Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Lurks Beyond the Keyboard - Social Media Automation

When tackling the task of social media strategy, you can't ignore automation as a solution to covering multiple channels, but do you really know what happens when it goes beyond your keyboard?

Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, digg, de.licio.us, whatever the outlet, if you're serious about creating, monitoring, and maintaining your online brand/presence, you probably have explored automating.

A recent e-mail came to me through my website that I want to share with you because it speaks exactly to the point that I want to make.

Vickie -

My question is about automatic uploading to twitter from other sites.

I see multiple tweets posted at the same time.

When I open my twitter page and see nothing but one person’s tweets I UNFOLLOW them.

You have four tweets from HootSuite all at once plus two or three others. That is fast closing in on my threshold to unfollow you.

Fact is I really love your tweets, but feel I have a live outside your tweets and don’t want to follow many links.

How do these sites work?

Can you control the number of posts from them?

What is the logic of having a lot of tweets? Is it effective? How is results measured?

I plan to try to tweet twice daily – maximum unless someone demonstrates that something else works better.

Thanks for the answers.

You can post this to the blog if you wish, or I can post an entry if you wish.


Gordon Hughes

There's an in and there's an out, right? On this we can agree. But how it gets sent out, and how your viewer gets it are two VERY different things. Think of it like the mail truck running out of gas on the way, or maybe hitting a pothole. And that's the mail truck on MY end. What about the mail truck DELIVERING the content? Well, there's not much I can say to that end.

For my own strategy, I've found that for twitter, Hootsuite is well-suited to my needs, being able to schedule content and space it out. I certainly don't want overkill, but I do want to maintain my presence in the area of social media marketing. Therefore, I have to maintain a brand presence on a regular basis.

Now, if there is a follower who chooses to look at content at a particular time in the future, my tweets are obviously going to get backed up and it's going to look like maybe I'm publishing them all at once.

Or maybe, in fact, hootsuite had a hiccup and it didn't post them as I had scheduled.

And hmm, has twitter ever gone down? See, we just don't know what happens when it goes beyond our keyboard.

In the past, in doing e-mail marketing campaigns, I've learned to test the e-mail to myself first to make sure that the content is exactly what I want to appear when a recipient receives it. But do they ever? Or did I just end up in the junk folder?

Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share on the subject? Have you ever had an automation strategy gone haywire?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Retailers Get Ready for Social Shopping Experience

Retailers, especially ecommerce retailers, can no longer ignore the power of social media and how people are choosing to communicate - WHEN they want, with WHOM they want, and HOW they want - especially with the growth of mobile platforms.

I think these numbers will only grow and technology is able to make us more connected than ever - especially how we shop. I hope that online retailers do particularly well this holiday season and weather the storm.

Posted via web from vickie_smith's posterous

Friday, October 23, 2009

How to Segment Your Twitter Strategy in Social Media

Very interesting post by Daryl Pereira on SocialMediaToday. I do agree that your social medial strategy should have a focus and purpose. However, don't neglect to apply these strategies across the board in social media, not just one social "medium," just one channel.

We should all strive to engage our audiences, whoever they might be, B2B, B2C, and to do that, we need to create relevant content (in the right format, in the right venues), and listen - by following and monitoring your brand.

Posted via web from vickie_smith's posterous

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why Social Media and Search Must Be Integrated

No marketing efforts are standalone, especially in the digital world where the world is FLAT. This eMarketer report proves the point. Consumers are more connected with brands who have a social media presence - and those brands with a savvy team who optimizes their SEO and searchability (or findability!) will shine among their competitors. Does it make you think how you can change your strategy? Reports like this help keep us sharp...now off to searching for relevant content, right?

Posted via web from vickie_smith's posterous

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to get more attention with your social media messages - 4 Tips

Get more attention with your social media marketing messages?

La la la la I'm not listening! Just think of fighting that uphill attention battle every time you want to be heard in “free” social medium forums. There is more clutter now than ever, and people are going to get savvier at learning how to filter out the noise.

Do you Tivo/DVR? Get frustrated when opening up a video and seeing a pre-roll advertisement? People will continue to look for VALUE, and will get better at being able to search for relevant content. Here are tips to help you break through and get people to really want to listen:

1. Headlines - Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
There is a definite art to headlines, and to tweets that grab attention. Guy Kawasaki is a master, and Personal Branding Expert Dan Schawbel is another - if you don’t believe me, just check out their twitter feed, better yet, follow them, and you will see that the reason you should click through is apparent RIGHT AWAY. If it’s a REPORT, OPINION or ADVICE, I know if I should bother finding out more. They saved their audiences time, and it is definitely appreciated. Be open and honest (transparent) as to what VALUE someone will find and people will be more likely to NEED to find out more.
2. What’s your hook song, or first track?
If you’ve ever bought an album, you know that the opening track has to really grab your attention for you to feel the rest of the album is worth your time listening. Same thing with your social media content - Don’t give people a chance to shut you out too soon. If you’ve got a very relevant piece of content for your target audience, think of what part of your content is going to be catchy enough to make them want to keep listening!
3. Keywords, people!
On a social media project recently, I was assigned the task of broadcasting social media content across a wide variety of platforms. Problem was, in order for me to broadcast it, I’d have to rewrite most of the headlines, so I’d have to take time looking through a lot of content to feel if I could put my own brand on the line by broadcasting it. The professionally produced video content, I felt was valuable information, but hidden beneath rather weak descriptions. Don’t make any effort you have wasted, especially with professionally produced content like video, or even a blog post you took time writing - think of it as your front door!
4. How Tos and Tips
It has been found that tweets most likely to get retweeted contain the phrases “How To” and “Tips.” People want to know how they can learn how to do something better, or even just how to do something period. And tips, well, by breaking this blog post down into four easy to digest chunks, you could quantify right away how many tips you were in for. There are too many decisions we all have to make as technology makes life ubercomplicated. If we can save each other the trouble, it makes life so much easier, and gets people to want to listen that much easier.

Isn’t that what this is all about? Please help me by sharing your comments and suggestions with me on these tips, and thoughts on others you’d like to know more about. Thanks!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Optimize Your Social Media Content for the Long Haul - 10 Tips

People are more distracted than ever before, and we can thank technology for the help. People will tune you out at the slightest opportunity. I call it “competition for eyeballs.” How can you get their attention and KEEP it for the long haul, converting them to loyal users? Here are some tips on creating not only content, but keeping an eye on how people will be able to maneuver through it:

Keep your content consistent
Not only should your content maintain a consistent writing style, but the content should look and feel the same throughout.
Just like McDonalds isn’t going to change their arches any time soon, keeping your content visually consistent will make a big difference in getting people to know what to expect when they come to your social media community. And if you don’t have a consistent style yet, or maybe you are still developing one, see what sticks and develop your own formula.
Keep it relevant
Just because you have a genius moment, and created this subjectively compelling article, who says it’s great?
You? That might not necessarily fly with your audience. Unless there’s a particular keyword or some idea that you try to get across on a regular basis, it’s not enough to hold people interest over a longer time. And that’s what we’re looking for, right? Think of it like buying a brand you’re pretty loyal to - a favorite restaurant perhaps. If you ordered filet mignon and got tofu spinach salad, would you stick around? But I bet there’s an audience for both of those dishes!
Make it exciting - where’s the WOW?

Do you like what someone else in your industry, or maybe your competition, is doing? What is it that knocks your socks off? This also means headlines for grabbing people’s attention. For me, I love when major brands come into the social media space and come and speak to us all as peers. They really want to know what it is that people want, and then they have a better chance of creating it. The groundswell will prevail! (If you haven’t read Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s book and you’re interested in growing a social media audience, you are WAY missing the boat.

4. Make your platform easy to connect

The social media platform you’re using also lends itself to being able to get the message out to your audience. Not only does the content have a lot to do with people sticking around, but do you have links for people to be able to share your content, including social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Digg? If you do and they’re not sharing it, then there’s probably a reason that goes more deep than connectability.

5. Target the right audience

Blasting people to try to generate interest will only service a temporary fix. Ask yourself who is your relevant audience? Even better, why don’t you ask trusted colleagues who they think your relevant audience might be? If you’re in social media, just because you might maintain membership to multiple groups, posting seemingly irrelevant news items doesn’t mean that your message will become “magically delicious.” Who would be most interested in your tasty morsels?

6. Promote it through ALL channels

Not just interconnecting your social media outlets with links to it all. Think of social media as just one element of your marketing mix. You might have direct mail, TV, print, radio, e-mail…It’s the repetition and consistency that will drive traffic to your social media door step. When I was in radio advertising, I wouldn’t take on a new advertising client for just one or two spots. There’s no guarantee that reaching the right customer would happen in a matter of seconds. And this is for the long haul, right?

7. Be authentic

Social media users know that if something is off kilter, word will get out about it pretty fast. Would you believe it if Bill Gates posted positive comments on Microsoft videos? Probably not. Think of your own persona - do you identify with the content? Would you believe a blog author posting positive commentary about the content on the posts? If you’re perusing the social mediaverse, you probably want to post comments with a keyword that you’ve identified with, but even more so, keep true to yourself, and people will be more likely to believe what you say.

8. Make content easy to digest and user-friendly
Take a look at the visual elements of your campaign.
Are you trying to keep your content “above the fold,” in other words, keeping people from having to scroll down to see what you are trying to say?
Do you have tips that are kind of hidden in a long paragraph?
Think of it like this - would you send a resume to a recruiter in essay format? Nuff said.

9. Make the content format relevant
Do you have multimedia content spanning across different social media outlets?
Or is it just stretched and doesn’t have to be?
Social media outlets are very unique, with unique audiences who have very different social technology habits (technographics).
Yes, there is some crossover, but for the most part, Twitter users want quick headlines with juicy enough reason to want to click through a link. If you are trying to reach Youtube users, know that they are LOOKING for a “wow” with a visual impact - professionally produced videos, or even CGC (Consumer-Generated Content), with some intelligent thought into presentation. Then you can reap the rewards of people subscribing and posting comments and maybe even their own video comments.

10. Test! Test! Test!
I am lucky enough to have a network that is on top of the content that I send, so when I have a link that doesn’t work, or a typo (because I just hit “send” a little too quickly, and yes, I’m trying to get over that…), they let me know.

You could even hire a usability consultant, maybe hire a panel of experts to do testing, or you could do a focus group if it came down to it - point is...
No one can assume that their content is going to be the winning lottery ticket. Just as you’ve invested your time in growing your social media content, take the time to test it. Through different browsers, through different eyeballs, through the mountains white with snow.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stats on How Social Media Users Depend on Their Networks - eMarketer

It's so important to understand how people are using social networks - how can you reach an audience, unless you have an understanding of their media usage habits? And what are they doing when they get there?

Putting together a social media strategy for a client yesterday, it was important to understand certain characteristics of the audience, and what kind of value they want to receive first. Otherwise, it's like shouting at a wall pretty much.

So, looking at these stats, isn't it a good idea to get more involved, or do you want to sit on the sidelines and watch the social media barge pass you by?

Post a comment - I date you! :)

Posted via web from vickie_smith's posterous