Tag Archives: social media strategy

3 Silly Reasons To Quit Social Media

This is just so silly it’s fun: the 3 Reasons You Should Quit Social Media In 2013 are, according to a Forbes.com post over the weekend: 

3 silly reasons to quite social media

  1. It harms your self esteem.
  2. Your blood pressure will thank you.
  3. Online is no substitute for offline.

Two of these are just fun — bad research, obviously — and one just silly. 

Harms your self esteem, supposedly, because of research the post author cites…

… a UK study from the fall found that over 50% of social media users evaluated their participation in social networking as having an overall negative effect on their lives. Specifically, they singled out the blow to their self-esteem that comes from comparing themselves to peers on Facebook and Twitter as the biggest downfall. 

Now that’s obviously bad research. Poorly phrased questions, a non-random list, or some other flaw. And, by the way, proof that these days you can find research to prove any crazy assertion you want to make. 

And as for social media being bad for blood pressure, that’s because … 

Social media a hotbed of bad behavior – flame wars, bragging, bashing and crimes against grammar, among other misdeeds.

So if that’s a worry, then don’t drive a car, don’t talk to people, and, well, don’t get out of bed. Don’t read news. Don’t turn on the television. Sleep a lot.

As for the third reason, online being no substitute for offline, the post makes a good point.

Almost a quarter of Americans say that they’ve missed out on important life moments in their quest to capture and memorialize them for social media. Think about that the next time you’re Instagraming your anniversary dinner at P.F. Chang’s.

So there’s a good lesson in that, and a good reminder. We’ve all seen that happening, most of us have done that. But wait — is it really all or nothing? Either quit social media altogether or get lost in your phone when you’re with people? That’s not great logic. How about take the real nugget out of that one, and draw some borders. 

Final thought: that’s a good title, though: 3 reasons to quite social media. It got my attention. Contrarian titles work. 

Social Media Action Plan

(Note: This is taken almost entirely from the Industry Word blog on the SBA Community site where I first posted how to make a social media business plan. I like social media action plan better, though, because too many people mistake the phrase ‘business plan’ for a static document that is hard to do and gets forgotten. To me a business plan is about business planning. It stays flexible and becomes the format for regular review and revision. For the sake of not arguing about it, I’m calling this an action plan instead. Tim.)

Online buzz about social media for business owners seems to be moving from “Should I” to “How do I?” I’ve been working on this a lot lately as part of my work on planning, and I’ve developed this process for a specific social media plan for small business:

Start with strategy

Define how your social media serves your business. Usually that’s in the marketing area of the business related to branding and awareness at the top of the marketing funnel, but it can also be focused on other business functions. For example, airlines are using Twitter for customer service, food trucks are using it for delivery by tweeting locations, and consultants use follower and like counts to validate their expertise.

Strategy is focus, so you need to sort through the different social media options. Community management expert Megan Berry of LiftFive in New York says, “Facebook tends to be more personal, so if a product is fun and consumer oriented, then Facebook is really good. Twitter has the advantages of public searches, and business searches, so you can see how much a given topic matters. Google+ is mostly techies, photography, and people who work at Google.” I think of LinkedIn as more about careers than specific businesses, and Pinterest as great for photo collections. You can’t do it all and the fastest road to failure is trying to please everybody, or do anything.

For purposes of illustration, my examples in the rest of this post focus on Twitter and use the terminology of Twitter. That’s just to make the narrative easier to follow.

Add specific tactics

The strategy means nothing without specific tactics. In social media that means making some practical decisions. For sake of illustration, imagine a manufacturer of environmentally better construction materials selling to a local market looking at Twitter. Here are some tactics to work through:

  • What accounts to follow: In our example, of course we’d follow people tweeting about homes, green construction, construction materials, architecture, and the building industry. Maybe also small business, small business management, and local business. Gardening, landscape architecture? We should also follow people representing the old-fashioned methods our green construction replaces, and yes, all of our competitors. And we’d definitely want to follow industry leaders, the best blogs, and media people for our industry.
  • What content to tweet and retweet: In our example we’d tweet about green building, construction, architecture, and homes for sure, to build a content stream that would attract like-minded people. We’d probably also tweet about local events, local businesses, and local people to attract local connections. But we would never offer content promoting the old-fashioned ways or our competition. We would set up programmed searches for hashtags like #green and #greenbuilding, #homes, and #greenhomes.  (Hashtags are a Twitter feature people use to aid searching for topics. People offering content include them in their tweets, so people searching can find them).
  • What to watch out for: We should set up searches to catch any mention of us especially, of course. Also, mentions of our competitors, substitutes or competing products, and (as much as possible) local building issues.
  • When to reach out: We’d want to watch for media people and issues that could create media opportunities for us, like interviews with the founder, or reviews in blogs or trade magazines. Reaching out in Twitter means either tweets mentioning specific handles or direct messages to specific people.
  • How to reach out: We’d want to reach out correctly and respectfully, only for specific cases and specific people. Direct messages should ever look or feel or act like spam.

