5 Priorities Every Social Media Program Should Have

I want to start this post with a little bit of clarity by defining the term “Priority”. Webster’s say’s it is something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives. One thing I have learned in life is that no matter what comes out of your mouth, your actions will always follow your true priorities. You can say this or that are a priority, but if your actions show something else, you have a problem.

social media prioritiesOne reason that many newcomers to social media marketing lack priorities is not because of laziness or lack of desire, it is simply lack of knowledge – the understanding of what tasks actually need to have priority in their day.

Often times businesses struggle with not only understanding all the in’s and out’s of social media marketing, but more importantly where they should prioritize their time and efforts. This often results in new social media marketers over pitching what they do, or worse, giving up and abandoning their social media efforts. Let’s avoid both by listing the top five priorities your social media marketing efforts should focus on each day.

These are in no particular order of importance, however all of them should be given priority and attention daily.

1) Value – Provide value to your target audience.

Your daily focus should be to deliver selfless value to your target market. How can your social media marketing provide value to your audience? Answer that question without regard to what you do, what you sell, or the industry you are in. Answer and execute that question correctly and you will see huge results!

2) Content – Have enough content and the RIGHT content.

Think of social media as a freeway. All of the cars on the freeway are content, posts and articles. You have to have enough content on the road everyday that is relevant, valuable and interesting to your target audience. You need to make sure that whenever one of your fans, friends or followers step up to the side of the freeway throughout the day, they see one of your cars go by.

3) Be Human – People build relationships with other People.

A big mistake a lot of new social media marketers make is trying to mimic the big brands. For the most part, big brands SUCK at social media. They do not do it right and for many, they don’t have to. They have spent billions on branding and marketing well ahead of the social media boom, therefore it is just another channel. Everyone else needs to do it right if they want results!

You have to humanize your social media accounts. Most people connect and build relationships with other people. Can you really have a relationship with a logo of a company you don’t even know? Of course not. Be human and approachable.

4) Respond/Engage - Social media marketing is social.

You must make it a priority to respond to mentions, shares and comments immediately. When someone shares a post or mentions you in social media, they are available and active at that moment. You need to respond quickly in order to foster a conversation that leads to relationship. Waiting for once a day or an hour later is just too late. They have moved on, logged out or even lost interest. If you aren’t utilizing mobile apps to ensure you can consistently do this, it is not a priority to you.

You also need to have a priority of commenting, sharing and mentioning your target audience frequently. Relationships are two ways. Seek opportunity to benefit your prospects by sharing their content, engaging them in conversation or simply commenting on something they post.

5) Community – Build one.

Your social media marketing must have a priority focused on building a loyal community. That community must be large enough to be effective. Find your target audience and follow/friend them. Build it and they will come does not work in social media.

As you can see, social media is highly involved. Understanding the priorities you need to have on a daily basis is the difference between being IN social media and having an effective social media marketing program for your business.

What is your biggest priority in social media? Please leave a comment below!

Build Social Media Relationships Before You Need Them

I blog, therefore I am?

Methinks not. For me, blogging = learning, sharing, growing, and connecting with amazing people like you.  What’s the vehicle through which I learn, share, grow, and connect? My experiences working to bring to life my current start-up dream.

So, what’s the latest lesson I had to re-learn this time? :-)  It’s a simple one really: In order to drive ROI (i.e., conversions, sales, etc.) make sure you have your social media relationships in place before you need them.

But Software Can Take Forever To Develop

As I mentioned in my last post, software development can take substantially longer than expected; combine that with my previous “musings” about the challenges of finding a capable start-up partner who can project manage the tech piece of the business, and I had a perfect storm of marketing activities that were misaligned with an overzealous Statement of Work (SOW) from the software developers. Meaning, the developers and my former partner promised to deliver a working-beta web application in 3 months. And 6 months after the agreed upon due date, the web application is finally ready to roll out.

So How Were Marketing & Social Media Relationships Affected?

In this blog post I go into detail about how I aggressively used social media and a free launchrock splash page to market the new biz. I began quickly and easily connecting with my target market of photographers and interior designers, many of whom were excited about the new biz and over 170 of whom signed up to be beta testers via the WeMontage launchrock splash page.  Building relationships via social media with my target market and learning what their needs were was tons of fun!

Eventually it became clear the developers over promised on the timeline and there was no true indication when they would be done! Has this ever happened to you? Needless to say, I was not the happiest camper. But once I moved from anger to acceptance, I realized I had to put all social media and marketing activity on hold until I knew when I would be ready to go to market. I mean, what’s the point of making a bunch of noise about your project, if you don’t even know when you’ll be ready to launch?

