Tag Archives: Social Media Marketing

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

Identifying And Growing Your Target Social Media Audience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identifying and Growing Your Social Community

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

Let’s define these two community growth elements.

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

and

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

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

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

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