Monthly Archives: September 2011

Some Of The Most Effective Social Media Is Humorous

I want you to stop what you are doing and think for a moment… Are you having any fun with your social media marketing? Have you noticed that most of the social media content from blogs, YouTube, Facebook and the like that really goes viral, always has a humorous element? Remember the Old Spice Guy? I have found there is no better way to break the ice and build relationships within the social graph, than comedy.

Ever since the big Newsfeed changes occurred on Facebook, the increase in photo sharing has been huge. There has been a lot of comedy and motivation pics that are quickly going viral. It seemed to me that every time I hit my feed on Facebook, there were two things poping up. 1) Hilarious pics/videos 2) Motivational sayings neatly arranged on numerous photos of people holding up signs.

The funny pics and videos are being shared more than I had noticed previous to the newsfeed changes and it got me thinking. I know that NOTHING shares better than comedy and it’s been a while since I created something myself that does that. Don’t get me wrong, those of you that follow me on Twitter and connect on Facebook know humor is just part of who I am, but I wanted something new, fresh and that made a point.

Here is what I did last night at 10:30 pm. (BTW – it is starting to go viral)

You don’t have to be a creative genius or graphic designer. Just be aware of the effective use of humor in your social media marketing efforts and build better relationships by breaking down some barriers.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

18 Comments

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

How A Niche Online Retailer Changed Everything With Social Media

I would like you to meet Arthur Scharf, the founder and owner of an amazing online business called Renaissance Art. They produce and sell individually, handcrafted leather journal and book covers, among many other amazing products worldwide. Pretty niche market isn’t it? You’re right it is.

Arthur and I connected on Twitter a few months back. He often messaged me asking questions about social media marketing and what he should be doing. I distinctly remember the comment that went something like “I don’t get how Twitter can help me” or close to it. Arthur became an expanded user of our Bundle Post technology to manage the vast amount of content his company has to share in social media. As the questions kept coming, I decided to work with him weekly to develop a social media strategy and help him execute it.

Here is the process we followed: (greatly simplified for this post to make it brief)

1) Tools – We started by getting him set up in Hootsuite so he could better manage conversations across the social graph, as well as post content to the various networks he and his company is engaged. We incorporated Bundle Post and Twitter search tools to manage his social media content and grow his very targeted community.

2) Strategy – Next, we worked on a plan to build his fan/follower base made up of targeted users that are his likely market. Once determining his target market, we determined the type of content the audience would find valuable and interesting and set up Bundle Post to focus on that content. A plan for quantity of posting across the various social networks was created, along with schedules of the times to post to each platform. Partnership opportunities with other users was identified and a plan for handling this was created.

3) Execution – Speaking once a week, we reviewed the day-to-day activity Arthur was doing, the challenges he was experiencing and any additional training and help on the tools he needed. Our discussions focused on ensuring he was hitting the minimum posting, engagement and other established activities outlined in the strategy we developed.

Results:

After just a few weeks of implementing the strategic plan and subsequent activity here is the message we received from Arthur: “11 days, 246 new targeted followers, 7 Joint Venture deals, 6 new direct sales I know of. Thank you @BundlePost ” . Additionally, Arthur has realized an 18 point increase in his Klout score, rapid Facebook fanpage growth and engagement, along with increased website traffic and a host of additional new relationships where he is realizing mutual benefits.

Lesson:

Have a clear strategy for your niche market. Provide value in your content posts. Map the required time, activity and tools required to maintain the strategy. Focus on building relationships. Be very targeted in everything you do.

So there you have it. Even a small online retailer can quickly and effectively utilize social media marketing to drive incremental revenue gains with this medium. Have you developed a strategy? Are you committing the proper time and activity to achieve results?

My next post will try to outline how to create a simple social media strategy for community development, content and activity that will help you develop a program that delivers results.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

5 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Social Aggregation, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

The Truth About All The Facebook Changes – 2 Points and 1 Laugh

Here’s the deal folks. Things change and you gotta just roll it. I know sometimes it’s hard dealing with seemingly crazy decisions, but all in all it will be ok.

