4 Ways Ninjas And Digital Marketing Don’t Mix

4 Ways Ninjas And Digital Marketing Don't Mix

There are certain titles, those used in social media profiles and about sections, that make each of us cringe, laugh or even snort derisively. I’ve often admitted that the “evangelist” title, especially, makes me a little sick to my tummy.

But across the board, it seems, there’s one digital marketing title that surpasses them all as the most overused, the most silly and the most ineptly misapplied.

That title? Ninja, of course.

Today, I’m taking to Wikipedia, not my beloved Merriam-Webster, to add a little insight into the inappropriate appropriation of this profession, or calling, as a title digital marketers.

A ninja (忍者?) or shinobi (忍び?) was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations. Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.

I’m going to break down parts of the definition above to showcase the silliness of applying this title to your digital marketing expertise.

Covert

The idea that a digital marketing expert would act in a covert fashion is frightening. After all, aren’t social media marketing and other forms of digital marketing (especially content curation and creation) all about transparency and appearing as an open and honest voice for a brand or business?

Well, what do you know, it looks like I am going to get to use my dictionary love in this article!

co·vert adjective ˈkō-(ˌ)vərt, kō-ˈ; ˈkə-vərt
: made, shown, or done in a way that is not easily seen or noticed : secret or hidden

Covert acts are not avowed, which means they’re not stated in an open and public fashion. That’s the direct opposite of the way we are taught that social media marketing should be approached.

Open, honest, visible … all are important to building the trust that allows our digital marketing efforts to succeed.

Mercenary

We all know immediately if a digital marketer is all about what’s in it for them. One definition is mercenary is:

one that serves merely for wages; especially : a soldier hired into foreign service

If we look beyond the immediate association with soldiers, and apply the term mercenary to digital marketers, we’re looking at someone with no belief in the system, no real understanding of the value of the relationships developed. They’re just in it for the money, or perhaps the hopes of becoming a big name.

Is that the kind of person you’d choose to hire? Someone that isn’t going to listen to what you need, or factor in what your ideal clients are seeking? Of course not.

Infiltration

in·fil·trate verb in-ˈfil-ˌtrāt, ˈin-(ˌ)
: to secretly enter or join (something, such as a group or an organization) in order to get information or do harm

If we look at the idea of infiltration of your digital presence, it is, I hope, rather scary. Is the digital marketing professional you hired seeking to build on your current success for you, or for themselves?

Will they engage in less than smart, savvy and correct practices that will mar your brand, and the trust that brand has managed to build and maintain? Will they buy followers, spam leads, engage in link-baiting schemes?

No matter how small in scale, any of these activities do harm to your brand, to your reputation, to the trust you’ve worked so hard to create within your community.

Lacking Strict Rules About Honor

The samurai embraced honor and following the rules of honor above all else. The Ninja? Not so much. The job, for the ninja, was to get the task done, no matter the actions required.

Is that lack of code of ethics really what inspires you to hire someone whom you’re going to give access to your digital real estate? NO!

Say No To The Ninja!

Would you hire an accounting ninja? Someone who played loosey goosey with the IRS and your dollars and cents? Of course not. So, why would ever, even for one second, consider hiring a digital marketing professional that chooses to portray their expertise in such a way.

Open, honest, visible, honorable … all are terms you want tied to your brand and your business, online and off. None of those terms have anything to do with the covert operations and tactics undertaken by the too often romanticized, and obviously misunderstood, ninja.

Your Turn!

What digital marketing titles really get your goat? I’ve already stated, many times, that I find the “evangelist” title one of the most galling. Share your thoughts and title talk in the comments below!

Seriously? Admit You Curate or Cut Bait!

Seriously? Admit You Curate or Cut Bait!

Before I dive into the topic, I need to clear a few things up:

  1. I’ve had this article on hold, partially written, for several weeks. I actually started writing it soon after recording a podcast session with Cendrine Marrouat of Social Media Slant. The topic discussed on the podcast was, cannily enough, content curation.
  2. I chose to publish an article on dissenting opinions as a lead-in to this article, in order to make a point. I can dissagree with an article, an idea, an opinion, without hating on a person or group. I can actually completely respect and trust someone and still, occasionally, disagree with them.
  3. It will appear that an article published by Carol Lynn Rivera of Web.Search.Social was an impetus for a rant. But, as stated above, I’ve had this topic in mind for a while. It would be ludicrous, however, for me to say that Carol Lynn’s article does not factor into my own publish. It does, indeed.
  4. My writing style is fairly combative, snarky and often meant to make people laugh, mostly at my antics and language, while also getting them to think. I felt no compunction to change my writing style before publishing this article.

