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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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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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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?

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Leveraging Multiple Social Media Accounts For Better Results [Infographic]

Last week as we were going through our normal social media marketing processes, and we began discussing one of the reasons our social media has been so successful in a very crowded space of social media tools. Many marketers, brands and individuals have multiple social media accounts, but often do not consciously integrate them to achieve the best results. The BundlePost brand executes a very specific procedure for leveraging all of our personal and brand social accounts to achieve the maximum reach, exposure, views and impressions.

This daily process involves cross promotional posting between our teams personal social accounts, back to the brand accounts as well as a consistent system of cross promoting to and from multiple brand social accounts to each other, our content and web properties. Sound a little complex? It can be…

Some of you may be reading this a thinking to yourself, well duh, of course you have to cross promote and you’re right. However the difference between cross promoting across the social graph and having an effective process for doing so is what makes all the difference.

We have created an infographic that depicts a typical day of the BundlePost social media marketing process. Below in the infographic we will detail an example of our process using Instagram as well as an overview of what we do across all platforms.

leveraging multiple social media accounts across the social graph

Instagram Example:

Using our Instagram accounts as an example, here is the flow of our cross promotional process…

1) Morning post of our created/branded graphic that consists of funny, coffee or social media related content.

2) All day we link back to that graphic on all other personal and business social accounts.

3) Our teams personal Instagram accounts post the same graphic to their Instagram accounts later that day/evening.

4) On days when a new blog post is live, the graphic for the blog is also shared late morning on the brand Instagram account with the URL for the blog home page.

5) Our teams personal Instagram accounts post the same blog graphic to their Instagram accounts later that day/evening.

6) At various other times of the day, the brand Instagram account posts other non-brand graphics.

Overview of the Process:

The overall intent of the process is to ensure maximum impressions over the course of the day. Regardless of which platform your target audience happens to be on at any given moment, your content will have the opportunity to be viewed. Just like with television, repeated impressions are what get the audience to take action or remember the brand message.

It is important to note that none of this works without consistency and selfless value incorporated into the strategy. Meaning, if you are going to get the benefits of following this process you must have a social content management system that can execute three specific things efficiently:

1) Consistency – The process needs to be executed daily, across all social accounts.

2) Selfless Value – You need to have enough curated, valuable, selfless content in your streams everyday, all day.

3) Repeat – You need to frequently infuse your legacy/evergreen blog, graphic and other content into your streams.

You want to take a holistic view of your social media marketing efforts. An approach that incorporates all accounts that cross promote and drive traffic where you want it to go. The result of executing this process consistently is that you can stabilize and even predict the traffic to your content, blog and landing pages from day-to-day. You will remove the massive swings of new unique visitors to your website, blog and landing pages, without spending money on ads.

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The Social Media Connection Cycle Explained [Infographic]

After many years in the industry, first as a social media agency, and now as a social media marketing software application, we have observed many cycles. As with most industries, there are cycles and flows that appear over time and social media is no different. Though not all social media accounts, brands or industry niches will experience the identical cycles, we have determined that those that really understand social media and are executing it well, will quickly recognize the flow I am about to explain. This concept is something that we have observed, modeled and used for many years, and still do today.

The cycle of engagement with your social media connectionsWithin your community there are ebbs and flows or “cycles” that occur. Though most social media managers are not consciously aware of this cycle, it is occurring nonetheless. So it is very important to understand the cycle, the components included within it and how it should affect your overall focus and subsequent results.

The Social Media Connection Cycle is a natural process that occurs within most social media communities. By community, we are specifically referring to the friends, followers and likes that are connected to you and/or your brand within the various social networks. All of these combined connections can be referred to as your community.

What Is The Social Media Connection Cycle?

The social media connection cycle is the flow of community connections in and out of the relationship sweet spot. This natural cycle is very similar to a businesses prospect, current and past customer flow and can even be seen in one’s individual relationships. Made up of the 5 components of your community, the connection cycle concept will help you visualize the sweet spot within your social following where the magic happens and the activities you can do to continue and grow that sweet spot.

Your Community – As stated above, your social community is “the combined connections you or your brand have within the social graph.” It is the envelope that contains the additional components and other elements of the cycle. The main “bucket” if you will.

Inside of this bucket are the 4 segments of the connection cycle including Relationships, New and Older Connections as well as Highly Targeted Connections. We will define these separate components and discuss their specific role within the cycle, then we will wrap up with the big picture.

First, the above Infographic shows that a “typical” social community is made up of 50% of Older Connections, 30% from Newer Connections and 20% from Highly Targeted Connections. Though the percentages from each of these segments may not be exactly the same for every company, marketer or niche, we have observed this to be a fairly typical scenario that makes up your overall community.

Active Relationships – At the center of the connection cycle are your real, active relationships. These are the connections that you know and engage with regularly.

The active relationship group within the cycle is comprised of portions of your connections that come from Older Connections, Newer Connections and Targeted Connections. Typically the percentages of these groups that migrate into your relationship bucket are as follows:

New Connections – 20% of these flow into active engaging relationships

Older Connections – 20% of these flow into active engaging relationships

Highly Targeted – 60% of these flow into active engaging relationships

It is really important to understand that Active Relationships are often not a substantially growing number or percentage of your overall community. What typically happens is that connections flow into and out of the active relationship cycle from the various connection types, while the overall number or percentage remains fairly constant. This is especially true when your community size is fairly static and not growing at a daily conscious pace. In fact if your social community is static or decreasing, it will often have a direct impact on the quantity and percentage of your active relationships within your social media efforts.

Older Connections – The ebb and flows of your connection types within the connection cycle are often least impacted by older connections, however by no means does that make them any less important. Think of your older connections as fluid relationship connections that periodically move in and out of the active relationship bucket over time. I often think of them as those friends that you get together with a few times a year, and it seems like you start right where you left off last.

The interesting thing we have discovered about older connections is that though only around 20% are inside the active relationship bucket at any given time, they represent about 50% of our new upgraded users in BundlePost. The important point here is the confirmation that social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Long-term connections, even if they are not inside the active relationship bucket TODAY, do pay off in social media.

New Connections – New connections are made up of new followers, likes and friends that have “recently” connected with you on social media. Often times you can’t immediately establish whether they are a highly targeted connection, nor can they be considered an older connection, however they do represent one of the most important connection types within a healthy social community.

When your social media marketing consciously executes an effective strategy to grow your community, it has a powerful impact on your active relationships. Though new connections typically only make up 20% of your active relationship segment it is one of the factors you actually have control over. When you’re actively and continually focused on growing your overall community with new connections your audience grows, the number of engagement opportunities increase and it directly impacts your active conversations and relationships.

Highly Targeted Connections – The final segment of the connection cycle is made up of Highly Targeted Connections. I say “IS”, but I think the word SHOULD is probably more appropriate. If you are not consciously focusing on the connections within your community that are your highly targeted customers, prospects and influencers, you are dramatically and negatively impacting your social connection cycle. More importantly, your are likely not achieving the kind of results your social media marketing should be realizing.

The Wrap Up

The concept of the social media connection cycle is intended to help you visualize the dynamic flows within your social community. They are active, not static cycles that flow in and out of the central relationship zone, which is the “sweet spot” and where you should be spending your time, focus and energy.

Everything we discussed within this post is predicated on a few things. We are assuming you have a proper social media strategy in place and that you are executing it well. We also assume that you understand the quantity AND quality concepts related to consistent content in your streams every day, all day. And finally, we expect that you have set communication, conversation and rapid response as priorities for your daily social activity. If these assumptions are accurate, then visualizing the social media connection cycle throughout your daily social media management will bring new focus, understanding and opportunities to achieve improved results. If not, then you are likely experiencing another kind of cycle that has nothing to do with real results…

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