Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Social Media Fear Factor

Fear is not something I am friendly with. I take on anything that stands in the way of where I intend on going. Fear is something I do not let have any place in my life or business.

Having said that, I am not typical (in so many ways, but we will hold the laughter down for now, ok?). I realize that not everyone is as crazy as me, so thought it might make some sense to share some perspective as you are about to embark on your 2012 social media efforts.

It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where fear often plays a significant role. Wars, money, job the economy are just a few of the trigger points many are facing. Beyond that, many of us hang on to past experiences that grip us in a state of fear and prevent us from moving beyond or even through to what’s next. This is a crippling reality for many people today and something that needs to be put to rest in your social media at the very least.

There are two types of fear that can affect your social media marketing:

1) Your fear of the unknown.

Do not let your fear of what might happen get in between your social media marketing. If you are unsure of what to do, simply ask yourself what you would do in the real world. If it is something you would do at a networking event, then do it. If it isn’t don’t.

Are you fearful of Twitter or Linkedin because you don’t know how to use them effectively? Are you fearful of using the proper tools you need out of fear of learning or not understanding them?

Fear of the unknown will cripple you in social media. Don’t let it. Take control of your social media, strategy and activity plan and execute it methodically. This forces you to face your fear and overcome.

2) Your audiences fear.

Failure to recognize that your social community may have fears also, can effect your marketing efforts negatively. Whether they are suffering from their own fear of the unknown related to social media or numerous other fears, you must be aware of what they are and act accordingly.

For example: If your audience are single mom’s, there may be some fears or concerns with location-based information. Be sensitive to those fears in your marketing and content strategy to make them feel more comfortable.

Some in social media are fearful of certain types of links, specific kinds of DM’s or even someone trying to sell them something. You need to know your audience and what their fears are so you avoid triggering them as a part of your social media efforts.

As you look forward to next years plans related to social media for your business, be sure that you have considered the fear factor. Take the time to evaluate where you are related to both your fears and those of your fans and followers. Take ownership of them and then put into action the necessary steps to overcome them.

What are your fears with social media?

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

7 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Followers, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Your Social Media Marketing Is A Train Wreck

Pretty strong title, even coming from me, but I have some frustration this morning that has been building for some time. This morning it kind of came to a head.

If you don’t know this, I want to be very clear… Social media marketing is not a direct marketing or push marketing platform. Done properly, social media marketing is about relationships. Connecting and engaging with your target market that results in trust and digital friendships.

I frequently get the social media newbie situations where only out of inexperience, requests are made for follows, article sharing or just plain sales pitches upon connecting. This I understand and expect, so I try to be very patient and helpful with these folks. I attempt to improve their understanding of social media so they do not damage themselves too badly, or for too long.

I also have a few folks that are not social media professionals, but use social media for marketing, that DM me frequently. The primary engagement they have with me is DM’ing requests for me to tweet out one of their blog posts. I try to help people and want to share stuff that is valuable to my audience, however I am not your spam engine. One person does this almost weekly, even though I have explained to them multiple times that I will not be doing it and why. It would be different if attempts were made to build a relationship and have conversations with me, but they just don’t seem to get that quite yet.

Now this is where my patience runs out. Inexcusable Social Media Marketing Train Wrecks, I have very little patience for. To me, this is the social media marketing or consulting company that do the above, when they should clearly know better. Are you serious?

Your blog is about how social media marketing works properly, and you talk about social media relationships on your website and how your firm develops them for your clients. Most of what I see you saying is somewhat accurate, yet you do not practice it with your own accounts and weekly mention me and others to push your latest post for us to send out for you. What??

It’s been months since you engaged with me on Twitter. You aren’t engaging with anyone on Facebook and are just constantly posting stuff with no conversation and interaction. I have given you feedback on your incredibly lengthy blog posts and the way overly used, meaningless images you insert into every single post, and you ignore me. Stop the madness! Your Social Media Marketing Is A Train Wreck! My only hope is that you are unable to sign anymore clients whose brand you would likely also destroy.

Check yourself social media people. Practice what you preach!

*Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but I feel many marketers need to understand this and how damaging it can be to their brand. Before you hire a social media agency, review the company’s social account feeds and more importantly the executive’s personal social account feeds. If they aren’t doing it themselves, they will not be able to do it for you!

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

27 Comments

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

Social Media Conversation Is Two Way

As I sit here at Starbucks in Beaverton, Oregon waiting for my appointment to arrive, something caught my attention. Though today there was not intent on posting a blog today, I just couldn’t avoid a point that needs to be made.

The Starbucks I am at is very busy today. I was able to finally get my “normal” spot against the window, which is at the head of a larger kitchen style table. Since sitting down, plugging in and attempting to get caught up on my social media stuff since leaving the office, there was a young lady talking with a friend. When I say since, I mean since. This young gal has not stopped talking about herself, her issues, her job, etc. I hardly think she has taken a breath in the last 25 minutes.

