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  • feedwordpress 01:16:49 on 2015/05/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Tip of the Day   

    The Difference Between Theoretical Social Media and Practical Social Media 

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    This is the type of blog post that will get me into trouble with the wrong people. That’s absolutely fine by me. The people I want to reach are the people who need help for their business, not the people who make a business out of preaching social media.

    There are two types of social media “gurus” out there today. One is like the law professor – more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the law and its applications than most judges. In both the legal and social media marketing professions, the smartest usually end up teaching rather than doing. The other type is like the courtroom attorney. They aren’t immersed every day in legal papers or reading memos from the various courts. They aren’t sitting at coffee shops debate Roe v. Wade. They’re in their offices preparing arguments or in the courtroom making arguments.

    I’ve been asked why I don’t write a book on social media. Blogging over 2000 words per day means I could bust out a book in a month or two. There are two reasons that I don’t. First, social media changes too rapidly. By the time someone finishes reading my book, parts of it will be obsolete. The second reason is because I’m better in the courtroom. Trying to teach people about social media has never been my thing. I like making social media marketing happen rather than theorizing about social media.

    There’s nothing wrong with the law professor types. They make great money speaking at conferences, selling books, or driving traffic to their websites for ad revenues. It’s almost appealing, but there’s something about theory that I simply don’t like. To test a theory means you have to be doing it, not talking about it.

    The reason I’m writing this is to point out one major flaw that I see businesses and marketers make. Many of you spend so much time reading, watching videos, or following your favorite guru that you miss the opportunities to really learn out in the field. The best strategies that we employ for our clients didn’t come from a blog post by a guru. They came from watching what other businesses and marketers are doing and improving on their concepts.

    The best place to learn how to succeed on social media is by spending time on social media. Look at your competitors. Look at other industries. Look at what corporations are doing. Look at what tiny startups are doing. Ask yourself how it played for you when you saw this Facebook post or that Tweet. Did it work? Could it have worked better done another way? Could it work better for you?

  • feedwordpress 11:15:50 on 2015/02/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Tip of the Day   

    Social Media: All About ROI 

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    When it comes to business sensibility, we are often required to determine whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze concerning our expenses. If the hot new advertising campaign we’ve kicked off isn’t getting us any further attention, at what point do we pull the plug and consider it a loss? Is the new $200 coffee maker we purchased for the break room encouraging morale or wasting people’s time? Are our social media expenditures simply costing us money or are we actually seeing results?

    With any transaction of goods or services, ROI is most certainly expected. As a consumer driven society, we want to be sure we’re getting our money’s worth, especially in terms of successful business dealings. The worst threat to our sanity as human beings is to think we’re being taken across. So, when determining a sensible social media contract for outsourcing, can ROI be considered an attainable goal?

    This is a highly contested question in the world of social media, as concern swells around how important a presence can be. Allow me to answer that question quickly and without excessive words; very important. Social media is a way of adding a human element to your branding, and people like human. They like to see the faces of the businesses they frequent, they enjoy your fun fact or quirky anecdotes, and they like to know there’s a human on the other side of the website when they need help with something.

    There are many goals to focus on when it comes to social media. Improving your brand awareness, increasing website traffic, and ramping up your exposure are all fantastic examples of attainable goals. These goals are easily measurable with analytics and can therefore prove whether or not the effort of your social media company is working. ROI, however is trickier.

    The reason most social media company’s don’t list ROI as a client goal is this; it’s not easily measured from behind the desk. Whether or not your Facebook page is driving people to purchase from you, thus increasing your business, is knowledge that can only be attained by asking your customers what drove them to your location. This means relying on customers for honest answers and feedback.

    If social media outreach tactics allow you to gain new customers, then the ROI question is easily answered. During a targeted outreach campaign, if direct contact yields a new client or customer, then your social media efforts are indeed netting a positive in the new business column. At this point, ROI is a sure thing.

    Unfortunately, too often, these results go unmeasured and the questions go unasked, making ROI such a dicey dilemma for social media professionals. ROI remains one of the great unknown questions when acquiring a new client. There is no simple answer to the question as to whether or not social media can increase your bottom line or even match what you’re spending.

