Category Archives: Community

9 Characteristics Of Human, NOT Automated Social Media Marketing

Human characteristics of social media marketingThere are a few highly important things that separate big brand social media marketing from everyone else, and that is the human component. Big brands are able to focus their social media marketing on their brand, branding and advertising components that are centered around the company’s image and other major media advertising components. There is little human connection, conversation or relationship building coming out of the larger brands. The majority provide little to none selfless value and it is all about the creative and messaging, which by the way we enjoy seeing some of it.

The Big Brand Approach

As an example of how many larger brands approach social media marketing, I will share an example. I will not name the large beverage company, but I will say that I am a fan of their product and buy it regularly.

The story:

About two years ago, being a loyal consumer of a specific beverage, I decided to show my loyalty to them in social media. I mentioned them several times a week, shared pics of their packaging as I used it, etc. On a rare occasion I would receive a response or a thank you and I was good with that, but that soon completely ceased. In replace of the rare response, they began to engage ME on a weekly basis. Sounds good right? Not so fast…

The engagement I received from them, every single week hence forth was simply them tagging me about their latest news, product launch or promotion. You see, they realized I had influence within social media and decided to use me to further promote their brand. No relationship investment was every made on their part, no human connection or interest shown in me as a person or my company. Simply bold and direct promotional (spam).

They may get away with this with others, but not with me. I have completely disengaged with said brand on social and you know what? They never engaged with me again after I stopped mentioning or promoting their content. There is a difference between social media relationships and direct marketing. Most large brands do not care to understand this fact.

The Relationship Reality

At the end of the day, all non Fortune 5000 brands that are lacking the huge resources and established customer base, really need to look at and approach social media marketing very differently. Long term focus, care and gratitude with authenticity, combined with human connection is what gets results.

9 characteristics of social media marketing:

Here are just nine ways you can improve your human relationship perception in social media as well as identify other brands and connections that get it too.

1) Profile picture  – The account photo is of the real person behind the social account. This is mostly common for Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook personal accounts. However, as a brand matures on Twitter, building the brand beyond the main contacts personal image is important. Remaining human after that transition will determine how effective you are from there.

2) Profile Bio – Does their social media bio contain things about them as a person, not just a pitch for what they do? Relationships require personal connections, not just business needs. Today, business IS personal. Humanize your brand.

3) Responsive – When you mention or engage with them, do they actually respond? Do they respond in a timely manner, when you are still logged in?

4) Grateful – After sharing their content, is it met with gratitude in the form of a like, comment or reciprocation? This is something only humans do.

5) Interest – Humans show interest in others, not just themselves. Do they show interest in you and/or what you do?

6) Selfless Value – Their timeline is not just posts about them or what they do.

7) Conversations – Their timeline contains conversations with others.

8) Relevance – Their timeline contains relevant content you’re interested in, not solely their industry related things.

9) Real – A real person/personality is detectable behind the profile when you interact with them

The Perils Of Auto-pilot

The other opposite end of the spectrum from Big Brands are the newbie automation users. Those that send automated or manual sales messages as private messages on Twitter on LinkedIn, immediately or soon after connecting with them and without any relationship effort made on their part, they move right to pitching their wares. Another newbie auto-pilot tactic is using tools that tag others about your sales pitch in-stream based on something they posted previously, or any other contrived method. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The only place that in-feed or private message automation sees results is from newbies using it with/toward other newbies that do not yet know better. The brands and marketers that are using automation don’t understand social media and how relationships with long-term focus connect. Making matters worse is that new social network users who respond to these non-human automated tactics don’t either. The clicks garnered by the automation folks are short-lived and requires a constant stream of newbies in order to get traffic, clicks or results long-term.

This short sided tactic ultimately gets reported so much by more experienced users, and the reputation of automation marketers becomes clear to future new connections, so that it eventually slows and ceases to obtain even the smallest results.

Wrapping It Up

Spam is spam, whether it is done via email or within social media marketing. Failure to understand the personal, human level connection elements within this marketing medium means a lot of frustration, lack of real results and wasted time. If you are going to invest the time doing social media marketing, invest it in providing value, being human and present, while getting into conversations that build real relationships.

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Filed under advertising, Audience, automation, Brand, Community, Content, Human, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

Relationships Are Built On A Foundation Of Trust

One of the things I think marketers forget about social media is that trust is a key factor in establishing, building and maintaining trust. It is the on AND offline foundation that all relationships are built from, yet so many do not consciously take this into account.

