Invite your customers to tell your story

There is little more powerful than someone else telling people what you do, or that you’re good at it. That’s why testimonials are so important. But there are many other ways that you can get your customers to help tell your story, both to their friends, and to yours. Today I’ll run through three ways that you can get your audience talking about you, creating powerful content, and taking some of the pressure of creating content off of you!

1) Create opportunity and reason to check in

Whether people are using Foursquare, Facebook, or Instagram, you want them to check in to your location and let their friends know they’re there, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you’re set up on all of the different apps so that when they try to check in, you appear. If I’m out and want to share my location with a picture, and the location pops up for me to tag, I do it. If the location doesn’t show up, I don’t. This is easy to do on Facebook (by putting in your address and making sure your page is listed as a place), and adding your location to Foursquare makes it available both there and on Instagram as well. On top of making it easy for people to check in, be sure to encourage them to do so - either by asking them to check in, or…

2) Have contests

Contests are a great way to get people to share content for you. Put up signs in your location or promote them online to get people to share photos, stories or quotes that have to do with your business. Create a hashtag that then ties all the entries together and that leads people back to your site or business.

Here are examples of the types of contests you can run:

Ask people to Tweet or Facebook their favourite thing that you sell. Let them know to tag you or use a specific hashtag, like this company did:

The contest will encourage people to post photos like this:

or this one:

Ask a social media question for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card with a hashtag that corresponds to your business (i.e., #AskWellmanWilson)

3) Ask for their story

People like sharing their story and are often willing to do it as long as you ask. There are many ways to do this:

  • Ask them to write a sentence or two describing what they like about your company or your product.
  • Ask for a guest post that details their experience with you or your product.
  • Send them a questionnaire they can fill out and then post their answers as an interview.

Being the voice of your business and telling the story of your brand is made easier when you invite your clients and customers to join in. Our next blog post will give you some of the benefits that encouraging your customers to tell your story can bring.

What are some other creative ways you’ve seen businesses invite their customers and clients to tell their story?

Should you be on Instagram?

Should Wellman Wilson Consulting be on Instagram? I ask myself this question a lot.  I’m still not sure what the answer is but today I’m talking about Instagram and why every business should at least consider it as a tool.

Where is your audience spending their time? 

So far, my very informal polling of the under 25 crowd has led me to believe that they will choose Instagram over Facebook every time.  They may not be giving up Facebook, but they LIKE being on Instagram more.   If your audience is younger and that’s where they’re spending their time, that means you should be considering spending more time on Instagram as well.

The over 25 crowd is there too though, especially foodies.  Food in particular does really well on Instagram. 

Is your business visual?

In the world of online content, pretty pictures almost always win the day for fast and easy engagement.  If you have the opportunity to share visuals of what you do, you should be considering Instagram as a tool for your business.  Or can you share fun images that will make people smile while still thinking of your brand?

Words make beautiful images too

If you don’t sell food, or clothing, or a product, does Instagram make sense for you?  There are lots of ways to share messages without having a product to show.

Let people get to you know

As with all the social networks, the human side of your business is really important to share too and Instagram is a really natural way to do that.  Letting people know what you’re doing day to day helps them relate to you and feel like they know you better.  

You can share what you’re doing, who you’re meeting with, events you’re going to or things you’re excited about (like media coverage!)

So.  Should Wellman Wilson be on Instagram?

I’ve decided to commit to posting a tip a day of some kind (I think I’ll do a mix of images and video) on Instagram over the next 30 days.  I’m going to conduct the experiment as myself (giving you the opportunity to get to know me a bit better at the same time if you’re interested) and would love some feedback from you guys.  Is that somewhere you’d like to see more social media tips?  Are you already spending time on Instagram?  

My theory is that Instagram isn’t the #1 spot we should be (which is why we focus so much on our blog, the newsletter and Facebook) but that it’s definitely a space that could also work for us.  Talking to your audience and experiments are the best way to really figure out if a new tool is worth your time.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think and if you use Instagram!

