Category Archives: Marketing

The What, When and How Of Social Media Marketing Messages – Part 2

Part 2 of the Social Media Marketing Messages seriesIn our previous post we detailed the what and when elements of marketing messages within an effective social media marketing strategy. We outlined the differences between curated content and sales messages, as well as the proper ratio ranges that are generally accepted in the industry. In part 2 of our series, we will discuss how to create and manage a repository of sales messages for social media posting and efficiently implement them within your social media management.

What Is A Marketing Message Repository?

Think of a marketing message repository as a database of social media posts that are about you. They are crafted posts and links that are designed to achieve the overall goals of your social media strategy. This is something we like to call “My Content” posts.

In our previous post, we outlined some of the challenges social media marketers face related to sales messages in their streams, but what are the additional questions you should be asking yourself? Most social media professionals are either not managing a database of sales and marketing content they have available to share, or are using spreadsheets and Word documents in an attempt to do this function.

Though external documents are better than nothing, you still have many obstacles to consistency and efficiency that hinder results. Ask yourself these additional questions about the posting for your social media accounts…

1) How do you effectively manage the 80/20 ratios?

2) How do you execute the two types of message posting efficiently? Curation/Marketing

3) Is there an effective way to manage your marketing messages that will improve your social media success?

If you are like the majority of social media marketers, agencies and brands, honestly answering these questions most likely left you thinking that there is something drastically missing in your workflow. You’re definitely not alone. A social content management application that incorporates an efficient marketing message component is badly needed. Fortunately, there is one…

Bundle Post‘s patent pending system includes a marketing message repository capability unlike anything else available in the industry. The “My Content” functions provide social media marketers with numerous unique capabilities that result in a direct impact on clicks, traffic, leads and ROI.

My Content Capabilities:

Social media marketing message repository1) Segmentation Folders -

The My Content section of the Bundle Post system enables you to segment posts anyway you desire. You can create folders to house social media posts, sales messages, evergreen content, campaign posts and more. Each segmented folder can be named and designated for a specific client, product or segment to ensure you keep every aspect of marketing messages separate.

2) Repository Posts -

A system that manages your marketing message posts efficiently has many benefits. Not only do you have all potential posts in a repository of social media marketing message postsone place, you also know exactly what you have available to share with your community that promotes what you do. Within every My Content folder you make, you are able to create and save an unlimited number of social media posts.

The types of content links and sales message posts you can created and save are endless!

3) Editing -

The text and URL of every post within each segmented folder can be edited, deleted or viewed at any time, giving you complete control of your repository.

4) Tracking -

The system also tracks every time you use a specific post from a specific folder. You will always know when you last scheduled a marketing message from the system and easily select posts based on those dates for future use.

5) Scheduling -

The core Bundle Post content management system capabilities are also integrated with My Content folders. Selecting posts from your My Content folders that you want merged with a specific schedule is easy and efficient. You able to manage 80 curated posts and include 20 marketing posts from your repository folders, schedule and hashtag them all in about 20 minutes!

Efficiency Becomes Strategic – Strategic Gets Results

Efficiency combined with consistency enables you to be more strategic with your social media marketing. Whether or not you are able to strategically infuse marketing and evergreen content posts into your streams is no longer determined by available time or resources. You are never in a situation where you don’t know what you have available to post, are never unsure of when you last shared a specific post and more importantly you are consistent in these efforts.

If your workflow, systems and applications integrate into a finely tuned process, your focus becomes much more strategic in nature. When required tasks take less time and you are able to be strategic with your marketing messages and do it all consistently, the net results of your marketing efforts increase dramatically.

How dramatic?  Here’s one example -

Testimonial Case Study

 

So whether you are taking advantage of the Bundle Post social content system to strategically manage your social media marketing posts or not, having an efficient and effective workflow makes all the difference. It’s important to figure out how to be efficient and consistent with your marketing messages in your streams, so your time and energy can be diverted to strategically improving your results.

Read Part 1 of this series – Click Here

 

 

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Filed under Agency, Blog, Bundle Post, Content, content creation, Marketing, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Strategy

The What, When and How Of Social Media Marketing Messages – Part 1

Most social media professionals are aware that along with sharing curated content and posts it is also extremely important to share your created content and marketing messages at appropriate levels. Though some mistakenly post only their promotional posts, combining sales messaging content with selfless, relevant and interesting posts your audience will find valuable is an essential part of any social media strategy.

The What, when and how of posting social media sales and marketing message posts.It’s perfectly alright to promote your brand and offers within social media. In fact, if you’re using social media for marketing, that should be one of the reasons you’re there in the first place. The issue becomes when and how often you post promotional messages, not if you do.

Many industry leaders tend to state that an effective ratio of shared/curated content is best at a level of somewhere between 75% to 85% of a marketers posts. The remaining 15% to 25% can be made up of your promotional, sales messages and created content. The idea is that since this is SOCIAL media, the goal is to provide selfless value to your audience, and that is done by sharing content and posts that they find valuable, not just your posts. This practice tends to start conversations with your community members. When this value based process is repeated over time, relationships develop that make people more open to what you actually do.

One of the challenges that social media marketers, brands and agencies have related to their marketing messages is not knowing all of the content and messaging they have available to share. This obstacle is magnified due to the fact that spreadsheets and Word documents are frequently the organizational tools used for this purpose. Not only does this make it extremely inefficient, it also tends to spread out workflow across multiple people, documents and platforms. This unorganized and disjointed process often results in less than optimal results, missed opportunities and an inability to take advantage of legacy content and messaging that could be utilized with improved effect.

These human and time intensive processes are often some of the biggest obstacles social media marketers have to deal with when it comes to consistent messaging and real revenue results within their social media marketing efforts. There are some specific steps to take that will diminish these issues and they all start with ONE.

Do you know what you have to share?

Let’s be specific here. What makes up your “what you have to share”?

Examples of social media marketing, sales and/or promotional posts are things like;

  1. Your home page
  2. Secondary website pages (About us, location)
  3. Individual Product/Service pages
  4. Your main blog home page
  5. Specific legacy or evergreen blog posts
  6. Landing/Signup pages
  7. Your other social profiles
  8. Specific created graphics and pictures
  9. Email newsletter list subscription pages
  10. Your text only quotes/sales messages
  11. Etc.

What URLs do you have that contain these kinds of posting opportunities?

  1. Your Website
  2. Your YouTube Channel
  3. Your Blog
  4. Your Facebook Page
  5. Your Facebook Page images
  6. Instagram pics

The intent of marketing and promotional messages in your social stream

should be to drive traffic to your offers, content and landing pages in an attempt to either;

  1. Increase traffic
  2. Convert traffic
  3. Drive sales/leads
  4. Educate on products/services you offer
  5. Branding

As we stated previously, one of the biggest challenges facing social media marketers is efficiently and effectively managing marketing posts. This was one of the reasons that we created the Bundle Post Social Content Management System as an agency. The time-consuming and inefficient methods of managing spreadsheets and Word docs was a nightmare. Something had to change to make it more effective, less time-consuming and require less human resources.

In Part 2 we discuss how to create and manage a repository of sales messages for social media posting and efficiently implement them within your social media management. Click Here for Part 2

 

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Filed under Agency, Blog, Bundle Post, Content, content creation, Marketing, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Strategy

America The Movie, Google And Political Agendas? Or Just How Google Works

Last week much of the internet was abuzz about Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie, “America” and particularly how Google was presumably The buzz about Google's search results for the movie "America"manipulating search results to somehow harm the movies success. The situation escalated when attorneys for the movie sent a legal letter to Google demanding that search results for the new movie be properly enacted and an explanation of whether the issue was human or algorithm related.

We don’t do political here at Bundle Post, so no reference to the details of the movie and/or our personal beliefs will be included in this post, however this situation begs a different viewpoint that is not currently being defined.

There are two prominent points of view being put forward on this situation, so I think we should first outline them, then open a differing discussion about what might be really going on here.

1) Google Purposeful Manipulation – The insinuation that has driven most of the buzz on this story is that Google has some political agenda that opposes the movie and that is the reason for the search result failure.

2) A “Problem” With The Google Search Algorithm – In a statement from Google to The Hollywood Reporter they said “that it has implemented a fix for the problem, caused by confusion — Google says — with “America” being a common term. But it will still take “some time” before the fix rolls out in order to make showtimes appear.”

Are you sure about that Google?

Putting those two points aside, I think having a proper perspective here makes a lot of sense. Google is an ad platform. All of it’s sites, products and services are focused on achieving two things:

1) Data gathering of user profiles, habits and interests.

2) Delivering more targeted advertisements.

Whether you are using gmail, Google Plus, an Android device or any other Google owned product or site, the entire focus of the company is to improve these two things. It’s how Google makes money. Advertisers pay to improve their exposure on Google search, ad platforms and other owned sites.

The hard facts are this – Google has no interest in showing you the latest, relevant content for your searches. They want to show you the most popular PAGES associated with your search, which forces brands, agencies and marketers to pay to compete for the exposure of those most popular pages.

Knowing Google’s real agenda and business model, it seems that what occurred here is simply how it works for any search topic. Popular pages will get the highest SEO results and therefore the top search results. Google is a business that derives revenue from Pay Per Click advertisements on their search engine as well as on other sites and platforms. They want movie producers, venues and studios to pay to promote their wares, just as any local restaurant or national retail chain does.

I don’t believe that Google is dumb enough to put forth a blatant discriminatory political agenda that could harm their business or future revenue. However, they certainly seemed to have opened Pandora’s box with the statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter.

Did they open the door for other media companies, brands and marketers to create news and bad press for Google? Did Google offer legal grounds for others to also demand that their search results be modified or improved? I’m not sure about all that, but they are interesting questions to consider.

At the end of the day, America the movie seems to have received a lot of additional press and Google might have come off looking a little poorly. Social media has a powerful impact on these situations and this example shows just that.

What say you?

*PS – A search on Bing for “America Movie” returned the proper search results at first position. #interesting

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Filed under Brand, Content, Google, Google Plus, Marketing, Results, SEO, Social Media

14 Things I’ve Learned About Content Curation In Social Media

We recently published a post called “50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing” that quickly became one of our most viewed posts of all time. It was obvious that many people appreciate a clear and concise post that lists actionable items and truths about effective social media marketing. We decided to apply the same principle to a post about content curation.

14 things I've learned about content curation in social mediaContent curation is something that has been written about quite extensively, however most people still don’t seem to understand what it is and how to be effective with it in social media. In fact many brands even ignore the importance of curation in their streams and instead continually talk about themselves.

Let’s start off by assigning a definition to content curation that is easily understood. Content Curation is the act of discovering, aggregating and posting online content that was produced by others, not yourself. Curation is typically focused on a specific topic or small number of topics that are considered relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. Though it is often misunderstood, to actually curate relevant content is to also add context, editorial comment or attribution to posts that you are sharing, content curation has become synonymous with aggregating and sharing relevant content whether or not context is added to the post.

As the founder and CEO of Bundle Post, an experienced social media marketer and previously a social media agency founder, I have a lot of time and effort invested in understanding and effectively using social content curation. Here are just a few of the things I have learned over the years that I believe you will find eye-opening and helpful.

14 (of the hundreds of things) I’ve learned about curating content in social media:

1) Knowing your audience and what they’re interested in is imperative.

2) Curating content from the same popular sources everyone else is, is not effective.

3) Curating content that is suggested from sites based on what others are already sharing is not effective. (see number 2)

4) Curating unique, recent and relevant content that is targeted toward your audience’s interest, will initiate engagement by your audience.

5) Retweeting on Twitter and Sharing posts on Facebook is not curating with a strategy, it’s executing someone else’s strategy. You need to RT and share other people’s posts, but not as your entire posting strategy.

6) Hashtagging curated posts with a strategy will grow your target audience if you do it properly.

7) Important reasons you must curate quality content posts:

  1. Provide relevant, selfless value to your community
  2. Build thought leadership on topics important to your strategy
  3. To stay top of mind with your audience
  4. To spark conversations
  5. To earn the right to share and promote your stuff

8) Developing a specific curation strategy is an important part of an overall social media strategy.

9) People are not logged in watching their streams all day, every day. Having enough relevant posts all day long is important.

10) Being consistent with your curation posting makes a huge difference in your results.

11) Proper content curation sparks conversations with your audience and that leads to relationships and ROI.

12) When a curated post receives a lot shares, likes and engagement, it is resonating with your audience. Schedule it several more times over the next week to maximize the effectiveness of that single post.

13) There is no choice between quantity and quality with content curation. It’s always BOTH.

14) Curated social media posts that often get the most shares and engagement are the ones that are by relatively unknown sources!

As you can see, effective social media curation is anything but mindless sharing. It is conscious and active and based on a deep understanding of your audience. There is a substantial difference between the end results of sharing content suggested by some algorithm, a tribe you belong to or content that is really popular as opposed to curation of unique, recent and relevant content your audience finds interesting and valuable. The thoughtful execution of a well thought out strategy is what makes content curation massively effective in the long run.

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Filed under Brand, Content, content creation, Curation, Facebook, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Retweet, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Tools, Twitter

75% of Social Media Marketers Want Better Tools, 88% Better Results [Report]

In the final post of our in-depth social media marketing survey, we asked hundreds of social media marketers, brands and agencies about their social media tools. Some of the results even shocked us!

Social media tool survey report shows that 75% of social media marketers want better tools! As we tried to better understand the current state of social media tools, we started this section  of survey questions with something very general. Only 38% of marketers indicated that they are 100% happy with their social media marketing tools. As the questions within this section of the survey got more and more specific, we noticed that respondents seemed to clearly define things they were not happy with, leaving us questioning whether those who said they are 100% happy, really are truly happy.

Social Media Tools Survey:

I wish my social media tools required less of my time54% responded that they desired to spend less time with the social media tools they’re using. In contrast to the 38% that said they were completely satisfied with their social media marketing tools, more than half believe that they require too much of their time. The need for tools that increase social media marketing efficiencies is clearly needed.

I wish my social media tools increased my results – As with all marketing efforts, marketers need to get a return on investment. The amount of human resources, time and expense required to be effective with social media marketing is substantial and an investment in tools should increase the net results. An enormous 79% of respondents said that they agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.

Combining the two above questions to read “Tools that improve my efficiency and results are valuable” resulted in 93% of the marketers surveyed stating that tools which accomplished both time effectiveness AND improved results were valuable to them.

I want better analytics and reporting tools – With the gluttony of social media analytics and reporting tools, it was somewhat surprising to us that a large majority of 78% of marketers stated that they wanted better tools for this function. Only 19% disagreed or were undecided. These numbers clearly show the dramatic dissatisfaction marketers have with the available reporting tools on the market. It was unclear what would constitute better for those that responded to the survey, but we suspect that it is a combination of the exorbitant cost for the more sophisticated tools and the lack of meaningful data provided by the free and less expensive ones.

I want better social media management tools75% of brands, agencies and marketers surveyed said they wanted better social media management tools. Surprised again with the discrepancy from question number one that showed 38% were 100% happy with their current tools, marketers still seem to have needs that are not being met by the main tools on the market.

I want to spend more time engaging/measuring – When asked about where marketers wished to be able to spend more time, a massive 88% said they needed to spend more time on engagement. This is no surprise to us since conversations, relationship building and interaction are the things that typically drive real results in the space. When time is diverted to other social media tasks, real results tend to drop and that is the driver for those that responded to this question.

I want better results from my social media marketing – Another massive 88% response fell on results. Marketers need tools that improve the net results of their social media efforts.

We believe this section of the study depicts an industry that is flooded with tools and applications used by marketers that are not addressing their real needs. It also appears to show that efficiency and effectiveness improvements are the main holes not being addressed by tool creators.

