Category Archives: Community

Social Media Conversations That Become Leads

Conversations within social media is what builds relationships. Those resulting relationships are what lay the foundations for real results like sales, revenue and customer acquisition. But the question I hear most often is “How do you get into conversations that become leads?”

Social media conversations that become leadsOne way to get into conversations is to simply start them with others. For brands this is an infinitely more difficult task given the resources required, the restrictions of certain social networks and simply time. This doesn’t scale well and therefore is often only a small part of a social strategy long-term. Starting conversations with your target audience is effective, but requires massive resources to pull it off with anything resembling return on investment (ROI).

Another and more frequently used approach to starting conversations is something I call luring.

I frequently use analogies to correlate social media marketing to things that most people already understand. I find that many comprehend some of the complexities of social media much better this way. So let’s look at social media engagement or social selling as fishing.

Lure, luring, fishing. Get it?

If you agree that “Content leads to conversations, conversations build relationships and relationships result in ROI“, then we can equate content to a fishing lure and getting a bite on the line as a conversation. The reason for a fishing lure is to attract and catch fish. Different sizes and types of lures are designed to attract different types and sizes of fish. Therefore the right content, created and curated (the lure) in your streams will attract a certain type of prospect and therefore increase the chances that they share, comment or like the content you post (the bite).

Furthering our analogy, if you don’t cast enough times on the day you are fishing, you greatly reduce your chances of getting any bites. Casting your lure into the lake only a few times will likely result in no fish being attracted to your lure. You have to keep casting, reeling in and casting again in order to increase the odds that a fish will even see your lure, let alone be attracted to it. This is why having enough consistent, relevant, valuable content in your streams is so important.

This gets even complex when there are numerous types of fish in the lake, but you’re only interested in catching a specific kind. Now you have to consider WHICH lures (content subject matter) are best to attract that specific type of fish and also how many times you need to be casting and reeling in your lure each and every day in order to get a bite. If you want to attract fish that have a higher propensity to engage with you from the content you post, focus on curating content that highlights the challenges that your product and service solves for your target audience.

5 Social Media Ways To Foster Conversations With The Right Audience -

  1. Enough Posts (Casting) – social network users are logging on and off, and switching from desktop to mobile all day long. If you do not have enough posts all day, every day, you’re likely to be seen less.
  2. Content Type (The Lure) – Whether you are curating or creating content, you need to ensure that what you are posting is relevant and interesting to your target audience. Know what THEY are interested in and post about those topics. This is what will get them to engage YOU.
  3. Crowded Waters – Just because an article is popular or comes from a popular site, doesn’t mean you should post it in your streams. In fact, I would say that in most cases the opposite it true. Sharing content that everyone has already seen, read and shared themselves is hardly an effective strategy. If your peers and competitors are fishing in the same cove of the lake, grab your fishing pole and fish somewhere else where this fish see less of the same lures.
  4. Create Lures – Along with posting curated content, you should also be creating content. Think of this as the experienced fly fisherman that ties their own flies. Know your intended audience (fish) and what they’re interested in and create content that connects their needs, challenges and interests with what you do, without overtly pitching your product or service.
  5. Leads – When you have a “fish on” (conversation started) don’t reel it in as fast as humanly possible. Take the time to expand the conversation around your contact without immediately moving to what you do. Building relationships over time is what gets results. Getting a bite and immediately attempting to land the fish is a great way to rip the hook out and lose the fish altogether.

At the end of the day, social media marketing lead generation is not dissimilar to the real world. Relationships take time and often require many conversations to build trust. Taking the time to earn that trust will open doors to discuss what you do with your connections and turn relationships into leads.

If you’re having the right conversations with the right connections, your conversations will become leads.

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Filed under Brand, Community, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Uncategorized

The How To’s of Customer Targeting, Acquisition And Retention In Social Media

In a report released earlier this month, “Over 85% of US marketing executives cited acquiring new customers and increasing retention as the top two 2014 marketing priorities.” After reading this, I asked myself when isn’t that the top two priorities of most executives? Isn’t that why a business is marketing to begin with? But I digress…

Customer Targeting Retention & Acquisition in Social MediaThe report further outlined that Executives said that “getting or holding target customers’ attention, as well as finding their target audience online, were the top two major challenges.

