Social Media Group Dynamics: Don’t Be The Passive Aggressive Putz!

Social Media Group Dynamics: Don't Be The Passive Aggressive Putz!

Are you part of a Facebook group or a Google+ community?

They can be a fantastic resource when they’re full of like minded individuals all intent upon bettering the experience of all involved in the group.

However, whenever you get a group together you’re going to face occasional upset and some snarky comments when one or more group members believe that other group members aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.

She’s Not Doing It Right!

Inevitably, when a group’s intent is to increase the social media visibility of its members, you’ll find that a handful of that membership don’t necessarily take the idea of reciprocity to heart.

And, again, inevitable, you’re going to have some well meaning group members chiming in that said lack of reciprocity isn’t fair. And they’re right. But it’s the way they go about “voicing” these opinions that is the meat of this article.

Neither Life Nor Social Media Promised You Fairness

It’s hard enough for a group owner and moderator to deal with the bad habits of spammers and those who don’t read the groups rules, regulations and terms of service before plugging themselves and their services at every opportunity.

They’ve created these groups with the greater good of all members in mind and they’re putting in a lot of time and effort to make the group work, and work well, for all involved.

So, when passive aggressive Paulette starts whining about “someone” who is liking her post rather than sharing it, it’s just another reminder to the group owner that he/she is dealing with the infantile and illiterate.

We Don’t All HAVE TO Share Your Shizz!

As stated previously, many a Facebook group is created with the intent to increase the visibility of its membership.

Some group members, incorrectly, immediately assume that this intent to increase visibility mean all of their shizz will get shared by each and every other member of the group.

That ain’t gonna happen!

Generally speaking, the group owner sets the rules on how the sharing activity should roll out. Usually, when you hope to share your own goodies, you’re expected to share two to three items from the group.

Two to three, not every flipping item. We get to be choosy. Maybe your items don’t fit in with our niche. Maybe we don’t think the content you’re sharing is as valuable as you believe it to be. Whatever the case may be, sometimes your stuff just isn’t going to make the cut.

Whining that you share every group member submission, but don’t see the same sharing of your own submissions, doesn’t make anyone want to share your shizz! It shows that you aren’t very discerning and you’re only looking for shares for sharing’s sake, rather than shares that add value to your business and your audience.

Positive In Public, Passive Aggressive In Private!

If you’ve ever been part of a structured networking group like BNI or Powercore, you know this mantra. And it’s just common sense.

Veiled and cryptic complaints don’t add to or enhance the group experience. They detract from it and put the focus on you, when the focus is supposed to be about the collective “we.”

Don’t Do It!

For the love of Pete! Pretty puh-leeze cease the passive aggressive whining and complaining when you believe a social media group member is failing to play by the rules.

You don’t look like you’re looking out for the group in these instances. You simply look like a whiner.

Positive in public, but take the negative to the group leader via a private message or email. Let them deal with any infractions in the way they see fit. It’s their group. You don’t need to be the passive aggressive police.

Your opinions matter, but not when they take away from the collective group experience.

Collaborate With Care: Dial In The Details With A Contract!

Collaborate With Care: Dial In The Details With A Contract!

It might surprise some of my readers to know that, as a child, I was very trusting, actually downright gullible. My older brother could get me to do anything, because I loved and trusted him. This love and trust often had me eating dog food or screaming and running in terror as firecrackers exploded inside pantyhose egg shells. Many a birthday party was marred by cries when he’d pop balloons with a fork. Luckily, I had such curly hair that my mother kept it short (I cried when she tried to get a brush through it) and didn’t suffer my little sister’s torment. He used to suck the ribbons out her hair with the vacuum cleaner.

Despite those childhood pranks and antics, I’m still someone who wants to see the good in others. Don’t let my snarky writing style fool you. I go into each collaborative effort believing that all parties involved are going to give it their all, are going to play by the rules and are going to pay on time.

Sometimes I’m disappointed. But it’s my fault if I don’t put into place the plan, the deal, the contract that outlines how the collaboration will tackle its task.

All Collaborations Require Contracts

This was, far too late into my career, a huge lesson learned. In fact, I’m still learning my lesson.

Even if no money is changing hands, even if the collaboration is based on a hobby, a contract between participating parties must be agreed upon and enforced.

This ABSOLUTELY holds true when you’re working with friends and family. Creating a contract can keep the project on target and keep all parties on task which can help keep any hurt feelings from damaging the relationship.

Dial In The Details

In order for the collaborative effort to make the most of its opportunities, some details must be nailed down from the get go.

You have to sort out who’s in charge. You can’t all be the boss. Someone has to be the taskmaster when tasks go off on a tangent. Whoever you put in charge has to have the authority to cease activities that could damage the collaborative effort.

Who’s shelling out the money? Invariably, there are costs attached to any collaborative project, even those that aren’t intended to make any return on investment. The collaborator who shells out the money should be compensated in some way. Only a contract can keep this on track and keep feelings from being bruised.

Deadlines are daunting in any project. They can derail a collaboration completely if they aren’t adhered to properly. One missed deadline often sets off a domino effect putting future deadlines, and the project in general, in jeopardy.

Moving On To Money Matters

Even projects where money changes hands are collaborative efforts.

These projects still require the set-up of timelines, deadlines, task lists, etc. The exchange of dollars is, of course the end goal for the one receiving those dollars, while the end goal of the other party is a stellar design or other product or service.

Without a document that details the to-dos, the due dates and the expectations, any project can derail and cause missed launch dates, increased costs and lack of customer satisfaction. No one likes to hand over money after a less than positive experience!

At the same time, money can cause issues when you’re dealing with friends or family. A contract keeps all parties safe. Someone gets paid and no one gets their feelings hurt, making it difficult to hang out around the dinner table!

Contracts Help Keep It Cool!

Contracts, when you get down to it, provide a roadmap for a project. They effectively lay out expectations, deadlines, to-dos and anything else pertinent to project completion.

They also help keep all parties involved in your collaboration happy and keep the collaboration healthy!

Ewwwwww! Let The Spam Stop With You!

Ewwwwww! Let The Spam Stop With You!

Reply All and Spam …
NOT a match made in heaven!

We all deal with spam. Probably on a daily basis. It comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s delivered by so many different means.

But, a few of you are adding to the time suck and rolling eyes. Maybe without even knowing it.

Don’t Feed The Animals, Especially Not Spam!

C’mon people. Use a little common sense and stop spreading the spamsanity. Yes, that’s one of my made up words, but I think it’s quite fitting. It perfectly describes what I can only hope is the mindless and hysterical spreading of spam through silly clicks and response tactics.

None of us want spam. Anywhere. It infiltrates our in-boxes. It taunts us in Twitter DMs. It makes us listless about Linkedin. I could go on and on.

Spam wastes our time and it negatively impacts our productivity. We have to monitor it on our websites, in the comments and via our contact forms. We have to clear it out of our inboxes. Even if we have systems in place to catch it, the final delete is something we have to deploy.

So, it’s all the more annoying when the spam cycle is continued with a ridiculous reply-all response.

Stop Aiding & Abetting

When you reply-all to a spam send, you’re adding to the trash. That’s one more email, one more message, one more notification I have to address.

Whether your response is positive or negative, when you regularly reply-all, you show me you don’t value my time any more than the initial spammer.

It’s bad enough when you have my email for a reason. It’s absolutely heinous when you use a social media platform (I’m calling you out Linkedin) to deliver spammy service offerings to the unsuspecting and uninterested. When you hit reply-all to an obviously spammy send, I’m going to inform Linkedin that your response is spam, too.

Sound harsh? Too bad. No one wants to see a single spam send turn into a spam thread.

Respond To Spam The Right Way! One-on-One!

If you’ve ever taken part in any formal, regimented networking you know that have a rule, which I’m paraphrasing here:

… positive in public, negative where no one else is listening.

When it comes to spam, especially spam sent out to multiple parties (I’m looking at you again, Linkedin), all responses should be private.

While the spam send might be the exact silly service your business needs, you don’t need to let the rest of us know! We don’t care! We don’t know Y-O-U!

As for letting the spammer know it’s not super-duper? I give them one chance. I reply, privately, that what they’re doing doesn’t work for me (and plenty of others). If they repeat spam? Report!

Spam Sucks!

Together we can stop the spamsanity. Really! If we stop reply-all ridiculosity we’re already adding to the calm, rather than creating a cacophony that clearly benefits NO ONE!

Stop Assuming Connections Need Your Help!

Stop Assuming Connections Need Your Help!

Be it via automatic DM or a Linkedin reply, I’m getting pretty tired of the assumption that by choosing to connect with you, I somehow need your help. Nine times out of ten I don’t require your assistance, nor do I desire to pay for your services.

My Connection Just Might Help Y-O-U!

There are a variety of reasons why I might be prompted to follow you. Just a few include:

  1. I like your bio.
  2. We work in the same industry.
  3. I’ve checked out your blog and you publish some great content.
  4. We take part in the same group activities (Google Hangouts, Tweetchats, etc).
  5. We share a hobby or passion (coffee, craft beer, music, etc.).
  6. I think you’d make an interesting podcast guest.

While I’m hoping to gain a connection, I’m not going in thinking you’re going to be my next big client. I don’t have a Twitter list titled “Hot Prospects.”

Stop to think. If I’ve connected with you because I think you’re a great writer, I’m probably going to share your stuff. It’s a mutually beneficial connection. I have a new source for share-worthy content and your content has the chance to be seen by some new eyes. In this instance we both win a prize!

Gee, Could You Stop Being So Generic?

How may I help? Put a lot of time and effort into that incredibly individualized response, did you?

C’mon now. If I’m connecting with you, there’s a good chance you’re some sort of digital marketer. Color me unimpressed when you can’t come up with anything more exciting than that!

Did you take the 30-90 seconds to read my bio? Did you take a moment to peruse my latest publishes, to seek out my latest shares? No. You just assumed that the only reason for the connection was your own awesomeness. I must need you or your skills.

Would you want to hire someone who boiled everyone down with the same generic formula? I wouldn’t.

Connect With Intent & Purpose

I’m coming back to one of my favorite phrases. I really need to hashtagify that bad boy, #intent_purpose.

Each connection starts with a specific intent. But the purpose just might change over time. I may connect with you because you tweet terrific when it comes to oatmeal stout, but as we continue to build that connection, through conversation, I may find that you’re also a stellar proponent of podcasting or something else that interests me.

People, like diamonds, have many facets. Or maybe we’re like onions and have many layers. Whichever analogy you prefer, we’re all different. We can’t be cut from the same cloth. We can’t be helped by one-size-fits-all generic solutions.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Consider your intent when you connect and when you respond. #SMMsmarts” quote=”Consider your intent when you connect and when you respond to a connection.” theme=”style4″]

Is your response or follow-up valuable to the individual or is it catered to the masses?

Meet & Greet Before You Mine For Client Gold!

Relationships, even those between prospect and provider, take time. Lots of time. Engagement doesn’t happen in minutes. Sales require subtlety. I’d like it if you took your time and sorted out whether we’re a good match before you pitch me.

And, yes, an unsolicited, too early, “How Can I Help You” message is absolutely a pitch. Not a good one, certainly. But we can see the dollar signs in your eyes, and the lust for acquisition in your heart.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Connections aren’t acquisitions. We’re people. Treat us like individuals! #SMM” quote=”Connections aren’t acquisitions. We’re people. Treat us like individuals and you’ll soon see that connections more readily build into relationships.” theme=”style4″]

Sing Your Story With Your Own Unique Voice

Sing Your Story With Your Own Unique Voice

I love music as much, if not more than I love digital marketing. It’s probably safe to say that I’m an absolute music nerd. This comes as no surprise to anyone who regularly reads what I write. I’ve shared articles referencing R.E.M., Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and many more. I often look back to my 80’s music influences when I’m generating my music and marketing article ideas.

What some of my readers might not know? I’m an indie rock kind of chick! That’s right. A hipster. But hopefully not a hipster dufus (yes, I love to add pop culture and Seinfeld references to my writing, too).

So, I’m more than excited to publish a music and marketing article that shares several songs that fit with my more indie listening leanings!

Frightened Rabbit: The Modern Leper (EXPLICIT)

It’s pretty safe to say that my favorite singers wouldn’t fare well if they took their singing talents to a “reality” TV show intent on creating slick and seriously engineered pop stars. I can perfectly picture Simon sneering as I imagine it.

I choose my favorite songs and those who sing them based on two things:

  1. The story told
  2. The emotion shared

That’s really not much different from how I choose those marketers and digital storytellers whose posts I look for in my feeds.

A song about a leper isn’t destined to rise to the top of the pop charts, but it absolutely catches my attention with a strong and standout story. And, even better, it makes me think. I look for the same in content and social media marketing.

Jeff Mangum: My Dream Girl Don’t Exist

My ex-husband couldn’t stand Jeff Mangum’s voice. Words like whiny, grating and even caterwauling were thrown about with abandon.

But the voice that fronts Neutral Milk Hotel digs deep and does something for me. I’d trade passionate for whiny, gripping for grating and maybe yearning for caterwauling.

I often stress that if we all liked and sought out the same things, the world would be a very boring place. The same goes for the digital marketing and social media sphere. We seek what sings to us. If your story sings to me, I’ll share it. You can’t expect everyone to hum along or dance in place.

Modest Mouse: Doin’ The Cockroach

The story in this song sings to me, and I think no other voice but Isaac Brock’s would do it justice. But, it’s an acquired taste. Like learning to drink coffee or wine, it’s a passion that develops over time, through repeat sips (or listens).

Social media marketing is about acquired taste, too. You have to choose the platforms that best allow you to sing your story in your own unique voice. For me those channels are Twitter and Google+. I didn’t immediately fall in love with either platform. It was through repeat listens and learning to love each as I spent more and more time engaged in conversation and discussion.

Handsome Furs: Hearts of Iron

I’ve chosen to share this song for two reasons. First, Dan Boeckner’s voice is an acquired taste. But the second reason is the one I’d really like to stick.

To make it in our field, digital and social media marketing, you’ve got to have a heart of iron. Heck, you’ve also got to have a soul of steel and you’ve got to be able to roll with the punches … some directed below the belt.

I got called out this morning, on Twitter. I was called lazy for using the term “moron” in an article and title. I laughed, shot off a response that didn’t engage in name calling and went about my day. You have to be able to do so.

I carefully chose to call out unnamed individuals as morons, and I don’t intend to change that practice. To do so would mean I’m trying to hide my voice. I have no intention of ever doing so.

Superchunk: Hyper Enough

My unique voice, the one I use to share each story I think worthy of sharing, could probably be described as hyper. Some might say edgy. I’m pretty sure I’ve even been called manic.

I’m sure Mac McCaughan and the rest of the Superchunk gang were often told that they played too fast, were woefully out of tune (on occasion … OK, maybe a lot), were perhaps not exactly what a venue manager was looking for in a music act.

I’m not a perfect fit for every job. There are many prospects who aren’t a perfect fit for our company. But I’m hyper enough (meaning I’m dedicated to hustling and moving forward) to keep looking for that right prospect, that fortuitous fit.

Are You Singing Your Story?

Your voice might not suit everyone. But it doesn’t have to. You’ll find harmony and resonance with a group that suits your goals, your message and your intent and purpose. Don’t fall prey to the auto-tune mentality and lose what makes your voice unique!

Dear Mailing List Moron: Permission Not Granted!

Dear Mailing List Moron: Permission Not Granted!

It seems that moronic marketing tactics and activities come round in cycles. Have you ever noticed that?

I get waves of poorly pondered automatic DMs on Twitter. Then, a week or so passes and I start to see boorish batch posting, often on Twitter, but also on Facebook, Instagram and even Google+. If I wait another week I’m sure to see some other nefarious “ninja” behavior which will cause me to shake my head and bemoan the bumbling idiots who give the digital marketing industry a bad name.

This week, I’m sad to say (well, not all that sad as it’s given me a nice rant rampant topic for an article), sees one of the cyclical returns of the mailing list moron.

Who Is The Mailing List Moron?

So, who is this rogue marketer? Who is this moron marauding our inbox?

First of all I understand that a “marauder” is someone who steals, and I’ll get to that in just a moment!

The mailing list moron is that sad marketer or business owner who still hasn’t managed to suss out the difference between acceptable email practices and spam submissions.

Spam, it seems to me, couldn’t be easier to spot. If I didn’t ask for it, it’s probably spam. If you send offers and event invites without ever engaging in a single conversation with me, it’s probably spam.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a gigantic gray area for many a marketer. It’s some sort of cloudy mask that makes rather obvious spam sends seem smart and savvy.

I think all marketers should be forced to read, pass a test for reading comprehension, and the sign off on the CAN-SPAM Act. Yes, it’s a long and detailed document, but it’s LAW!

But even a quick scan pretty effectively spells out spam, so there really can’t be any allowance for confusion and continued spammy sends and suffering (on my part, and the part of anyone else who receives mail from the morons).

Permission Is Paramount!

I’m ready to get back to the idea of the mailing list moron engaging in thievery. No, I don’t think most offenders are intent upon stealing my identity or my clients. It’s a much more subtle swindle.

The acts of these individuals steal my choice and my time.

The email newsletters and updates that make their speedy digital way to my inbox should be of my choosing. I decide what’s right for my already full reading list.

Like many a marketer, my inbox is pretty ding-danged full of the messages I want to receive, along with receipts for digital services, update notices and, this might shock you, requests from my clients and colleagues!

I shouldn’t have to waste my time wading in to see what you’ve sent me when I didn’t ask for it!

I Shouldn’t Have To Opt-Out!

You might be thinking, but it only takes a few seconds to opt-out of the emails you don’t want to receive. And you’re correct. But, consider the marketer that makes a lot of connections. And consider if even a handful of those new connections decide to add that poor marketer to a list without permission. It ends up adding several opt-outs to that marketer’s to-do list.

If that marketer is anything like me (and probably you, too), that to-do list is pretty full. Possibly bursting at the seams.

Even the smallest of distractions can derail the busy.

And when I’m sent an email without my permission, I choose to let the sender know that I’m a bit miffed. So it’s not a few seconds clicking on the unsubscribe button. If there’s no means of mentioning their moronic measure in the opt-out form, I take the time to send a note.

Why do I do this? Because I have the tiniest tempting glimmer of hope that I can dissuade the moron from adding other busy marketers to his/her list. I’m paying it forward.

That, however, doesn’t stop the distraction or the time suck involved. If I didn’t ask for your email, I shouldn’t be forced to ask for your email to stop!

Connection Isn’t Permission!

It should come as no surprise that acceptance of your Facebook friend request doesn’t equal permission. Nor does my acceptance of your LinkedIn connection request.

Shockingly, that email I sent you three years ago? Also, not me actually giving you permission to add me to your mailing list.

If I want your email newsletter or your drip campaign to arrive in my inbox, I’ll visit your site and sign up. Professional email marketing apps and software make this rather easy. You can set up a sidebar widget or simple contact form and feature it prominently on your site.

Spammers, Seriously … Just Don’t!

This issue has been talked about in so many ways. Discussions have been had on Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin. Podcasts have hashed this out. It’s no secret that spammy sends are SO NOT social.

There’s simply no reason allowing for the continuation of mailing list moronics.

Let’s Talk Turkey: The Marketing Tools Aren’t The Problem

Let's Talk Turkey: The Marketing Tools Aren't The Problem

Last week I took a strong stance against the idea that content curation is a waste of time or a “dumb” activity. I found that I wasn’t the only online marketer with an affinity and allegiance to what we’ll call smart content curation.

I can only hope that today’s topic, which ties into curation, will result in a similar affinity.

Today I’m digging into the delusional idea that automating the sharing of content, content that you might have created, as well as content you might have curated, somehow impedes connection, conversation and the building of real and mutually beneficial relationships.

It’s Not The Marketing Tools, It’s The User

Not a single one of us can be connected or plugged-in 24-7-365. I’ll take it one step further and say that anyone attempting to be “constantly connected,” just isn’t running a very good business.

Why do I say that?

Because successful business owners know that marketing is only PART of what makes your business a success!

There are a handful of other key items that are pretty ding-danged important to overall business success, including:

  • Actually doing work for your clients so you can send out invoices!
  • Sleeping, as without it your brain can’t function.
  • Face-to-face client meetings. Shockingly enough, we occasionally have to get in the car and drive to a coffee shop or office complex to land a new client.
  • Phone calls. As much as I loathe and despise the phone, and will do almost anything to avoid a conversation via this tool of torture, I still have to pick up occasionally to answer questions and make initial impressions with prospects.

When Always On = Inattentive

Consider this. You’re at a coffee shop with a prospect. But you’re that guy or gal that proudly professes that you’re ALWAYS ONLINE. You’re in the middle of a lovely conversation with your prospect. You seem to be a great match. Then your phone buzzes. You have a mention, a retweet, or an alert.

What do you do?

If you immediately hold up a finger and ask for a minute (yes, I’ve had this happen to me), the tool IS the problem. But neither the phone nor the app is the tool in this scenario. The person who can’t disconnect for a thirty minute consult, however, is absolutely a TOOL.

It may seem that I’ve gone a bit off topic here, but I hope you’ll see that I’m trying to make a point regarding the human factoring into the idea that marketing tools are a bad bet.

Marketing Tools Aren’t Inherently Evil

I’m going to pull out one of my handy catch phrases here. The value of a marketing tool is absolutely tied to the intent and purpose of the human making use of the tool.

Mailchimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign? Not evil. These email tools don’t spam people, the individuals using them do! Drip campaigns aren’t the problem. It’s the drips that don’t personalize the sends, don’t make the content shared valuable and viable, that give the tools a bad name.

Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social? Not the bad guys? The individuals who automate posts with no intention of ever monitoring mentions and actually engaging in conversations around their shared posts, though? You bet they’re the bad guys.

Using tools improperly shouldn’t end up being a problem for the developer of the tool. The blame should rest firmly on the individual that can’t remain human while making use of the tool.

Use The Marketing Tools To Evolve As A Better Marketer

The development and use of tools is a large part of the evolution of our species. Problems arise when we become so entrenched in the wonder of the tool, that we forget to be a human being.

Smart users of marketing tools, especially those that automate content delivery, understand that the delivery is only part of the strategy.

The delivery of the content is just the beginning. Where do you plan to go from there? This is where successful marketers embrace the balance between human interaction and the wonder of delivery tools.

Successful marketers monitor mentions! When they see their content shared they strike up a conversation. Even in less than 140 character bursts on Twitter.

Why do they do this? Because the conversation just might lead to a connection request, a new follower, a new subscriber. Because the conversation might lead the initial sharer to seek out the content of the secondary sharer. And if that content smart and savvy, all the better. A new content resource can be added to your curation system.

And when you share the content of your new connection? There’s a chance to continue the conversation. Deepen the connection. Maybe even build a long-lasting mutually beneficial relationship! A relationship that leads to collaborative partnerships that might just bring in a buck or two!

The Tools Aren’t The Tools In This Scenario!

If the title above is confusing, it’s because you’re not thinking of this alternate definition of a tool!

Used with understanding and the proper intent and purpose, marketing tools, especially those that automate the delivery of content we’ve created and curated, make for better marketing.

Because when you can save time on the delivery, you can spend MORE time on the conversations!

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!

When Social Media Starts To Smell Not So Fresh!

When Social Media Starts To Smell Not So Fresh!

I know, I know … what a title to start off a new year! It screams of snark and sass. But it’s actually a topic I’ve been toying with for a while.

The more I’ve thought it over, the more I felt it needed to be written. And, as I began writing it, I realized there were two ways I could go with it.

Let’s dive right in to the topic, but you might want to light a scented candle, first!

Stop Being A Social Media Sycophant!

That’s right people, I’m talking about digital butt kissing. Brown nosing. Sucking up. Kowtowing. Bootlicking.

I see way too many social interactions tainted by the temptation to grab audience share by grabbing hold of the nether-cheeks of an influencer, then smooching for all smooching’s worth.

YUCK!

While I’m sorry about the graphic image that may be making you want to carve out your eyeballs with the nearest sharp object, I’m not sorry about sharing this sentiment.

I’m not talking about real mentor/mentee relationships that might appear to be out of balance, when, in fact, they really aren’t. These relationships involve industry leaders paying it forward and choosing to give back by taking an interest in an up and comer.

Social isn’t about you getting all you can from those with a bigger audience. It isn’t about seeing your name in the shiniest digital lights (the elusive lists that flourish online at this time of year).

In case you need a reminder, social is about real relationships. Real relationships require balance. Brown nosing to such an extreme topples this balance and leaves you looking like a social climber, rather than a valued resource and smart connection.

Can You Smell That Enormous Ego?

So, you made it on one of those best of or year end lists? That’s awesome. I actually mean that, it’s a no snark, sass-free statement!

It certainly feels good to be recognized by your peers and your audience. You’ve obviously worked really hard to make a name for yourself, to create a strong presence and share a message with meaning.

Ahhhhh, but there’s the rub. When you start to believe the hype of your own presence above the message(s) you choose to share, you’ve been bitten by the ego monster, the ME monster.

I’ve seen it happen soooooooooo many times. A peer I once appreciated for their resolve to create real connections and build long and lasting relationships deservedly makes a splash and gets named to one of those lists.

Will he or she use that nod of recognition and clout to continue to further the social smarts and savvy that earned them the honor? While I always hope so, on several occasions I’ve been sadly let down.

Too Big For Their Britches

They stop thanking their audience for sharing their articles. They start to think it’s their due as a “big timer” in the social sphere.

All of a sudden they stop sharing anything except their own articles, no matter how old and outdated.

Some even create a relevant hashtag, something that showcases his or her own content, then fill their feed with that hashtag over and over and over again. Until it begins to lose meaning amidst the stench of a sadly overinflated ego.

Let’s Sweeten Social In 2015!

Let’s all get back to basics and scour that stink from social media marketing as we dive into a new year full of promise and potential.

Let’s remember that we can be proud of our accomplishments, those noted by others and, more importantly, those noted in our own minds and crossed off our own checklists.

But, it’s absolutely possible to take pride without pandering to some new sense of self-importance. Tell your self it’s important to remember social is a relationship. What does your audience see? What do your peers see?

Step away from that looking glass or reflective pool that shows only you and your trumped up sense of superiority, Narcissus. If you’re familiar with the myth, you know the ending is anything but sweet smelling.

Will you continue to walk the talk in 2015?