Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four Hashtag Tips That May Surprise You

Hashtag With A Purpose, Not Just Because You Can

Hashtags are one of the most unique aspects of social media. I love that something so unique wasn’t started by a company, but instead the users of a social network got it all going (or so the story goes). Regardless of how it all got started, hashtags have become an integral part of social media marketing and when used properly, they can build community, grow your following and impart salient points within your posts.

Hashtag TipsNow many of us know there are hashtag and social media Nazi’s out there. You know the people who are self-righteous know-it-alls that have an over-confident view and proclamation of the what’s, when’s and how’s of hashtagging properly. I ignore these people and suggest you do as well. Are there more acceptable ways and quantities of hashtagging that can yield better results? Of course. Will the world end if you don’t do them? No.

So to those folks that feel the need to criticize everyone else, we will just say to each their own, smile and move on.

With the housekeeping out-of-the-way, let me bring up a few things you may (or may not) want to consider about your hashtagging tendencies. None the following scenarios are set in stone requirements, but rather suggestions that you should consider.

1) Your company or product name:  This one always blows me away. You have 1200 followers on Twitter, 3000 Facebook Likes and 422 followers on Instagram and your company is only about 2 years old…

   Questions: Why are you hashtagging your company or product name? Do you really think people are searching for your little company hashtag on social media? Do you really think your prospects and/or customers are following the hashtag?

   Answer: Not likely…  At the very most, you are showing everyone what a beginner you are at social media marketing.

   Suggestions: Use hashtags that your prospective customers will actually be searching or following in social media. Your posts are already tagged with your company name and profile, so you are far better off optimizing a proper social media profile and executing a proper social media marketing strategy, than wasting time hashtagging posts with your company name.

2) You’re too serious: Don’t underestimate the use of hashtags through humor. Yes, I mean making up a hashtag that doesn’t exist just to be human and fun. You know, #Icanbeannoying or #Ireallywishyouwouldshutit etc.

These nontraditional uses of hashtags are often overlooked as a way to invoke humor and the approachable into your posts. Don’t over do it, but definitely do it. Have fun with it.

3) Use as many as you want:  Again, there are some that get all Nazi about this, I am not one of them. Frankly, use as many hashtags as you want in a post, just be sure they’re relevant to the content and text you are posting. The worst things you can do are over doing hashtags in a post as well as including tags that are not relevant to the post.

Suggestion: One way to reduce the number of tags you use in a post is to tag keywords within the text of the post itself. If the word you want to hashtag is already in the text of the post, don’t add it as a hashtag too.

Example:  “This is an awesome post about using #hashtags in #socialmedia #marketing effectively”

4) Repetition is the key to advertising, but… : Putting the same hashtag(s) in every single thing you post is not wise.

Suggestion: Be consistent with your hashtagging, but never over do it. If it’s relevant to the content of the post, then hashtag it. If it isn’t a relevant hashtag, don’t.

BONUS Tip - Going across all platforms: Whether you are posting to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Google Plus, be sure to hashtag consistently.

Again, these are merely suggestions that should help improve the results you’re getting with hashtags. There is no steadfast rules and I am not one to say what you MUST do, however in my experience these are a few things that you should consider and experiment with and measure the differences between the results. Then adjust and repeat.

Happy Hashtagging!

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Filed under Community, Content, Facebook, Google Plus, Hashtag, Instagram, Marketing, Results, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized

First Ever Social Media Agency Training, Collaboration And Support Group – FREE

As we all know, there are plenty of free and paid solutions out there to learn about social media marketing. There literally thousands of blogs that produce millions of articles on the subject. No matter whether you are a small business wanting to understand how to set up a Facebook page, or an established company interested in expanding your effectiveness on Twitter, there are numerous resources available to you.

Ultimate Social Media GoalBut what if you are a social media agency? What if you are a social media professional considering starting your own social media agency?

Sure, you are excellent at managing social media marketing programs and maintain a steep learning curve of everyday changes that occur in the industry and across the many social networks, but what about the details of your business?

Nobody is writing, educating and supporting this area of the social media marketing industry and everyone is left on their own to guess, make mistakes and try to make it successful. I believe that the social media agency is the single most important segment that needs this support and I have done my best one-on-one with hundreds over the past year and a half to do so, however I am only one man with limited time.

Back in May I got an idea after a coaching call with a startup social media agency and decided to do a quick YouTube video to share my idea and get some feedback. Here’s the video…

The response both in feed and privately was very clear. Tons of people needed and wanted this. So… We created a biweekly Social Media Agency Collaboration Group that delivers the following to its members:

1) Free – Always and forever

2) Goal – The goal of the group is to help all members be more profitable as a company and more effective for clients. We believe it is important that we create a group of agency leaders that are doing exceptional work and making really good money. There is so much business out there and we want to work together to be better at finding and executing it.

3) Support – Social Media Agencies with varying experience supporting one another.

4) Facilitation – Since my company was previously a social media agency, I facilitate the biweekly meetings and offer our experience do’s and don’ts to help the group.

5) Input – Everyone is asked to provide input and feedback on all the topics we discuss, all with a focus of helping each other.

6) Recordings – We record all of our meetings to ensure that those that might miss a meeting or two, or those that join later can always be up to speed with the conversation by listening to previous meetings.

7) Topics – We cover topics from sales, social media management, tools, prospecting, rules to follow, mistakes we’ve made, managing client relationships – just to name a few.

There are no hidden agenda’s or marketing within the group, just people and companies helping each other to improve an industry from the ground up. After only three meetings, over 70 members are involved.

If this industry is going to continue to grow and thrive, we as an industry must make it extremely effective for our clients and very profitable for ourselves. Not doing so could lead to a dot bomb equivalent. You can join the free group on Facebook, which is where we have centralized our communication, sharing of documents and templates as well as links to next meeting webinar, etc. Join Now to get the link to this weeks online meeting!

We would love to get your feedback on what we are doing and ways we can make it more effective. Pop on over to the Facebook group and let’s work together!

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Filed under Agency, Facebook, Fanpage, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Are You Distracting Your Social Media Audience With How?

This is a question every social business should be asking themselves and their audience. “Are you distracting your social media audience with HOW?”

Social Media HowToday’s world of “Big Data” and digital transfer is a never ending race to be the first to find out how to use or market the next hot tool, system, service, or app. Be sure you’re not about to let your audience find out about it elsewhere.

Let me outline a practice often seen from businesses of all types on all social media platforms.

You follow the blogs, business journals, and webinars, trying to stay one step ahead of yourselves and your competition.  And to let your clients, prospects and followers know you’re on top of the “how” of things, you report to them every detail of your discoveries on social media.  Every tidbit about your niche by every credible “expert” finds its way to feeds.  You’re giving your audience all they need to know. You’re the expert on “how”.

Do you know a business like this, maybe it’s even yours?  Obviously you want your audience to trust you, your content, and your knowledge, but are you overwhelming them with content that is likely relevant to you, not them?  What it takes to do your business may be of interest to your investors and associates, but your audience wants to know what and why. What can you do for me and why should they care.

One of the biggest challenges in social media marketing is getting beyond distracting your audience with “WHAT I KNOW AND HOW I DO IT”.  As business owners and entrepreneurs we often lose sight of the fact that much of our audience is looking for solutions. Solutions they want you to provide. Solutions often lost in the noise of others. Noise you yourself are posting.  The key to social media is not what you know about your niche, but what you learn from your audience about how they use your niche in their day to day lives.

First and foremost, avoid audience distraction by not sharing overly technical or complex content that leaves your audience overwhelmed, board or confused. You may know the ins and outs of quantum physics, but if you’re posting on your custom pastry shop social media, your audience likely won’t care to see the latest super nova discovery on a Facebook page. Sounds pretty intuitive, but as a consumer of social media, we see this daily.

