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

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

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

2 Biggest Social Media Challenges

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the previous Survey posts in this series:

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

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

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

 

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

50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing

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

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

50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing:

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

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

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

4) Curating topical content is important.

5) Relationships do result in revenue.

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

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

8) Do not listen to Social Media Marketing Celebrities.

9) Social media is really hard when done right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25) Social media marketing changes weekly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

36) Most social media “consultants” are broke.

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

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

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

40) Posting quotes everyday isn’t a strategy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Drastic Difference Between Social Selling And Spam

Social Selling continues to gain popularity as a term and an action within the social media marketing space. Social selling has many definitions, but I like the one by @JulioVisko in a Social Media Today article from 2012 that says “staying connected with your prospects and build a relationship with them that goes beyond a vendor toward a trusted advisor.” The key word here is relationship, not selling, something often misunderstand by online marketers and brands alike.

Correct me if I am wrong, but we are all experiencing an increase in Social Selling VS Spamwhat I consider to be the opposite of social selling, under the guise of the often misunderstood phrase. Many newer social media applications are gaining popularity that purport to “find prospects that need your product/service and automate or suggest responses” that supposedly increase “engagement” and sales. Sounds really good, doesn’t it? Not so fast.

All, if not most of these applications are developed by gear-heads that have incredible programming skills, but little to no social media marketing experience or understanding. What results is the numerous @ mentions we are all experiencing when we tweet a specific word or phrase from brands, marketers and twitter accounts we have had ZERO engagement with. It’s simply a search for and respond with function that fills the social graph with noise, frustration and inappropriate sales messaging that has nothing to do with social.

Recently I had a Skype call with the CEO of one such technology company. The demo and call didn’t go very well as you can imagine, and actually degraded into an argument over what social media marketing actually is. This brilliant programmer’s company has tons of logo’s of major brand customers and news sites “validating” how awesome his technology is, which magnifies the problem even further. The individual argued that it is perfectly fine for brands and marketers to use technology to find “prospects” and @ mention them with a specific offer of their products, even if they have never followed, engaged or connected with the twitter account previously.

Well, I vehemently and respectfully disagree. Where I come from, we call that spam. You know, the unwanted and unrequested direct contact by a person or brand you don’t know, soliciting a product or service you did not want information about. Easily recognized in our email inbox, yet regrettably it is overlooked as acceptable by the inexperienced in social media.

What is social selling and how do you do it properly?

In a word, social selling is relationships. It is derived from connections and conversations within social networks with prospects for your products and services that start and end around building a long-term relationship. It is providing selfless value to your prospect community and earning the opportunity to “pitch” what you do.

Can you target prospects in social selling?

Absolutely you can and SHOULD! Use tools, searches and hashtags to find your target audience or prospects that need what you do, then connect and communicate with them about anything other than what you do. Show interest in them and what they do and most importantly ensure that the content you are sharing is interesting and relevant to THEM, not exclusively pitching what you do.

Social selling and spam are at opposite ends of the spectrum of effective social media marketing.

One is targeted, sustainable and long-term, one is not.

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Filed under App, Brand, Community, Hashtag, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Spam, Twitter

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

We recently conducted a survey of social media marketers, brands and agencies to better understand where they spend their time and the challenges they are facing with their social media marketing. The 11 question survey consisted of multiple choice questions, as well as multi-part questions that asked the respondent to rank their agreement with specific comments/challenges of content, social marketing and curation. With hundreds of respondents completing the survey, we decided that there is a lot of relevant information that others in the industry could learn from, so we will be writing several posts about the data.

For this post, we are going to focus on the main activity and use of time questions we asked.

Question 1:  HOW MANY DAYS PER WEEK DO YOU SCHEDULE CONTENT FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STREAMS?

This question was crucial to understanding the level of experience of the survey respondents. Those of us in the industry for some time, we understand the importance of consistent, relevant content in all social media streams on a daily basis, all day long. In asking this question we learned that the majority of the survey respondents are heavily active with scheduled social media scheduling and a small percentage of respondents are less experienced.

82% of those surveyed stated that they schedule social media posts three or more days per week. A huge number, no doubt, but what we found most interesting is that a huge majority of almost 66% schedule content five or more days per week for their social streams.