Add Specific Metrics, Milestones, and Tracking

Your strategy and tactics are of no use without concrete specific steps, measurements, and tracking.

In our Twitter-oriented green construction materials example, we’d want set objective and trackable numeric targets for how many:

  • accounts to follow
  • new follows to add each month
  • tweets per day, week, and month
  • retweets to send
  • retweets we want to receive
  • followers we expect to add per month
  • leads we should get
  • web visits tracking from our tweets, retweets, and Twitter profile

And for our review meetings, we’d want to start with actual numbers for each of these measurements. Then we’d review these results and discuss changes to the metrics, tactics, and strategy.

And that, all together, is a plan.

7 Easy Steps To Make A Simple Twitter Profile Page

This particular one – 7 Easy Steps To Make A Simple Twitter Profile Page is three years old but still easy to follow and useful. And it keeps its promise, giving us, literally, seven easy steps. So I’m recommending it here.  

As an aside, I like this writing:

They used their logo and then coordinated their Twitter page colors.  Bing, bang, boom, DONE!

And I also like the author’s bio at the end. She says:

Jo-Lynne Shane has written 3062 posts.

Impressive. And that was three years ago. Like she says in a different context, bing, bang, boom, done. 

They used their logo and then coordinated their Twitter page colors.  Bing, bang, boom, DONE!

7 Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

Stephanie Miles has seven good tips on social media for small business owners, posted over at Street Fight, as 7 Social Media Strategies for Small Business Owners. Who cares that they’re more tips than strategies? Not me. As long as they’re useful. Here’s a summarized version of her list (although comments are mine):

  1. Start measuring immediately. Stephanie talks about knowing which posts are working and which aren’t, and I think of also tweets and retweets, everything you can. You want to think about results. She says ”By choosing some metrics that are important and keeping track of those measurements early on, businesses can generate benchmarks that they can look back at to see how they’re faring over time.” I add a note of caution: participation in social media is not an activity that lends itself to instant measurement. What’s the return on investment of time and effort on participating in a community, sharing expertise and content, and, gradually, getting people to know, like, and trust you? That comes over time.
  2. Timing is everything. Some times of day are better than others. For example, restaurants may benefit from tweeting specials during lunchtime. She says “The best days to send messages are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, since Monday is a catch-up day and Friday is too close to the weekend.”
  3. Use the right platforms. Stephanie says as examples that “photos are great on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram, but they don’t have the same impact when posted on Twitter. Business owners should experiment to learn which types of content work best on which platforms, and then do more of whatever produces the greatest results.”
  4. Treat social media as a two-way street. This is so important. It’s not just shouting ad slogans, but engaging in something like conversation.
  5. Offer exclusive deals and discounts. Really? Stephanie says people follow brands to get special deals and offers. I say that may be true for some discount retail and cheap food stops, maybe; but for a lot of businesses the goal is presence of mind and developing a persona identified with the right kind of content and caring.  Special deals and offers get old, and they turn people off. In my opinion.
  6. Get smart about check-in sites. I guess this depends on your type of business. For traditional retail, perhaps, but not for every business. Stephanie writes: “Check-in sites like Foursquare provide an excellent opportunity for cross promotion. Businesses can tweet at customers checking-in to thank them for visiting, and then ask those customers to leave their feedback on sites like Google Places and Yelp. Foursquare is also a great place for customer acquisition, since businesses can actively reach out to people checking-in at competing establishments with special offers or deals meant to bring those people in.”
  7. Integrate social media into other business systems. It’s about business and business goals, not just about being popular. Stephanie suggests:  ’By integrating social channels with existing systems like Google Analytics and Omniture, and using a social media management system, companies can connect the dots and see the role social media is playing in their overall marketing efforts. Business owners should track the traffic that social media networks are driving to their websites and find out whether social media is converting certain activities into pre-defined goals, like sales or customer acquisition.”

So this is a goods list, despite my doubts about tips numbers 5 and 6.

5 Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

Excellent! Read Evanne Schmarder’s 5 Social Media Marketing Myths: Busted on the Huffington Post yesterday:

Myth 1: Social media marketing is free.

Yes and no. It’s true that you can sign up and create a profile on popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Pinterest for free. However, a monetary value must be placed on the time spent to develop the platform and the creation and implementation of an online social media strategy.

The truth is that time is money, and engagement takes time. Your persona needs to be developed and nurtured and constantly tuned and pruned. 

Myth 2: I’ll get a neighborhood teenager to handle my social networking, they know the ‘net.

Your social media communications plan must be as carefully crafted as any of your other marketing efforts. Not only should you not cede responsibility of your social media messaging to some young hipster that goes to school with your kid, you should tightly monitor all social media messages that come from your business or your brand.

Kids are great for coding and setup and such. But your online business persona is you and your business combined. You need somebody with judgment and experience if you aren’t going to do it yourself. 

Myth 3: If I get involved in social media marketing the ‘haters’ will hijack my marketing message.

Guess what, whether you are using social media or not, people are talking about their experience with your business. Creating a social media presence allows you to monitor what’s being said and offers you the opportunity to publically respond to less than favorable comments, winning the customer (and others that may have been swayed by the negative post) back.

The problem is not being there engaged in the conversation doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about you. It does mean that you don’t know it. Evanne cites the 2011 Harris Interactive/Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report to say that what matters is how you handle complaints more than the fact that people are complaining. 

Of the dissatisfied customers that post a complaint and receive a response, the study showed that 46 percent were pleased and 22 percent went on to post a positive comment about the business.

Myth 4: I built a Facebook page therefore I’m a social media marketer.

My response is a sarcastic “yeah, right.” And a blog post titled Social Media is Littered with Business Carcasses. Evanne says: 

Social media marketing — on Facebook and elsewhere — is not a ‘set it and forget it’ tool. It takes commitment, tenacity, time, and strategy to identify the best platforms for your business, consistently engage your target market, and develop business-driving relationships.

Myth 5: Using ‘friend-farms’ to buy ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ will build my business.

Fat chance. Evanne says:

It’s the same as sending a promotional email to an unqualified list. It’s dead on arrival, no matter how many addresses you send it to. You’d be much better served building your following by sharing relevant content, interesting news, and an occasional marketing message.

Social media is a powerful tool, fun, and worth the effort. But it’s also a great generator of myth. 

5 Steps for Dealing with Social Media Malice

Let’s say you’re involved in social media for your business and you’re the victim of a social-media attack. Somebody you don’t really know singles War Gamesyou out because he’s mad at your company, or had a bad day, or whatever; and launches an attack out of the blue, mentions you and the company you work for, and claims you treated him badly. Ouch.

So you’re just doing your job, doing your best, dealing with a lot of people at once, and suddenly somebody targets you. They are messing with your business reputation. It happens a lot. People whose job involves dealing with a lot of people do become the target of personal anger that’s really directed at the company, the situation, or life itself (sometimes it’s one of those bad day things, a last straw situation) and it ends up feeling really rotten, like having an enemy for no good reason.

So let’s say that has happened. You’ve been blindsided by one of these attacks. What do you do now?

1. Stop, breathe, think.

Remind yourself that the meanness usually shows. Assume you’re dealing with an idiot. At least the smart people who encounter one of these attacks will see through it. They’ll click links to see where it started. They’ll see the malice if they look.

2.  Don’t take it personally.

I know this is hard. We talk about thick skin, but jeesh! People can be really mean sometimes. Why do they take their anger out on you? Remember that if part of your job is dealing with a lot of people, then these things come with the territory. You have to have thick skin about it because if it spoils your day then that’s bad for your health on the long term and it makes you unhappy. The idiot had the power to make you stop and think about a response. That’s all. Don’t give him the power to ruin your day, or even your hour. He ruined your moment. That’s all.

3. Decide whether or not to respond.

Sometimes the most eloquent response is silence. Be careful, though, because more often than not, silence gives the wrong impression. And it might even be bad for your health too.

Remind yourself that you can’t argue in social media. Like it or not, what you put in Twitter or Facebook is publishing, and it lives forever. Angry words are not biodegradable.  Like in the movie War Games, the only winning move is not to play (by the way, you can click the picture up above for the Youtube video, or just scroll down).

4.  Settle your anger and hurt first, then respond professionally.

If you should respond, take your time, be careful, clear your head first, and give a single response you can live with forever. Don’t argue, apologize. If an apology makes sense – don’t take it personally, this is business, you didn’t mean to offend, you didn’t realize, it was accidental, part of your job – make it a clear, clean apology that covers the whole issue. Make it one you can live with, without further comment, forever. Make it a response that shows the world that this was one-sided only.

Don’t get mad, get even. Expose the idiot by staying professional and not engaging.

5. Then forget about it. Let it go. Get on with your day.

If you like this job, and you like dealing with people, then of course this hurt your feelings, but you have to get over it or it continues to hurt your feelings. The idiot spoiled your moment, and that’s his fault; but if you brood over it or stay angry or hurt, then that’s your fault. Because what happens now is in your control. You can minimize the damage, or not.

And for extra credit…

Even though it’s been more than a year now since I wrote my 18-point Twitter Etiquette Primer, I believe all of it as much or more now. I did have “don’t argue with people in Twitter,” but I didn’t have “don’t use Twitter as a weapon, a threat for blackmail, or for venting.”

Have you seen that bumper sticker that says “mean people suck?” What do you think of people who blindside other people by broadcasting personal complaints on social media? Pie in the face might be funny when the Three Stooges do it in black and white film, but mud in the face in social media isn’t. It’s meanness multiplied by social media influence.

Now here’s that video: