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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

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

A Social Media Marriage? No Wedding Bells, But Lots Of Benefits

**This free webinar has been rescheduled for March 26th at 10am PDT – Register here

We sure don’t want to burst your bubble, but this is not some wild, hair-raising story of two lovers that met on a social network and got married remotely over Twitter, although that does sound like something kind of fun. This announcement is about marrying of two technologies that were made for each other.

Sendible and Bundle Post are going BundlePost Sendibleto be conducting a first ever joint webinar. The free webinar will show how one of the top social media dashboards and the only social content management system work together to make social media marketing efforts more effective, efficient and profitable.

The Sendible dashboard delivers a powerful platform for engaging with customers, measuring results and monitoring your brand across multiple social media channels at once. The solution expands multi-channel, accounts and team management beyond other platforms with broader features. Sendible tracks your social media account activity and reports on a broad range of metrics including analytics, fans/followers, clicks, traffic, engagement, sentiment and more.

By combining the scalable Sendible social media management platform with the patent pending content aggregation, curation, scheduling, hashtagging and marketing efficiencies of Bundle Post, many social media marketers and brands are able to reduce the number of tools they use, cut the time they spend managing their social media efforts and more importantly improve their results in dramatic ways.

On March 19th, Sendible and Bundle Post will be doing a live joint webinar showing the complementary technologies and how they work together to get you better results in less time. Click Here to register for the webinar. Space is limited!

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Filed under Brand, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Results, Sendible, Social Aggregation, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

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

As we continue the series of blog posts resulting from our survey on social media marketers, brands and agencies, we focus our attention on the top social media dashboards and tools. As a reminder, we conducted a survey with hundreds of social media professionals to gain insight on the challenges they face with social media management. The two previous posts were;

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

and

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

Most Used Social Media ToolsWe continued with the survey and asked respondents “Which one of the following social media dashboard/tools do you use most to manage your social media posting?” Though most of the responses were somewhat expected, there is some deeper information in the data that we found interesting.

The big number that stood out most surprisingly to us was the almost 4 and half percent of respondents that are currently not using any tools whatsoever. 4.4% stated that they are using social media platforms directly, or not using any outside tools to be effective and efficient with their social media marketing.

Not so surprising was the huge 53% of respondents that stated they are using Hootsuite as the social media tool they use most often. As a dashboard that can manage many social media accounts and platforms in one place, it is well-known as the most used application for this purpose.

The second largest numbers tied in our survey. Roughly 10.7% of all respondents stated they were using both Buffer and Bundle Post social media tools. Of all of the dashboards and social media marketing and posting tools listed in the survey of social media marketers, these were the only two tools that were selected so closely. Though very different, both of these popular tools with social media marketers can be considered curation and scheduling tools. They both focus on making scheduling of curated content more efficient, but Bundle Post takes it much further with patent pending technology that also hashtags, manages marketing content and curated aggregation, while integrating with several social media dashboards, including Buffer.

While there are literally hundreds upon thousands of social media management tools on the market today, ensuring that efficiency and effectiveness of your social media efforts is key. The top social media tools and dashboards being used by many social media marketers, brands and agencies provide a good starting point for your core tools.

What social media tools are you using to be efficient and effective with your social media marketing efforts?

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Buffer, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Hashtag, Hootsuite, Marketing, Results, Social Aggregation, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing – Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

Plain and simple – I want to know your thoughts about social media marketing, the tools, the apps and what your most significant challenges are. I see reports and articles pretending to know the issues surrounding the industry, only to realize that the people who created the report only questioned a handful of huge brands that wouldn’t know effective social media marketing if it slapped them in the face. I see new tool after “cool” new tool being created everyday that are created because they can, not because it actually fills a pressing need of the industry.

Social Media ChallengesThe thing is, I really want to know, don’t you? What are the real challenges facing social media marketers today. What do they want and need, for real. How are they using social media and what amount of time do they actually spend trying to achieve results.

My motivation is pretty rudimentary and straight forward… If someone takes the time to truly understand what marketers really want and need within the industry, someone (us) can deliver it. Now to be clear, we believe we have a good understanding of the space since we were and are social media marketers, not some software gear heads that decided to make social media software because “social media is huge”.

There are so many important questions that are not being asked out there.

I Want To Know The Answers To Questions Like:

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

ON AVERAGE, HOW MANY SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS TO YOU SCHEDULE EVERY DAY?

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

THE TWO BIGGEST CHALLENGES I FACE WITH MY OVERALL SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING ARE?

We All Need To Better Understand:

1) How to spend more time building relationships and fostering engagement.

2) How to better achieve sales, revenue and ROI.

3) How to best leverage content to achieve better results.

4) And hundreds more…

What if?

What if you and several other social media marketing professionals, agencies, brands and marketers could have a say with a brand in the industry that actually listened?

What if after listening, they committed to addressing the needs YOU stated you had and the challenges YOU face in the field?

Then

Consider that done. In fact, I created a survey to help us better understand social media marketing, curation, content marketing and how they work together.

So, if you’re a social media agency, marketer, consultant or brand, tell me what you’re dealing with, the challenges you face and what your needs are.

Tell me what you want, what you really really want Social Media Survey

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Content, Curation, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Free – Always and forever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hashtags Become Even MORE Important On Twitter

On July 3rd, 2013 Twitter announced new API rules for developers that create applications for the Twitter platform. One of the most important changes announced was that “automated following or bulk following is also prohibited.” Twitter HashtagThis is a significant hit to hundreds of legitimate as well as spam-like Twitter applications being used by millions of people worldwide to either “game” their follower counts -or- legitimately increase their targeted following.

What does all this mean for the Twitter User?

There are two sides to these changes, some being positive and some, well let’s just say they create some challenges you need to be aware of. Let’s start with a few of the positive things these rules should produce.

The Positives:

Spammers – If they can’t use these tools to mass follow people, this should positively impact the amount of spam and spammers that are using Twitter in this fashion.

Counts less of a focus – If gaining followers can be “gamed” less, then making your follower count the game will also be reduced.

Focus on content and conversation – Clearly if huge follower counts is less of the issue, people will have to refocus their efforts back to quality social media content and engaging in conversations in order to drive community growth. (Hello Big brands. It’s about time you did this right anyway)

The Negatives:

Community Growth Harder – For every small to medium-sized business and marketer, these changes and the ultimate demise of follow tools will certainly make growing communities more time-consuming and difficult.

Hashtags Become Even MORE Important On Twitter:

This brings us to hashtags… Brands and marketers must really understand their audience better in order to develop more targeted content and hashtag strategies that will attract their followings. You need to know the topics and content subject matter that your target audience is engaged with and therefore what your topical and content strategy needs to be to make it easier for them to find you. Therefore, incorporating hashtags thoughtfully in this mix will be paramount to the future of community growth on Twitter.

Ask Yourself:

1) Do you know the topics that your prospective followers are interested in?

2) Do you know the hashtags that your prospective followers are using and following on Twitter?

3) How are you going to more effectively use hashtags now that follow tools are going to be nonexistent?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you need to figure out the answers, and fast.

For consistent automated hashtag and content sharing tools read this.

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Filed under Community, Content, Engagement, Followers, Hashtag, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

To which I responded:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Suggestions for everyone -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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