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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

Creating A Social Media Drip Marketing Campaign – How We Launched 2.0

Social media marketing campaigns should be common place within your overall social media marketing strategy. A campaign is something outside of your normal efforts and strategy that is specific to an event, launch or other unique marketing goal. Incorporating social media campaigns into your social media marketing efforts are an exceptional way to leverage your existing strategy and community for a clearly defined short-term objective, while maintaining your existing strategy and community expectations.

Social Media Drip CampaignOne example of a social media marketing campaign was the launch of our all new Bundle Post website, user interface and 2.0 system that went live on July 2013. Our entire launch campaign strategy was executed within social media, without using any ads or other means. The campaign created incredible buzz about our platform and ultimately doubled our active user base in less than 60 days. No small results…

So how did we do it?

There were several steps and planning involved in our social media drip marketing campaign that began months ahead of time. Meaning we had already done the work to build a community by delivering value in our streams and the effort to establish and maintain relationships with that community. Had we not first done this, nothing else in the campaign would have achieved such incredible results. Before you plan a campaign, ensure that you have invested the time and effort with your followers and friends. Nothing is more crucial in your social media marketing efforts before you embark on additional campaigns.

As with any effective marketing, time spent planning and preparing will be in direct proportion to the results you obtain. Below we will outline exactly what we did to plan, create and execute our 2.0 launch campaign using Bundle Post and how you can do the same.

Creating A Social Media Marketing Drip Campaign Using Bundle Post:

Step 1: Clearly Define Campaign – Be sure you have defined your objective and the length of the campaign very clearly. Know exactly when you the campaign is to start and end, as well as the goal you are trying to achieve. It is incredibly important that the goals and objectives you set for a campaign is realistic. Not doing so will surely make the campaign unsuccessful and more importantly jeopardize your decisions when creating your campaign based on such false hopes.

Here are the launch campaign details we used: 

  • Objective – Create buzz and awareness of the Bundle Post software for those who had not heard about it, and let those that have heard about it know that a big new release was coming.
  • Goal – Increase active user base by 30% during the launch campaign.
  • Campaign Timeline – 2 weeks (exactly 13 days) prior to the scheduled launch date.

Step 2: Create A List of Supporters – You will want to create a list of people, brands and contacts that are your supporters that will, (without question) be willing to help you with your campaign. You must be sure that you ONLY ask your real friends and supporters to be involved. Don’t include big name social media people, large brands and celebrities that you WISH would be a supporter and help with your campaign, just include customers and relationships you know will be willing to help.

*More on supporters in steps 3 and 7.

Step 3: Create Schedules – This step is the most complicated, so take it slow and make sure you cover all angles.

First, determine the number of posts per day you want to send for all of your related social media accounts and networks. Do not forget your personal accounts if you are a brand.

Here are the schedules we used: 

  • Campaign Twitter (@fondalo) – 4 x’s per day
  • Campaign Twitter (@BundlePost) – 4 x’s per day
  • Campaign Twitter (@PerfectJulia) – 4 x’s per day
  • Campaign Linkedin – 2 times per day
  • Campaign Bundle Post Fanpage – 1 time per day
  • Campaign Personal Facebook – 3 times per day
  • Campaign G+ Page – 2 times per day
  • Campaign Other People – More on this in later steps

Within Bundle Post Schedules, you will want to make a new schedule for each of the social media accounts that will be involved in the campaign. If there are multiple social media accounts on the same network that have the same number of posts per day (Twitter in our example) make separate schedules for each with the time slots different for each. This way they will not be posting at the same time on the same network, though they will be posting 4 times each day during the campaign.

*you can also use the Bundle Post drip campaign for FB pages, Facebook personal profiles, Linkedin and G+ pages and any other groups or social networks supported by Hootsuite.

Step 4: Write Your Posts – This step should be broken into to segments:

  • Number of Posts: Before you begin writing the social media posts for your campaign, you first need to determine how many posts you need for the entire campaign. To calculate this, take the highest number of posts per day in any of the schedules you have made for your campaign (in our example it is 4 posts per day for Twitter) and multiply it by the number of days for the campaign. In our example, we did a 13 day campaign.

4 posts per day x 13 = 52 total posts needed

  • Writing Posts: So now you will want to create a new “My Content” folder in Bundle Post and begin writing the text of your 52 posts and include a URL where appropriate for each post. It is really important that these 52 posts have no duplicates for two reasons; 1) Bundle Post will not allow you to have duplicate posts included in an export (due to Hootsuite’s restriction) and 2) You want all of your posts to be different so they are not intrusive in your streams. Using a small number of URLs mixed across the 52 posts is fine though.

