These blogs were developed for 3H Communications agency in the GTA. 
Social Media Skills: Is Your Brand Proactive Socially
author, Christine Brown
You can view live link here.
The Social Media skills now required to maintain a good social media reputation has evolved. Most of us (businesses and brands) have our  social listening strategy in place, writing content and posting on our social media accounts. So…how is it going? Are you monitoring your accounts, interacting with your followers on each account? If you are, good. We all know that it’s imperative to listen to what your customers have to say… as this will keep your brand honest and transparent.
Does your social media strategy include the necessary social media skills?
Being proactive in your social media accounts has never been more important. With the daily launches of new social media blogs and sites, keeping on top of your brand’s social calendar takes time and resources. Don’t lose faith! These efforts can and will be reap Brand  rewards in the end. Engagement with your customers is imperative to keep the “stickiness” on your sites and also loyalty and trust with your brand.  More importantly understanding and knowing how to handling both positive and negative feedback properly can be indeed a powerful tool to gain loyalty from your target audience and enhancing  their experience with your brand.  Keep in mind these steps below to become socially proactive:
1. Proactive and engagement on your social accounts should be your primary measurement of how your brand is doing. Keep an active conversation with your customers, so when and if a problem arises you can respond quickly with a solution
2. Respond Quickly to all Social Media Feedback, especially negative.
3. Don’t script your response. Be human and sensitive… an actual “real” live sensitive caring person (customized responses will go a long way to creating a supportive community online).
4. Support your response with detailed information; again give qualified information to help turn the negative experience into a resolved, positive experience. (We all remember being on the other end of those endless customer automated phone messages…that keep telling us to press the next sequence of number’s to get help, but in the end, it feels like we are on a never ending carousel spinning round and round, and in the end we hang up out of frustration or just get lost in a loop of unhelpful automated annoying computer generated voices.) We want our customers to feel that someone is actually listening and with a positive timely response your customers will probably post a very sincere thank you back and become a loyal customer in the end.
5. Dedicated customer service email and resources  are a must. In support to #3, you have to specifically set up for your social media accounts. This will help garner a great customer support service within your social media communities. You should allow for a dedicated resource for these platforms to monitor what’s being talked about online and also join in on the conversation to build strong relationships and provide positive customer experiences.
6. Be Honest and Transparent…this will go a long way for validating that yes we all make mistakes, but lets work together to fix it and make it better by actually listening to what your customers are saying.
7. Be Empathic, stay objective. Look at it from the consumers point of view, have all your facts and as said earlier try to resolve as quickly as possible.
Now to make it all work! Now that you have your social listening strategy, resources, and your social customer service in place you need to add some tools to help you get the edge on your competition by taking charge of your social media and your online presence. You can start with some free resources and or customized packages. No tools work the same, so do your research. This is just a small sampling of links below to get you started:
RSS Feeds, Google Alerts, Track Tweets, Comments and Discussions on fan boards, etc,  andNetvibes
Want to know more about social media? Download Social Media Understood here.
Please feel free to add comments, tips, and suggestions; I always like to hear how other people adapt new strategies to their social accounts.  And remember be Proactive!
Is your Brand a “Social” Listener?
author, Christine Brown
You can view live link here.
Great, you now have your Facebook, linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest accounts in place. Fingers on the keyboard and ready to write and hit that submit button. Stop! So now what? Well, you may want to hold off on populating all those accounts. Why, you ask? Well, did you prepare a social brief? How do you know if your audience participates on all the accounts you have signed up for? Have you been monitoring their social media activity on different social communities? If you’re not sure, let’s step back a bit …You develop briefs for print, TV, web, and mobile, so don’t forget to write one for social. I know it can be overwhelming, but if you can create a social strategy that will keep you on point, and you have the talent to help you implement your social accounts, you will become a great social listener and your audience will appreciate it too!
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Content is King”, well before content we need to focus on developing that strategy. This will give you the means and ability to make sense of what you are trying to do, what is the purpose of your social media marketing. By creating a social listening strategy you will understand the importance of “really listening”. In social media, listening is your guide through the continuous online conversations taking place on many social media platforms, being alert and one step ahead, will keep your brand strategy fresh and competitive. Focus on these key steps for success:
1. Who is Your Target Audience(s) and which social platforms to use: Once you have determined who your audience is, it’s imperative to focus on where to engage your audience online. As said earlier, don’t just start opening accounts to social platforms that don’t reflect your brand or your target audience. This could have a negative impact on your marketing campaign and diminish your brand. Research where your audience is already active, capture this data and customize your social media accounts to adapt to your audiences’ socializing habits.
2. Identify the influencers: These are the people who follow, share or friend you. They are more important than the actual volume of traffic. Determining who your influencers are will make all the difference in your listening strategy and ultimately how affectively you have captured the information and affectively communicated with your target audience.
3. What are the keywords and trends in your social world: You want to validate the topics and conversations that matter most to your brand and document them as potential keywords. You then need to determine through social listening if these keywords reflect or resemble the “social speak” that your audience is interested in. Keywords should reflect what’s important to your brand. However, you need to compare your word selection to that of what is being used by your audience. Don’t think traditional marketing here, or specific naming conventions used throughout the industry. Look for real words, used by real people. This approach will help you communicate more successfully with your target audience.
So now that you have your social strategy in place and the talent in place. You can now start selecting your accounts and write content. Make sure you keep it up-to-date and current with specific topics that tie into your brand and relate to your social users…use yourcustomer’s speak, not marketing lingo and always keep it fresh. This will keep your brand on target with your audience…You also need to take a pulse on your brand as it stands today, consistently monitoring social sites that talk about your brand, making sure that your online reputation is strong, active and fresh.
Also, keep in mind that socializing on the Internet is not limited to the traditional social media platforms. Don’t forget about the community blogs, forums and posts, these areas all require your focus and interaction keeping up with conversations across the web to maintain a strong brand presence online and off. Keeping up with what your customers are saying about your product or service will keep you informed and honest about your brand. Yes, this is time consuming, but in the end, the best investment for you to apply, and to keep your brand honest and on target.
Now you are ready to get back to your keyboard and write, and make your Brand a “Social” listener.
Let me know how your social listening strategy has worked for you (do’s / don’ts) and  links you might want to share with us pertaining to this topic. Thanks for listening.
Decoding Colour and How to Preserve Your Brand Identity in Design
author, Christine Brown
You can view live link here.
As a creative person, passionate about digital media, graphic design and the visual arts, colour has always been an important factor in my work.
How colours interact with each other or to a specific object can be significant especially in design. The same can be said about how colour relates to your brand and its impact on the consumer and what emotive feeling will be identified with your brand. Will the perception of your brand be a positive or negative behavioural reaction?
Pairing the wrong colour palette with your brand can kill your identity. It’s important to know your target audience, culturally, geographically, gender, age, and also the purpose for your campaign so that you launch your business in the right direction.
Just by viewing a colour in a design, and how it interacts with your brand can completely change or send out a false representation of your brand to the viewer. Colour is such a powerful and important communication tool that it should not be neglected; it is part of our daily actions in life represented in religious, cultural, political and social influences.
Studies have shown when users are shown a bright red hue; it will create a physical feeling of anxiousness and an increase in heart rate. This would not be a good use of colour if used on the interior walls of an emergency room, but if the colour red were associated with food, it would be a positive action to a reaction. You want the consumer to feel hungry and in a response really need to go out and purchase your product.
There is so much more complexity to colour and colour theory and I could go on, but maybe I will save that for another blog.
*Just a note you may want to check out a few of my favourite artist’s that were really the pioneers with colour theory– Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc to name a couple.

Wrote for Kressmann's Facebook page. Updating on new products, contests, and related interest links.
Back to Top