BY ANGIE FENTON | PHOTOGRAPH BY TONY BENNETT
Digital Strategist Jason Falls Shares How To Be Social Media Savvy
Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn for personal or professional reasons, most of us could use a hand at being savvier on social media. That’s why Extol asked digital strategist and author Jason Falls to share some insight on the ever-changing ways of connecting with the world.
Jason’s Twitter bio describes him as a Louisville-based “Husband, Father, Author, Speaker, Humorist. Allegedly wise to the ways of PR (public relations), Digital Marketing and Social Media. SVP (senior vice president) at @goelastic (Elasticity, a digital and social media agency)” who also enjoys bourbon. He has more than 94,000 Twitter followers, not to mention thousands of people and businesses from around the globe who follow him on other social media platforms. Jason also is a much-sought after speaker, author and presenter who is touted as one of the leading minds in social media and digital strategies across the country. Did we mention he lives in Louisville?
SO WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SAVVIER ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
FIRST AND FOREMOST: “NEVER POST ANYTHING YOU WOULDN’T SHOW YOUR GRANDMOTHER, your priest, your rabbi or your boss,” Jason said. Your online reputation will likely precede or affect any face-to-face impression you make, whether personal or professional, and if it doesn’t, your digital footprints are hard to erase. Step carefully, digitally-speaking, and if you haven’t, start today.
STUDY THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY. “When I think of companies who are doing it right, a lot of people cite … the big brands,” Jason said, “but the case studies I like are the ones offering simple solutions that accomplish business goals.” In one of Jason’s books, he looked at Miss Shirley’s Cafe, a restaurant in Baltimore, Md., which significantly increased the number of customers and sales in only three months by offering incentives to those who interacted with the cafe and other customers via social media. The bottom-line, says Jason, “Any company that is engaging their audience – by definition what they’re doing is positive.” If you’re using social media as an individual, attempt to do the same. Yes, you might get likes by posting photos of your cute kitty or adorable dog, but watch what happens when you ask your “friends” and followers to weigh in on or post pictures or their animals on your profile. Engage, engage, engage. And when in doubt, watch the pages and profiles of those you want to emulate.
TAKE A LESSON FROM THOSE WHO ARE DOING IT WRONG. Be careful of ill-timed posts, said Jason, and never try to “capitalize on a tragedy.” Both missteps can backfire and often have for companies and individuals. “There’s a difference between taking a stand and doing something that makes you look bad,” he said.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR COMPETITION. “There is plenty of audience out there for everyone. Establish relationships with your competitors. … In terms of providing content to the world, it’s your responsibility,” Jason said. Stop worrying about sharing or re-tweeting a competitors’ content if you know it would be valuable to your friends and followers. “The world is not an end-sum game,” Jason said. Share information and express kudos when deserved. By doing so, you’ll also become a trusted source of information.
ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE. Even if you don’t agree with a customer – or “friend” or follower – you can and should always acknowledge that he or she has been heard. “If someone is reaching out to you anywhere,” Jason said, “if you are not responding, you’re missing out on an opportunity.”