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!

How Attending Your High School Reunion Will Help You Understand Your Social Media Strategy

I’m one of the younger authors on this site, but I’m old enough to remember when Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace were not a part of my everyday waking life. Sure, I was a high school student then, but even back in the early days where people weren’t really connecting on social media, I wondered what the class reunions would be like after graduation.

The beginning of October usually means homecoming and reunions season for schools of all levels all across the United States. People whom theoretically have not seen each other for five, ten years, all aim to get back together and catch up on new events and reminisce on new times. Social media of course, has changed all that. Now without showing up, you can see that Joe got married and that Mary moved three states away and that Harry and Christine, once sworn enemies in high school now seem to be the best of friends.  Social media has in some ways, replaced meeting in person by allowing people to instead observe from afar the changes that have been made since people last met, to the point where some think that attending reunion is somewhat pointless.

Like your social media strategy however, just knowing half the story about anyone at your reunion doesn’t mean you know the whole story!

Despite knowing everything however, social media is not the end all, be all for knowing what all your buddies have been up to since graduation. After all, like your social media and marketing strategy, just knowing what your friends are doing on Facebook without seeing their LinkedIn or having talked to them in person since graduation is not enough. The story after all, is a lot deeper than we all imagine it to be. Your Facebook page, much like your knowledge of your acquaintance Ted after graduation, might be golden, but you don’t know about the other things going on in his life, much like if you were to ignore your Twitter strategy.

So this fall, book those tickets and get back to the people you knew when you were in school. Sure, sitting around the punch table talking about your practical jokes on your English teacher doesn’t measure up to receiving a Klout perk, but at least you know that like your social media strategy, you know the whole story, instead of just bits and pieces!

The Why Behind the Social Media Presence

Why is your brand in social media?

Take a moment, stop, think,   Is your answer, “Because everyone is doing it and I read about such and such doing amazing things there”? Do you feel like the white rabbit running with your watch, “I’m late, I’m late!”  If this sounds familiar, please stop again.

The why behind social mediaThat is a very good reason to consider social media, to research social media strategies, to reach out to an experienced social media manager and have a conversation and ask questions, it is not a good reason to BE in social media.

Social media can be an effective part of a marketing plan. Notice the use of the words, ‘part of’ and ‘plan’.  What it is not is a replacement for all other marketing efforts for your brand.  It is definitely not the place to jump in with time and dollars invested and think strategy later. Both of these scenarios will create one more disillusioned social media scoffer.

Social media is part of your marketing plan, so ask and answer some questions before you jump in with both feet, plan it.  It is okay, the Queen is not taking off heads today.

Questions to ask before jumping in:

  1. How do you want your brand to be perceived in Social Media? Think Image, Voice.
  2. Who do we want to have conversations with? Think targeting just like you would in any other campaign.
  3. Which channels are the best fit for our brand? Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube? No, contrary to popular belief, every channel is not necessary and every channel will not be a good fit. Be prepared to ‘test’ channels as well.
  4. What are our brands KPI’s for our Social Media investment? What do we want to accomplish in social media? Consider such things as increasing real time customer service, driving traffic to web site, increasing lead generation, crowd sourcing, etc. There can be multiple answers.
  5. How long can our brand invest before seeing ROI? Social Media is not a sprint, it is a marathon, be prepared.
  6. What part of your brand marketing budget can be dedicated to Social Media? No, it is not free (more on that here).

Once these questions have been answered, go back and again answer the original question, “Why are you in Social Media?” Your answer should have changed greatly.

Creating an actual plan, a reason for being there and then following through on those reasons for being there with action – You will actually see a return on the investment and avoid becoming a jaded social media scoffer.

Last Thought – If you have already jumped in, take the time periodically to review your reasons against your returns. Are they lining up? Please leave your comments below.