Category Archives: Social Media

The 4 Types Of Social Media Spammers – Which One Are You?

One of the worst things about spam, whether traditional email spam or today’s more prevalent social media spam is that it preys on 4 types of social media spammersthe inexperienced and most vulnerable user. They typically don’t know what they don’t know and therefore are easily taken advantage of by others. New social media users are more likely to click links in spam messages, reinforcing the spam tactics to those that use them. Likewise, malicious scam or virus spam within social media, continues to hit the new user at a much higher frequency.

Unlike email spam, social media spam does not require skill to bypass technological barriers designed to prevent spammers from executing their craft. Thankfully the average person is unlikely to be able to hack unprotected email servers, obtain spam email lists and deploy spam email campaigns that invade the privacy and inboxes of millions of people.

Social media spam is particularly harmful due to the low barrier to entry afforded the spammer, thus requiring near zero technical knowledge or skill to take part in the practice. In fact, the majority of spam on social media appears to be done by new marketers that just don’t yet understand what they are doing.

The Objective

To those that have not taken the time or invested the resources to learn proper social media marketing, I wanted to share a recent situation and the real and overwhelmingly negative reaction that most people have to spam tactics. The intent is to show you what people on the receiving end of your social media spam (intentional or not) feel about you, and hopefully open your eyes to how damaging your methods are to your brand, reputation and results. We will then detail the 4 kinds of social media spammers.

Recent Spam Example

Last week I received a friend request on LinkedIn from a “Senior Brand Manager” of a U.S. based marketing firm that describes itself as a total online marketing provider for businesses. Upon reviewing their profile and recent activity, I decided to accept the friend request as they appeared to be an online professional that would understand the social media industry of which I am passionately involved.

Within two minutes of my friend request acceptance I received a two page, private inbox message from this individual pitching their myriad of programming and digital marketing services. Frustrated with the self-titled Senior marketer, I replied to them with my feelings about their spam tactics and also posted the following on a few of my social accounts.

“FYI – you’re no marketing professional when you send a 2 page sales pitch inmail on LinkedIn 2 mins after your friend request is accepted”

What People Think Of Spammers

What people think of you when you spam in social mediaThough my social media post about this situation received a lot of comments, likes and conversation, the thread on Facebook provides a linear timeline of the feelings and emotions that recipients of social media spam feel. The large graphic on the right is a partial screen capture of that conversation that I highly recommend you read. You will get the sense of the damage you can do to your brand and reputation whether or not you realize what you are doing is social media spam or not. (if you’d like to read the actual Facebook post and comments, click here).

The 4 Types Of Social Media Spammers:

1) Newbie: Monkey See, Monkey Do – The most prevalent perpetrators of social media spam are newbies. Made up of new technology startups, marketers, or even new social media tools produced by people who have never successfully done social media marketing at all, the newbie group of spammers have invested little to no time learning social media marketing, they simply watch what other newbies are doing and copy them, thinking this is how it’s done. Though the majority of this group are not evil or intent on using spam tactics, they don’t know what they don’t know and therefore perpetuate what they see others doing.

2) I Don’t Care – Another spammer type is the marketer or individual that just doesn’t care. They are going to spam regardless of the negative feedback they receive or the lack of real results. All they care about is “getting their message out” in the fastest way possible, without regard for others. One of the most annoying spammer types in my opinion.

3) The “Expert” – This group of spammers can be the most harmful. Made up of people who think they know what they are doing and do not, or worse they purposefully use spam to increase their YouTube subscribers, followers or Facebook page likes. They are most damaging to the industry because they appear to newer users to be credible and experienced, or worse they know better and intentionally do it using alter accounts to increase their traffic and perception in the industry. I experienced this first hand with someone I personally know recently. Talk about being disappointed…

4) Just Plain Evil – Lastly are the evil spammers that knowingly and intentionally use spam to spread viruses, promote other accounts or sell purchased followers, fans or likes. I think we all understand this kind of spammer without the need to detail it further.

Examples Of Social Media Spam

Without making a huge list, here is a partial list of the most common tactics that are viewed as spam.

  • Automated or manual Twitter direct messages that promote you, your product/service or website.
  • Promotional or sales related LinkedIn messages sent to either new connections or those you have not built any relationship.
  • Tagging people on Twitter messages that promote you, your product/service or website.

I highly suggest that if you fit into any of the spammer types listed in this post, that you spend some time understanding what social media is and how to do it properly. I recommend that you recognize the negative sentiment you are creating around your brand or reputation and cease all spamming activity that is driving that sentiment. Lastly, you should empathize with the people who are being spammed continually and be part of the change in this industry, instead of part of the problem.

If you are a social, marketing or business professional that understands this issue, I would like to empower you to also be part of the change in the industry. It’s easy to ignore, disconnect or delete accounts made up of the newbie spammers, but instead we should be educating and leading them. I suggest we all do a gentle nudge and maybe even link them to this post so at least they will finally know what they don’t know. From there, the responsibility lies on them.

 

 

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Filed under Audience, Brand, marketers, Marketing, Social Media, Spam

When Brands Fail To Remain Relevant, They RadioShack – Who’s Next?

Now that the buzz and media frenzy about the demise of RadioShack and the analysis of why by Wall Street and other experts  is beginning to subside, another consideration should be examined. What happens to brands that do not remain relevant, stop innovating and sit on their hind quarters? Well in short, they RadioShack…

When Brands Fail to Remain RelevantAre You Relevant?

On and offline businesses should be getting a clear message that remaining relevant through evolving with changing times is a must. The penalties for not doing so can be incredibly harsh as we have seen with many top brands in North America that became so massive and full bureaucracy that they could no longer move or even make decisions quickly when times changed. A reliance on their “brand” coupled with an expectation that their customers would remain loyal if they continued to do business and usual has resulted in many going the way of RadioShack.

Many have commented and speculated as to the reasons for RadioShack and other big brands falling, but the details all tend to simply boil down to not remaining relevant and changing with the times. We’ve seen very similar results with the likes of Palm, BlackBerry and even Kmart. Regardless of the industry, company size or product niche, brands and marketers must realize what their customers want, how their buying habits change and how marketing and delivery of products and services continually change.

Who’s Next?

We believe the next industry that we can expect to experience a significant shake up is in the content world. Now we bet you are thinking we mean online, and that will be part of it, but for this discussion we are referring to content providers, television and Hollywood.

Just like digital disrupted the music industry with the rise of the iPod and later online music services like Pandora and iHeartRadio, the cable and satellite space is going to be in real trouble. Visual content we normally think of for television, movie theaters and DVD players has been on a long transition toward streaming services via the likes of Netflix and others.

Now before you start thinking “duh, we know this”, it’s important that we take the discussion to a deeper level. Beyond the innovation of technology resulting in an advancement in relevance that Streaming Video providers are delivering to the market, there are a few other things that they are taking advantage of that might not be as obvious.

1) People hate their Cable Company – Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but most of us dislike Comcast and the like. We feel you have extorted from us for years, displayed horrible customer service and near zero concern for us as a customer. Your social media has highlighted these facts to many and your prices are not sustainable. Most of use want something better, that gives us control, without the $200+ monthly bill.

2) Content is becoming a Commodity – With the internet expanding in technology and access on a daily basis, we know how to get the content we want, without being tied to our television. Though we like our local content and special “shows”, we are tired of you controlling the content we have access to and when and how we can access it. Additionally, your technology is seemingly ancient and we want the latest, easiest to use and non-tethered options that fit our lifestyle.

3) On Demand Rules Consumption – The way we want to consume content is changing. We have increasingly busy and diverse work hours and responsibilities for career and home. We want access to content when it is convenient for us, not you.

These are just a few of the reasons that Comcast and the like are going to see a disruption in their monopoly businesses. Technology is advancing and driving down price, while increasing access, mobility and on demand capabilities today’s consumer wants. Innovation, service and care has all but disappeared in the space, while prices and restrictions continue to rise. Consumers are screaming for alternatives and the industry is only clamping down harder to retain their domination. This opens the door for massive market disruption.

Online Disruption As Well?

These similar constraints and concerns will ultimately disrupt online content consumption patterns as well. As consumers increasingly tire of Google and Facebook controlling the content they’re able to see and easily discover and marketer frustration is amplified for many connected reasons, a shakeup to the status quo is certainly going to come in short order. Consumers want the most recent relevant content in increasingly simplified ways and content marketers, brands and blogs need improved abilities to get in front of those consumers with their content. Do you see the similarities here? Another space rife for disruption.

How do you see relevance and innovation disrupting on and offline brands, marketers and consumers in the future?

 

 

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Filed under Brand, Content, customer service, Facebook, Google, marketers, Marketing, Social Media

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

Should We Be Lowering The Social Media Marketing Bar?

Should we Lower the Social Media BarYes, we should. Now let me explain…

In my recent post entitled Top 2015 Social Media Predictions – Disruptive Technologies I covered one of the important disruption areas to watch this year, that was General Social Media Marketing. In fact it was the number one item listed in my 2015 predictions. Specifically I was referring to making social media easier to implement, get results and be effective. The actual prediction was as follows:

“As social media marketing becomes more and more complex, new technology is required to make it easier, regardless of user experience, knowledge or skill. This is a requirement for the industry whose time has come.”

The Problem:

The social media marketing industry is incredibly complex. Marketers, brands and individuals are attending events and classes, reading articles and buying books at a massive pace, trying to understand what to do. At the same time a handful of social media speakers, authors and celebrities are raking in the speaking fees and book royalties.

I say good for them, and good for anyone that achieves success! However after almost a decade of social networking, the gap between the “experts” and the average brand or marketer is widening, therefore I believe the current path isn’t resolving the complexities faced by marketers and is only serving to perpetuate the massive learning curve. Furthermore, I think that the majority will continue to be left behind after giving up, running out of time and resources, or keep on trying without realizing the promised results.

What Does Lowering The Bar Mean?

What It Does NOT Mean – Sometimes to explain something, it is helpful to first clarify what it doesn’t mean. Lowering the social media marketing bar does NOT mean to lower standards, do it incorrectly or somehow promote less professional ethics and methods. It should also NOT be considered to in any way promote auto-pilot tools and tactics.

If the social media marketing industry is going to be sustainable, survive long-term and even thrive beyond the point it is today, something needs to be done differently. Technologies that facilitate social media management need to better understand the challenges, learning curves and complexities of individual marketers and adjust to them appropriately. Existing and new tool developers must produce from a deeper level of experience and understanding of social marketing to simplify functions that are needed, not just create features because it’s possible to do so.

Social media marketing IS challenging, but those with extensive experience in the field must raise the bar on the technology side of the business in order to lower the bar on the user experience side. Those with the experience are better able to break down the barriers that exist for less experienced marketers and define best practices, processes and strategies that can then be incorporated into simplified technologies that are effective, not just automated.

User Beware

One of the more destructive trends within the social media marketing space is and has always been the continual flood of new tools being developed and introduced. Don’t get us wrong, we love tools, but the problem is that the overwhelming majority of tools created for the social media space are developed by gear heads with limited or unsuccessful experienced executing social media marketing themselves. The fact is that MOST tools are created because they can be created and not because they actually understand the problem they think they are solving or because it really solves a problem to begin with.

The Future Is Bright

I believe the social media marketing bar needs to be lowered with a new era of sophisticated technology that drops the massive knowledge requirements for marketers to be successful. This can only be accomplished when the most experienced and successful marketers use their knowledge to raise the bar and expectations for the next generation of social media tools. I want to impact the real results of marketers in ways that don’t exist today. I want to change the culture of shiny new tools that distract marketers and brands from obtaining those results and instead replace the prevailing culture with innovation that significantly impacts the bottom line.

Data combined innovative technology can and should drive change and simplification for the masses. If better results are achieved by all social media marketers, it will represent even more receptive actions on the part of consumers and buyers. The more receptive consumers and buyers are to great social media marketing, the better the results are achievable for all. If only big brands and experienced marketers are dominating the results spectrum, the entire house of cards is in jeopardy.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

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Filed under automation, Brand, Data, Marketing, Results, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

Social Media Marketing – Data And Results Matter

One thing that has become obvious about the social media industry is change. Buzzwords, new trends and even big surveys that measure the next thing big business is focusing on in social are a never-ending stream of change. Content, influence marketing, analytics, engagement, branding, ROI and lead generation are just a few of the described “priorities” in at least one of the last several years in the industry. This moving target priority method is not expected to be going anywhere soon.

Social Media Data And Results MatterAlthough fast paced industries such as social media marketing, e-commerce and mobile are in a constant state of advancement and change, the goals that marketers focus on need to be more focused. If every time a new fad or buzzword appears, and the focus and goals get drastically changed, you can expect that results and management support will also.

Don’t get us wrong, we realize that social media is constantly changing and the executional requirements right along with it, but without focus on a clear objective of why you are in social, what you are trying to achieve and a steadfast plan to measure it, problems will arise.

For Example:

In a recent Harris Poll, 88% of professionals doing social media marketing consider it to be “important”. The data further showed that 82% of marketers strongly or somewhat strongly agree that analyzing social media engagement data can help improve their bottom line.

The Challenges:

At the same time and despite the plethora of monitoring and analytics solutions on the market today, social media marketing best practices, results and objectives seem allusive. Here’s the numbers to back that up.

  • 84% of marketers said it helped them to engage with influencers like the media
  • 84% said they thought social marketing could enhance relationships with existing customers
  • 67% of marketers say that assessing the effectiveness of social media activities was a challenge for them
  • 62% said designing and overall social media strategy was a challenge
  • 59% believe that educating staff about social media was difficult
  • 56% have a hard time making sense of the data gathered through social media
  • 55% are finding it challenging to align social media strategies across departments
  • 44% struggle with executive “buyin” on social media importance
  • 42% said they find it difficult to know when to take action on data from social media

It is no wonder that organizations small and large alike are struggling to get real results from social media when general knowledge and commitment to required resources are at such drastic odds. Like any other component of business, data should drive decisions in social media marketing and the execution of the resulting efforts require commitment, experience and appropriate tools. If marketers and brands invested much more heavily on the front-end decision and commitment level of social media marketing, the decisions related to data, execution, strategy as well as tactics would be far more clear.

When social media marketing is executed with sound strategy and the commitment of expertise and resources are made, real measurable, dollar and cents results will appear. When and if they do not, one of the cogs in the wheel is improperly aligned. It’s not the medium that is the problem, it’s the fabrication of and the subsequent operators steering the wheel that determine whether social media is successful or not from one marketer to another.

 

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Filed under Analytics, Brand, Content, Data, Engagement, influence, Marketing, Monitoring, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, social media tool, Strategy, survey, Tools

What 1 Billion Mobile Users On Facebook Looks Like [infographic]

At least once every month, more than 1 billion Facebook users will access the behemoth social site in 2015. There is no doubt that as consumers become even more mobile with their internet usage, Facebook will take advantage of it with mobile ad revenues that are expected to be three-quarters of their total ad income. As mobile app users have made the switch to a predominant mobile/social connection and Facebook has facilitated their business model and functionality to adjust to this, 1 billion can seem to be a small number.

Mobile internet usage, social networking access as well as social media marketing in the mobile age is changing how we do a lot of things today. In some sense it has increased our patience in normal life, since waiting on someone who is late doesn’t involve boredom and staring at the ceiling, while at the same time we expect instant gratification, responses and communication with our friends, favorite brands and vendors. But if we really considered the billion number, it may cause us to reconsider how we currently look at mobile and how it will continue to evolve.

With numbers so large being tossed around in business, banking and social media, we sometimes don’t grasp how big that number actually is. In order to truly grasp just how enormous 1 billion is, and understand the incredible impact 1 billion mobile users have on a social network, we decided to do some research on the 1 billion figure and put it into more interesting perspectives that might surprise you.

Infographic - 1 Billion Mobile Facebook Users

Before we go any further, we’d like to add that by 2016, over 2.16 billion smartphone users will exist worldwide. Coupled with what we already explained about what 1 billion looks like, it’s important to recognize how quickly these numbers scale when they are that large.

Once you are able to conceptualize the size and scale of 1 billion and relate it to the number of mobile users that are accessing Facebook, you can truly get a picture of the impact mobile is having on social networking, social media marketing and mobile advertising.

If you also consider that there is only an estimated 1.9 Billion smartphone users in the entire world, the total of 1 billion mobile Facebook users begins to appear as large as it really is.

What is your strategy to leverage the 1 billion mobile Facebook app users over the next decade?

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Filed under ad, advertising, App, Facebook, Marketing, Mobile, Smart Phone, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

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