes to choose it.

Governments are more concerned with getting the word out about their programs or public notices, or at the very least ensuring it’s available.  It may be helpful to build community, as we’ve seen with the Health Canada presences on Facebook, but ultimately the goal is to provide access to information and, like any marketer, to get into the homes of your target audience so they don’t have to work so hard to find you.  If you’re an MP or MPP or even a town councilor, you want to avail yourself to your constituents, and bring your experience as an elected official into the constituent perspective so they can see that their vote was a wise one.

Non-profits, like companies, have an interest in building relationships that don’t necessarily lead directly to their preferred “engagement,” be it a donation or other form of support.  Non-profits play more a role in the education of the masses as it regards their work: why it’s necessary, providing updates on the specific projects they’re working on, how they evaluate their work, evidence that their followers’ contributions are being put to good use.  It serves both an accountability and promotion function.  Like companies, it’s not so much the “ask,” but the shift over time that should happen to the audience, based on the content they’ve received.

Though there are difference among each sector, they each should understand that the primary goal when working in social media is to build and maintain a community, to build trust and a relationship with those who acknowledge and want to engage with their brand or cause.

The Better Social Media Management Tool: Comparing HootSuite and Sprout Social

I’m very new to social media management tools in general and I suppose that makes it the perfect time to figure out the difference between these two.  Years ago I tested HootSuite, the free version, and didn’t find myself terribly impressed.  I wasn’t much of a Twitter user back then, so I’m sure that contributed to my disinterest.

First: my bias.  I’m very recently HootSuite certified so I understand it very well.  Sprout Social entered my world yesterday — and I don’t like it.

For one, Sprout Social is expensive.  Though I’m in the month-long trial period, the cost — at minimum — is $39/month.  For me, personally, that is too much.  Once my trial at HootSuite ends, I’ll be paying about $10/month, a far more tolerable cost.

I find HootSuite more visually appealing.  Coming from the perspective where you see one scrolling screen, I’m completely taken in by multiple columns — many scrolling screens — situated alongside each other.  It’s like having four smartphone or desktop screens all sitting side by side.  On Sprout Social I appreciate the tabs down the left side and, though all streams from every connected social platform are available in that one feed, I’m still looking at one scrolling screen.  It doesn’t work for me.

Posting from either is comparable.  Though it’s possible to search in Facebook via Sprout Social, I can’t seem to connect my Facebook newsfeed or profile.  I suppose the service is more oriented toward linking Facebook Pages rather than personal account but, as far as my experience is concerned, it’s a negative.

I notice Sprout Social links shorten into bit.ly links, which are transferable to the host bit.ly site whereas on HootSuite links shorten into ow.ly which is a proprietary service of HootSuite and therefore contains value (regarding analytics) as long as I remain using HootSuite.

One thing I would appreciate is the option to send a message through either service directly to selected groups within Facebook.  The Facebook site makes it simple to select preferred audiences while composing a message.  Too, it doesn’t appear as though the streams I create on one device travel among devices.

The apps available on HootSuite are impressive, making it possible to monitor Instagram, YouTube, Gmail, SoundCloud and Tumblr.  It really is an all-in-one service.  I understand, too, that HootSuite makes it possible to submit multiple posts — in bulk, no less — for advance scheduling.  As well, the mobile app is intuitive and easy to use.

Ultimately I’m drawn to HootSuite viscerally, visually, based on cost, the access to multiple sources of information via multiple column views.  I have no experience with analytics or reports, or shared accounts among among multiple users, with either service so can’t comment on them yet.

 

Works Cited

“The Battle of the Social Media Tools: HootSuite vs Sprout Social.” www.vodori.com. Vodori. 23 January 2013. Web. 10 November 2013.

Clark, Taylor. “Hootsuite vs Sprout Social: Which Media Management Tool is the Best.” www.taylorclark.co. N.p. 13 April 2013. Web. 10 November 2013.