So, the short and quick of it? I can disagree with Carol Lynn on this specific topic and still think she’s spot on 99.99% of the time. I can still share her articles, comment on her blog posts, and engage in conversations with her on Twitter and Google+.

And, because Carol Lynn is a savvy marketer that knows the value of duscussion and dissenting views, she won’t immediately call me a dick, a jerk, an a**hole, or any other derogatory name. She may absolutely call me snarky, though!

That being cleared up, we can dive into the topic.

C’mon … Seriously? You “Don’t” Curate Content?

Content curation has become the love to hate topic of note lately. Possibly closely followed by the whole content shock conundrum.

Part of the problem, as pointed out passionately and pointedly by my respected peer and lovely friend, Cendrine Marrouat, is the lack of a one size fits all definition for content curation. People can, and do, curate content in a variety of ways. Maybe they just don’t know it yet?

I’m Going To Share Content, But Not Curate It!

Say what? I’ve seen this argument a few times and it always leaves me scratching my head in exasperation.

Do you seek out the content of others because you can’t possibly create enough content to satisfy the needs of your audience? Yes? You curate content!

Curating isn’t something people in tweed jackets do as they sit amidst the dusty books in their library. You don’t have to share the articles you read and find worthy on Scoop.it or share them with paper.li to be a curator. But if you do, that’s groovy,too!

Do you seek out smartly written, savvy articles to add to your Buffer account? Articles that will be shared in a timely fashion via Twitter, Google+, maybe even Linkedin? Yes? You curate content.

Why Waste Time Researching & Reading?

One argument against content curation states that it’s silly to spend soooooooo much time reading and researching the content of others when you could be creating that content yourself.

I’m sorry, but are you both all knowing and all powerful? Omniscient and omnipotent? You can write on any subject under the sun without having to do any research, without having to reference any resources? Nope! I call bullshit!

If you create content without ever looking to your peers, your competitors and your betters (that’s right, you’re not the BESTEST at ALL BUSINESS) then the content you create is often going to be CRAP.

You’re not an expert on/at EVERYTHING. No one is. Curating and then referencing well written, helpful content means you care enough to educate yourself on topics that you think your audience might find interesting and helpful.

I Am Marketer, Hear Me Toot (My Own Horn)

Meet Joe Schmoe. Joe is THE marketer. It’s all about him and what he knows and shares. Everything he tweets is coupled with one of the following hashtags:

#Schmoesays
#Schmoeknows
#Schmoetivate

Joe Schmoe is a self important shmuck. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing your own content. You worked hard to create it, of course you want to get the maximum shares out of it.

But when you constantly hashtag your own content with #IKnowBest add-ons, especially that content which has long passed its expiration date for relevance or usefulness, you show your following that you’re not interested in sharing content with value. You’re sharing how much you value your own content. Do you see the difference?

Content Curation Isn’t Helping Your Customers

Or Landing You Leads …

It’s not? Color me shocked, because I absolutely take to Google to research the topics on which I am not an expert. Why? Because, once again – say it OUT LOUD with me, I’m not a flipping expert at everything!

I ain’t no guru! (and neither is Carol Lynn)

I had a meeting yesterday with a potential client interested in expanding their online presence and using that presence to recruit new talent. New real estate talent.

Go Creative Go has designed, implemented and managed real estate websites and digital marketing campaigns, but always with the intent to showcase listings and neighborhood benefits. Never with the focus on recruiting.

So, to prep for this meeting and to show this client I’m as knowledgeable as I can be about the subject of using digital marketing for real estate agent recruiting, I chose to look to the experts. I sough out, read and collected (curated) the BEST content on the subject.

I DID NOT INSIST on only sharing my own content. Why not? I’ve never needed to create it. I don’t have any.

Could I have created it? Yes, but there wasn’t a need. It was there for me to read and for me to share.

FYI, I landed the client even though I shared two articles written by competitors.

Curate Because It’s Already Been Said & Said Well!

Why do we feel we must reinvent the wheel? If someone with a sound grasp and understanding of the topic has already written the article, what’s wrong with reading it, asking questions if the author is available for it, and storing it for future use or sharing?

There’s nothing wrong with that.

There will be times when I can research a topic and manage to create my own fairly compelling content on said topic. But there will also be times when creating valuable content on a topic will simply be beyond my capability. I can’t become an expert at certain things with a quick Google search and and three article reads.

Some areas of expertise require years of study, practical training and much mentorship. In those instances it’s much smarter to seek out the smarts shared by those who are actually the smartest!

Curating Is About MORE Than The Content!

Curating is about connections, peer review and the potential for collaboration. I’ve stated this on many occasions.

When I share the content of my peers, I’m not doing it out of some ridiculous and unrealistic idea of reciprocity. The reciprocity share has never had any real value.

Where then is the actual value? In the connections made, the conversations had, the possibility of building a real relationship that will allow for sharing ideas and maybe even collaborating on projects.

I would not be who I am today without curating and sharing some fantastic content, which allowed me to connect with some great people.

So Put Up Or Shut Up!

Is Sharing Completely Different Than Curating?

Some would say yes. You don’t have to curate to share content. I disagree. You don’t share articles, videos or infographics that you haven’t read, viewed, deemed worthy and valuable do you? Of course not!

And I don’t disagree because I’m a dick or because I live to rant. Here are my reasons:

  1. Every time I record and subsequently publish a podcast interview, I’m curating content. That’s right. Curating! Without researching and reaching out to my guest on THEIR expertise, there’d be no means for me to create that “unique” content I’m calling my own.
  2. Every time I ask my readers to tell me what they want to read about, I’m curating content. Those ideas are NOT my own, even though I’m using them to create content to be delivered from the digital real estate I own.
  3. Every time I take the time to read an article, deem it worthy of sharing, and add it to either my bookmarks or Buffer for later sharing, I’m curating content.

Decide one way or the other! If curation is such a waste of time, and the smart and sensible way to market yourself and your brand centers on creating and sharing content that resides only on your digital real estate, that’s fine. Share only your own content if it suits your style and your business model. Some bigger brands do that quite well!

But don’t call me out as stupid, silly or lacking sense for curating if you engage in activities that, when looked at under the light of the many meanings of curation, as there’s no one size fits all definition, show you’re ACTUALLY, by some definitions, engaging in curating content.

Have At It!

I expect some reaction to this. There will be some agreement and there’s sure to be some disagreement.

But I do know that we can have a discussion, no matter our opinions, without devolving into name calling (and Joe Schmoe was just a writing tool, people, you know that darned good and well).

I look forward to some chatter, some discussion and even some smart, but sassy, snark.

And yes, I realize the fish in my photo shows a lure, not bait, but the only bait photos I could find were large piles of worms. Not really what I wanted to go with here, as I’m not trying to open a can of worms. Get it?!?!

Seriously? Steve, Show Some Social Sensibility!

Seriously? Steve, Show Some Social Sensibility!

Two different marketers named Steve sent me automated Twitter DM’s, asking me to connect on Linkedin.

My response to this less than stellar and smart social media method.

I’m Shaking My Head, Steve …

We’ve been connected less than five minutes. On Twitter, arguably one of the most informal social networks when it comes to reaching out and connection building.

I admit it, I reached out to you, setting this whole thing off. I followed you on Twitter. We’re both marketers, I spend a lot if time and energy on Twitter … I guess I figured you might be a good bet for a connection that might lead to some conversation, discussion and maybe some shared ideas.

Then you pounced and pulverized my protocols. Yep, you messed with my mojo.

I Take Social Seriously

I’ve talked about this before, in an article where I discussed the difference between taking social seriously vs. literally.

I take social media marketing pretty seriously, as it’s a big part of my livelihood, of course. I understand that there are varying levels of formality and permission attached to different social media platforms.

Twitter, in the overall scheme of things, is fairly informal. It’s very easy to connect with individuals with whom you’ve never had a single conversation. It’s a simple click.

In my, probably less than humble (I’m just being honest), opinion, Linkedin should be anything but informal. There should be some reason, some meaning, no matter how small, behind each connection attempt.

Like what?

  • Did we both attend an industry or local networking event?
  • Do we often engage in discussion in the same social media groups and forums?
  • Do we have a client or colleague in common?
  • Have we had even the barest of bare bones conversation ANYWHERE?

If I can’t answer yes to any of those questions, I’m loathe to try to connect on Linkedin. I’d feel pushy and spammy.

Others may choose not to adhere to the same strict guidelines. Although, really, I don’t think anything I posted in bullet points is all that strict or stern. Instead I’d say it’s sensible.

In fact I often get the “dreaded” default connection message from individuals on Linkedin. Depending on who it is, and the industry in which they work, I might just connect despite the less than personalized approach.

But, and this is a pretty BIG but, that default message came via Linkedin.

Simmer Down, Steve!

It’s quite possible that one, or both, of the Steves who messaged me had the best of intentions. But you jumped the gun, dudes!

Can’t we let our Twitter connection marinate a little bit before we add to the recipe?

Let’s share a few tweets back and forth. Can we see if we’re a good match on Twitter before we deepen the relationship and go on a road trip to other social media venues.

An auto-DM that you send to everyone who unwittingly chooses to connect with you on Twitter? It doesn’t make you look on-top-of your social media game. It makes you look like someone who doesn’t care enough to take part in real time. It’s robotic, and not really very social at all.

And, immediately asking me to connect on Linkedin, which I consider the most formal of social media platforms? Way too soon!

Share Your Thoughts With Steve!

So, did Steve do anything wrong? Or am I just overly sensitive and snarktastic? If this could have been handled a little more socially, I’d love to know what advice you’d share with our DM delinquent. Take it away in the comments below!

Consultation Call Courtesy: If You Schedule, Answer!

Consultation Call Courtesy: If You Schedule, Answer!

If we schedule it … we will call.

Of course, after we schedule it, we’ll confirm it.

If we confirm it … we will call.

If we schedule, confirm and call … and you don’t answer?

Well, it’s a given that we’ll call you really bad names, privately of course, and then carefully reconsider your value as a prospective lead and/or client!

It’s Not Really A “Free” Consultation

No, I’m not involved in some ridiculous scam where if you pick up the call I’m somehow going to swindle you out of a squijillion dollars.

That call? It’s not so free for me, the one making the call. Why not?

I’ve taken the time to add you to my CRM as a lead. A very soft lead, of course, but your affirmative answer has led me to believe that you have some interest in me, if not in my product or service.

I’ve also added the call to my calendar, with you invited, and set up various reminder notifications. I’ve also crafted a follow-up email to make sure we are still on for the call.

Finally, because it’s important for me to understand you in order to understand how I might be of value to you, I spend a lot of time on research. Researching you, your company, your current clients, your staff and more.

I go to Google, peruse your Pinterest boards, tip-toe through your Tweets and more. Depending on how active you are online this can take fifteen minutes, or it can take over an hour.

I’ve Cleared My Schedule

While my pre-call time investment might not be that heavy, I’ve also cleared a block of time for our call.

Whether I’ve allotted you fifteen minute or an hour, I can’t give that time slot to someone else.

If you’d done the right thing and canceled the call when I sent the initial confirmation, I could have given that time slot to an actual interested party. Maybe I could have slept in a few extra minutes that morning after a long night prepping (are you feeling guilty yet?).

BUT, I had an emergency!

Sure, we know these things happen. Kids get sick. The dog ate a pound of baking chocolate. You somehow managed to fill your car with diesel rather than unleaded (funny story – my mom actually did this way back in the day).

But, in the instance of an emergency, you can and should reach out and make some amends after the missed call.

I can’t tell you how many prospects, some people we’ve known for quite some time online, simply ignore our outreach after the missed call.

At the very least you should acknowledge that you missed the call and apologize for the confusion or wasted time.[clickToTweet tweet=”You were not coerced! You can say no. If you say yes to a consult, pick up the DAMN PHONE!” quote=”You were not coerced! You can choose to say no. If you say yes, pick up the DAMN PHONE!” theme=”style4″]

You Weren’t Coerced To Take the Call

You can and should say no if you’re not interested. We’re big boys and girls and we are well aware that selling, even a free consultation, is going to result in a LOT of no responses.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to take the call, don’t let me schedule the call.

Time, energy and effort ARE our money, too. Wasting it with an offhand yes to a consultation call doesn’t make you look good.

How do you proceed after a prospect, client or friend fails to pick up when you’ve scheduled a call. We’d love to know!

Social Media: Is It Really Our “Right” To Immediately Complain?

Social Media: Is It Really Our "Right" To Immediately Complain?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least sixty-seven times (I don’t think I can come close to claiming 1,000 or 1,000,000) … I have a reputation for the rant.

I admit it, I don’t try to hide it. I’m up front and open about the fact that my writing style often employs language and tone that comes across as a rant.

That being said, you might have noted that my rants don’t call out actual individuals or companies. In fact, they don’t name any names at all.

Instead, I call out actions, rant about decisions and idiotic ideas, and try to create discussion around various topics, rather than various people or brands.

You might be shocked to know that I rarely tweet or post Facebook messages when a product or service lets me down.

Private vs. Public

Everything I’ve ever been taught about business and effectively handling conflicts says you absolutely DO NOT spout off in public. You take the time to step back and discuss negative issues in private, while you share any good news with the group.

I consider most social media discussions, if they’re not undertaken within private messages, to be public conversations. I prefer, whenever possible, to discuss outages, failure to deliver and other less than stellar customer service actions or customer experience woes in private. Generally by email or chat. I’m not a fan of the phone.

Why Private?

Why not just let my rant rip across social media channels?

Call me crazy, but I don’t think even big brands deserve to be bombarded with negative press, delivered across social channels, until I’ve got the complete picture.

Was the outage or disruption caused by a hacker’s attack? If so, the brand is already under enough pressure trying to find and deliver the correct fix. Do they really need to waste resources addressing the tweets of overly pissy peeps?

When it comes to digital services, from website hosting to mention monitoring and social scheduling, we have to consider hacks, especially the dreaded DDoS attacks. Should your site ever undergo that kind of attack, don’t you hope your clients understand and don’t immediately blast you via Twitter, Google+ or Facebook?

Service With A Smile?

I applaud companies like A2 Hosting and Buffer for keeping their clients well informed when they suffer attacks that take down their system and stymie the services we’ve all come to rely upon to run our digital businesses.

I do not applaud the companies that ignore the disruptions and don’t keep their client base informed about what they’re doing to remedy the situation.

Service with a smile means sometimes you have to smile through the pain of whatever you’re dealing with and provide the proper information to your clients and customers.

Social media makes it very easy to keep us informed. Tweet it. Share the situation on Facebook and Google+. Take a picture of whatever’s broken and share it on Instagram.

If you keep us informed and let us know you’re actively engaged in the fix, we’re less likely to complain.

Take It To Social?

Do I ever take my complaints to a social level? Yes, I have had to do so on occasion.

Why? Generally because the company ignored my attempts to get the situation sorted privately.

At that time, I take to Twitter and try to deliver a message that states the outage is affecting me, and my own clients, and I’d appreciate a heads up as to whether or not a solution is coming any time soon.

Sadly, this tends to FINALLY get me a response.  Even more sadly, it’s generally a too little, too late apology or lame excuse. Something that doesn’t beg much love for the brand, if you know what I mean.

How about you?

How soon do you take complaints social?

If You Don’t ASK, There’s No Yes or No!

At some point in your social media or digital marketing career, you’re going to face a time when you need to ask a bigger name in your industry to help you.

It can be scary to ask, for anything. We get that. Being told NO is never nice.

But if we spend too much time prevaricating and pausing because we’re worried we’ll get a negative response, we just might miss out on some fabulous and, hopefully, mutually beneficial opportunities.

If I Don’t Ask, I’ll Have No Guests To Interview!

After a less than well-planned first outing as a podcaster I’m settling into a partnership with Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media to launch a new podcast. Part of any such endeavor involves asking our peers and colleagues if they’ll take part in an interview.

Brooke and I spent almost an hour making an initial “ask” list. And while the making of the list was exciting and almost intoxicating, we’re not fool enough to think we’re going to “land” everyone we ask.

There are many reasons someone might say no to your interview request (or any other request, but we’re attaching this to our podcast launch, so we’re talking interview requests). Those reasons might include:

  • He or she has a full plate at the time of your request.
  • He or she would like to see if the venture proves successful before they sign on.
  • He or she isn’t sure your audience is their audience.
  • He or she isn’t sure your audience is big enough at the time of your request.
  • He or she may feel that your connection isn’t deep enough to grant the request.

I think the final reason happens more often than we’d like to believe. Why? Because far too many social media users consider the simple act of clicking follow to equal an actual connection. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Connections Take Time. Relationships Take Even Longer!

Clicking the follow, friend or like button is just the first step. The road to creating real connections that last and have the potential to become even longer lasting relationships is a long one.

That initial click is only the beginning of the connection. Trust and respect are earned over time, never with a simple click of a mouse or quick send of a less than well planned DM.

It’s important that you take the time to converse, share and get to know your connections before you presume to ask them for anything. Otherwise they’re rightly going to assume that your reason for connection was simply personal gain.

Want a YES the next time you ask?

Any and all requests will have more merit have a better chance at an affirmative answer if you take the time to create a real connection.

Of course you have to ask the question before you have any chance at any response at all, be it yes or no. And yes, as we already shared, the act of asking can be a little bit daunting. But it shouldn’t be.

Why not? Because you’re a smart and savvy user of social platforms who understands that it’s about the relationship and the respect long before it’s about the request!

What do you think? Have anything to add to this conversation? We’d love to chat it out in the comments section!

Dear Marketing Technologist: You’re Being A Twidiot!

It’s funny, but last Monday’s article, Dear Leading SEO Service Provider, wasn’t my first “open letter” response via blog post. I’ve actually written a few of them over the years, and they tend to generate some interest and get a little discussion going within the comments.

I was, however, thrilled with the response to my latest open letter style and as I was speeding through my feeds recently I came across another terrifying tactic that I immediately decided needed to be dealt with in the same fashion.

Before I start, let me define one of the words in the title. A Twidiot is a Twitter idiot. Just in case there was any confusion.

Okay, the instigator of this open letter decrying terrible Twitter tactics showed up in my mentions late last week. As I monitor my mentions pretty carefully, because I want to thank those who share my articles and also want to actually talk to my connections, I saw this and clicked through to check out who exactly had mentioned me.

First red flag? No following on either side of the relationship. That means I’m not following him, he’s not following me. Just a small red flag, not waving a pennant. Maybe this marketing technologist wants to start a dialogue.

Second red flag? The tweet wasn’t a question, comment or compliment (generally the three ways most of us start a discussion on Twitter). It was a link.

Of course I clicked the link. If I hadn’t, this article would never have happened. The link led me to a landing page. If I signed up for it, I’d receive a link to view an email all about personalizing in order to better suit the needs of my clients and prospects.

That’s when my Simmer Down Sassy Pants antennae really started buzzing.

REALLY! You’re going to try to sell me on personalizing my marketing efforts when you’ve done nothing to make a personal connection with me?

Personalization in Marketing Requires You To Act Like A Person!

Once I saw the link, I decided to dig a little deeper. First, I checked to make sure this specific marketing enthusiast actually worked for the company in question. He does.

Then I took a close look at his stream, and was not too shocked to find that he:

  1. Sent out over 60 tweets per hour
  2. All tweets contained one handle and a link
  3. All of those links went to his company site

Wait! There’s more. Mr. Marketing Technologist sent out the same three tweets, with only the handle changed, over and Over and OVER again. No changes, except the Twitter handle. Along with the “personalization” video, this guy sent links to:

  • an SEO eCommerce guide
  • a video that detailed the many different ways a certain group of individuals described a red dress

Getting To My Marketing Point, Already!

So, this is obviously spam via Twitter. And really no different than email spam, Linkedin spam or Google+ community spam. Spam is spam is spam, it only differs in the delivery.

Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t a company trying to showcase itself as an authority on personalization actually personalize their marketing message? Maybe spend a little time on building real connections that might turn into leads, prospects and customers?

I monitored this Twitter account all weekend. The 60 posts per our wasn’t a tech glitch. The same posting pattern continued throughout the weekend with the same three rotating tweets. No changes. Over the weekend this equaled thousands of tweets, each mentioning a different Twitter handle.

Funnily enough, the follower numbers didn’t change at all. No new connections were made based on these scintillating tweets. SHOCKER!

Summing It Up, FINALLY!

While marketing and technology, especially in the form of smart and personalized marketing automation, do actually go together, I don’t think our marketing technologist friend got the right message. When you forget that marketing, especially via social channels, is about creating and maintaining relationships you might soon find yourself swimming in seas that foster spam.

Technology should assist in your marketing efforts, not override them in a bid to send out an endless stream of tweets that detracts from your brand’s real message and makes you look like a Twidiot!

Your Turn!

What kinds of bad online marketing behavior have invaded your digital space recently? We’d love to talk to you about it!

SHOCKER: Social Media Marketing Is HARD!

I sometimes get a little disgruntled with all of the assertions that social media, more specifically social media marketing, isn’t hard. In fact, we’re ever so often told that it’s quite easy.

As an aside, I agree with the premise that part of social media marketing involves being social and, in and of itself, being social isn’t particularly difficult unless you’re a recluse or suffer from a seriously bad attitude. But if we don’t take it a little further that would mean that a social nature is all that’s required to be a success at social media marketing.

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEECH. Sigh. That’s a big old scratch on the vinyl record that is my social media marketing mojo. OUCH.

It takes a little more than a sunny and social disposition to effectively monitor, manage, connect and engage across social platforms.

Sure, the ability to either be social or, at the very least, act socially if you aren’t really feeling it at the time, is a must. However, it’s a slap in the face when I see anyone – especially a social media marketing professional, proclaim that social media is EASY, that all it takes is being social.

MALARKEY!

How about the ability to quickly read and assess the articles of those in your feeds and connected circles? Don’t you have to do this in order to best share the content that will best suit the needs and interests of your audience?

Or, what about the ability to repurpose content for different platforms, each of which require specific and unique intent and purpose. Do you think that might be important?

Do you have the tools in place to effectively monitor and manage your presence across a variety of social media channels? It’s not particularly social to miss out on a share or a message because you’d don’t have the means to monitor notifications.

Can you write? Do you have the ability to take the glimmer of an idea and transform it into a short snippet (in say, less than 140 characters for Twitter)? Can you stretch it out for Facebook or Google+? Do you have the ability to create content that draws attention to your own website, the digital real estate you actually own. Those who are truly successful social media marketers know that your hub has to be stronger than any social media outpost.

I could go on and on and talk about measuring ROI, cultivating great connections, taking part in online events, time management, etc. I don’t think I really need to belabor my point, here.

If you’ve spent any time at all carefully cultivating a list of influential social media marketers, you’ve probably heard of Jay Baer. While you might not take what I say as gospel, many in the social media marketing industry are inclined to take what Jay has to say seriously. He agrees with me, that effective presence and success on social media platforms isn’t all that easy: Nobody Said Social Media Should Be Simple.

To put an end to this in brief, here’s my summary:

1. While a social nature or the ability to be social certainly helps when you’re considering taking on social media marketing, be it for yourself or for a client …

2. A social nature is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managing and maintaining a successful social presence. It’s hard work that requires a diverse and strong skillset.

Chime in. What makes you a social media standout? Or what part of social media marketing have you found the most difficult?

Dear Leading SEO Service Provider …

Dear Jay Smith,

You recently sent me an email describing yourself as the digital marketing and SEO expert at a leading SEO service provider. I’m writing back, in the form of a blog post, questioning the idea that you work for a reputable and, thus, leading agency.

Why am I questioning the authenticity of your expertise, the expertise of your agency?

1. Your email was delivered via Gmail address.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Google gal and I love me some Gmail. However, even though I’m a devotee, I manage to write and respond with an email that showcases the domain of my company, Go Creative Go.

Kudos for using Gmail and not Yahoo or AOL. Still? The failure to write me from a domain leads me to think your ‘leading” provider status might live only in your own mind.

2. No link to your site, EVER!

Jay, I’m shaking my head in wonder. You never, not once, link to your site. Therefore, I have no way of visiting your website and no way to verify your leading provider status. I can’t check where your site ranks in the SERPs, as you never share where exactly your company resides online. What gives?

Just saying, Jay – any SEO company worth their salt has a smart presence online. Know what else? They share it with their prospects!

3. You promised me first page rank on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

If there’s one thing I know, and one thing that I’m sure ALL of my audience knows, it’s this: No reputable SEO company promises first page rankings. Why? Because there’s no way to guarantee delivery. You didn’t ask me which keywords or key phrases I’d like to be found under, so how can you guarantee success?

4. You called my links poor and unauthorized.

Since I pick and choose any sites to which I link quite carefully, and because I carefully monitor sites linking to me, I’m going to have to call you out on this charge, Jay. I may not be the SEO expert you claim to be, but as a web designer I take a very hands on approach with all parts of my website, including the links going out and coming in.

So, sadly, going to have to channel Dr. Sheldon Cooper and call out your email’s assertion as pure hokum!

5. You dissed my content, calling it “not high standard.”

First of all, ouch! I generally don’t appreciate constructive criticism from those sending me an unasked for sales pitch. Secondly, I rarely take content marketing or writing advice from people who can’t manage to create a grammatically correct sentence.

That’s right! Don’t diss my content when your writing leaves a little something something to be desired!

6. You tried to convince me your spam email is NOT, in fact, spam!

You ended your leading SEO service provider sales pitch by telling me you’re NOT spamming me. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on what spamming actually entails.

You stated:

Disclaimer:- “Note: – We are not spammer. We found your email through manually efforts.We are sorry if you get email 2 or 3 times.You can simply reply with “remove” so we will delete your email from our list.Thanks again.“The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003”.

My rebuttal to your spam-free disclaimer:

  1. I don’t know you from Adam, and I certainly never signed up for your list. So, asking me to remove myself from something to which I’ve never subscribed pretty much points the finger at you as the spammer!
  2. Sending me the same unsolicited email more than once, two-three times, screams spam!
  3. You say you’ll delete me from your list. A list I never asked to join. Once again, this screams out spam, Jay. You either scraped my email address off my site after a keyword search OR bought my email address from a less than credible source. Final time I’ll say it, SPAMtastic!
  4. And, in closing, what the heck are “manually efforts” and why would you think that gives you permission?

Jay, I’m really sorry to say that I seriously doubt you’re a leading expert in anything related to SEO. In fact, I believe your only expertise lies in less than stellar spam email tactics. Going to have to give your offer a pass.

Anyone else heard from Jay or his ilk of late? Have you ever responded to spamtastic email with a blog post? If so, I’d love to read it. Please do leave me a link in the comments.

Social Design: Choose Your Words Wisely!

Social Design: Choose Your Words Wisely!

I’ve said it so many times, I’m sure I’ve lost count – but your presence, the vision and tone that comes across as your online or social design is about so much more than font choice, color schemes and custom graphics. The very words you choose, and how you choose to use them, makes a lasting impression on your audience. Wouldn’t you rather that lasting impression didn’t leave you looking like an idiot?

Typos happen, even incorrect word choice typos. We all post the occasional it’s when we should use its. How you deal with these makes all the difference. I fess up, immediately. If it’s a post that has yet to receive any comments or nods of approval, I delete it and start over. Fast fingers and busy schedules often result in typos. But, I’m not talking about the occasional typo. We all know when it’s a typo and when it’s much more.

Copyediting is just one of many tasks on my plate as a content marketer. From run on sentences to poor comma placement, I read, revise, read again. Copyediting is also a service I provide under contract. Commas, spacing issues, misspellings and more tend to fill my days. However, I think word choice errors are the errors that can play the most havoc with your brand and your reputation.

Admit it, when you see someone post something similar to the sentences below you feel a momentary twinge, a feeling of shame:

Your the best fans ever.

Their is nothing wrong with the occasional fill in the blank post.

I would of called you if I knew you were going to be in town.

We love are followers!

The last one, especially, makes my eyes want to die a little bit!

Who’s to blame? The expectation of our fans, followers and customers/clients? Does the expectation of a rapid response negate the need for a second set of eyes? Should we blame the education system?  Or the government for handily and repeatedly reducing education spending? My answer might not make any of my readers happy. We can only blame ourselves. The blame falls on the individual author. Because, you see, we all know better.

We know that the contraction would’ve comes from the words would and have. But we think it’s cute and trendy to say “would of”. Trust me, it’s simply wrong, not hip. We could attempt to blame text speak and the propensity to use ur instead of you are. But that one loses its merit when you realize your isn’t the same as you are or you’re and has nothing to do with text speak.

So, I’ve called you all out, in a somewhat snarky fashion. But I’m not going to leave you hanging. I plan to offer you two easy solutions to your word choice woes.

1. Ask someone you trust to be your second set of eyes. Someone who won’t skim, someone who will read with the intent to seek and destroy faulty grammar and improper word choice/use.

2. Can’t get someone to act as a second set of eyes? Use your lips. What? Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Read your article/post OUT LOUD. Expand those contractions. I would’ve, expanded, reads out loud as I would have. Which is correct. HOORAY. They’re coming to see me expands to they are coming to see me. Correct again. If it sounds wrong when you read it, it’s worth that second look with your own eyes.

While our fans, followers and connections do expect a quick response, a short pause for a second set of eyes or a quick read aloud can save face when it means weeding out word choice errors.