Is Social Media Marketing Starting to Annoy You?

It’s becoming an epidemic. More and more businesses are using social media as another mouthpiece for their promotions. They somehow skip over learning how to use it to connect with potential customers, or how to us it to earn customer loyalty from their existing customers.  We don’t give big brands our loyalty nowadays. They have to earn it. Social media is their direct link to us.

Unfortunately, some brands insist on just using social media poorly to just promote and broadcast. The cartoon below is the result.

Social Media Cartoon

This is Especially True on Twitter.

For example, I’ve been watching Office Max waste their time on Twitter for nearly two years now. When they do Tweet, it’s usually just for a promotion or some special savings. There are often more than a hundred tweets a day that  that mention “Office Max” in them. They just haven’t figured out how to use Twitter yet to get engaged in these conversations and talk to their customers. Instead they tweet promotions, asking these same customers for their money. Promotions once in a while are ok, but every tweet is annoying and a misuse of Twitter.

I happen to like Office Max, I just get annoyed with their behavior on Twitter. And they aren’t alone (e.g. Old Navy).

 

We tend to gravitate to those brands that ‘get it.’

Is it possible for the big brands to talk back to their customers on Twitter?  Some notable big brands are proving it’s possible such as:

Panera Bread

Panera Bread on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

The Home Depot

The Home Depot on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Hertz

Hertz on twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Jet Blue

Jet Blue on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Marriott 

Marriott on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Rubbermaid

Rubbermaid on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

In all of these examples, they are talking back to their customers. They are engaging. They are conversing in real-time online. Think about it. If these big brands can find a way and the time to talk back to their customers (and they have thousands), any size business can and should.

Using social media for business isn’t rocket science, it’s human relations 101. [TWEET THIS]

What are your thoughts? Do you believe those brands that aren’t actively engaging with their customers on social media are going to suffer in the long-term and that it’s just a matter of time?

Social Media Mistakes

 

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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How to Use Social Media to Generate Leads

So you want to use social media to generate leads for your business?  If that’s true, then you must also be willing to take the steps necessary to put your business and brand in a position to attract leads online. And those steps may take some time.

Social media is a powerful tool, but cannot stand alone as an online marketing solution.  Social media marketing comes after you have discovered your voice through blogging and have a key word strategy in place.

Does Blogging = Leads?

You can’t expect to put your business online and expect the online buzz to suddenly rocket you to online social media stardom. Leads won’t fall from the sky either.

Generating a lead is the end result. And while Stephen Covey has taught us to “Begin with the end in mind,” you must first focus on answering the question, “How can we be valuable to others, consistently over time, so we organically attract people to our business online.”

Then you must have a plan to create the valuable content people want to read, share and comment on. Content people will share and will lead others to you (traffic), who will then want to learn more about how you might be able to help them (conversion) so you can then have a qualified prospect (lead).

You do this from blogging. And how often you blog matters also. 

The Impact On Lead Generation

The Impact On Customer Acquisition

 

It Doesn’t Matter if You Are a B2B or a B2C business, You Need to Be Blogging

Every week I speak to a business owner who thinks his/her business doesn’t need to blog at all, let alone a lot. Thinking that way is similar to thinking back in 1995 that your business wouldn’t need a website. Blogging is the new SEO, and it’s an important part of consumer culture so you better start capitalizing on it.

B2C Blogging Works!

 

B2B Blogging Works Also!

 

If Google Can’t Find You, Neither Will Anyone Else

Ranking high on the search engines (particularly Google) is no longer optional, it’s critical. The more keyword rich content you create (and blog), the more search engines will find you.  In order for Google to find you often, you need a lot of pages that link to your site. You can control this by blogging often and making sure to use the keywords that will lead people to you.

Are You Showing Up?

 

More Blog Posts = More Indexed Web Pages

 

What does this teach us?

That you need to generate as much (keyword rich) content as possible, before your competitors pass you by. Social Media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube all give you the platform to share your content in different ways, but you have to generate the content first.  And oh yeah, that content needs to be interesting. The leads will follow.

The great business management guru Peter Drucker’s most well known quote is “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Social media can certainly help you create and keep a customer. But you have to be willing to do the work [online] that it takes to get there.

I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts (contribution, feedback) in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out my upcoming Webinar for an in-depth training expanding on this post on “How to Use Social Media to Generate Leads.”

