Tag Archives: Social Media

The Top 5 #Hashtag Mistakes Marketers Make On Social Media

Hashtag MistakesHashtags have become synonymous with social media marketing and it’s no wonder why. A totally unique component of social media, hashtags have the ability to grow your following, expand the reach of your content and highlight important words within your status updates.

One less obvious thing that your hashtags tell your audience is whether you actually know what you are doing or not. If you are making novice mistakes while hashtagging your social media posts, it tells your readers a lot about you. If your target audience are newbie social networking users, this is less of a factor, however if the audience you are trying to reach have been on social for a while, you’re going to need to be sure you know what you’re doing.

Here are the Top Five Most Common Hashtag Mistakes:

1) Not Hashtagging – When you do not hashtag the words and phrases your target audience is following, it’s like fishing without using any bait. Make it easy for your audience to find you by not only sharing the content that is interesting and relevant to them, but by including the hashtags that they follow.

2) Too Many Hashtags – Though it is our belief that there are no steadfast rules in social media marketing, there are best practices that will achieve better results. We do not think there is or should be a defined rule for the number of hashtags you use in a post, but common sense goes a long way. If you use so many hashtags in a post that it becomes distracting instead of helpful, you are using too many.

On Instagram, we see this abused quite frequently. Only add relevant hashtags to your posts instead of baiting followers with completely irrelevant and numerous hashtags.

3) Inconsistency – One of the most overlooked and effective techniques in social media marketing is consistency. We are referring to two distinct types. 1) Topical and 2) Frequency

Topical Consistency: Stay on target with 5-8 topics that interest your audience and determine the hashtags that are most common and effective surrounding those topics. If you attempt to be known for more than a handful of key topics and/or are hashtagging so many different categories, you will be far less effective.

Frequency Consistency: If you are going to hashtag, do it consistently. Within social media marketing there is nothing more effective than being consistent with your posting, topics and hashtags.

4) It’s All Me! – This one really sets off the newbie radar. For the love of all things social media holy, stop hashtagging your name, your brand or your product name. You are not Starbucks, Pepsi or Oreo. Hashtags are active links allowing people to see all content about a relevant topic. You or your new/tiny company are not that, at least not yet. Don’t get the cart before the horse, or you never will be either.

5) Confusing Hashtags – Unless you are trying to be funny on occasion (which we love), don’t hashtag long phrases or words only you understand the meaning to. You are simply confusing your audience and not achieving anything meaningful for you or your social media success.

How you use hashtags, how many and what hashtags you use say a lot about you. Making adjustments to what you are doing with hashtags can make a significant difference toward improving your real results. Take some time to evaluate what you have been doing and how your audience is responding, then insert some higher level, conscious tactics that will be inline with your goals and your communities needs.

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Filed under Audience, Community, Content, Followers, Hashtag, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, tactics

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

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

When Brands Fail to Remain RelevantAre You Relevant?

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

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

Who’s Next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online Disruption As Well?

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

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

 

 

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

Stay Between The Social Media Lines

The other day I was working in my office and my lil man (5-year-old) was in his play room coloring. Every 5 minutes or so he would come into my office carrying his dinosaur coloring book open to his latest masterpiece in order to show Papa what amazing creation he Stay between the lineshad completed this time. As this continued over at least an hour, I noticed that he was improving on his accuracy, and also getting substantially more creative with his colorful interpretations of what a dinosaur should look like.

As this went on, it reminded me of a 1992 Isuzu commercial from my (eh hem) childhood. The video featured a crusty old make teacher, patrolling his elementary school classroom full of students who were coloring. The teacher stoically navigates the classroom while repeating the phrase “Stay between the lines, the lines are our friends.

I am not sure, but I think I remember this commercial so well because I was a bit of a rebel as a teenager. I know this is likely a shock to those of you that know me or at least read my social media and blog posts. :-)

The point here is this…

There are no lines in social media marketing!

I mean, yes there are definitely best practices to achieve real results and be effective, but there is only one steadfast rule. DO NOT SPAM.

Many of us, including myself have become conditioned to point out when other people/brands are doing social media “Wrong”. We do this for many reasons. Some reasons are very selfless and out of a true desire to help, but if we were honest we would also recognize some of the other reasons aren’t so humble or helpful. Being human and therefore full of faults, failings and ego, I must also admit to correcting others at times without always from the proper motivation care. I continue to work on that.

Since there are no lines in social media, marketers are free to head off-road, be creative and execute differing strategies and tactics that suit them. Not every method is going to get results and many may even negatively affect your results in dramatic ways you are not realizing.

Understanding best practices and the concepts of social media from a core level is incredibly important. Having a solid understanding of what social media is and how it is best used provides a foundation for decision-making, strategy development and “off-roading your coloring” so to speak.

I am including a free hour training on social media concepts below, that may be helpful for many of you. Produced over two years ago, but very relevant today. It is not teaching using various platforms or other details of executing social media marketing, but instead is specifically designed to help you understand social media using analogies of things you already understand. Let me know what you think.

If you’d like the additional free social media training series videos, login to your BundlePost or start a free trial, then click here

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Filed under Best Practices, BundlePost, Marketing, Results, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Social Selling, strategies, Strategy, Uncategorized

9 Characteristics Of Human, NOT Automated Social Media Marketing

Human characteristics of social media marketingThere are a few highly important things that separate big brand social media marketing from everyone else, and that is the human component. Big brands are able to focus their social media marketing on their brand, branding and advertising components that are centered around the company’s image and other major media advertising components. There is little human connection, conversation or relationship building coming out of the larger brands. The majority provide little to none selfless value and it is all about the creative and messaging, which by the way we enjoy seeing some of it.

The Big Brand Approach

As an example of how many larger brands approach social media marketing, I will share an example. I will not name the large beverage company, but I will say that I am a fan of their product and buy it regularly.

The story:

About two years ago, being a loyal consumer of a specific beverage, I decided to show my loyalty to them in social media. I mentioned them several times a week, shared pics of their packaging as I used it, etc. On a rare occasion I would receive a response or a thank you and I was good with that, but that soon completely ceased. In replace of the rare response, they began to engage ME on a weekly basis. Sounds good right? Not so fast…

The engagement I received from them, every single week hence forth was simply them tagging me about their latest news, product launch or promotion. You see, they realized I had influence within social media and decided to use me to further promote their brand. No relationship investment was every made on their part, no human connection or interest shown in me as a person or my company. Simply bold and direct promotional (spam).

They may get away with this with others, but not with me. I have completely disengaged with said brand on social and you know what? They never engaged with me again after I stopped mentioning or promoting their content. There is a difference between social media relationships and direct marketing. Most large brands do not care to understand this fact.

The Relationship Reality

At the end of the day, all non Fortune 5000 brands that are lacking the huge resources and established customer base, really need to look at and approach social media marketing very differently. Long term focus, care and gratitude with authenticity, combined with human connection is what gets results.

9 characteristics of social media marketing:

Here are just nine ways you can improve your human relationship perception in social media as well as identify other brands and connections that get it too.

1) Profile picture  – The account photo is of the real person behind the social account. This is mostly common for Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook personal accounts. However, as a brand matures on Twitter, building the brand beyond the main contacts personal image is important. Remaining human after that transition will determine how effective you are from there.

2) Profile Bio – Does their social media bio contain things about them as a person, not just a pitch for what they do? Relationships require personal connections, not just business needs. Today, business IS personal. Humanize your brand.

3) Responsive – When you mention or engage with them, do they actually respond? Do they respond in a timely manner, when you are still logged in?

4) Grateful – After sharing their content, is it met with gratitude in the form of a like, comment or reciprocation? This is something only humans do.

5) Interest – Humans show interest in others, not just themselves. Do they show interest in you and/or what you do?

6) Selfless Value – Their timeline is not just posts about them or what they do.

7) Conversations – Their timeline contains conversations with others.

8) Relevance – Their timeline contains relevant content you’re interested in, not solely their industry related things.

9) Real – A real person/personality is detectable behind the profile when you interact with them

The Perils Of Auto-pilot

The other opposite end of the spectrum from Big Brands are the newbie automation users. Those that send automated or manual sales messages as private messages on Twitter on LinkedIn, immediately or soon after connecting with them and without any relationship effort made on their part, they move right to pitching their wares. Another newbie auto-pilot tactic is using tools that tag others about your sales pitch in-stream based on something they posted previously, or any other contrived method. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The only place that in-feed or private message automation sees results is from newbies using it with/toward other newbies that do not yet know better. The brands and marketers that are using automation don’t understand social media and how relationships with long-term focus connect. Making matters worse is that new social network users who respond to these non-human automated tactics don’t either. The clicks garnered by the automation folks are short-lived and requires a constant stream of newbies in order to get traffic, clicks or results long-term.

This short sided tactic ultimately gets reported so much by more experienced users, and the reputation of automation marketers becomes clear to future new connections, so that it eventually slows and ceases to obtain even the smallest results.

Wrapping It Up

Spam is spam, whether it is done via email or within social media marketing. Failure to understand the personal, human level connection elements within this marketing medium means a lot of frustration, lack of real results and wasted time. If you are going to invest the time doing social media marketing, invest it in providing value, being human and present, while getting into conversations that build real relationships.

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Filed under advertising, Audience, automation, Brand, Community, Content, Human, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

Should We Be Lowering The Social Media Marketing Bar?

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

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

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

The Problem:

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

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

What Does Lowering The Bar Mean?

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

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

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

User Beware

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

The Future Is Bright

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

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

What are your thoughts on this?

 

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

Social Media Marketing – Data And Results Matter

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

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

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

For Example:

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

The Challenges:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Infographic - 1 Billion Mobile Facebook Users

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

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

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

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

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