That said, there are several effective ways we know to present social media content without distracting your audience and here some of the more effective approaches we use:

1) “How To” content.  Every industry or niche offers the opportunity to share “how to”s. Whether it is sharing recipes or automotive repair; business practices or fashion trends, informing your audience about how the information you are sharing can be used immediately by them will draw them in.

2) Visual content. The occasional kitten, puppy or other “awwww” moment is fine but consider keeping them on topic by creating topical meme’s that keep your audience on point while enlisting the cute factor.

3) Trends and tactics. Citing a trend or tactic from a reputable source, and then asking your audience for their opinion and feedback on how the trend or tactic will directly affect them, enables them to be a participant.

At the end of the day what you take away from your social community is far more important that what you know about your industry. Always be a student of your industry because competence is critical. However, when engaging your audience, be a student of their desires and share their “What” and “Why” more often than you share the “How”.  You’ll find your audience focused on you as a solution, not distracted by the details of the how.

This was a guest post by:

jim earlJim Earl - Jim is the co-founder and CEO of @TeemLLC. Jim’s experience included spending several years developing an understanding of the social and digital media environments that has become the foundation for what is today Total Exposure Entertainment Marketing, LLC.

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Filed under Community, Content, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

Case Study: One Of The Best Things We Did For Our Social Media Program This Year

The social media marketing program at Transparent Language is unusual because we offer language learning software for over 80 languages and our audience is massively segmented. Instead of pushing everyone into a single community, we’ve created over 30 separate community segments, each focused on a specific language. We have developed valuable content streams to share with these communities like:

• A Word of the Day service for 27 languages
• 30 Different language and culture blogs
• 30 Seperate YouTube channels

Testimonial Case StudyThis approach is beneficial to language learners, because they get a focused experience; the shared content, news, and fellow community members are all focused on the same language of interest. It benefits us to be able to target our communications also.

However, managing that many segments is a challenge for a small social media team. We’ve done a good job with our own content, feeding useful items daily to each segment, but one of the rules of good social media is that you don’t always talk about you. We wanted to provide our communities with interesting and relevant curated content about the language they are studying, as well as cultural news and articles about the country where that language is spoken.

In the past, we would take an afternoon, and go through individual Google alerts and other sources, looking for relevant items to post to each community. This was time-consuming and therefore we were unable to do it consistently. I could only get to the top half-dozen segments of our community due to the time required. It was from doing this exercise manually that I was able to instantly recognize the value of what Bundle Post had to offer when they showed me the demo.

We implemented Bundle Post in February 2013. Here is what the typical results look like for user reach on our Facebook pages:

bundle post social media results

It’s worth mentioning that the reach prior to our Bundle Post case study was quite respectable; we had a good content strategy in place, however Bundle Post substantially changed our game in the following ways:

  • We can now efficiently recycle our evergreen content back to our channels for an encore.
  • We are able to pull in additional streams of our own content (vocabulary lists posted by our Byki List Central community) and incorporate those into our content stream; we hadn’t been able to do this efficiently in the past
  • Instead of hunting through Google Alerts manually and scheduling a couple days of content sporadically, we now quickly identify quality content items for ALL of our communities, and consistently schedule out a week’s worth of content in one session – for ALL segments
  • In addition to feeds, Bundle Post lets us create a collection of our best marketing content, web pages and resources to remind our community about

All of this begs the question, is the higher engagement beneficial? Our communities continue to grow by thousands every month, so obviously higher visibility helps with that, but I wanted to look a little deeper than the raw follower counts. Like, say, web traffic.

We’ve seen a 65% increase in traffic to our website from Facebook since we started using Bundle Post. Even more impressive is the 263% increase in traffic results coming from Twitter.

Content posted to Twitter has a much shorter lifecycle than Facebook content. Our 1 – 2 content posts/day were fairly effective for the relatively slower-moving Facebook content stream, but Twitter gobbled those up much faster and it just wasn’t enough. Bundle Post allowed us to step up the Twitter volume in a way we just couldn’t do manually, and the fact that it lets us create separate schedule templates for the different frequency needs of these two platforms clearly pays off.

The Bottom line:

Signing up for Bundle Post was one of the best things we did for our social media program this year. So many social media strategies and tools are hard to attribute tangible results to, but this one has been a clear and dramatic benefit to our program.

This was an unsolicited case study and guest post by:

LG-1Lorien Green @LorienGreen
Lorien is the Inbound Marketing Manager for Transparent Language, Inc., a language software company with a combined social following of over three million. In her spare time, she makes indie documentaries and obsesses about the pinball resurgence.

*If Bundle Post can impact the results of a business that has such a highly complex and fragmented target audience, imagine what it can do for your market. Get your free trial now.

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Filed under Bundle Post, Community, Content, Curation, Fanpage, Marketing, Results, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Companies With A Formal Content Marketing Strategy Nearly Double

Are you still not convinced that having a clearly defined and executed content marketing strategy is a must in today’s online world? I suggest you think again.

Formal Content Marketing StrategyIn fact eMarketer recently published a new report that showed the changes content marketing is having online. The report from IMN noted that “the number of US companies with formal content marketing strategies in place jumped from 28% in 2012 to 49% in 2013.” As if these numbers are not enough, another 1/3 reported to be working on a formal content strategy.

Way back in February of 2012, I wrote a piece called “The Second Content Revolution – How Social Media Is Changing Again” where I noted the coming change and requirement that was ahead.  The fact that a well thought out content marketing strategy is what enables your online marketing to achieve results, can’t be ignored. It’s no longer a “someday” option that brands large and small contemplate doing, it is a requirement if you intend on competing.

What are SOME components of a formal content marketing strategy every small to medium-sized business (SMB) needs to employ?

1) Content Creation (Blog) – For most SMB’s having an active Blog that regularly publishes content relevant to your audience is crucial. This includes consistently writing content designed to deliver value to your target audience, as well as a small percentage of content that highlights what you do. Create a plan that starts with at least 1-3 new blog posts every week. The traffic, SEO and marketable social media content that results will be invaluable to your online efforts.

2) Content Creation (Video) – Nowadays, a smart phone is as common as tennis shoes and most smartphones are capable of pretty good HD video. There is no longer any excuse to not capture video that can provide a ton of value to your audience. Incorporate video similar to your blog within the overall content strategy by publishing 1-3 relevant short videos on topics your brand is an expert. Feel free to have some of those videos also focus on your products and services, but be careful not to overdue the quantity of promotional videos.

3) Content Creation (Graphics/Photos) – There is no other content type in social media that has more legs than graphics/photos. Funny Meme’s, excellent photos and infographics are some of the most viewed, shared and engaging content online. If you know your audience and what they are into, it is not difficult to figure out the types of graphics to create and photos to take that will get them to respond.

Not good with graphics software? Time to either change that, or hire someone to help you. Graphical and photo content is no longer an option, but a requirement in your content strategy. Simply sharing other people’s work won’t build the following and leadership in your market that is needed.

4) Content Curation – Included in any effective SMB formal content strategy must be content curation. This content should by far be the largest percentage of content you are posting within the social media aspect of your strategy. You should be finding and posting relevant, valuable content that your audience will find interesting. Set your focus on delivering selfless value to your audience on the 3-5 topics they are most interested in, and do it often and consistently, every single day.

Mistakes many SMB’s make related to a content strategy:

1) Not understanding the intended audience – Before any formal content strategy is developed, you have to know every detail about your target audience. Miss on this point and all of your content efforts will not resonate and get little results. Know your audience and your content topics will become obvious and easy to determine.

2) Not providing value – Think of your content marketing as providing selfless value to your audience, rather than a marketing message. Failure to hit the value mark is failure to thrive in content marketing.

