Save Social: Walk The Talk

Many of us have been following along, reading the rash of articles being published and shared, all dealing with how to best “do” social. One of these articles, an op-ed piece on Mashable, got a lot of shares across the social media sphere this morning. The author compares the unknown, hopefully waiting in the wings, good guy to Jerry Maguire, which is a nice comparison, but it leads to the impression that there isn’t a force already mobilized to “take back” and save social business. Steamfeed, in fact, is a bastion of strength and ideas for social “done right”, as the bulk of the posts focus and target the very topics that seem to bring out the social naysayers.

social Publishing

photo credit: william couch via photopin cc

My own November theme was “Walk the Talk” and within that theme I posted about and hosted discussion on the variety of ways some “big names” and “popular experts” were being less than socially correct with some of their behaviors and actions. These topics and discussions ranged from Terms of Service violations to buying and trading likes. I thought it fitting to share some of the most “talked about” topics here.

They’ll Never Notice | Those Rules Don’t Apply to Me: Though I probably shouldn’t be, I am still shocked to see how many social solutions “names”, be they big or small, feel that there’s nothing wrong with blatantly ignoring Terms of Service (ToS), especially on Facebook. Contact information in their cover images, no big deal…it’s not like Facebook is really searching it out, so who cares? Right? Wrong. Those pages lost my like. Did that impact them much? Probably not. But I share A LOT of information, from a variety of sources, and those pages shall no more share in my sharing proclivity.

And some of the ways these folks try to get around the rules? Priceless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a company owner post a side view of their car, complete with door panel graphics so they can get that phone number front and center. Nice try, still in violation. And how is that a cover image that represents your business in the best light? And, please, don’t get me started on the QR codes in cover photos. I’m not pulling out my phone to scan my computer screen, SERIOUSLY. Plus, yeah… kind of contact info and a call to action all rolled into one.

I’m A Little Guy So It Won’t Hurt Anyone: Back to Facebook and TOS, sorry, but a wide variety of infractions take place on the biggie platform. This time we’re talking contests and giveaways. Although it has been blogged and shared and promoted and shared and broadcast and shared time and time again, folks just can’t seem to grasp that they can’t run a contest directly on their page. But, it’s a random drawing, so that’s okay, right? Wrong. That’s a giveaway which falls under the same ToS rules and regulations.

Follower Fixation | Failure to Follow: How often do we see big name experts with tens of thousands of followers who only follow a minuscule 2-300? I see it all the time. What do I “see” when I see this? I see someone who doesn’t see much value in keeping abreast of the thoughts of others. I see someone who is interested in broadcasting their own content and ideas rather than sharing the best content and ideas with their followers. I see someone engaged in a one-way broadcast rather than taking part in a conversation, someone interested in shouting rather than listening.

Love for Sale: Also known as Back Scratch Fever. Likes, follows and the act of circling aren’t commodities to trade like baseball cards or beanie babies. I can’t tell you how many times a day I see something resembling this statement showing up on walls or in private messages:

I have liked your page as myself and as my page, and I would really appreciate it if you would return the favor.

Yeah, ummmmmmm, your business and, thus, your page is ALL about parakeet grooming in Redwood City, CA. I have three cats and I live in Tucker, GA. Where’s the draw, the value, the impetus for me to like your page? And if I was even slightly intrigued, that message, which is basically begging, would quickly change my mind.

The One Way Highway: Also known as Me Me Me Me Me! This behavior shows up on every platform, so there’s really no hiding from it. It showcases itself in a variety of ways, including:

  • Blast Posting | Feed Takeovers | Digital Diarrhea – you know, 15 tweets within 15 seconds, etc.
  • Inspirational Quotes with no “introduction” or follow up from the poster as to why they find them important. So, why should I?
  •  Caption this photos trying to take advantage of the extra engagement that photos are prone to get, except the photo is lame and has nothing to do, whatsoever, with your business or your audience.
  • Fill in the blanks of the same type in order to get the most “reach”.

