Tag Archives: business

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3) Social Media changes so frequently it will be outdated before it’s even printed.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

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

The Latest in Social Media Job Trends

Can Bundle Post Give You the Edge in the Job Market?

Dreaming of a new job? Love social media? You’ll be happy to hear that social media is the #10 up and coming job according to job trends analyzed by mega job search site Indeed.com. That means it is the tenth fastest growing keyword in online job posts. While not all the jobs included in this analysis were purely social media, it was one of the major responsibilities included in the job description. For those bitten by the social media bug, this is good news.

Where Social Media Jobs Exist

From coast to coast social media jobs abound. While major centers have a higher concentration of these jobs, you can also find them in any city in the country. Any business with a marketing team is bound to need a social media specialist, manager or consultant.

Social media jobs are not just for advertising companies or Internet based retailers, although a large percentage of such jobs are found in those industries. Banks, universities, distributors, insurance companies, manufacturers, resorts, theme parks, recruiters and traditional retailers are also now filling social media jobs within their companies. This means that no matter what your background, you can find social media jobs in your area of expertise.

What Makes a Social Media Tinkerer into a Master?

Social Media Job TrendsSure, we all use social media in our private lives and for business.  What that translates to, is that it’s easy enough to consider yourself a master if you spend countless hours a day using it. However, social media for fun and social media for marketing are two completely different animals. When business people start to dabble in social media, they often find that their efforts are not paying off. That’s because they lack the skills and knowledge to use social media advantageously for their business.

Knowing how to transform your social media prowess into a marketable skill means knowing why, how and when to use social media. It also means knowing the importance of audience: who they are, how to reach them and how to engage them. It also includes knowing how and when to use social media tools like Bundle Post and Hootsuite, and how to determine which best fits your purposes, budget and time.

The Proof is in The Results

In order to show that you are indeed a social media master, you need proof. That’s where measurable success comes into play. Social media as a marketing tool is not just about producing content and putting it out there via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or other platforms. Data collection and analysis are critical aspects of the job. Being able to show the growth of a brand, company, following or sales numbers will be the proof positive that you can handle a company’s social media needs.

Savvy entrepreneurs are coming to realize the power of social media in their marketing efforts. More and more they are embracing high quality content management systems and specialized personnel who know how to take an online existence and make it deliver measurable results. Even if your business is not quite large enough to warrant a social media hire, mastering the skills needed and using the tools of professionals will make your company’s social media efforts take off.

This was a guest post by:

TiffanyTiffany McDonald is a mommy, wifey, blogger and cat lover. She is also addicted to coffee, the Internet and all things social. She will talk to anyone willing to listen and is currently on an education campaign regarding family safety and security. She believes the new technologies surrounding home automation will empower caregivers for those of all ages. Connect with Tiffany on TwitterLinkedinor Google + 

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Filed under Content, Marketing, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

Has Social Media Eliminated the Need for Face to Face Networking?

After a slow period of adaptation for many business people, nowadays most savvy business people are soundly embracing the Internet and social media for their networking and marketing needs. Even those who held out against social media use in their business are now realizing that this powerful force is here to stay and that using it is cost-effective and delivers results. In fact, many are starting to wonder if social media has eliminated the need for real world networking.

Face to Face Networking Remains Relevant

Digital NetworkingWhile online marketing is incredibly efficient and widens your scope of who you have the opportunity to network with, networking face to face is still incredibly important. This is especially true if your clientele is at least partially local. Getting out and meeting people will do wonders for your business, because those who may be on the fence about using your business will be more likely to be swayed in your direction after getting to know you.

There are many things that you can achieve much more readily in person through face to face networking. These are the things that tend to be more challenging to achieve when you only network online. Face to face networking lets you:

  • Build relationships that will lead to cross marketing opportunities with other businesses.
  • Establish yourself as a subject matter expert with your local community.
  • Stand out from the competition that is not doing face to face networking.
  • Get immediate feedback and responses that take much more time online.

Integrate Online And Offline Networking for Maximum Results

Integrating online and offline networking can produce the biggest benefits for your business. In fact, doing so allows you to be very strategic in your networking efforts and make the most of the time you dedicate to real world networking.

Use your online efforts to connect with others who would be ideal customers or fellow business people that you could partner with. Share local networking opportunities with these people and plan to meet at a real world networking event. Not only will you benefit from solidifying a relationship that you have started online, you will likely meet other people through that connection. When you attend networking events, check in via social media and you will likely find that there are other people you are connected to online who are in the same place.

As with any time you meet up with clients or business associates who are virtual strangers  to you, keep safety in mind. Always choose a public meeting place and use your own vehicle to get there, so you can leave quickly if necessary. When possible plan to attend daytime networking events or meetings. Share your plans with a trusted individual, who agrees to check on you if they have not been contacted at a prearranged time.

Even though the Internet is a much safer place to interact with strangers, there are distinct advantages to meeting face to face. Be wary when you do so and you can reap the benefits while not putting yourself in danger. Get the best of both worlds when you network online and off.

This was a guest post by:

TiffanyTiffany McDonald is a mommy, wifey, blogger and cat lover. She is also addicted to coffee, the Internet and all things social. She will talk to anyone willing to listen and is currently on an education campaign regarding family safety and security. She believes the new technologies surrounding home automation will empower caregivers for those of all ages. Connect with Tiffany on TwitterLinkedinor Google + 

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Filed under Community, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

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

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

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

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

1) Using time most effectively

2) Doing activities that get real results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Agencies, Consultants Must Walk The Talk

I consult a lot of social media agencies, marketers and brands on their internal strategy, processes and implementation. I come across many that don’t seem to realize that if they are selling social media marketing to their clients, their feeds should reflect their ability and professionalism.

One of the favorite sayings that often comes out of my mouth is “Show me, don’t tell me”. In my many daily conversations, that phrase is often times followed by something like “I don’t care what you say, I only watch what you do”. This mentality is how I run my life and business. I do this very consciously when I have conversations with people, however most people do it unconsciously.There is a big difference between the two.

The average person unconsciously evaluates what you say and how it compares to what you do. Because it is unconscious, it often takes a bit longer to come to a conscious conclusion about someone or something. Business people however, are a bit more discerning in their relationships with vendors and look for results and clues to match with what the vendor is pitching them.

This fact has two serious implications you need to understand in your social media marketing sales efforts:

1) What you are proposing to do and achieve for your prospective social media management clients must match what you are doing and achieving with your social media marketing. If it does not, you loose credibility. Worse, you don’t have an important sales tool that shows you are able to achieve what you are proposing for your client. Additionally, it can impact the pricing or perceived value a prospect is willing to pay for your service.

2) In a competitive bidding scenario for a new social media client, where there are more than one competitors vying for the account, you need to be able to point to your social media and compare it to your competitors. Especially, when there is a disparity in the pricing you are proposing, the ability to show results over the competitor and say “If they aren’t doing it for their own accounts, what makes you think they can for yours” goes a long way in winning the account.

Be sure that you do what you say, not only in your daily business interactions, but also in your feeds. Get results for your brand, so you can show you can do it for your prospects. Your social media accounts must show that you are leading, creative and innovative and that what you do is effective and get’s results.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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