Monthly Archives: January 2013

10 Points For Launching Your New Startup Using Social Media

As I speak with many new startup companies about social media, there are some big misconceptions about the what’s and when’s. Probably the biggest misconception I come across is the feeling that they should wait to start their social media marketing efforts until their product, website and/or business is actually completed or launched. This is a very bad idea and I will tell you why.

Startup Social Media StrategyImagine entering a marathon that is about to start in three months. During those three months you did not train at all. In addition to not training, you did not acquire sponsors to cover your massive entry fees, gear or travel expenses. How well do you think you will do once race day comes? That’s why implementing a strategy, building your social community and establishing relationships early is important!

I have put together a list of five Do’s and five Don’ts that should be helpful. These are by no means an exhaustive list, but a few of the tops things to keep you on track.

Do’s

1) Start Early – Develop a clear strategy that includes:

  • Have a clearly defined short and long term goal/objective for your social media marketing.
  • Know the social networks you need to be on and why.
  • Have a clear definition of your target audience.
  • Have a content topic strategy based on the interests of your target audience.
  • Have a community growth strategy.

2) Be Proactive – Establish a sizable, targeted community way before launch. Find your target audience and follow/connect with them. Have a large enough audience built before you need to announce your new product/service.

A good rule of thumb is to have 3-5k followers on Twitter and 500-1000 on your Facebook page as a start before you launch.

3) Be Known for your topics – Establish a content strategy early that creates a reputation for you about your industry. Be known for creating and sharing the content that is of interest to your audience.

4) Scale the hype – Plan to slowly ramp up the hype about your product/service launch over 60-90 days. Use text posts, blog posts, images and video to create interest in what you are doing, without divulging it fully.

5) Relationships – Establish relationships and conversations with your target audience now, so when you launch you have EARNED the right to discuss your new product/service with them.

Don’ts

1) Spam/Pitch/Sell – Don’t mention your followers in spam posts or pitch your company and what you are doing. You must earn the right, through relationships to sell in social media.

2) Hello’s with Links – Don’t mention new followers saying hello and telling them what you do and linking them to your site, blog or page. Cold relationship hello links do not work! More importantly you end up being ignored moving forward.

3) Not following back – Don’t forget to follow your target audience back with they connect with you on Twitter. Not following back basically says “We are too cool to follow you”. This is a big mistake! You can’t engage your audience/prospects if you never see anything THEY post! Don’t try to be cool, be effective.

To be clear, I am not suggesting you follow or friend everyone. I am saying follow, friend and follow back those that are your target audience, and do it immediately (within 24 hours).

4) Not Responding – The biggest don’t I could list is ignoring your audience. When someone in your community shares or comments on something you posted, mentions you, etc., you need to respond right away. Thank them and engage them in conversation, which will build a relationship.

5) Wait – Don’t wait!!

When a new startup waits to long to get their social media marketing efforts on track, they are setting their social media up for failure. Being proactive with a strategy and executing it early, gives you the traction you need to make it effective, but more importantly help your eventual launch gain steam!

Regardless of whether you are a tech startup, becoming a real estate agent, or beginning a new restaurant. Plan, then execute that plan now…

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Community, Facebook, Fanpage, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Not Scheduling Social Media Posts Doesn’t Make You Authentic, It Makes You

I have often explained that social media is like a freeway. Each car flying by is content you and others are posting in their feeds. You have to have enough relevant, valuable cars (content) on the road every day outside of RT’s and shares, so that whenever your audience steps up to the side of the freeway, one of YOUR cars fly by that is inline with your proper content strategy.

Social Media ContentI recently asked this question to my community; How many times per day do you post in social media and how many are scheduled and how many are live?

Of those using social media for marketing, I was amazed at how many proudly stated something like “I only post manually!” Over half of the people who responded to my question were basically saying that when and how many posts they infuse in their streams is directly related to whether their butt is able to be in their seat. They had no real consideration of their followers and when they were available and engaged.