    In terms of whether or not social media is worth the money you’re spending for the services you retain, the short answer is yes. If the firm you’ve hired has their eye on the ball and is willing to be diligent and steadfast in portraying your business on social media platforms, the package is well worth the money. In contrast, if the company you’ve hired is bogged down with personnel changes and personal issues, then this question becomes, ultimately, more challenging. In any event, the risk is often worth the reward.

    For some social media professionals, ROI is an attainable goal, as it should be. In a customer service profession like social media management, commitment to the customer should be the number one concern. If the customer is willing to listen to advice and stick to a plan, ROI is absolutely something a social media professional should be able to provide. However, to ensure the maximum return on your investment, a long term plan is probably the best chance at success.

    Social media isn’t a sprint, it is a marathon. So, if you’re expecting an immediate return within weeks of starting up a fan page, social media may not be a successful endeavor. The goals a customer sets for their social media must be realistic, and it is the responsibility of the social media manager to assist in the setting of these goals.

    In making the decision to outsource social media, discuss the importance of ROI with your management professional. During this discussion, the manager should be able to let you know exactly how realistic your goals are. If your ROI is not something they are willing to consider, move on. ROI is entirely realistic, but it won’t be immediate. Before signing social media contracts, ensure that your goals and the social media company’s goals align; this is the number one concern for a cohesive relationship and will often guarantee a better result.

  • feedwordpress 09:28:30 on 2015/01/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , small business, , , , , , Tip of the Day, , While You Were Away   

    ‘While You Were Away’ Will Make Twitter More Important for Business 

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    Twitter was tiny. Then it was huge. Then it was irrelevant. Now, it’s on the verge of landing somewhere in between “huge” and “irrelevant” with the rollout of their “While you were away” feature.

    Businesses have had a love/hate relationship with Twitter since its birth. It can be a tremendous communication tool, of course. That hasn’t changed. However, it seemed to only be of true benefit for big companies. Local businesses outside of real-time floaters like food trucks or music bands had a hard time generating a true return on investment.

    The problem has been that for a local business to have any chance of getting noticed on Twitter and generating proactive benefit, a lot of time was necessary. Unfortunately, the return did not always justify the time spent. What’s worse is that it became painful for some who were finding that the positive things they tried to do went nowhere while anything negative about them that went out on Twitter seemed to go viral.

    Bad news flourished. Good news got buried.

    That’s in the process of changing. “While you were away” will bring real ROI for local businesses.

    Start Paying Attention to Twitter Now

    Twitter While You Were Away

    One of the most appealing aspects of Facebook is its extremely intuitive algorithm. Most people take for granted the amazing complexity and uncanny accuracy of the algorithm that powers the news feed.

    On the other hand, Twitter has always maintained strength in real-time exploits. See what’s happening now… and now… and now again. This meant that local businesses would have to Tweet several times a day in order to get any traction, plus engage in conversations, plus monitor for mentions, plus several other little annoying activities that made it more cost- and ROI-effective to simply maintain a basic presence and monitor briefly every day.

    The new feature means that quality could trump quantity, or rather add to it. On Facebook, it’s better to post less and make it meaningful. Posting too much can hurt. With the new Twitter, it will likely make sense to focus on quality first but with the understanding that quantity will still help. In essence, “While you were away” means that you want to do whatever you can to generate some sort of interactions on some of your Tweets. If you do, your Tweets from minutes, hours, or even days ago have an opportunity to be seen by your audience in ways that were impossible in the chronological-only world of old Twitter.

    Quality is new Twitter’s best friend.

    Here are a few anticipatory best practices. We can’t be definitive at this point because the feature is still limited, but we can anticipate some things that you’ll want to do to bump up your Twitter quality.

    • Include images whenever appropriate. By keeping them the proper size (2-to-1 ratio) and compelling, you’ll get more attention while it’s live, giving it more potential engagement and increasing its chances of being seen by people when they log into Twitter next time.
    • Post often but spread it out so as to not get unfollowed. Every guru has an opinion about frequency. I like to keep at least an hour between standard Tweets (not including @replies).
    • Do not ask for retweets. Here’s the thing. It works. Unfortunately. Then again, panhandling at the subway station can work as well, but it’s not something that you want to do for a living. Rely on your content. They’ll retweet it if they love it.
    • Retweet and favorite others’ posts aggressively. I’m a little worried about using the word “aggressively” in this best practice because it can definitely be taken too far, but helping others will encourage them to help you. Don’t do it randomly, though. Whatever you retweet will appear on your Twitter profile. Be selective and only retweet the best content from good sources. That doesn’t necessarily mean big sources. A Ford dealer will probably notice if you retweet them. Ford corporate most likely will not.
    • Use hashtags, but don’t overdo it. Reading these, one would think that it’s written by Goldilocks. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. That’s really what you want to do with Twitter – find the sweet spot for all activities.

    I hate to admit it, but I lost love for Twitter over the last couple of years. The love is getting renewed. Twitter is going to be effective for small businesses once again if they do it right.

  • feedwordpress 06:50:36 on 2015/01/04 Permalink
    Tags: , engagement, , , , , , reach, Social Advertising, , , , , , Tip of the Day   

    Getting More People to Like Your Facebook Page is 99% Worthless 

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    Someday, I will have the opportunity to prove to a client or prospect beyond any reasonable doubt that this is true. In the meantime, I will continue to write about it in hopes that the facts will win out.

    To prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, I would have to take a page that has zero fans and send massive engagement and traffic with a small budget. Then, we’d need to look at the statistics to show that a page that starts off with zero likes can have more than just paid reach. It can have more organic reach than pages that have tons of likes.

    We do have examples, not to the extreme of having zero fans, but by demonstrating that through strong content and proper use of advertising we can get strong organic reach. Here’s a quick one that’s pretty clear:

    Facebopok Page Likes

    As you can see, this page has 2,458 people liking it. However, you’ll see that the small budget, in this case around $15, was able to get it good paid exposure. More importantly, it generated more organic reach than the number of people who like the page.

    Now, let’s look at a different page. It has nearly 8 times as many likes, but the reach is minimal.

    Facebook Page Likes are Worthless

    The gap is crystal clear. Facebook has been pulling back on organic reach for some time. While many will say that it’s all about greed and the bottom line to force pages to use money to get exposure, it’s more likely about what the users want. When they see page posts on their news feeds, they are much less likely to engage with those posts than the posts of their friends and family. Still, they’re a business, so the reduction of organic reach and the rise of sponsoring posts is the end result.

    You’ll notice that I said that page likes are 99% worthless. There’s one minor benefit. Some would call it credibility. Others would call it ego. Either way, having a page that people are liking gives a psychological boost to the page to let people demonstrate how popular their page really is. While likes are infinitesimal in importance compared to reach, it’s still a benefit.

    Focus on content. Put a budget behind it. Give your page real reach rather than the artificial benefits associated with page popularity.

  • feedwordpress 08:09:20 on 2015/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , Content Marketing, , , , promotion, , , Tip of the Day   

    Building Up a Blog with Social Promotion 

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    There are two major components to a good blog. Sure, there are plenty of other components such as design, site speed, consistency, purpose, niche relations… actually, there are so many that I could write a full-length article just listing the different components, let alone going into detail about them. Still, there are two primary components that can overcome poor performance on all of the other areas.

    Great content. Great promotion. That’s it. If your content is strong and you’re able to promote your site properly and gain credibility on social media and search, you’re blog will grow and be successful.

    The content part is actually easier. If you’re a good writer, strong at making videos, a great photographer, or a combination of all three, you can put together great content. You’ll need passion to do it, perseverance to stick with it, and time to stay consistent, but strong content can keep people coming back to your site.

    Early promotion is what gets them there in the first place. Just like a tree falling in an empty forest, a blog with great content that nobody is seeing will not be able to grow simply on the merits of your Pulitzer-quality works. You have to have promotions to make it work.

    By “promotions”, I’m not necessarily talking about paid promotions. Those help, particularly on Facebook and other social media sites, but you have to be able to get the right people seeing your content so that it has the opportunity to get noticed, shared, and eventually trusted. There are other ways to promote other than social media, but I’m writing this assuming you have little or no budget, in which case good ol’ free social media is the way to go.

    First and foremost, many who read this will say that they are already promoting their blog. They’re sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media site and that should be enough, right? If you’re very popular on social media, it might be, but it will probably take more than that. If you’re doing it in an automated way such as having it share directly through a WordPress plugin or RSS service, you’re completely doing it wrong.

    Let’s look at how to do it right.

    Post By Hand

    Stop feeding an automated posting solution. It saves you minutes (maybe even seconds) versus hand-crafting your posts on social media. If you don’t have time to write up an appropriate title and description as well as sharing the right image, you don’t have time for promotion and you probably don’t have time to blog in the first place.

    Us the Right Tools

    Take advantage of every possible advantage that you can. If you’re going to be posting it to your personal social media profiles, use the right tools. For Facebook, the right tool is Facebook. Don’t post through Hootsuite or any of the common posting tools. Using the Facebook interface is better because it gives you an algorithmic advantage over the API posting services. The same thing holds true for LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

    For Twitter and Google+, using a tool like Buffer is fine.

    Take Advantage of Platform Strengths

    Do each individually and make sure to take advantage of the platform’s individual strengths:

    • Facebook: Post the link directly on Facebook.com. Pick out the right thumbnail and make sure it renders properly as a full image rather than a partial image. You may even want to upload a fresh image, particularly if there’s text involved. For maximum quality and space management, use images that are 1200×628 in aspect ratio and at least 600 pixels wide. Fix the title and link description if necessary. Keep the post text short but important. Some say to leave the link itself in the post text but I disagree. It makes it look sloppy.
    • Twitter: Whenever possible (which is just about every time) be sure to include an image in your Tweet. The exception is if you have an extremely long title or a ton of hashtags that take up a lot of the necessary character room. Images should be 2×1 ratio and over 500 pixels wide. Use hashtags when appropriate but don’t overdo it. Mention people of note if you believe they will be truly interested, particularly if they’re the subject.
    • Google+ and LinkedIn: Pretty much just like Facebook, but craft the text portion to match the network.
    • Pinterest: Make sure the image selected is large enough to fill an entire Pin properly. Make the description a full paragraph when necessary and include the right hashtags.
    • Tumblr: If you have an interesting image, that is much easier to promote on Tumblr than a link. If you use the Tumblr browser addon, you’ll be able to share as an image from the page directly, select the right one, and hand-craft the description. Doing it this way will make the image clickable to your website. Tags are extremely important on Tumblr. Make sure they’re relevant but don’t be shy with them, either.

    Build Branded Pages and Profiles

    It can become a chore to build up additional profiles beyond your personal ones, but it’s worth it long-term if you’re committed. Be warned – if you can’t manage them and keep them robust, they’ll become more of a detriment than benefit.

    Don’t duplicate your efforts from your personal account. Say things in different ways. Post at different times. Divide and conquer using your two sets.

    Share Other Works

    The biggest mistake I see people make with their branded accounts is that they’re all about the blog itself. You’ll build an audience for them much faster if you diversify with content from places other than your own blog.

    This is hard for some to grasp. Most major blog pages and profiles do not do this. They can afford to not do it. Until you build something as big as Mashable, there’s no reason to mimic them. Build an audience with tons of relevant content even if not all of it is helping to promote your own site.

    Final Note

    All of this is much easier with money behind it. Facebook and Twitter have great and inexpensive advertising models. You don’t have to spend a ton. A few bucks consistently utilized for promotions can help take your blog higher much more quickly than trying to build it through strictly organic promotions.

    If you care about your blog and the content you post, you’ll put in the effort to get people to see it and love it.

  • feedwordpress 07:37:04 on 2014/12/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , Holidays, , , , Tip of the Day   

    The Holidays and Social Media 

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    Hanukkah Candles

    For traditional marketers, the end of year holiday season marks a massive push in terms of advertisements. Unfortunately, when small businesses don’t realize the power they wield with social media, they miss out. The holidays can be a beneficial time to ramp up your social media efforts in order to attract new clients or customers.

    All too often, small businesses don’t understand the importance of an active social media presence and suffer the consequences. Developing a strategy for your small business in terms of social media can be just as important as the right location. With the advent of social media, businesses have been allowed the freedom to reach customers and other businesses in new and inventive ways.

    While a presence is important for every month of the year, the holidays allow for increased visibility and better brand recognition.  Potential customers pore over internet sites looking for the next big deal, and social media is no different. If you don’t have a social media plan in place for the holidays, develop one now, it’s not too late.

    Simply having a Facebook page or a Twitter following is not enough, and neither is the sporadic posting of statuses. To have a well-rounded social media plan, consistency is key. For social media success, a business should post on a regular basis (3-4 times per week) with relevant, timely, and interesting content. For the holiday season, themed posts work brilliantly.

    Social media posting does not always have to be a sales push. Intersperse sales information with attention-grabbing facts about your business. Give your business a face, as consumers like to know there is a human involved in the businesses they frequent. An anecdote about holiday traditions, photos of your decorated business, or your charitable efforts are always great tips for posting during the biggest shopping season of the year.

    If you’re in a customer based business, get their attention and don’t just stick with the safe and traditional channels. Branch out to hot and fresh mediums like Snapchat, Instagram, or Pinterest.   There are a variety of techniques that are useful in utilizing social media during the holidays.

    Rewarding customers is a great way to get social media recognition. Offer $5 off of a sale for customers that “like” your page, follow you on Twitter, RT you, or re-pin some of your pins. A small discount can go a long way with attracting new customers and showing gratefulness to loyal customers. Plus, during the holiday season, consumers are always looking for any way to save.

    Establish a Snapchat account for your business and offer teases of new holiday merchandise. Have people flocking to your business in droves by offering a discount via Snapchat that they won’t discover until they are at the register. Once they open the message in your store, the customers find out what percentage of discount they’re being offered.

    Use Instagram to post photos of your decorating efforts in your store, ask for people’s opinions via comments, or award people that follow you and consistently like your photos. A well-timed photo can be extremely beneficial in attracting new people, especially if you’re offering a product only available in your business or offering a great discount on a hot product.

    Businesses that make charitable contributions during the holidays are often popular. As a consumer, knowing that a portion of sales will go to charity is pretty powerful motivation to buy from that location. Use your social media to get the word out that your business is accepting donations, or that a percentage of your proceeds will be donated. Pick a charity that means something to your business or to your client base, and assuredly people will line up to participate.

    If you’re a business that provides a service to consumers, offer an open house during the holidays, and use your social media accounts to publicize it. With a minimal amount spent, you offer customers the opportunity to meet the staff, experience the ambiance of your location, or simply socialize and network. A simple effort like an open house, backed by social media endorsement, can foster business relationships that will last long past the season.

    Using a medium like YouTube, you can thank loyal customers for their dedication. You can also film a staff holiday party or an event, as it will provide a personality for your business. People enjoy feeling like they’ve gotten a look at something they wouldn’t typically see, and this can directly translate to new customers or repeat visits from solid customers.

    The holidays can prove to be a powerful marketing tool via social media if utilized properly. Don’t allow your customers to feel that you’re capitalizing on their holiday spirit, however. There is a fine line between a holiday push and being overly aggressive. The number one recommendation for social media is to think about what you’d like to see as a consumer, and follow your own lead.

  • feedwordpress 23:56:38 on 2014/10/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Social Media Blog, , Tip of the Day   

    Why Soshable Went Dormant (and why it’s due for an eruption) 

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    When I first started playing around with social media marketing back in 2007, it was new, fresh, and wonderful. I created this blog to keep my thoughts in order, to have a central point through which to post all of my content, and to build a brand that could eventually become a company of its own.

    Things change. Directions change. Elements of our lives that we once considered to be important become secondary in the blink of an eye. For me, Soshable has been one of those aspects of my life that fell by the wayside. My focus on automotive social media marketing has allowed me the privilege of forming a strong company with a bright future that takes up way too much of my time and my former blogging stallion was put in the barn.

    That is changing. The good part about having a company grow is that you can start to hire people to do much of the work that you had to do in the beginning. Things that took up all of my time when I started my company less than a year ago are now superbly handled by a team that makes me look good. Time is opening up. Needs are growing, but in different directions. It’s time for Soshable to erupt into what it once was – a place where I and other authors promote the best practices available in social media.

    It doesn’t need to be a social media blog. It needs to be the social media blog, the one that it once was and that it can be again. Thankfully, it’s not like a boxer coming out of retirement. When a volcano erupts after being dormant for a long time, the fury is often greater than it every was before. That’s my hope. Bring the marshmallows. We’re about to spew some heat.

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