Not only has this been extremely loud and distracting to me and others around us, it is a pretty incredible example of what is wrong with some peoples social media marketing efforts. What you say and how you say it is very important in social media. How frequently you post is equally. Dominating your feeds with a ton of useless, less than valuable posts makes you a talking head.

Conversation is two way. Follow these guidelines:

1) Don’t be the brand that dominates your friends/followers feeds.

2) Don’t be the person that makes every conversation about YOU.

3) Reach out to others and engage them in conversation.

4) Listen and shut up!!!

Ask yourself several times a day… Is what I am posting, doing or saying right now valuable to my social media audience, or is it all about me? Make it about others and build relationships where the value you bring is helpful for others.

* Real-time update – Now at over an hour and a half and she is STILL rambling. I feel so sorry for this poor guy. Don’t be this gal in your social media!

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

20 Comments

Filed under Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

5 Ways Social Media Is Storytelling, Just Like A Book

Social media has so many similarities to storytelling. Proper social media marketing may be compared to a book, with it’s genre, title, story line and chapters. Though, there shouldn’t be a real ending with social media, I think you are getting the idea.

Inside every good book, there are multiple characters and stories, all working together to make up the books entirety. I see a lot of connections with social media and thought it would be helpful to break these down into bite sized nuggets that you can digest and use within your social media strategy.

As I struggled to design an image for this post, something popped into my head that told a story about Candy Cane’s and connected with the holidays. I hope this visual representation of storytelling helps solidify the context of the post for you and makes an impression that deepens your retention.

5 ways Social Media is Storytelling, similar to a book:

1) The Cover – We have all heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I think we can all agree that the millions of dollars publishers spend on research, design, photo shoots and printing, this is something they know people do. The fact is, we all process information far more visually than we do through reading. Book covers and infographics are great examples of this fact.

You need to recognize that your profile images, Facebook fanpage graphics and other visual elements of your social media presence have just split seconds to be evaluated. The imaging, coupled with your bio and information together make up your cover. You need to consider your bio, Twitter image, backgrounds and other photos that are front facing to new connections. Are they representing what you want to portray? Are you providing a story in a picture that your target market can identify with quickly?

2) The Genre – Whether it be a popular romance novel by my friend C.K. Gray, or a thriller, every book has a focused genre it appeals to. Your social media marketing should have an intended focus as well. What is your messaging and intended market?

3) The Market – Trying to market Carrie’s romance novel to middle aged, male, construction workers may not be a good strategy. Pretty self explanatory isn’t it? You’d think so, unfortunately I see many social media marketers attempting to hit every genre and market imaginable without any focus or understanding of each.

Who is your market based on the genre your product, service or content is in? Answer that question and focus your content and community there.

4) The Subject – Along with genre you have subject matter. Just because it’s a sci-fi doesn’t mean it is going to be aliens from outer space. Within a genre there are specific subjects that are unique and interesting to the intended audience.

For us, our genre is clearly social media. Within that we incorporate coffee, humor and human personality as subjects that drive our content and offerings. These all combine into multiple stories within our social media efforts.

5) Stories – Through years of experience within the social media space, I have realized that stories connect with people. Sometimes these are analogies, blog posts, images or just ongoing sagas of someones real life. Stories help you relate to others, a specific idea and applications of various ideas. In fact, I am telling you a story right now. I am painting a picture through an analogy to help drive home a point.

Be sure that within your social media profile and accounts, you are telling stories that connect with your target audience. Ensure your genre, cover and subjects are inline with the messaging you want to get across and use those stories to build meaningful relationships by delivering value.

You know you have a good book when they come back and buy your next one. Keep them coming back for more!

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

16 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Social Media And Bubble Wrap – It’s All Fun And Games Until…

While growing up, I often heard the funny little saying “It’s all fun and games until someone pokes their eye out.” Remember that? Not much chance of that with bubble wrap though. Well, I guess there is a chance, depending on what you are doing with it.

A few weeks ago, two of my Facebook friends Kimberly and Michelle and I were being silly and one of them brought up bubble wrap. Obviously, this opened the door to a whole other hilarious discussion. I took it a bit further by snapping a photo of some bubble wrap that was in a box on the floor of my office. Not too common for bubble wrap in my office, but I had recently received some coffee that was shipped to me by a follower on Twitter (surprise I know).

This got me thinking about social media marketing and how it relates to all this. At this point in my career, absolutely everything has a relationship to social media. I see social media analogies in almost everything I do and everywhere I go. So let’s break this down…

Bubble Wrap is probably the most fun you can have with a re-purposed object. It captivates most people instantly and can hold your attention for a long period of time. Clearly, social media does this for many of us as well. Engaging in the social graph can be a heck of a lot of fun, and take a considerable amount of our attention daily. Likewise, bubble wrap can take you off your focus. It is so distracting and fun, you often stop whatever you are doing and play with the stuff. Sadly social media marketing can do the same. Your social media marketing efforts should be fun, but when it takes you away from execution within and outside of the space, it becomes problematic, rather than effective.

Once you get the bubble wrap game going, everyone around you wants to get in on it. This often develops into jealousy and fighting over control of the sheet of fun, which leads to a whole set of additional problems. Social media now has a similar issue within business. It gets so much press and is perceived as both fun and effective, many levels of management want to have it under their control. Jealousy, in-fighting and poor execution tend to result.

The fact is that both bubble wrap and social media marketing are incredibly fun and addictive. They both have a draw unlike anything else that pulls us in and takes our focus. The problem with both is this; without clearly defined purpose they are a complete waste of time in business!

Though social media is, and should be fun, we need to consistently evaluate what we are doing and why. Ask yourself these questions:

1) While being social and engaging is there a plan for turning that activity into ROI?

2) Am I doing this just as a distraction to keep me from doing something I need to be doing at this moment?

3) Am I providing value to others with what I am doing at this moment?

4) Is there a strategy behind the content I am sharing and the conversations I am having, or am I just having fun?

5) Are the conversations I am having with people resulting in relationships that positively achieve results?

Now, let me be clear here. I love bubble wrap and I love social media. They are both simple things that have a place in life or business. However, if you are using social media as a marketing channel, it needs to also have focus, strategy and intent that drives revenue and return on investment. Make it fun, but make it effective…

**Update** – Got this awesome link from @anjleeb: Click on the “Pop Virtual Bubble Wrap Now”: http://virtual-bubblewrap.com/popnow.shtml  Far too funny not to include here!

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

8 Comments

Filed under Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Uncategorized

5 Steps To Building A Social Media Relationship

Social media is about starting and creating relationships. Building these relationships through mutual benefit it imperative to your success. You must ensure you are giving more than you are getting, that is the key.

Since starting to use social media for business, I have done some very specific things that make building digital relationships effective. Since our business solely uses social media marketing as our advertising medium, we place significant emphasis on mutually beneficial relationships in everything we do in the social graph.

My efforts at building relationships within social media are no longer conscious or something I really think about. After doing this for so long with a fairly large community we have built, it is now much more subconscious than purposefully or intently driven. Over time, the change in thinking becomes natural and you just do it effectively.

Rather than focus on some scientific details on relationships or making this post too complicated, I have put together actionable items that you can do to forge powerful relationships within your social media marketing efforts. All of these points should follow identifying the proper people that you should spend the time and effort toward. Be sure they are a target prospect for what you do, and that you can also bring value to them and what they do.

Here are some of the things I do to build social media relationships:

1) Provide value – In general you need to be selfless. Share content that is valuable and relevant to your audience. Offer assistance and help where you can. These things position you toward others as someone they just naturally want to get to know.

2) Follow/Friend/Like – Seems like a duh, doesn’t it? You would be surprised how often people intentionally do not follow back, accept friend requests or Like others pages. As yourself, would your friend do that to you? Of course not. Remember the old saying; “If you want a friend, be one”?  Do it…

3) RT/Comment – Commenting on others posts, finding things they post that are valuable and share them or even a simple Like goes a long way. We all want to be validated and made to feel important or that something we did, wrote or shared is good. I have found there is no better way to show someone in social media that they are valuable than to do these things.

4) Read Bio’s – Early on the process you need to know who you are talking to, what they are about, where they live and what interests them. You do this by taking the time to read their Bio’s. You can’t build a relationship if you are not interested in the other person. By learning more about them, you get to know them and can converse with them in ways that are far more personal.

5) Get to know others – The previous four steps are designed to help you to get to know the other person. Doing these steps repeatedly with the same person results in knowing them, them knowing you, resulting in ever deeper and more frequent conversations and discussion. At that point you are in fact establishing a relationship.

All of these various components need to be utilized across the social graph. Whether Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or any other platform. Often times you will use all of the above with a single relationship. I do this frequently!

The question is now what? What do you do from here?  Well this is where it gets more difficult to define. Not only is every relationship and company different, but there are just too many details and circumstances to be able to give a focused answer. I will say this though… We know that people hang around people like them. People relate to people like them. And, wait for it… People DO BUSINESS with people they feel they know and like. In short – Relationships lead to business opportunities. If your focus is on others and being a valuable relationship TO them, you can usually see a return on that investment.

As your social community increases in size, you will start this process more and more frequently, all while maintaining existing relationships you have already built. The total number of these relationships will vary from person and company, but as an example, I consistently do this with about 3500 people. These are no longer prospects or nameless faces, but friends whom I know their kids names, where they live, etc. etc, mostly by memory.

Now don’t freak out, it will happen naturally and you won’t even realize. Work on one or two and perfect it. You can’t have 300 social media relationships until you have the other 299. Focus on one at a time and it will get easier and more effective as your consciously do these important steps.

Now, go be valuable to others!!

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

34 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized