Be Nice To Your Bottom Line: You CAN Say No!

Be Nice To Your Bottom Line: You CAN Say No!

A recent Facebook conversation, with a large and well-meaning group, originating on Brian Fanzo‘s wall, prompted this article.

I’ve often written about the value of this very short and succinct word: No. But it seems there’s a rather misguided notion that in order to be nice you can’t say it. I find that frightening.

Why?

Because sometimes saying no is the nicest thing you can do. For a prospect, for your client, for your business, for yourself and for your bottom line.

You should say NO when:

  1. You don’t have the time do a task or job well.
  2. You don’t have the skill set to do a task or job well.
  3. You have to cobble together a solution because you don’t have access to the tools to get it done right.

The preceding examples are pretty cut and dried. But there will be times when it’s harder to suss out that saying no is actually in the best interest of all parties involved.

When did being nice become the end all, be all? When did being nice rise above being smart and professional? You can be both. They’re not mutually exclusive.

You can, and should, be polite and professional when doing business. But that doesn’t always mean you need to be nice. Especially in a time when being nice is so often equated with giving away your smarts, your talents and your business acumen.

At some point you have to stop giving it all away.

When Free Loses Focus

One main premise of social media marketing, of “being” social, is that you share for free up to the point that your prospect trusts you enough to buy. The key phrase we must focus on in this idea is “up to the point.” There must be an end to the freebies, else you never create the invoice that adds dollars to your bank account.

Free creeps into business in many ways that must be combatted.

  • The pick your brain call, coffee, lunch
  • The free 15 minute consult that stretches to an hour
  • The scope creep on projects that involves increasing hours and effort, but not the project price

At this point nice needs to get the nod to leave the room. Because at this point, being nice is negatively impacting your bottom line.

When Nice Is Not-So-Nice

Consider this. Is it nice when you have to forego a planned family outing because you’ve spent hours you should have been dedicating to paying projects on free calls that resulted in no revenue?

Or consider this. Is it nice when you rush a client job, possibly not delivering your best work, because you’ve spent the last several hours having your brain picked by a “friend” who will get you lots of exposure?

Saying No Doesn’t Make You A Jerk!

There’s nothing inherently evil about these two little letters. Problems arise via perception of the delivery. You can say no and maintain a working relationship. You can say no and still be polite and professional. You can say no without hurting feelings.

You absolutely can be a nice person and still be a shrewd and savvy entrepreneur.

Nice guys (and gals) really do finish last if the act of being nice negatively impacts their bottom line. Paying the bills, feeding your family, and investing in the growth of your business must come before being nice simply for the sake of being nice.

What Do You Think?

Can you say no and still remain nice? Remain professional? Remain a smart and savvy entrepreneur?

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!

Dissenting Opinions Don’t Make Me A Dick!

Dissenting Opinions Don't Make Me A Dick!

And let me just add to my title for a bit, if you don’t mind.

My dissenting opinions don’t by default make me:

  • Stupid
  • Naive
  • Mean
  • Rude
  • Negative
  • Nasty
  • A Troll

I could probably add to that bulleted list with tens of other words, but that’s probably enough to get the point across.

That’s right party people. I can disagree with your article, your idea, your infographic, even your business model and still be a positive human being. I can even be your friend and confidante.

Positivity Passionistas Need To Practice What They Preach

I’m so tired of seeing people spouting off that you shouldn’t pay attention to the “jerks.”

Who exactly are these “jerks?” Anyone who disagrees with them, with their specific ideas, views or actions.

Let me tell you something, princess … that’s not positive or perky or powerful. In fact, the word I’d use to describe it is pathetic!

Calling someone out as a jerk for simply asking a question about your idea isn’t showcasing your positive nature and can-do attitude. It’s showing your petty side. The one that only wants pats on the back and accolades.

While both accolades and huzzahs can certainly be social, the main function that most of us hope to achieve with our social shares is conversation.

Opinions absolutely are like a**holes, we ALL have one. But we absolutely don’t have to act like an a**hole when we share your opinion. And we don’t have to react like an a**hole when someone does share an opinion that doesn’t match our own.

Dissenting Opinions Make For Open & Honest Discussion

While recording a podcast episode with Ian Anderson Gray, this very topic came up.

He actually likes it when what he publishes garners a dissenting opinion or two.

If the only conversations you choose to allow must involve a consensus that your idea is the only idea, that your way is the only way, you’re actually closing yourself off to a lot of ideas that might enhance and strengthen your own.

Look at all of the great leaps forward in science and technology. Would any have happened if all the scientist naysayers decided they didn’t want to be a jerk by sharing their new theory? I’m guessing Steve Jobs would respond with a resounding N-O.

But, I Didn’t Ask For “Your” Opinion!

Yeah, actually you did. As soon as you clicked on the publish button you put your article, your idea, your graphic, your slides, etc. out for the world to see.

Leaving your comments section open and issuing a call to action to discuss just might get you … that’s right a discussion!

Do you honestly think that every reader of every article agrees with you absolutely, 100%, every time?

I can understand that you might get upset, and rightly so, if someone sharing a dissenting opinion calls you out harshly, calls you a name.

Wait, hang on a second, aren’t you actually the one engaging in name calling? Interesting.

Sugarcoating Is For Suck-ups And Sycophants

I don’t expect anyone to agree with me all the time. 24-7-365 agreement would be boring and pointless. How would any of us grow and evolve?

Every time I publish an article I know there’s the potential for pushback. And I welcome that pushback if it’s delivered in a calm, rational, based on facts and or experience, comment that opens up the opportunity for conversation.

I’ve seen that pushback from big names and small. And I’ve delivered my own pushback, again without worrying about the cachet and clout of the author. Even the big names out there are looking to converse. They don’t expect you to swallow everything they’re selling whole without asking any questions.

So, why should you expect that?

I’m often in the minority. And I’m fine with that. I learn something new with every dissenting opinion I read and choose to take in the spirit in which it was intended. A chance to engage in smart conversation.

My bestest digital gal pal and partner in podcast crime, Brooke Ballard sums it up:

… if you need a spoon full of sugar for the truth to go down, go watch Mary Poppins!

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?

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?

Connection Confession: You’re Really NOT All That!

Connection Confession: You're Really NOT All That!

I can already feel it. This could be it. This article just might be the one that lands me in more than a little trouble!

With a title like the one above, this article could go in so many different directions. But, in order to keep on topic, I’m going to focus on one key issue that I see far too often on Google+ and Twitter.

I got the idea for this article ages ago, after seeing Jimmie Lanley’s fantastic 12 Most article, 12 Most Crippling Mindset Hurdles on Google+. When I read the 12th mindset hurdle I wanted to clap out loud and pat Jimmie on the back for saying something I’d been thinking for quite some time.

But, since I don’t always flesh out my article ideas right away, I stewed on this one for a while. And the more I thought about it, the more I pondered several disturbing conversations from my past, on Twitter chats and in Facebook groups. And I knew I had to take it a step further.

Weird People Are Circling You?

So, someone new wants to make a connection with you? Great, that’s the basic premise behind having a presence on social media platforms. Connections that hopefully build and grow into relationships that provide the means for collaborative efforts or more.

But that newest connection? He’s weird and you just don’t like it.

What makes him weird? His name? The color of his skin? His native language. The very fact that it’s a him, as you’ll note I haven’t once mentioned a her?

I’m calling out bullshit!

Ever consider that the white bread American name you find so normal might be “weird” to him?

This is not something I see only amidst my digital marketing peers (just some of them, thankfully), although – sadly, I’ve seen way too many threads that discuss how horrible it is that weird men are trying to follow them or make a connection on Google+ or Twitter. When the same topic started cropping up from clients, especially those just starting out and trying to build connections and following, I knew I couldn’t let this article idea sit fallow any longer.

So, here’s the simple truth …

Ladies, You’re Not All That!

The Asian, Arab and African men trying to make a connection with you on Google+, Twitter, even Linkedin? They aren’t all bedazzled by your online charms. They aren’t all hoping to make you their beautiful American brides!

Shockingly enough, many of them have some of the same business interests that you do. You know, interests like marketing, social media, SEO, tech tools, start-ups, etc.

And while their connection attempts might not be perfect, that’s not an issue solely attributed to their sex and nationality. I’ve seen plenty of white, middle-America men and women send out generic connection requests on Linkedin, haven’t you?

Creepy isn’t defined by any race, nationality, creed or gender. Creepy is just creepy. And, being completely honest, the only creepy come-on I’ve ever received on Google+, or any other platform, came from a good old boy, straight out of America’s heartland. It was icky. GACK!

It’s Just A Connection!

As Jimmie so smartly stated in the article I linked above, you don’t have to return the connection if it feels off. You don’t have to add him to any of your circles and you don’t have to follow back on Twitter. You can easily ignore his connection request on Linkedin.

But consider why you’re doing it before you decide that the connection isn’t a good one. Does he share content you find relevant? Does he take part in some of the same groups and communities that you do? Could it be that he’s just a dude that shares some of your business and marketing interests? More often than not, I think, you’ll find that to be the case.

Are you really SO vain that you think that every male of a certain ethnicity wants to ask you out on a date? Honey, you’re really NOT all that and a bag of chips.

Marketing Moment: When Perfect Isn’t Plausible

Marketing Moment: When Perfect Isn't Plausible

It feels like every time I turn around I see another article touting top tips for crafting or creating “perfection.”

The topics range from creating the perfect blog title to setting up the perfect profile on specific social networks. Maybe it’s about the perfect time to post on Facebook or the perfect day and hour to send off your email newsletter.

Let’s Put Down Perfect!

My issue with these posts is the idea of perfection. The tips themselves are, more often than not, quite valuable, and when applied should bring some positive results. But the idea that there is a perfect profile or a perfect title that will reap serious rewards for everyone if they simply follow a formula is misleading at best and debilitating at worst.

Perfect is quite often subjective. Especially when applied to tasks or creations that are multi-faceted (although diamonds are multi-faceted and they can be perfect – WAIT … back on topic).

What’s perfect in my eyes, my thoughts, my ideas … well, it just might be flawed in yours. The same goes for your audience and how they perceive what you share, send, submit and publish.

The Wonder of What Works (And What Doesn’t)

I’m often amazed, even after engaging in social media marketing for so many years, when I’m completely wrong about how a post will “do.” Admit it, you’ve been there!

The article you thought would incite a riot of commentary and discussion goes over like a lead balloon. Never floats. Simply sits heavily until it loses all its air. Yes, I know the guys on MythBusters managed to float a lead balloon, but they’ve got a bunch of science knowledge and geeky toys that we don’t!

Then, the post you thought would generate a tiny bit of polite interest, a couple likes, maybe a share or two, erupts into huge debate and discussion.

Sometimes it can seem that there’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to what works!

Perfection Paralysis

There’s no governing body sharing a checklist for the perfect post or share. This means, too, that there are no points being awarded social media feeds for that perfect post or share. Except in our own minds.

If we get too stuck into the premise of perfect, we might find ourselves pausing too long before we take action. Planning for perfect, to me, is a form of analysis paralysis. We’re so focused on the crafting of perfection that we forget perfect is all in the eyes of the beholder. And our audiences are made up of a bevy of beholders, each with their own unique take on what’s tempting, topical and terrific.

Stop Deleting Imperfect Posts!

I know many social media marketers who, if a post doesn’t get enough engagement (enough is as subjective as perfect, actually), choose to delete the post. As if it never existed.

This saddens me. It’s quite robotic and inhuman. Duds happen to us all. They show that we’re engaging in a little trial and error testing, seeking out what actually interests those with whom we hope to converse and engage.

And, honestly, we all know when someone deletes a dud. What was once on the Internet is not soon forgotten simply by clicking the delete button!

Perfect Isn’t Plausible!

Perfect might very well be possible, but is it plausible? If we constantly strive for perfect, never allowing for some testing of what might fail, might we not miss out on something near perfect, just plain old good, that might really appeal to our audience?

Do you have a penchant for what you perceive to be perfect? Does it ever cause perfection paralysis, keeping you from publishing a post or sharing an idea across social media channels?

Social Smarts: Rant With Relevance

Social Smarts: Rant With Relevance

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, only occasionally poking your head out when Anton or Derek publish an article, completely missing everything I’ve ever published, you already know that I have a reputation for the rant.

rant

verb (used without object)

1. to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave.

verb (used with object)

2. to utter or declaim in a ranting manner.

Rant With Relevance

I’m not going to deny that I frequently rant, but my rants are delivered with careful intent and purpose. Ranting simply to rant soon loses any appeal.

A well intentioned rant is a vehicle to deliver knowledge. It’s a means for generating discussion. The intent is to entertain while you educate, in a punchy fashion. The purpose is to bring to light a mistake or misconception in the hope of enlightening the reader to other options.

If your rant isn’t relevant, meaning it doesn’t offer up solutions to the issue that caused it, you’re using the power rant with nefarious intent. You’re hoping only to draw eyes to your site. It’s click bait.

Your audience is smart, they’ll soon be on to such tactics and it won’t bode well for you.

Rethink that Rant!

Even with the proper intent and purpose behind the rant, they sometimes go awry.

You might want to reconsider your rant if:

1. It’s a topic already really well ranted by your peers and colleagues and your rant adds nothing new or interesting. There’s nothing like latching on to what’s popular and hanging on with a death grip. Wait, actually – that’s not such a good idea!

If it’s been said and done, it’s been said and done. Possibly better than you could say it yourself. Possibly by someone with a very large following that has spread it far and wide. If this is the case the discussion you are hoping to generate has already taken place. You’re simply rehashing what worked for someone else.

If you can’t add to the argument with your own unique perspective or offer a unique solution, you should rethink that rant!

2. The article upon which you’re ranting actually agrees with your opinion. Yeah, YIKES! We often see this in our busy, fast-paced industry.

I blame it on those who don’t actually read an article or post in full before they decide to go off. I also blame the pervasive need to craft incendiary titles. Titles which often have absolutely nothing to do with the final idea presented by an article or post.

Once again, we’re talking click bait, even though it’s often well intentioned.

It’s important that you read the ENTIRE article, from start to finish, before you decide to go off on a tear and show your audience that you’re ever so much smarter than the original author.

Failure to do so could leave you with egg on your face, as we’ve seen time and again that the provocative title doesn’t always match up with the content delivered.

3. It’s absolutely irrelevant to your audience. We get it, you’re a diehard. A fanatic. An enthusiast. From college football to healthy living, we all have something not tied to our business that we embrace effusively. And of course we want to bring our friends, family and peers on board.

The problem, though, occurs when we use our business vehicle (not the company van, I’m talking about your content delivery systems – your blog and social channels) to deliver our rants (or raves).

Our followers signed on or signed up hoping to receive our business expertise. While there’s nothing wrong with sharing some, even a lot, of who we are outside of our business, the focus must remain on the relevant topic. The topic which gained you the audience in the first place.

When we start using our business blog and social channels too often to champion causes and deliver rants relating to slights to our favorite TV show or soccer team, we shift the focus. If that focus gets hidden too deeply, we lose our hold on the very group seeking our expertise.

Have you ever seen a well intentioned rant go awry. What happened? Did our rant about rants manage to stay on topic?

 

Nail Your Message Before You Measure!

Nail Your Message Before You Measure!

ROI. Knowing what you’re getting in return for your efforts. It is important. However, it’s important to put measurement, metrics and ROI in their proper place in your marketing order.

Like anyone who works with social media, who has clients paying for social media services, I’m asked to provide some sort of measure of overall effectiveness. Of the implementation and continued update of social media systems and campaigns. And, of course, I do have means of tracking various types of engagement and reach. But, for the companies just launching their social media initiatives? I stress the importance of focusing on the message before worrying about the measurement.

The message, YOUR message, isn’t a single post or link. It’s not your bio, your logo, or even your “overall” brand. Your social media message is the engagement of your community, no matter how big or small.

Is your online community answering if you ask a question? Do you get a like when you post an informative article? Do you see a steady growth of fans, followers and/or connections without actively soliciting them? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then your social media project is working and on the right track.

In the long run, yes, you’re going to want to track more than the engagement of your fans and followers. You’ll want to track brand mention, say with Google Alerts. You’ll want to monitor your brand’s reputation on Yelp and other review sites. You’ll want to see who is linking to your blog and track and possibly engage those who comment on your blog posts.

Of course you hope to generate and nurture leads, with the intent to make a sale. You are running a business and success involves sales of your products and/or services. Failure to track leads and follow up on leads and win sales can only be followed by business failure. And that’s certainly not what you’re after!

But, not one of the many reports you can run will really makes sense if you haven’t first put in the time, research and creativity that makes social media a unique way to not only pass along your message, but also lets you build and maintain a loyal and dedicated brand following.

Have you dialed-in or nailed down your message? Is it uniform across all of your marketing channels and efforts?

Conversation: It Makes Social Sharing Even Better!

Conversation: It Makes Social Sharing Even Better!

You see it every day. Screen after screen after screen. A Twitter feed full of nothing but retweets. Kinda boring. Some might consider it over-automated. General consensus? Meh.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a well-intended and well-researched retweet. It can’t be said enough, caring is ABSOLUTELY sharing.

But you can’t let the character limit fool you. Twitter is a prime place for conversation. Conversations that deepen and increase connection are what social is all about. Yet, conversations appear to be on the decline. Especially on Twitter. Instead I’m seeing firehosing, blast posting activity – blasting retweets out one per minute in rapid succession, with little consideration to creating conversation around the content being shared. Conversation that leads to real connection!

We already know it’s common sense and sound social etiquette to thank someone when they share your content. But you can take one easy extra step to effectively build a better connection. And it’s so simple. Start a conversation along with the thank you. With only 140 characters total, including the @handle and your thank you, you have to keep it short and sweet. But it absolutely can be done!

How? So many ways:

  • Ask what struck a chord and caused the share
  • Ask the sharing handle if he/she is having a good week
  • Comment on the handle’s name or avatar
  • Ask a follow-up question that complements the shared post topic
  • If the account shows a location, ask a pertinent question – weather, festivals, etc.
  • Many profiles list hobbies? Share an interest in one? Start a conversation.
  • If you’re a caffeine addict like me, you can easily swap some coffee talk with other parties who share a love for beverage.

That’s only a VERY small sample of the numerous ways you can further the conversation. Spread your wings a bit and get creative!

I recently received a new follow notification from this handle: @PrksRecSocMedia. I immediately shot back a reply and asked if they were Ron Swanson fans. It will make sense if you watch Parks & Rec on NBC. The point? There’s no limit to the ways you can start and continue a conversation on Twitter.

Remember, if you start the conversation you have to monitor it for a response. Conversations are two way. If you make the effort to start a conversation, you must be prepped to engage in the conversation. These digital chats can lead the way to deeper connections, real engagement and even opportunities to collaborate!

All from something as simple as asking about the weather? You bet!

How often do you engage in back and forth conversation on Twitter? What’s stopping you?