Cronin, Colin. “Social Smackdown! Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite, a Critical Look.” www.digitalry.com. Digitalry and Digitalry Inc. 27 March 2012. Web. 10 November 2013.

emilyD. “Social Media Management: SproutSocial VS HootSuite.” www.bekdavis.com. Bek Davis Web & Graphic Design. 12 June 2013. Web. 10 November 2013.

Four Tips for Effective Social Media Management to Drive Higher Education Admissions in the Real Estate Industry

So … titling mashups really don’t work, do they?

I viewed three extensive videos in the HootSuite University Lecture Series and, in each case, really gained a lot of knowledge, all from industry experts.

In a video entitled, “Driving Admissions Through Community Building: Best Practices for Higher Education with Inigral,” Community Manager Brandon Croke of the newly renamed Uversity shared some ideas regarding community building at the post-secondary level.  He placed an emphasis on the time when a potential student submits an application and when a prospective student is admitted to the school, that these times are when the admissions process has its best opportunity to meaningfully engage.

As with any social media effort, measurement is a unique concern and Croke produced five noteworthy considerations.

  1. Student conversion: a school’s ability to get newly admitted students to join their Facebook community.  He strongly suggested creating a Facebook group so that more accurate measurement elements can be gained (i.e. specifics regarding name, hometown, etc that otherwise is anonymously presented from Facebook page analytics).
  2. Student engagement: the percentage of student members who actively participate.
  3. Student validation: the likelihood a student will receive a response to a post (comment or like).
  4. Conversation: the likelihood that a post will turn into a conversation (# of posts with 5+ comments).
  5. Post frequency: the community’s pulse (the length of time between the first and 25th posts, meaning if that time is within one day, that’s good.  If it takes a month; not so good).

Another important note he made was to have clear calls to action on your admissions page and set up a goal for each action, to considering using Google UTM tags (via HootSuite) to know where people come from to complete these tasks.

Perhaps most importantly, he noted that 3/5 reasons students drop out of school are social in nature and that building communities like these early in the students’ transition to your post-secondary institution can develop networks for them early.

In “How the Real Estate Industry is Leading the Way in Social Media,” Katie Lance, the social media director for Inman News, first reminded viewers that 95% of home searches begin online.  Wow.

The video was essentially a list of best practices and suggestions to visit various Facebook and Google+ pages, Twitter profiles and YouTube videos from professionals in real estate.  Most of these best practices tended to lean a little more toward advice to brokers or agent collectives than individual realtors which, if I understand correctly, is where the true competition exists.

She concluded the video with five compelling questions anyone in social media can benefit from:

  1. What is your bigger picture mission for doing what you’re doing?
  2. Can you create and cultivate brand evangelists for your brand?
  3. Do you have a content strategy in place?
  4. How are you going to track what works?
  5. Who is going to manage it all?

Finally, Susan Murphy, a partner at Jester Creative in Ottawa, offered advice on “How to Get Your Life Back: Four Tips and Tricks on Effective Social Media Management.” First she started with three reasons why most social media campaigns fail: a misallocation of resources, a misallocation of goals, and mismanagement of time.  The video was a focus on the third point, and the four tips are:

  1. Have a plan, and in particular be sure you base your plan on your business goals, not “social media goals.”
  2. Set up dashboards in order to aggregate information that will save time and energy. For Newsfeeds she suggested the now-defunct Google Reader; in the notes I took I substituted feedly. For social networks, she suggested HootSuite.
  3. Create a calendar, and in particular consider aligning your social media activities with more calendar-oriented plans (i.e. holidays, news events).
  4. Use notifications, because you need to be on top of interactions and should always respond in a timely manner.

To close out her video, Susan offered these time-saving “social media in one hour per day” tips:

  • use feedly for 10 minutes each morning with your cup of coffee.
  • blog for 30 minutes writing/editing/scheduling your blog posts; it will keep you from continually saying “I should be blogging,” help you stick to a daily time limit and quickly build a collection of content.
  • “neighborhood check-in” – meaning interact in real time online 10 minutes in the morning and the evening.
  • “community search” – spend 10 minutes per week seeking people and building your network.

Ultimately I’m personally finding enormous value — especially within the past week or so — as it regards online time management.  I think the HootSuite dashboard will be very helpful in clearing up the noise of my online feeds and especially, via tips like that last list, I’m hopeful to find both increased productivity, peace and enjoyment out of my online work.

How to Engage with People on Social Media

Social_Engagement_Be_More_SocialI’m gonna throw it all out there, here in the first sentence: jump right in.

For a long time I was guilty of just broadcasting messages online, assuming that everyone loved them and that’s all.  I live in a small community and what I’ve found is that a lot of people are hesitant to engage at all, mostly for reasons of shyness (I think).  Many times I’ve bumped into people who don’t hesitate — given our inherently social nature — to continue a conversation in person that I’ve started online.

It’s forced me to re-define the term “social media monitoring” when I’m home.

So you live and learn.  For people I don’t know personally, I had no feedback.  That is, until I started engaging, until I “jumped right in.”  I’ll admit I’m still working on it, but I really try to find one interesting tweet inside my feed and comment on it every time I’m on Twitter.  I’ve made more use of the favourite option.  In my head I’m visualizing myself one-on-one in a conversation with the person who posted that tweet.  That helps.

I work to produce good quality content.  When people respond or reply, I try to continue the conversation, especially on Facebook where I’ve found it’s easy to just move on to the next thing in the ever-scrolling newsfeed.  An instructor, Hamza Khan, said one day in class, “Not responding to someone on Twitter is like staring at them in the face then turning around and walking away.”  It made me laugh out loud, again because of the visual it created in my mind, but it resonated.

I’ve come to appreciate the difference between the social platforms.  For a long time I tried to push my literary interests on Facebook to a collection of friends who mostly were not interested.  Then it dawned on me: these are people I know and we’re all looking for connection based on the exchanges we have offline.  They’re looking to be social, and in many cases looking to escape the real world, to be entertained even.  People aren’t necessarily looking to find usable in-depth information.

Conversely, on Twitter I’ve found I can post an article or two — as potential conversation-starters — and see what sticks and what doesn’t.  Now from experience I know that’s really everyone’s intention when they post stuff, too.

From a business context, it’s all different.Social-media-words

Have a strategy.  Define your social media objectives and work to achieve them.

Use your social monitoring tools and discover who’s talking about your brand.  Talk to them, answer a question if they’ve asked one, empathize, build a relationship.  Go ahead and follow them, if you’re on Twitter.  Remember, you’re building a network and they’ve identified themselves as a stakeholder.

People respond more to visual stimulation so give it to them. Stay away from the wordy posts, and provide your followers something to look at.  The visual you choose, if it’s the right one, has the potential to not only tell its own story but can engage your followers emotionally far better — and much faster — than plowing through row upon row of text could.

Think in terms of your audience and the community you’re building.  People LOVE to talk about themselves so ask questions, publish a poll, provide people the opportunity to engage with you and your brand.  That reminds me…

Be human.  Nobody wants to engage, share, invest in a brand that acts like an inanimate object or corporate lawyer representing the brand.  And be as transparent as possible.  People want to feel as though there’s a human “on the other end of this Internet” and will happily engage with you if you represent your brand appropriately — even if it’s a household cleaning product.

Don’t ignore negative feedback.  When someone complains online about your product or service, they’re either looking specifically for a resolution from you, or they’re not anticipating you’ll respond.  Regardless, you’ll want to work with them — because that’s what you do when you belong to a community.

 

Works Cited

Facebook.com/Clorox brand page. Web. 8 November 2013.

Fig. 1. Blue people from: Schuller, Darcy. “21 Tips to Increase Social Engagement.” www.suvonni.com. 23 August 2012. Web. 8 November 2013.

Fig. 2. Social Media graphic from: “Study: Social Media Engagement Is Correlated With Better Customers, More Purchases.” www.dmconfidential.com. 30 September 2013. Web. 8 November 2013.

Forant, Trish. “10 Social Media Best Practices for Brand Engagement.” www.blog.salesforce.com. 10 July 2013. Web. 8 November 2013.

Khan, Hamza. Personal Communication. 14 September 2013.