Monthly Archives: April 2012

Social Media Agencies, Consultants Must Walk The Talk

I consult a lot of social media agencies, marketers and brands on their internal strategy, processes and implementation. I come across many that don’t seem to realize that if they are selling social media marketing to their clients, their feeds should reflect their ability and professionalism.

One of the favorite sayings that often comes out of my mouth is “Show me, don’t tell me”. In my many daily conversations, that phrase is often times followed by something like “I don’t care what you say, I only watch what you do”. This mentality is how I run my life and business. I do this very consciously when I have conversations with people, however most people do it unconsciously.There is a big difference between the two.

The average person unconsciously evaluates what you say and how it compares to what you do. Because it is unconscious, it often takes a bit longer to come to a conscious conclusion about someone or something. Business people however, are a bit more discerning in their relationships with vendors and look for results and clues to match with what the vendor is pitching them.

This fact has two serious implications you need to understand in your social media marketing sales efforts:

1) What you are proposing to do and achieve for your prospective social media management clients must match what you are doing and achieving with your social media marketing. If it does not, you loose credibility. Worse, you don’t have an important sales tool that shows you are able to achieve what you are proposing for your client. Additionally, it can impact the pricing or perceived value a prospect is willing to pay for your service.

2) In a competitive bidding scenario for a new social media client, where there are more than one competitors vying for the account, you need to be able to point to your social media and compare it to your competitors. Especially, when there is a disparity in the pricing you are proposing, the ability to show results over the competitor and say “If they aren’t doing it for their own accounts, what makes you think they can for yours” goes a long way in winning the account.

Be sure that you do what you say, not only in your daily business interactions, but also in your feeds. Get results for your brand, so you can show you can do it for your prospects. Your social media accounts must show that you are leading, creative and innovative and that what you do is effective and get’s results.

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

11 Comments

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

Social Media And Life – When It Rains It Pours

The other day I was driving to an appointment and true to form, it was absolutely pouring raining here in the Portland, Oregon Metropolitan area. It came to me how social media marketing, management, business and even life are very connected to the phrase “When It Rains, It Pours.”

I decided to have a little chat about it on video and give my insight about consistent, perpetual rain within social media and life itself.

It is my sincere hope that this video has changed your thinking. Not just how you think about consistency with your social media management and strategy, your social media community involvement, engagement and relationships, even your business in general. Most importantly, I hope it made you consider life itself…

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

18 Comments

Filed under Community, Relationship, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

Hootsuite’s No Cost Hootlet App – Share Content In Seconds

As a social media software company ourselves, we continually look for applications that improve efficiency and effectiveness. We are also avid users of Hootsuite, given our technology integrates with their platform. I was going through Hootsuite the other day and came across the link to the Hootlet app.

The Hootlet browser plugin app, let’s you easily schedule and share content and pages you come across all day while on the web and social media sites. Added as a bookmark to your browser, you simply click when you are on a page you want to share and the app automatically opens an interface similar to the Hootsuite app with all of your social accounts. You can share to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare and any other social network you have setup in Hootsuite directly from any page. The post is ready to send now, or easily scheduled. The best part is that it is free!

Now, I am not a big user of browser plugins or apps and our Bundle Post software manages all of our regular daily social media content sharing across the day, but the Hootlet app makes sharing additional stories or articles extremely fast and easy!

Here’s a quick video by Hootsuite to show setup and how it works.

Since we are heavy Pro users of Hootsuite and utilize the integrated Bundle Post technology for content management, aggregation, hashtagging and scheduling based on our content strategy, we have found the Hootlet to be an exceptional Free addition to our daily content sharing and scheduling and think you will to. It is worth the look for additional ease of use and punch to your social media content strategy!

Here are additional details on installing it in your browser.

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

15 Comments

Filed under Hootsuite, Social Aggregation, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Community Is Something You DO

The definition of community is a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists. Within social media, community can be defined several ways, all of which should be belonging AND doing.

Too often the term “community” within social media is thrown around as if it is something that everyone should be doing FOR you. Following your brand, commenting on your posts, sharing your content. Building a community around a brand should not be about what others are doing for/about you. It should be about strengthening relationships around common interests that also includes your company. I frequently see pages and twitter accounts where companies largely ignore their “community”.

The bottom line is that Community Is Something You DO and Something You Belong To. It’s both not one or the other. You do community with your community. That is true whether online, offline or in social media marketing. When you DO community, you are part of it, not just the reason for it. You both belong to the group along with showing interest, appreciation and care by engaging in it.