I find it interesting how larger brands and agencies find these things so challenging. They have the biggest budgets, the most resources and yet still navigate the online marketing world as if it is print or television. In today’s social networking world, finding your target audience couldn’t be more simple. Holding the attention of target customers is really just as easy, if in fact you are doing it properly.

What small, local and medium businesses lack in the form of resources and budgets, they more than make up for in common sense, nimbleness and the ability to effectively execute quickly. If and only if you understand one simple truth about digital marketing in today’s world…

It’s NOT about YOU!

The reason most of the big brands see the issues outlined in this report and challenging is because most have yet to recognize this fact. Big brands often solely self promote their wares and create a persona of “too good to engage” to their audience. A quick scan of most brands social media feeds and mentions will uncover huge communities that are attempting to engage with their favorite brands and those same brands ignoring the comments, mentions and engagement by the very target customers they say they are trying to find and hold attention with. Is it really this difficult to understand?

Acquire and Retain Customers:

If your priority is to acquire and retain customers, engage them. Make them feel wanted beyond their pocketbook. If you ignore your audience, they’ll not be your audience for very long.

Get Attention:

If you want to get the attention of your target customer, create and curate content that they are interested in. It might not have anything to do with your industry, product or brand. Meet them where their interests are and make your feeds be about them, not you.

Find Your Audience:

If you want to find your target customer, simply search for the people that are your target, connect with them and show interest in who they are. There’s no place this is done any easier than Twitter. I have said many times that Twitter is the hub of social media marketing.

The Wrap Up:

In an age where Facebook organic reach is declining to ultimate zero and the need for real results from social media marketing and other online channels are increasing, marketers need to adjust their “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. SMB’s need to better recognize the opportunities readily available and gain the knowledge and executional capabilities required to capitalize on them.

Twitter is your friend, learn it and execute it well to grow your targeted community. It is one of the only social networks that enables you to easily find and connect with your target audience easily.

Facebook now requires you to pay to reach the audience you already invested heavily to grow. Recognize this and either establish a budget to do that or maintain your presence there, but get better elsewhere.

Above all, look at your social media connections as more of an intimate one-on-one relationship, rather than an audience for your advertisements. If you stop ignoring your community and respond to their mentions, seek to converse with them about what they’re doing and curate recent relevance based on their interests, you will earn their respect and gain their interest in what you do.

 

 

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Filed under Brand, Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Facebook, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

4 Ways To Reduce or Kill Social Media Engagement Over Time

In a post last week, we discussed an “Easy Way To Increase Social Media Engagement Right Away” where we covered the fact that social media marketing is real-time and the more you respond and engage with your audience in real-time, the more likely they are to do so more frequently. This post is going to take a look at the opposite approach and detail 4 ways that will reduce or kill your social media marketing and engagement efforts over time.

Don't reduce social media engagementIn order to scale social media engagement, you want to build upon the community interaction you have already established. If you are building relationships well, this will mean that the audience that is regularly engaging with you on social media increases and expands. The accounts that engaged with you yesterday and months and years prior should still be engaging with you now, and you should also be adding even more new relationships to those ranks consistently.

Too often social media marketers find themselves in a cycle of “new”. What I mean by that is that the portion of their following that engages them are often their newer followers and friends, yet the larger portion of their community that they have been connected with for a longer period of time engage at increasingly lesser levels. This is often an indication that there may be something wrong with the social media management or processes being employed.

Here are 4 ways to reduce your social media engagement:

- Responding Slowly: If you are managing your social media marketing in real-time as we discussed in our last post, you are going to scale your social media engagement. Conversely, if you are responding hours or even days after comments, shares and engagement, you are showing your community you are not truly engaged. They WILL stop engaging with you over time.

- Never Responding: When your audience comments on your posts or shares your content, a response is imperative. It tells them that they are important and you appreciate their efforts on your behalf. If you do the “post and leave” tactic and/or never respond to comments, they WILL stop engaging with you over time.

- Never Thanking: Social media marketing is really a parallel universe to the real world. Whatever you would do in real life, you should be doing with your social media management. Thanking others that mention you in conversation, share your content or tell others about you is something you would always do at a networking event. Ignoring those that share your content in social media is a sure-fire way for reducing and ultimately killing their engagement with you and your content over time.