My little list barely skims the surface. So come on, help me “fill in the blanks” a bit. What gets your goat when it comes to the “names” that seem more intent on remaining a name than in actually working within the proper social circles. Everyone loves an opportunity to clear the air and even get a little rant on, so have at it!

In closing, I removed the “Like” from a lot of Facebook pages, unfollowed a lot of Twitter accounts and even disconnected from a handful of Linkedin accounts. Did my own numbers plunge? Nope. On the contrary, they rose! People like seeing someone take a stand, even a small one. If we each take these small stands, we will “save” social. We all walk the talk, every day…it’s going to get us to a valuable and viable destination.

Simple Steps to Master Your Content Strategy

Most of the time, a social marketing manager recognizes that the quality of their content is what drives traffic to their website. If you fail to have adequate and sufficient content, you will ultimately suffer in terms of revenue. When it comes time to create and distribute content, two things you need to bear in mind are marketing and creativity.

Content Road to driving trafficFrom a creativity standpoint, you need to make sure you are continually developing new material that the audience deems important and relevant. You want them to share the information with others and engage them enough to keep coming back for more. In the end, you will have built a community that is surrounded by content.

From the marketing perspective, your function is to amplify all of the content you have on your site. You want content that is capable of going viral. Regardless of whether it happens or not, you will want to distribute and create content that fosters a positive and long-term experience through content association, which will only lead to an increase in loyalty, advocacy and brand engagement.

The best thing you can do is try to remember this simple strategy: If you can add value to your online community and foster the intelligence for your brand, you will notice your business continue to grow. When it comes time to create and implement the marketing strategy you plan to use in your business, you need to master the art of the content loop. The content loop is about a lot more than just writing a blog and publishing it. To make sure you are getting the most out of your content, bear the following steps in mind:

Create

As you create content, you need to have your audience in mind. Creating a rhythm and remaining consistent are two key components of the creation phase. Make sure the information is easy to read and understand. When you write your content, it is important to remember that your presentation and packaging are important. Not only are you able to build upon your message, but you are also able to delve into your creative side.

Curate

It is important that you offer your readers content that is exciting, engaging and educational. You don’t want to give them a bunch of content that is redundant or else they will get bored and seek information elsewhere. Learn how to identify, organize and use all of the resources you are given to help keep your reader engaged and informed.

Socialize

When it comes to distribution of content, you want to make sure it is sharable, searchable, simple and social. As you go through and share your information with others, listen to what they have to say. Interacting with your audience is crucial. Based upon the information your audience gives you, tweak your content to make sure it is something that will draw more and more individuals into your site.

Analyze

Your data tells you exactly how well your content is doing. Make sure you are measuring, monitoring, modifying and moderating your content to make the necessary changes. Focus on what others have to say about your content and build a channel for feedback. Select the appropriate tools that are going to work the best for your specific needs. Refining your strategy is important to ensuring your success.

What else is necessary in a strong content strategy? Please leave a comment below!

Influence THIS! Why influence scores don’t matter for your Social Media ROI

Many social media marketers are struggling with measurement: they want to connect social media activity to the revenue they’re driving. It’s tough, though! Unless the path from social media activity is straight and direct (not the case for many sales cycles), it’s pretty hard to track successful, revenue-driving social media activity.

As a result, many of us are banking on the idea that the more eyeballs, fans, followers, RTs, Likes we get, the better the chance that someone will buy from us.  It’s the basic principle of word-of-mouth marketing: the more people out there hearing our brand’s message, especially if they hear it from an influential source, the more likely we are to sell something. We’ve become obsessed with so-called social media “influencers”: those with a large following, who can secure thousands of RTs with a single tweet and whose blog posts get shared, re-shared, and responded to in countless other posts.

Influence score EyeballHowever, those influencers are often popular not because of an ability to drive the masses to buy a product or service like your company’s, but because they’re celebrities.  Services like Klout and Kred have attempted to put a number (a social media influence score) on the degree of influence we all have in social media by tracking how many people are engaging with us or whether our posts cause a viral reaction.

None of this matters, though, if the general population isn’t your target audience.

These “influencers” may be talking to millions, but of those millions, most won’t care what your brand is or what you sell. A tweet or Facebook post from someone with a high Klout score probably won’t get you many extra sales unless that person is someone whose audience cares about the same things your company cares about. Justin Bieber might have almost 30 million Twitter followers, but 30 million teenage girls aren’t going to hop online and buy your project management software or register for your “Yoga After 60” workshop.

Klout has tried to solve this problem with the concept of +K for users on topics they deem them to be influential in, but as many users have noted, the topics Klout chooses as what you’re influential in are often wildly inaccurate (it gets some of mine right, like “online media” and “community”, but I’m hardly an expert or an influencer when it comes to “electricity” or “the Royal Wedding”). If I were trying to sell t-shirts with Prince William and Prince Kate on them, Klout might tell you I’m a natural target – which in reality, couldn’t be further from the truth.

While Klout understands that being influential about a particular topic is what really matters for marketers looking for social media ROI, their scoring system isn’t the best way to get there. For now, those scores aren’t easily translated into sales. What matters isn’t a quantifiable score determined by statistics, but rather a knowledge of what your customers and potential customers are into (determined by hand or using really smart software) and finding out who matters to them!

If you want your company or your brand to achieve real social media ROI, the key is being relevant, trustworthy, and sharing a genuine interest in the same things your potential customers do.

How To Be Social With Social Media

When you mention social media, some people  immediately think about Facebook. And because of this, some business owners think that a social media strategy is dependent on the social network you participate in. However, the ‘social’ part of ‘social media’ is the same on every network.

social media

The one way social media message

Many companies are treating social media the same way as they would treat Television or Radio advertising. Some companies think they can just create some ad, share it on multiple social networks repeatedly, and get results from it. But social media simply doesn’t work that way. Why? Because social media is about people who want to gather informally and be social!

People are tired of receiving a one-way message from companies. Nobody wants to go on Facebook to “like” a brand if all the company does is talk about itself. So what are you, as a company, going to do about it? Here are a few ideas that might help you get on the social media ‘bandwagon’:

  1. Social comes from within. Companies that are fun and energetic, and that live a social culture outside of social media will be the ones that thrive on social networks.
  2. Shut up, and listen to what your customers are saying. After that, share content that they like. If you’re sharing content that your customers don’t care about, nobody will listen.
  3. Engage with your customers. Let them know that you are there, and that you are relevant to them.
  4. Provide value in your content. Don’t simply post company updates if your customers don’t receive value from it. Share stories, case studies, white papers, coupons, entertaining videos, etc.
  5. Be transparent. Show your customers what you’re made of. Be authentic. Show personality. Show gratitude to your customers, let them know you care!
  6. Always respond to comments, whether they are good, bad, or ugly.
  7. Be ready to relinquish control. Your customers have a story, let them tell it. Embrace content from others, and grow your community.
  8. Most importantly, be remarkable! Playing it safe is the riskiest thing you can do. If you play it safe on social media, you’ll most likely become boring, and your fans will be non-existent. So spice it up, take a risk, and do something remarkable!

Notice how I never mention a specific social network in this list? It’s because social is irrelevant to the ‘media’ (network). Choose the channel that is most suitable for you, and apply the above list to it. Doesn’t matter if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, all of the above apply to any network. Crazy huh?

So what is your advice for social media? Do you take a holistic approach to it, or do you focus on each individual networks independently? Please share in the comments bellow!

What is all the Hype about Social Media Influence

Everyone is looking for the next big thing in Internet marketing, and when you look at the statistics it would seem that social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are just that thing. It is estimated that about 1.5 billion people use social media outlets daily; that is an increase of 19 percent over last year, and that number is expect to rise exponentially. That is approximately 65 percent of total Internet use. Facebook, with its nearly 900 million regular daily users, makes up the bulk of those numbers.