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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5 Apps in 30 Seconds: Volume I

If you haven’t realized it yet, 2012 is all about two things: visuals and mobile. In an earlier blog post, I wrote the following: “That’s why 2012 is also the year of the photo-editing/sharing mobile apps. There are so many apps that exist within the iPhone/iPad App Store and Android Market that you can be using to share unique photos for your business or brand. So why aren’t you?” (Read the full post here).

When I published that post, it was my hope that readers recognized how important having a smart phone is when it comes to creating and sharing valuable content on social media sites.

I’ve had my iPhone for about four months since dumping my Android device. In that short span of time, I’ve gone app-crazy. I spend a lot of time reading about new apps. I download them, I teach myself how to use them, and then I recommend the ones I like to friends and coworkers.

Since I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from others about the apps I recommend, I decided to launch a new series on this blog that I’m calling 5 Apps in 30 Seconds. In each installment, I’ll decide on a theme to focus on, choose 5 apps based on the theme, and share them with you in a quick video.

In this first installment, I’m focusing on content creation apps as my main theme. The apps mentioned in the video below are apps that I believe businesses and brands could and should be using to develop interesting, entertaining, educational, and original content for their social media sites and overall online presence. Watch the video below now to hear my recommendations.

To download or learn more about the apps mentioned in the video, look for the links in the description section of the YouTube video. 

If you do end up downloading and liking any of the apps I recommended, please let me know! Come back and leave a comment on this blog post, or let me know on Twitter. I’m @RobWormley.

By the way, you might notice that I focus mostly on iPhone apps in this series. That should be a hint. Dump your droid and get an iPhone. It’s worth it. If you are too stubborn, however, click here for a list of the top 100 apps for Android.

Want to suggest an app for me to test out? Let me know! Send me a tweet or email me directly.

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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Selective Hearing And Social Media

We’re all familiar with the term ‘selective hearing’. It essentially means you only hear what you want to hear. This means that anyone choosing to apply this concept to their lives has a sort of filter  blocking out the things that might annoy them, offend them or, even worse, bore them. This idea has been applied to every form of communication that has ever existed, and guess what???

Selective Hearing Applies To Social Media!

For the most part this isn’t literal in social media which is why I want to make a slight amendment to the term and call it “Selective Processing”. Your fans and customers are selectively choosing which messages they will process and they’re basing their decisions off more than just the content you’re providing.

There is very little original content online. What I mean by that is there will always be a similar blog post or tweet or Facebook update to yours, so your mission is to break through all of the selective processing filters people have up. Here are a few ways to do that.

1. Rely on visual obscurity  - Don’t default to generic stock photos. Make connections between your content and the visual you use but don’t be obvious about it. If you show someone what they expect to see they will skip right over you.

2. Brush up on your non-regional diction – There are a million ways to say almost anything so don’t just regurgitate a popular title to share an article. Come up with a unique combination of words to present your content in a more appealing way. Go for puns, alliteration and any other grammatical tools you can think of to really CRAFT your messages.

3. Be brutally honest -  This is a little tricky because people who don’t agree with your opinion might look right over you, or they might take the time to respond. Some people are scared about being confronted on social media but I recommend embracing a little confrontation from time to time. Maintain your civility, of course, and make solid points. Don’t ever tell someone that their opinion is wrong but don’t be afraid to stand by your opinions. These are sometimes the conversations that attract the most attention and inspire the most engagement.

Have you been breaking through all of your fans and customers selective filters? Download our complimentary Ebook on the 5 Biggest Mistakes You’re Making on Social Media and find out. 

 

Mike Bal

Mike Bal

Hi, I studied advertising, I have a passion for creativity and I love working in social media. I try to write about the combination of traditional marketing, branding, and advertising strategies that can apply and work affectively with social media. I also enjoy music, batman and life.

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4.5 Ways To Be More Interesting | Social Media Tips

Being successful in social media depends on several things. You need to be relevant to your fans and customers. You should always be available in case they need your immediate attention, or if they feel like they need your immediate attention. You should be engaging so your fans don’t feel like they’re talking to a wall. And you should be interesting.

Being interesting isn’t as easy as it would seem. Successful brands like Skittles can be interesting by posting a question about a unicorn, but that won’t work for the majority of businesses in social media. The brands that haven’t formed a niche or style for their social voice are left teetering between “good content” and “interesting content”. Unfortunately they aren’t always the same thing.

The downside to playing it safe and providing strictly relevant information is that it really doesn’t give people a reason to be loyal to you. They MIGHT start to rely on you as a source or a curator but that doesn’t attach them to your brand. They aren’t hearing your voice they are simply seeing what you’re seeing. This is where being interesting can help. A quick witty comment on the end of a or a picture attached to a valuable status update can make all the difference in the world. Here are a few things that will help you be more interesting and as a result attach more fans to your brand.

1. Find New Sources – It’s great to have a list of places you can rely on for good and relevant information but don’t go to them too often. If you share from the same sources on a regular basis at turns you into a stepping stone instead of an interesting and valuable brand. Try to make it a goal to something NEW to share from a NEW source every day.

2. Give The World A Bit Of Attitude – People have already started to train themselves to ignore regurgitated content. The same headlines are streaming over and over again on all social media channels so it will take a little something extra to grab their attention. I suggest adding your opinion with a bit of attitude. Even if people disagree you will have obtained their attention.

3. Change It Up – You don’t have to attach a link to everything you share. Not every blog post has to be in five paragraph format. We call it social MEDIA for a reason. Find videos, pictures, infographics and quotes that are interesting and relevant to your brand and your customers/fans. All of the social media channels are becoming more media friendly so don’t be shy.

4. Throw A Curve Ball – You can still share something that has nothing to do with your business or brand. Your fans are real people who have personalities outside of their occupations. Share viral content, share feel good moments, share things that make you laugh, share incredible images, Share! Share! Share! Your brand’s personality has a human side too. If it doesn’t, it needs to get one.

4.5. Maintain Conversations – As I mentioned before, your opinions go a long way when it comes to being interesting. Find other brands or people and comment or reply to what they are sharing. Don’t leave a quick “Thanks for sharing” and call it a day. Read what they want you to read and give them some well thought out feedback. This is only half of a tip because SOCIAL media implies that you are being social but we see a lot of people out there who seem to have no interest in the social aspect of it all.

Feel free to shoot me and questions or thoughts on Twitter or post it up on our Facebook page.

Mike Bal

Mike Bal

Hi, I studied advertising, I have a passion for creativity and I love working in social media. I try to write about the combination of traditional marketing, branding, and advertising strategies that can apply and work affectively with social media. I also enjoy music, batman and life.

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A Look At the Growth of Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

In general, (some) people are coming to the realization that social media is not a fad, but it’s here to stay. What the skeptics and those on the fence also need to understand is that social media is constantly changing. It is growing, diversifying and becoming an integral part of our lives – business, networking, social and personal.

Take a look at this infographic (pulled from Huffington Post) and see for yourself!

The Growth of Social Media: An Infographic
Source: The Growth of Social Media: An Infographic

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Social Media enthusiast who loves reading about and experimenting with the newest forms of communication. I'm a news and political junkie who loves advocacy work, the Green Bay Packers and working in this fast-paced environment.

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Social Media For Personal Use vs. Business Use

On our weekly show yesterday, The Social Truth, we talked for a little while on the differences between using social media personally and using it for your business/brand. Unfortunately, due to some technical issues, the show was not recorded, so I thought I’d give you a short recap of what we talked about.

I’ve personally encountered a lot of people recently who have been thrust into doing their employer’s social media because 1) they are young and 2) they know a little bit more than the next person. This is all well and good, except that most people’s understanding of social media comes from how they’ve used the various networks personally.

The reality, however, is that using social media for your business or brand has a few key differences that must be taken into account. If you are using the exact same strategies (if you have a strategy at all), you are missing out on the full power of using the social world for your marketing purposes.

The highlights:

  • Content
    • Personal. Here, it’s okay to simply share the old Twitter mantra “What are you doing?”. Your family, friends and coworkers may in fact be interested simply in what you’re up to that night. And they are definitely interested in pictures of your kids, kittens and kite-flying afternoons.
    • Business. This is all about sharing content and giving value. Most of your updates will include links, or little nuggets of wisdom related to your industry. That’s why they are coming to you.
  • Networks
    • Personal. Stick with what you like. Think of it more like a hobby. Love making videos? Dive in to YouTube, and try out Twitter later on. Are you a photographer? Stick to Flickr for now, and try out YouTube later. Don’t feel obligated to be on everything.
    • Business. Have a footprint on all the channels you can reasonably handle. Obviously you don’t want to be overloaded, but you want to reach your intended audience where they are, and they probably aren’t all in one spot. We especially advocate for the Big 5: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
  • Facebook specifically
    • Personal. You don’t have to reach out much. Here it’s okay to simply be a consumer and digest all the posts coming your way. Put smiley faces and “lols” on everything you like.
    • Business. Get familiar with applications. You can literally do just about anything within a Facebook page that you’re able to do on a standard website. If you didn’t know that, you’re already behind. Do some research and know what they do. Also be intentional about reaching out and adding comments to other pages that add value to the people reading.
  • Consistency
    • Personal. It’s not crucial that you’re posting every single day multiple times. I am one who has a love-hate relationship with social media. Yesterday, for instance, I forgot to tweet altogether, and I get paid to do social media (Yikes! Am I fired?). At the end of the day, though, my friends/family/followers will come back to me because they have a real relationship with me.
    • Business. Consistency is crucial. If you’re not posting every day, your audience is finding a similar company who is. I guarantee it. There are tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite that allow you to do this if you have to be out for a few days. Make it a priority to share fresh content at least once or twice every single day.

A couple last points. You want to make sure to clean up your own social media once you become in charge of business or branded accounts. Go ahead and delete some of those old college photos, and clean up the language as well. This doesn’t mean don’t have fun, it just means be a little more aware of what you are posting and the people who might see it.

You also want to make sure you have a strategy for jumping into social media for business use. Read some books and take a look at the companies who are doing it really well. Have defined goals and ways of measuring those goals, just like you would with any other marketing or advertising strategy.

Using social media for yourself may be intuitive, but it’s almost certainly not intuitive when you are doing it for a business or brand. If you have questions or comments, drop ‘em below…or find us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy is a blog-reading, report-writing project manager. In his spare time he enjoys reading a good thriller, drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and spending time with his wife.

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How Social Media Can Lead To Sales

If there’s one common question that every business, brand, or organization new to social media has, it’s probably “how will using social media lead to sales?” It’s a fair question to ask. The problem with this question, however, lies in how it’s worded. What businesses new to social media should be asking is not “how will using social media lead to sales?”, but instead, “how can using social media lead to sales?”

It’s a slight difference, but here’s why the second question is a better question for business owners or brand executives to ask: it shows that they already understand the fact that creating a presence on social media sites doesn’t automatically lead to sales.

Unfortunately, most business owners just can’t seem to grasp this truth—that just joining social media sites isn’t a guarantee of even one new sale for a company. Developing a social media strategy for your business and joining social media sites are two very important steps to take, but if you want to actually start seeing real results—i.e. actual ROI—then you’re going to need to walk a lot further than you might have originally planned.

So with this new question in mind—”how can using social media lead to sales?”—what’s the answer? I’d be lying if I told you it was a simple “a + b + c = $$$” equation. There are a number of factors that play a part in whether or not your efforts on social media will actually lead to sales. To help you better understand what some of these factors are and how they work together, I’d like to share with you a chart that I like to call the social media equation. Here it is:

If the chart above looks complicated, it’s because it’s meant to. Because using social media to make sales isn’t as easy as a lot of people want it to be. It takes things like time, consistency, transparency, interaction, and value. It takes real work.

You may know that you have a good product that you think a lot of people could use, but if you can’t take the time to genuinely care about your followers and show them that you have a good, valuable product, you aren’t ready to be on social media.

No one wants to see a video on Facebook or a photo on Flickr that looks like an advertisement. No one wants to see the same “great deal” tweet ten times in one day.

If you decide to take the first steps to create a presence for your business on social media, it can lead to sales. It just takes time, effort, passion, dedication, authenticity, patience, and above all—a good product.

Still have questions? Ask me on Twitter. I’m @robwormley.

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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3 Social Media Changes You Don’t Want to Miss

As a social media company, it is our job to stay on top of all the fancy new stuff that pops up every 10 seconds or so in our industry. Most of these changes don’t really mean much to you, our readers – they are new startups working out glitches, back-end programs that make our jobs easier, or simply new ideas that haven’t quite reached critical mass yet.

The last couple weeks, however, have brought about 3 major news items that are worth sharing. The first is the release of Google+, a social network that is Google-based and is supposed to be a new rival for Facebook. The second is a trio of information bits from Facebook regarding their chat features. And finally, YouTube is in the works of redesigning their user experience, and the early results look promising.

1) Google+

Currently in Beta Mode with limited availability, Google+ seems to be aiming at being a simpler and more user-friendly social network. Friends are organized into “circles” such as work, friends, family, acquaintances, etc. The rumor is that it will be open to the public as of July 31. They will also be rolling out business profiles sometime in the next few months.

Pros:

  • Seamlessly integrates with other Google Apps, especially chat.
  • Has built-in video chat.
  • Organizes friends better than Facebook, making it easier to find the ones you’re truly interested in following.

Cons:

  • Yet another social network to share content on.
  • Not sure yet of how it competes in the social world with the giants that are already present.
  • Has yet to integrate things like events (Google Cal?) or collaborative work (Google Docs?).


2) Facebook Chat

Facebook held a live event viewed by thousands of people online to announce their latest upgrade. The Facebook Chat feature has long been known to be a little glitchy, and not as easy-to-use as Google Chat or Skype. They seem to be trying rather hard to fix that problem. Their trio of items to note:

  • Group chat: You can now add multiple people to a single chat box, making things like weekend planning a breeze.
  • Chat sidebar: depending on your browser size, you may now have a sidebar with a listing of your friends and the ability to chat with them right there, versus just that little box in the bottom right corner.
  • Video chat: This is the biggie. Facebook has partnered with Skype to bring video calling to any of your Facebook friends.

Pros

  • Group chat seems like an awesome feature and will be easy-to-use. This will make life much more simple for a lot of people and even businesses.
  • The ability to video chat without having to download a program is huge. You now have access to all your friends, versus just those with the Skype program.
  • They capitalized on the best video technology out there (Skype) instead of trying to create their own.
  • You can leave video voicemails when your call isn’t answered.

Cons

  • You still have to download a plugin, and it may not be user-friendly for those who aren’t tech-savvy.
  • Still no group video chatting – that really would have been icing on the cake. It will likely be a paid premium feature in the future.


3) YouTube Redesign – Codename “Cosmic Panda”

This change might be my personal favorite. Virtually since its inception, the site has looked a little clunky, and not very user-friendly. All of that is about to change with this update. The overall design is slick and clean, and makes navigating much more intuitive. To activate the update for your account, visit www.youtube.com/CosmicPanda.

Pros

  • It just looks and feels so much better. That’s a big pro in our book.
  • Playlists are organized neatly on the right side and can be seen at all times.
  • Channel stats such as subscribers and views are now easily visible on the rop right.
  • You can change the video size manually, putting the viewing experience totally in your control.
  • It is easier to scroll through videos of a selected channel.

Cons

  • The “Featured Video” seems to be lost, so the video that people see when they land on your channel is likely just the most recent upload.
  • That’s about it for now! We LOVE this update!



What do YOU think of all these changes? What pros and cons have you found? What are you most excited to start using? Chime in here on the blog, or over on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy is a blog-reading, report-writing project manager. In his spare time he enjoys reading a good thriller, drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and spending time with his wife.

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How To Put The Power of The Elevator Speech Effect To Work For You

Every good business person needs to understand how to communicate ideas. Whether you’re speaking to a theater full of people, a room full of board executives, or even someone you meet in the elevator, you need to understand how to effectively present a compelling message— and it needs to be one that generates real results.

So how can you improve your speaking skills so much to the point where you could pitch an idea in less than 180 seconds? Here’s one way: read a great book that was recently released titled Small Message Big Impact. In the book, awarding-winning speaker Terri Sjodin outlines the tools and skills you need to perfect in order to master the art of the elevator speech effect. According to Sjodin, “an elevator speech is a brief presentation that introduces a product, service, philosophy or idea. Its general purpose is to intrigue and inspire a listener to want to hear more of the presenter’s complete proposition in the near future.”

If you’re serious about improving the effectiveness of your communication methods, I strongly recommend you read this new book:

To order YOUR copy of Small Message, Big Impact today, click here.

Learn more about Terri Sjodin:

Connect with her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter. Watch her videos on YouTube. Read her blog.

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Husband, Father, Entrepreneur, Social Media Strategist, Speaker, and always learning.

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