- Notification Hell: As we all should understand, every social network is different and they all have their own unique capabilities, technologies and nuances. If you continually put people into notification hell when they share your posts, they WILL share them less frequently.

For example, if someone clicks the like button on one of your posts on Facebook and you always follow that by tagging them in the comment section of your post, you have now put them into notification hell. Every new comment and additional thank you that you make on that post is sending a notification to someone who just liked the post but didn’t comment.  Thank tagging for everything on Facebook will often create a negative feeling that will result in them engaging with you and your posts less often.

It is hard enough to build a community in social media, let alone get that community to see your posts, engage with you and achieve real measurable results. Don’t get caught up in the cycle of new by alienating your existing audience in ways that cause them to stop engaging. Relationships develop over time and giving your community reasons to continue to engage and do so more often, over reasons to stop engaging is crucial to your social media marketing success!

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Filed under Community, Content, Engagement, Facebook, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

1 Easy Way To Increase Social Media Engagement Right Away

There are a few things we know about most human beings. Things that make us human and also extremely unique in the animal world. We are certainly creatures of habit we both consciously and unconsciously migrate toward the path of least resistance and embrace activities that make us feel good inside. We also avoid things, activities and people that hurt our feelings consciously or even unconsciously. These unique aspects about people also correlate with our online connections and relationships.

Increase EngagementThis came up Monday on one of my Facebook threads where I posted about sneezing and subsequently popping my neck and back out. Yes, I know I am old, let’s move on shall we? :-)

In this thread, my good friend Rick Cooper made a comment of – “Rick Cooper – Is there anytime you don’t have a computer or mobile device at your fingertips Robert? You’re the fastest responder in the West!” To which I replied, “Robert M. Caruso – When I’m asleep Rick Cooper. Social media is real time. When people comment it’s because they are there, right then. The best way to get fewer comments on your posts over time is to lengthen the time you respond. Guess the best way to get more engagement over time?”

Social Media RespondingHere’s the full thread.

Whether you are consciously aware or not, you are gravitating to people that spark a good feeling inside your being. People that are helpful, like-minded or provide you value and insight that you connect with. You are also often unconsciously avoiding people or situations that make you feel uncomfortable, unvalued or hurt. With the higher frequency of social media interactions as compared the number often experienced in real life, the life cycle for feelings, good or bad about a specific person or situation are often much shorter. In other words, we do way more online in terms of interactions than we are able to in real life.

Social media is real-time. What I mean by that is that just as in an offline interaction, it is happening right then and each comment/response cycle is not typically spread over days, but happen in the instance the first communication begins. In social media however, some tend to extend the interaction cycle over an extended period of time by not responding to comments on or shares of their posts.

The easiest way to increase social media engagement over the long term is to be in the present.

It is extremely important to understand the parallels between social media marketing and the real world and the subtle dynamics that make the difference. If in fact social media marketing is real time, responding and engaging in real time is extremely important. The fact that someone is commenting on or sharing one of your posts, right now, means that they are present and available, RIGHT THEN.

Unless you are a celebrity that millions are following and hang on every post you make, all the while knowing that you’re likely never going to acknowledge your fan comments, shares or presence whatsoever, you should be, just like in real life. You see, most people have a genuine expectation to be appreciated and recognized when complimenting, commenting or otherwise “helping” someone else. It’s human nature.

Think about it. If you spoke to someone at a party and they didn’t respond, or if you introduced them to someone interested in what they do for a living and they stepped in front of you and pretended you didn’t exist, would you engage that person or share their business card again? Most people that are willing to be honest about their feelings would have to say they wouldn’t.

So the best way to increase social media engagement is to respond in real time. By doing so, you put a few things into motion in your community that make a massive difference over the long term;

1) Feel good – Everyone feels good when they are acknowledged. Doing it in real time increases the chance that they will engage more at that moment, and more importantly, engage you again in the future.

2) Appreciated – When you feel appreciated by someone, you desire to be around them more and know more about them. You make your audience feel appreciated when you are there and responding when they engage with you or your content.

3) Repetitive – In keeping with what we know about human beings in the opening of this post, we know we can subconsciously create repetitive actions with people by making them feel good, appreciated and like you are always there when they are.

People repeat activity that makes them feel good. Responding in real time, when your audience is there and engaging makes this possible.

In our next post we discuss 4 Ways That Reduce or Kill Social Media Engagement Over Time.

 

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Filed under Community, Content, Engagement, Facebook, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

How NOT To Do Facebook Ads

Over the weekend I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook and came across this Sponsored Post from the United States Postal Service, USPS. It caught my eye because it had Spider-Man prominently displayed with the caption “Always at your Facebook Ad Failservice” accompanying it. This immediately trigger some thoughts and emotions about the USPS that many Americans might have. The words “Always” and “Service” are not some of the words that we typically or positively feel about the sinking giant.

Nevertheless, I clicked on the link in the ad to view the website, then I clicked the comments of the sponsored post to see what people were saying. I don’t know why I was so shocked, but I was. There were over 350 comments on the post and the majority were highly critical, negative or at least asking questions about the responsibility of the USPS to run such an ad.

The Spider-Man Facebook ad is part of a larger media campaign that is coupled with the release of the new film. Here’s the television ad that is also part of the campaign.

Whoever inside the USPS leadership and/or their ad agency hired to create and executive this campaign that did not see a potential negative backlash, should receive at least 40 lashes with a wet noodle. The messaging surrounding the post flies in direct contrast with the average consumers view of the government agency. Furthermore, as many of the comments surrounding the campaign point out, the agency should not be spending massive sums of money to partner on such things with Hollywood, when they are in such financial trouble to begin with. Isn’t this just common sense? Epic Fail in my humble opinion.

What can the average marketer take away from this fail?

1) Know your audience and the potential negative perceptions they have about your industry, product, service or brand. Don’t set yourself up for failure by using the wrong messaging that may spark negative results.

2) Be careful what your ad claims. Ask yourself how your audience might react to the claims you are making in your ads. Instead, adjust the messaging to fill the needs that your target audience has or a provide a specific offer that is valuable to them. Do NOT make claims that your audience may readily disagree with and spark controversy.

3) Stay clear of controversy. Brands, industries, products and services should be extremely aware of their audiences sentiment and steer clear of controversial language. Advertising is hard enough, don’t make it more difficult by introducing potentially controversial things into your campaign.

The USPS situation teaches us to know our audience very well before we conduct a Facebook advertising campaign. Their fail is less to do with who they are as an agency or how well they actually perform what they do, but more about their failure to recognize their audiences perceptions, how it relates to their claims in the ad and most importantly the controversy that could arise from it. What’s more, they failed to recognize the social media marketing consequences that can result from missing on all these points.

 

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Community, Facebook, FAIL, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

Be A Maitre d’ Of Social Media Marketing

Maitre d' Of Social Media MarketingI can’t recall the source or specifics, but I recently heard a story on the radio involving a restaurant and a Maitre d’ that is embedded in my thoughts for time and memorial. Not the specific details, but the over-reaching premise and point of the story that directly connects to social media marketing and customer service. The story crossed my mind again this morning, triggered by a television commercial that was on in the background in my office. I decided to make the story the topic of this post.

The Story:

A couple came into the high-end restaurant that was known for their steak. The gentleman had really been craving a good steak, so he and his wife decided to go out. The Maitre d’ seated his guests at a table and proceeded to give them the royal treatment, helping with chairs and napkins. Taking the couples order the waiter meticulously detailed every instruction for their meal and went off to secure its creation with the chef.

After getting the couple their drinks, appetizers and salads, the moment of truth arrived. The waiter delivered the most beautifully prepared steak the man had ever seen.

As the aroma filled the man’s nostrils, the Maitre d’ asked if there was anything else the couple required. The simple gentleman looked up at the highly polished servant of culinary excellence and politely asked for some A1 steak sauce. Without so much as blinking, the Maitre d’ immediately snapped back with, “right away sir”.

After a short period of time, the Maitre d’ rushed over to the couples table and opened a bag, revealing the A1 steak sauce the customer requested. Slightly out of breath, the Maitre d’ calmly pronounced “Your steak sauce sir.”

The gentleman looked up at the Maitre d’ and said, “why are you out of breath?” To which the Maitre d’ replied, “I had to run 5 blocks to the grocery store for your steak sauce.”

This restaurant didn’t even have A1 steak sauce and the Maitre d’ went and got it!

BE The Social Media Maitre d’

What did you learn from this story as it relates to social media marketing? I got a lot from it. Here are some things that stuck with me.

1) Stand out – Stop doing the same thing everyone else does. Stand out from the crowd in new and unique ways that deliver value to your audience.

2) Value, not price is incredible – Providing value in your streams, content and actions is what matters, not the price of your product or service.

3) Selfless is an action – Stop looking at what is in it for you and be selfless in your relationships in social media. Do this right and it will come back to you in so many ways it’s immeasurable.

4) Don’t belittle, just help – The Maitre d’ could have easily made this guy look and feel like a loser for wanting steak sauce, yet he didn’t. He did what was needed to help the man get what he wanted/liked. Most importantly he did it without belittling the man.

5) Be memorable – In everything you do in social media, do it in a way that your prospects, customers and connections never forget you. Make a memorable impression, over and over.

6) The customer isn’t always right – We could all argue that ruining an amazing, expensive steak with A1 is almost inexcusable, however who are we to say how someone else likes their food. Follow the example of keeping your opinion to yourself and just helping, therefore making them FEEL as though they are right.

7) Immediate action – Don’t wait, don’t think, don’t even ponder. Take action toward a customers need, NOW.

8) Serving others is the highest reward – No need to embellish this at all.

There are many more things that could be added to this list, but these are the main points I wanted to impress upon you, as they impressed upon me. As you continue your week, remember this incredible Maitre d’ as you engage with customers, prospects and connections in social media. Let your actions speak loud, your customer service stand apart and value trump your profitability.

disclaimer: I tried my very best to find the actual story, but despite my best searches, (I even tried using Google instead of my Bing) I was unable to locate it. So I apologize for not providing credit to the originator, but I tried to stay true to what I remembered and made a valiant effort to find it.

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Filed under Community, customer service, Marketing, Relationship, Restaurant, Results, Social Media Marketing

How To Know Your Social Media Content Strategy Isn’t Working

Determining what isn’t working within your social media marketing strategy is imperative. Your content strategy is often one of the areas that is off, and the reason your efforts are thus far in vain. If you don’t have a proper social media content strategy it will affect the rest of your social media marketing results. Identifying the key indicators pointing to what’s not working is extremely important.

Social Media Content StrategyWhat are a few of the signs that the content strategy you are using with your social media marketing isn’t working?

1) No Shares – One of the biggest things you should be seeing that will validate the topics and content you post about are shares. If you’re not getting a fair amount of RT’s and shares of the content you curate, post and create, your content strategy is missing the mark.

2) No Engagement – When your community likes and comments on the content you are posting to your streams, you can infer that the content types and topics you are posting about is resonating. But lets be very clear here. I said likes AND comments. A subtle thing many miss is that likes without comments is not a good indicator of relevance. You’re looking for both likes and comments that show your content strategy is connecting with your audiences interests.

3) No Clicks – One thing that is often overlooked is the measurement of traffic to YOUR websites, landing pages and content. When you have nailed a curation and creation content strategy, you will be providing consistent content that resonates with your audience and opens interest in content you create and more importantly an openness to investigate what you and/or your company actually does. If your social media posts about you and your services aren’t generating traffic, it’s a good indication that nobody cares what you post.

4) No Leads/Sales – At the end of the day, social media marketing needs to be about results. It needs to be about more than just clicks, engagement, likes and community size. If your content strategy is working and you have speaking to the proper audience with the content you curate and create, it will lead to conversations and then relationships.

Earning relationships should be your focus from the beginning. Providing selfless value through content posting, content creation and shares will open conversations with your community. As those conversations increase, relationships are formed, thought leadership is established and relationships grown. Through those relationships you will also generate inquiries, leads and revenue.

If you have the proper content strategy in place and are doing the proper activities surrounding what you post, likes, comments, conversations, clicks, traffic, relationships and sales are the result.

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Filed under Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized