Tag Archives: execution

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

Part 3 – What Is Social Media Friction And How To Reduce It

Process and Workflow Social Media Friction in Social Media FrictionThis is our final post in our series about social media friction. So far, we have covered the broad definition of friction and also detailed one of the most common types, Promotional/Results Friction.

In our final blog on this topic, we are going to take a look at what is often the most challenging category of friction, Process/Workflow Friction.

What Is Process/Workflow Friction?

My definition of Process/Workflow Friction is anything within your daily social media management processes and that is inefficient and requires diverting your attention from effectiveness.

Consider process/workflow friction as the required elements of your daily workflow that is not smooth, requires more time than it should or involves tasks and tools that do not seamlessly work together. Conversely, frictionless process/workflow would be having everything across your social media management tasks highly efficient and effective, leaving your time and focus on engagement, conversations and relationship building.

Consequences Of Process Friction:

Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, when there is friction in your daily social media workflow, your effectiveness and results are impacted negatively. Though we know that doing social media properly requires an incredible amount of time and resources, where your time is being spent is the crucial factor, not how much time you are spending.

Workflow friction in social media marketing typically manifests for one of two reasons. Though the reason you are experiencing friction in your daily processes matters, identifying friction points and reducing them should ultimately be the priority.

Workflow Friction Reasons:

1) Undefined Processes: Probably the most prevalent reason marketers experience workflow friction with their social media marketing is undefined processes. This can include things like a nonexistent strategy, improper strategy or misunderstanding of how to utilize social media effectively.

Without the proper knowledge and experience to execute effectively, strategy and process can become completely disconnected.

2) Incorrect Tools: The definition on insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Unfortunately, many social media marketers do just that. They are using a myriad of disconnected inefficient tools that result in numerous friction points in their daily required tasks.

Many of these tools and workflow issues inadvertently create additional promotional/results friction that only tends to compound the lack of results. An example is tools that are suggesting curated content for you based on what’s popular and already being shared by your peers. If you want results with your social media marketing, be sure you have control of content selection in an efficient way. There’s nothing that will more negatively affect your content curation strategy than sharing popular content everyone has already read and shared or worse, content that is not targeted to the audience you are trying to reach.

Finally, any tools that are automatically posting to your timelines, tagging other people or duplicating what you see others automatically posting, is creating friction in your social media results. Avoid all such tools if you want to reduce friction with your workflow and results.

Identifying Workflow/Process Friction:

Efficiency without improved results, does not impact your overall effectiveness. Reducing and removing friction in your daily social media management should manifest in not only improved efficiency, but also effectiveness and net, real results. It is extremely important that you understand this difference if you are going to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Is your current workflow scalable? – In other words, are you able to scale up volumes, clients and required tasks without an impact on your time and resources using your current processes. If the answer is no, you have friction in your workflow.

Am I spending more time on process than I am on results? – If you are spending more than 35% of your time managing social media posting, hashtagging, scheduling, determining marketing message posts, etc, you have friction in your workflow.

As social media becomes more mature and platforms continue to make changes that affect your ability to reach your audience, being consistent, efficient and effective will become even more important. Identifying the friction you have in your workflow, tools and processes will be something that you can no longer overlook. The pain points that your social media management friction are inflicting on you daily will begin to show up in diminishing returns if left to continue. Identify and reduce the friction that is keeping you from realizing the achievable results that social media can deliver when done properly.

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Filed under Friction, Marketing, Results, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Strategy

Part 2 – What Is Social Media Friction And How To Reduce It

Promotional/Results friction in social media marketing - Part 2In our first post of this series, we attempted to define and detail social media friction and the general consequences it can have on your overall social media management and results. We also listed two of the main friction groups that most marketers need to focus on, which were 1) Promotional/Results Friction and 2) Process/Workflow Friction.

In this second blog post of this series, we are going to focus on the friction that often accompanies Promotion and Results.

What Is Promotional/Results Friction?

My definition of Promotional/Results friction is anything that hampers your social media marketing results.

Think of this kind of social media friction as anything you are doing or not doing that creates friction between your community and what you do/are marketing. Conversely, frictionless promotional/results would be having everything across your social accounts easily understood, discoverable and found.