Social media relationships and trustWhat is Trust?

Trust is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing.

In a word, trust is confidence.

Taking it a bit further, trust is the underlying ability to rely on someone or something. it is a foundational element in all relationships, but THE crucial component in business. Trust is underlying because it is conscious and unconscious. It comes from the thinking consideration, yet is always behind the scenes affecting our gut level processes.

Some Thoughts On Trust:

- It is my firm belief that trust is earned, not expected or demanded.

- Trust comes from doing, not saying what you will do, but showing who you are and what your brand is about through action.

- Doing is the catalyst that either builds or destroys trust with ones following, community and prospects.

Trust In Business and Social Media:

Business relationships can be described as a connection with a person or brand that includes emotional and personal affinity, appreciation and trust. In today’s business world, the lines between personal and business relationships are highly blurred. In social media marketing they no longer exist in the traditional sense, in that business IS personal on many levels. Relationships often drive the connections, communication and willingness to investigate or buy.

Three Stages Of Relationship Trust:

In social media marketing, there are three distinct stages of trust that brands and marketers need to be aware of.

Establishing – Whether a social connection will be established is often governed by first impressions. Similar to the offline world, a bad first impression will result in no further engagement with a brand, person or company representative.

In social media there are numerous components that make or break a first impression and determine whether you are going to be able to establish the beginnings of a relationship. Some of those are:

  • First contact: The first contact you have with a connection sets the stage. If that contact is spam, you have likely killed any possible relationship. What is spam in social media? Anything that tags or direct messages a connection while pitching what you do. There’s nothing worse to kill an opportunity of building a relationship.
  • Bio: Think of your social media profile/bio as your store front. If your windows are dirty, your message unclear or anything looks bad, your prospect won’t bother walking in the door.
  • Stream: Most people in social media check a new connection’s stream to see how they conduct themselves. They look to see if you are spamming or only posting about yourself or if you are engaging, sharing valuable content. What they see in your stream is what they believe they can expect in a relationship with your or your brand on social media. Remember – people are watching!

Building

  • Value: Building relationships is predicated on value. Do you provide selfless, relevant value to your audience? Do you share their content? Do you help them achieve their goals?
  • Grateful: Do you show you’re grateful when your relationships help you? When they share your content, do you thank them? Just as in real-life, showing thankfulness to relationships builds those relationships. Social media is no different.
  • Response: One of the most important ways to build relationships once they are established is to respond. All too often people ignore mentions, questions or conversations. Nothing does more to kill furthering of a relationship is to be “too good” to respond.

Maintaining – Maintaining trust you have earned is a continuation of repeated impressions and the three components of relationship building. It is active and ongoing, constantly being evaluated by others subconsciously. Your conscious choice to engage in relationship building advances the opportunity with the connections you have and dramatically increases them with the relationships you have in process.

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Filed under Audience, Brand, Community, connection, Content, Engagement, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Spam

Identifying And Growing Your Target Social Media Audience

One of the biggest mistakes made in social media marketing is building the wrong communities. What we mean by that is that many brands and marketers build followings of their peers, competitors or incorrect prospects, rather than their target audience. Subsequently, the time spent on social networks engaging, creating and posting content doesn’t achieve the level of desired results that they had hoped.

Why is the proper targeting and growing of your social community so important?

Our experience tells us that any marketing that is being executed, no matter how skillful, creative or unique is always limited by improper targeted of audience. For example, if your intended audience is nurses, yet you attract, connect with, follow and engage with mostly healthcare vendors like yourself, your results will be minimal. Furthermore, if your company is a restaurant in Chicago and you send direct mail advertisements to homes in Boston, do you think your marketing resources will achieve a return?

Social media marketing is very similar from the audience targeting metrics of other marketing mediums in that you need to know specifically who you are trying to reach. By specifically, we mean you need to be able to clearly outline all facets of your prospective social connects three ways:

Geographically - Specific location or locations, including city, state, region, county or country.

Demographically –  Things like gender, age, ethnicity, language, home ownership, employment status, etc.

Psychographically – Personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles

If you do not specifically know who you need to connect with and/or know but are connecting and engaging with others instead, your social media results will suffer greatly. Therefore it is important that the community you build is made up of the of people you need to reach for the product/service you are marketing.

It makes doesn’t it? Please tell me it does… If in fact it does make sense, why do so many do the exact opposite of these things in their social media efforts? The answer is, it is not easy and being humans we often take the path of least resistance, to our own detriment.

Identifying and Growing Your Social Community

Let’s attempt to change the difficulty factor of growing a targeted community through knowledge.

1) Identifying Your Target Audience – The first and most important step to growing a targeted community is to define it clearly. As we stated above, you really need to know who you are trying to reach, where they are located and what interests them. Since we know effective social media marketing is not about you, but rather your audience, then nailing the details of who you need to reach is imperative!

Be very specific about the location(s), demographics and interests of your intended audience. The more specific you are in defining who you want to reach, the more effective you can be. Though geographic and demographic can often be easily determined with experience, psychographic interests can sometimes stump even the most experienced marketer.

There are two tricks to help you identify the more vague psychographic targeting. They are;

  • Competition: One way to determine more about your prospective target audience is to watch your peers and competitors social accounts. Watch for the non-business related topics and interests that drive your prospects to engage, like and share. Taking this further, look at the personal profiles of your prospective customers and take note of the topics that thread through everything they engage with online. The list that results from investigating several prospective customers and competitors social accounts will result in identifying 4-8 key interests or topics that drive your audience.

and

  • Existing Customers: Speak with existing customers and known prospects about their interests on and offline. Discover that drives them in their life. Those are the topics you want to share content on and use to find your target audience.

2) Growing Your Target Audience – There are two distinct ways that marketers should be actively growing their target audience. Attracting new connections and proactively connecting. Having a community that is constantly growing with new connections, while engaged with conversations and relationship building is crucial for numerous reasons and should be a strategic part of any social media marketing program.

Let’s define these two community growth elements.

  • Attracting – If you desire to have organic growth within your social community, ensuring that you are attracting the right connections is imperative. To do this effectively, you will want to be sure you know who you are trying to reach and what topics drive their activity on social media (as we discussed above). Using this information and the other research we suggested, you will want to tailor your content curation, creation and hashtagging to these interests. Be sure that the content you are sharing and the hashtags you are using to attract your following is correctly focused on your prospects needs and interests, not that of your company, peers or competitors.

and

  • Proactive – Supplementing your attraction growth should be an extremely consistent and highly targeted execution of proactive connecting. If you know who you are trying to reach and have defined this very clearly, social media profile searches, viewing friends of your connections as well as connecting with your competition’s following is extremely effective.

At the end of the day, you must be providing value to your community, engaging in conversations and building relationships if your social media marketing efforts are going to see real results. If your strategy is on point, being executed properly and conversations are a daily part of your process, adding audience growth and targeting methods into the mix will add substantial results to your bottom line.

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Filed under Audience, Brand, Community, connection, Content, content creation, Curation, Hashtag, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

12 #StarWars Quotes and Blog Posts on Social Media Marketing by @PerfectJulia

12 star wars quotes and social media blog postsOne of the most prolific and loved Hollywood film series is Star Wars. From incredible writing and story telling to creative execution and special effects, this movie franchise has captivated millions all over the globe with stunning power.

Throughout the epic film series there are a number of quotes that contain certain levels of intrigue and wisdom that crossover from the silver screen to life and of course social media. I decided to hunt down a few of them and attach them to some of our experienced wisdom. The result is a little bit of fun and a lot of seasoned advice that will not only give you a smile, but leave you thinking.

I hope you enjoy it!

1. “Who’s the more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows him?” Obi Wan Kenobi – A New Hope

Obi WanWhat and who are you following online? Who are you getting your information from when it comes to social media marketing? What is their success based on… opinions or have they actually succeeded in what they teach?  This blog may help answer some of those. – It’s Nearly Impossible to Become a Social Media Professional Part 3

“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.”

 

2. “That… is why you fail.” Yoda – The Empire Strikes Back

Do you know why your social media is lacking real results? Let’s talk about ROI… Shall we? Social Media – Your Time Percentage Should Equate To Results Percentage

“Ask yourself a few questions:

Where are you spending your time in the social graph?

What social networks get what percentage of your time and effort?

What network do your target audience spend most of their time on?

Which social network has the highest quantity and concentration of your target audience?

If you can’t answer these questions, you’re probably not being as effective with your social media marketing as you could or should be.”

3. “Laugh it up, fuzzball!”- Han Solo – The Empire Strikes Back

I think you will agree that each of the Star Wars episodes are infused with humor. Laughter is a powerful force! Some of the Most Effective Social Media Is Humorous

“You don’t have to be a creative genius or graphic designer. Just be aware of the effective use of humor in your social media marketing efforts and build better relationships by breaking down some barriers.”

4. “IT’S A TRAP.” – Admiral Ackbar – Return of the Jedi

Social Media “Autopilot” tactics are a trap! Don’t lose control. – The Significant Difference Between Autopilot and Marketing Automation

“Let’s put some clarity to the differences between these two distinctly different marketing approaches as it relates to social media marketing. We will give six examples of each and provide a little detail as we go.

Social Media “Autopilot” Tactics –

Social media success does not appear by accident, or via automation, rather it can only be achieved through consistently executing proper strategy, activities and human interaction.”

5. “STAY ON TARGET.” Gold Five – A New Hope

Well this one is pretty straight forward! How does one stay on target with their social media marketing? Start by targeting the correct audience! – The How to of Customer Targeting Acquisition and Retention in Social Media

“What small, local and medium businesses lack in the form of resources and budgets, they more than make up for in common sense, nimbleness and the ability to effectively execute quickly. If and only if you understand one simple truth about digital marketing in today’s world…

It’s NOT about YOU!

The reason most of the big brands see the issues outlined in this report and challenging is because most have yet to recognize this fact. Big brands often solely self promote their wares and create a persona of “too good to engage” to their audience. A quick scan of most brands social media feeds and mentions will uncover huge communities that are attempting to engage with their favorite brands and those same brands ignoring the comments, mentions and engagement by the very target customers they say they are trying to find and hold attention with. Is it really this difficult to understand?

6. “A Jedi Knight? Jeez, I’m out of it for a little while, everyone gets delusions of grandeur!” Han Solo – Return of the Jedi

Here is the perfect one for a Reality Check: Daily Required Social Media Marketing Activity

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

7. “R2-D2, you know better than to trust a strange computer!” C-3PO – The Empire Strikes Back

Is your Social Media Marketing content running on cruise control? Social Media RSS feeds for Dummies AND Pro’s 

R2D2“Why are RSS feeds important? Because they are an incredible way to receive relevant content that you can share with your audience.

Why should a business care about RSS feeds? Because they save a tremendous amount of time.

Are you totally confused yet? I told you the pitfalls of them…which boils down to this….YOU ARE AT THE MERCY OF THE AUTHOR.

So, what if there was a way to input RSS feeds into a system that databased everything for you, prepared already as a social media post for any social platform? What if it allowed YOU to pick and choose which articles or blog posting you wanted to share and more importantly allowed YOU to schedule when you could post to your audience?

Why are RSS feeds important? Because they are an incredible way to receive relevant content that you can share with your audience.

Why should a business care about RSS feeds? Because they save a tremendous amount of time.

Are you totally confused yet? I told you the pitfalls of them…which boils down to this….YOU ARE AT THE MERCY OF THE AUTHOR.”

8. “Don’t get technical with me. What mission? What are you talking about? I’ve just about had enough of you. Go that way, you’ll be malfunctioning in a day you near-sighted scrap pile.” – c-3PO – A New Hope

Actually, let’s get technical and talk about Three Important Components of Content Marketing

“Content creation and content marketing has become a crucial element to any digital marketing effort. The transition from big brand only tactic to common place for all online marketers has and will continually expand. Using content for search engine placement and optimization, social network exposure and traffic is quickly becoming a must have component in any online marketing strategy.

While there are certainly many components to effective content marketing, here are three buckets that really require attention and preparation.”

9. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” – Yoda – The Empire Strikes Back

How do you deliver your message online? Do you attack folks with spam? The Drastic Difference Between Social Selling And Spam

“we are all experiencing an increase in Social Selling VS Spam, what 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.”

10. “You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander.” – Darth Vader – Return of the Jedi

Reminds me of #FollowFriday… how much time gets wasted with them? I HATE #FollowFriday’s – How to Make Them Effective

Darth Vador“there are other people who are Smart, Savvy Funny, Fun etc that are attached to same exact tweet. Yes, a group of fellow Twitter users that are also smart. Imagine that. As many users that will fit in 140 characters that is. I think it is far less effective and beneficial when someone places a bunch of people in the same tweet that are from the same industry or the town.

These kinds of Follow Friday posts are the ones that have made many dislike the practice altogether, since they feel there’s little value in recommending a bunch of Real Estate agents, for example all in one tweet. Many just don’t appreciate that, and I certainly understand why.”

11. “Judge me by my size, do you?” Yoda – The Empire Strikes Back

Does it really matter how many followers you or your brand has? The Difference Between A Social Media Pro And A Celebrity

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

Answer: The celebrity factor.

12. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda – The Empire Strikes Back

Sure there are challenges in Social Media marketing – The Two Biggest Challenges faced By Social Media Marketers

Yoda“A total of 36.5% of respondents said that Engagement and Sales/Revenuewere 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.”

“May the Force be with us all.”

What’s your favorite Star Wars quote that you can connect to social media?

 

PerfectJuliaBy Julia Hull @PerfectJulia

Director of Customer Support at BundlePost

Social media marketing professional that joined the BundlePost team early in its transition from a social media agency to a software company. She is an expert in social media tools.

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Filed under Community, Content, Curation, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy

Hyper Local Marketing – Did you know?

Unique content for Hyper Local MarketingDid you know the BundlePost team works daily with Social Media agencies and Internet marketers? Folks that are working hard to get the word out about goods and services or hired to get the word out for others. One of the biggest concerns I hear among these folks is about hyper local marketing. Here is a strong accusation on the matter – Many agencies miss the mark entirely and are only concerned about taking money from small business owners. Sad, but true.

However, many small business owners miss the mark too by thinking everything is about the amount of ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ online. This is mostly because they have listened to folks that just want to take their money. Until one day the small business owner wakes up and says….. “my priority is getting my services and products sold or getting people in the door of my shop!!

The pressure is on!! The Agency now has to get to work because Small Business owners have found out – Social Media: It’s Quantity AND Quality, Not Either or

Likes and Followers are NOT sales by themselves. So we know we need quantity and quality, but what exactly do we share for the hyper local market? You can set up Google alerts to feed into BundlePost on any topic. Alerts for local are news, local events in the area, or content aggregation on any subject you’d like for that matter. However, I want to introduce you to a few things that I know will get the conversation going with your hyper local target market. The kind of things that are outside of box thinking for the typical social media marketer.

When I think hyper local marketing I think ‘Community’. When I think ‘Community’, I think history, community spirit, friends and family. Wouldn’t it be awesome for hyper local marketing to reflect that? What do you know about the history of your community? When and how was the local town established? There might be some in the audience saying ‘Who Cares’, but please remember hyper local marketing is about the community, where locally owned brick and mortar businesses actually still care about the community,  otherwise why would they have invested the time and money there.

If you can’t feel the community spirit, please know you’re not alone and I can totally understand. I was born and raised in Modesto California. I used to tell people, “Yup, born and raised, but was able to escape a few times.” Which obviously says that I wasn’t happy here. I could drive by the hospital and cemetery within five to ten minutes of each other and be overwhelmed with “Born here… died here”.

A couple of years ago I isolated myself in the mountains. Away from family, friends and community. For the very first time I spent a Christmas entirely by myself. One of the worst feelings ever. Loneliness. My only community was online. Shortly there after I decided I needed to go ‘Home’.

I am not saying to isolate yourself so that you learn to appreciate things more. Please don’t do that! What I am saying is that maybe it’s time to get re-acquainted with your surroundings. Time to do a little research like I have and possibly fall in love with where you or your client businesses live like I have.

Start looking for the positive things, the community spirit, the history and the fun trivia facts that most folks don’t know. By the time you are done with your research, you will feel like the town historian. That my friends can give you the cutting edge above your competition!

Seems like my favorite way to start a conversation lately is with… “Did you know?”

Example

Did you know that Modesto was established in 1870? Common knowledge for a local, but did you know that Paradise City and Tuolumne City literally picked up their homes and business buildings and moved them to Modesto? They placed everything on wood planks and wheels and drawn by horse to relocate for the new railroad city.

See, anyone can find out what year a town was established, Wikipedia is pretty good for that. If you want to sound more interesting dig deeper. Remember, I lived here my whole life and I didn’t know about the cities that disappeared. I was so curious about it that I looked up a map from the late 1800’s at the local library to see exactly where they were and drove to the sites, no sign of a city ever being there. NONE.

IMG_20141123_152429756

Did you catch that in the last paragraph that yes, I said LIBRARY. Your local Library is a wealth of untapped content dying for you to share! The only hard part is that there usually isn’t a ‘Share’ button. You actually need to read, learn, take notes and CREATE content that is not easily found online. The amazing part is that your librarian is eager and ready to help you. When I started asking questions about our community, I soon had a small audience of volunteers ready to assist with research.

Another Example

Did you know that Modesto is home to world’s largest winery? Again common knowledge for a local. But taking it one step further, did you know that Boone’s Farm wine is a Gallo product? Remember the Blue Hawaiian and Fuzzy Naval? Some folks probably don’t want to remember. LOL Okay, so still pushing the common knowledge for some here. So let’s get the inside scoop with this. SO, Did do you know how Boone’s Farm got its name? Here my friends is a great piece of inside scoop trivia for you. Boone’s Farm was named after a horse called Boone. Boone belonged to Julio Gallo’s granddaughter, Gina Gallo. Between the Gallo family estates was a small stall/shed for Boone on the property. Above the stall door hung a sign that read, “Boone’s Farm”

So in the last example I used the ‘Inside Scoop’. What large companies do you have in your community? Do you know someone who works for the company? Is there possibly a factory that offers tours? My inside source for this last example was my father. Dad used to work for the Gallo family in the early 70’s as a personal body-guard to the Gallo family. Awesome resource, right?

Step away from your computer and start asking the community about its past. You’ll be surprised about the awesome things you will find to share. You just might be able to rekindle the community spirit with your hyper local marketing.

In the end when we take pride in our community and we will often support our community by shopping local.

 

PerfectJuliaBy Julia Hull @PerfectJulia

Director of Customer Support at BundlePost

Social media marketing professional that joined the BundlePost team early in its transition from a social media agency to a software company. She is an expert in social media tools.

 

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Filed under Audience, BundlePost, Community, Content, Curation, Local, Marketing, Social Aggregation, Social Business, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

The Significant Difference Between Autopilot and Marketing Automation

This last week we had a BundlePost user state that they wanted their social media marketing on “autopilot” and thought that’s what we did or advocated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing automation and the term autopilot have no relation to one another in social media marketing. One is a carefully thought out and actively managed strategic component of an effective social media program, the other is liken to a drone with no pilot, mission or results.

social media marketing on autopilotIn the commercial aviation industry, millions of dollars are poured into the avionics and systems that keep aircraft in the air, comfortable for passengers and controllable by highly trained pilots. These systems are all integrated together to make the function we all know and understand as autopilot, possible. But what we never see is a plane placed on autopilot, without an experienced captain monitoring all aspects of the controls.

Pilots would never put their plane on autopilot, leave their seat and subsequently allow the plane to cruise unattended. Not only is that illegal and against all common sense and regulations, but it’s incredibly foolish and would be an accident going someplace to happen. On the contrary, there are two pilots in every commercial cockpit even though autopilot capabilities are on board. Both professional pilots are present, strapped in their seats and always ready and able to respond to any circumstance that arises.

Autopilot was never developed or designed to fly an airplane unattended, nor was it ever meant to be used as something to replace an experienced pilot. Advanced technology is designed to help efficiently manage some mundane human tasks, freeing up the pilots to ensure a smooth flight and potential problems or opportunities.

Let’s put some clarity to the differences between these two distinctly different marketing approaches as it relates to social media marketing. We will give six examples of each and provide a little detail as we go.

Social Media “Autopilot” Tactics -

Social media success does not appear by accident, or via automation, rather it can only be achieved through consistently executing proper strategy, activities and human interaction.

Accepted social marketing tactics do NOT include the following activity, tools or automation:

1) Auto-posting content from any source – This is not strategic, safe or effective.

2) Auto-tagging and posting messages – This includes things like newspaper posts that tag people you’ve automatically displayed on your Rebel Mouse or other newspaper pages, “top influencers tag messages” or any other similar tools or systems that auto-post to your pages, profiles or timelines. They are clearly automated, provide ZERO value to anyone (including yourself) and most people know this.

3) Automated Timeline or Direct Messages – We all know these are automated and not sincere as a result. We ignore not only the message you have automated, but we will likely ignore you hence forth.

4) Automated Retweet applications – Some of the newest horrid autopilot technology is the automated RT app. This little gem lets you select specific people/accounts and it will automatically RT their tweets at specific intervals. This is like an accident going somewhere to happen. It’s not effective, don’t do it.

5) Automated Pitch Tagging – We just connected (or have no relationship) and your autopilot solution tags me to pitch your link, blog, website, product or service. Have you ever wondered why email spam is now illegal? You’re doing the equivalent on social media and your brand and results will reflect it if you don’t stop. In fact many (including myself) report accounts that do such spamming, every time it happens. Wonder why your account gets suspended? Now you know.

6) Automated Engagement Posting – Imagine going to a networking event and when you introduce someone to somebody else, or tell someone about another persons book or product, the person you were referring to, took out their smart phone and played a recorded message. Or better yet, imagine that you were having a conversation with someone and a person or brand you’ve never heard of, jumped in to the conversation to tell you about their product all because he overheard you mention the word “fruit”.

Whatever you would do in real life, you should do in social media. Whatever you would never do at a networking event or walking down the street, don’t do in social. It’s not more complicated than that. Autopilot does not get real results in social media and will damage your reputation.

Consider this: If you and thousands of others are using such autopilot tactics in their social media marketing and hundreds, if not thousands are connected the same people, your autopilot tagging and posting are also appearing to the same person. What do you think the impression of your brand, product or service is when your automation is just like everyone else’s automation and being seen by the same person? I can tell you. You just became a brand or person they will not be doing business with.

“If your social media isn’t getting results you need less automation, more human & the right tools” ~@fondalo

Social Media Marketing Automation -

If you expect to get results there are a few social marketing automation functions that you need to be doing. Liken these activities as the aviation autopilot explanation we discussed earlier. You, the pilot are always there in the seat, but the plane’s autopilot can be running these functions for you.

1) Landing Page, Lead Capture, Email Drip Campaign – If you are using social media for marketing and do not have a clear marketing automation path for your prospects, you are undoubtedly not achieving the results you should/could be. Understanding your prospects click-through, registration and sign-up/order flow is extremely important and requires sales automation to be most effective.

2) Content Curation Scheduling – You must have enough relevant, valuable content in your social streams every day. It’s part and parcel effective social media. I am not referring to Retweeting or sharing other people’s curated content, but discovering and posting content that resonates with your audience. Though you should sometimes RT and share, you need to build thought leadership around the topics that drive your audience, and that requires you to aggregate and curate content they want. Scheduling these posts is a requirement, unless you have unlimited time and aren’t going to do the things that actually get results, like having conversations and building relationships. (I am being very sarcastic here. You must engage with your community if you expect results) You can either spend time posting content, or engaging and driving ROI from your efforts. Content curation scheduling is imperative!

3) Community Growth Targeting – Using tools that will help you identify your target audience and connecting with them enables you to grow your community and leverage the Social Media Connection Cycle. Finding and connecting with your customers and prospects across the social graph is extremely important. Doing it manually is cumbersome and extremely inefficient.

4) New and Evergreen Content Scheduling – When you create content in the form of blog posts and articles, you need to share that to your streams so your audience is aware. Posting it once is pointless, so you need to strategically schedule new and evergreen content multiple times when it is created as well as on an ongoing basis.

5) Scheduled Marketing Messages – If you have knowledge of something you will be doing on a specific day/time, scheduling your status update about it ahead of time makes perfect sense. Periodically scheduling marketing messages about what you do, that link to your landing pages (without tagging anyone) is appropriate and efficient. If you have done your other social strategy and activities effectively, you will earn the right to do so and people will read, click and share them.

6) Scheduled Graphics – If you are creating and posting graphics and photos to various social sites, you will want to ensure that you’re being consistent and frequent. You can’t be at your desk all the time and you shouldn’t be spending desk time doing such manual tasks. Scheduling this kind of content to your various social accounts is efficient and appropriate.

Wrap Up

There is a massive difference between social media marketing automation and autopilot. You need to know the difference and stop sheepishly replicating the activity other people are doing, when most of them are as broke and ineffective with their social media results as you are. Stop being part of the blind leading the blind and start understanding social media for what it is, not how the popular majority are using it (unsuccessfully). If you’re going to replicate what someone else is doing, you had better be darn sure that it is actually effective on the dollar and cents level and more importantly isn’t hurting your results instead of improving them.

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Filed under Audience, automation, Blog, Brand, BundlePost, Community, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, influence, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Retweet, Smart Phone, Social Aggregation, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

The 3 Most Important Factors For Growing Your Social Media Community

It seems that almost daily we come across social media marketers, enthusiasts and brands that still seem to have limited understanding of social media best practices. Often the social media “consultant” is even missing key factors in their own social presence that hinders their community, reach and growth. You’d think we would be beyond this in 2014, but sadly that is not the case.

How to grow a social communityWhen it comes to growing your social community there are three main factors that either propel or restrict your growth of your engaged, targeted audience. These three “buckets” are not the sole factors for growing a targeted audience, however they are the most important items you need to start with.

Let’s be clear and point out that the information within this post is specifically speaking to the marketer, brand or business professional that uses social media for marketing of any type. If you are social networking without a business purpose, and therefore not doing social media or social marketing, this information does not apply to you directly, however it is our professional opinion that you should still read and consider changes to what you are doing.

The 3 Most Important Factors In Community Growth:

1) Profile

One of the first things people do when you follow or friend them on a specific social network is look at your Profile. If you have not strategically completed your bio and information details properly, you are dramatically hindering the connections you make. Since there are so many social networks, we will focus on Twitter and Facebook as examples. Here are a few things you need to consider.

Twitter is one of the most informal, effective social platforms. Being human is extremely important if you’re going to be effective. Below are some of the biggest mistakes we see on Twitter profiles:

a) Privacy – If you’re doing social media, do not lock your privacy setting. Your community will never grow.

b) Profile pic – No pic, no follow. It’s that simple. Beyond making sure you have a profile pic, you need to consider whether you are an established brand or just starting out. People connect with people, not brands, logos or companies they’ve never heard of. Give them a human to connect with, rather than a logo they’ve never heard of.

c) Name – That’s great that your Twitter handle is @WhoTheHeckCares, but who are YOU? We see so many Twitter accounts with a great pic, and in the name field the person just put their Twitter handle again. Tell people your name. At the very least your first name and put it in the NAME field in Twitter. That’s why it’s there.

d) Bio – If you want people to be interested in you and what you do, make it easy for them to know you and what you do. All too often we see Twitter bio’s that contain cryptic tag lines, garbled incoherent sentences or no information at all. You need to know that you are leaving your potential followers confused and they are moving on instead of connecting with you.

Facebook is a social network with multiple profile types, such as a personal profile and business or community pages. These different account type are truly different and need to be managed as though they are. It is also extremely important to understand that business IS personal. The days of separating these two things are long gone. People do business with people, not faceless brands.

a) Personal Profile – When you lock your personal Facebook profile down, you are limiting your potential connections with prospective customers. Be sure your profile security settings let prospective connections get a sense of who you are and what you do.

b) Your BusinessfacebookprofileAll too often people add their business or employer to their profile hastily without intent. This leaves their business page not connected and opens a default Facebook profile for the mentioned company in your profile. This default tells nobody anything about the company or what it does and makes it impossible to build a following. Check your personal profile to ensure you have connected it to your business page. (see example to the right)

b) Facebook Business Pages – Fill out all of the profile information, and write it in a way that someone unfamiliar with you or your business will understand. Be sure your cover photo adds to the messaging and understanding of what you do, so when someone visits your page, they “get it” quickly and decide to connect.

2) Stream

a) Value – For the love of everything holy, you need to realize that social media is not direct sales, telemarketing or email spam. It is about earning relationships. When people check your social streams and find only content and messaging that is all about you, your brand, products or services, most will run. You must be selfless and realize it’s not about you, but your audience. Post content that they find interesting and relevant that is not about you, and you will earn the right to pitch your stuff to a receptive audience. Fail at this and you will get far fewer connections than you could.

b) Frequency – I heard a social media agency owner tell me last week that they were told that posting more than three times per day on any social platform was not a good idea. Really? Who told you that? Their response – “A social media guru that was speaking at an event we attended.”

Let me be really clear here. This is not 2005. If you are only posting 3 times a day on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or any other social platform, NOBODY is seeing anything you post. You have to have relevant, valuable, interesting content that YOU post, not Retweet or click Share, all day, every day. Yes, the volumes differ from platform to platform, but 3 posts isn’t the number on ANY of them.

3) Engagement

a) Conversations & Relationships – The other thing a potential social connection will typically do when reviewing your newsfeeds is look for engagement. They want to know that if they connect with you or your brand, you respond, thank, get into conversations and relationships ensue. This is SOCIAL media remember. It’s not spam media or pitch my stuff media. Be social and leverage the media and you will get many more connections and a growing social community.

When someone considering connecting with you or your brand on social media, they will unconsciously cycle through your profile, your bio and your streams. Using what they see, they quickly determine whether they want to connect with you. Focus on these three important factors and see your community grow faster than you have before.

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Filed under Agency, Audience, Community, connection, Content, Engagement, Facebook, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Twitter