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Are you talking to me?

“I hate Facebook.”

These words are music to my ears. These are the words of a potential client – someone who is on Facebook, knows it takes a lot of time, and hasn’t seen a return on the time they spend there on their business. With a small tweak to their strategy, I can usually turn their experience around.

Or let them forget that they have a Facebook page at all, except when someone comes in and tell them about something they posted.

The reason that Facebook takes so much time if a business wants to see a return is that you have to use it like the users do. You have to look at everyone else’s posts. You have to join in conversations on those posts. You have to care about others. Then, and ONLY then, should you post on your own page.

You have to talk with people, not at them.

Here are a couple samples. Even on previously successful pages you can see where the page stopped talking “at” and started talking “with” the fans.

Remember that the people who see your posts on Facebook have taken the time to “like” you. They are fans. They’ve allowed you to invade their precious newsfeed space and take up part of their day. Are you going to repay that trust by talking about yourself without regard for their interests? This is your chance to make your business stronger by focusing on them.

Your customer.

This isn’t hard to do, but it does take time. If you’re interested in getting this task off your desk while connecting on a more personal level with your customers, let’s talk. About you.

Constant Changes

While I don’t believe that Facebook advertising is right for every business, there are some that it just makes sense. After a quick trial run to make sure one of my clients would actually benefit from ads, I agreed to manage their advertising on Facebook as well as their conversation.

My first step was to get approval for eight ads that I would rotate through the program. My second step was to build them all in the Facebook advertising dashboard so I wouldn’t have to think about it much. My third step, a week later, was to cuss and think about crying when Facebook changed the size of their ad photos and eliminated my library of pre-built ads.

And they added these fancy schmancy featured stories things.

Have I mentioned that Facebook changes things? A lot?

In previous posts I’ve talked about how no one can be an expert on Facebook because of the constant changes. There are, however, dedicated students who work to keep up with the changes and how those changes impact business. I’m one of those students. But there are advanced students from whom I learn.

A whole gaggle of those advanced students have been gathered together for an Advanced Facebook Ads conference this month. And by gaggle, I mean 22 presentations by well-respected professionals who have studied and read and tried and failed and succeeded. If you’re curious about the value of ads or those sponsored stories, these are the people who can tell you the truth.

And, let’s face it, there’s nothing better than a conference you can attend in your pajamas, right?

Oh wait! There is!

There’s the conference you can attend in your pajamas at a discount! Mention “SOCIALFRESH” when you are checking out for $150 off your registration. I love a discount.

One of my favorite speakers at the conference is Jay Baer from Convince & Convert. He spoke at the Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism. What I like about Jay is that he stresses the value of quality content and conversation before a gimmick to increase your “like”s. He also believes you should be very clear about what your goals are for any given page. Seriously, see this man speak ANY chance you have.

On a side note: Jay used to have a blog that consisted entirely of the bathroom faucets in the hotels he stayed in when he traveled. I find this hilarious. And brilliant.

I’m also looking forward to Jeff Widman from PageLever and about nine million other ventures. I love how Jeff’s brain works – it is 180 degrees opposite of mine. Which is a good thing, of course. You don’t get much from people who think just like you. And storytellers don’t get far without someone to think about the numbers and find those solutions for them.

And there are more! So many more!

  • Justin Kistner from Webtrends
  • Marty Weintraub from aimClear
  • Randall Lloyd from Buddy Media
  • Diana Plazas from Doubletree by Hilton
  • Angela Leaney from the Harlem Globetrotters
  • Jordan Franklin from Clickable
  • Hussein Fazal from Ad Parlor
  • Tim Bosch from Likeable Media
  • Dan Slagen from HubSpot
  • Chris Tuff from 22squared
  • Amy Porterfield from AmyPorterfield.com
  • Ryan Cohn from What’s Next Marketing
  • Matt Monahan from AlphaBoost
  • Dan Benyamin from Citizennet
  • Katie Roberts from Walden University
  • Maya Grinberg from Wildfire
  • Mark Unger from PUSH
  • Merry Morud from aimClear
  • Erika Brookes of Vitrue
  • Lucy Jacobs of Spruce Media
  • Nate Riggs of The Karcher Group
  • Roland Smart of Involver
  • Chris Penn of WhatCounts
  • Victoria Gibson of FB Ad Queen

From these speakers I expect to learn the latest in ads and stories and all things Facebook. And I imagine I’ll go away with a couple more advanced students to follow in the social webs.

And I’ll be bringing all that know-how to my clients.

Until Facebook changes it all again.

LinkedIn: To Connect, Or Not to Connect

“I just wanted to let you know that I am no longer associated with Bob. How do I let everyone know that I don’t endorse him? AT ALL.”

I worked at a chamber of commerce for seven and a half years. About twice a year, I’d get to have this conversation with a member after they’d brought a new acquaintance to a Chamber event. They thought they were doing the right thing – bringing in a new businessperson, introducing them to their friends and colleagues, helping someone new to the community get their foot into the business community door. The problem is that skeezy people are slick and you don’t necessarily know about the skeeze factor right away.

Once you’ve introduced them, though, you can’t erase that link in the minds of those who were introduced. If one of your acquaintances is ripped off by this person it is your reputation that may suffer.

Translate this to LinkedIn, the social version of a chamber of commerce. I’ve recently heard that some experts (Gah! Experts!) are recommending that people accept all connection invitations because it increases your possible reach. And to send invitations to everyone which whom you’ve made a passing acquaintance. My mind went immediately to Mr. Skeeze.

Not only do I think you should follow this advice cautiously, I’d point out that this is the exact opposite of what LinkedIn suggests. Here’s what they say to newcomers (bold is mine, for emphasis):

Ensure your connections represent your “real-world” network.

Use webmail import to see, in seconds, all the people you know who are already on LinkedIn. You can then select who you wish to invite to join your trusted network.

On my personal LinkedIn account there are dozens of people that I know but don’t attempt to connect to. Mostly because, while I know them, I don’t feel that we’ve worked together enough for them to endorse me as a professional. I have friends on Facebook who I would not choose to connect to on LinkedIn because I like them as people but would never do business with them. The reverse is true; I have LinkedIn connections with whom I would never be a Facebook friends.

Life is life. Business is business. Common sense is common sense.

If you are interested in expanding your reach in LinkedIn, do it exactly as you would with the chamber of commerce: find groups that interest you and participate. Offer advice. Ask and answer questions. Post articles that you’ve written or share articles from others in your industry. BE THERE.

As with all social media – and life, really – people want to be heard and they’ll respect the people that listen. Respect turns, eventually, into business. That is how you achieve reach.

***

Note: As an individual, there are no rules on how to use social media correctly. As long as you are being authentic to yourself, there’s no such thing as “wrong.” There are some ways you can keep yourself safe from the dangers of the world – stalkers, bosses, gossips, thieves, etc. But social media is just a tool for them; they’ll still exist without digital tools and will prey on people that don’t choose to protect themselves.

Anyone who tells and individual that they’re doing social wrong? They’re doing it wrong.

Beware the Social Media Expert

Check any of my six email addresses and you’ll find articles written about the latest trend in social media, marketing, tourism or design. I’ve got no problem at all with learning on a daily basis. I spend a lot of my working day trying to stay up to date.

Trying.

The problem with social media “experts” is that they profess a level of knowledge that just isn’t possible within the industry. It isn’t old enough. The changes happen to quickly. And you have to question just to what, exactly, their expertise pertains. Is it the technology? Because knowing how to post and share and disseminate doesn’t do anything for your consumer.

The only person who is an expert on your customer is…your customer. And, maybe if you’ve been paying close attention, you.

For social media success it is important to be an expert on your community of consumers and a student of the technology that connects you.

The Problem with Gurus

It has been said, and I believe this is true, that every social media professional secretly longs to be called a guru. I myself have been called one and it made me smile inside. But a guru is the wrong choice for implementing your social media strategy.

When you think of a guru you probably think of a man at the top of a mountain or on the other side of the world. He is removed from all distractions so he can think heavily on issues and impart his knowledge to only those who make the journey to learn from him.

Going back to our pal, Wikipedia: A guru is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom, and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others (teacher).

But social media isn’t something you can master from afar. You have to be in it every day, getting your hands dirty and making mistakes, to really know it. You’ve got to be in the fray, reaching out to your specific community. There’s nothing you can learn about your customers from the outside.

Learn from a guru. But don’t have one sitting on the outside telling you what your community wants. You’ll need an inside man for that.

What do you mean, no ninjas?

I get it. I do.

The big thing in new media is to break free of traditional job titles and pick something that shows you’re edgy and cool. And ninjas are cool. They also happen to be completely wrong for the social environment. In fact, a ninja is actually a throwback to the worst of old school advertising.

From the ultimate social book of knowledge, Wikipedia:
The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations.

So…what part of this is good for your customer? If you are still thinking of your customer as the “other” – someone to be tricked and conquered – it’s time for you to reconsider. Especially if you are working in the social realm.

Ninjas are great for Halloween and video games. Keep them out of your community strategy.