Examples Of Results Friction:

1) Poor BIO – You are creating friction with your promotional results if your bio is done in such a way that people leave having no real idea what you do. This is a common friction point across the social graph.

2) No Link – If you are using social media for marketing and have no link in your bio, on your page or profile, you are creating friction between your connections and results. Along the same lines is having multiple links in your profile. Keep it simple and frictionless for your connections.

3) Bad SMO – Bad social media optimization of your website, blog or other web properties is a common friction point in social media marketing. Remove the friction by ensuring you have links to your social accounts prominently displayed on the top right of every site/page your audience visits. Make it easy for them to connect with you and your brand wherever THEY want to. Friction is making this a difficult task for your community.

4) Bad Landing Pages – Do you know where you are sending your connections when they click the link(s) in your personal and brand social accounts. Is there unified messaging on the pages? Are you confusing your prospects on social media with messaging on your website or landing pages that are unclear?

All of these examples can create friction that is effecting your bottom line results. Strive to create a frictionless experience for your audience and make everything easy to understand.

Identifying Results Friction:

Many of these friction points can be easily identified by simply reviewing your social accounts with these things in mind. Less obvious friction points can be discovered by paying attention to your audience and their interactions with you.

Are people asking what you do? – If people have to ask what you do, you have created friction with your social media marketing. If you frequently get this question, you definitely need to examine your profiles, messaging and landing pages to determine the friction points that are causing the confusion.

Do people seem uninterested in what you do when you bring it up? – There are usually two scenarios that cause this:

1) You have a product or service they don’t want/need

2) They do not understand what you do and don’t want to appear dumb by asking.

Here’s something to help you conceptualize frictionless promotional/results – “Conversion = Providing value greater than cost with a process that easily facilitates the customers decision” @fondalo

Social media marketing and management is challenging in and of itself. Making it more difficult to achieve results by adding friction between your community and what you do is liken to shooting yourself in the foot. Identify and the promotional/results friction that exists in your marketing efforts and take immediate conscious steps to reduce and remove them.

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Filed under Friction, Marketing, Results, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Strategy

Part 1 – What Is Social Media Friction And How To Reduce It

There are two absolutely required components for successful social media marketing, Strategy and Execution. When these important elements work together and are done properly, social media results are not only achievable, but they can be expected. Understanding and identifying the friction points that are inevitably present within these two components can be challenging. More importantly,  reducing the friction within your social media management is crucial to your social media success.

What Is Social Media Friction and How to reduce itUnfortunately, there is a significant difference between strategy and execution. There is often an even wider gap between strategy and the ABILITY to execute a social media strategy efficiently and effectively. Often this chasm between strategy and execution is due to unidentified frictions in workflow, processes and tools being used in the social media management process.

Consider workflow to be specific processes, functions and procedures that are required in order to fulfill your social media strategy. These elements are made up of all of the tasks you do (or need to do) on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Clearly defining these tasks in detail and creating processes and procedures to implement them in an efficient and scalable way is what workflow is all about. Anything that gets in the way of that workflow causes friction in your ability to execute the strategy, do it efficiently or even achieve your overall strategic objectives.

So What Is Social Media Friction?

Merriam-Webster’s defines the word friction three ways: the act of rubbing one thing against another; the force that causes a moving object to slow down when it is touching another object; and the disagreement or tension between people or groups of people. Though some of use could conceptually tie some of these definitions somewhat theoretically to social media, they don’t quite fit.

My definition of social media friction is any process, workflow, tool or hindrance to the smooth and efficient execution of a comprehensive social media strategy. Furthermore, friction can also be any obstacle or resistance encountered by members of your community to engage with you, discover what you do or to buy or inquire about your product or services.

In social media, friction can be any function that resists the fluid momentum and execution of progress toward the overall goal objective or objective of a defined strategy. Am I getting too technical here?

There are typically two kinds of social media marketing friction that negatively impact effective and efficient execution.

1) Promotional/Results Friction

2) Process/Workflow Friction

Often times social automation or sales automation technologies are deployed in an attempt to reduce these two friction points, but if the wrong automation is utilized, they can actually increase friction with your audience. (More on that in later posts in this series)

What’s The Cost Of Friction?