Here are a few of my quotes I challenge you to ponder for a moment…

“Manually posting every single post you share on social media doesn’t make you authentic, what you do AFTER you post is what is important.”

“Digging by hand when shovels are available doesn’t make you authentic, it makes you ignorant. Social Media requires the proper tools.”

“Content leads to conversations, conversations build relationships, relationships result in ROI.”

Now let’s remove my Italian, often overly intense personality from these and dig into some points you should consider.

1) Scheduling Posts – When you schedule posts, you are not automating your social media responsibilities, you are ensuring that your streams always have relevant, valuable content that your audience will find interesting. You spend more of your social media time engaging and driving ROI, rather than manually posting content when you have time.

2) Enough Cars, All Day – Most people are not logged into social networks all day long, watching every post that comes through their feeds. No matter when they login, there should be something relevant from you that will draw them to engage.

You also need to know when your audience is most active online and be prepared during those times to engage with them. Having your content scheduled across the day gives you the time to focus on this outreach effort.

We use Tweriod to analyze our followers activity and know when they are most active.

3) Use Time Effectively – If you are spending hours per day on your social media marketing, be sure the time you are spending is on things that result in ROI (return on investment). Things like conversations, relationship building and engaging with your prospects. By scheduling content across the day, you now have more time to spend on those things that will make your social media marketing effective.

4) Post Real-time Too! – I am not saying to never post live. In fact that is a requirement. Use your time to post things that are happening right now that you shouldn’t and can’t schedule. Post things in real-time that make you human and approachable. Share the pictures you take in real-time that will spark conversations about your business. Post content you come across in real-time during the day that is relevant to your audience.

Scheduling content is not about either or, it’s about the proper mix of BOTH scheduled and live posts that get results and deliver value all day, every day to your audience.

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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

Preview What’s In The Pipeline, Then YOU Pick

For the first time ever, I am ahead on my typical 2 blog posts per week. I have five all written and ready to publish, but I like them all and can’t decide.

InYou Pick another first, we are going to let our readers and Facebook community decide which post will publish on Monday morning.

Visit the Bundle Post Facebook page and vote for the one you’d like to see. Of course only votes from those who have liked the page will be considered. (see what I did there?) :-)

On the fanpage, we will list the 5 blog posts to choose from. Comment and name the title of the one you want to read on Monday and the most votes for a specific title wins. Isn’t it nice to have a choice?

CLICK HERE to vote now!

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Blog, Community, Facebook, Fanpage, Uncategorized

Crossing The Lines Of Social Media And Real Life

Social Media TechSocial media gets real when relationships grow into real life connections. Whether it be customers walking into your store, phone calls to further conversations or video chats resulting in a deeper relationship, IRL (in real life) needs to be a part of your social media strategy.

We have become so digital that many no longer touch, feel and connect in real life. The power, reach and efficiency that social media marketing provides is undeniable, but what are we missing? Deep human connection can only go so far within the digital realm. For many, the IRL component is required in order to take a business relationship to the next level. The fact is, technology is extremely useful, but technology will never make us human. In fact, if we are not careful it will do the opposite.

A good friend of mine @jamesoliverjr pointed this video out to me the other day, and it struck such a cord that I had to share it.

Ask yourself these questions…

  • What is your IRL social media marketing strategy?
  • Is your brand getting real with your audience on a human level?
  • Is the overuse of technology effecting your personal relationships in ways you haven’t considered?
  • Are you consciously taking time and making effort to get to coffee with friends, prospects and customer relationships you have in the social graph?

Here is an easy to follow path to moving a relationship toward real-life opportunities:

1) Identify a person you wish to deepen your relationship with.

2) Increase the amount of comments on and sharing of their content. Do this slowly over an extended period of time. Doing it too rapidly comes across kind of creepy. Good relationships are built over time, not in a few days.

3) Spend more time getting to know them and what they do through more frequent interactions. When in conversations, use them as opportunities to ask more personal questions about them. Remember what you learn and ask them about specific events and activities they mentioned that were coming up in your next conversations.

4) Raise the IRL idea casually. Try using phrases like – We should grab coffee sometime. We should chat sometime. I’d love to ask you some questions on a phone call if you some time. These soft approaches to raising the idea allows you to judge their willingness without backing them into a wall. If they give a positive response, simply ask when would be good for them. If the response is negative or cold, continue with steps 2 and 3 for an extended period of time before raising the issue again.

I am very proud that our company, a social media software firm, does a tremendous amount of IRL interaction with our customers and prospects. The results from these furthered relationships are easily measured and valued by both our company and our users. Don’t underestimate the value and impact that taking social media relationships outside of the social graph has. A cup of coffee, phone call or video chats deepens your social media relationships and makes a real human connection that cannot be achieved with technology alone.

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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

Do You Want To Be Famous or Effective In Social Media?

Social Media FamousIn a single week recently, I had two conversations within two separate Facebook posts on this topic. Both conversations really boiled down to two things.

1) Using time most effectively

2) Doing activities that get real results

Let me outline the two conversations and include another situation that is becoming much more common…

Conversation 1: It all started with this chat message from a young lady I have been coaching for her social media agency. “I want to be somebody and I feel like I have to do everything I can.” The conversation was about her wanting to blog, do weekly videos on YouTube, etc., in order to become a “name” in the industry.

My Response was as follows: Do you want a name or to make money? If you want to make money, don’t waste time doing things that don’t accomplish that.

The young lady responded with: Both. I need to make money, I’m in a horrible situation but making a name is still very important to me and I don’t do free time. I work that’s it (literally) so if I have time I feel these things could at least help get my name known, plus I feel that the visual/audio is preferred to written blog posts all the time.

My advice to her wrapped up with: You can’t accomplish both when you’re starting out, if anyone tells you differently they’re lying. You either want a name with no proof you have actually done it and no results and revenue to show for it (and there are thousands of these people online) or you build a business and get recognition from doing it well.

Conversation 2: This conversation was apart of a long thread on a Facebook post. The conversation centered on being everywhere in the social graph and showing that you have “influence”. I really go involved when the comment “But, if someone really is an expert, they BETTER have a pretty impressive social media presence” was made.

I responded with: The point is that if you actually have clients and are making money because you are effective, you don’t have the time or NEED to manage your social media so much! – I know for a FACT a number of folks who waste a ton of time appearing influential in social media, yet have nothing financially to show for it. THIS is how people in this business get known as experts. Unfortunately, they have become experts at wasting their time and upping their egos…

Another person involved in the thread added by something to the effect that “If you actually have clients, you don’t have the time to personally be everywhere all the time, or manage a really big Klout score.” To which I wholeheartedly agreed!

Another situation: I was mentioned again on twitter in something like “I nurtured 1155 relationships on Twitter in 2012 with the Commun.it app. Thanks my top members: @xxxxxx @xxxxxx and @fondalo .” This sort of thing is happening to me quite a bit due to the increased use of the application by some, but here are some things you need to consider:

1) Are the relationships you are “nurturing” with prospects? On this particular post (and most) I have noticed that the top “influencers” that you are mentioning with the app are competitors, not prospects. How does that make any sense?

2) If you are spending time building relationships and a name in the social media space but are not getting new clients that pay for this huge amount time, who are you kidding?

My intent here is to get you to focus, to spend your time and efforts wisely, and to use this incredibly powerful medium of social media marketing in a way that furthers your goals, revenue and results. Spend some time early this year to make some modifications to your social media management strategy that will result in achieving real goals and not improving your ego.

I will end my post with a quote one of my good friends posted the day after I wrote this article.

“I aspire to be well off while they aspire to be well-known… #We’reDifferent” by @sociallyahead

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Agency, Facebook, Relationship, Social Media, Strategy, Uncategorized

Social Media Is Word Of Mouse Marketing

Social media is a completely unique, relationship based marketing venue that is more similar to real world, offline networking then it is to digital marketing. The age-old term “word of mouth” just doesn’t seem fitting when the platforms used are in fact digital, yet have a similar, albeit compounding effect.

Word Of MouseAs I was thinking about the unique aspects of social networking and it’s marketing cousin social media, word of mouth came to mind, but just didn’t seem to fit. We know that it used to be that when someone had a negative experience with a company, they would tell ten people. If they had a good experience, they might only tell one. With the proliferation of social media, those numbers have multiplied exponentially due to the digital component.

I think the best way to sum up social media marketing is with the term “Word of Mouse Marketing“.

So little is required to share negative or positive sentiment about a specific company. There is no phone to dial, no need to tell the story over and over to many different friends. Just a single click and it is not only out to hundreds and thousands, but through sharing, potentially can reach millions!

Word of Mouse marketing has and will continue to change how marketing is done. Understanding the social media paradigm and leveraging it properly is the difference between PR nightmares and saving a customer. It is more importantly the difference between a growing cost center and measurable return on investment (ROI) results that really matter. You can’t underestimate the power that consumers have now by way of their computer mouse. Doing so will be at your own peril.

Three things come to mind that make word of mouse marketing effective or not. You’ll be wise to utilize them within your social media efforts:

1) Be Cool! – Make sure the content you post AND create is unique, interesting and depending on your market, yes cool. When you create and post interesting content, your community will like, comment and share, hence click the mouse.

2) Have Conversations – The more you know someone, or someone knows you, the more likely they are in social media to click. Let people know you and/or your brand by letting the YOU shine through. Then get to know your audience by asking questions and having conversations.

3) Establish Relationships – You’ve heard me say it many times – “People do business with people they feel they know and like.” Establish real relationships in your community. This is often difficult to manage via memory, so use a social CRM solution like Nimble to track prospects, customers and conversations.

The mouse is a powerful thing in today’s world. Know and use word of mouse marketing through social media to be effective!

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Community, Marketing, Relationship, Social content management, Social CRM, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

How To Leverage Social Media Connections Into Prospects And Customers

Does this ever happen to you? You engage with a prospect quite a bit on social media. You are building a relationship and it’s time to tell them about your new product/service, etc. But you forget their name and/or twitter tag.  Or you want to mention someone and can’t remember their profile. Sound familiar?

The next step in social media is to more effectively manage relationships. Not just connecting and engaging, but ensuring that you know who your prospects and customers are at anytime, and having the right conversations with them every day. Sounds simple, right? It’s not…

Twitter lists and automated community management tools such as Commun.it are largely ineffective for this purpose. Lists have many limitations and are only useful within Twitter, among many other problems. Commun.it does little to actually manage or further prospect and client relationships beyond the annoying automated postings. So what do you do?

Social Relationship ManagementSocial relationship management is something I have been interested in for a while. With a sales and marketing management background, CRM tools were always a must, but there wasn’t much that was designed for social media marketing. With the new Nimble software and recent integration with Hootsuite, the challenges of managing prospects, customers and relationships within the social graph have become a thing of the past for me and my team.

Check out this quick video of me using it to add a contact through Hootsuite!

Notice how effective and easy @Nimble makes managing relationships, conversations, prospects and customers? The ability to so easily add a contact, find their Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ accounts is a dream come true! If you are not using a social CRM, you are missing out on opportunities to be effective and profitable with your social media marketing.

If you are a social media agency, this is a must have. In fact, let’s think about this…  Who should be using a social CRM?

  • Social Media Agencies
  • Marketing Companies
  • Individual Social Media Marketers
  • B to B Companies
  • Software Companies
  • Local Restaurants
  • B to C Companies
  • Everyone using social media for marketing!!

The bottom line is you must be more effective and efficient with your social media content, engagement, relationships and results. The proper social media tools like Hootsuite, Bundle Post and Nimble are required to achieve just that!

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Agency, Community, Facebook, Google Plus, Marketing, Relationship, Social content management, Social CRM, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized