Tagged: social media marketing

Social Media Marketing Pricing | How Much Social Media Really Costs

The Real Reason Why Social Media Marketing Will Cost More in 2019

THE MYTH OF ‘FREE’ SOCIAL MEDIA

If you’re a small business owner contemplating your next move in the changing social media landscape, remember this: the illusion that social media marketing is “free” is just that…an illusion. Using social media networks may be low or no cost, but what your company shares on them is as valuable as traditional advertising. As a result, real social media marketing takes time to produce content that can stand out in an already over-saturated market.

From the initial post idea to concept, execution, creative work, hashtag research, Instagram Story strategy, photo sourcing and numerous rounds of edits, a social media post is never just a simple “post.” A post with no meaning behind it is just a photo and nothing more. Your business deserves more.

WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS A LARGER SOCIAL MEDIA BUDGET IN 2019

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.  If you are paying more for better creative, you are buying a more polished final product that will spread further in the digital ecosystem. Larger social media budgets help your social media marketing agency achieve the following:

1) Produce better creative.
2) Increase the visibility of the creative to a larger, targeted audience.

This is critical to fighting any new algorithm changes, such as the one that Facebook released earlier this year. You will be equipped with an arsenal of compelling content and media budgets to boost the content.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA ALGORITHM DEBATE

Every time there is an algorithm change in the major social media networks, including Facebook or Instagram, debate ensues between digital marketing experts. Some marketers believe that if agencies are creating great content all along, they will be immune to algorithm changes. Other marketers believe that with algorithm changes comes increased budgetary requirements for ad spend to have more visibility of your content. While creating great content will certainly help immunity, you can only fight an algorithm change so hard if you have limited-to-no resource allocation on ad spend for these platforms.

So, is it really about who is right in this debate, or is the larger issue how to define what great content means in the evolution of social media marketing. For example, a static photo post could have been considered great five years ago, whereas today, a video or GIF is much more compelling. In 2019, you need discretionary dollars to create what is considered great as content consumption needs change.

WHAT GREAT MARKETING CONTENT LOOKS LIKE TODAY VS. 5 YEARS AGO

In the old days of traditional advertising, companies spent weeks on one piece of creative that went into a magazine, newspaper or billboard. But then social media became the new magazine or the new billboard. However, with the advent of social media platforms, creative typically seen in print outlets is is expected to be produced daily and tenfold. In addition, videos were on the rise and social media platforms changed how viewers would see things and when.

Social media marketing experts tell people to just “create better content” by posting more videos daily, doing Facebook ads daily and creating more graphic content. This comes with an incremental price tag that continues to increase when many small business owners aren’t even sold on the ROI of social media to begin with. It is important to understand the cost associated with all of these recommendations for the labor involved to produce this level of content.

WHERE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING AGENCY RETAINER DOLLARS GO

Producing this level of content requires more labor and a diverse skill set that includes graphic design, copywriting, photography, video production, branding and so much more. However, not every social media marketer is going to be a specialist in each of these areas. Therefore, social media marketing agencies now have to bring on specialists to produce this type of content. Rising labor costs from the agency side have to remain in line with the fees to produce the creative required for social media.

The disconnect is that many small business owners believe a social media marketing specialist should possess all of these skills if they are hiring them. They do not want to pay a separate fee for the other services or specialists. This does a great disservice to photographers, videographers, writers, and graphic designers. All business owners need to understand that just because you or your social media marketing specialist own an iPhone, it does not mean you or they are a great photographer. The unrealistic expectation that you should be able to replace an entire industry to keep up with content output demands is hurting everyone across the board.

Using the same tool does not mean you have the same craft. You hire a photographer for their vision, intricate knowledge of lighting and ability to shoot something you may not see. You hire a social media marketer to put all of this together and build a brand for your business. When you believe that a social media professional should be able to be a photographer and a marketer, you are hurting your business. A social media marketer is skilled at taking all of these assets and creating a beautiful Instagram grid. Not all, however, are skilled at taking photos or having the same artistic vision a photographer has. Similarly, a great copywriter may produce excellent copy for Facebook posts, but may struggle with producing a visually appealing Instagram theme. But it’s all social media, right?

In addition to bringing on specialists to create social media content for each platform, there is also a great deal of manual labor that goes into the tactical side of social media. You may be wondering where all of your social media dollars go on a monthly basis to produce this content. At RMG, your social media manager does the following for you on a day-to-day- basis:

• Strategic Social Media Consulting
• Post Ideation/ Brainstorming
• Content Calendar Approval
• Content Edit Rounds
• Further Client Approval Edit
• Hashtag Research
• Tagging of posts
• Photo/ Video shoots to produce assets
• Grid Layout of content
• Live Feed Story Creation (separate content from feed content)
• Boosting Posts
• Creation of FB Events
• Creation of branded cover photos/ events/ graphics
• Responding to DM’s/ Comments/ Inquiries on behalf of the brand
• Favoriting comments

Many small business owners already think that paying for social media marketing is too expensive. On the other hand, many agency owners think that their services are way underpriced for what they are delivering. Essentially, two different ideas of what constitutes value for money in the social media landscape is the cause of the friction. As a business owner, you want your budget to stay the same, but the truth is that to compete in new social media ecosystem and stay ahead of algorithm changes, you need to increase your social media marketing budget. If a social media agency owner is to deliver the type of content that is needed for a business to stay relevant, they will most likely need to request a larger retainer.

WHY THE TRADITIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY MODEL IS BROKEN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The traditional social media agency model for small business owners is simply broken. Expectations on content output continue to increase, while fees stay the same. But the changes were so gradual, it was hard to stop the slide. This meant that costs for social media marketing subscriptions, software and talent all continued to rise, while retainers did not. What is needed to make an impact on social media and what people are generally prepared to pay for that, is incongruent with market rates for these services.

Social Media Marketing agencies that primarily work with small businesses will struggle to deliver real results without raising retainer costs to allocate for media buying and increased content production. On the other hand, NYC Social Media Marketing agencies that are given budgets for the creative required to compete will rise to the top.

HOW TO FIGHT THE ALGORITHM CHANGES WITHOUT INCREASING SOCIAL MEDIA SPEND

So where does this leave small businesses, and social media marketing companies for small businesses? If you can’t pay increased fees to produce the creative necessary to compete on social media platforms, spend more time focused on long-form content or other outlets where you will see greater rewards on a limited budget. Those who produce great content will win in this social media economy. However, it would be negligent to say that content alone is enough. You do need to allocate resources for digital advertising if you want the content to be seen by a larger audience.

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS ARE RENTED SPACE

At some point in the near future, social media platforms may charge companies to use their platforms. It is important to remember that social media platforms are merely rented space. Think about it this way- it is better to own than to rent property. The same is true for social media- invest the time in creating content that you “own” and if you get kicked out as a tenant of a specific social media platform (Facebook starts charging users), you can take your content and move it to another platform (Twitter) without feeling like your investment went down the drain. Diversify your social media assets so you are not putting all of your content into one network that may change at any moment due to algorithm changes, and always save a copy of your content in case the platform decides to remove your account or block your content.

WHAT YOU WILL GET OUT OF AN INCREASED SOCIAL MEDIA SPEND

When you invest in better content marketing for social media, you are getting so much more than a good post. You are getting content that can be reused and disseminated in so many different ways. For example, let’s say that you are a New York City physician who is investing in a social media content strategy, the content could be repurposed for:

• Imagery in an upcoming PowerPoint presentation at a healthcare conference
• Patient Collateral
• Blog Post Imagery
• Social Media Posts across several platforms
• Flyers

The trick is to learn how to leverage one piece of content in different platforms beyond just using it as a simple post to get the most out of it. There should be a plan for creating/producing the content and a secondary plan for the promotion and dissemination of the content so that it can reach your entire patient base in a way that builds your practice.

THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING 

It is critical that small business owners begin to understand why they have to pay more for a similar level of social engagement as they received before. Similarly, it is also important to understand the bind that agencies are in when business owners decide not to increase budgets for social media marketing services. If a social media agency carries on without a proper budget for boosting posts and producing the required creative, a limited number of people will be viewing the content, and the ROI may be limited.

If you are planning on hiring a social media marketing agency in 2019, equip them with the proper resources to create the necessary content for your business to compete in a saturated digital ecosystem. This will benefit your business and you will see stronger results, better creative and a more substantial long-term ROI.


NY Social Media Marketing Agency Founder Kris Ruby Shares How to Use Instagram Stories for Business

In this 15-minute video, Kris Ruby of NYC Social Media Marketing Company Ruby Media Group covers:

-What social media channels are better for B2B vs. B2C.
-How to determine your target audience on Facebook.
-Why influencer marketing is a growing trend.
-How to tell if someone has fake followers.
-Why the role of the traditional media gatekeeper is obsolete.
-Why engagement trumps the number of followers and vanity metrics.
-3 steps to take to become an influencer in your community.
-3 ways to leverage Instagram Stories to build more followers for your business.
-How to conduct hashtag research to increase visibility.
-Instagram feed posts vs. Story posts: the # 1 mistake you are making.

-PLUS: Live Social Media Consulting with TV News Anchor Shannon Lanier

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56HXjciLK5U

 


NY Social Media Expert Kris Ruby on Fox & Friends First

NYC Social Media Marketing Expert Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group was recently on Fox & Friends First. Apple was recently urged to do more to combat iPhone addiction among kids. Is it really Apple’s responsibility to parent children? Click the link below to watch the full segment.

https://youtu.be/jEfiOvfQQUs



Social Media Marketing Job Search Tips

Social Media Marketing should enhance your resume, not detract from it! 

 

NY Social Media Marketing Agency Owner Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group was recently quoted in Brit + Co discussing how to make your social media profiles job search ready. Social Media Marketing is a critical component of your job search. Social Media can either help your job search or really hurt it. Taking the time to develop a personal brand and clean up your social media profiles can pay dividends in landing the perfect job. Below please find our top social media marketing tips for Job Seekers to keep in mind. Use these tips to ensure your Social Media marketing profiles are PC & Scandal Free!

Social Media Mistakes Job Seekers Need to Avoid 

Not deleting Politically Charged Social Media Posts that could be seen as offensive- Landing a job is already challenging enough without adding politics into the mix. Your future boss may love you, but if they see a political post that goes against their political beliefs, it, unfortunately, could sway their opinion on your candidacy for the role. Call it unfair or even illegal, unfortunately, social media does come into play during the hiring process and it is here to stay.

Forgetting to update your social media privacy settings— expect that employers will most likely look up your social media during the interview process. You want social media to showcase the best possible version of you and to support what you are saying in your resume. Social media should add to your overall interview package- not take away from it.

Not Updating your Bio on Social Media Profiles- Your Bio on Instagram, LinkedIN and Twitter should reflect the role that you are seeking. Use this prime real estate to your advantage. For example, if you are seeking a luxury marketing job in Westchester, NY, your bio should say Luxury Marketing Specialist— Westchester NY not Fashion Marketing NYC. Create a profile for the job you want to get so that your brand matches up on every network to coincide with your resume. There should be no discrepancy between what you are saying you are passionate about vs. what can be found on your social media.

Forgetting that Instagram stories can be screenshotted– Even if your social media profiles are on lockdown, companies can be wise with having other millennial employees follow you and view your stories. Just because it disappears does not mean that someone hasn’t viewed it. Keep this in mind when searching for a job and be more cautious with what you put up in your Instagram story.

Personal Branding Tips for Job Seekers on Social Media

The job candidates who stick out are the ones who use social media to their advantage by developing a personal brand. Identify your most unique attributes and choose a niche area that you want to be an expert in to stand out from the competition. Also be sure to create a personal brand website with a portfolio for employers and recruiters to view your previous work. You should invest in a nice high-resolution headshot that can be used on all of your social media profiles. Do not use any old iPhone selfie shot— make sure it is professional!

Recruiters aren’t the only ones who will be looking at your social media profiles. Your potential colleagues will also be scoping you out on Instagram or Facebook! Here are 3 other ways to use your social media profiles to show you are a fun person to work with.

Show Hobbies- Do you volunteer? Do you love animals? What makes you tick? Your social media profiles should reflect that. For example, if you love animals and spend time volunteering on the weekends, this could actually help you in the interview process if the company you want to work for is very into animal rights and works with a rescue group.

Share Travel/Food photos- Do you travel often or love to eat out? One thing that 99% of people have in common is a love of great food and travel. If this is part of your life, showcase some of these images- it can show your colleagues that you enjoy being part of the vibrant downtown scene in your city and that you know what’s trendy.

Actively post on social media- Believe or not, many recruiters are fed up with the traditional recruiting channels and turn to social media to look for new candidates. Make sure you are active on Twitter and LinkedIN to increase visibility and get found. Your social media could actually be the reason you land a job, instead of the reason you don’t get the job!

Making sure your social media profiles are well branded is only half the battle. Social Media can also cost you your job if you misuse it after landing your dream job. Click here to read 10 WorkPlace Etiquette Mistakes You are Making on Social Media. 


5 Reasons Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Bombed

Didn’t get what you expected from your last Social Media Marketing campaign? Here’s why.

You have invested a great deal of your marketing budget and valuable time in social media marketing, but you may not be getting the return on investment (ROI) you hoped for. You’ve read about other businesses who are thriving on Twitter, attracting customers from Pinterest and Instagram and making money from targeted Facebook ads, but yours isn’t one of them. Before you pull the plug on your social media marketing campaign, take time to review what is and isn’t working and refine your strategy. When trying to assess what works, be sure not to skip over the basics. Review the following key areas every quarter. Not paying attention to some of these very simple rules could be the reason why your campaigns are tanking every month. Remember to invest in a social media marketing strategy up front, before engaging in social media, to avoid making critical mistakes.

You don’t know who your target audience is: First, do you really know who your customers are? Are they teens, young millennials or baby boomers? Mostly men or women? The content that you put up on social media should be of interest to your customers, but you need to know who they are first. If you’re unsure, spend some time researching who is buying your product or services and who is engaging with your content. If you don’t have a crystal-clear idea of who your buyer persona is, your Facebook advertising campaign will also under perform.

You never look at analytics: What content is performing the best with your target audience? Do they like images, video or long form content best? Out of the content you created, what generated the highest share count? If your followers love to engage with pictures, but do not seem interested in back-and-forth discussion, Instagram may be a better choice. Measure the shareability then tweak accordingly. Also, be sure to dig deeper than basic Facebook insights. Familiarize yourself with Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Review how much traffic is being driven from social media back to your website, and look at the sources that are driving inbound leads to your site.

You spread yourself too thin: Are you spending hours filtering photos for Instagram and seeing little to no results? Your target clientele may not be active users on Instagram. According to studies, the average American spends roughly 40 minutes per day on Facebook. This may be a ripe opportunity that you have completely looked past if you are more focused on Instagram or Snapchat. You need to find out where your customers are and then focus on the social media networks that perform best with your prospects. For example, your target clientele might want six-second Snapchat videos verses long YouTube videos. Do not spread yourself thin just to make sure you are “everywhere.”

You create boring content: Is your content even shareable? For example, you want your customers to know what a great staff you have and you are posting office photos daily. While customers care about customer service, if they are not sharing or commenting on these photos, stop posting them. Instead, try focusing on the benefits of your products and services and provide tips or articles that help your customers live better lives. Stop wasting time creating content that your customers are not engaging with. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t share the content you are creating, stop creating it. If you can’t personally see yourself even giving it a measly like, why would someone else like it?

You don’t respond: Are you tweeting out questions and not responding when your customers answer? Do your followers tweet and tag you, but you don’t interact with them? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, almost half of the millennial segment — and one in three consumers overall — say they are influenced by social media and use it to make purchasing decisions. Customers build relationships with companies through social media, so you need to take time and respond to them. If they do not see that you are responding, they will leave you behind in the social media dust.

But really, the number one reason why your social media campaign bombed? Because you are inconsistent. Social media is a daily practice. You have to post consistently to build an audience and get results. One hit wonders don’t do very well on social media. You can’t post religiously for two weeks and then ghost your followers for two months. Your audience won’t build up trust in your brand and won’t rely on you to provide consistent, steady content. Lack of consistency is the number one reasons most social media campaigns do not take off. Occasionally, small businesses with mediocre content will perform far better than large-scale agency campaigns simply because they post daily and put themselves out there. Half the battle is consistently using the technology and engaging with your audience. Devoting time daily to your presence on social media is a must in order to grow your followers and succeed. Without it, you will perpetually be in a failure-to-launch phase. Even the most expensive New York social media marketing agencies won’t be able to help you if you are not committed to consistently creating new content and measuring the performance.


13 Social Media Mistakes Your Business Is Making That Could Result in Legal Trouble

 

Social media seems like fun and games—until it isn’t. There are many legal mistakes that small business owners make daily on social media. Most of the time, they are lucky enough to get away with them. But as the FTC continues to crack down on influencer marketing and sponsored posts, more people are paying attention to what they are posting. If your social media agency isn’t trained in the legal ramifications of social media activity, you can still be held liable if the posting is done from your account. I spoke with three leading social media attorneys for a rundown on the legal mistakes you are making on social media and how to avoid them.

1. Not understanding copyright law. Photographs are protected by copyright law, but it is often difficult to ascertain who owns the copyright to the photograph. Is it the photographer? The person who posted the photograph? Or the person shown in the photograph? It could be any of the above. New York-based Advertising Law attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer says user-generated content from consumers can expose a company to legal liability for embedded intellectual property infringement. “When using photographs on Instagram for commercial purposes, the poster should make sure that it has the proper licenses to the photograph. This is easy if you’ve taken the photograph yourself and post it directly to your own account. It’s often more difficult to ascertain who owns the copyright to a photograph that you are taking from elsewhere. You also want to make sure that you have appropriate releases from anyone shown in the photograph so their rights of privacy/publicity are not violated.”

2. Regramming without attribution. Thinking of regramming a photo a customer took at your restaurant? Be sure to provide proper regram credit and attribution. “Regramming a photo with attribution may be acceptable, but it may not. If there is a creative commons license attached to the photo that allows for use with attribution, that’s great. But more often, the content on Instagram isn’t sourced by these apps with this in mind. Giving attribution mitigates against copyright infringement damages, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem,” says Hilfer. She adds that brands using Instagram should also develop internal content curation guidelines that account for risk in a variety of different categories.

3. Failure to properly disclose influencer marketing campaigns. Business owners should be aware of recent FTC guidance urging transparency on Instagram. In April, the FTC sent over 90 letters to companies, celebrities and other social media users reminding them of the legal requirements for clarity in influencer marketing. According to Hilfer, endorsers must disclose their material connections to the brand. The federal agency offered specific guidance on how to do that. For example, any disclosure should be placed before the “more” button since many consumers will not click through. In addition, the FTC warned that certain kinds of hashtags would not be clear disclosures. Marketers should work with their legal teams to ensure that influencers, whether they be employees or third parties, make proper disclosures on Instagram and any other social media platform. Penalties for violating FTC guidelines have ranged from $20-$50,000 with a range of other requirements for compliance. The FTC can pursue legal action against both the brand and the influencer.

4. Improper formatting of sponsored posts. The FTC has cracked down on influencer marketing campaigns, including the exact formatting of these posts. According to Hilfer, the mere presence of a disclosure may not be enough to satisfy the FTC. If the post contains multiple hashtags, links or tags, you must separate the legal disclosures to make sure they are clear and conspicuous. “If an influencer includes ‘Thanks [Brand]’ or #sp or #partner, these notations may not clearly indicate to the consumer that the post is sponsored. You have to put yourself in the mindset of the consumer seeing the post,” said Hilfer. While the FTC has been clear that there are many acceptable ways to make disclosures, it explains that any term that has many interpretations will not provide the appropriate clarity.

5. Assuming your social media agency understands legal. Your social media agency is probably amazing at the creative work they do. But unless they have substantially invested in legal training, chances are they are not well versed in what could get your business in hot water. It is incumbent upon brands to make sure they are working with agencies who are cognizant of the law. For example, if a mistake is made on your company’s social media, is it clearly outlined that the agency will take the legal and financial responsibility for the risk? Or are you assuming the risk? “Not having appropriate contracts when working with third party content creators is one of the biggest mistakes I see,” says Social Media Attorney Ruth Carter of Venjuris. “In many cases, unless the contract states otherwise, the creator retains ownership of the copyright in their work, and if the hiring party wants to acquire it, they will likely have to pay for it. Additionally, I recommend that the hiring party have an indemnification clause to protect them if they are accused of intellectual property infringement or other wrongdoing because of the content provided by the third-party creator.”

6. Fake testimonials. Testimonials are great for building trusted authority as an expert. However, they can also land you in hot water with regulators who are watching out for fake testimonials on social media. According to Hilfer, “State attorney generals are enforcing laws against this practice, known as astroturfing. In New York, fines resulting from such investigations have been up to $50,000. In one case, the state settled for $100,000 with a brand that had instructed its ad agencies to post fake reviews online. Influencer marketing can have expensive legal ramifications for a brand if done improperly.”

7. Not reading the terms of service. For any social media platform, check the rules in their terms of service. The legal ramifications vary on each social platform. Many social media sites’ TOS state that you agree to only post images for which you own the copyright or for which you have permission to post. “The terms may state that by posting an image, you give other users permission to share the image on their profiles on that platform (ex. sharing on Facebook.) If you want to use the image of another person in your Facebook ad campaign, be sure to familiarize yourself with the applicable state laws on a person’s rights to publicize their image,” said Carter.

8. Reusing someone else’s license to a purchased stock photo. You found the image you were about to purchase on iStock through Google images (for free!). You directly pull the image onto your desktop and upload it into your content queue for the week. However, this mistake can be costly. According to Carter, you can only use images that you’ve received permission from the copyright holder, either directly or via a license like Creative Commons. “For iStock photos, read the license the person purchased. Your use must comply with the limits of that license. If your third-party creator bought the license, make sure it allows you to use it without having to buy your own license. Many of the agreements between independent contractors and the hiring party state that the contractor isn’t the company’s agent, so they can’t make purchases for the company. Unless the license for the image is transferable, the company has to buy their own license unless the terms of the license state that the agent’s license is sufficient,” says Carter. If you want to use an iStock image, buy your own license and avoid the risk.

9. Not having an internal social media policy. As personal branding and social media become more ingrained in our society, it is imperative to have a social media policy and a promotional clause as part of your employment agreements. For example, if your employee is promoting herself as an expert in the same line of work that you are in, is this a conflict of interest or is it acceptable? If the employee is using social media (LinkedIn) to pursue outside job opportunities while on the clock, are you protected? If the employee builds a substantial following on social media while working for your organization, who owns the rights to this fan base? Many business owners don’t anticipate these issues, and the hiring and firing surrounding these issues can often result in wrongful termination lawsuits. Adam Katz, an employment law and commercial litigation attorney at Golderg Segalla, says that most employers don’t realize they can be held liable if they terminate employees for certain posts and social media activity pertaining to salary and other work conditions. “An employee can bring a lawsuit for wrongful termination and discrimination if they believe they were fired for something that a supervisor saw on social media but otherwise would not have known.” Katz emphasizes that employers need carefully tailored social media policies that limit a supervisor’s social media activity with employees. “A good policy will state that while employees are allowed to associate themselves with the company when posting, they must clearly brand their online posts as purely their own. Additionally, the policy should make provisions for reviews and editorial rights of all posts or blog entries that reference or pertain to the business of the company. The social media policy should also prohibit employees from using derogatory words and racial slurs and from divulging confidential company information such as design plans, internal operations and legal matters,” says Katz.

10. Pulling content from Google Images. Many small business owners do not have subscriptions to iStock or Shutterstock, so they pull whatever they can find from Google Images. However, Google Images is not a free library. This mistake can be extremely costly. Not only will you incur legal fees if the originator of the content decides to come after you, you also may be liable for treble damages under copyright law. “Possession does not yield copyright ownership. There is no 10 percent or 20 percent rule that allows one to take a certain percent of content and use it without a license. This is particularly the case for commercial purposes. The fair use defense requires significant legal analysis. It may not be available, depending on the facts of each case,” explains Hilfer.

11. Not budgeting for legal recourse. Posting on social media may be free, but paying the fees associated with a lawsuit spurned by social media gone wrong is anything but that. According to the experts, social media lawsuits can cost small business owners upwards of $100,000. Many small business owners do not budget for the cost of an attorney if something goes awry with their marketing campaign. “Suing for infringement is complicated, and you have to be ready to front the costs of litigation, even if you’re in a situation where you are likely to be awarded attorney’s fees if you win. If the other side doesn’t have money, you may never collect, and you still have to pay your lawyer. For many people, sending a cease and desist or a DMCA takedown notice is the more effective and cost efficient way to proceed,” says Carter.

12. Making employees promote your company on their personal social media profiles. As a small business owner, your employees are a critical component of your social media strategy. After all, the millennial in your office has way more Facebook friends than you and can definitely increase engagement on your posts, right? Wrong! According to Carter, there is a big difference between making content available for employees to post on their social media profiles if they want to and requiring them to do so. Carter explains, “The former may be permissible; the latter is not. Review the terms of the social media platform where you want employees to promote the company. The platform may forbid people to use their personal accounts to promote a business.” Next time you want to terminate an employee for not complying with your request to promote the business on social media, understand they may be able to bring up an actionable claim against you. If they suspect they are being asked to violate the terms of the platform, they can report their employer to their state’s Department of Labor or the Attorney General’s Office.

13. Running a social media sweepstakes without legal clearance. Everyone loves to win a prize, and involving your followers on social media in spreading the word about your product is great publicity. But running a sweepstakes or contest on social media without understanding the legal issues can cause big problems. In fact, sweepstakes and contests consistently rank in the FTC’s annual top ten list of consumer complaints. And regulators are watching how brands implement them closely. Hilfer explains, “Social media sweepstakes raise legal issues with gambling and lottery laws. Often, brands forget about drafting rules. Or they take form rules that don’t cover them adequately. Refer a friend, text to enter, public judging: all these mechanisms have legal implications that can make your giveaway illegal.” In addition, even if you’ve done everything correctly to set up the promotions structure and draft rules, your marketing messages promoting the game can still get you in trouble. The FTC has numerous guidelines that affect how you spread word about your prize promotion, and the various state attorneys general enforce state laws that mirror the federal rules. According to Hilfer, “You will want your marketing teams advertising and promotion of the game to match up with the legal rules. This often means crafting disclosures in space-constrained posts. Ideally, marketing teams will plan ahead and work hand in hand with legal counsel to pre-approve messages.”

Don’t assume you understand the legalities of social media. Read the applicable terms of service and work with an attorney to understand the legal ramifications before clicking post.

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a Public Relations and Social Media Agency. Kris Ruby is a frequent on air TV commentator and speaks on social media, tech trends and crisis communications. For more information, visit www.rubymediagroup.com or www.krisruby.com


10 Embarrassing Social Media Mistakes Your Business Is Making

Prior to launching a social media marketing campaign, you need to outline clear objectives. Are you aiming to increase followers? Build a community? Optimize content marketing distribution? The key to having a successful social media presence for your business is developing a digital strategy. Without this, you are basically throwing things against a wall—no pun intended—and hoping something sticks.

Your social media channels are the most front-facing part of your company. Whereas you used to have to buy ad spots, now you can post content, surpassing traditional media gatekeepers and directly controlling the message. But to do so effectively, you can’t cut corners. If large, successful companies have poor social media channels, they can appear mismanaged. On the flip side, small companies with great social can develop cult followings. If you make a misstep or don’t invest in a strategy, followers will doubt your authenticity and authority. If you want your business to shine on social media, avoid making these 10 mistakes.

1) Your graphics are amateur. Are your photos high resolution or are they out of focus? Are they creative or generic? Does your Instagram grid have a cohesive identity or does it have poorly lit photos with text overlay saved as a screenshot in Microsoft Word? Social media sites are visual, so having great graphics is half the battle.

2) Your messaging is generic. Can anyone in your industry post the same content you are posting? Or do your posts have an angle? There are companies that sell stock social media imagery and posts. Could your posts be seen as interchangeable with this content or are they unique? If your content could be used on any other practitioners Facebook page in your industry, then what you are paying for is worthless. Social media requires hours of planning, graphic creation, boosting of posts, A/B testing and long form content creation. If what you are posting could be posted by anyone else, don’t bother. Until you’ve identified the overall message you want to convey, you shouldn’t be posting.

3) Your brand identity is misaligned. Do your posts follow core brand guidelines? Do you have a clear idea of what is on-brand versus off-brand? So many companies with beautiful branding completely ruin it when they hand the keys to a new, inexperienced social media manager. There needs to be a cohesive strategy that unites traditional and digital branding.

4) You lack a clear social strategy. Are you trying to be everything to everyone? Are you hopping on Snapchat even though your core demographic is females age 60 and over? Instead of trying to be on every social platform, pick the ones that your target demographic uses. Use your resources wisely to target your customer more effectively.

5) Your office manager is running your social media. This is the most common mistake small business owners make. They want to save money, so they hand over the keys to anyone under 30 that already works for them. Let me be clear: Social media is a real job. The skill set required to be an effective community manager includes impeccable writing skills, image creation abilities and strategic vision. Would you trust the office manager to build a new website for you? No. So why would you trust them to essentially build a micro site for you on social media?

6) You post too often. Do not post for the sake of posting. Once you have laid out your goals, you need to reverse engineer a social media strategy. Sometimes less is more. On social media, that is the case now more than ever before. When I originally launched Ruby Media Group, a PR and social media agency, clients wanted daily posting on social media. Now clients want three to five posts per week.

7) You don’t add editorial commentary. This isn’t 2009. It is not enough to post an article link and say that your social media account was updated for the day. Social media requires meaningful effort. You can’t just wing it. Plan out your content with editorial calendars and content planning. If you are going to share something, you need to add to the conversation. In terms of content mix, it should be 40 percent engagement (thought leadership), 35 percent news and updates, and 25 percent offers. For many small business owners, their Facebook page comes up as the third result on a Google search. Facebook pages are often updated much more frequently than your company web site, so every post should demonstrate your thought leadership. You need less generic content and more authentic content specific to your brand’s value proposition. Think of your company as a media publisher. To get some inspiration, look up your favorite magazines’ Facebook pages to see the tonality they use to create engagement with fans. They don’t just curate content, they add in brand perspective and original commentary.

8) You don’t use hashtags properly. The majority of business owners misuse hashtags. The goal of hashtags is to be found by prospects—not by others within your industry. For example, if you are a surgeon in Manhattan, using hashtags such as #NYCSurgeon or #topdoctor helps others within your industry find you, but new prospects who are researching health issues won’t find you. Think about the hashtags that make the most sense for your prospects versus for your own industry. Also, hide the hashtags in the comment section instead of including all of them in the caption. It looks better aesthetically.

9) You aren’t using Facebook advertising. Facebook changed the game in terms of organic reach. If you are looking to build a business page on Facebook, it is very difficult to do so without advertising or boosting posts. Boosting posts should be only a small component of the ad campaign. The majority of your business’ resources allocated to social media should go towards running regular ad traffic to get more people to your page. Cater these posts towards your target audience. Assuming that people will magically find your Facebook page is unrealistic. In the initial stages, you need to use a solid ad campaign to give your page a boost.

10) You aren’t playing to your strengths. Social media is the place to show off your strengths. If you are great on video but not at writing, then Facebook live and Youtube should be a central part of your marketing strategy. If you are great with graphics but not with writing, Instagram makes more sense for your business. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. It is painfully obvious on social media and dilutes your brand equity. It’s better to have two great channels than five mediocre ones.

ABOUT RUBY MEDIA GROUP

 

Ruby Media Group is a strategic Public Relations, Social Media and Management Consulting Agency in Westchester County, NY. Ruby Media Group helps companies increase their exposure through leveraging social media and digital PR. RMG conducts a thorough deep dive into an organizations brand identity, and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against. Specialties include content creation, strategic planning, social media management, and digital public relations. RMG helps clients shine in the digital space by extracting their strengths, developing story ideas, and crafting compelling news angles to ensure journalists go to their clients first as story sources and thought leaders. Ruby Media Group creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve your organizations strategic business growth objectives. If you are looking for social media management, content creation of media consulting to drive your business forward, visit www.rubymediagroup.com