Now that we got that out-of-the-way, let me address two things. Everyone is asking me my thoughts on what Facebook did yesterday to Newsfeeds and the new Profile/Open Graph/Timeline.  Here are two points with my thoughts:

1) New Profiles and Open Graph – In my opinion these changes to the Facebook product are exceptional. They are great for the average user because they have a lot more control over their profile and how they want to be seen by friends. Controlling your profile layout, how predominant some of your content is to visitors and ease of app integration are incredible things.

For the social media industry user, marketer, agency and enthusiast, you were just handed some powerful capabilities to improve messaging through your personal profile. Furthermore, the additional need for your services to clients just went way up! I say bravo!!!

2) Newsfeed change and other constant changes – This is where I get serious, then lower the photo humor boom. I think it is time that Facebook bring in a seasoned CEO to take over the company. Coding changes and “improvements” because you can, is NOT wise or a value add to anyone. Making it difficult for users to easily follow friends content and removing their control to choose how they want content fed to their newsfeed is nothing short of stupidity.

Alienating,  pissing off and otherwise frustrating your user base (by the way these are the folks that allow you to make revenue) is crazy. The average Facebook user is not made up of geeks like me. It is now predominately the average internet user. My folks, non-techies, my kids, etc.  You lose them and you make the big Google Plus mistake suddenly viable. #FAIL

Facebook – Quit pissing off your users with changes for change sake. Get some wisdom and experience on your leadership team that recognizes the value your user base is and how their input would go a long way to building trust and loyalty. YOU are your biggest enemy at this point and not competitors.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

7 Comments

Filed under Facebook, FAIL, Google Plus, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized

One Social Media Requirement For Every Retail Business

This last Sunday I took my son (two and a half) to pizza. As we approached the doors of the place, I noticed something.  Something social. Then as we walked in the doors I saw it EVERYWHERE. What did I see?  Social media proliferation. These people “get it”.

Social media strategists, consultants, agencies and staff do (or at least SHOULD) consult their clients on social media optimization. Tell them how to improve their website given today’s socially connected consumers. You should be helping them integrate their social properties into there existing marketing in order to obtain the best relationship and customer service opportunities with their customers. If you aren’t doing this, or the folks providing your social media management aren’t talking to you about this, you are missing the boat!

Now we know, or at least should already know about social media optimization in the traditional sense, but are you optimizing your store, restaurant or business? What do I mean? Back to Pizza…

This is what was on every door and every table in this restaurant. When my company was doing social media management and consulting, this kind of thing was a priority with our clients. Providing them with door signs, table toppers and even stickers reaped huge benefits. People flocked to the social sites and immediate became part of the brand community, regardless of whether the brand was a small mom and pop.

If you are in retail, this is one of the most important next steps you can do to further your social media program. Unlike the example I am showing here, you need to include the Twitter, Blog and YouTube channel locations as well (if appropriate).

Be sure there are larger signs on the front doors with this information as well. Just because you are closed, doesn’t mean your customers and prospects aren’t coming to your door. If you are closed, they will see how they can engage with you during off hours. If you are open, you will remind them where they can connect with you.

If you want to get really creative, do something special for the folks that connect with you through this signage when they mention you on Twitter or comment on your fanpage. Make your signage reflect some special or deal they get for doing so. But be simple and don’t make it expensive or difficult to track or manage. A little goes a long way.

I am no designer, but I have an old Photoshop (PSD) template we would sometimes use for our clients. Feel free to download this FREE social media sign template, use it, edit it or just get inspiration to create your own. I hope you find it helpful.

To download the Photoshop PSD template, click here

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

5 Comments

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

The Google Plus Social Media Failure, Now Jeopardizing Google Itself

We hoped, we prayed, we begged, but despite our desire for something to compete with Goliath Facebook, the writing is on the wall. You may recall that weeks before Google Plus was even announced I wrote about this situation. I stated that the future of social media is NOT more networks, but rather tools that make the current graph more effective via relationship management.

Low and behold, here came Google Plus. Privately (with my personal contacts) along with some public Facebook arguments I was berated for my prediction of the failure of Google’s third inroad into the game. I came out of the closet a few weeks ago and openly made my prediction known via my post Three Reasons Google Plus is Facing Difficulties.

Boy, did I take a lot of heat for my view on this.  However, based on some of  the latest information, it appears my anecdotal evidence is starting to be reported by others that track this sort of thing. On Thursday, 89n.com reported that posts by Google+ users are down 41% during the period of July 19th – August 19th. Without any delight, I still gotta say – I told you so…

Here’s the big problem for our friend Google…  Their core business of throwing ads is in major jeopardy. Bing is gaining traction in the search space and the overall search market is declining due to users patterns within social media. Google has made so many major mistakes, not least of which is recognizing the effect of social media on their business model and making changes early to adapt. Early on with Google Plus, I said more than a few times, “We just saw Google Tap out”, borrowing a term from MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). How come I was the only one who saw this or was willing to say it publicly?

So based on the future prospects of Google continuing to do the same things, yet expecting different results, I have a 5 step business plan that someone with some senses on the Google board should listen to seriously…

1) Fire the CEO and lead management that pushed the Google Plus idea internally. This is inexcusable. Three failed attempts in the same massively dominated space. Fresh blood with fresh ideas and a better understanding of the social graph is badly needed within this organization.

2) Spin off Android into its own company. One of the best things with legs that Google has created is the Android OS. This clearly is giving Apple iPhone a run for its money and is currently seeing incredible growth gains exceeding their competitor. Spinning this business off into its own company will give Google the ability to have a win (retained stock in the business), and enable them to focus on what’s ahead for the company.

3) Sign deals with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to never try to compete via another social network again. If Google is going to survive the continued online changes, they will HAVE to be on friendlier terms with these giants in the social space. Suck it up and get it done.

4) Develop a socially tweaked web search. Once you have done deals with the big boys above, there is a big opportunity to better incorporate search and social media. Creating ways to deliver search results that are highly social media leveraged is where Google has an opportunity. Converging results of web properties along with influence and content within the social graph is not only interesting and valuable, it is where things are going. This will give Google something truly unique in the social space, but also create a new social media optimization angle and connection with the millions of SEO people out there that would immediately push the changes to their clients worldwide.

Furthermore, creating an API that keeps the +1 button, allowing people to easily like something to Facebook, as well as tweet it to twitter with one click provides user value that will cross all markets, resulting in additional traffic and add delivery opportunities.

5) Develop social tools that facilitate the proliferation of social media management, marketing and commerce. As I mentioned in a previous post, Google should have and now needs to lead in the supporting technologies for the new web. Integrating data from Buzz, Gmail and G+, Google is positioned better than anyone to quickly develop a social CRM for everyone!

I know this is a very controversial post and will no doubt have the anti-Facbook, Google+ lovers up in arms and out for my head. If you lay down your battle-ax and look it this situation realistically, Google is on the ropes and needs a major shift in business focus, leadership and development direction.  No doubt, you have some thoughts, let’s hear it…

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

71 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Google, Google Plus, Social CRM, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized

How Often Should You Post On Twitter, Facebook Etc…

When discussing social media marketing, content strategy and Bundle Post with people, I get a lot of questions regarding frequency to post. “How often should I Post?”  –  The single most frequent question I hear, and one that has no standard, simple answer. Every brand is different and therefore a different audience and strategy.

As long as we are clear that there is no standard, “cookie cutter” answer to this question, I will attempt to give a simple content plan that can be used as a starting point for many small to medium sized companies and/or individuals using social media for business. We are going to focus on only a few platforms that are most used and have the broadest relevance for my readers. As we layout a starter content schedule, you need to keep in mind the understanding that Social Media is a Freeway, and that you have to have enough cars on the road to be effective. Here we go…

All frequencies are DAILY recommendations, for 7 days per week:

Twitter:

Frequency: 12-20 content posts,  5-10 personal posts, 5-10 RT’s/comments on others content

Details:

Content Posts – Are relevant, selfless (non-promotional) news, blogs, articles that you can share and will be valuable to your audience. Within these 12-20, you CAN include 1-2 per day that are specifically about you, what you do, your blog, etc. Be careful on the frequency of posts that “pitch” what you do.

Personal Posts – Are posts that don’t include links and make you human to your followers. Things like the weather, checkins, funny comments or pictures. Telling content that makes you approachable and spark conversation and relationship building with YOU as an individual, not your company, product or service.

RT’s/Comments – Since we know everything starts with content, which leads to conversation, you need to follow this principle as well. Take time reviewing your news feed to find content from your followers that is valuable and share it. Comment on the human or content posts from your audience. This will build relationships, show that you value them and lead to other conversations and opportunities.

*note – ALWAYS respond to mentions and Retweets from your followers. Thank them and look for opportunities to start conversations.

**note 2 – NEVER post a bunch of content at the same time or seconds/minutes apart. Spread your content posting across the day in intervals that show consistency. Nobody likes a broadcaster!

Facebook Fanpage:

Frequency: 1-2 content posts

Details:

NEVER post more than about 2 posts per day on your fanpage. I liken facebook to your living room. If you invite someone to your home and constantly talk about yourself and what you do, how often do you think they will want to come back? Answer: They won’t!

Be sure that the content posts you are sharing are not just about you and your company, but you include other relevant, interesting posts that your audience will find valuable, interesting and/or fun. Focus your content posts about your company, product or service on the new and exciting information and post your content in a way that will foster engagement and comments.

Facebook Personal Profile:

Frequency: 3-5 content posts,  3-7 personal posts, 5-10 likes/comments on others content

Details:

Content Posts – Similar to Twitter, these are relevant, selfless (non-promotional) news, blogs, articles that are valuable to your audience, and often somewhat industry related to your business.

Personal Posts – Again, like Twitter, these are posts that don’t include links and make you human to your followers. Things like the weather, checkins, funny comments or pictures that are totally not connected to your business industry. Some of the best content for this is funny videos and pictures. Nothing gets more traction and causes more conversation within the social graph than humor. Have fun with it!

Likes/Comments – Be sure to engage and show interest in others. I am constantly “un-friending” folks on my personal profile that invite me to events, yet have never engaged with me or even attempted to show interest in me or what I do. #Fail

Again, I want to reiterate that this is a guide for small/medium businesses using social media to create relationships in business. You may need to make modifications to this template for your business/accounts and/or seek some additional guidance from a Social Media Agency. If you are sitting there thinking there is no way you can accomplish this, you need to consider reading “How You Know You Need To Hire A Social Media Firm…” as well.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post


21 Comments

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

In Social Media, SIZE Does Matter

Not too long ago I wrote a post called “The Friend/Follower Quantity vs Quality Debate – A Definitive Guide” where I discussed the importance of having a large enough social community around your Twitter and Facebook, as well as the requirement that they be a highly targeted audience. You must have a large enough audience that enables you to create enough relationships and conversations that will drive ROI for your social media marketing.

An analogy I use for this is; Image you have a radio spot you need to place on a station, and you find a station that has a perfect audience for your target market. Now imagine that the station only has 40 people in that audience. Even if you get a 20% response rate, you will never be able to achieve any sizable numbers. Social media is similar, in that you must build a large enough and highly targeted audience to make the medium effective for your purpose.

What got me thinking about this was a close friend of mine here in Portland, Oregon, Thubten Comerford. Not only is he a master user of Linkedin (last I checked, ranked 75th worldwide for connections), but he recently passed a huge milestone for followers on Twitter. One Hundred Thousand. Yes, I said 100,000 followers!

Though Thubten and his firm WePost Media are exceptionally experienced with social media and social media marketing and consulting, they have created a niche segment in the industry of growing client communities. Clearly, they do it exceptionally well.

Aside from having an overall social media strategy, you also need to include plans for activity levels, content and subject matter, posting frequency, as well as community building. They all work together and are intricate components that make your social marketing efforts effective, or not. Miss a component of the mix and your results will suffer. Do them together and consistently, using a well thought out strategy and plan designed to rapidly grow a highly targeted audience of customers, prospects and influencers, which will dramatically impact your ability to acheive return on investment within the medium.

What’s your strategy for building a targeted follower/fan base within your overall social media strategy?

For more information on Thubten and what he does:

Twitter: @Thubten
Web:  WePostMedia.com
Blog: SocialPotency.com
Facebook: facebook.com/thubtencomerford
Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

5 Comments

Filed under Followers, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Twitter, Uncategorized

How You Know You Need To Hire A Social Media Firm…

I am frequently asked by companies whether they should hire a social media firm to handle their social presence or if they should go it on their own. This is no simple question, but rather one that should be considered by every company regardless of size. The answers are equally as challenging due to the many variables that must be evaluated.

