Tag Archives: Social Networking

4 “Not So Obvious” Reasons Good Content Curation Is Important

We all know, or at least you should, that having enough relevant, selfless, valuable content in your streams is highly important. Curating great content from sources outside of your own, in large enough quantities on a daily basis is the center of any effective Reasons Good Content Curation Is Importantsocial media marketing strategy. That selfless value provided to your audience is what tends to spark conversations, establish thought leadership on various topics and earns you the right to “pitch” your stuff.

Beyond the more clear reasons that curated content is effective and used by so many in social media, there are a few not so obvious reasons that you need to be aware of. Understanding these additional objectives when curating enough content in your streams will help you expand what you are doing and the results you can achieve.

But first, what do we mean by “good” content curation?

1) Enough volume in your streams every day, all day. For example, if you don’t have 20 posts a day on Twitter, you’re not being seen much. People aren’t logged in all day watching their newsfeeds, so you have to ensure no matter when they login on any network, one of your curated posts fly by. More about posting quantity

2) Relevant – The content you curate into your streams should be focused on the 3-5 topics that drive your audience when they’re on social media. What are THEY interested in? What drives them to click, comment and like? It’s not about you and what you do, it’s about them and their interests.

3) Unique – The curated content you post in your streams will get the best results if it’s “off the beaten path”. In other words, don’t share the same popular content and sources as everyone else. Be sure the content you curate in your streams is unique and not something your audience has likely already seen, read and shared themselves. You may also want to check competitors streams to ensure your topical curated content is unique from the sources, sites and authors that you are sharing.

So let’s get a little deeper and discuss other human responses that normally occur when your content curation is really good.

4 Not So Obvious Reasons Good Content Curation is Important

Timeline Checks – New connections that you friend or follow often first check your timeline before accepting your request or following back. When your social streams are consistently full of interesting, relevant content, no matter when a prospective connection happens to check your timeline, they will see value and accept/follow back at a MUCH higher percentage than if you don’t have good, consistent content curation in effect.

Attraction – A huge advantage to the proper execution of a great content strategy is attraction. Nailing your topical curation strategy and executing it every day, all day will result in more of your target audience finding YOU. As your consistency and strategy align, you will grow an extremely targeted community at a much faster pace.

Under The Hood – Really good content curation will spark conversations with your audience. If it doesn’t, your strategy or topics are off and you need to make adjustments to your topics, sources and volumes.

You want your audience to learn that no matter when they look, your streams will always have something valuable for them. When you’ve got it right, conversations will result. As your conversations increase, you build relationships and get your connections to want to know more about you. Most do so by clicking to view your bio on that specific social network.

Click – If you’re properly curating, attracting and engaging with the right audience AND your bio is well thought out, it can also drive your connections to click-through to your site from your bio.

Do you see the natural relationship flow that content curation done well can facilitate in your social media marketing?

Do you understand the nuances that proper social media management can achieve?

What changes do you need to make in your social media execution to leverage human behavior to improve your results?

These not so obvious advantages to exceptional, consistent and valuable content curation represent the culmination of what is called social selling. Understand the underlying human activity the typical social network user completes as a normal course of what we discuss in this post, then take the time and effort to ensure your targeting, strategy, quantity and consistency are inline to realize the additional benefits consciously.

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Filed under Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Strategy

Reality Check: Daily Required Social Media Marketing Activity

I am frequently seeing articles explaining how to do social media marketing in 30 minutes or an hour each day and decided it was time to deliver a reality check. Unless you are a social media “guru”, “author”, “celebrity” or #fauxpert that has never done social media marketing outside of self promotion and has a huge social following, it’s time for a reality check. Any expectation that real results, revenue and return on investment for any SMB or marketer will be achieved by following such advice is foolish thinking.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but effective social media marketing is a detailed combination of technology integration, creativity and a whole lot of activity 24/7. It’s not working when you want, getting weekends off and forgetting to check your feeds, mentions and conversations for days at a time. We call that kind of activity and dedication social networking, not social media.

That’s great if you are an enthusiast that is not using social media channels for marketing, but then again I don’t write for enthusiasts. My articles are always focused on the average brand, SMB, individual marketer and social media agencies. It’s what I know and do, not a hobby or a subject matter I have become known for and use to generate book sales, speaking gigs or ad revenue from blog traffic.

Our goal is to change the message of the industry that is dominated by the folks outlined in the above paragraph into that of real effective use of social media by people who have and actually do it. It’s one thing to consult Starbucks or most other major brands on social media because you sold a ton of books about the subject. It’s another thing to actually create and execute a strategy for the majority that make up social media marketers like small and medium brands or individual marketers and get results. Heck, my 14-year-old daughter could consult Starbucks or most other major brands on their social media marketing. They do it wrong and don’t have to do it right. They have billions in media and marketing dollars that drive their brand on and offline.

While articles that tell you that you can get results with minimal time and effort in social media are incredibly appealing to the masses, I am hear to tell you that it takes work.

*Note – Social media agencies, consultants and coaches – keep reading. There are some reality checks for you as well. :-)

In an effort to both deliver a reality check as well as a real guide of activity, following is a list of SOME daily activities that are required to get results with any social media marketing program.

1) Content Posting: Every day you need to have relevant valuable content for your audience in your stream. Content that gets them to engage, like, comment and share. Not just posts about you or what you do, but information, news and articles your audience will find relevant.

How much content? Here is a basic list of posts per day on a few of the networks you are likely working with:

Twitter – 15-20
Facebook Personal – 4-8
Facebook Page – 3-6
LinkedIn Personal – 5-10
Groups – 1-4
G+ Personal – 10-15
G+ Brand Page – 2-5

Every industry, audience and brand is different, but this will give you a sense of some minimum levels that are required.

2) Content Creation: Like it or not, you have to not only share content relevant to your audience, you also have to create your own content. Blog posts, videos, images, infographics, etc. You can’t lead in an industry where you are not contributing to its message in new ways. This is not an occasional required activity, it’s every single week.

3) YOUR Content Posting: Once you have created content, you need to post it. The good news is that the more content you have created the more content you have available to post daily. I believe content you have created and posts that are about you and what you do should make up about 20% of what you post every day.

4) Content Sharing: Part of social media marketing is sharing other people’s social posts that you and your audience may find interesting and valuable. This serves two purposes;

  1. It delivers additional value to your audience beyond what you found and posted.
  2. It lets others know that you appreciate what they post and wanted to pass it along.

5) Real and Real-Time Posting: These posts are above posting and sharing content and are just about being real, human and approachable. These are often just text and consist of what you are thinking, the weather, where you are and what you are doing. Don’t forget that people connect with people in social media. Don’t be a logo or a robot. Nobody can like or build a relationship with either of those.

6) Community Growth: Every day you need to be growing your community of fans, followers and friends that are your target audience. If you build it they will come doesn’t work in social media. Though doing the above 5 activities every day will help you consistently grow your community, if you are using social media for marketing, that community size needs to increase. Therefore every day you need to be searching and finding your target audience on all of the social networks and connecting with them. Don’t wait for them to find you.

7) Community Outreach: Within your community you need to continually reach out and engage. That is no different from being at a live networking event. You start conversations and get to know them. You share their content and information with others and build a relationship. This must be done daily to be effective with social media marketing.

8) Response/Engage: The opposite of outreach is responding. When someone likes, shares, comments on your posts, acknowledge them, thank them and star a conversation. If someone mentions you in social media, respond.

I have a lot to say about this section, but in order to keep it a blog post and not an article I will say that timing matters. When someone mentions you or comments, they are there, online, right now. Waiting hours or days is missed opportunity and will never see any real results.

9) Follow Backs: When someone follows you on Twitter, Circles you on Google Plus or Friends you on Facebook or Linkedin, you need determine whether you want to reciprocate or accept. I recommend that this is done every single day. We do it twice per day ourselves.

*Tip – if you’re using social media for marketing, follow, friend and connect with those that are your target audience. If you are a restaurant in Tennessee, friending or following someone in the UK doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

10) Data/Statistics: You need to know what is working and what isn’t. Paying attention to your statistics, results, analytics and data on a daily basis is required. Knowing this information enables you to adjust the what’s and when’s of what you are doing and set realistic goals and targets. Not knowing means you are not getting anywhere.

11) Planning/Strategy: Every day you need to be planning and adjusting your strategy. Using what you learn to improve results in social media marketing is no different from anything else in business. Test, measure and adjust… DAILY.

More Reality Checks for Marketers:

So if you think that real, effective social media marketing can actually be accomplished in 30 minutes or an hour per day, I invite you to think again. This is why there are so many social media agencies out there and more popping up every single day. Not too many people have the time, knowledge and ability to execute all of these thins on a daily basis. If you can’t either or are not getting results, I suggest you speak with a qualified social media professional agency as well.

*If you are paying $99/mo for “social media” from some online company, you’re being robbed. It takes far too much time, tools and activities to really do social media marketing right that results in real business.

More Reality Checks for Social Media Agencies:

If your agency is teaching social media marketing instead of doing it, before taking some unsuspecting persons money, be sure they understand what it really takes. Stop taking money from people to teach them things they will never have the time, skill or experience to execute well. Anyway you slice it, it’s stealing…

*As a consultant or agency that teaches social media, the person you teach is rarely the CEO that paid for you. Be aware that the admin, intern or junior employee you train, will soon be in love with social media marketing just like you and will be starting their own agency when their employer pulls the plug. Stop creating competitors for yourself every six months, while making pennies for doing it. Do the hard work for clients and get them real results by delivering effective social media management that has value and recurring revenue.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more required in social media marketing like strategy, targeting, social selling, conversations and more. But true to form, I am not here to condemn or be hurtful. My only goal here is to increase the effectiveness of social media marketing in general and change the message to real results, not scores, followers, likes or speakers. Go do this!

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Filed under Agency, Blog, Community, Engagement, Facebook, Fanpage, Followers, Google Plus, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Twitter

How To Determine Topics For Your Social Media Content Strategy

Content is not the king of social media marketing, but it certainly is the starting point that drives conversations, action and results. Having and executing an effective social media content strategy is the difference between your brand being in social media and getting results in social media.

Social Media Content StrategyI have discovered that there are typically three to five main topics of interest that social network users are most attracted to. Those topics are typically different for everyone, so knowing what they are for your specific market is tremendously important.

I have also found that there are three basic steps that can help you determine the topics your social audience is most interested in.  Follow these steps and combine it with an appropriate volume of posted, curated, shared and your created content to get the best results.

Three steps to determine topics for your social media content strategy:

1) Know Your Audience – Knowing your audience is the most important step in the content strategy process. You need to clearly define who you are trying to reach, very specifically. Define them demographically (statistical characteristics), geographically (location or locations) and psychograhically (personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles).

*Don’t forget things like gender, age, income levels, etc.

2) Research – Once you have defined your clear target audience and know a few specifics about who they are, do your research. Here are some things to consider:

  • Current Customers – Ask your current customers this question… When you are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., what content topics interest you the most?
  • Competition – Investigate your competitors pages and social accounts. What topics that they post about get the most comments, likes, shares and conversations. Be sure the followers of those accounts are your target prospects also, or the information you obtain will lead you on a wild goose chase with your own strategy. Many brands social media marketing and content strategies are often focused on their peers, not their prospects. Don’t make the same mistake!
  • Search Engines – Use your favorite search engine to find statistics and information about your target audience. The internet has a ton of information, government and private studies, as well as news reports that will easily point you to topics your audience favors.

3) Test/Measure – After you have narrowed potential topics down to 5-10, start sharing news, blog posts and other content surrounding these topics to your streams. Aggregate content around then topics and post them in your newsfeeds consistently everyday. Measure the engagement, clicks, likes and comment rates around the topics. This will narrow you down to the top three to five that your audience most responds to.

Once you have determined your target markets three to five driving topics, you will want to slowly and steadily increase the volume of posts you are doing across the social networks you are focusing on. If you have properly identified the right topics of content to share, this will rapidly increase the amount of conversations, clicks and relationships you have in your community and more importantly get you on a path to improved results.

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Filed under Community, Followers, Marketing, Monitoring, Relationship, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

2013 Is About Wearing Social Media Shoes

It is fair to say that we have passed social media market penetration and most user segments are now engaged in at least one social network on a regular basis. Many marketers and businesses have learned to post, schedule and engage with an audience, ensuring that they have some level of presence within the social graph. All of which are extremely important. But what now?

walk a mile SocialMediaI see 2013 marking a shift of focus and one that is long overdue. As social media marketing continues to mature, what consumers expect is also maturing. Major brands and social media agencies are going to have to shift from a brand centric focus to a consumer interest focus. Small and medium brands and marketers will have to make this shift as well.

When I say “Wearing Social Media Shoes”, I am referring to the phrase and idea of walking in your customers shoes. In other words, putting yourself in their shoes and truly understanding your audience, who they are, what they are into, in order to better understand them and be able to focus your content and message in new and effective ways. Brands need to do a much better job at knowing their audiences likes and interests, thereby delivering content that fills those interests.  More importantly, using this information to provide a better experience for fans and followers by removing “over self-promotion”.

Social network users are catching up. They are becoming more savvy about social media and will more frequently to tune out a lot of the promotional posts that are becoming common. Social media agencies and marketers need to shift their content aggregation, posting and creation tactics to better focus on the prospect and their interests. Not doing so will cause disconnects physically and emotionally with ones community.

The great thing about the shift I see coming is that it mirrors human nature offline. Meaning that most people become much more engaged with others that discuss topics THEY are interested in. Since I view social media as a parallel universe to the real world, doing what you would do to build a relationship and a connection with people in the real world, works as well and faster in social media.

Here are SOME key things to consider when evaluating your audience and developing a social media content strategy:

1) Age/Gender

2) Geographical considerations

3) What are they searching for online?

4) Who else do they follow/like in social media?

Major brands will continue to be slow to adopt this change. They are some of the worst at proper social media marketing management. They are so used to everything being about them in direct marketing and advertising, don’t expect them to hurry to start posting more content that isn’t about them. Although, they will HAVE to…

The above four considerations will often guide you to the 3-5 max key topics that drive your audiences interests when they take part in social media. The better you do at determining who your audience is and what topics they are into, the more effectively your content strategy will be at creating conversation and building relationships.

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Filed under Agency, Community, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Social content management, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

How To Make Your Social Media Sticky

The art of getting visitors to not only come to your blog or website, but stay on it for extended periods of time is often referred to as making it “sticky”. This is a common discussion heard about new social networks, apps and other websites. Companies like Amazon have spent millions on research and technology to keep your interest for extended periods of time. But beyond typical web properties, your social media should also have a sticky factor as well.

sticky social mediaIt is important to look at your social media marketing similar to how big brands have utilized major media to instill top of mind branding. Social media marketing should accomplish the same thing and more. In fact, I have often said, “the key to advertising is repetition” and explained this in great detail. With social media, the idea is to get and keep your audience engaged with your social accounts to build relationships and stay top of their mind.

Many times I hear social media people talking about how social media is all about engagement. I say engagement is a part of social media, but not what it’s all about. There are several components that work together, to make social media effective. When done properly, you become top of mind with your audience and they begin to subconsciously LOOK for your posts in their feeds.

This effect is accomplished by doing the following things:

1) Content – Be unique in what you content you post. Be sure to include all content types. Be sure the content you create and post is geared toward your audience, not YOU.

2) Consistency – This is where many fall short. Your content posting needs to be consistent. Your responding to comments and shares must be as well. Being consistent with your content and engagement will spark conversation and relationships.

3) Responding – You’re not all that, so don’t act like it. Always respond to your community when they comment, post and share your content. This more than anything will keep them coming back and coming back often. Hence “sticky”.

What are some of the ways you can improve your social media marketing to make it more sticky?

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Filed under Community, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing

Solution To Facebook’s EdgeRank, Revenue And Stock Price Issues

Monday night I was climbing into bed fairly early and thinking about all of the posts and articles about Facebook and their need to drive revenue now that they are a publicly traded company. My thought process also veared to the recent firestorm and frustration surrounding Facebook’s ever-changing EdgeRank algorithm that is increasingly limiting personal and page content reach. As I continued to ponder these two connected issues I began to formulate an idea that I believe to be an effective solution to both.

An article I shared Monday from Computerworld outlines some of the changes social media is experiencing with the “pay” requirement that is creeping into the space and the frustrations that could damage the industry. Their article “Here comes the shameless social money grab” outlines why charging for social networking sites is wrong. Though not comprehensive, it does detail the huge potential backlash starting in the industry. This article was the catalyst that got me thinking on a solution.

Mark Zuckerberg, this is for you buddy. If only you would listen…

My three point Facebook plan involves core changes to EdgeRank implementation, how pages are monetized, as well as new search capabilities within Facebook. These changes are designed to improve user experience, reduce frustration, expand page capabilities and reach, as well as provide Facebook with substantial and sustainable revenue streams. Let’s jump in and review my suggested plan.

Part 1: Facebook Pages – According to Inside Facebok, there are approximately 42 million active pages on Facebook at this point. Given this valuable business use of Facebook’s network, I propose making pages a paid medium for brands at three levels. $3/mo for small, $10/mo for medium and $20/mo for large pages, depending on number of likes.

Pages represent the biggest opportunity for Facebook to enhance value to both business and consumer users of their platform and derive revenue from doing so. My proposed nominal fees for fanpages should also coincide with the removal of EdgeRank placement for these pages in users newsfeeds that have liked the page. Pages that do not subscribe to the paid platform keep EdgeRank in place, resulting in extremely limited reach to their audience.

There are numerous benefits to this aspect of my plan, but I will highlight just a few:

1) Reduction of useless and inactive pages on Facebook’s network

2) Enhanced REAL value to page owners

3) Likers get the content they have opted into without restrictions

4) Pages have more focus to attract real likes rather than fake numbers

5) Clear path to $1 Billion in annual revenue for Facebook, achieved very rapidly

6) Existing Facebook advertising revenue options still applicable, but more valuable to page owners

Part 1: EdgeRank – The EdgeRank algorithm that currently controls what content users see in their newsfeeds is a substantial barrier for Facebook’s average users experience within the platform. Part two of my plan would be to immediately remove the algorithm for personal profiles. Should a user wish to adjust their newsfeed content using existing lists they have created or purchase additional exposure, per Facebook’s recent test offering, these will remain as viable options.

Again, there are numerous benefits to removing EdgeRank for personal accounts, here are just a few:

1) User experience increases dramatically and immediately

2) Significantly more engagement and time on site will occur right away and result in more ad placement opportunities for Facebook, while not harming the personal user the way EdgeRank currently does.

Part 3: Search Enhancements – The next logical step in my plan is to modify Facebook search to mimic a Google-like web search platform for content within Facebook pages. The idea would be to allow users to search for posts that exist on all pages that is relevant to what they are looking for.

A few significant benefits:

1) Users find relevant content and new pages to like INSIDE Facebook easily

2) More users stay inside Facebook for new content discovery

3) Pages are forced to focus more on providing relevant content for their target audience

4) Facebook gets massive new Google Adwords-like revenue stream

5) Pages have additional path to target and grow likes

6) Facebook helps pages to grow from small to medium or medium to large, thus increasing revenue from Part 1 of my plan

I am not saying that I have an end all, be all solution here, but I do believe I have formulated a plan that delivers real increased value to page owners and users alike, while giving Facebook a real path to substantial revenues and ultimately a reflected stock price. As with regular and proper social media marketing, strategies based on delivering value always get the best results. My three part plan would result in value to all levels of users, pages Facebook executives and shareholders.

This is a slam dunk!

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Filed under EdgeRank, Facebook, Fanpage, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

Facebook Does More To Make Google Plus Viable Than Google Ever Could

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know I am no Google or Google Plus fan. I have repeatedly discussed my views on what can only amount to a failure on Google’s part to get in and actually dominate or at least become relevant in the mainstream social space.

This opinion is of course based on a premise. That Facebook doesn’t lose this on their own. What does that mean?  I believe this battle is Facebook’s to lose, rather than something Google has to win.

Let’s face it, neither of these two giants are consumer privacy friendly. Facebook however, has mastered the art of pissing their user base off by consistently overreaching their power and control of their users information, as well as keeping users off center by changing the rules, settings and functionality of privacy management.

1) Privacy Policy Changes

2) Making managing privacy settings near impossible to understand and stay on top of.

3) Changing users settings without their consent.

4) Most recently – Changing users profile content without their consent.

Really, this list could go on and on. If you are unaware of the recent blunder Facebook tried to do secretly to all of their users, see a great post by my friend @susie_parker called “Facebook Changed Your Email and Didn’t Even Tell You“.

Is it possible for Twitter to be the only social network managed by people that are at least smart enough to not piss off their user base? Sorry for the tangent…

I am completely amazed at how one of THE most prolific companies that has ever existed on this planet can continue to be so stupid. Is it stupidity or arrogance? Most likely it is a combination of both. Regardless of the medical issue or character flaw contained within this company’s leadership and displayed secretly in their board room, there is a significant outcome that is becoming more and more likely to surface.

Loss of market share to Google Plus.

Facebook is continually alienating its users, egregiously stepping on privacy and user information controls. I can’t think of too many other things Facebook could do to consistently hand Google and it’s mostly cricket filled network an upper hand in the social media battle.

I have a few suggestions for Mr. Zuckerburg and the Facebook board:

1) Stop messing with your users privacy.

2) Make privacy and user control a top priority in your business.

3) Deploy a focused campaign that builds trust with your user base that is based on actions, not words.

4) Quit making changes to your system (for at least a while) that frustrates and upsets your users.

5) Lay low – You already created a mess with your IPO and a ton of bad press as a result. Chill out, sit down, shut up and focus on 1-5 above.

Failure to take these common sense, immediate steps will even get this Google hater to start spending time on Google Plus, let alone the millions of other users that will someday soon, have had enough. You’re driving off a cliff Facebook. You might want to hit the breaks before it’s too late.

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Filed under Facebook, FAIL, Google, Google Plus, Social Media, Twitter