Friction cost is the direct or even indirect costs associated with the friction within your social media marketing. Friction can include actual hard costs and fees for things like inefficient or ineffective tools or even additional staffing. Some of the more difficult to measure are opportunity costs, resulting from missed sales opportunities and overall lack of results with social media marketing.

Can Friction Be Good?

There are some mechanics in life and business where friction can be a good thing. For example, without friction you would not be able to deploy brakes on your car and bring it to a stop. In business, some bureaucratic friction is required for decision-making and spending in order to make such things more measured and controlled.

However, within social media marketing identifying and reducing the friction forces that hinder smooth effective execution is a sticking point that many overlook. During this series we will attempt to dissect the discovery and reduction of social media friction that many marketers face and provide some solutions that will enable you to make adjustments.

What are the main friction points in your social media management?

Read Part 2 Here

Read Part 3 Here

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Filed under Friction, Marketing, Results, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Strategy

The Two Opposing Forces That Drive Social Media Marketing

Opposing Social Media ForcesAfter many years in this business, I have come to the realization that there are two main forces that drive the social media message. These two connected, but sometimes opposing forces combine to keep social media marketing at the forefront of on and offline marketing discussions. These two forces are what enable the numerous events, trade shows and conventions that the social media space seems to do at much higher levels than most other industries.

I will attempt to outline these two forces with as little bias as possible, while providing some editorial perspective to each.

Educational Forces

Description: The education forces are made up of Bloggers, Consultants, Strategists, Speakers and Trainers whose business is that of coaching and teaching others on how to do social media marketing. Their income, fame and expertise is often solely or largely derived from teaching or consulting other individuals or brands about the space.

Advantages: Since social media is constantly changing, the educational aspect of social media marketing is crucial. Daily changes to platforms, methods and tools require effective marketers to stay current on what’s new and more importantly what’s changing. The educational forces within the industry ensure that these changes are disseminated to active social media participants.

Educational forces are also extremely helpful to those that are new to social media marketing. Let’s face it, understanding the many do’s and don’ts of social media, let alone the most effective “how to’s” is not something easily figured out on your own. Educators within social media provide basic level know how to newbies and those wanting to migrate from dabbling in it.

Another positive that results from industry educational forces is the top of mind effect that occurs both on an offline. What I mean by that is with so many events, speakers, books and blog posts that educate on social media marketing, it constantly drives the press and other media sources to keep it in the news. We see this in the form of brands and news outlets constantly promoting their social profiles and making social media part of their stories and advertisements. Educational forces help ensure this continues.

Executional Forces

Description: Executional forces are Internal Brand Departments, Individual Marketers, Social Media Agencies whose business is that of actually executing social media marketing. Their income and ROI is largely derived from effectively implementing social media marketing on a daily basis that achieves sales, revenue, lead generation or other result oriented outcome. They don’t derive income  from promoting social media in general, generate blog traffic about their social media trainings or how to/strategy consulting services. They are brands and marketers that promote and sell using social media, not promote and sell social media itself.

Advantages: Without executional forces, there would be no need for the educational forces of the industry. Those that are actually executing social media marketing well and therefore achieving real measurable results provide the credibility to an otherwise hypothetically effective marketplace.

Executional forces also provide the data used in research reports that fuel social media marketing’s prominence. It’s the wood in the fire that drives the press coverage about the industry on a continual basis.

Lastly, the executional forces enable integrated marketing by connecting all aspects of on and offline marketing components together by “doing the work”.

Can These Two Opposing Forces Work Together?

The answer is yes, they can work together, but they must improve how they work together. As the social media market, platforms and tools begin to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions, educational and executional forces need to combine their forces or realize the consequences. The industry needs to better manage the educational forces that are controlling the messaging of the industry and executional forces are all too quiet about how they are getting real results.

These are some of the questions that are yet to be resolved between the opposing forces

Should industry educators be held accountable to provide social proof of what they teach, beyond their celebrity status?

Should they be somehow required to show executional experience that supports their desire to be a social media consultant or educator?

Should executional forces do a better job of crossing the divide with educational forces?