So all the goodwill and relationships created with my target market were put on the shelf. Meh!

BOOM! I Get a Brilliant Idea. But My Social Media Relationships Are No Longer In Place.

Now that the web-app is ready, I decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign in lieu of a “friends and family” round of capital raising. The campaign only lasts 30 days, and, as I put all previous marketing efforts on hold, I needed to rebuild existing relationships and work diligently to create new ones. How the heck do I do that?! Very, very patiently and deliberately.

As my social media mentor (let’s call him, Jim) likes to say, “behaving in social media is exactly the same as behaving in the real world.” You wouldn’t go to a networking event, meet someone, then start blabbing to them about all you’re doing and expect them to automatically help you. Well, you could, but it probably wouldn’t work.

Bottom line: build relationships with influencers first, BEFORE you try to pitch them and ask for their help.

How Do You Build Relationships With Influencers?

Here’s an outstanding post by social media advocate, Robert Caruso, of @BundlePost that provides an effective, practical prescription for building relationships with influencers.

Once you’ve identified the influencers with whom you want to build a relationship, Robert tells us how to effectively research and authentically engage with them. Based on my experience with my crowdfunding campaign, Robert is spot on. You cannot force these influencer relationships and there are no shortcuts. If you try to take shortcuts, you will likely be ignored by the influencer, or worst yet, “blown up” by them.

How do I know Robert’s approach works, because I’m following it and I just connected with a super-kewl influencer in my target market and he wrote a blog post about WeMontage.

Social media enthusiast, Mallie Hart, also wrote a great piece on why you can’t take short cuts to build relationships online.

Let me know how you go about building your online relationships to drive ROI in the comments section below.

Es todo, chicos! (That’s all, kids) Happy relationship building!

P.S., I’m in Cancun, Mexico for a wedding and I’m on the beach writing this post. So, I thought I’d add a little Caribbean sunshine to your day with this pic of me and a piña colada, with a double shot of rum (naturally!).

We Need To Talk About Our Relationship

Engagement is a big buzzword in social media right now. It is a very important part of using social media. Many people, myself included, have written about engagement. This post is not about engagement. This post is about relationships.

The Step Beyond Engagement

The question is, how do you go about forming those relationships? Relationship building is not just strategy alone, it is a combination of strategy along with engagement, time, effort, personality and serendipity. Building relationships online is just like how you build relationships in the offline space. Let’s start with the, admittedly cliché reference …but it works

social media relationship cocktail partyThe Cocktail Party

You do not expect to walk into a cocktail party and expect to come out with a new “bestie”, but walking in is the first step to becoming introduced to new people. Think of social media as a giant party organized into rooms. You can choose to go into the Twitter room, Facebook room, Google+ room, and so on. Each “room” can be divided into smaller groups to focus on a different interest.

Find Your Group

Get to know people in your chosen room who have similar interests to you and what you do, and start by connecting with them. Once you start building these communities, to get to know people by using that good old Magic E word, engagement. Get involved in Twitter chats, Facebook groups and even offline events with people from your social media “room”.  The more you connect with this group of people and grow and evolve you’ll find natural relationships growing with a few people. The conversations get more comfortable and go beyond the normal social media small talk.

It’s Who You Know

A great way to grow communities and nurture your relationships is to introduce people, but not just a bulk mention or tag. A Follow Friday mention on Twitter is not relationship building. It is however, a way to introduce people to others. But tell people why. Bring people into a conversation you are having that you think they would be a great contribution to. Invite a new social media acquaintance to  an offline event you think they would enjoy. Introduce two people you think should meet, in whatever channel you choose.

Make New Friends

Some of the people I am closest to across the social channels are people who have been introduced to me by another person I have a great relationship with online. We get to know each others’ personalities, likes and quirks when we form those relationships.  When you are at that social party, find those two friends that both share an interest in a charitable cause,  or Dr Who, or funny hashtags – whatever that thing is that you can identify will bring them together.

Help Me, Help You

These relationships that form across social media, as with offline relationships, will form a natural want and need to help one another. I have friends who I send job posts to, friends who I always share what they post, and people whose charities and personal endeavors I help support, not because I expect them to do the same for me (however that does happen) I do those things because it helps out my friends.

These people in your inner circle become your advocates and allies, and you never know where that will take you.

How do you grow relationships across social channels? What else would you add to my list? Please leave a comment below!