Logically it would seem that tapping into even a portion of those users would translate to more contacts and bigger sales revenue, so marketing specialists are urging businesses to jump into using social media for marketing and gaining brand recognition.

However, early data shows that popularity on social media networks is not having a big affect on the bottom line of many companies who use them for revenue generation purposes. A recent study conducted by Forrester found that out of 70,000 online sales conducted in April 2012, less than one percent of the transactions could be linked to social media outlets.

There could be several reasons for this, not the least of which is the nature of social media usage itself.

Popularity Versus Influence

Popularity is a measure of the favorable association of a brand or company. Influence is a measure of how much that favorable association plays a part in changing consumer behavior.

Sites like Kred and Klout hype social media’s popularity component, but what do their numbers actually reflect? They mostly measure one’s level of popularity on various social media sites such as the number of likes, shares, and re-tweets, but they don’t really measure how much that popularity generates real social media influence.

A more accurate reflection of how affective your web marketing efforts are in influencing consumer behavior are applications such as Google Analytics, which breaks the numbers down by category and tells you exactly where your revenue is coming from. Appinions also measures your level of influence beyond what social media offers.

Detailed, revenue and influence-specific analysis are a more reliable indicator of the amount of influence your marketing choices have on customer behavior. When you know exactly where your money is making you money, it is easier to make decisions about the allocation of your marketing budget.

Social Media Versus Traditional Web Marketing Strategies

Ordinary influencers like email and search engine-focused advertising are better at revenue generation. These marketing efforts are more targeted and specific. When people want to socialize, they turn to social media; when they want someone to fix their sink, they look for a local plumber on Google. Email marketing campaigns are more effective at incurring repeat business by informing existing customers of special offers and upcoming sales.

Though it is possible to purchase social media influence, or at least purchase an increase in visibility on social media sites, there is little reliable data that such an expenditure translates to sales. Facebook recently admitted that their numbers are greatly exaggerated when it comes to how effective business marketing on their site is at influencing consumer behavior.

Final Verdict

While social media outlets can create an initial ‘buzz’ about a new product or company, efforts in this area usually bring only short-term attention but not any real, sustainable actions. The amount of time, money, and effort to sustain an effective social media campaign and keep the buzz going makes this avenue seem a less attractive expenditure than other web marketing techniques.

The studies in the area of social media’s influence on consumer purchases are still preliminary. Early data suggests that while social media is an effective tool in establishing and maintaining regular interaction and contact with customers, your money is better spent on the tried and true methods of turning prospects into sales.

The Interest List Imbroglio

Alternate Title: When Those Trying To Help Actually Hinder

Over the last week or two, those in the social business sphere have been inundated with a rash of messages, posted on personal profiles and business pages alike, deeming interest lists as the savior to decreased Edgerank and overall interaction. Alas, these posts took the spirit and real value of interest lists and diminished real value with incorrect information which might actually diminish levels of connection, interaction and eventual engagement.

Facebook ListYou’ve probably seen this message, perhaps slightly altered, popping up on pages and personal profiles across Facebook:

“Since Facebook has begun to ask page administrators to pay to promote their pages, only 10% of page fans receive the updates we post here. To receive ALL of our posts, please do the following:

1) Go to our page.
2) Hover your mouse over where it says “LIKED” and click on “Add to Interests Lists”.
3) Commenting or clicking “like” on our page every once in a while will also keep us on your feed.”

There are several issues with these statements, and I’ll touch on each.

First, Facebook has “promoted” the promoted post for a while, but they certainly haven’t come out and said, “Hey, you…page admin – the only way your posts are going to get seen is if you promote them”. And no Facebook authority has piped up on either Edgerank or Interest lists, except to tout the lists as a valuable resource (which they are – I’m not disputing that). In fact, Facebook has been quite silent on the whole algorithm discourse.

Next, I’m not sure who came up with the 10% number. Many colleagues and experts have been testing reach, promotion, post types and within all of that testing, I haven’t seen any nice round number like 10%. Round numbers just don’t occur all that often, unless someone is averaging or generalizing. I don’t think averages or generalized numbers are particularly useful in an industry that has no one-size-fits-all solutions. Social works differently for each adopter, on each platform, and on any given day. With the spooky holiday just around the corner, we might feel justified stating that it often seems to involve “black” magic. To see some interesting information about reach, promotions and numbers/data, I suggest you check out Jon Loomer’s blog posts from the last month or two. Not generalized and he’s quick to point out that the numbers he sees cannot necessarily be repeated for each user.

To continue, while Interest lists are a fantastic resource, they are ABSOLUTELY NOT a guarantee that you’re going to get more post views and/or interaction. Why? Well…

  • Interest lists require an extra step in the action sequence, not once – but twice. First, when someone decides to like your page, they have to make the choice whether or not to add you to an interest list. Then, when they’re viewing their feed, they have to make the call to open/view a list. With the prevailing quick preview and scan manner of viewing content, that second step might actually mean you lose follower views and interaction.
  • Even with an interest list, especially if you simply have one large list, no one’s going to scroll through screen after screen of content. Sure, if you post often, you have a better chance of your content showing up within a few scrolls. But that’s the same with the feed itself. Again, that extra click to open the list is key.
  • Interest lists have no sort options, so it’s simply timing of posts and number of pages in a list that determine where your post shows up.

And lastly, these pleas to help you out because Facebook has let you down are akin to begging. Would you do business with someone who, based on very short and often casual business connection, essentially whined and complained about their inability to be heard? Of course you wouldn’t. So, why would you resort to that kind of behavior yourself?

I’ve often said there’s no easy solution to getting your message heard. As with any other type of marketing, hard work, dedication, trial and error and good old effort play the deciding role in your message, product or service being seen. It’s the same when you’re marketing with social media. You have to spend your time in the trenches, liking and sharing, taking part in discussions, researching great content to share, generating new ideas that create your own content, etc. Time and effort, creating and cultivating good, interested and strong connections – that’s the key. And it’s not a simple, fast, or immediate solution. It’s something you’ll have to put into practice and effect for the long term.

If the interest list was the end all, be all solution, we’d have heard this quite a while back, when interest lists first made their appearance. Sadly, though…this is another of those poorly researched solutions run amok. It’s simply being shared, rather than scrutinized for actual value and merit. As with many memes and top tips, it gets shared with the intent of assisting and aiding, when – in reality, it simply isn’t helpful.

Good Social Media Is Like a Good Burger

When you’ve been involved in social media for a bit (either professionally, or just for fun), you’ll start to notice how much you can associate social media to other things in life. I always love to make social media analogies based on stuff I love. For those of you who know me really well, you know that I LOVE cooking. If I wasn’t in the marketing industry, I’d probably be in culinary school studying to become a chef. So what I often do is try to associate social media with food. Let’s see how good social media is like a good burger:

Social Media BurgerYour bun is your foundation! (Social Media Strategy)

If you don’t have a bun, you don’t have a burger. Period. The bun is what holds everything together. This is the same for your social media strategy. You need a sound social media strategy in order for you to be successful online. Why are you on social media? Is it to promote your small business? Is it to build a personal brand for job hunting? How do you know which social networks or tools to use?

Take away: Set yourself some goals in Social Media, then map out how you will achieve them. Write them down, so you remember what they are! Without a clear social media strategy or plan, how do you expect to get or measure results? You need to know what you want to do on social before you jump in.

Your meat is your content! (Content Strategy)

Once you’ve laid-out your foundation (Social Media Strategy; bun), you need to start thinking about content. Your meat is your content strategy.  A good burger usually has 80% meat, and 20% fat. Use the same principals for your content – 80% of your content should be from others, and 20% from your own. But make sure your content is relevant to your target audience.

Take away: Look at what your target audience likes, and create and find content related to their interests. Set up some RSS feeds from reputable websites and blogs on your Google Reader to make it easy to find content. Make sure you have a blog, and you update it regularly. Vary your content so your audience doesn’t get bored.

Don’t forget cheese, ketchup, and mustard! (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn)

Every basic burger comes with basic ingredients – cheese, ketchup, and mustard. You can relate this to the basic (or most popular) social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The reason why they’re so popular is that they are very simple to use. Chances are your target market is on at least two out of the three platforms, so you should probably be there too!

Take away: Start with the basic social networks – these are the ones that are the most adopted by users, and probably where your customer is spending the majority of their social media time.

Extra toppings are great too! (Non-traditional platforms and social media tools)

Let’s face it – who wants to stick with a plain ol’ burger when you can put lettuce and tomatoes on it too! Explore the different social media tools that are available for you (Hootsuite, Buffer, BundlePost, Tweriod, SocialBro, etc.). They’ll make your social media execution a lot easier. You can also explore other non-traditional social networks, like Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and MySpace (you might have a hidden target market there).

Take Away: Educate yourself about the different social media tools you can use, and try out some of them. It will make your work a lot easier! Also, don’t ignore the other social platforms if your target audience uses them (but only if your target audiences uses them)!

Burgers go well with fries (Integrated Social Strategy)

What’s the perfect side for your burger? Fries! Remember, your social media efforts work very well with other parts of your business. Try to integrate your social media strategy with your customer service, marketing, HR, or PR.

Take away

Just remember this: Don’t put too many ingredients on your burger, or you won’t be able to chew it! A lot of people when they start in social media think that they need to be on every single social network. That’s not true! Stick to what works for you, or your company. If you’re not seeing results from a certain social network, don’t waste your time on it.

How else is social media related to a good burger? I’m looking forward to your associations between the two, so leave a comment below!

Instagram 201: How to stand out

When Instagram exploded, so did the number of blog posts written in excitement advising us how to use it in social media marketing. Well, it is leading in mobile traffic. It surpasses Twitter.  It is also the most intuitive social network on mobile which makes it easy for brands to join and open a window in their leader and team’s lives.  That’s special.  So if you’re contemplating integrating it in your social media strategy, you’re probably right on target. Images are powerful when they encase your brand without written copy.

It’s the ideal platform to innovate fun strategies to get your audience to engage. Look at Lululemon’s #WTFocus 30 day challenge or NYC’s quest for the best 10 “#loveNYC” snapshots). Leading brands like Chobani and Redbull tell us in their bio what hashtag to tag our pictures. But what about the very pictures coming from the brand? Figuring out your strategy is twofold – just exactly how are you going to win over your audience with your own pictures before you get them to join in the action? Consider both sides of the coin. Trade up on your unique value proposition.

You are curating an art gallery. How do you stand out? 

Apply yourself
Instagram offers 18 filters, which sounds like a lot, but it isn’t.  There are other apps to give you some creative ammo but the most important one is your imagination.  Apply it a bit.

Say you are opening a new store or office. Lay on the ground on your back or stomach to capture a different angle. Flip your camera so you can sneak in a little body (shoulder, eye).  Stand on a chair.  Peer closely in unusual places. Include the outdoors. Don’t mind those bystanders. This is the sake of your audience! Take more than one to document a story (i.e. the office interior design falling in place or a customer experience in a salon).

PicStich
PicStich offers a selection of different collage layouts. For example, if you want to feature a product, you can do it from four different perspectives then add it in blocks in one image instead of sending out four pictures, which clutters up a follower’s feed.  People will not follow as many brands as they might on Twitter or Facebook so you’ll have to earn that privilege.  You also can throw a quickie poll (i.e. “Which outfit do you like better?”) with a PicStich layout.