3) Lack of consistency – Be consistent, every day, every week, every month. In all content channels you are participating in, ensure your content strategy clearly defines frequency and quantity and then stick to it.

4) Lack of management – You must have the proper tools to manage your content. Your content management and social media management tools need to be able to efficiently and effectively enable you to track, schedule and share the content you have available.

Goals For Content Marketing:

You absolutely need to define your goal and objective for the content strategy you are developing. Be realistic, track and measure, then make adjustments as you learn.

Here are some top content marketing goals:

Top Content Marketing Goals

Beyond the massive jump in formal content marketing strategies, brands are changing the focus of their content marketing with lead generation way out in front.

What are you doing to develop a formal content marketing strategy and how do you plan to execute it?

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Filed under Blog, Content, Curation, Marketing, Results, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

The Greatest Example of Social Media Selfless Value, Outside of Social Media

For those that have spent time with me in person, on the phone or via hangouts, the phrases “Providing selfless value to your audience” and “social media relationships are personal” are a few things you have no doubt heard me say hundreds of times. It’s the basis of relationship building both online in social media marketing and offline in real life as well.

Earlier this week I was the recipient of the best example of what a selfless relationship is. The experience impacted me so dramatically, I knew I had to write about it and make the connection to social media marketing for others. This story was so vivid and emotional for me, that I believe it has the ability to impact your social media marketing and relationship building efforts for a long time to come.

I have some really great neighbors. The husband and wife that live next door are wonderful people that have become friends with the kids and I. Little Johnathan has especially taken to them and their little dog Jake.

Late morning on Tuesday, they stopped by unexpectedly and I could tell there was something very wrong. They proceeded to explain that their little blind, old and sick dog that my little Jman loves so much had died earlier that morning. In fact they had to make the decision to let him go, something I experienced as a 12-year-old while my father was out-of-town on business, so empathizing with their grief came easy.

JakeAs they told me what had happened the night before and everything leading up to the ultimate decision, something changed. What was amazing to me is that though they were so grief-stricken over the loss of their “family member”, their biggest concern was my 4-year-old little boy. They knew Johnathan loved their little dog and they wanted me to know right away so that I could break the news to the little man before they saw him and he asked to play with Jake again. They even felt the need to coach me on what to say to him about Jake dying. (so touching to say the least)

Yesterday while working, I was thinking about the situation and frankly it got me pretty choked up and I decided to write a lengthy post about the situation on Facebook.  Immediately following that status update, I compelled to head next door just to check on them and thank them for their selfless concern for my little boy. The husband answered the door, eyes watering as he was still clearly struggling with the loss. We talked some more and I expressed how grateful I was for their selfless act toward my son. I also asked if I may turn this situation into a blog post as a tribute to them and their little dog, resulting in the greatest example of selfless value to another. They agreed and shortly thereafter delivered a thumb drive full of pictures of little Jake for me to choose from for this post.

What’s the point?

The point is that just as in the real world, social media marketing and relationships are not about you, your brand, product or service. Social media marketing done effectively is about providing selfless relevant value to others and sincerely showing interest and concern for them as well. This is how I have tried to model my social media community and relationships. Showing sincere concern others, their needs and circumstances. I think the results we have achieved with this sincerity are fairly plain to see. (at least we hope so)

Yesterday was yet another example of how it feels when someone treats me (and one of my family members) that same way. You see, when you build real relationships that are based on real care and concern for others and not on what you will get out of it, the results become measurable in dollars and cents, but also immeasurable on a deeper human level. What I find fascinating about social media is that it is exactly the same as in the real world. We do business with people we know and like and have a relationship with at a far greater percentage than with people or brands we have never heard of. Pretty much common sense, right? You’d think so…

So I challenge you to take the time to get to know your audience, your neighbors, community and prospects. Have conversations that help you to get to Know who they are and what they’re about. They will not only flock to you and your brand if you employ this methodology, but you and your brand will become better people and organizations for doing so. (dare I say possibly the world would be a better place if we all did this)

Now, I just wish my neighbors weren’t retired, so I could do business with them. Those are the kind of people I want to spend money with. They truly cared about me, my son and how we would be impacted by their situation. What a novel idea.

