Tag Archives: Social Media

Should Engagement Be Valued Over Sales In Social Media Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

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

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

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

2 Biggest Social Media Challenges

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the previous Survey posts in this series:

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

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

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

 

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

Facebook Announcing Plan To End Pay To Play For Pages – A Dream?

Facebook Pay to PlayYes, most likely it IS a dream. But since Facebook is about to release an earnings report this month on the 23rd, I believe it will be the peak of their revenue climb with this pay to play shift and that by the end of the year we will begin to see a dramatic decline in revenue and page activity if they stay the course.

But in a perfect world, I would love to see a $12.1 Billion revenue announcement that consisted of a new monthly page fee. Why? It would mean that they came to their senses and realized that the current pay to play model they have implemented is not sustainable as a business model and page owners, managers and brands are fleeing the Facebook platform for greener pastures. It would also mean that they have further had a reality check and finally understood social media marketing, their users and customers in a real way.

I previously wrote a piece before Facebook enacted the Pay to Play business model that included what I believed to be a better solution to their then EdgeRank Newsfeed algorithm, stock price plummeting and revenue model challenges.

Since then Facebook deployed what has come to be known as their “Pay to Play” requirement, that I believe is a completely unsustainable revenue model and one that delivers zero benefit to users, marketers or Facebook itself over the long run. This is backed up by a recent eMarketer report showing organic reach declining at an increasing rate. Diminishing returns the platform can and will deliver to brands, marketers and page owners. I decided to do some deeper research and have put together basic financials that compare what Facebook is currently doing as compared to what I propose, and the compelling differences between the two.

But before I get into that, let’s take a peek at some of Facebook’s 2013 Public Business Highlights:

Revenue for the full year 2013 was $7.87 billion, an increase of 55% year-over-year.

Income from operations for the full year 2013 was $2.80 billion. (advertising revenues)

Net income for the full year 2013 was $1.50 billion.

Free cash flow for the full year of 2013 was $2.85 billion.

Facebook currently has 54.2 Million active pages.

Facebook has 25 million small business pages.

Removing Pay To Play and Replacing It With Monthly Fees:

I went ahead and ran some numbers using my plan and compared the results with what Facebook is currently doing. This plan is predicated on Facebook displaying all page posts to newsfeeds, similar to friend posts. If they abandoned their unsustainable Pay to Play model and instead adopted my page monthly fee model, the revenue improvement to Facebook is massive and the benefits to page owners, marketers and end users is even bigger! Facebook Revenue Plan By the numbers:

  • I am factoring a little more than half of pages would participate and pay the monthly fee, remaining an active page on Facebook.
  • Small business pages would pay a small $30/mo fee, other smaller pages a $20/mo fee, non-profit and charities only $10/mo and larger big brand pages an average of $200 per month.
  • Ad revenue would still be a factor for Facebook and actually become even more valuable since you know you would be able to reach new likes that you add to your page with this new model. I pegged the ad revenue much lower to take into account the changes to the model though.
  • New 2014 annual revenue jumps from $2.8 billion to $12.1 billion under my plan – a $9.3 billion improvement over 2013!

Benefits of the Monthly Page Fee Model:

Newsfeeds would be competitively driven Facebook users would control what content they want with the power of their like/unlike

Focus would shift to creating and sharing great content and that would drive the newsfeed

The playing field for SMB’s would be leveled against Big Brands wouldn’t have a substantial advantage because of their huge budgets Efficiency/Result value would shift to time spent creating content rather than managing ad systems

So many more benefits, but you get the idea

The BIG Winners:

Users – They see content from pages they liked and wanted content from to begin with. Users would power the Facebook page success model, rather than big brands and/or budgets.

Marketers – Can access the likes they already invested heavily to obtain. The nominal monthly fee makes it a very viable marketing platform again.

Facebook – Duh. HUGE revenue win for Facebook and a lot of good will earned for listening to its users and developing an alternative that benefits everyone. (there’s a first for everything) Everyone wins! Tell me what your thoughts are on this alternative monthly fee model for Facebook Pages? What do you like, dislike or wish Facebook would do?

————————————–

a P.S. for those that enjoy those.

Here Are Just A Few Problems with the current Pay To Play Model:

Not sustainable – In another post I did some time back I discussed “By restricting the previous value of pages to marketers of all sizes, Facebook is setting the stage for a collapse of the Facebook page model and pushing both users and marketers to other platforms…”  When you require people to reach the audience they have already spent a ton of time and effort to establish, and many paid Facebook for ads to do this, then you change the game and require them now to also pay to reach them, nothing but diminishing returns will occur. If Paying for page reach via ads is the only method available, the expertise and time requirements to make that successful in a diminishing return environment pushes many right out of the market.

Users are the losers – They are not seeing the content from pages they liked and want content from.

Money, NOT content drives pages success

Not a level playing field – Most small and medium businesses can’t compete with big brands for eyeballs on the platform effectively.

Diminishing Returns –  The current model will continue to decline in results, rather than improve return and value to business stakeholders. It’s pretty simple to determine the long-term outcome of something with diminishing returns.

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Filed under Brand, Content, EdgeRank, Facebook, Marketing, Pay to Play, Retweet, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

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

New Weekly Bundle Post Classes Begin

What a year of tremendous growth we have experienced. Adding new capabilities, user levels and a host of feature upgrades has resulted in needed changes as we look toward the future. We have gone through great pains to be exceptional with our customer support, responsiveness to issues and communicating well with our users, as well as taking feedback and requests beyond thank you lip service and prioritizing your needs above our planning. This mindset permeates our company and is upheld by every team member at the core of how they think and more importantly how they act. It often feels like a dream come true to constantly have this recognized by our users and stated publicly. I’m not sure a brand could hope for or achieve anything better. For this we are extremely humbled.

Bundle Post Weekly ClassesIn keeping with the pace of our growth, user requirements and the ability to continue to scale our operations, today we are announcing we will be holding group setup and training classes twice per week for our users. Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday each week and will be designed specifically to help trial and upgraded users rapidly implement their setup and resulting effectiveness with the Bundle Post platform.

Users that we assist in the setup and training elements of their Bundle Post usage tend to more quickly realize the benefits, efficiencies and effectiveness results over those that do not. Knowing this, we are going to institute the weekly classes that help all users get there as easily and rapidly as possible.

Weekly Classes Will Cover:

1) Basic System Setup Using Wizards

2) Adding Feed Channels and Content Curation

3) Creating Schedules

4) Hashtagging System

5) Bundlet Chrome Extension and Queues

6) My Content Repository Marketing Folders

7) Scheduling and Exporting Bulk Posts

And a lot more!

Starting in late April or early May we will also introduce Bundle Post University classes on a bi-weekly basis. These classes will be specifically for experienced Bundle Post users that want to learn more high-level capabilities and strategies of using the system. They will be Expert and Pro level training classes that cover other effective uses of the Bundle Post technology for campaigns, expanding reach, influencer programs, company and product launches and more. We will formally announce the first Bundle Post University courses when the date is made available.

If you are new to Bundle Post or would like refresher or secondary training, register for one of the weekly classes as many times as you’d like. Our customer support team and I look forward to helping you realize dramatic efficiency and effectiveness improvements with your social media marketing efforts right away!

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Filed under Bundle Post, Bundlet, Chrome Extension, Content, Curation, customer service, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing

Be A Maitre d’ Of Social Media Marketing

Maitre d' Of Social Media MarketingI can’t recall the source or specifics, but I recently heard a story on the radio involving a restaurant and a Maitre d’ that is embedded in my thoughts for time and memorial. Not the specific details, but the over-reaching premise and point of the story that directly connects to social media marketing and customer service. The story crossed my mind again this morning, triggered by a television commercial that was on in the background in my office. I decided to make the story the topic of this post.

The Story:

A couple came into the high-end restaurant that was known for their steak. The gentleman had really been craving a good steak, so he and his wife decided to go out. The Maitre d’ seated his guests at a table and proceeded to give them the royal treatment, helping with chairs and napkins. Taking the couples order the waiter meticulously detailed every instruction for their meal and went off to secure its creation with the chef.

After getting the couple their drinks, appetizers and salads, the moment of truth arrived. The waiter delivered the most beautifully prepared steak the man had ever seen.

As the aroma filled the man’s nostrils, the Maitre d’ asked if there was anything else the couple required. The simple gentleman looked up at the highly polished servant of culinary excellence and politely asked for some A1 steak sauce. Without so much as blinking, the Maitre d’ immediately snapped back with, “right away sir”.

After a short period of time, the Maitre d’ rushed over to the couples table and opened a bag, revealing the A1 steak sauce the customer requested. Slightly out of breath, the Maitre d’ calmly pronounced “Your steak sauce sir.”

The gentleman looked up at the Maitre d’ and said, “why are you out of breath?” To which the Maitre d’ replied, “I had to run 5 blocks to the grocery store for your steak sauce.”

This restaurant didn’t even have A1 steak sauce and the Maitre d’ went and got it!

BE The Social Media Maitre d’

What did you learn from this story as it relates to social media marketing? I got a lot from it. Here are some things that stuck with me.

1) Stand out – Stop doing the same thing everyone else does. Stand out from the crowd in new and unique ways that deliver value to your audience.

2) Value, not price is incredible – Providing value in your streams, content and actions is what matters, not the price of your product or service.

3) Selfless is an action – Stop looking at what is in it for you and be selfless in your relationships in social media. Do this right and it will come back to you in so many ways it’s immeasurable.

4) Don’t belittle, just help – The Maitre d’ could have easily made this guy look and feel like a loser for wanting steak sauce, yet he didn’t. He did what was needed to help the man get what he wanted/liked. Most importantly he did it without belittling the man.

5) Be memorable – In everything you do in social media, do it in a way that your prospects, customers and connections never forget you. Make a memorable impression, over and over.

6) The customer isn’t always right – We could all argue that ruining an amazing, expensive steak with A1 is almost inexcusable, however who are we to say how someone else likes their food. Follow the example of keeping your opinion to yourself and just helping, therefore making them FEEL as though they are right.

7) Immediate action – Don’t wait, don’t think, don’t even ponder. Take action toward a customers need, NOW.

8) Serving others is the highest reward – No need to embellish this at all.

There are many more things that could be added to this list, but these are the main points I wanted to impress upon you, as they impressed upon me. As you continue your week, remember this incredible Maitre d’ as you engage with customers, prospects and connections in social media. Let your actions speak loud, your customer service stand apart and value trump your profitability.

disclaimer: I tried my very best to find the actual story, but despite my best searches, (I even tried using Google instead of my Bing) I was unable to locate it. So I apologize for not providing credit to the originator, but I tried to stay true to what I remembered and made a valiant effort to find it.

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Filed under Community, customer service, Marketing, Relationship, Restaurant, Results, Social Media Marketing

We Want To Share Your Blog Content, RSS and Expand Your Reach

Today Bundle Post begins an expansion from our unique social media content management, curation and scheduling roots, to the addition of content marketing, traffic building and extending reach for blogs and content creators. Today we are announcing the Bundle Post RSS Project that has already begun databasing, categorizing and indexing RSS feeds across the web.

Where’s yours?

Bundle Post RSS IndexFrom the beginning, the aim of Bundle Post was to make social media marketing and curation far more efficient and effective for brands, agencies and marketers. As we have continued to grow and expand our capabilities in this area, we have always realized that tackling the blog, traffic and content marketing issues were also connected digital marketing pains that bloggers, brands and marketers experience.

Starting over two years ago, we evaluated social media and content marketing challenges together and very clear and connected obstacles stood out like a sore thumb. The question of “How do I get more blog traffic?” -or- “How do I increase traffic to my content?” always comes up.

The Problems:

1) Traffic – Many struggle to get their blog and content found on search engines, that as you know prefer to display most popular content, instead of the most recent and relevant content on a topic, YOURS. Therefore you are left to hire or become expert in SEO and/or buy Search and Social Media Ads to generate traffic. Brands and content creators need a better way to have their content discovered and increase traffic to that content in new, creative and measurable ways.

2) “Tribes” – So you thought tribes might be the answer, only to realize that the mythical 6 million, trillion reach you now have with all those “celebrities” in your tribe isn’t actually resulting in anymore traffic or reach for your blog. You faithfully share the other people’s content (which may or may not be valuable to your audience or inline with your social media content strategy) only to realize that your “tribe-mates” are rarely logging in, let alone sharing your posts. You invest further time, effort and investigation reveals that the ones who actually are sharing your content aren’t really influential at all. In fact, most of their huge followings could care less about anything they share on social media and you’re left worse off then you started.

3) Monitoring – Adding to the obstacles facing bloggers and content marketers being able to effectively monitor the open web where you or your brand is being mentioned. We’ve all tried Google Alerts for this and have become painfully aware that you find more mentions from people within social media who tell you about your brand mention on a blog post, then you ever discover through Alerts. Brands and marketers need a way discover, monitor and engage with content mentions across the web that occur outside of the social graph.

We could go on and on, right?

Innovative Vision:

Bundle Post is beginning phase one of our RSS and content index project that enables site owners to add their RSS feed into our index. During this phase we will collect and database over 250,000 RSS feeds in less than 90 days, then grow that number exponentially on an ongoing basis.

From there feed owners will be allowed to validate/prove ownership of one or more RSS feeds and control the RSS description, category, keywords, tags and more in order to optimize a feed related to its content. As the project continues over the course of 2014, the Bundle Post RSS project will be releasing multiple tools for blog owners and Bundle Post users, as well as new Feed Content Optimization (FCO) and “stream” opportunities that will deliver powerful traffic, analytics and content marketing capabilities never before seen online.

Our goal with the RSS project is to improve content discovery and curation for social media marketers in killer new ways and at the same time provide bloggers and content marketers new innovative solutions for expanding their content reach both in and outside of the social graph. This is far more than a RSS directory, so jump on the train and add your RSS feed into the Bundle Post index and we’ll be in touch soon to help you validate your blog ownership in phases two and three with many more big things to come…

AddRssFeed

This is what they call BIG DATA…

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Filed under Blog, Brand, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Marketing, RSS Feed, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

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

Interview with @BryanKramer about #H2H, Social Media and @BundlePost

H2H_eBook_cover1This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Social Media author, speaker and Bundle Post Pro user Bryan Kramer of Pure Matter to discuss the human, emotion and successful factors of social media marketing. As a Pro user of Bundle Post, Bryan gives his perspective on social media changes, content curation, the human elements and the unique capabilities that the Bundle Post social media tool gives him and his team.

Find out why Bryan is a Pro user of Bundle Post, how he uses the application to make himself “look smart” and save a ton of time.

Grab a chair and listen:

Here are some of the highlights of the interview:

- The Book Human to Human – Comes out in book form this week. Grab a copy here.

- It’s ok to make mistakes and be really human and authentic in social media.

- The H2H model is even resonating with the big brands. Listen to hear some examples such as Oracle.

- Businesses don’t sell to businesses. “You have to sell to a person.”

- Bryan got started curating and sharing in social media.

- Bryan references being a Connoisseur. I found this great blog he wrote that details this awesome logic. Read it here: Collector or Curator? Becoming a Social Connoisseur

- Content curation is just as important as blogging!

- If you’re curating unique stuff, you don’t have to worry about growing your community, building thought leadership or getting results.

- You can’t be everything to everyone. People like people who share things that are interesting to them. Share the best content!

- “It was almost over night that I fell in love with the Bundle Post product.”

- “I enjoy using anything that makes me look smart. Bundle Post makes me look smart and it cuts down on my time requirement.”

- “I have a family, a business, launching a book and speaking. How am I going to do all this stuff? That’s why I like your product because I can do something in 30 minutes for a week worth of posts.”

- “Bundle Post is like RSS/Feed Reader on I can organize, auto-hashtag and share it out..”

- “I really think everyone can use Bundle Post. Who really doesn’t have a problem with time? Everyone that’s online struggling with time to curate. Executives are perfect for this.”

- Bundle Post helps you easily stay top of mind with your audience.

We’d like to thank Bryan for taking time out of his schedule to talk to us about his great book and his use and view of Bundle Post. Connect with Bryan on Twitter at @BryanKramer.

*We want to be very clear that Bryan is not being given his Pro account, not even a discount. He upgraded his Bundle Post account to Pro and pays for it like our other users. The value and results of the technology speaks for itself.

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Filed under Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

The Most Overlooked Social Media Success Method

As a social media software firm, we spend a considerable amount of our activity within the social graph. We are constantly engaging in conversations, evaluating metrics and reviewing people’s streams and profiles. As a part of this normal process we and many of you engage in regularly, we began to notice things that though subjective, provide valuable insight on social media success.

Or dare we say, lack thereof.

Social Media ConsistencyThe most glaring thing we are noticing is a lack of consistency on the part of many social media “professionals, consultants and agencies”, as well as the average SMB brand. What do we mean by lack of consistency?  Every single day we see social media accounts that RT or comment on one of our posts, then upon reviewing their stream we find they only post a few times per week (if that) and most of their status updates are responses or RT’s of other people’s posts.

Here is a theory we have formulated and have deployed for many years in this industry:  Proper Activity Leads To Results

The most overlooked successful activity in social media is activity itself! Consistent, daily activity…

You’ve heard the phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” haven’t you?  In fact we hear from our users and brands that we consult that “just the consistent hashtagging and posting of relevant content all day, every day using Bundle Post results in a major impact in clicks, traffic, conversations and relationships”.

In social media marketing, consistency merges with activity to drive results. Given that you have a proper strategy of topics and subject matter your audience finds interesting and relevant, and you combine that with a consistent stream of curated content, engagement and conversations, you get results. If there is no consistency and therefore sporadic activity or the wrong activity, results decline or are non-existent. It really is that simple.

What does consistency look like?

1) Freeway – If you were to think of a social network newsfeed or timeline as a freeway and all the cars flying by on that freeway to be status updates, you would understand the importance of consistency much easier. You see, social network users do not stand at the side of the freeway all day long, every day. In fact they show up on the side of the freeway, logout, come back again later and so on.

If you do not have enough consistent, valuable content (status updates) in your stream every day, very few are seeing your cars driving by. Even worse, you are not providing any value to your audience that have connected to you and therefore you are completely out of sight and out of mind to your audience.

If however, you have a consistent stream of shared, curated and created content in your streams every single day from morning until night (at appropriate levels for each network), you begin to attract conversations, shares and likes of the content you are posting. In turn, the conversations and shares around your posts build relationships that can turn into sales, web traffic and real results.

By increasing the quantity and quality of the posts you make every single day, you also increase your overall reach, clicks, shares and conversations that your social media marketing will achieve. As long as you are not just sharing about you or throwing up a ton of “mud on the wall”, hoping it sticks, but rather are consciously understanding your audiences interests and posting the topics that drive them online, it becomes a numbers game at a certain appropriate level, your results increase.

Quantity + Consistency + Quality =  MORE Reach, Likes, Shares, Clicks, Traffic, Engagement and Relationships (Real Results)

2) Engagement & Response - When you pivot to achieve the posting consistency mix correctly, the next consistency requirement to focus on is Engagement and Response. If you think of engagement as outreach to your audience and response as what it sounds like, then you might have an idea of what we are discussing here.

Consistently look for opportunities to START conversations, share content from and otherwise engage with your community. Likewise you should consistently respond to comments, conversations, shares and other activity that your target audience does to amplify your content, message or posts. These are the activities that build relationships and earn your brand the right to discuss what you do within your community.

Consistency is the most overlooked and underutilized success method in social media marketing. Merging these consistency elements into your daily activity will completely transform what you currently realize in results.

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Filed under Bundle Post, Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy