Janine Marin - communications expert
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How to manage negative comments on your social media page with less risk and less stress

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Last month I flew across the other side of the world from Australia to America to attend two social media conferences, meet new people and find the best burger in California. Thankfully, I conquered all three tasks in three weeks! My first stop was the Government Social Media Conference (#GSMCON2016) in Reno, Nevada.

As a specialist helping government departments standout online, I thought to myself: “Surely there’s not much difference between what we’re doing here and what they’re doing there…right?!”

Well, I was wrong.

At #GSMCON2016 I was the only Australian in the sea of government marketers, communication officers and social media managers. In its second year, GSMCON continues to be the only major social media conference for U.S. city, county and state government agencies. During the two days, we had keynote speakers from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and, in between those keynotes, we had various seminars to choose from where government staff who specialise in social media provided insights, trends and updates specific to the government sector.

I’m relieved to say that the 20-hour trek there was worth it.

Rather than bombard you with information, I’ve shortlisted my top three takeaways from #GSMCON2016 to help you drive your social media marketing greatness even further without busting your budget.

1. There’s a third wave of social media and it starts with your employees.

Did you know 98% of your fans won’t see your next Facebook post? 

So, it’s not about how many fans you have or how often or when you should post, it’s about: transforming social messages into meaningful relationships with the help of your biggest fans: your employees. If you’re not convinced on how powerful employee advocacy is maybe this will turn you around: 92% of consumers say that they trust word-of- mouth and recommendations from friends and families above all other forms of advertising (Nielsen).

What you should do: Encourage your employees to use social media to help your business generate awareness of your products/services, reach a new audience, influence opinion, ignite action and, most importantly, build affinity with your brand.


[image from Hootsuite]

2. If you’re not live, you’re dead in social media.

And what I mean by “live”‘ is live video. I understand why some government agencies are wary of live streaming their events, though Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director at Facebook, shared compelling statistics about the power of video, especially live streaming. We’ve heard it over and over that video is the mecca for engaging content, however did you know Facebook Live is watched 3 times as more and watched for at least an average of 5 minutes? What’s more:

people comment 10 times more on live video than any other posts 

What you should do: Government agencies need to learn from our US counterparts and use live video. You should test the waters first and live stream minor events or launches on either Facebook or Periscope and then move to bigger events and schedule consistent streaming into your content plan. Some live streaming ideas you could start with include a behind-the-scenes look into how your department works, having a weekly ‘community live news’ update or a live Q & A.

3. We need to consider UX in social media

I’ve heard of User Experience in regards to websites and apps but not in relation to social media. Until now. The Editorial Director from Georgia Technology Authority spoke about the rise of UX in social media marketing, specifically how government agencies should use UX principles to improve their messages online.

So, what is UX in social media? It’s about “reducing the friction between the tasksomeone wants to accomplish and the tool they’re using to complete that task” ( definition by Leah Buley, author of ‘The User Experience Team of One’). When we translate this for government, we define:

  • task as actions, like getting information about your service or completing a transaction and,
  • ‘tool’ as the platform they do this through, which is social media.

Traditionally, UX looks like this: Product —- Usability —-User.
In social media, UX looks like this: social media —- Usability —-follower.

What you should do: In practical terms, UX in social media means:

  • Not using passive voice in our messages (i.e. when the object of an action is the subject of a sentence. E.g. “Why was the road crossed by the chicken?”)
  • Refraining from using acronyms and instead using plain English
  • Avoiding Government jargon…I know, it can be tough!
  • Researching your audience needs via polls on social media or in online conversation
  • Creating user personas for each channel or personas based on common needs, interests, demographics


[Image from: https://custdevday.wordpress.com/pages/content/lean-ux/]

I hope these key takeaways help you master your social media, oh and if you were curious on what was the best burger in California, I have to say In and Out!


I’m offering a free social media policy review for government agencies to the first five people who email: janine@janinemarin.com.au

Who am I?
I’m Janine Marin, a personal brand strategist and digital marketing maverick who helps passionate go-getters and government departments build a standout brand online and grow valuable connections.

What am I all about?
I’m about helping the quiet achievers, the underdogs and the introverts who are driven to succeed. I’m also about helping small businesses, entrepreneurs and government agencies who are great at what they do and just need help to market that greatness.

I believe you’re ready to make a name for yourself online, and I can help you do it.

Do Facebook Page Likes Matter?

I’m in the process of publishing my own Facebook page and the zero page likes appearing on the right-hand side is a reminder of the importance of attracting hundreds…thousands of Facebook likes to get noticed. Or is it that important?

tombstone with the words RIP Organic Reach 2004-2013No doubt if you’ve trawled the web for Facebook news in the last year you would have seen scary headlines hailing the end of organic reach and the death of Facebook pages for business. Dun dun duuuunnn!

However there is a method to Zuckerberg’s madness. Like food, it’s not the quantity but the quality that matters. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on. Plus, it gets more complicated because page managers won’t know the exact number of friends or liked pages their followers – or potential followers  –  will have (think privacy reasons and sheer time to find this out!), so it’s futile to solely focus on increasing your page likes or focus on the lack of them.

I’m not saying Facebook likes aren’t important, on the contrary  –  quality likes are what you should be aiming for.

With Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm it serves news that people want to see. So, rather than going to a restaurant and getting food you didn’t order, the waiter (Facebook) serves you food (news) you ordered (pages/content you Liked or interacted with).

This makes for a happy customer…and a happy restaurant (page) because more than likely you will be repeat business (future engagement with the page).

What you need to know

The key takeaway here is to focus on attracting relevant audience. The more relevant your audience, the greater cut-through you will achieve, and this applies to social media and your overall marketing efforts.

Sure Facebook is a pay to play model, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be strategic about it. Define your customer, become familiar with them and target ads accordingly. Like most things in the digital world it’s an agile approach  –  test and learn with different content and targeting filters.

I’m there with you, testing my own content with my relevant audience. You are not alone !

Until we meet at the same restaurant again ;0)

image of doughnut collage

Instagram’s new app makes it easier to create collages from your favourite photos.

Facebook-owned Instagram has just released its second standalone app called Layout that lets you create collages in a fun and simple way. Sure, there are a few apps in the market that do just this like InstaCollage, yet after playing with this I’m already sold on Layout being my go-to app for Instagram collages.

The app interface is clean, super simple to use and doesn’t try to mimic what’s already out there. Its main aim is to make collages on Instagram easy to do and look good, too, and it does just that.

Layout for Instagram doesn’t offer image borders or texts because again, it’s not competing to be the super cool kid on the block (…with Facebook as its sibling, it doesn’t need to be!).

With Layout you can easily:

  • Drag and drop photos to rearrange them  –  you can select up to nine at a time
    Pinch to zoom
    Pull the sides of each photo to adjust its size and get your layout just right
    Mirror images to flip them
    Have fun with your own photobooth

Considering one in five of Instagram’s monthly active users (that is, 60 million users!) were turning to other companies’ software to create and share collages, Layout’s seamless integration with Instagram is its pulling power over other similar apps in the market.

Learn more about Layout for iPhone from Instagram themselves.