My motivation for this post is to provide some simple points that will help you evaluate your ability to successfully manage a social media marketing effort on your own. More importantly, I will provide you with some analogies and information that will highlight the importance of your decision.

I have often said “It is better to NOT conduct social media marketing for a business if you are going to do it wrong”. The resulting damage to your company could prove to be a major mistake. Do it right, hire a talented social media firm to manage it with you, or don’t do it at all.

Having said that, the flip side is equally as ugly. Not having an effective presence in the social graph for your company, could result in a  similarly damaging outcome. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. The gun went off years ago and your competitors are already in the race. What’s worse is that you have not even started your training or stretching. You haven’t hired a professional coach or athlete to ensure you are in the race, let alone staying with the lead pack. Furthermore, consumers are all in social media now. If you aren’t, you have a problem.

Here are some indicators that  you may need to hire a social media firm to help you:

  1. You have fewer than 2000 TARGETED followers on Twitter.
  2. You have fewer than 200 fans on your Facebook Fanpage.
  3. You don’t know what the acronym DM means.
  4. You have fewer than 20 conversations on Twitter each day.
  5. You post fewer than 15 selfless articles, blogs, etc. that provide value to your Twitter audience per day.
  6. You post less than 1  selfless article, blog, etc. that provide value to your Fanpage audience per day.
  7. You take more than 2 hours to respond to Twitter or Facebook comment.
  8. You see fewer than 3 new customers, inquiries or walkins per week directly attributed to your social media efforts.
  9. You don’t know what #FF or RT means.
  10. You don’t have a list of customers, prospects and influencers you engage with weekly and mention on Follow Friday.
  11. You don’t have either Hootsuite or Tweetdeck running on both your desktop AND smart phone.
  12. You read and retweet fewer than 5 posts of your followers daily.

Though some of these statements are elementary, if you can identify with more than 7, I suggest you seek out a social media management firm or consultant to help you build a strategy, manage your program and lead you to return on investment. Social media management, social content management and relationship building within the social graph requires a few things: knowledge, experience and a lot of time. Do yourself a favor and seek help from a social media professional if you need it.

If you need some suggestions of whom to talk to about outsourcing your program, feel free to connect with me and I will refer you to some top-notch folks in your area.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

12 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Hootsuite, Retweet, Smart Phone, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, TweetDeck, Twitter, Uncategorized

Four Things Your Social Media Agency or Department Should Be Saying

The continued growth of social media use by the consumer as well as brands is nothing less than staggering. Never before has an industry risen so quickly and made such a significant impact on the consumer and marketers alike. These changes have continued to fuel new departments, positions and titles within corporations and agencies, let alone birthing an entirely new agency type, the social media marketing firm.

As social media continues to mold and change daily, it is important that internal social media departments and staff, as well as the agency providers stay on the cutting edge of tools and the processes available to remain cutting edge, effective and most importantly, cost effective. As more and more consultants, small and agile firms come online, competing for client business and/or competing for your position within your brands department will hinge on two main groups  1) Your knowledge/skill/execution within the space and   2) The efficiency, effectiveness and results you are able to achieve.

Constant change and efficiency procedures and applications should result in you saying some of the following similar things within your organization:

1) It’s completely changed our internal social media operation here

2) We are able to take on more Social Media clients because of the time we were able to free up

3) We are able to offer social media services to our clients that is affordable now

4) The ability to hashtag content in 5 seconds is a function we can’t do without now

I had the pleasure of speaking with a Bundle Post user, Cross Point Creative Marketing, a social media marketing firm. This conversation developed based on the feedback we keep receiving from them regarding their use of the technology. I had the pleasure of hearing these four things and even more during the interview, so I just had to share it with you. Here is the recorded interview:

Ask yourself some questions today…

Are you able to do 80% more social media marketing work, while being more effective?

Are you modifying the processes you use to increase profitability and reduce costs, while seeing improved results?

Are you limiting your engagement and relationship building time due to all of the required back office functions needed to remain profitable managing your social media accounts?

If you answered no to any of these, you need to consider making changes to what you are doing in order to be able to make similar statements as this Bundle Post user has.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Hashtag, Social Aggregation, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Uncategorized