You’re Not The Social Media Silverback!

You're Not The Social Media Silverback!

Have you ever been involved in a discussion, via a social media channel – maybe in a Twitter chat or in a Google+ post, when a single party decides they’re running the show and will slap down any detractors?

If you haven’t experienced this, you’re lucky. And I dare say your jig is up. It will happen soon.

I’ve coined a phrase for that type of behavior: Social Media Silverback Syndrome


noun sil·ver·back ˈsil-vər-ˌbak
: an older adult usually dominant male gorilla having gray or whitish hair on the back

In gorilla society, the silverback rules all. He decides the pecking order. He decides where the group sleeps at night, where they go in the morning to forage and he gets to mate with all of the ladies.

The silverback rules with an iron fist, and he’s quick to raise the fist at any signs of dissent in the ranks. He chases and chastises those that don’t do his bidding in a timely fashion.

For the silverback to fall a more dominant male must beat him in battle.

Unlike gorilla society, the silverback isn’t always the oldest, strongest, most dominant (has the most followers, the most shares, etc.) member of the group.

Social media silverback behavior is showcased by men and women alike. Young and old, big followings and small.

Leave Your Alpha Male (Or Female) Attitude At The Door!

Don’t reprimand those you feel are beneath you in the social order. You’re not the dominant male (or female) of Google+ or any other social channel.

It’s perfectly A-OK hunky dory for you to disagree with a post or discussion topic. It’s not at all acceptable for you to intimate that any individual taking part in the dissenting side of the discussion, “doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

Your opinions aren’t facts, even if you believe you have the numbers to back them up. Opinions are often about feelings and personal preference. You’re allowed your feelings, I’m allowed mine. We may not share the same feelings. And that’s okay.

It’s not okay to tell someone their opinion, their feeling, is incorrect, outdated or stupid. Especially in a public forum. This kind of chest beating bravado has no place in a social media discussion.

NOTE: This advice goes both ways. If you post up a topic for discussion, you should expect just that. And discussion often brings around dissenting opinions. Don’t post an opinion if you’re not ready and willing for that opinion to face some friendly debate.

Want to try to sway them, though – like you, they’re adamantly standing their ground? Take it private!

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dissenting opinion. I love the chance to openly debate. Go ahead and engage in discussion, even heated discussion. But you’ve got to be open, honest and direct. And you must be able to agree to disagree!

And here’s one just for the fellas! Stop correcting the womenfolk when they use “feminine” terminology which you feel “degrades” your vaunted and lofty position within your industry.

Twitter Chat Tyrants NOT Wanted!

I see this kind of behavior far too often in Twitter chats. A single individual attempts to shine the spotlight on themselves, struggling to show themselves the expert on any and all topics discussed.

It doesn’t matter that, generally speaking, the chat organizers have invited a specific individual to play the role of expert. These tweetchat tyrants are intent on one thing – proving that they are more knowledgeable than anyone else taking part in the discussion.

They create their own mini-chat, usually drawing a small handful of attendees away from the intended discussion, trying to add to their own clout and following.

Seriously? Stop it!

Want your chance to shine as the undisputed champion of the chat? Ask the chat owner if you can co-host a future chat. Dive into the discussion and embrace the group, don’t detract from it.

Corrections Can, And Should, Be Shared Privately

Occasionally you’ll see a typo, improper word choice, a link to an outdated stat or some other small error.

If your intent is to help, then it’s perfectly okay to point them out, PRIVATELY.

Take it to a DM, PM or to an email message.

It’s time to put the hammer down on the power play that is the public address of simple errors.

Beware, Too, The Marketing Matriarch

Stepping away from the gorilla example, I want to look at elephant society briefly.

Elephant packs (are they packs?) are led by an elder female. It is her job to memorize the paths to watering holes and places to forage for food. Survival of the pack depends on her getting this right.

Social media packs are different. It’s not simply survival of the fittest. It’s about adapting to the lightning fast changes in reach and engagement and understanding what works for your specific audience.

Occasionally you’ll see the marketing matriarch. This is the old school influencer, holding on tight, with both fists – and possibly her teeth, to past influence and marketing mojo, despite that fact that all around her (or him, though matriarch and male aren’t a match) have moved on. Even more occasionally these matriarchs stand their ground by calling out anyone and everyone that disagrees with them, throwing around the overused and very abused  “hater” moniker.


If you can’t stand the idea of new ways and new mediums, I dare say a career in social media wasn’t a smart choice. While it’s fine to stick to your guns if they work for you, it’s not fine to put under fire anyone who simply dares to disagree.

How Do You Handle Discussion Dynamics?

Strong opinions and social media marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly! Have you ever gotten into a heated debate or discussion? Have you ever felt bullied or slapped down?

It happens to all of us, sadly.

But if you can hang in and remember that opinions are like a-holes, you’ll be able to finish the “fight” with aplomb. Simply state that it’s time to agree to disagree and you can hold your head high!

Social Sharing: Reduce Rants When You Actually Read!

Social Sharing: Reduce Rants When You Actually Read!

I just got an email, from a “sad” marketer, sharing their sorrow after the accusations and not-so-nice comments they received upon sharing an article that didn’t actually convey their opinions and beliefs.

My initial thought? That happens.

Then, as I continued to read the tale of woe, I realized the “sad” marketer hadn’t actually read the article. She chose to share it based on the title and the image, then unplugged for the weekend. She came back to a shit storm in her comments.

My second thought? Sounds like she got what she deserved!

When You Share By Rote, You Get Rants!

There’s a reason that click bait has become a buzzword. Titles tempt us. They also, far too often, fail to deliver on the idea once you get past the title and into the meat of the read.

To suss this out, though, one must ACTUALLY read the article.

I think we need to coin a new buzzword, or buzz activity might be a more correct moniker … share bait. It’s the title and feature image that screams, SHARE ME.

When social sharing becomes a compulsion to share for the sake of sharing, rather than the careful selection of suitable reads for your peers and prospects, you’ve got a problem!

Can You Back Up The Share?

Consider this. Some of those who see what you share in your feed are going to take action. They might give you a favorite  or like (also not a smart thing to do without ACTUALLY reading that “favorite” content), they might share it too, and they might comment!

Here’s where things can get sticky. If you get called out for the share and you haven’t actually read the article, you’ll get egg (or something worse) on your face my friend.

Being prepared to back up what you share on social media is a topic that should be discussed more openly and often. It goes along with the trust and transparency that have long been lauded as crucial to the social experience.

How long do you think your audience will trust you if you fail to vet and verify the value of the information you’re sharing?

Unsure Share? Don’t Unplug!

The scenario I shared detailing the woes of the “sad” marketer was only made more untenable when she shared a dodgy read and then unplugged for the weekend.

If you read and can relate, before you share, you’ll probably not have any issue. But you might still share a “hot button” article that gets your following a little hot under the collar.

If you’ve taken the time to read and can smartly formulate a response that allows you and your readers to agree to disagree on the specific issue. No read, no real way to get away without admitting you screwed up!

You can’t wander away and leave a potentially hot topic on your social space. You wouldn’t leave candles burning and then leave the house for a three day weekend. You’d worry about fire. Why would you leave a shared article to ignite on your unmonitored social platforms?

Read, Relate & Reap Benefits … Not Rants

Don’t bust out the tired, but tempting, excuse that you’re just TOO BUSY to take the time to read what you share.

It takes minutes to read an article. There’s no measuring the amount of time it will take you to regain the trust of an audience you alienate with a stupid share.

Ever faced the fire after a poorly perceived share? How did you handle the blowback?

Busy Is Just A Buzzword …

Busy Is Just A Buzzword ...

Have you ever met someone who constantly calls on you to lament or laud the fact that he/she is perpetually busy? These individuals just never have any spare time to smell the roses, to spend time with family and friends, to take a few seconds to sit down and simply savor the fruits of their labors.

I’ve known quite a few of these people. And funnily enough, I found many of them to be the least productive people I’ve ever met, despite their constant hustling and bustling and busy buzzing.

Busy Is NOT A Badge Of Honor!

Busy is, plain and simple, a buzzword. But it’s one that needs to be retired, and fast.

Busy is often incorrectly linked to productivity. Actually, the two terms are mutually exclusive and here’s why I say that:

Busy is about bustle and bragging. How often do we hear certain individuals boasting about how very busy they happen to be?

Yet, if you actually look for the fruits of their very busy labors, you’ll find the harvest surprisingly small, the payload never delivered.

Productivity is tied to things actually happening, projects delivered, deadlines met. You know, actual shizz getting done.

When Busy Becomes An Excuse …

Ever called on someone to take part in a round-up post, a Twitter chat, or possibly an interview for your blog or podcast? Of course you have. It’s part of being connected, being influential and part of creating and maintaining our online reach.

I’m willing to be that you’ve often been turned down with the phrase, “I’m sorry, I’m just too busy to take part right now.”

Here’s the deal. We could all easily use the buzz of busy as an excuse, but it’s a cop out. All business owners, if you fine it down, are busy. We all, every day, engage in the activities entailed in the management, maintenance and growth of our brands and business.

Thus, using busy as an excuse is bogus. Entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, even the lowest of lowly underlings can, and DO, make time for tasks, projects and ideas that matter.

Thus, when you tell me you’re too “busy” to take part, rather then providing a legitimate reason for your lack of excitement when asked to be included, I can only assume my request really doesn’t matter to you. And that’s A-OK hunky dory. but I’d really rather you just bust out and say so, instead of hiding behind the cult of busy.

It’s Time To Bust The Busy Myth!

At some point, in the annals of marketing history perhaps, being “busy” must have reaped rewards and brought a bounty of benefits to those who put it to use.

Today, not so much. It’s a term that’s been used, abused and, when used today, can cause groans, grumbles and snorts of derision.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Busy is simply bluster, a bid to buoy importance. It can’t be measured with benchmarks.” quote=”Busy is simply bluster. It’s a bid to appear more bountiful, a bid to buoy clout and importance. Busy can’t be measured with benchmarks.”]

Focus too much on appearing busy and you’ll fail to take part in the activities that can actually benefit you, your business, your brand AND, especially, your paying clients!

Busy Works For Bees, Not Brands & Businesses

It’s time to realize that tossing around busy brings little benefit to your brand or business.

At best, it makes you appear a little boastful, as if you’re bragging. At worst, it can appear as if your brand and business fails to find the requests and queries of customers and peers all that important in the greater scheme of things.

Have you ever been brushed aside with the buzz and bluster of busy? How did it make you feel?


Thank You: Appreciation And Acknowledgment Rock!

Thank You: Appreciation And Acknowledgment Rock!

We all like to feel that our thoughts, our actions, our concerns, our ideas and more … are appreciated and acknowledged. We hope that our questions will receive an answer. We all just want to feel like we’ve been heard and that a response is on the way.

I’m taking a slightly different direction with this week’s Music & Marketing article, looking at the idea of appreciation and acknowledgment and how much they both matter to customer experience and social media satisfaction.

Complaints, Queries & Kudos All Require Response

No matter the method nor the motivation for any social media mention, it needs to be acknowledged. Be it a customer complaint, a warranty concern, or a thank you for great customer service online or in store, it deserves a response.

I’m often surprised how quickly what could be an ugly and disruptive social media complaint can be diffused with a smartly stated show of appreciation regarding the problem.

Acknowledgment and appreciation of the frustration felt when a product or service doesn’t work as promised is a key part of customer service and experience. I’ve seen such situations escalate quickly, becoming ugly, spreading ill will for brands and businesses across the social space.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Taking a few moments to craft a response specific to the initial customer query or complaint is crucial. Canned, copied and pasted, thanks for contacting us messages aren’t going to cut it.

Specific complaints deserve specific acknowledgment. As do specific questions, product and service reviews and even congratulatory messages.

Thank Those You Already Know, Too!

Once a connection is made there’s a tendency to feel safe and secure that nothing can cause a disconnect. But you can’t take your connections, your followers, your online friends for granted.

I’m not saying I expect my connections to thank me every time I mention them. That would be excessive, especially since many of my connections are prolific publishers and often create killer content worthy of sharing.

It’s not about allowing thanks to take over your day. It’s about showing that you’re listening.

Even a quick favorite shows you’ve noticed a share. Being social is about more than scheduling shares. You actually have to engage and even interact with your following. What better way than to thank someone for sharing your articles. It’s simple and it’s smart!

You never know when a connection could lead to a collaboration, right?

No Dead End Thanks In The Social Sphere

It might seem small and insignificant, but each thank you can do so much to enhance your social status. A quick favorite, like, share, pin or repost can be such a boost to an individual’s day.

Just as you sharing another author’s article shows you appreciate their writing skill, your thanks when someone shares your content shows that you appreciate their skills as a content curator and sharer of smart and savvy information.

Ditch The Robotic And Go For Real!

Automation can be a great thing. It can certainly make things like sharing curated content a breeze. But, despite some statements to the contrary, you can’t automate appreciation or acknowledgment. Not without it appearing scheduled, automated and a bit robotic.

Responses targeted to real people, with real needs, are always appreciated than automated blips with anonymous initials tacked on to make it appear we’re speaking to an actual human being.

Ever Feel Unappreciated Online?

Your turn. Ever feel like the authors of the content you’re sharing just don’t get the reality that you’re actually helping them, not just yourself, when you share their content?

How do you show appreciation when you’re mentioned online? How do you acknowledge customer complaints vs. client kudos?

Has failing to acknowledge a social media or other online mention ever come back to bite you in the butt?

The Truly Successful Don’t Slap You Across The Face With It!

The Truly Successful Don't Slap You Across The Face With It!

I’m soooooooooo busy. I barely have time to breathe. I don’t know how I’m going to fit that in.

We’ve all heard it. The busy buzz. If it were a dance it would be called the pseudo-success strut.

Because, let me tell you something, the truly successful don’t have time to pander to the public by repeatedly touting how very busy each minute keeps them.

Success Screams Silently

I decided to move this topic to the top of my publishing queue after a smart, and somewhat snarky, discussion took place on Daniel Newman’s (Broadsuite, Millennial CEO) Facebook wall.

Daniel’s premise? It’s easily summed up with this short snippet from his Facebook post:

… over the years, the people that have impressed me the most have never had to report their amazingness.

Innovators Park Ego At The Curb!

When you’re involved in a project, even one for which you are getting paid, the end is supposed to be a solution, an end to a pain point, the fulfillment of a need. Not accolades. Not applause. Not even a write-up on the Interwebs.

While solutions are sought, that must be the focus. How can you truly innovate, or even put together a carefully crafted fix, when your current intent isn’t on the delivery of that solution.

When your intent is to increase your own perceived clout and increase your own sense of importance, you’re no longer focused on your client or the collaboration.

When you seek only innovative ways to implement your own importance you’re no longer putting client needs first.

Wins Are Wonderful …

And you should celebrate them. You should share them with your followers and peer group.

Trust me, I hate losing as much as the next guy. We all want more wins than losses on our score card.

But real winners are those who learn from the losses. Real winners can take a hit without whining and don’t have to flaunt every point scored. Real winners dance only briefly in the end zone and get back to the game before a ref has to throw a flag for excessive celebration.

Real winners know that a single touchdown isn’t enough if you don’t get back into the game and keep playing.

I’m not really sure how I managed to tie this to football, when I generally hit on tennis or mountain biking when I compare business to sport. But it worked, so I guess I’ll just roll with it!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Real winners, especially in business, don’t flaunt every point scored!” quote=”Real winners, especially in business, don’t have to flaunt every point scored!” theme=”style4″]

Showcase Rather Than Shout From The Rooftops

Building a portfolio that showcases your talents and successes seems a smarter use of your time and energies, don’t you think?

[clickToTweet tweet=”When you too often shout your successes, you become part of the noise.” quote=”When you too often shout your successes, you become part of the overwhelming noise.” theme=”style4″]

But when you carefully showcase your successes, keeping in mind that the real success came when a problem was solved, you have the opportunity to create a connection with others currently dealing with that same problem.

Subtle Succeeds!

C’mon, we’re all in this to win. To win clients, win some extra dollars in our wallet, and occasionally even an award. But when it comes to social wins, dare we say social sales, it’s all about subtlety, careful nuance, and the proper intent and purpose.

If your intent and purpose is to toot your own horn, so be it. But eventually shouters find that those around them will plug their ears and seek out a more subtly tuneful song.

Shout Or Showcase?

Which makes you seek out a connection? Which have you found to be more successful as you build your own business and brand?


Web Design Wonderful: Make It Legible, Please!

Web Design Wonderful: Make It Legible, Please!

Last week it was my absolute pleasure to share my smarts (and some of my snarks) with the savvy band of social smarties that make up the #BizHeroes crew. I had a BLAST taking part in the Twitter chat, which takes place once a week (you should TOTALLY check it out).

While many find keeping up with the fast and furious sharing of ideas during a these chats on Twitter a little daunting, I find them fabulous. The fast, dare I say frantic, nature means people have to put their thoughts out there, and they do. I get so many article ideas from these chats, even when I’m not the “special guest.”

Web Design Wonderful: My New Wednesday Article Series

My Twitter chat topic was to be:

Website Wonderful? Starts With Well-Planned!

Of course, before we even launched the chat the topic was tweaked a bit and we focused on both planning and what makes a website “good.” Of course “good design” is a subjective term and what’s beautiful to one set of eyes might be a visual marketing monstrosity in the eyes of another.

While I’m not a fan of blanket statements, and I do not believe in one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to web design, I think there are some almost universally appreciated (note I didn’t say accepted, there’s a difference) design DOs that can and should be applied in almost any web design project.

Let’s Laud Legible!

You know I love to visit when I get feisty!

[lej-uh-buh l]

1. capable of being read or deciphered, especially with ease, as writing or printing; easily readable.

2. capable of being discerned or distinguished.

Stop Making Me Squint!

My eyesight is still good enough that I don’t require reading glasses, until … I come to a website that’s got tons of copy, possibly even GREAT copy, but it’s so ding-danged small I’m forced to squint.

Don’t force your site visitors to grab a set of binoculars or a magnifying glass in order to see what your site says!

Bump up that type size. 10 and 12 pixels won’t cut it anymore. I’m considering bumping mine up another notch, honestly, and I’m already embracing 17 px!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Stop making me squint! #webdesign that’s wonderful? It’s legible!” quote=”Stop making me squint! Web design that’s wonderful? It’s legible!” theme=”style4″]


Get In Line!

Go ahead and add some space between the lines, too, party peeps. Give your content a little room to breathe. It’s one of the first things I check when I’m asked to audit a site, and it’s often the most overlooked little bit of customization that can really rock your visitor experience.

My line spacing is pretty aggressive, at 1.8. Most of the time it’s left at the default, which is anything from 1.1 to 1.3, depending on the theme used or the custom CSS set up by the developer.

I say bump it up a notch. Crowded content can make your site appear cluttered and hard to scan.

Use Your Headers!

Speaking of scanning, a lot of your site visitors will skim quickly, dipping their toe into the pool of your site experience, before settling in for a good swim.

If you’ve been reading this article, and not scanning or skimming, you’ll note that I shared two definitions for legible. The second definition had to do with being able to discern.

When a site visitor is scanning your copy or one of your article, you want to help them discern that the topic is valuable and meets their needs. One great way to do so is to make use of your headers. Sized properly, and with a little color for pop, a carefully crafted set of headers within your longer body copy allow those with less time to decide if your full read is worthy of a few extra minutes.

The longer you can keep them on your site, the more likely that visitor is to take some sort of action, be it adding your site to their RSS feed, signing on for regular updates, or possibly taking you up on your latest offer.

Your Turn!

Of course, there’s another side to legibility, and that has to do with typeface (font) selection. But we’ll leave that for a future Wednesday!

It seems such a small thing, but a couple quick fixes to enhance legibility can really enhance the experience of your site visitors. Bumping up the font size and line spacing, and carefully crafting a few headers doesn’t require mad coding and development skills either. It’s web design DIY that could add to ROI.

It’s all about the experience. Can you afford not to make the small changes that make or break the experience of your site visitors?

Social Sharing: I’d LOVE To Share Your Content, But …

Social Sharing: I'd LOVE To Share Your Content, But ...

You just don’t make it easy for me to do so!

It’s something I come across every day, no exaggeration. I comb through my RSS feeds, my Twitter lists, my Google+ circles, looking for some really interesting content to share. I like to share items that haven’t been shared a million times before, unique perspectives from authors with smaller followings like mine.

It never fails. I’ll come across a gem, a jewel in the crown of my content curating efforts, something I’m excited about sharing. And I end up with my head in my hands.

Social Sharing Drives Content Marketing

So, with that in mind, why do you make it so hard for your readers to effectively share your carefully crafted content?

[clickToTweet tweet=”You worked hard to craft that killer #content. So make it EASY to SHARE! #SMM” quote=”You worked hard to craft that killer content. So make it EASY to SHARE!” theme=”style4″]


Notice that I use the word “effectively.” Of course I have various Google Chrome extensions that allow me to share more easily. But that’s all about me. Don’t you want your content shared well.

I get it, any shares at all seem great. But if you take a little time make social sharing easier for your readers, you also make social sharing more effective when it comes to showcasing your brand.

Social Sharing Buttons Require Set-up!

You can’t just load your latest social sharing plug-in of choice and consider it done. You have to take the time to set up those sharing buttons properly, so that the sharing experience is easy and provides value on both sides of the share.

What’s entailed in smart social media sharing? I’m so glad you asked. I’ve compiled a short and simple list of to-dos and absolutely do nots.

  1. Do NOT make me search for your Twitter handle! Make sure your social sharing buttons allow you to set them up so that your Twitter handle is automatically part of the tweet when the social sharing button is clicked. That mention matters!
  2. Do NOT auto-populate a shared tweet, or any other kind of social media share, with a glut of hashtags and keywords and no real description of the content being shared. Make those characters count, even when they’re limited!
  3. DO add an appropriately sized and well-designed image to that article so that it’s ready for sharing via Pinterest boards. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve so wanted share a great read on one of my boards, but can’t because there’s no image to pin!
  4.  Naked links need not expect sharing! DO add some context to the social share. Good sharing plug-ins allow you to add descriptions catered to the specific platform on which you intend to share the rocking read.
  5. Do NOT make me “edit down” for Twitter sharing. You know you get 140 characters or less. Don’t make me edit out 50+ characters! I’m just not going to do it, no matter how good the read.
  6. DO let me share where I’d like to share. Facebook might be your FAVORITE, and Twitter might be a contender. But I might want to share to Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest. Too much streamlining of your social sharing options isn’t smart!

My Weapon Of Choice?

My snark and sass, of course. Oh, wait a minute. We’re talking about smart social sharing.

I’ve tried A LOT of social sharing plug-ins and tools. Let me say that again …


Some worked better than others, but none really did everything I wanted them to do, until …

I went ahead and followed my gut and the recommendations of my peers and ponied up the dough for Social Warfare. It works, it works well and it’s so well designed and developed.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what a few other folks have to say!

Is This Social Sharing Plug-in Better Than Chocolate?

How Social Warfare Will Skyrocket Your Shares!

In A Nutshell? Make It Easy To Share AND We Will!

You worked hard to craft that killer content. But hitting publish isn’t the end goal. You want that killer content read and your get more reads when you get more shares.

Simple enough, right?


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!

Stop Asking Stupid Social Media Questions!

Stop Asking Stupid Social Media Questions!

We’re often told that there are no stupid questions. In general, I agree. Sadly though, when it comes to those grasping to wrangle every possible bit of reach and engagement possible, I’m forced to beg to differ.

Please, if you truly want to do what’s right by your audience and by your business, STOP asking ridiculously inept and inarticulate social media questions in a cheap bid to get the easy answer in order to up your numbers and make it look like you’re the king or queen of engagement.

Dare I Share A Stupid Social Media Question?

You bet your sweet bippy I’m going to share several that I’ve seen shamelessly slathered across my various social media feeds.

1. What’s the best social media platform for a beginner just starting out?

Of course this was followed with the expected list of various social platforms. The problem? There’s no context to the question.

What’s the beginner after? Is the beginner going to post as him/herself or as a brand/business? If for a brand, what does that brand do/sell and what types of buyers is the brand looking to reach?

Is the beginner a writer, well versed in the well-used word? Or is the beginner a more visual person, capable of creating and sharing vibrant thoughts and concepts through graphics and photos?

There’s no correct answer to the question posted above. Without the proper context and background information any response is solely based on the preference of those providing the answer. The context is necessary to even begin to come up with an answer that will work to build brand recognition, help create an audience and stay true to the intent and purpose of the brand’s message.

Please, May I Have Some More?

2. What are you using to read this post?

This one seems to crop up at least once a week. I follow a lot of social media marketers. Most of the time, that’s a good thing, as I get to read some great articles and take part in some smart and savvy discussion. It’s not so great, however, when these “gems” get posted in the name of increasing reach and engagement.

Rarely, dare I say never, is the answer to this lamentably lame question ever actually tallied or totaled and presented in a white paper or research article. It’s simply asked in a bid to get a quick answer.

An answer that does little to:

  1. educate/entertain your audience
  2. showcase your expertise
  3. alleviate pain points
  4. create a call to action
  5. lead the way to your sales funnel

Any answer to this question is simply that, an answer. Tick the check box for one comment on your post. Woo hoo, don’t you feel successful? Of course you don’t!

Pointless Doesn’t Pay The Bills!

Trust me, I get the idea behind asking a simple question in a bid to bolster conversation when your reach and engagement rates plummet after an algorithm change.

But simple questions can still stay true to your brand message, your carefully crafted persona, your business intent and purpose.

But, but, but … you ask silly random questions to the guests on your podcast! This is true, but I’ll explain how it’s different.

Those random questions are asked of a single person, our interviewee, to round out our show on a fun note. They’re not a bid to rev up our reach. If you’re listening to the podcast, you’re doing so because you’re interested in what the guest and/or the two hosts have to say.

Now, if on the podcast Facebook page, you saw this:

3. Chocolate or Vanilla?

That right there? Stupid question. A bid for easy engagement. In no way does knowing which of the two flavors you prefer benefit a business. Nor does it benefit your audience.

Will the answers to that question help you with a future article or upcoming product launch? Not unless you’re a baker, ice cream maker or own a candy counter.

Create Engagement That Continues To Create!

You can ask seemingly simple, fun and easy to answer questions that benefit your brand and your audience.

If, for example, I ask my social media audience about their current favorite bands, I am looking for answers that might prompt a future Music & Marketing article.

I could also ask, if one were forced to choose between two TERRIBLE social media titles, diva or guru, which would be chosen and why. And guess what? An article about taking care with titles is born! The answers nurture the topic and allow me to engage in purposeful conversation with my audience. Even while we’re all having a bit of fun.

There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun on Fridays, or keeping things simple on a slow Saturday or Sunday. But when you use the stupid question tactic too often, you’re setting yourself on a dangerous path.

[clickToTweet tweet=”When you chase reach, rather than relevance, you’ll lose audience seeking authenticity.” quote=”When you chase reach, rather than relevance, you’ll eventually lose audience that’s looking for authenticity, awareness, education AND entertainment.”]

It’s certainly not easy, but the best brands strike a balance. You can, too.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Send the stupid questions to File 13 and create conversation that converts!” quote=”Send the stupid questions straight into File 13 and start conversations that will help you continue to create engaging content.” theme=”style1″]

And, in case you care, I’m a vanilla kind of girl.