Brands, agencies and marketers should take a step back and evaluate the tools they are deploying to manage their social media efforts. They should look for case studies and factual information that define a specific tools value and gravitate to tools that can really deliver on the efficiency and improved metrics.

The additional posts from this series:

Where Social Media Brands, Marketers And Agencies Spend Their Time [REPORT]

The Importance And Challenges Of Social Media Content Curation [SURVEY REPORT]

The Top Social Media Dashboards And Tools Marketers Use [SURVEY REPORT]

The Two Biggest Challenges Faced By Social Media Marketers [SURVEY REPORT]

 

 

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Filed under Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, survey, Tools

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

Is Social Media Certification The Solution Or A BandAid For The Symptom?

Is social media certification a game-changer or something else?A few weeks ago I shared a post that claimed that social media certification was a game changer for social media professionals. The thread from the post exploded with people on both sides of the fence. The two camps seemed to line up around long-time industry professionals that were opposed to the idea and those that see it as something that is badly needed.

Here are some of the comments and views from the two sides of the debate:

The For Certification As A Solution Camp:

1) Brands need in-house employees to be trained.

2) Important for business to understand the strategic role and benefits of social media in the total marketing mix.

3)  It’s a sign the industry is getting more cred that certification is needed to separate some of the wheat from the chaff.

4)  This is an important step to corporate credibility.

5) A call for validation and certification means the industry is gaining credibility and acceptance

6) We do need something in the industry for certification and accreditation, proof of ethical standards

The Against Certification As A Solution Camp:

1) I find that most of the people teaching the courses have never worked in social media and don’t know anything about doing it successfully.

2) A certificate does not mean you are an expert any more than a college degree says you are ready for the business world.

3) Social Media changes so frequently it will be outdated before it’s even printed.

4) I have an issue with this program. Who is teaching the certificate program? IMO the best and brightest in our industry actively working to serve their clients. I do however, think we all have a responsibility within our industry to teach through internships, etc so that we continue to grow our talent pool for future hires.

5) Social media is evolving way to rapidly to have a certificate in it.

Sometimes a piece of paper does not truly reflect someone’s natural ability in social media, initiative, work experience, passion or a common sense marketing approach. Ultimately if you don’t understand the customer and their marketing goals and strategy then it’s unlikely a certificate will provide all the answers.

6) Anyone can create a certificate program on anything. Calling this a game changer only indicates how few people actually get what SM is all about.

Certifications are very important to the companies that sell them…

7) Basically what they are doing is taking money from people who are gullible enough to believe that this will all be relevant in a month or two.

My Summary On Social Media Certification:

At the end of the day, social media certification is not an entirely bad thing, nor is it anything close to a game-changer. As the industry evolves, brands and professionals will need ways to educate their teams and most don’t have internal resources for this. On the other hand, the questions surrounding who is creating and teaching the curriculum for such certifications is troublesome. If the intent of these certifications is to ensure that someone understands theory, terminology and concepts, it could be a good starting point for many. Unfortunately I fear that the ways these certifications are marketed by providers and certification holders alike, leaves much to be desired about the required knowledge and experience required to execute effective social media marketing. Brands and businesses that don’t know anything about social media marketing could be easily duped by people touting their certification with no more ability or experience in social media than my 15-year-old daughter.

What’s your view on this topic?

Reference Article: http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-certification-gamechanger-for-professionals/

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Filed under Certification, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

Social Media Risk Management, Lawyers and Fear – Just Stop!

I am constantly seeing blog posts about the “risks” of social media marketing for brands. Are there risks? Of course there are risks and you need to manage them appropriately. But are there risks to waxing /buffing the floors at your restaurant, selling bikes that Understanding the real social media riskspeople will use for extreme sports and baking treats that contain peanuts? Am I being silly? Yes, I am trying to make the point that no matter what you do in today’s lack of common sense lawsuit business environment, there are risks. There will always be that one person looking for their “gettin’ paid” easy money opportunity to extort money from a business because they spilled coffee (that by the way is always hot and requires you to be careful) in their lap in a drive-through. Let’s get real shall we?

When my Twitter friend @maxnrgmike approached me about the topic and asked me to write a post about this, I had to consider it. It all started when I shared post about CEO’s and social media marketing. Mike jumped in and the thread began. Since I always try to keep my word, here we are. I am not going to get into deep statistics and “legalese”, but I am going to draw some business similarities that should get you to think and also attempt to insert some common sense into the discussion surrounding risk management and fear issues we often see in this space.

A discussion on risk management in social mediaNow, if you’re McDonald’s or Starbucks, you may have a more realistic risk management requirement for social media. You are a much bigger target, are known to many more people around the country and inherently become a “brand of opportunity” for some less than scrupulous people to go after.

But if you’re a small or medium business attending social media legal seminars and getting scared out of your pants about the “massive risks” some attorney is hammering about, can we all just chill out? Is social media marketing a bigger risk than the inherent business risk of being a medical device manufacturer, an insurance company or even a construction contractor? I think not…

Like any other business, industry or marketing effort a company uses, it comes with certain risks. The average SMB needs to put a little common sense into their social media equation, rather than listen to Lawyers that have a vested interest in being seen as educated on the topic.  By the very nature of their view on social media, an attorney dissuading you from social media marketing using fear is not going to be a very active or experienced social media user. Further more, that attorney probably doesn’t have a level of understanding of social media marketing to make them a qualified or trusted source to outline the risks for a small business beyond the completely legal aspects anyway. Just as I am biased toward social, they are going to be so against it. My knowledge of the industry easily outweighs their knowledge of only the legal side.

If that is the perspective, I have already outlined many more risky business scenarios you should be focused on instead of social media marketing.

So rather than have a discussion about legal risks, living in fear and making excuses as to why your business should not be active and effective in social media, let’s outline the compelling REAL risks you have at stake if you don’t.

Important And Real Social Media Risks:

1) Absent – Let’s be clear. You’re customers and prospects are all on social media, whether you think so or not, they are. Everyone is at some level. What’s worse is so are your competitors. Social media marketing is a marathon and your target audience is on the sidelines of the race cheering. Unfortunately for you, you’re not even running in the race, let alone own shoes or even bothered to stretch. To top it all off, your competitors ARE in the race, own running shoes and are making decent time. Your customers and prospects are connecting with your competitors, eating at their restaurants, buying their bikes and hiring them to do their remodels and you don’t even know it’s happening!

Another way you could be absent is owning running shoes, but not actually being in this social media marathon by not being active and/or you are not responding to your customers and prospects that check in to your business or mention you. Imagine the people who have had a poor experience at/with your business and are posting about it on their blog, on Facebook and other social platforms. They can’t tag your business because you don’t have social profiles, so you remain unaware this is even happening.

It used to be that a happy customer told one person and an unhappy customer told 10. With social media those numbers become multiplied by thousands. Risk you say? You might want to know about these situations. If you’re absent, you just never will and you will be left wondering why your business is failing.

2) Ineffective – You’re trying to learn and be effective in social media marketing but don’t have the knowledge, experience, time or resources to do it properly. So you end up either making huge mistakes as in number three below, or you become Absent as in number one above. Either way, you risk your competitors taking advantage of not living in fear and out running you in this distance race. If your audience is in social media already, and I argue they are, then your biggest business risk with social media is being absent or ineffective.

That means you are risking your entire business on this whole social media thing going away and your company surviving because you are just awesome like that. Might want to reconsider the real risks here.

3) Stupidity - Another real risk is that you do something stupid that alienates your business in horrific ways. Let me show you an example of such a thing. Meet Amy’s Baking Company and see how poorly run social media marketing had ZERO legal implications, but incredibly negative business results. Causing or letting a situation spin out of control on social media without the knowledge and experience to not be “stupid” is a huge risk. If you don’t know what you are doing, hire an experienced social media agency to manage it for you.

What’s a bigger risk? Being in and effective with social media marketing or going out of business because your fear got in the way and your business crashed and burned because you ignored it? Only you can decide.

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Filed under Brand, Facebook, Marketing, Results, Risk Management, Social Media, Social Media Management, 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