Here are some examples we used: 

  • The All new @BundlePost 2.0 will be launching June 13th!!
  • The brand new Bundle Post 2.0 will have an entirely new website and improved user interface. Are you ready? http://BundlePost.com
  • Get your Free @BundlePost account before they’re gone June 13th! http://BundlePost.com

*Notice that some posts had URLs and some did not. You’ll want to mix it up depending on your specific campaign requirements, product or service.

Step 5: Create Facebook Graphics – We added some creativity to our campaign by creating graphics about the launch that counted down the days like a space shuttle launch. We manually uploaded and scheduled them on our Facebook page and as they posted live each day, we would manually share links to the graphics on all the other social networks.

We highly suggest this for many cases. It not only provides the visual aspect for your messaging, it helps drive traffic and likes on the fanpage, making the graphics you post on the Facebook page linkable from other networks.

Step 6: Do Your Bundle Post Exports –  Once your posts are written, you will need to do your Bundle Post Exports for each schedule you created in the system. This will need to be done no later than the day before the campaign will need to start posting. This step has the following sequence:

  1. Click Export in Bundle Post.
  2. Select the schedule you want to use and the date that the first post for the campaign should start. (in our example the start date was 13 days before launch)
  3. On the Export Table, scroll down to My Content folders and open the “Campaign” folder with your 52 posts in it.
  4. Select all the posts for the export, run hashtags if desired, then export.
  5. Upload the Bundle Post file into Hootsuite, selecting the proper social media account that coincides with the schedule you just used.

*Important Notes:

  • If you have multiple accounts on the same social network (as in our case on Twitter) not only did we use different posting times for each, we also used the Auto Sort function on the Export Table to ensure that the same posts were not posted to the same network by these three Twitter accounts at or near the same time slots.
  • To do the exports for the other social networks, you will also calculate the number of posts you need for them based on the number of posts per day. For Example: In our campaign we posted 4x’s per day on Twitter and only 2x’s per day on Linkedin. Therefore we exported 52 posts for the Twitter campaign from the My Content folder and only 26 posts for the Linkedin schedule export. – *If we exported all 52 posts for the Linkedin schedule, the campaign would run for 26 days on Linkedin, due to the fewer posts per day in the Bundle Post schedule made for our Linkedin account. Make sense?

Step 7: Do Exports For Supporters – Lastly we used a little known ability of Bundle Post to expand the reach and success of our campaign. We created additional schedules and exports for that list of friends and supports and gave them Bundle Post files to upload into their Hootsuite accounts! Therefore we had some 20 other Twitter accounts also sharing our campaign posts at different times and all they had to do was upload our file. Easy and effective.

So there you have it. All the details of how we launched 2.0 using the Bundle Post system to create an effective social media drip campaign. The result of the campaign not only achieved our objectives, it exceeded our goal by a huge percentage. We increased our active user base by 100% instead of the 30% goal and have continued the growth with a smaller, ongoing drip campaign using Bundle Post that continues to drive traffic and new user growth.

How are you going to use Bundle Post drip campaigns for you and your clients?  Get started FREE

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Filed under Bundle Post, Community, Facebook, Fanpage, Followers, Google Plus, Hootsuite, Marketing, Results, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized

Reality Check: Daily Required Social Media Marketing Activity

I am frequently seeing articles explaining how to do social media marketing in 30 minutes or an hour each day and decided it was time to deliver a reality check. Unless you are a social media “guru”, “author”, “celebrity” or #fauxpert that has never done social media marketing outside of self promotion and has a huge social following, it’s time for a reality check. Any expectation that real results, revenue and return on investment for any SMB or marketer will be achieved by following such advice is foolish thinking.

Social Media Reality CheckSorry to burst your bubble, but effective social media marketing is a detailed combination of technology integration, creativity and a whole lot of activity 24/7. It’s not working when you want, getting weekends off and forgetting to check your feeds, mentions and conversations for days at a time. We call that kind of activity and dedication social networking, not social media.

That’s great if you are an enthusiast that is not using social media channels for marketing, but then again I don’t write for enthusiasts. My articles are always focused on the average brand, SMB, individual marketer and social media agencies. It’s what I know and do, not a hobby or a subject matter I have become known for and use to generate book sales, speaking gigs or ad revenue from blog traffic.