Days You Schedule Social Media Posts

We believe that this information is showing that if you are not scheduling content for your social streams at least 5 days per week, you are likely getting lost in the noise of those that are, or at least you are sitting at your desk everyday manually live posting content to your streams.  These numbers are inline with our philosophy that social media is like a freeway and you have to have enough cars (content) on the road everyday to be seen, let alone effective.

Question 2:  ON AVERAGE, HOW MANY SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS TO YOU SCHEDULE EVERY DAY ON TWITTER

58% of social media marketers stated that they schedule more than five posts per day on Twitter and over 35% schedule more than 10 posts. Given that Twitter is a much more active posting site this was not a surprise.

Twitter is a unique social network in that updates are displayed only at the time they are posted, whereas Facebook for example will display content in the newsfeed over and over based on when users login and how well an update is engaged with by your friends/followers. Since Twitter is void of such an algorithm and posts scroll based on when it was posted, not how much engagement the post receives, posting much more frequently is imperative.

Posts Per Day On Twitter

Posting enough content on a daily basis to Twitter is crucial to growing a targeted audience, sparking engagement and building relationships. You want to be sure that whenever your audience happens to login and check their streams, they see something of valuable and interesting from you. This builds thought leadership, creates opportunities for sharing and conversations, which is what results in ROI.

Question 3:  HOW MANY HOURS PER DAY DO YOU SPEND FINDING, EDITING, SCHEDULING AND POSTING CURATED AND MARKETING CONTENT TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?

When we asked how many hours per day these social media marketers spend managing and scheduling content, an astonishing 75% said two hours or more. That’s two or more hours every single day managing curated and marketing content for their social streams.

Hours Scheduling Social Media Posts

The question that should also be asked is, if you are spending 2-5+ hours per day managing your social media posts, what are you not doing that could be getting real results? Engagement, conversations and relationship building are all going to suffer if this much time is required everyday managing scheduled posts and marketing content.

Let’s be clear, you have to have relevant, valuable content in your streams and you also have to post updates about you, your products and what you do in an appropriate mix. If you have little or nothing in your streams, you will not get engagement. Without likes, comments and conversations it is impossible to build relationships on and offline. Without relationships your social media marketing has no foundation and will not achieve real results. It’s a quandary isn’t it?

The challenge facing the social media agencies, marketers and brands we surveyed and the millions of others around the world is that much of the time spent everyday on social media marketing is unproductive time. This survey shows that much of the time and effort doing social media marketing is spent in the back office finding, managing and scheduling content, rather than in conversations, relationship building and other functions that lead to revenue and ROI.

With the thousands of tools and applications on the market that are designed to help with these tasks, why are so many still dealing with this time/effort mismatch? We believe the answer is that most of the tools available aid with some of the curation and scheduling tasks, but few actually impact efficiency enough to make a substantial difference. Therefore, we see the answers to the survey still showing an incredible amount of time and effort being spent in the back office.

Read about 8 new ways content curation and social media marketing just got easier. That’s where Bundle Post makes a massive impact.

In our next post, we will unveil additional eye-opening details of this survey and give you a lot more data on what social media challenges marketers say they have today.

The second second survey report post is now out – The Importance And Challenges Of Content Curation

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

Use Content Curation To Create Brand Advocates That Sing Your Song

Brand advocates develop within social media marketing, regardless of the size of your business, when multiple components converge to fill the needs of your target market. These needs differ related to the products and Brand Advocateservices you offer, the value they provide and the problems they solve for your customers. However, outside of your product offering, social connections begin to turn into brand advocates as you consistently and effectively deliver selfless value to them before, during and after the sale.

How do you recognize a brand advocate?

The Most Common Traits of a Brand Advocate:

1) They read and share the content you create frequently.

2) They share and comment on the content you curate regularly.

3) They often become customers of your company. (but not always)

4) They tell others about your product/service/content openly and often.

That value you deliver to your audience initially comes in the form of the content you share in your streams, through content aggregation, content curation and content creation. Let’s start by defining the difference between these three, as aggregation and curation are often incorrectly considered as the same.

Aggregation: Finding and collecting content to share

Curation: Editorializing and commenting on aggregated content when you post/schedule it.

Creation: Developing your own articles, graphics, videos and other content, specifically for the online and social media marketing benefits.

When you effectively aggregate, curate and create the content that your audience finds valuable, they will like, share and comment more and more frequently. The difference between making your social media marketing successful and a community full of brand advocates is what you do, or don’t do next. This is where most big brands fail miserably.

When your social media posts have intent and strategy behind them which resonate with your audience the shares, likes and comments roll in. Acknowledging these and moving them into conversations and ultimately real relationships is where everything we have discussed thus far becomes meaningful. There are very few brands that garner brand advocacy on the substance of their products and services alone. Brand advocacy comes from the relationships forged before, during and after the sale that takes a customer from someone who is just a customer to one that advocates for your brand on and offline. Do you see the difference?

Some Of The Benefits of Brand Advocates:

1) They expand your reach on and offline to their friends, customers and communities.

2) By expanding your reach to their communities and advocating your brand, they help you grow your community.

3) They help you organically and virally increase your sales and revenue by way of exposure, testimonial and conversation.

Content Curation SongSo where does the song reference come in from the title of this post? This week, the graphic on the right came in from one of our Pro users, @C4Compete. She wrote (or changed) a song based on the 12 Days of Christmas and turned it into the 12 benefits of Bundle Post. Unsolicited and out of the blue…

We have found that delivering value through our social media content strategy of aggregation, curation and creation, coupled with the users of our technology loving the value of the product and how we conduct customer service, results in not just brand advocates, but advocates that create content about us. That’s right. They write blog posts that mention Bundle Post. They create videos and graphics that promote Bundle Post.

When your social community begins to be made up of true brand advocates and customers that spread your message and promote your brand and products, I can assure you that you are delivering selfless value to them that is paying off in sales and revenue.

How does your content curation work together with your social media management to foster brand advocates to sing your brand song?

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Filed under Brand, Content, Curation, Marketing, Relationship, Social Aggregation, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

Restaurant Social Media Success – A Five Ingredient Recipe

For some restaurants, social media may still seem like the latest marketing fad. But if you ignore it too long, you just might be watching customers, traffic and search rankings pass by your restaurant. Using social media to market your restaurant isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t find success. Let’s see if we can help you out. Any cook or brand manager will appreciate an easy to follow recipe, I am going to share with you my 5-Step Recipe for Social Media Success for Restaurants.

Keep in mind, without a focused strategy and an understanding of your audience no marketing stands a chance at success. What social media is not is just another medium to blast out irrelevant messages to Jane and Joe Public, you can leave that to radio. The brands who still don’t get social media are ones doing it wrong by blasting messages and not building relationships with their customers.

You see social media really does work, when you use it correctly

What can social media do for you restaurant brand?

▪ Raise Brand Awareness
▪ Drive Customer Traffic
▪ Increase Google Page Rank
▪ Position You As a Resource
▪ Share Your Brand Voice
▪ Make You An Authority
▪ Generate Customer Loyalty
▪ Helps You Gain New Customers

Let’s be clear, social media is not easy nor is it free. These are two facts you need to understand. If it was, everyone would be doing it successfully. While I am going to offer you an easy to follow 5-Ingredient Recipe, without a commitment of time and some resources you will still struggle.

The good news is that there are tools, apps and an increased acceptance that has made social media marketing easier for brands to and especially restaurants to find success.

Restaurants and social media go together like milk and cookies

Eating food is a social activity. From sharing pictures of food, reviewing restaurants or simply checking in… the experience of dining out really does mesh with social media activity.

Nearly nine out of 10 restaurants used social media outreach this year—the most common tactic by a wide margin—up from 77% in 2012: Restaurants Up Their Use of Social, Mobile

From Mobile apps to social media usage, smartphones are on the rise and thus they need to be part of your marketing plan.
The increased usage of mobile is another reason to be actively marketing your restaurant on social media.

One might attribute social media’s increased effectiveness for restaurants to increasing popularity of Smartphones. Location-based apps, geo-targeting and search make it easier for consumers to find the restaurant they are looking for. And, once they find that perfect restaurant , where do you think they share the news? That’s right, on social media where 54% of young adults prefer Smartphones for social media usage.

How about that recipe?

restaurant social media successA 5-Ingredient Recipe for Social Media Success for Restaurants

The 5C’s:

1. Create Content
2. Curate Content
3. Consistent Sharing
4. Conversations with Your Customers
5. Connections That Builds Brand Loyalty

Now that you have the ingredients, what’s the recipe to success?

Creating content for your restaurant has many benefits ranging from improving search rankings to building awareness and sharing news or information about your restaurant. You want to diversify the content you create to keep it fresh and try to incorporate videos, images, blogs and recipes, etc. You should also consider repurposing existing content such as historic images, menus, advertising or signage as well.

Make sure your content helps to tell a story about your brand, remember your goal is to build relationships. Don’t be afraid to get personal or share pictures from events or your customers themselves. Highlight your restaurant staff including chefs, servers, hostess or bartenders. You want to build relationships and start conversations, this requires being personal and responsive. If you are not listening or responding to customers in real-time, you are not using social media the right way. This is social media not megaphone media.

Curating content (sharing news, articles, blogs and graphics from other sources) is important since you don’t want to just share you own content. If all you do is self-promote your own content you are simply blasting out information and treating social media as a one-way conversation. Successful social media involves two-way communications, so providing interesting, relevant and valuable content that your audience is interested in will help spark that conversation. Failing to create AND curate will ensure that you will lose followers, annoy followers or your restaurant customers will just tune you out.

By curating you become a resource, you provide helpful tips that your customers and social followers will appreciate. Don’t hesitate to mix in tasteful humor, trivia or even facts about the type of food you serve.

For best results mix between 20-30% self promoted content with 70-80% curated content.

That is a lot of content every single day, isn’t it? Time and resources are limited for everyone, so using the proper social media tools like Hootsuite and Bundle Post will enable you to be consistent and efficient with your time. Simple ingredients with the right tools is a recipe for success!

One last cooking analogy:

Social media success comes from a steady, reliable heat such as an oven. If you are looking for marketing success at microwave speed, social media isn’t the tool for you.

This is a guest post by:

David SchwartzDavid Schwartz is a recovering traditional Advertising Executive turned Digital Brand Strategist for @brand_education. Utilizing the popularity of digital and the social web he helps companies understand the power of creating their own content and sharing their brand voice. David started his career working for MTV in New York, he then proceeded to Atlanta to work with the likes of Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A and the Home Depot. From his time working with companies of all sizes he has learned that a strong brand is the key to long-term success by turning customers into brand advocates. Now living in Nashville with his wife and two children, David works with companies of all sizes teaching and consulting on best practices for building a brand in the digital age.   

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Filed under Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Engagement, Followers, Hootsuite, Marketing, Relationship, Restaurant, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter

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

The One Social Media Rule For Business

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a list of rules to follow that were simple and clear on how and what to do for your social media marketing? Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, there are no rules for social media except one; Do Not Spam…

Social Media RulesThat single rule seems to be one of the best kept secrets from newer social media marketers as well as many that believe they are really good.

What can be considered spam?

Tagging or mentioning people in posts that are pitching or linking to your product, service, website or offer that you have not built a relationship with. On Google Plus it can also be tagging or sharing with circles directly that have not asked to be updated on your every post about yourself.

Though Google Plus and Twitter seem to be the platforms that have the highest concentration of spam tendencies, Facebook and Linkedin see their share of inbox spam messages from brand new connections or “friends” that invite you to their every event in Texas, though you live on the East coast, etc.

How can you market and promote without spamming?

A great way to think about social media marketing is that it’s a parallel universe to the real world. Would you go to a business networking event and pitch everyone you shake hands with before you even build a relationship? Of course not. You would first get to know them, etc. So think about it this way… Whatever you would do in the real world, do in your social media marketing. Whatever you wouldn’t do in the real world. don’t do in social media.

Here is a nonexclusive list that should exist within the context of how you approach social business.

1) Earn the right to discuss what you do one on one with your connections.

2) Earn the right to promote to your connections by providing selfless value in your streams and occasionally posting your marketing information in between then non-promotional content and posts. Be sure that the content you post that is not about you, is something your community is interested in.

3) Respond to and converse with your audience. You would never ignore someone in real life that introduced you to all of their business contacts or told someone about an article you told them about. Don’t ignore when it happens in social media. Thank, respond, share their content and get into conversations.

4) Social media works in real-time, so responding in real-time is crucial.

Now that we have burst your bubble about there being no social media marketing rules but one, please don’t be discouraged. Understand the ONE rule that you must follow and use these three guidelines that will help you build a framework for being effective with your social media marketing efforts without being seen as “spamming”.

Are there many other guidelines that one could follow and execute to be more and more effective with social media marketing? Indeed, there are probably tens of thousands of nuances and tips that one can learn and use. However, if you don’t follow this single rule of social media marketing, no amount of learning, tips and guidelines will ever enable you to achieve results.

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Filed under Content, Fanpage, Followers, Google Plus, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Spam, Twitter, Uncategorized

The Most Important Thing A Social Media Agency Can Do For Clients

So you’re a social media marketing agency and you are managing account for your clients, and you are wanting to take the results to the next level. You have set up the accounts, are regularly and frequently sharing valuable content in the various streams and are of course engaging and building relationships. Now you may even be asking yourself a few important questions like;

Social Media ResultsWhat is the most important thing you should be doing to maximize the reach for a client’s social media?

How do I implement it once I know?

Sound familiar? We thought so. We have been there. Previously to becoming a social media software company, we were a social media agency. We dealt with this question frequently and discovered that as it relates to retail client’s, there is one specific thing you can do to make a clients social media marketing more effective, more quickly. What is it?

Teach the client’s staff to understand and leverage their face-to-face contact with customers around social media.

Today’s consumers are incredibly connected online through social media, and an ever-increasing part of that connectivity is through mobile. Ensuring your client’s staff understands this and teaching them to recognize and utilize “in store” opportunities that further the overall social media marketing effort is essential. Using the staff to magnify and multiply the social media exposure is important for a comprehensive strategy that delivers.

Here are some key points to follow for best results:

1) Group Training –  If at all possible do a group training that brings all the staff that has consumer contact together in one place at one time. Be careful to only explain the basics of social media marketing, and not get into the deep details. You just want the group to have a decent understanding of it.

Going too deep into social media marketing will often cause the team to lose interest, get bored and take way too long. Keep it simple and short.

If your client location is not local to you, schedule a Google Hangout or Skype call with the client when they can have their staff together in a room for you to train all at once. Recording the training for use with new staff members can also be very helpful.

2) What You’re Doing – Be sure that the staff understands what the general strategy of the social media program is all about. They should know what you are doing for the client so they can answer basic questions when in a conversation with a visiting customer.

3) Spotting Customers – Teach the staff what to watch for when customers are in the store. Train them to keep an eye out for customers using or carrying smart phones and tablets, etc. If someone has a smart phone or tablet, they are likely a social media user.

Be sure that you cover the things likely to be asked of them about the client’s social media and give them some opening comments or questions they can use to bring it up. Things like:

- Are you guys on Facebook?

- Have you checked in on Foursquare?

- Are you following us on Twitter for our specials?

Prior to doing the staff training, work with the client to establish some kind of discount program for likes and follows, enabling the staff to incent customers to like the company page, follow and mention on Twitter, check in on Foursquare, etc. If the client is agreeable to the incentive program, be sure to have the details for the staff when you do the training.

4) Client SM Accounts – One of the most important things the staff must know off the top of their heads is what the client social media account names are. Make sure to go over all of the networks the client is on and the exact account names customers can use to find them.

Adding signs on the doors and at check out counters with the social media account names will not only aid staff in remembering, but also remind customers that the client is there.

5) Handouts – Prepare handouts with the bullet points that you covered in the meeting so they have something to reference once you leave.

6) Make It Personal for the Staff  **MOST Important**- If there was one thing we learned as an agency going through these steps with a client, was that making it personal and beneficial for the employees to do these things is imperative. In other words, have an answer for “what’s in it for them”.

Example: If the client is a restaurant, help the staff understand how they can make bigger tips by talking about social media with their customers. Give them examples of how they get bigger tips when they connect with customers about sports teams and how social media users are often even more fanatic than sports fans. Making the human connection with a customer about social media can result in bigger tips. If the client is some other kind of business, work with the client to create contests for the staff that enables them to win small bonuses or store credits, etc.

The point is, make it personal and beneficial for the staff to get on the social media marketing program.

Getting staff involved in the right ways with on site customers will make a significant impact on the overall social media marketing effort you are managing for them. If you do it properly, it will make your agency’s job much easier and the community growth, engagement and revenue results considerably larger and faster.

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Filed under Agency, Community, Facebook, Google, Marketing, Mobile, Results, Smart Phone, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter