Category Archives: Tools

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

The Two Sides Of Social Media Strategy Are Very Different Things

The Two Different Sides of Social Media StrategyWe often see a lot written and taught about social media strategy and the importance it plays in the success of integrated, digital marketing today. Unfortunately, there are substantial differences between the two elements of strategy that are frequently overlooked.

Many consider strategy as something that you only do prior to or while you are implementing social media marketing. In fact, there are two distinct sides of strategy and they have very different definitions. Let’s define the differences between these two sides and outline some of the components of each.

The Two Elements Of A Social Media Strategy:

1) The Plan

By definition, a strategy is a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time

It is extremely important to note that there are several critical key words contained within the definition of strategy. Let’s highlight the ones that stand out:

Careful – The term careful implies that time has been taken to thoughtfully research specific markets, competitors and audiences to ensure assumptions being made are accurate.

Plan – A plan contains specifics surrounding the information obtained during the research and are combined into a detailed plan that can be followed.

Goal – A goal is not a wish, hope or dream, but rather a detailed, specific desired result that combines measurable components that are tracked.

Long – As you should be aware, social media marketing is not direct marketing. It is marathon, not a sprint that focuses on the long-term effects of value and relationship building.

2) The Execution

In contrast to the first element of strategy, execution is the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal

It is one thing to have a plan, it is an entirely different thing to execute it. Think of your plan as a map that highlights the starting and end points of your social media marketing efforts. Think of the execution as the daily activities required to get from point A to point B as directly, efficiently and quickly as possible.

Caring the analogy further, if you knew you wanted to get to New York City and you were going to drive there from Portland, Oregon, having a map of the USA isn’t going to help you achieve that goal in any meaningful time frame. You need to know –

What – Are the streets, highways and routes you are going to take?

Mileage – How many miles per gallon does your vehicle get?

When – Are you going to stop to fuel up?

Where – Are you going to rest overnight on the journey?

What – Are you going to take with you to ensure you get there?

How – Much will the journey cost?

Stepping out of the analogy and back into social media, the second element of strategy requires knowledge, skill and resources. The proper tools must be deployed, using the tactics, quantities, targeting and engagement to achieve the plan that has been so painstakingly designed.

Be sure that you take every bit of the amount of time you spend on planning, on designing and implementing the execution side of your strategy. Execution is where the rubber meets the road and the difference between knowing where you want to go and being able to get there…

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Filed under Audience, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

Social Media Content Curation, Marketing Messages and Results

In business, marketing and social media, time is money and results are important. With so many tools to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to spend time, effort and money in order to realize real, measurable results.

I want better results from my social media marketingKnowing that 75% of Social Media Marketers Want Better Tools and 88% Better Results [Report] it is no surprise that many are looking to improve their efficiencies and reallocate their time management toward engagement activities. Content curation, creation, evergreen content sharing, hashtagging and status update scheduling are crucial components to this time reallocation. However, being forced to use a myriad of readers, browser plugins and other clunky tools require far too many hours and resources in an efficient work flow to realize the best results.

In fact, more time is spent managing these required tasks than is spent in conversations and relationship building, creating a significant problem for marketers. Time and content management are in constant challenge with efficiency and strategy, forcing many to invest time for required back office tasks instead of putting resources toward the things that do achieve social media results.

What If You Had 10 More Hours Per Week?

What if there was a better way to manage curated and marketing content in social media, that enabled you to be more efficient, strategic and effective? What if you could spend less time on the required activities and more time engaging, building relationships and getting results?

You Can…

It never ceases to amaze us when someone sees BundlePost in action for the first time. Our completely unique approach to social content management always gets the “Ah ha” moment and response as the new user realizes the incredible impact the technology has on their social media management.

If you’re tired of DOING social media marketing and want to finally start being strategic, effective and get real results, let us show you BundlePost in action. Tweet us to schedule a live demo today.

Tweet: Hey @BundlePost I'd love to see your Social Content Management System in action! http://ctt.ec/V6KGB+ Hey @BundlePost I’d love to see your Social Content Management System in action!

 

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Filed under BundlePost, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, Hashtag, Marketing, Plugin, Relationship, Results, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

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

Ready for the Social Holiday Season? My Secret to Christmas Content Curation

“City sidewalk, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style. In the air there’s a feeling of #SocialBusiness.”

Easy content curation for Christmas social media marketingThat little line in the famous Christmas song is something I will be enjoying this year since all of my content for the Holiday Season is selected and curated. While I am shopping on the busy sidewalks, laughing and smiling there will be some of you that will probably be stuck at your computers. Christmas is a time for friends and family not a time to search and curate content. Especially when you have the ability to create, search, curate and schedule things ahead of time with BundlePost.

I will show you how I quickly and easily completed this task so that I can actually enjoy the Season this year. Wouldn’t you like to know how to save time and actually be able to accomplish more in the process? What’s more, this is something that you can use throughout the entire year, not just during the Holidays.

BundlePost has a Google Chrome extension called the Bundlet. The Bundlet allows you to grab and curate anything online and save it as a social media post in folders for scheduling.

Did you catch that? ANYTHING online. Some of you might be saying … “But I can do that with the Hootsuite Hootlet or with Buffer app”. Yes, that is true, you certainly can. However, I am not talking about scheduling things one at a time, each article or blog post separately. I am talking about Bulk Scheduling the content, graphics and blog posts you come across every day.

Using the Bundlet to save content for later bulk scheduling, there are two folder options

1. My Content – Create folders for all you or your clients marketing content and marketing messages.

2. Queues – Create folders for supplemental content. Content that you know will resonate with your audience. (Example – Christmas folder)

Christmas Queues in BundlePost

As you can see I selected to go with the Queue folder for my Christmas content. The possibilities and uses for Queue folders are actually endless. You can create a folder for any subject, client or category, then as you come across articles that you know will resonate with your audience, you can easily add them to that Queue and schedule them all in minutes. Doing research for a blog? You can use your Bundlet and Queue folders as a bookmark if you like. One place to have everything.

Now, back to Curating Christmas Content.

The Secret

Find the (2)1. Search for Content …. For things you know would interest your audience.

2. Click Chrome extension – Bundlet (Should see the content URL in the lower left hand corner and the title for the content you are queuing)

3. Drop down Save Content to – Add queue folder

4. Name folder (If you have Holiday product to share you might want to name it ‘Holiday Product’) You are the only one that will see the folder name. (So don’t stress over it LOL)

5. Select folder you just created or folder you want your content to be placed in. If folder is not selected your efforts will go to cyber space. Not even the Magic of Christmas can retrieve it for you. Sorry.

6. If box is checked, this content won’t be deleted if exported … that way you may share on multiple social platforms.

7. Curate Content. #TisTheSeason …. so have fun with it! I would suggest adding the authors Twitter handle as you see in the graphic. Great way to give them credit and possibly start a conversation. Have a special #Hashtag for Season? Be sure to include.

8. Click Submit

It only takes seconds to do these steps with the Bundlet. Now you just repeat those steps again as you find additional content for your holiday strategy! Keep going until you feel you have enough content in your Queue folder.

Let’s say you wanted to start your Christmas Content the day after Thanksgiving. That would give you a total of 28 days you need Christmas content. And let’s also say you wanted to post two Christmas items a day in between your normal content curation and marketing message posts. You would simple Queue 56 items into your Queue folder, create a schedule that contains two posting times per day, then merge the content in the Queue with that new schedule, run hashtags and your scheduled posts for the holidays are complete.

Want more help on executing with the Bundlet, Queues or BundlePost? Message me directly on Twitter and I will be happy to help!
PerfectJuliaBy Julia Hull @PerfectJulia

Director of Customer Support at BundlePost

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

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Filed under Audience, Blog, Buffer, BundlePost, Content, content creation, Curation, Hootsuite, Marketing, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

Personal and Expanded Accounts Get Randomize Function In BundlePost

There are several distinctions between the different BundlePost account types. Though the majority of BundlePost users are Pro accounts that provide unlimited feeds, schedules, hashtags and upgraded functions, our Expanded and Personal account users are no less important to us. We recently evaluated the different social content management account types, their features and capabilities and came to a realization that we needed to make a few changes.

Pro accounts have always had the efficient Randomize function and recently were also given the new Mix algorithm, which makes shuffling up to 100 scheduled posts by curated source, topic and marketing messages in a single click a real breeze. This new feature was also designated as a Pro account only function, leaving Personal and Expanded accounts to continue to drag and drop scheduled posts, without any automation. We decided this needed to be changed…

Randomize feature for BundlePost Expanded and Pro UsersToday BundlePost is announcing that we have reconfigured Personal and Expanded accounts to include the Randomize feature.

Now Expanded and Personal account types can single click randomize their 40-50 scheduled posts. When managing curation for social media from multiple sources, RSS Feeds and marketing repository messages, the drag and drop capability becomes a more fine tuning strategic function, instead of the only way to mix posts from various sources. Clicking the Randomize button will randomize your scheduled posts to ensure a more random order of the content and subject matter you are posting to social media, and do it in a much more efficient way.

Though the new Intelligent Mix algorithm will remain a Pro Only feature, the Randomize feature will definitely infuse a substantial boost in efficiency to our other user types. Let us know what you think!

 

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Filed under automation, BundlePost, Content, Curation, Marketing, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, Tools