Something to consider, then emulate.

Oh and about little Jman. Last night he took the news better than I expected he would. He was more interested in discussing how Jesus was playing with Jake in heaven then concerned that he lost his buddy. I suspect this will be an ongoing conversation for some time as he deals with the loss in his own little way. I thank God for the innocence of a child.

MeetGina**Update 8/15/2013 6pm PDT** After picking up Johnathan from daycare this evening, we came home and had to take the thumb drive back to the neighbors and little man wanted to go with me. I gave him the drive and he ran to the front door and rang the bell as I waited on the sidewalk. They opened the door and came out on the front porch carrying something in their hands. Needless to say play and joy ensued.

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Filed under Community, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Uncategorized

Social Media Content Curation: Introducing Simplified Topical Feed Alerts

Bundle FeedToday we are releasing the first version of what we are calling Bundle Feeds. This new alert-like Feed Channel allows you to create new Feed Channels right inside of the Bundle Post system based on keywords or exact phrases, without needing to go out to Bing or other locations to create alert content topics.

Our team has been planing and designing a new content discovery system to integrate into Bundle Post for some time. With the decline and subsequent demise of Google RSS Alerts, coupled with the lack luster results of Bing Alerts or any other suitable replacement for Google Alerts, we decided to step up our work on this new feature.

How Do Bundle Feeds Work?

Once you create a Bundle Feed, the system will create a new feed channel that will source content on that specific phrase or keyword topics for you. The first version is in Beta and has a lot more functionality and options in development, but it is a giant first step toward where we are going with content discovery for our users. Bundle Feeds provide a totally unique option for discovering topical Feed Channel content within the system.

Content Curation DiscoveryVery Cool Function:

Our team has developed a very unique function with Bundle Feeds that allows you to test the results of your query several times before actually saving the new Feed Channel. This feature enables you to fine tune your query as you create it, ensuring you will get the content results you are looking for. Use the “Test It” button during the Bundle Feed creation process and review the results, make edits to the phrase or keywords and click Test It again, until you’re satisfied. (Max returned is 10 results)

To create a new Bundle Feed, follow these simple steps:

1) Click on the Feeds link from the Bundle Post navigation bar.

2) Click the “Create Bundle Feed – beta” link under the “Add Feed Channel” Option

3) Name your new Feed Channel.

4) If you don’t want the system to sanitize used content from this new Feed Channel, check the “Don’t sanitize this Bundle Feed” check box at the top. (for more on feed sanitizing, read the “Sanitizing Feeds” section)

5) Enter an Exact Phrase, Keywords or BOTH and press the “Test It” button.

6) When you are satisfied with your feed terms and the test results, click the “Submit” button to save the new Feed Channel to your feed page.

7) Bundle Feed Channels will be designated in your list of Feed Channels with a  icon, so you clearly know what content is coming from this feature.

That’s it! Your new Bundle Post Feed Channel will source new content for that topic multiple times per day and deliver the content into that new channel for you. From there you can use the content just like you would any other Feed Channel within the system.

Best Results:

Throughout our use and testing of the new beta Bundle Feed feature, we discovered that testing results and modifying your phrase and keywords before saving the new feed channel gets the best results. We recommend using the exact phrase field with a specific word or phrase first, then modify the results with the addition of keywords to niche it down to want you want.

* The more you niche your Phrase and Keywords, the less content you will get back over time, so ensure you have the proper balance.

Again, we want to reiterate that the new Bundle Feed feature is in Beta and we have a lot more work to do on it. We have seen some pretty great results already, so we decided to release it in Beta so our users have another great tool for topical content discovery within their social content management.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

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Filed under Alerts, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Google, Results, Social Aggregation, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Uncategorized