Tag Archives: training

Is Social Media Certification The Solution Or A BandAid For The Symptom?

Is social media certification a game-changer or something else?A few weeks ago I shared a post that claimed that social media certification was a game changer for social media professionals. The thread from the post exploded with people on both sides of the fence. The two camps seemed to line up around long-time industry professionals that were opposed to the idea and those that see it as something that is badly needed.

Here are some of the comments and views from the two sides of the debate:

The For Certification As A Solution Camp:

1) Brands need in-house employees to be trained.

2) Important for business to understand the strategic role and benefits of social media in the total marketing mix.

3)  It’s a sign the industry is getting more cred that certification is needed to separate some of the wheat from the chaff.

4)  This is an important step to corporate credibility.

5) A call for validation and certification means the industry is gaining credibility and acceptance

6) We do need something in the industry for certification and accreditation, proof of ethical standards

The Against Certification As A Solution Camp:

1) I find that most of the people teaching the courses have never worked in social media and don’t know anything about doing it successfully.

2) A certificate does not mean you are an expert any more than a college degree says you are ready for the business world.

3) Social Media changes so frequently it will be outdated before it’s even printed.

4) I have an issue with this program. Who is teaching the certificate program? IMO the best and brightest in our industry actively working to serve their clients. I do however, think we all have a responsibility within our industry to teach through internships, etc so that we continue to grow our talent pool for future hires.

5) Social media is evolving way to rapidly to have a certificate in it.

Sometimes a piece of paper does not truly reflect someone’s natural ability in social media, initiative, work experience, passion or a common sense marketing approach. Ultimately if you don’t understand the customer and their marketing goals and strategy then it’s unlikely a certificate will provide all the answers.

6) Anyone can create a certificate program on anything. Calling this a game changer only indicates how few people actually get what SM is all about.

Certifications are very important to the companies that sell them…

7) Basically what they are doing is taking money from people who are gullible enough to believe that this will all be relevant in a month or two.

My Summary On Social Media Certification:

At the end of the day, social media certification is not an entirely bad thing, nor is it anything close to a game-changer. As the industry evolves, brands and professionals will need ways to educate their teams and most don’t have internal resources for this. On the other hand, the questions surrounding who is creating and teaching the curriculum for such certifications is troublesome. If the intent of these certifications is to ensure that someone understands theory, terminology and concepts, it could be a good starting point for many. Unfortunately I fear that the ways these certifications are marketed by providers and certification holders alike, leaves much to be desired about the required knowledge and experience required to execute effective social media marketing. Brands and businesses that don’t know anything about social media marketing could be easily duped by people touting their certification with no more ability or experience in social media than my 15-year-old daughter.

What’s your view on this topic?

Reference Article: http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-certification-gamechanger-for-professionals/

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Filed under Certification, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

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

Upgraded Dashboard, User Interface and Wizards Added To Bundle Post

On the heels of the largest upgrade we have ever released, Bundle Post 3.0 has received incredible visibility, user base growth and praise from new and existing users alike. We have taken the feedback garnered from our users and focused our attention on the things that make an already powerful system even more so. Continuing down the path of constant improvement, the Bundle Post team is again addressing additional elements of our application surrounding ease of use and support.

Social Media Easy ButtonBundle Post is the most comprehensive back-office social media curation and marketing platform on the market today. The Patent Pending power it delivers can also come with complexity and a learning curve that is a barrier to some. So immediately following the launch of 3.0, the Bundlet Post team spent hours pouring over notes from user feedback as well as reporting data showing areas within the system that our new and existing users have the most trouble understanding and executing easily. This release addresses those areas and results in a far more intuitive and resourceful interface.

Addressed in this release are six main enhancements that make the Bundle Post social media content management tool even easier:

1) Main navigation redesign – Some of the challenges that we discovered users experiencing were found in the main navigation bar at the top of every page within the system. The two most frequent things we heard from new users about this part of the system were – A) Where do I click to Export scheduled content? and B) Where are my settings and account information?

Sometimes the simplest solution is best. Here’s how we addressed these concerns:

navigationbar

The navigation bar has been changed slightly to highlight the two most frequent issues. The common “settings gear” has been added to easily identify the account settings and dashboard link and it has been located at the far right where most applications place this function. We have also highlighted the Export function within the navigation making it very obvious for all users.

2) Dashboard redesign - One of the worst pages within the Bundle Post system was the Dashboard. There was little on the page that provided value and what was valuable was extremely difficult to find and understand.

New Bundle Post Dashboard

The new Dashboard has been completely redesigned to provide a clean interface that makes it easy to manage your account and get help when you need it.

3) Dashboard Setup wizard - We have created an intuitive setup wizard for the dashboard that walks you through setting up your Bundle Post account, step by step. The wizard was designed to seamlessly walk you through the steps needed to get every aspect of your account created. Here’s how it works:

When you hit the dashboard for the first time, the setup wizard will be automatically maximized, showing step one (Sign Up) has been completed. Putting your cursor over the next step will display instructions for what the next step is. Clicking on a step will take you directly to that part of the system.

The setup wizard will also track your progress and check off the steps you have completed, all the way through to exporting scheduled content. Once you have completed an export, the dashboard setup wizard will automatically minimize for you from that point forward. If you would like to use the wizard again, or add a team member, you can always click the Setup [+] text to maximize the wizard again.

4) Account settings and support enhancements - In keeping with a more organized and clean interface on the dashboard, you now have three clear sections containing the information you need. We start off by clarifying any confusion of your username by displaying it at the very top of the dashboard. We then created three sections in the middle of the dashboard page that groups information for you.

Account Section: In the new account section we remind you of your account type and give you links to the various aspects of your profile that you can manage. Email preferences and compare plan links have been added to give you control over everything in one place.

Notices: The notices section will inform you of new features, our latest blog posts and system maintenance expectations as necessary. Our goal is to keep you informed on the latest improvements in the simplest way possible.

Support: Finally, the support sections has been added to give you access to the most common videos and help files used in the system. We also coded a new contact support form that improves the information we receive from you when you contact us for help with fields that auto-fill when allowable. We are very well-known for our incredible customer support, but we wanted to make it even better.

Social Media Video Training5) Social media marketing training - So you’re new to social media marketing or you are struggling with an element of your social media results? We now have a comprehensive solution for you. The last link in the support section will take you to a page that contains 6 one hour social media marketing training videos. This free training series will walk you through a complete course on social media marketing, giving the beginner a solid foundation and the professional additional tools and insight to be even more effective. Check it out and let us know what you think.

6) Instructional page wizards - We continued the setup wizard functionality across all sections of the system to ensure that users understand and can easily utilize the functionality, without having to read help files or watch videos.

Setup Help Wizard

Wherever you are inside of Bundle Post, you will see the Help graphic and the Setup [+] text. If you have not yet added anything new to that section of the system it will automatically maximize the steps for you. Hovering on each step will give you the details you need to know about each step. Simple, effective and intuitive.

The intent and focus of this release is to make the power of Bundle Post easier for new users and more effective for our experienced customers. Our hope is that these improvements help you get the most out of the application and realize a massive improvement in efficiency, effectiveness and profitability within your social media marketing efforts.

Let us know what you think!

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Filed under Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

How Social Media Agencies Are Building Profitable Businesses

There is power in numbers and there is value to experience. Nothing sums this up better than a dedicated group of social media agencies and start-ups that collaborate, learn from each other and turn the knowledge into results. What better way to get your 2014 social media agency off on the right track?

Agency SuccessSome time back I announced the Social Media Agency Group I started, since then there are over 200 members, of which 45 are extremely active. Of those 45 active student participants, many are seeing amazing results. In fact, those that are attending the bi-weekly live meetings, absorbing the massive amounts of information and putting it to use right away are well ahead of what other entrepreneurs are achieving.

Without fail, every bi-weekly meeting seems to now be highlighting the success of yet another member. New client signings, improved revenue and profitability or headway on client results.

Why are social media agencies in this group moving further and faster than many new, medium and small agencies in the industry?

1) Experience – They are taking advantage of the experience of others instead of learning from mistakes. The group has several long-time experienced social media agency entrepreneurs, all sharing their experience, but most importantly the failures you can avoid.

2) Collaboration – It’s not just training, it’s collaboration. A large group of professionals that collaborate together, help one another and share information.

3) Support – Have a question about a prospect, a client project you’re struggling getting results with or how to implement a specific strategy? Everyone pitches in to help, guide and support each other.

4) No Rabbit Holes – Probably one of the biggest advantages group members have is the removal of rabbit holes. You know, the articles and advice from those that haven’t ever done it. There is so many out there writing about social media marketing, but nobody is guiding the social media agency and providing proven tactics to start, grow and scale a profitable, effective business. The trial and error methods are removed from the equation.

In our last bi-weekly meeting, one of our newest start-ups in the group was highlighted as the most recent success story. The fact that she was able to learn, practice and execute what she had learned achieved a big payoff.  Here is the email:

——————————-

Hi Robert!

I know I’m not vocal in the group, or in meetings, but I have been absorbing and re-absorbing everything. I’ve tried the restaurant cold-calling and pitch and failed miserably 11 times ~ confidence and sounding timid were my downfall ~ I would constantly trip up on my words, and basically sound like I didn’t really know what I was talking about.

Hearing the inspirational success stories in the group of people who were nervous or lacked the confidence needed at the beginning of their journeys has helped me tremendously. I’ve listened to the meetings over and over and over again. I’ve also practiced and practiced and practiced my pitch to my kids and had them role-play with me to where they were sick to death of hearing it hahaha!

Okay, so failed pitch #11 resulted in a plumbing owner who was at the restaurant at the time of my pitch eventually getting my card from the restaurant owner, and then giving my information to his uncle. Crazy to me how everything transpired but ~ I finally landed not one but two new clients over the past two days. And, I couldn’t believe I actually had confidence!! ~ I signed the one client at $1,200 a month, and the second ~ his brother ~ which he referred me to, and signed him at $3,500 a month. The clients aren’t in the restaurant business, but in business consulting and technology, and I used the model of the restaurant pitch but of course tweaked it to fit each of their business models.

I owe it all to God, YOU, and the amazing group you started, and that first conversation we had back in the middle of August. So again, thank you, thank you, thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

——————————-

This is just one of many success stories the group is producing often. Many more can be reviewed in the group, but the question is…

What should you take away from the above email and the entirety of this post?

1) You’re not alone – help is available.

2) There is a formula for social media agency success you can learn and duplicate.

3) The process, methods and procedures do work if you apply them properly and stay at it.

4) You can do it too…

To request to be added to the Social Media Agency Training and Collaboration Group on Facebook, and have access to recorded and live meetings, click here.

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Filed under Agency, Facebook, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Free – Always and forever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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

Listen, Learn Or Lead – The Three L’s of Social Media

Based on the title of this post, you might be expecting to get some juicy insight on managing social media more effectively or new hot tips from me on social media marketing. Sorry to disappoint you, but this post is not about that. It’s about you and your skill set.

Social media marketing is far less similar to rocket science or physics, and more closely related to art. Yes, there are procedures, steps and best practices as in science, but it’s really more of an art form. As with most art, there are many different mediums, forms and audience types that are considered. Regardless of the form of art, it does require knowledge, skill and experience in order to produce significant results.

I realize I am an odd bird in the social space. I say what I mean, I am not afraid to say what many others wish they could and I have no formalized training. What I do have is experience that uniquely qualified me to jump into the space. Many of you don’t know this, but I never went to the same school two years in a row growing up. Imagine how that impacts one’s personality, ability to quick make connections and build relationships? Trust me it does.

One of my biggest flaws is that I learn the hard way. I jump off the cliff, make horrid mistakes and struggle through. My biggest redeeming quality is that I learn extremely fast. Although I would not change anything given where I am and how our company is growing, I do wish I had connected with a mentor early on in my social media career.

Because we do not have any competitors, I spend a considerable amount of time mentoring, coaching and helping others in social. Yes, I do formal consulting also, but rarely as I charge a lot for this sort of thing. A lot of my free time (which at this point I have very little) is given to others in the form of mentoring and coaching about social media marketing. Something that is so badly needed in this space. The unfortunate thing is that I have so little time anymore to do this in a one on one setting.

We frequently here the term, “knowledge is power”. This is a phrase I highly disagree with. You see, I believe that you must have the proper knowledge, that is a given, but what you do with that knowledge is where the power comes from. Or as I have said many times “Knowledge isn’t power. Using what you’ve learned IS… #quote @fondalo

So the title of this blog post – Listen, Learn Or Lead is about choices. You can read and watch. You can try to lead, or you can learn and listen, then lead. I am not talking social media monitoring or analytics here, I am referring to obtaining the knowledge, skill and experience you need to actually be successful in your social media efforts.

In an attempt to help as many as possible, we have decided to do something I have never done before. Today we are launching fondalo.com. The site provides over 12 hours of video training designed specifically for social media marketers AND social media agencies. My small contribution to educating people on the deep aspects of social media marketing that goes well beyond general blog posts and books by authors who have never really done it. We also drill deep for social media agencies, providing all of the lessons we learned when we were an agency, what to do, how to do it and most importantly, what NOT to do.

I wanted a site where I can help as many people as possible. A place where you not only get the information and training you need, but where you can ask specific questions and get the answers, as well as learn from questions others have asked. So enough about our new site, here are the points you should take away today.

Listen: Get a mentor or find trusted training sources from someone who has actually done this and achieved real results.

Learn: Social media moves at lightening speed. You can no longer waste time making mistakes that take time. Your competition is already ahead of you. Learn it right and do it right.

Lead: Once you have learned and have the knowledge, turn that into power by leading. Lead your team, your industry, your competition and thought in your space. Leadership is derived from knowledge, but also experience and real results that come from both.

Wherever or however you get the knowledge, skill and experience you need to be effective in your social media marketing strategy, be sure that the source of that information is appropriate. Be sure it comes from someone who has actually done it. But for the love of Pete, get what you need and do it now! :-)

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

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