Why Instagram is good for your business

Instagram is a free photo sharing app for android and iOS devices that turns everyone into a photographer. Since it’s inception in 2010, this photo sharing platform has grown by leaps and bounds and now boasts over 90 million users who are posting about 40 million photos a day, generating nearly 8,500 “likes” per second.

Instagram allows users to take a photo, apply photo filters and captions and share it through a variety of social networking services including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and on Instagram itself. Instagram is sort of like Twitter, except instead of connecting with others using 140 characters or less, you’re connecting through the sharing of photos.


Add Some Personality To Your Business

If you’re wondering why we’re talking about Instagram, thinking that it’s just some fad for the young, you should know that it’s also an effective tool to add to your business’ social media strategy.  If you’ve already established a business presence on other social networks, you can leverage Instagram’s potential by sharing what’s going on in your office across multiple networks. It can help highlight your products and services but it can also help humanize your business by allowing you to share pictures of what’s happening in your office. In addition to sharing images of your new products and services, you can post pictures of your staff parties, office mascots, crazy hat day, employee of the month, whatever.  It’s also a way for you to take your customers with you to trade shows or promotional events so your audience can get a feel for your brand by learning about the events or causes you attend, support or sponsor.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

By adding captions to your photos before you upload them, you can increase the potential for customer engagement - by asking questions, including calls to action or posting tips online. Whether you have a brick and mortar or online business, you can increase interactions with your audience by beginning the conversation through images and captions. You can even use hashtags to help you organize your photos and to help your Instagram connections to find photos on topics that interest them (like your products).


Take a look at 5 Awesome Examples of Instagram marketing from real brands.

Reward Your Audience

Everyone loves to win and Instagram is the perfect platform to hold contests to promote your business. Asking your customers to share pictures of themselves using or promoting your products in order to win free stuff is a great way to go. Instagram can be an effective and fun way to get Instagram users and other lovers of social media talking about who you are and what you do.

Some say that taking your business online can dehumanize the customer experience. When you’re looking to build trust in what you offer, this can be a bad thing. Instagram lets you put a face, literally, on your business efforts in ways that can be targeted to help build confidence in you and your brand. And that’s always good for business.

Are you using Instagram yet? If you have any questions on how Instagram could help enhance your social media strategy, we’d be happy to help.

Buzz and Brilliance week ending April 6

Over the week we go through a lot of content - news and blog posts, how tos and conceptual posts on the state of the internet.  Every Sunday we share some of our favourites with you.

Check out the links and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you read any great posts this week!


Instagram is one of the tools we don’t often spend a lot of time thinking about but more and more it’s proving to be an effective tool, especially for a young audience. Nearly 60% of big brands are using Instagram (PR Daily) and 15 Stats Brands Should Know About Instagram (Digiday) give some really interesting numbers to back up the need to at least consider the tool.

Have you ever been asked to Like or follow a new account specifically for an event?  Here’s a great post that outlines why that is rarely a good strategy.  Avoid creating  dedicated special events social media accounts. (Communicate & How)

Just this past week I was asked again if you could tag people in LinkedIn updates.  You will be able to soon, as LinkedIn rolls out Facebook-style mentions. (The Next Web)

We have more than a couple of social media pet peeves. This article outlines one we haven’t previously mentioned: stand alone social icons. We see them in print publications, posters and on products but a Facebook icon is not enough to help a customer find your account or give them a reason they should bother. (Social Fresh)

 Facebook advertising can add real value, but how do you measure and how do you target goals for the ads?  Facebook has updated their ads manager to make it easier to analyze if you’re meeting your goals and what the ROI on the ad is. (The Next Web)

Social Capital

Social Capital is quickly approaching (it’s May 31 and June 1).  This week a tweetup was announced for April 18 (we hope to see you there!) and the first wave of speakers for the workshop day were announced.  We’re also hosting a Twitter chat on Thursday April 11 from 2-3 pm using hashtag #socapott. Put it in your calendar and come and join us!

The Media Mesh

Facebook introduces replies for comments

5 arguments for organizations to stop blocking social media sites

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending April 14 (Triple B Edition)

Every week I compile a list of the noteworthy news (Buzz) from my week of reading. I like to balance news with commentary, but it has to be really valuable for my readers (Brilliance). This week I’m adding Blogging to the mix. We’ll see if it becomes a permanent addition, but this week it was necessary. The links that follow are to sites and blogs that I read on a regular basis - consider them recommended reading for you too. Or you can just come back here each week for a taste of what stuck out to me.

It’s been a while, so I’m glad to be back sharing the latest and greatest of the world of social media with you. There’s a lot that’s gone on in the last few weeks that the B&B has been on hiatus, but I’m going to stick to the past week. Not that it wasn’t important. I just don’t want this post to take 6 hours to write or read. :)




Pinterest announced something this week that many are excited about - the ability to choose your board cover. However, I think this has limited usefulness. The fact is, most people will visit your Pinterest profile once. The day they go to follow your board(s). That doesn’t mean it’s not nice. Being able to customize is just one more way you can reinforce your visual identity.

If you’re looking to learn more about how your Pinterest efforts are being received, you might want to check out Pinerly. It’s an analytics tool specifically for Pinterest.

By far, the biggest news this week is Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for the bargain basement price of $1 billion. There’s been a bit of backlash over the purchase, with some Instagram users vowing they’ll delete their accounts over privacy concerns. This stems from the fact that Facebook will have access to a wealth of location data stored on Instagram with photos. The supposed backlash didn’t stop Instagram’s growth - it became the #1 app on the app store for the first time after the announcement. I usually avoid mentioning this type of story here because it’s not at the stage where it’s going to affect user experience or impact engagement. But it’s certainly good to be aware.

Google+ rolled out a new interface design that’s really quite nice!* There are giant avatars now and a cover photo. It’s quite a different feel than what you see with Facebook. Many would argue (and I can’t disagree) that the Google+ single column beats out Facebook’s double-column timeline. It is easier to read. Have you checked it out yet?

*It’s interesting to note that there’s been talk here and there this week that people are seeing larger profile pictures on Facebook Timeline. This is clearly a direct response to the Google+ design update. It seems intermittent so far - I’ve been looking all week and only spotted it for the first time on a live page just today. However, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we’re about to see our first change to the Timeline design. Oh yes, just six weeks after we all scrambled to publish our timelines, we’ll have to make sure the new profile picture size doesn’t mess it all up again.


I rarely add Seth Godin’s posts to the Brilliance section, because that just wouldn’t be fair. When is there not some brilliance in them? I couldn’t not add this one. It gives a framework for taking in criticism/complaints and deciding how seriously to take them. When you’re using social media, those things are inevitable. Putting the proper perspective on them can save so much stress. Besides, as my dad would say, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if they’re wrong.” 

“If you want to be charismatic, your mind can’t wander while you’re one-on-one with a customer or colleague.” Do you struggle with this? I have and I’m going to check out this book. As a business owner, I know I owe it to my clients in particular to be fully present when I’m with them.

Ask anyone why it’s important for businesses and organizations to participate in social media and invariably “being where your customer/client/members are” is on the list. It’s become necessary for social media to be part of any comprehensive marketing/public relations/communications strategy. So, it’s noteworthy when an organization decides to pull the plug on their social media channels


I added this section this week for one reason. Mitch Joel wrote about his process and challenged others to follow suit. The result has been a very interesting peek into the minds of many of my favorite bloggers. Perhaps sometime Lara and I will share our individual blogging process with you as well.

Chris Penn was the first blogger I saw respond to Mitch’s challenge. Chris’ blog always teaches me new ways to look at data. The man is brilliant. Reading about his process was a treat. 

Mark Schaefer’s was the next post I got to see. I’m a little in awe of the fact that Mark writes everything for the week on Sundays. I barely have time to put this post together lately!

I also need to learn how to be more like Jason Falls and write, self-edit and cue my posts in 30 minutes. I’ve spent as long as 6 hours on a blog post. If I counted the reading time I spend each week for this post, we’d be up to double-digits.

I’ll keep an eye out for more of these posts over the coming week. I hope it’s a good one for you!