Over
You can add beautiful typography to any picture.  There’s an attractive array of colors and fonts. Pictures made with Over have viral potential (especially the insanely clever, funny and motivational ones). It costs $1.99 right now but I promise you it is worth it every 199 pennies. If you want to change the size each line or fiddle the placement, you have to save your work then reopen it (the app isn’t very dynamic at changing the sizes or allowing multiple text boxes at once). Be patient.  Use asteriks, lines or plus signs to add design elements. Save it 30 times if you have to! You are publishing beauty.

Filtermania
Filtermania is more on the surreal side.  In other words, the bedazzle for Instagram.  Armed with over 300 filters, you can add sparkle, out of this world (literally) landscapes, sun rays or electrifying effects.  Or even realistic rain. You can build filters on top of each other, adjust opacity and luminosity. I’ve spent at least a hour or two creating artwork in one sitting. Without regret.

Statigram
Well, this won’t make your pictures prettier – but  it will tell you which ones are! I couldn’t wrap up without telling you about this internet app.  Statigram is rightfully simple. It has basic metrics such as most liked, most engagements or commented on pictures.  Other than that, they serve as a web viewer for photos since Instagram doesn’t have a website.  It comes complete with a few goodies like follow me buttons to code in your website, the ability to integrate a feed for your Facebook page or a campaign toolkit. Heck, they even give you a birth certificate! Adorbs!

Use the photo creating apps individually or combine them and take your time. In the present situation – with 7.3 million users and the social media world waiting to see what Facebook does with the app in the bigger picture -  you can’t afford to look at pictures as things just to upload.

Color Splash, Photoshop and Textgram are a few more great ones. What are some of your favorite photo creating apps we should know about? 

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!
 

Book Review: Invest in Social Marketology by Ric Dragon

Ric Dragon is terrifyingly smart, that’s why he wrote Social Marketology.

He wanted to write a book that did not clamor about how social media is changing the world. He wanted the reader to have a book that offered a practical guide to help you organize a social media marketing process. He weaves ideas of sociology, psychology, history, statistics, process methodologies and philosophy into practical application for a social media business strategy. For golly’s sake, even the first chapter opens with a reference to the efficiency movement of the early 1900s. There was also mention of Russian Soviet Union satellite Sputnik and MTV! But you will have to read to find more of these goodies and see why it makes sense.

Well, he delivered! I carried his book (Social Marketology) in my purse for some time. I felt armed with knowledge. (You might have to refer to a dictionary once or twice though). And I would carry it again. It’s still on my coffee table not gathering dust.  You want to invest in the book if you’re handling social media – novice or veteran – or at the very least strongly encourage your community/social media manager or team to read it.

I know it gets overwhelming when you have to ransack countless blog posts, ebooks and free PDFs to figure out what – and especially who – can really teach you meaningful and profitable social media marketing. If you go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble in search of a book it still can be tough. But I’m here to tell you that Ric will, as his title states, help you “improve your social media processes and get customers to stay forever.”

To summarize, Ric explains the sub-processes that will be inserted in the master – meaning action – plan and those include:

  • Clarifying the brand’s values and voice – “Focus on desired vision, goals and objectives metrics”
  • Monitoring online behavior
  • Audience segmentation (seriously whittled down to microsegments such as the Airedale Terrier Club of Greater Atlanta)
  • Discovering target communities
  • Identifying key influencers in these communities
  • Executing, measuring goals and staying innovative

Scenarios are included to exemplify Ric’s points. Do I sense a sigh of relief? Yes, yes because examples are incredibly helpful and memorable.

You know, because of the rapid evolution of social media sometimes I wonder if relevant books are so 2010. Or 2011. If you’re worried, there’s no need.  The book acknowledges ongoing change in this industry and is designed to be a versatile framework that holds fundamental principles of social marketing. Heaps of great content are found online but some books still demand a physical presence and this is one of them – at least for me so I can dog ear pages and bookmark Social Marketology with post-its containing inspired ideas.