Our goal is to change the message of the industry that is dominated by the folks outlined in the above paragraph into that of real effective use of social media by people who have and actually do it. It’s one thing to consult Starbucks or most other major brands on social media because you sold a ton of books about the subject. It’s another thing to actually create and execute a strategy for the majority that make up social media marketers like small and medium brands or individual marketers and get results. Heck, my 14-year-old daughter could consult Starbucks or most other major brands on their social media marketing. They do it wrong and don’t have to do it right. They have billions in media and marketing dollars that drive their brand on and offline.

While articles that tell you that you can get results with minimal time and effort in social media are incredibly appealing to the masses, I am hear to tell you that it takes work.

*Note – Social media agencies, consultants and coaches – keep reading. There are some reality checks for you as well. :-)

In an effort to both deliver a reality check as well as a real guide of activity, following is a list of SOME daily activities that are required to get results with any social media marketing program.

1) Content Posting: Every day you need to have relevant valuable content for your audience in your stream. Content that gets them to engage, like, comment and share. Not just posts about you or what you do, but information, news and articles your audience will find relevant.

How much content? Here is a basic list of posts per day on a few of the networks you are likely working with:

Twitter – 15-20
Facebook Personal – 4-8
Facebook Page – 3-6
LinkedIn Personal – 5-10
Groups – 1-4
G+ Personal – 10-15
G+ Brand Page – 2-5

Every industry, audience and brand is different, but this will give you a sense of some minimum levels that are required.

2) Content Creation: Like it or not, you have to not only share content relevant to your audience, you also have to create your own content. Blog posts, videos, images, infographics, etc. You can’t lead in an industry where you are not contributing to its message in new ways. This is not an occasional required activity, it’s every single week.

3) YOUR Content Posting: Once you have created content, you need to post it. The good news is that the more content you have created the more content you have available to post daily. I believe content you have created and posts that are about you and what you do should make up about 20% of what you post every day.

4) Content Sharing: Part of social media marketing is sharing other people’s social posts that you and your audience may find interesting and valuable. This serves two purposes;

  1. It delivers additional value to your audience beyond what you found and posted.
  2. It lets others know that you appreciate what they post and wanted to pass it along.

5) Real and Real-Time Posting: These posts are above posting and sharing content and are just about being real, human and approachable. These are often just text and consist of what you are thinking, the weather, where you are and what you are doing. Don’t forget that people connect with people in social media. Don’t be a logo or a robot. Nobody can like or build a relationship with either of those.

6) Community Growth: Every day you need to be growing your community of fans, followers and friends that are your target audience. If you build it they will come doesn’t work in social media. Though doing the above 5 activities every day will help you consistently grow your community, if you are using social media for marketing, that community size needs to increase. Therefore every day you need to be searching and finding your target audience on all of the social networks and connecting with them. Don’t wait for them to find you.

7) Community Outreach: Within your community you need to continually reach out and engage. That is no different from being at a live networking event. You start conversations and get to know them. You share their content and information with others and build a relationship. This must be done daily to be effective with social media marketing.

8) Response/Engage: The opposite of outreach is responding. When someone likes, shares, comments on your posts, acknowledge them, thank them and star a conversation. If someone mentions you in social media, respond.

I have a lot to say about this section, but in order to keep it a blog post and not an article I will say that timing matters. When someone mentions you or comments, they are there, online, right now. Waiting hours or days is missed opportunity and will never see any real results.

9) Follow Backs: When someone follows you on Twitter, Circles you on Google Plus or Friends you on Facebook or Linkedin, you need determine whether you want to reciprocate or accept. I recommend that this is done every single day. We do it twice per day ourselves.

*Tip – if you’re using social media for marketing, follow, friend and connect with those that are your target audience. If you are a restaurant in Tennessee, friending or following someone in the UK doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

10) Data/Statistics: You need to know what is working and what isn’t. Paying attention to your statistics, results, analytics and data on a daily basis is required. Knowing this information enables you to adjust the what’s and when’s of what you are doing and set realistic goals and targets. Not knowing means you are not getting anywhere.

11) Planning/Strategy: Every day you need to be planning and adjusting your strategy. Using what you learn to improve results in social media marketing is no different from anything else in business. Test, measure and adjust… DAILY.

More Reality Checks for Marketers:

So if you think that real, effective social media marketing can actually be accomplished in 30 minutes or an hour per day, I invite you to think again. This is why there are so many social media agencies out there and more popping up every single day. Not too many people have the time, knowledge and ability to execute all of these thins on a daily basis. If you can’t either or are not getting results, I suggest you speak with a qualified social media professional agency as well.

*If you are paying $99/mo for “social media” from some online company, you’re being robbed. It takes far too much time, tools and activities to really do social media marketing right that results in real business.

More Reality Checks for Social Media Agencies:

If your agency is teaching social media marketing instead of doing it, before taking some unsuspecting persons money, be sure they understand what it really takes. Stop taking money from people to teach them things they will never have the time, skill or experience to execute well. Anyway you slice it, it’s stealing…

*As a consultant or agency that teaches social media, the person you teach is rarely the CEO that paid for you. Be aware that the admin, intern or junior employee you train, will soon be in love with social media marketing just like you and will be starting their own agency when their employer pulls the plug. Stop creating competitors for yourself every six months, while making pennies for doing it. Do the hard work for clients and get them real results by delivering effective social media management that has value and recurring revenue.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more required in social media marketing like strategy, targeting, social selling, conversations and more. But true to form, I am not here to condemn or be hurtful. My only goal here is to increase the effectiveness of social media marketing in general and change the message to real results, not scores, followers, likes or speakers. Go do this!

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

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Filed under Agency, Blog, Community, Engagement, Facebook, Fanpage, Followers, Google Plus, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Social Media Is Becoming A Pressure Cooker That’s About To Explode

The social media industry is nothing like anything we’ve ever seen online before. Outside of high school and Hollywood, nothing else can compare to the pressures associated with “being popular.” This unique element affects speakers, authors, social media agencies and even the person looking for work. Between Klout scores and the size of your community of likes and followers, the pressures have become daunting for some. For the many who make their living in or around the social media industry, the pressure to be or at least appear to be an expert, the best, or just a player is reaching a boiling point.

An industry friend of mine started pushing me to write about this after reading my recent posts about industry experts, etc. She said “I really would love to see you do a post about the nature of the industry and how it puts pressure on people embrace these misleading/unethical practices in order to be competitive.” I promised I would and here it is.

Likened to sports, social media is truly competitive. The speaking gigs at conventions, the choice brand contracts as well as consulting  opportunities are all up for grabs. Rightly so, the folks who hire for these opportunities want the best they can get or afford. Those with huge communities, the most influence and recognized names are obvious choices. The pressure to be perceived as one of them is so great that many feel they must resort to performance enhancing drugs, so to speak, à la  Lance Armstrong.

Purchasing followers on twitter, likes for fanpages and gaming Klout to appear more influential is equivalent to athletes using performance enhancing drugs. In social media, the pressure to perform and win can be so great that many are resorting to these tactics in a desperate move to succeed. This goes for beginners wanting to build a name, brands themselves and worse than all else, the social media professional.

Even students fresh out of college looking for their first real career position are feeling the pressure. With misinformed employers making Klout scores a prerequisite for interviews and requesting social media logins and passwords, pressure on the unemployed continues to scale.

So where does it end and where do we go from here? In my humble opinion, the focus must change…

I think the Klout score has damaged this industry immensely. It has added an undefined metric to the game that has captured the focus of most newcomers and simultaneously derailed veterans from what should be important. I talk to so many people everyday in the social graph who are so enamored by my Klout score that they fail to hear me explain its irrelevance. They are so focused on their Klout score that they are spending hours upon hours every week DOING social media, yet have no real results to show for it.

Please hear my next statement:  When I am getting my best results, sales, revenue, click-throughs, software demos, etc., in other words, the things that really matter, or at least should matter, my Klout score declines. When I am not focused, am not doing my best work and am unable to spend the proper time on relationships, my Klout score goes UP! Further proof that Klout is being run by people who do not get social media or how and when it is effective and influential.

Ask yourself this – Do you want a high score that means nothing, or do you want tangible results that you expect from any other marketing medium?

How do we change the focus?

1) Stop focusing on your scores, your community size and your ego. – Provide value, have conversations with your target audience and build relationships that lead to ROI.

2) Stop adding focus on scores and community size. – Stop propping up the fake authors, speakers and “experts” by giving them your Klout, and buying their books, Look deeper to see if they are actually getting real results beyond book sales and speaking. Many are simply celebrities who have robbed the industry and led many astray through their celebrity status.

3) Focus on what is important. – Have a goal and a strategy to achieve it. If you are going to spend 8+ hours per day doing something, you’d better have a plan to show some real results for all that time spent doing it. If you have no real results in terms of clients and revenue, then get a job at McDonald’s instead. Your ego will suffer, but your bank account will do MUCH better.

The pressure to appear influential is off of your shoulders because now you have the knowledge you need to change this. The only pressure you should be experiencing is that of getting real results. And, I might add, when done properly, results are easier to achieve than a fake expertise and there is no risk of getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs.

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

67 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Fakers, Fanpage, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Social Media Revolution – You Will Get Called Out

By now you should know that social media is about relationships. From my perspective as the CEO of a social media software company, those relationships we establish, build and maintain are crucial to our continued success. In my book, there is only one thing that trumps those relationships… Truth!

If you have been following my blog recently, you have noticed several pieces that focus on the industry, fake experts and name people that have hijacked the industry and lead people astray.

The next and potentially MOST harmful element in the industry are social media consultants, agencies and speakers who are inexperienced fakers.

Why do I believe these folks are the most damaging to the industry? Because they lie. I will not stand for lying or liars in general, especially when the lies affect the industry that I am in and because of the negative long term consequences it will potentially have on our customers and the industry in general. If we, as full-time social media professionals who make our living in this industry, do not start self regulating and purging these harmful #fauxperts, we will begin to see a rapid collapse of the industry.

As I sit here Saturday morning writing this post for Monday, my stomach is sick! In the past hour I have found and then had to confront two of these industry fakers. That’s two in less than an hour! I am talking about those folks with HUGE followings. I confronted them and asked how they could have 20,000+ new followers several times in a single day over the last three months and have 96% of their followers showing as “fake”.

Guess what? One has completely ignored me. No reply whatsoever. I guess I should not be surprised. I would be so embarrassed and ashamed I might jump off a cliff or at least climb deep under a rock. Apparently, that’s exactly what they are doing, hoping I and this situation goes away. It won’t.

The other individual proceeded to lie. Blatantly. Even when others jumped in and started commenting, they continued to deny and deflect the situation. Well, I will let you be the judge. Here is the faker in all their manufactured glory:

 Meet Ginaschreck . Pretty impressive bio isn’t it? Her and her social media company http://www.synapse3di.com profess to help clients “Connect with their community” and “focus on engagement and results”. Sounds awesome, right?

They offer social media “coaching” for $279.00 and will “come to your rescue” and manage your social media for you. What a deal!!

Here’s the BIG problem… The self described “Technology Expert” Gina Schreck, who can be hired to speak at your event for just $6,500 to $7,500 (per the website) is a social media #fauxpert. In a video on her website she says that social media is about “building a community.” Aparently for Gina, it is about buying a fake community to appear like she knows what she is doing. How do I know that 96% of this “expert’s” followers are fake? I checked!

I have started to do deeper checks on all higher profile or industry people with large communities. I will no longer sit back and watch these people create a persona of expertise, sell books, speak at events and tell people what they should be doing in social media, when their entire perceived expertise is based on a lie. Proof? Get this…

As if this isn’t bad enough, then the lies started. I decided to confront her and ask her if she is buying twitter followers to falsely prop up her perception to the industry and prospective clients who don’t know any better. The response she gave was a lie. As I am finalizing this post Sunday morning, I went to grab her response, but guess what. She deleted it. Fortunately, I anticipated this and had already taken a screen shot during the conversation and saved it. Here is her response:

Of course I responded. Here are my exact responses: “I see @Ginaschreck so you’re saying each of these spikes are from you mentioning iPads? ow.ly/d43xN But 96% of ur flwrs are fake!!”

What’s the link in my response? This:

Since she did not respond to that, at 10:48 AM I tweeted “Ok, @Ginaschreck let’s test to see if simply tweeting iPad get’s me 14-20k spam fake followers in a single day. iPad, iPad, iPad, #iPad” And just in case you are wondering, I did not get thousands of mysterious fake followers over night. Yet, upon checking her TwitterCounter.com stats this morning, apparently she DID! How amazing is that?

As you can see in this three month analysis of her HUGE Twitter following, there are several spikes over the last three months. (we suspect many additional spikes previous to this period have also occurred) If you hover on these spikes you will find that in a single day she gained from 10,000 to 20,000 new followers. Coincidence? Due to talking about iPads? I will let you decide.

The bottom line is this; the days of lying, professing to be massively influential and an expert are gone in this industry. It is time for a revolution in social media, where a #fauxpert is outed every time they are discovered and actual professionals that do it right and get real results are uplifted and praised regardless of the lack of books or huge speaking fees.

I found a place where this revolution is starting to swell and I for one will be joining it. It’s called SteamFeed. Will you join me in ensuring that this incredible industry is not destroyed by lying, cheating, and fake experts like these?

If you are an event planner, a small business or new to social media marketing, I highly suggest that you investigate Gina and her company and the claims and fake perceptions they are putting forward. Before you hire her or any other big name agency or celebrity social media speaker, be sure everything they are showing you that appears to be influence and ability isn’t smoke and mirrors!

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

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Filed under Agency, FAIL, Fakers, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 4

This series has really got a ton of traction. When I say that I am not meaning traffic and all that, I am referring to mind shift. The idea that these fake experts and social media celebrities have taken over this industry has really struck a chord with more people than I thought. I mean many of us agree on the idea I present in this series, but I did not expect the up-in-arms mentality and desire many are displaying.

The number of people sharing experiences, calling people out by name and banning together around this idea has been nothing short of inspiring. Many of us have expressed these feelings to each other individually or in small groups, but it appears that it is going beyond that now. I got permission to share a few examples of what I have been seeing.

I received this comment from my long time friend @jayvee4you on the Part 3 post:

To which I responded:

“I am determined that we take back our industry from these folks that have created speaking and book careers and don’t/haven’t really done it!!!! Or at least aren’t doing now. If we do not stand up and control the message with proper, results driven content, we will all be out of work and a laughing stock like when this whole thing started…”

Following that, my friend @ilovegarick messaged me on Facebook with a conversation in process with one of these types we are talking about here. This situation typifies the issue we are facing, doesn’t it?

He went on to write about it, calling it “What’s Your Biggest Challenge in Social Media.” He wraps up with “So what’s my biggest challenge in social media then? It’s apparently not my original answer of ROI.  It is simply this: working with people who proclaim themselves as “social media gurus” and then pitch how they can work wonders for other businesses. They give those who know what they’re doing a bad name.”

I think it’s clear we are all getting frustrated with the state of the industry and how these “name” people are controlling the message and what eventually happens to us and the industry as a whole. I for one am not going to stand for that any longer. Will you?

So in the final post of this series, there are two things I want to convey. One for the social media professional specifically and one for everyone:

1) To the social media professional – We must take back our industry. The media have latched on to these authors and speakers, giving them credibility that they should not have. A book is not an indication of a social media professional and the size of their following or number of likes isn’t either and we all know this. What they DO themselves and the actual results are the proper indication of whether someone is a social media professional or not.

What can we do to take back the industry? For starters, let’s stop sharing content these folks produce, even if it is relevant to our audience. Let’s stop giving them credibility by engaging with them, if that opportunity in fact ever occurs. Let’s lead by example and produce results that are real and well beyond followers, Klout and perceptions. Finally, we must call these people out wherever possible and appropriate and reclaim the message and control.

2) Suggestions for everyone -

Be very weary of anyone that claims being a social media expert or that do not do social media as they tell you and others to do for your social media strategy. Be very careful of those who consult on social media, but their social media is greatly lacking. Beware of those with huge followings that do not respond and engage.

RUN from those who are celebrities that consult big brands on social media marketing. Nothing they have to say is relevant to the average business. My fourteen year old daughter could design and execute a successful strategy for a major brand. Social media marketing for the small and mid-sized business is a completely different game!

Finally, stop following and giving credibility to these celebrity social media experts. You are far better off finding a handful of small to medium social media agencies whose feeds reflect the things you know are right, than to waste time learning things that will suck your time and lead you to poverty for your business.

Now let’s take this industry back and together mold it into the most effective marketing platform ever seen.

Part 1 – 3 of this series:  Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

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

**Footnote – Remember the social media expert that automates questions and ignores when people answer, yet professes to be a social media rock star for brands? Here’s how Monday night ended up on Garick’s post. Utterly amazing… Time? I make the time to respond to every single comment and question. It’s social media! Can you get any more arrogant?

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Filed under Agency, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy

It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 3

The next important thing to outline in this series is how to know whether the person you are watching, learning from and replicating their activity is doing it right. How do you know that what that “expert” is writing on their blog actually works or will work for you? How do you know if the person writing the book or article is really an “expert”? How do you know that the things they are doing in their social media activity that you are replicating actually does produce revenue and ROI?

The direct answer to these questions is, there is no real way to know for sure. I know that is not very helpful to hear and I realize that some of you reading this are now more frustrated than when you started with social media because of this answer. But the fact is, these people aren’t going to give you their profit and loss statements, their analytics or their sales numbers. Now days, anyone can write and publish a book, write a blog or be seen as an expert by an ignorant media. So the bottom line is that it is incumbent upon us to make the determination of who in fact is an expert, or at least a professional.

*Side note – In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a social media expert, guru or ninja. This industry changes so quickly and is far too new to have established any of those yet. There are a lot ofcelebrities, and many professionals, but no experts.

Here are some things I do to determine whether I should listen to or replicate activity of someone who is considered to be a  social media expert or professional:

1) Walk the talk – After reading an article they’ve written, check their newsfeed to see if they actual do what they are telling you to do.

2) Blazing Blog Posts – One or more blog posts per day? Really? That makes you a blogger and someone looking to drive traffic to your blog, more than a social media professional. If you are actually doing social media effectively, you don’t have time to write quite that much. What’s worse is you are probably not writing everything you post and therefore it will be evident in your newsfeed activity that it’s not you writing.

3) Be my guest – One thing I have found is the people who have a ton of “guest” bloggers should be carefully scrutinized. Not ALL but many are taking advantage of other unsuspecting writers to further their web traffic. Want my articles? Then pay me!

4) Me first – Look for limited Retweeting, sharing or posting of other people’s content. As an example, I am in tribes on Triberr with many of these kinds of “name” industry experts. I don’t think they ever login and share other people’s posts that are in their tribe. I have stop sharing many of their content.

5) You work? – Look into exactly what it is that the so-called expert really does for a living. This always amazes me. You’re a social media expert, yet you are always speaking somewhere and never responding to people. Or the infamous, “monetized blog” people. They are web marketers whose entire focus is blog traffic for advertising or affiliate revenue. Is what they are telling you, really being driven by income from selling that product or does it really work? Pay attention…

6) The Train Jumper - I have pretty much got this one down now and can identify these people very quickly. Once something in the news happens, they are the first to write about it. The new network, the big social scandal, the latest application. If you were a social media professional, you wouldn’t be chasing every new shiny object in order to be the first to write about it. You would wait, observe and investigate. Train Jumpers are traffic hounds for a living.

7) Too good for you – Engage with the “expert”. Ask them a question. Retweet or share something they posted and wait. Do they respond? Do they answer your question? Do they do it in a timely fashion? Do they even thank you? *Remember their article you read about social media being about relationships??* (RED FLAG)

8) Check – Is the software, tool, activity they are deploying or talking about fit with how one might do something in the real world? If the equivalent activity in the real world would not go over well with people at a networking event, be very hesitant.

9) The Reviewer – Watch for the experts whose content is always about tools. If you’re an expert and have not already figured out the couple of tools it takes to get results, or worse you are constantly leading others down a tools chase, there is definitely a problem.

10) Gamers – Watch for people whose activity wreaks of gaming followers, friends and Klout scores. Lot’s of activity can achieve gains in these areas. Oddly, they also tend to diminish real revenue, relationship and results that actually matter. There are a lot of folks out there that do this in order to “appear” as somebody.

The really sad part is that I have coached a few people who have fallen into this celebrity trap. I won’t name any names, but people I have watched go from near zero to now being a blog and Klout machine, rarely engaging and chasing after and replicating the poor strategies of the celebrity, becoming one themselves. The problem is, I know them and know where they are really at in life and business. I can assure you that this no more make them rich than it does make them an expert.

This series and specifically this post might seem a but harsh to some, but perceptions can be very deceiving and I am tired of seeing good people who want to learn being taken down dark alleys that can potentially be ruining to them in business!

Part 1 & 2 of this series:  Part 1     Part 2    Part 4

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

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It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 1

Social Media marketing has many challenges. Add to those challenges a new medium that changes very quickly and is rapidly growing new users and we have something that has a huge learning curve. This blog series is going to address some of those observations and obstacles most have to making the jump from marketer to social media professional.

I have been in social media for a while now and have constantly observed the influx of newer marketers to the space, how they adapt and patterns that develop. Many fall into the trap of following many of the industry “name” people, reading blogs and books by them, as well as watching and replicating. The problem there is that many name social media people are not professionals, rather they are celebrities. There is a very big difference between the two.

This past week I finally had enough and posted on Facebook regarding a latest frustration. Here is a glimpse at the activity my post generated in only an hour over this fail.

As you can see many share my concern with the activities and self-generated misperceptions of social media experts, often misleading  people on effective uses of social media marketing. 56 likes and a ton of comments on the post told me that it was time to actually write a series that will highlight some of these problems and some recommendations people and brands can use to not fall prey -or- get trapped into emulating ineffective activity they see others doing.

Watching or reading to learn can sometimes be very effective, although it can also lead people down alleys that suck time and does not produce real results, but rather an illusion of proper results, like Klout scores, number of followers, fans, likes.

The biggest challenge a new person or brand has in being effective in social media is knowing who to listen to. Which books are correct. Which blogs to read and what activity you see others doing will get you the results you are hoping for. This problem is rapidly growing and has become a huge frustration to me on a personal level. Not because I am trying to be a know it all and think I am an expert, but because the success of my industry and the continued expansion of social media is dependent on this changing for the better.

One of the many comments that arose from this original Facebook post was:

Felipe ‘Flip’ Rodriguez So many in the #SoMe niche base their advice on what made THEM almost celebrity status, not on what will work for everyday people, or strategies for real businesses. Their advice also seems impersonal, and more geared for PR’s and advertisers than for relationship building. Which to me, means that they missed the point of SoMe completely.

This and many other comments led to me beginning this series that is designed to help individual brands and marketers, as well as social media agencies identify people and information that is appropriate to follow. More importantly it is going to also cover how to identify those people and activities that are not.

Join me on this journey to help you emulate effective activity that delivers desired results…

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

Part 2 of this series: Click Here

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The Difference Between A Social Media Pro And A Celebrity

How do I have the time to respond to all mentions, retweets, comments and shares on social media? I make the time, because it is important!

I have written previously about social media being a parallel universe to the real world. In other words, whatever you would do in the real world, you must do in social media. Whatever you would never do in the real world, you better not do it here either. Sounds simple right? You’d think so…

I experience two things over and over in my daily social media activities. 1) People surprised I answer them on Twitter and the like AND 2) Stories they tell me of other “industry experts” and Brands that never do respond. If we are to believe that social media IS in fact properly used online as you might act in other social, business and life settings, why is this occurring so frequently?

Answer: The celebrity factor.

As Brands and Individuals obtain levels of social media celebrity, there are two things that occur:

1) They get big heads and decide that people connecting with them makes them awesome, so following back and/or responding to them is not necessary, because they are “cool”. You know, a celebrity. I call this arrogance, no matter how you try to defend it.

2) Due to their offline fame or newly discovered social media guru status, they have too many followers/fans and are far too busy to respond to people.

Both represent serious problems…

If you or your brand are too busy to respond to people, maybe you are in the wrong venue. Would you ignore one of your customers at the order window? Would you ignore a fan at a book signing? You either need to hire more help to ensure you are engaging the audience or be forced to continually recycle fans/followers with new ones that are willing to start the cycle over. Eventually, that cycle will stop though. So if you want more time to engage, you will eventually get it if you approach social media with the celebrity arrogance.

Recently I was pulled into a conversation my good friend Aaron Biebert of @AttentionEra was having with such a celebrity. This is someone Aaron respects and has met in person. As I watched the conversation unfold, my buddy Aaron was taking this individual to task for this same scenario we are discussing here. You see, he had met Aaron previously, yet often ignores his comments. I won’t mention the “celeb”, but let’s say I jumped into the conversation after reading excuse after excuse to throw my two cents in.

I really don’t care how many followers you or your brand has. I don’t care how many books you’ve sold or where you spoke on stage last. I don’t care how many people read your blog every day. The fact is, if what you are saying and telling others about social media isn’t represented by your own actions in your feeds, then you are now a celebrity, not a professional.

Social media is about people. It’s about building long term relationships with them, identically as we do in the real world. The main difference is that social media enables this process to be done far more quickly than in real life and at much higher volumes. You would think that most brands and celebrity types would understand this already, right? Guess again. Here is an article I shared several times this week that clearly shows they don’t – “Survey: 70% of social media complaints ignored“. A travesty no matter how you look at it.

So in short, the difference between a social media celebrity and someone or a brand that truly gets it, is that pro’s are being real, responding to everyone and focusing on the long term customer/prospect relationships that go deep, not just wide. Most celebrities come and go with the wind. Simple…

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

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