The challenge for social media agencies, internal brand departments and individual marketers within the social graph is to build community around their audience, not themselves, delivering value and being community to that audience. You do need to build a highly engaged community of fans, friends and followers, but you need to do that by doing. Examples?

1) Reach out to your audience. Don’t just sit back and wait for them.

2) Always respond, looking for opportunities to build relationship.

3) Be selfless. Don’t make everything about you. Share the content they find valuable that is not related to your business.

4) Share your communities content. Just because you didn’t post it, doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to your community.

5) Help your audience achieve THEIR goals and objectives daily.

How does your brand or agency do community?

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

12 Comments

Filed under Agency, Community, Fanpage, Followers, Relationship, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized

Images Changing Social Media – Instagram, Facebook And Pinterest

Because we are all human beings in social media and online, with exception of bots, we are all very visual. We have a need to visualize what we read and process the text under the proper context of its meaning. Think about it… We process information primarily visually, then use text to get the deeper detail.

Example:  Think about today’s computers and smart phones. Without getting into who stole what from whom, we have GUI (graphical user interfaces) today that makes it easy to use a computer or smart phone. We visually determine what we want to do, largely without reading any text, due to the graphics that guide our actions. This was such a powerful change to everything we do, I even copyrighted the phrase “Pictures rather than words” in 2000.

Many of you read my prediction about Facebook and Pinterest where I predicted that Facebook would create something to combat the Pinterest growth and resulting leak of time on site to the new network. I took a lot of heat for this prediction by the many avid users of Pinterest, but I am used to that. You see, I am committed to never getting emotionally attached to a network or method. I look at the industry solely from the facts and data patterns in order to best utilize social media marketing and be as forward thinking in my writing as possible. Whether it be Google, Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Pinterest, I am committed to keeping an unbiased business view of the industry. Am I always right? Of course not. Does this approach give me the ability to provide a unique perspective for my readers, absolutely!

So, with the acquisition of Instagram, it is clear that Facebook did in fact see the importance of the image and categorizing segment of social media Pinterest captured and intended to address it. I believe that Facebook is developing additional “in network” changes to their platform that will make the best use of the Instragram infrastructure and user base that ultimately results in an online and mobile Pinterest-like solution to its users. One of the significant advantages that Facebook achieves with this purchase is an irrevocable lead over Pinterest in the mobile, social media application of grouped/sorted images. That along with becoming the default method for mobile image content creation and sharing to the social graph, as well as it’s primary repository location that houses that content, the momentum gained here is massive!

What’s next? Look for some initial integration of the Instagram platform directly into Facebook’s systems, followed by some substantial changes to the way that images can be grouped and managed within Facebook. I think that they will follow all of this with some additional categorization abilities for shared content that will enable Pin-like sorting of other content not directly uploaded into Facebook by users.

Now that we are seeing the reality of Facebook’s chess move designed to combat the Pinterest phenomena, what do I suggest YOU do? A few things…

1) Stop whining and complaining about it.

2) Be prepared for the inevitable Facebook dominance of this market segment also.

3)  Look for ways to take advantage of these changes for marketing purposes that address the interests of your target audience.

Enjoy!

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

20 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Mobile, Smart Phone, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

Key Considerations For A Social Media Agency’s Client Pricing

One of the most repeated questions I get from social media agencies, small social media consultants and virtual assistants is the question of price for social media services to clients. I have tried to stay away from writing about the topic because it is such a subjective topic. There are so many variables that go into pricing a social media program for a client and budget is only one of them!

The intent of this post is to better outline some of the key factors in determining pricing for your agency clients. I will start by discussing a highly connected issue that I am also asked on occasion. This is going to be one of my longer blog posts and for that I am sorry. I don’t like long blog posts either, but the subject matter is detailed so hang in there with me.

Connected Issue:  Should we publish our social media pricing on our website?

Absolutely NOT!  Why?  Here’s my perspective on this:

1) you already have competition, don’t make it easy on them, by giving them your prices.

2) Average users online typically shop price even though they do not understand the major differences between services being provided.

3) People do business with people they connect with. Drive your prospects to a phone call consultation. Your social media services website can’t close business for you.

4) Every social media client/business/product is different. Cookie cutter activity, strategy and pricing will not be effective.

5) Most Important: Your main competition for new clients will come from the large online social media mills. (think puppy mills) Those on or offshore providers that churn and burn poor unsuspecting souls into useless social media programs that post crap once per day on twitter and facebook for $100/mo. and will never achieve any returns. For the business owner that does not understand social media marketing best practices and relationship building, they will see your price and the mills price and not even call to get more information. In short - Effective social media management and marketing is not a price compare game…

Next lets get into those key factors you need to consider when developing pricing for a clients social media marketing program.

Key Considerations When Developing Your Social Media Pricing:

Client Size: Are you dealing with a small, medium or large client. What are the differences in community building, targeting, finding for each. What size community will that require to be effective and how much resources are needed to properly engage with that community.

Number of Social Accounts: When speaking with a client and understanding their industry, geographic and demographic market, you will need to determine what social networks they need to be engaged in. In other words, where is your clients target market spending their time in the social graph. Based on the social networks that your clients audience is engaged in, you will determine which and how many social networks they need to have a presence in. Conversely, if they already have a social media presence, take into consideration the number of accounts you will need to be posting to and managing daily for community growth and engagement.

How Niche Is Their Industry/Target Market: This is probably more overlooked in pricing than anything else in our industry. The more niche a client is, the more competitive their space is and the more unique their offering is, the more time and resources their social media marketing will require. Do not make the mistake of NOT considering this in the client pricing structure.

Content Strategy: Based on the clients business, what is the content strategy that needs to be deployed. Content type, frequency of posting, etc. This can be dramatically different from one client to the next. >>> More on Posting Frequency

Time/Resource Requirements:  In general, what are the time, personnel and tool requirements for the client. Consider the other above factors and the more or less time you will need based on this clients uniqueness.

Collaboration Needs: Another over looked component is client collaboration. Will you need to be getting content from the client daily, weekly, etc. Will they have specials that will need to be formatted and posted frequently. Will you have to be chasing the client for this content, etc. Restaurants, as an example will need to have collaboration involvement with you. They are notorious for being busy and requiring more time and attention, especially related to collaboration. >>> More on Restaurants

Are there more considerations that should be considered in your social media price? Sure, probably hundreds. I just feel that these are the key factors you should minimally take into account.

So the big question is, what should pricing be? I would say for the smaller, less complex and local clients, you should be priced between $500-$700 per month. For larger, more complex, national clients, you should be between $800-$1,500 per month. All of this depends on the key considerations we discussed above. A more regional mid-sized business or a B to B social media client might be somewhere in the middle. >>> More on Proposals

From here there is the question of setup fees, but this is an entire post in and of itself. We will address that on another blog post.

The point is, there is no one size fits all pricing structure for a social media management program, or at least I do not subscribe to that idea based on our experience. Every client and program should be different in order to maximize results. Considering the key factors of a program should improve your pricing structure and net profitability for your agency.

*MORE - For an in depth 5 Part series on how to pitch a social media management program to a prospective client, including a proposal template, Read This Series: Important Elements of A Social Media Agency Proposal – Part 1-5

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

25 Comments

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

How I Do Social Media – A Twist On Relationship Building

On March 13th we produced a new social graphic on our image blog that was called “How I Do Social Media, I Mean Coffee, I Mean…” Not only did the social media image get a ton of traffic (and continue to), but it created two things that were completely unexpected…

First, I was contacted by one my local friends and followers @PenToPaperCom here in the Portland Metro area. Leanne is an amazing writer and incredible mother and wife. Beyond that I call her a friend. We have shared coffee and many a meet up together and is the kind of people I like to hang out with. Why does this matter at all in my post? Trust me it does…

When Leanne contacted me, she asked for my address. She said she had to send me something. Being one that hates surprises, I tried to get to the bottom of it. Reluctantly, without information, I gave up the address. This is what arrived:

Isn’t that the coolest thing in the world? It had Biscotti, a Starbucks card and the coffee mug, let a lone a incredibly kind thank you note! If that isn’t some incredible relationship building, I am not sure what is. It takes social media content to an entirely new level! Worth the time and investment? Duh, yes…

So here’s where all this has now lead to. The Social Graphics Blog of daily funny social graphics has and continues to grow in popularity. We post 5 new hilarious, inspiring, coffee and other original social media related images every weekday. Since Leanne sent the coffee mug and I showed it to a few on our team, then a few others outside of the company, the idea of producing some coffee mugs and other swag with our graphics seems to be something that might just happen. They would be available for purchase at minimal costs and let the world know you are in social media.

This medium is one powerful, fast paced phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me. It continually reaches to new and unique heights, while creating some of the most amazing friendships and business relationships. Want to make an impression with someone? Take note of what Leanne did and don’t be afraid to be original in the social graph! I already loved her and her business talents. Now I don’t think there is anyway I would not help her more than I have already attempted.

What unique relationship building strategy have you used in your social media marketing efforts?

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

17 Comments

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