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI

Blogging For Social Media Marketing – My Top 12 Tips

I am frequently asked about blogging and how to use it effectively for marketing within social media. I decided to put together a list of my top ten tips that is specifically designed for the individual marketer or small to medium business.

Blog TipsThis list is not at all for the large brand, affiliate marketer, the social media author or speaker. Those specific groups are typically about numbers, driving less than targeted traffic, ego inflation and/or putting out volume over substance. Exactly what you should NOT be doing if you are serious about being effective with your blog within social media. If you want to measure REAL results that is –  You know things like sales, revenue and new customers. But I digress…

In no particular order, here are my top ten tips for using your blog effectively within your social media marketing strategy. I have broken them up into two sections – Strategy and Execution.

Blog Strategy:

1) Write for your audience – Too often brands and marketers forget who their target audience is. Write for your target audience, not for traffic. Deliver value and relevance in your content, just like a proper content strategy within your social marketing strategy. Write content that solves their biggest problems, answers their questions and/or helps them improve.

2) Stay away from time sensitive writing – New is great and often shiny, but does it attract your target audience? Writing content about something new in your industry or an event that is happening can destroy the long-term validity of the content. It’s ok to include some time/event based posts, but try to write content that has value for your audience, that can be found via search and/or shared via your social media efforts over a long period of time – i.e. relevant, Legacy content.

3) Be concise – Remember that a blog post is NOT a magazine article. People have very short attention spans and keeping your blog posts short, to the point and without all the fluff is important. Give your readers clear points to absorb along with a title that states exactly what they can expect from your piece.

4) Have personality – Be real and approachable with your posts. Don’t be afraid to put your personality into your articles or even be a little controversial at times.

5) Write yourself – For MOST marketers or SMB’s doing your own writing is going to get the best results. Having the benefit of your voice consistently across your content is extremely helpful for your readers.

For some that lack writing skills or the time and resources necessary to blog, outsourcing the function to a professional may be required. Be sure that the professional you select to write for your blog can follow your strategy  and capture your voice (tone and personality) accurately.

Blog Execution:

6) Consistency – Just as with your regular social media marketing content posting, consistency with blog posts matters. You must have a consistent flow of relevant, valuable blog posts on your blog to build and retain an audience. Occasional posts will not be effective, so be consistent every week. I try to write two new blog posts per week.

7) Comments – Also like your social media marketing, responding to comments on your blog is important. Respond always and do it quickly after a comment is posted.

8) Use drafts – Whenever I think of a new blog post idea, I start a new posts in WordPress and save it as a draft. I add notes and bullet points for what I want to do with the post and save it. This way I always have some 30 blog posts started and only need to select one to finish whenever I need to write.

9) Stay ahead – Keep ahead with completed posts in the queue

10 SEO – When writing a blog post, you want to not only follow the strategy items we have listed above, but you also want to consider the long-term search engine optimization of your posts. Including images, tags and keywords in your posts is highly important for being found on search engines.

For the average brand and marketer, there are three main points to consider here:

a) Always include a graphic that depicts the content. This is important when readers share the content on social networks, but also for SEO. Be sure the name the image file with words contained in the title and body of your post and also complete a description that does the same.

b) Always include tags of the keywords and phrases appropriate for the post.

c) Be sure the main keywords of your post are included in the title, the body of the post as well as in tags.

11) Be realistic – Be realistic about what you can really do. Don’t set editorial calendar expectations too high for yourself so that you can’t complete them. Don’t expect that you will get 20,000 hits a day when you are just starting out. Be consistent, even if that is only one or two blog posts per week. Commit to the realistic expectation and stick to it.

12) Be Social – Without integrating your blog into an effective social media marketing strategy, it is highly unlikely you will ever get much traction with your blog. You need to have a targeted social community established that is highly engaged in order to best take advantage of a blog. Here are two things to consider:

a) When you post a new blog, share it multiple times that day in the social graph.

b) Keep a list of your blog posts and share them at lest once a week/month.

A blog is an extension of your brand, your website, your overall web presence and more importantly your social media marketing. Understanding the best way to leverage and integrate it properly across all of them will help you begin see increased results.

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Filed under Blog, Community, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy