Category Archives: Relationship

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

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 To: Expand Local Business Social Reach Through Content Creation

Even the smallest brands and individual online marketers need to create relevant content for their target audience. It’s about creating thought leadership in certain topics, staying top of mind with your audience and driving traffic to your site through your blog or other social platforms.

Expanding Social ReachThere are many types of content creation that marketers and small brands can and should be doing. Some of the types of created content are; Blog posts, video, images, graphics, infographics, email newsletters, landing pages, events. Most of these kinds of content creation can be done with limited resources, using smart phones or by outsourcing to experienced small agencies.

Expand Your Social Reach:

One of the important and often overlooked reasons consistent content creation is so important is that it provides the opportunity for local businesses and small marketers to expand their social reach. By consistently creating content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience, you also generate content that other social media users want to share.

At the heart of effective social media marketing is sharing or “curating” relevant content from others. In fact, when done properly, about 80% of what a social media marketer posts should come from sources other than themselves. This means that they need recent, relevant content on a daily basis and a lot of it!

Some How To’s:

  • Be consistent with at least 1-2 blog posts per week. Make it easy by using images and videos you capture in and around your daily work and personal activities as the basis for your posts.
  • Optimize your posts around locality and topics both your audience and content curators are interested in.
  • Share your content with hashtags both your audience and content curators are using and following around your locality and topics.
  • Write for legacy, not always events. In other words, create content that is not event-driven but is timeless and can be posted, read and consumed long-term, not just for a specific date or event.
  • Identify and build relationships with social media accounts that post and share about local content frequently. By developing these relationships, they will likely find and share your content as well.
  • On the day’s you publish your posts, schedule shares on Twitter up to 3-4 times across the day and once on other social platforms.
  • ALWAYS include at least one graphic in your posts.
  • Share the graphic from your blog post on image networks like Instagram and Pinterest with a link to the blog post it came from.
  • Share your legacy content in your social streams repeatedly over time.
  • Start conversations with your target audience when they post something that is connected to one of your recent posts. As the conversation develops you can mention a blog post you did on the topic and share the link. (when appropriate)

Some Never Ever’s:

  • Never tag people/accounts when you share it on social media. We call this spam. Earn relationships that want to share your content.
  • Don’t create content that is only and always about you, your company or what you do. Instead create content around what interests your target audience at a rate of 80% and 20% of your blog posts should be about you, your products, services and specials, etc.

Content creation can be a very effective way for local businesses to drive traffic to their website. It is best done when it adds value to the target audience and is not-self centered. Include outreach campaigns to develop relationships that need your content for their social media strategies and always thank those that mention and share your content.

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Filed under Blog, Content, content creation, Curation, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, SEO, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Spam, Strategy

Should Engagement Be Valued Over Sales In Social Media Marketing

Social Media Confused BrandsIn a word, NO!  Engagement should not be valued over sales in social media marketing. Engagement is simply part of the required functions of social media marketing that leads to Sales, but only when done properly.

A report published by eMarketer last year states that brands believe consumer engagement and brand lift were the number one goals of their social media marketing. Consumer engagement represented a 17% increase in this goal, which replaced “positive sentiment” as the number one goal just a year ago.

The study further shows that in 2011 increasing sales was the number one goal of social media marketing, yet it quickly dropped below 50% by 2012. Now brands seem to be even more confused on priorities, as increasing sales is now cited as the leading goal by 58% of the respondents.

These new statistics seem to indicate to me that many still don’t have an understanding of how social media marketing is best utilized at the brand level. It also makes me think that confusion and lack of proper strategy and execution make changing the primary goal of their efforts an easier migration, then actually achieving real results. Scary? I believe so…

In just three short years, brands have modified their social focus from actually achieving results from the channel to the fluffy measurement of likes, comments and shares as a metric of success. So the question is, should engagement be valued over sales, or should engagement combined with a proper strategy lead to a focused sales, revenue and ROI metric approach?

Here are some questions that I think should be answered by most brands:

1) Is the Effort vs Return worth the time spent to obtain engagement?

2) Are you seeking False Positives in the form of engagement in order to measure how well you are doing?

3) Is the Activity you are performing to achieve engagement appropriate?

4) Is your Strategy and Execution wrong, therefore leading you to focus on engagement instead of sales/revenue?

5) Have you defined your Target Audience appropriately in order to actually achieve sales/revenue?

6) Are you avoiding Sales and Revenue as a top priority because you don’t really know how to achieve that?

7) Are you Changing Your Goals year after year to fit what you ARE achieving, instead of adjusting what you are doing to achieve what you know you should?

I think there are some significant flaws in the thinking associated with this report by the brands that responded. I believe there is a disconnect in understanding effective social media marketing and how to do it. I believe that the limitations brands are self imposing, prevent them from actually doing social media marketing in a way that achieves real results.

What do you think?

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Filed under Brand, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Uncategorized

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

As we continue our series from the survey we conducted on social media marketing, the question of overall challenges is the focus. We asked hundreds of social media marketers, agencies and brands what are the two biggest challenges they face with their social media marketing efforts. We were somewhat surprised by the top two answers and think you may be as well.

We asked what are: “The two biggest challenges I face with my overall social media marketing is?”

2 Biggest Social Media Challenges

 

A total of 36.5% of respondents said that Engagement and Sales/Revenue were the two biggest challenges they face with their social media marketing. We found it very interesting that some of the very things that impact both of these key result areas the most were ranked much lower. The key areas that ranked lower were Time, Relationships, Clicks, Content Curation and General Results.

Time 13.68% : Not too surprising is ranked number three is the challenge of time. We all know that social media marketing is very time and human intensive, but where you’re spending time or where you aren’t spending it, is the important part. We have found that most social media marketers spend most of their time on back office functions, not the front office functions that actually result in the two biggest challenges of Engagement and Sales/Revenue.

If your time is spent managing, scheduling, editing and hashtagging curated and marketing posts, you have less time to have conversations, build relationships and engage. These are the things that result in sales and revenue, therefore adjusting where you spend time by using the proper tools, such as Bundle Post is imperative if you wish to impact the Engagement and Revenue of your social media management.

Clicks/Traffic 12.82% :  Now this one is often a challenge to figure out for some. There are several distinct reasons or combination of reasons for this to be a challenge for a social media marketer. Sometimes it is just one of the reasons listed below, but more often than not, it is a combination of several that result in little click-through traffic coming from marketing efforts. Here are a FEW reasons why this tends to occur and questions you should ask yourself.

  1. Lack of -or- Improper Strategy – Do you truly know who your audience is and what they’re interested in?
  2. Lack of Topical Thought Leadership – Are you posting topical content that drives your audiences interest or are you mainly retweeting or sharing content others are posting?
  3. Lack of Consistency or Volume – Are you scheduling social media posts everyday, all day at the appropriate levels, or are you sporadic, inconsistent or not doing it at levels that are even being noticed?
  4. Lack of Value – Do your posts provide selfless, relevant value to your target audience on a consistent basis?
  5. Not Enough Marketing – Are you sharing 10% to 20% of your posts that market you, your company, products or services, or are you rarely even mentioning your online properties, content and landing pages?
  6. Too Much Marketing – Are you posting primarily about you, your company, products or services?

These are some of the reasons that none of your friends and followers are clicking through to your website, content or offer pages. Understanding that you have to first provide value, get into conversations and build relationships in order to get traffic and clicks is extremely important. Simple conversations create interest that can get a connection to have more interest in you or your brand. Many times those conversations cause a connection to even read your bio and click to your site contained within your profile. Get into conversations with your target audience about anything THEY are interested in and see what happens to your clicks and traffic.

General Results 5.13% : We think that Engagement and Sales/Revenue would fall under this category as well, but we did not want to assume and add it to the top two challenge numbers. We also believe that Clicks/Traffic and Relationships are also under this heading, therefore we will leave this challenge as it is.

Relationships 4.7% : Relationships in social media are created through conversations, just like in the real world. Often times the reason relationships are not being forged is due to too few conversations with the proper people. If you are finding that relationships are one of your big challenges, I suggest that you take a look at these three areas:

  1. Your Target Audience – One big mistake people make is that they build communities that are not their target audience. Often the like, friends and followers many marketers attract are that of their peers and competitors, not their prospective customers. Be sure you know who you are trying to reach and connect with them, not your peers.
  2. Your Content Strategy – Another error made on the relationship front is content strategy, especially when you are missing on number one above. If you have not clearly defined who you are trying to reach, you are definitely going to be off on the types of content you are curating and creating for your streams.
  3. Where you Spend Time – Be sure you have the proper tools and processes in place. If you’re spending time everyday curating content and not engaging with your target audience, you will be hard pressed to establish relationships easily.

Follow this formula – “Content leads to conversation, conversations build relationships and relationships result in ROI.” – Get each step down properly and you will see a massive improvement on the quantity and quality of relationships you develop within the social graph.

Content Curation 3% : The biggest shock to us was Content Curation falling to one of the lowest challenges facing the hundreds of social media agencies, brands and marketers that answered our survey. Why? Well if people truly understood this challenge and had it under control and managed properly, we would not see Engagement and Sales/Revenue as the top two challenges. Proper content curation, with the proper topics/strategy, at the appropriate volumes will spark engagement, sharing and conversations. It’s where everything starts.

Adding content creation, proper levels of marketing your products and services, along with the all important strategy work is imperative to achieving social media marketing sales, revenue and ROI. All of this must be approached at the selfless value and relationship level if you’re going to be successful.

Here are the previous Survey posts in this series:

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

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

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

 

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Filed under Brand, Content, Curation, Engagement, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Retweet, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy

50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing

After years of being in this industry, I have seen a lot. Changes, improvements, trends and scary little secrets that still tend to shock me even though I should be numb to it by now. Though I have never read a book or taken any classes on social media marketing, I sure have done a lot of it as an individual, then an agency and now as a brand.

50 Things I've Learned About Social MediaI have decided to create a list of 50 things I have learned about the industry. They are in no particular order and by no means is this a complete list. Just some things I decided to jot down that I believe might be helpful for our readers. I think you will find there is something directed to the beginner, all the way to the industry professional. Some are simple truths you may already realize and others are opinions I have formed through thousands of conversations and connections over the years.

50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing:

1) Social Media is a marathon, not a sprint.

2) You will make mistakes. Embrace them and move forward.

3) Consistency is the most important thing over the long-term.

4) Curating topical content is important.

5) Relationships do result in revenue.

6) Most have no idea what they’re doing.

7) Consultants and speakers are going to kill this business.

8) Do not listen to Social Media Marketing Celebrities.

9) Social media is really hard when done right.

10) A majority of social media marketers connect and engage with their peers and competitors, not their prospects.

11) The last thing we need is another social network.

12) Helping others selflessly is rewarding in and of itself.

13) Automating anything directly to your streams is not effective.

14) Using TruTwit to force new connections to prove they’re human is a beginner epidemic.

15) Most industry apps and tools are created by people who have never successfully done social media marketing.

16) Other than keynote speakers, many travel to and speak at events at their own cost/expense to pretend to be important.

17) Facebook leadership doesn’t have a clue what their customers really need and want.

18) The more immediate you respond to new comments, follows and engagement, the more likely you will get more.

19) Content isn’t king, getting real results is king. Content is part of the process.

20) Don’t pay attention to what industry “leaders” say, just watch what they do.

21) Quantity AND quality matter. It’s not an either or, but BOTH.

22) The proper tools are required. Too many people frequently try all the new tools as a distraction in order to avoid doing what they know they need to do. This is counterproductive. Find tools that solve your biggest problems ONLY, then execute with them.

23) Many social media “professionals” are arrogant and impatient with newbie ignorance or mistakes, instead of helpful.

24) The people in the industry that have the least experience, knowledge and skill call themselves Experts, Ninjas and Gurus.

25) Social media marketing changes weekly.

26) A proper social media strategy is required if you expect to get results.

27) Big brands are the worst at social media marketing. They don’t do it properly and they don’t have to.

28) Don’t pay attention to or try to replicate what big brands do in social media.

29) There is only one steadfast rule in social media – DO NOT SPAM!

30) People connect with people, not brands or logo’s they’ve never heard of. Humanize your brand.

31) SMB’s need to leverage personal and business social accounts to be most effective.

32) Most SMB’s should stop spending time and resources to learn from “experts” and hire a qualified social media agency.

33) Your mobile device must be deployed in real-time with your social accounts if you want to be successful.

34) Google Plus is NOT a replacement for Facebook, nor will it “kill” Facebook.

35) If you are holding or attending more than 2 Google Hangouts on air “shows” per week, you may need to evaluate your bank account, time management and priorities.

36) Most social media “consultants” are broke.

37) Most social media marketers don’t post frequently enough.

38) A blog is not required for every business. Content creation is required for every business.

39) Only retweeting or sharing other people’s status updates isn’t a strategy.

40) Posting quotes everyday isn’t a strategy.

41) Most marketers have not spent the time to clearly define their target audience and what drives them on social media.

42) The only place that “If you build, it they will come” works is in Hollywood.

44) Effective social media marketers don’t take nights and weekends off from engagement.

45) Social media is the center of online digital marketing efforts. Integrate it into everything you do on and offline.

46) Proper social media marketing that gets real results, cannot be hired for $50/mo.

47) There are a ton of classes and content about how to do social media marketing. Be careful what you read.

48) Most social media agencies are solopreneurs that are great at social media marketing, but need help at making it a profitable business.

49) Social media is like a parallel universe to the real world. What you would never do at a networking event, you should not do in social media.

50) Analysis paralysis will stifle your social media results. Do more, analyze as needed.

Again, this is not a complete list of what I have learned, just a random compilation that crosses all aspects of the industry. What have you learned?

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Filed under Brand, Content, Curation, Engagement, Facebook, Google Plus, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

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