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?

For The Love of Facebook …

For The Love of Facebook ...

You have to imagine that title being delivered with every last possible ounce of frustration and foreboding. Like when you say “for the love of Pete” when you’re at your wits end!

Facebook, It’s Not My Favorite …

I think anyone who knows me even the littlest bit, knows this. I haven’t hidden my frustrations and my lack of love.

But, while I think Facebook’s returns will only continue to diminish, even I have to admit there are still some returns to be gained, especially if you’ve already got a fairly established presence.

I just haven’t been willing, up to now, to put in the time, effort and dollars necessary.

Facebook Is Like Spinach

That one might throw your for a loop, but let me explain.

I’m a crazily picky eater. I’m the kind of girl that orders the same thing from a given restaurant because it’s the only menu item that doens’t include any of my NO WAY food phobias.

I know, it is good for me. I even find it pleasant from time to time, but it’s just not my go-to choice when I’m rooting around in the fridge!

I feel the same way about Facebook. I understand it’s absolutely got some digital marketing value and clout. I even have a little fun with it when I take the time to visit and interact with my friends. I even know it’s still a powerhouse for a couple of my clients.

But, when it comes to my own business, it’s fallen to the very bottom of a very long social sharing list.

Facebook Is Annoying!

I have to thank my husband for this header. He reminded me that spinach often gets stuck in your teeth and can be as annoying as all get out.

Facebook, my “friend,” you too are quite annoying. You’ve become a fair weather friend, a fickle tween. You can’t make up your mind, constantly flittering from algorithm change to algorithm change.

Your constant need to remain new, fresh and relevant is understandable. You want to retain your #1 spot, your hold on the title of social media juggernaut.

Facebook Still Has A Function

Lackluster inclusion of both spinach and Facebook has been my own choice. But it’s one that’s been on my mind for a while.

I struggle with anemia, so the added iron boost more spinach in my diet would add is certainly something to think about. And, as I work on creating a new information product based on visuals and visibility, the #VizVibe, I understand that I have to out Facebook and a concerted Facebook effort at the top of my social media marketing list.

Intent, Purpose & The Proper Pairings

It’s all about how you incorporate the things that you know are a good idea, but just aren’t all that jazzed about. I love smoothies, so pulverizing a couple handfuls of spinach along with the berries, cucumber and other fruit and veggie goodness just makes sense.

It’s the same with Facebook. Late last year I stated I was going to take a formulaic approach to Facebook. But I didn’t do so with any real intent and purpose. I wasn’t ready.

Maybe that will make it harder to regain any small hold I once held on Facebook. But it allowed me to spend time on building followings on the platforms that matter more to me and my message, Twitter and Google+.

Facebook, Like Spinach, Requires Proper Intake & Inclusion!

Much as I know that adding more spinach to my diet will make my anemia symptoms easier to keep under control (FYI, that whole Mallie never sleeps thing is tied to it), I also know that carefully and consistently adding Facebook back into my digital marketing and social media sharing mix can only be good for me.

How About You!

Any “good for you” actions you plan to take in the future? Let’s hold each other accountable!

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 …

A LOT!

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?

 

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.

 

 

4 Ways Ninjas And Digital Marketing Don’t Mix

4 Ways Ninjas And Digital Marketing Don't Mix

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

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

That title? Ninja, of course.

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

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

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

Covert

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

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

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

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

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

Mercenary

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

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

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

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

Infiltration

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

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

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

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

Lacking Strict Rules About Honor

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

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

Say No To The Ninja!

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

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

Your Turn!

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

Facebook: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It! But …

Facebook: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It! But ...

… but if it ain’t working, it’s A-OK hunky dory to jettison that *%$#^@!

Facebook’s Fantastic!

I have a couple of clients for whom Facebook is still an absolute dream. Their reach and level of activity, or engagement, has seen no drop. They continue to steadily add new page likes and continue to see positive results in weekly Facebook reports.

That’s certainly not the norm of late, when most marketers are seeing numbers continue to dwindle, especially since the calendar rolled over into 2015. My own, already less than impressive, Facebook functionality has continued to decline.

Why are these clients continuing to see so much activity. I can’t give you hard facts, but I believe several factors are working in their favor:

  1. Their content is targeted to a niche audience that can’t get that information anyplace else.
  2. There’s little duplicate content being shared, because the niche is so specific and targeted – so every post is an AHA moment, as that content hasn’t already been seen elsewhere.
  3. Both of the pages I’m referencing could be considered hobby pages. Each has an incredibly avid and sometimes volatile following. Passionate followers keep pages moving along, especially when discussion topics are shared.

For those marketers managing pages of the same type, with the same continued result, I say hooray! And don’t do a ding-danged thing differently. The old adage that things that aren’t broken need no fixing very aptly applies.

Frickin’ Facebook!

But there’s another side to this story, one that many marketers and page owners are facing, and will continue to face as the year progresses. Dwindling numbers, rock-bottom reach and diminishing return on investment.

What are those in that boat supposed to do?

Diversify

Hopefully you’ve never been one to put all of your eggs in one basket and you’ve been creating connections, engaging in conversation and building relationships on other platforms. Be it Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, what have you?

I’ve been seeing increased activity and killer conversation in the new year, especially on Twitter and Google+.

And if you haven’t spent much time elsewhere, it’s not too late. Get on board the Twitter train. Greet new connections on Google+. Finally devote that effort to Linkedin.

It’s never smart to rely on only one piece of rented digital real estate. You could be evicted at any time. And the landlords are in it for themselves, not for you!

Create A Fixed Formula

This is what I’ve chosen to do. I’ll be following a strict, formulaic posting schedule for the next several months. If Facebook continues to drop as a referral source, I’ll drop the frequency of my formulaic posts.

While I have any referral links from Facebook, I won’t drop it completely. But, I make no promises once those referrals dry up and blow away.

Don’t Let The @$$holes Get You Down!

There are several Facebook marketers out there telling you to quite whining, intimating that it’s your fault, that your posts are metrics marauders, that you’re an algorithm chaser. Here’s what I say to that:

Screw ’em!

I’m guessing you haven’t much changed your posting style and frequency all that much since you started on Facebook. I know I haven’t. I didn’t all of a sudden start posting multiple memes and monotonous, or moronic, motivational quotes.

Any changes made were those touted by Facebook themselves or the very same Facebook “experts” that are now calling many of us out as whiners.

It’s not whining to talk to your peers about what’s going on. It’s not whining to fess up and say you don’t have the budget to engage in daily post advertising or boosts.

It’s reality, and if those experts don’t like your reality, then they’re not really anyone you need worry about in future.

A Facebook Farewell May Be In Your Future

But it’s not going to knock you back and here’s why:

  1. You’re no dummy, you’ve invested time and dollars in the real estate you own, your website and mailing list!
  2. You’re no dummy, you’ve built relationships elsewhere! Facebook isn’t the only social media hot spot in town!
  3. You’re no dummy. You’re not listening to the guilt trips of the Facebook fan club. It works for them … YIPPEE. For you, not so much, and that’s not that big a deal. Certainly nothing that’s going to fell your business.
  4. You’re no dummy, you know exactly what works when it comes to your marketing dollar and you’re not about to throw it away. You’ll invest advertising dollars where you see the most benefit.

If you have to say goodbye to Facebook, it might be hard. You might feel a bit sad. But when one door closes, another opens. It might be time to see what’s behind door number two.

How About You?

What’s your plan of action when it comes to Facebook and 2015?

Negative Reviews: I’d Really Rather You Just Helped Me!

Negative Reviews: I'd Really Rather You Just Helped Me!

Dear Service Provider,

I’d like to share something with you. Something important. Something I really feel you should know.

I’d really rather do ALMOST ANYTHING else before I am forced to leave you a negative review.

While I’m known for the occasional ranting read and my sass and snark are oft mentioned before any of my other attributes, I’m really not all that into slamming your services online.

I’d rather not sign onto Yelp and leave a nasty review, or even a not so nasty review.

As a matter of fact, I’ve never left a review, negative or otherwise, on Yelp.

Provide The Services I’m Paying For!

While I’m sure a negative review might get you to stand up and take notice that I’m unhappy, I’d really prefer a speedy resolution.

This article was prompted by a heartfelt plea for understanding from a new digital marketing friend. She posted to Facebook, solely for the response of her friends and peer group, asking whether or a company with which she was having issues actually cared.

Let me reiterate, my friend didn’t tag the company in the complaint or blast them across social channels. She was merely looking for feedback and a little empathy from her trusted circle.

Hear me now service provider! Don’t make me complain to my friends. Because the next step up from there often involves my friends telling me how to take my complaints to the next level.

I’d rather you just help me when I create and send a support ticket. I’ve either already paid for your service, or I continue to pay for it on a monthly basis. When I have a problem I’d like to know I can contact you in order to effect a speedy and long-lasting resolution.

Don’t Make Me Jump Through Hoops!

I’m not a fan of the phone. But many people prefer it as a means of communication.

As much as I’d rather chat on Skype or via a Google Hangout, I actually post my phone number prominently in the header of my website, so that those with a preference for the phone can easily dial my digits as needed.

Far too many digital service providers don’t post numbers at all, or bury it so deep in their site that no customer can spare the time to actually dig it up.

I’d also like it if you actually posted an email address. Your forms are fine, but when I’m really having an issue, I’d like to know I have other options.

Last thing on this subtopic, if you’re going to post that you offer LiveChat, you need to actually have it operational, at the very least, during a business hours window.

Monitor Your Mentions Before We Melt Down!

I don’t really want to call out your company in 140 characters of scathing sass and snark.

I’d rather you actually monitor your Twitter feed to see if we’re mentioning issues. Then, once you see we’re sharing issues in tweets, I’d really appreciate it if you’d provide regular updates, via tweet, to keep me informed.

It would be great if you had a staffer that actually checked your Facebook messages from time to time. You see, I believe that you share negative feedback in private, thus I sent you a PM. Don’t make me take it public for all of the Facebook-o-sphere to see.

We’re Just Looking For A Little Help!

When we have an issue with your product, we’d like to think that you’re actually trying to feel some of our pain. So, act and react with a little empathy, please.

Have you ever been forced to take your woes to the next level with a public social media post? Have you ever left a negative review, be it on Yelp, a Facebook page or elsewhere?

SHOCKER: Social Media Marketing Is HARD!

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

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

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

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

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

MALARKEY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?