Monthly Archives: April 2011

Shocking New Social Media Lows – MySpace Bottom Feeding

I received another email from the once Social Network leader and innovator.  This one blew me away though!

Imagine if Ford announced that they would no longer build engines, but instead buy them from Chevrolet. What if in the same announcement they also proclaimed that they would now be using only Chevy stamped steel. As a matter of fact, what if Ford said all they would be doing anymore was designing vehicles and painting them. THAT’S exactly what it appears MySpace is now doing.

Check out this email and the advertising they are doing for one Facebook. How many of us would of guessed we would see something like this 8 years ago? Not too many I suspect. Though three years ago, many that know me will remember I actually did predict what we are seeing today.

Now if you no longer build the engine for your car, you barely design any of its features, but instead modify what you are designing to fit the parts and pieces of your competitor, what is left? This my friends is the big question. I submit that it is all over but the shouting.

So where does that leave the industry? In my humble opinion, when competition diminishes, it creates a vacuum. That vacuum either becomes a driving force for new players to arise  and lead new innovation -or- sadly the remaining players to dominate, dictate and take advantage of consumers.

Like it or not, this email marks a significant stage of the Social Media space in general, and social media marketing as a whole. Will Google, Microsoft or some yet unknown start-up create something brilliant and level the playing field for users and business alike. Or, with the Goliath Facebook/Twitter platforms dictate to us how social media content, management and marketing will play out.

My fingers are crossed!

Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

5 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Google, Hootsuite, MySpace, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Twitter, Uncategorized

Reasons Why I am About DONE With TrueTwit

Spam has become a four letter word in our society. Within Social Media, the term has transcended most understood meanings to become a universal description of anything an individual doesn’t like within a social network. This challenge for some has given rise to tools such as TrueTwit, which attempt to remove that frustration that people have created, bought into or truly believe they have.

Yes, I know I am sounding a bit negative and many of you are seething inside, ready to unleash your proper etiquette stance within my comment section. I realize there are two staunch camps out there in the social media space. One that has no care or concern and will do whatever they can to market and make money. The other camp is largely comprised of purists that state any automation or tool outside of a keyboard is a sin inside of social media.

Let me try and take the middle ground here and question the use of said tools and why I am very close to no longer validating myself.

1) For the few, the many:  Yes, I tend to be on the conservative side of things. I have a real problem when the many have to pay for the actions of just a few. This is exactly how I see this debate. Why am I being penalized when I am not the bot?

2) My time over yours:  How come I have to spend 20 minutes a day validating myself when I am the easily validated human being? Why wont you take the mere seconds necessary to view my bio and timeline, let alone Klout score?

3) Reciprocation:  I painstakingly review every persons bio before I follow them.  I also review their bio and timeline whenever I engage with them. Why? So I get a sense of who they are, how I can help them and what their interests are. This shouldn’t be a rare thing you do, it should be an always thing you do.

4) Just plain lazy: I got to tell you.  I have never had any problem identifying a bot, nor has any bot on Twitter ever harmed me in any way. First, why are you afraid? Secondly, you are starting a relationship with your followers based on distrust, not trust. Do you know of any effective relationships that work out well on that foundation?

Finally, here is where I sum it all up. I can’t recall too many people I followed that use TrueTwit and have been all that engaging, effective or someone I promote. Again, no hate mail, just listen to one persons point of view and consider how you are starting relationships within the social graph. For these and other reasons, I am now seriously considering saving my 20 minutes per day validating as I am. I think that time could go to better uses engaging with people that understand social media enough to build relationships not focus on “bot-free” followers.

Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

37 Comments

Filed under Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, TrueTwit, Twitter, Uncategorized

Everyone Needs A Good Poke Now and Then – The Social Media Touch

I was thinking the other day about when I was twenty years old and the 55 employee marketing firm I had. Those were crazy times and I had a lot of responsibility at that early age. With so many people in my company, it was very difficult to spend a lot of one-on-one time, so I had to develop some alternatives.

While thinking about old Concepts Marketing, I started to draw some similarities to Social Media. We were a very young company, trendy and there were a lot of us. We had four in our information technology group and only another 3-4 in supervisory roles. Communication was fast and furious. If you missed it, you “missed” it.

One of the things I often did in my firm was walk the “floor”. I would cruise through the maze of cubicles and simply make eye contact with people. I realized early on that I could leverage my relationship with my team just by making eye contact a few times per day. It became apparent that when I took the time to have short conversations with all levels in my organization, coupled with the frequent group trainings and meetings, a simple hello or eye contact went a long way. Frequently, production went up, team work doubled and relationships flourished with the use of this simple leadership technique.

So how does all this connect to social media marketing, Twitter, Facebook and the entire social graph? Everyone needs a good Poke now and then. What I mean by that is this; We all need to be conscious with intent in our networking efforts for ourselves and out clients. We need to be aware of the influencers and followers that can further our brand, products and ROI. We also need to be sure we are helping those in our social networks achieve their goals and ambitions.

Sometimes a simple “Poke” on Facebook, a Hello on Twitter, a comment on a blog or an introduction on Linkedin goes a long way. I call it frequent touch. Make sure you have a list of the individuals within your social graph that bring value to your efforts and reward them by poking them back. Not literally, of course, but through some of these examples above. Let your fans, friends, readers and followers know you appreciate them, not in word, but in deed!

Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

4 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Twitter, Uncategorized

3 Social Media Eggs For Your Basket

As kids, we would all run like crazy to find as many hidden Easter Eggs and treats as we could find. Most of us did all we could to get the most in our basket before anyone else did. Usually, we didn’t care what kind of candy it was we found, whether it was a treat we would eat or not. We simply wanted to have the most in our basket. Remember?

As I pondered the Easter Egg Hunt this holiday and how it relates to Social Media, this analogy of many Twitter and Facebook users came to mind. Too many people are not spending the time to kind the proper target audience. They don’t have a strategy for growing their following and fan base. There is no conscious effort, only as many eggs they can put in their basket.

Sometimes this is done out of simple ignorance and sometimes it is intentional. Intentional in the fact that ego and pride overshadow strategy and effectiveness. In my view ignorance is a far better short coming then ego. For those that have a desire to be targeted and aren’t sure how, I wanted to give you some direction that we use and is helpful to our many clients and those I consult on social media marketing and strategy.

1) Work backwards: Start by clearly identifying your target market, both geographically as well as demographically. You must understand who your audience needs to be.

2) Determine their voice: Once you have identified your audience, spend some time understanding what they are talking about within the social graph. Knowing what they are talking about allows you to find and follow them.

3) Develop valuable content: Knowing your target audience and what they are talking about also helps you to understand what they will find valuable. Be sure that your strategy incorporates the posting of consistent content that your audience will find valuable. This not only helps others find you, but strengthens your relationships with existing followers and fans.

Whether on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or any other Social Network, you must be targeted with your connections, content and engagement.

Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

8 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized

My Thoughts on the HootSuite Outage Today

#fail

#justsayin

6 Comments

Filed under Hootsuite, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

Micro Managing Social Media, An Open Letter to Executives

I am frequently contacted by social media managers within larger regional and national companies asking me for help and advice. Many times I give them my recommendations and hear that their managers or executives won’t allow them to execute these tactics that many of us already know work and are needed. Nothing crazy even, the simple things I often write about on this blog.

Since this occurred again, twice already this week, I have decided to address it by writing a letter to your boss for you. I suggest you print it, attach it to a 2 x 4 and go whack them over the head with it. (figuratively of course)

(This is dedicated to two unnamed people I know. You know who you are)  Enjoy!

Dear Executive,

As a fairly well known social media practitioner with a slew of wins, examples and ROI results within the space, I wanted to applaud you for deciding to get your company in the social media marketing venue. Though you do tweet once a day and have 102 followers you never engage with, your decision can have a huge impact on your business. Between your Twitter and Facebook friend list of 141, you clearly get social media management and will no doubt do a great job overseeing and controlling your new on staff expert. For this you should really be commended.

We all know that your superior intellect has led the company to this decision, albeit well behind your competition and even startups that are so far ahead of you at this point it is not going to be easy. Nonetheless, it is your savvy leadership and marketing expertise that has brought you to the point of hiring your new “Social Media Manager”. We know you made the right choice on the individual you hired because you selected them out of the 122 you interviewed. Clearly they know how to manage your brands presence.

Now that you are a few weeks or months into this new “campaign” you initiated and are still taking an over-active role in, you seem to be frustrated with the results, or as you put it, “the lack thereof”. I’m wondering if it is because your social media manager has to vet every single tweet with you for your expert advice and revisions? Could it be that since you refuse to let them speak to your team in the field that actually talk to your customers, your staff aren’t even aware of how to discuss it to make it grow and mature? Or is it possibly that, as usual, your controlling know-it-all management style is crippling the person you hired, not allowing them to actually be social and build relationships with your audience?

You’re right, as usual. Those couldn’t possibly be the reasons. The fact that you hired someone that you trusted and knows what they are doing in something you barely conceptualize would never be a reason you would micro manage it. We all know you are too smart about everything to let this be a beneficial vehicle for your company to grow and dominate.

So again, I just wanted to applaud your decision to get into social media marketing. When you have gone through 14 other social media managers that left to be executives with competitors and are now actually getting traction within the social graph, we will have you to thank. And as we are all sitting on the beach unemployed, we will look at you sitting there with us and shake our heads at the mastery of management and true visionary you are.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

P.S. – I know you never listen to my ideas or my advice based on experience and expertise, but I wanted you to know we may want to hire a consultant like Robert to come in and give you an education on how to better manage me and our social media efforts. :-)


37 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Twitter, Uncategorized

A Real Example of Employee Social Media Perfection

So I arrived in Seattle yesterday for my talk on Social Media Content in the early evening. It was a long drive and I was needing to find a place to eat and meet with a few colleagues. I checked online for places close by and came across The Ram Restaurant and Brewery, which had a location not too far from my hotel in Kent.

I notified the people I was going to meet and headed over to the restaurant and grabbed a booth in the bar area. The place wasn’t packed, but it was easiest to jump into the bar and seat myself, rather than wait at the front for someone to notice me standing there.

As usual I grabbed my trusty Android and opened my Foursquare app to check in. Right about then my server, Jen S. showed up with a smile. After an initial greeting and a huge smile, she noticed my phone and said “hey, are you going on Facebook? Be sure to check in and let your friends know about us. We are also on Twitter too, but I don’t know much about that.”

I was blown away. I speak on social media a lot and consult with many retail businesses large and small about how to use it effectively. In all of my talks and consulting with clients, I have never seen an employee do exactly what I try to teach, to ME! Needless to say I was very impressed.

Assuming this was a behavior that was corporate trained, I engaged her in a discussion about it. She let me know that it was not. Jen said that management of the location does not train for this, but she took it upon herself to try to use the medium to increase business at her location. Pointing around the mostly empty bar area, she said “well look at it in here. It’s not like we are packed every day, so someone needs to do something to increase our exposure and let more people know how awesome we are.”

If you are a social media strategist, consultant or manager, you must get your client and their staff on board with what Jen has done. This exemplifies social media marketing done well and without question will produce amazing results and ROI, should other staff and management follow Jen’s lead.

Hey Ram? We need to talk! Jen is on to something you need to implement corporate wide. I know the two people you should speak with immediately to establish and implement a sound social media strategy. Jen and myself.

By: Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

19 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Twitter, Uncategorized

4 Facebook Event Fails to Avoid in Social Media

A few weeks ago I received an invite to a Facebook Event. I did not recognize the name of the person inviting me from my 4,000 “friends” so I went to look at the event. This was very troubling to me and thought I would share a few things that might help a few of you…

Facebook Event #Fails to Avoid:

1) Don’t Beg

Seriously???? I get this on Facebook and Twitter frequently. Please join my fanpage, etc. Desperation is NOT a factor that people tend to be drawn to. Instead give people a reason to come connect with your page, and make it specific, not general.

2) Invite only relevant audiences

Not only do I not know this individual, but what his page was about is completely irrelevant to me, my life and my business. If you are in Keokuk, IA and your business is a local restaurant, don’t invite people from New York City. Furthermore, if your business is a national B to B supplier, inviting the housewives on your friends list will certainly not benefit YOU or THEM!

Think quality, not quantity.

3) Engage before inviting

It amazes me how frequently I am invited to an event from people that have never taken the time to engage with me. Remember, social media mirrors the real world. What you would do in the real world is what you need to do in social media. Therefore, if you want to cold market, buy a targeted direct mail list, design a print piece and mail it. You will get better results and do less damage to your brand!

If you want to make social media and Facebook Events more effective, engage with your target audience and through those relationships they will be open to your events.

4) Don’t use Events to invite to your page

I would think this would go without saying, but this will NEVER be effective for you. Social media is about value, not self promotion. Using Facebook Events in this way only makes you look bad and alienates you from your “friends”.

I receive about 5-15 invites to Facebook events every single day. I would say that only about 1 in 50 are valuable to me from someone I know through engagement within the network. There are many valuable uses for Facebook Events. Avoiding these few #Fails will help ensure when you do use them, they will be valuable for your audience and an effective social media marketing tool for you.

By: Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

4 Comments

Filed under Facebook, FAIL, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

The Social Media Parallel Universe – Science Meets Social

Aside from being a Social Media geek, I am also a nerd. I am fascinated by creation, science and learning about physics. Add to that being a visual learner and the Discovery and Science channels are fairly high on my list of TV favorites, when I occasionally watch the tube.

I really like Dr. Michio Kaku. You know, the only theoretical physicist that seems to be a socially acceptable human being that can make extremely complex physics understandable to the average person. He has an incredible ability to take complicated theories, mathematical computations and science and translate it into analogies that seem simple. Those of you that read my blog often know that is something I try to do myself, only in the far less complex world of social media marketing.

Today I wanted to answer two of the questions I frequently get when I speak or have a consulting engagement with a client. The questions are:

1) “How do we act, engage and respond in social media?”

2) “How do we get more followers?”

In comes the Parallel universe analogy.

Social media is a parallel universe to the real world we all reside in. You need to act and engage within this parallel universe in a similar manner that you do in any other social or business scenario within our live realm. Sounds simple, right? It is.

If you were at a networking event in real life, would you walk into the room and sit in a chair in the corner and hope people come find you and ask you what you do? At that event, would you stand in the middle of the room and start talking really loud about everything you like and not listen to anyone else? Would you only talk about you and what you do without asking other people to explain their business? Would you take a compliment or introduction from someone at the event and ignore them and not say thank you at least? Of course not!

Then why do you do this in social media? In this parallel universe we call social media, you need to use social grace exactly how you do in real life. Say hello, get others talking about themselves, build relationships and connection. Want more followers? Follow more accounts that are your target audience.

Too many people make social media too difficult. Too many “guru’s” make it out to be rocket science and it isn’t. It is a medium that requires a lot of time and effort to be useful. No matter whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or any other social network, putting in the right amount of time with the right amount of effort, exactly how we all do in the real world makes the social media parallel universe most effective!

By: Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

24 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Twitter, Uncategorized

Google and Goliath – The Social Media Wars Part 2

I am pleased to say that the Part 1 post in this two part blog on the Google and Facebook social media battle created some great conversation and comments. Many people have strong opinions on this subject and it most certainly has created a debate. I wanted to continue the series by outlining some of the weaknesses Facebook has and where Google should focus it’s social media strategy and product development to come out on top.

Facebook, in all it’s glory has some significant weaknesses that Google should exploit. In a “Tail of the Tape” Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts style, I will try to frame a few of these for you.

Google vs FacebookFacebook:

Main Weaknesses – Privacy abuser, User distrust, Frequent changes to platform without user input or explanation, Virus plagued platform.

Main Strengths – Critical mass, Average users, Business adoption, Massive headstart

Google:

Main Weakness – Utter failure within the space this far, Lack of true corporate resolve, Well behind competition

Main Strengths – Loyal business following, Large loyal user base, Significant traffic

One wild card in this whole battle is the continuing rise of Bing within the search market. Not only is Bing credited with a now 30%+ share of the total search space, they have integrated various social media and sharing components into their platform already, easily completed based on their deal with Facebook. This makes Google’s refocus on social media not only difficult, be even more crucial to their future online.

Probably one of the biggest challenges Google must resolve in any social media solution is the fact that search in general is declining across the board. More and more people are doing less searches and relying on information and topics being shared by their friends within the social graph. Add to a huge challenge of needing to deliver something valuable to the masses along with an improved marketing apeal for business and the social media war begins to look more like Armageddon for Google. These facts are what has Google in such a bad place, and why we often hear the comment “Facebook WILL be the internet” or something similar.

After failed deals to be the search engine inside of Facebook, failed attempts with Buzz and the like, Google finds itself at a crossroad of change in a social media world. Either innovate, integrate and dominate, or face very troubled times ahead. Just one social media guy’s humble opinion…

By: Robert M. Caruso
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

8 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Google, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Uncategorized