audience

How to Annoy Fans and Lose Followers

As you can imagine, I spend A LOT of time online. The internet is a vast universe and I enjoy studying companies, large and small, to see what they are doing with their social media. How active are they? How consistent? Are they posting content that is relevant to their audience? Is it not just relevant – but quality? It’s not hard to see when content is merely slapped on a social media outlet just to say it’s been done.

Consumers these days are smarter than ever. They expect quality and anything less than that is going to alienate them. They also don’t want to be bombarded with the same boring message.

In the words of Jay Baer, from his book YOUtility (used with permission)

Top-of-mind awareness requires companies to send messages consistently, but today’s consumers are besieged with every company of every type, size, and description jostling for attention, making pleas to friend, follow, subscribe, read, watch and click. Unimaginative marketers attempt to stand out with message frequency, or by exchanging bribes for attention (resulting in an explosion of Facebook contests and giveaways, among other tactics.)

But sending messages too often can have unintended consequences. Exact Target’s 2012 United Kingdom version of “The Social Breakup” study found that the most often cited reason consumers “unlike” a company on Facebook is that they felt “bombarded by messages.” And, as noted by Jeff Rohrs, Exact Target’s vice president of Marketing Research and Education, all consumers “have to do is just ignore the messages over a period of time, and they slowly get suppressed by Facebook. You simply won’t show up anymore, even if your brand is technically “liked.”

And there it is, my friends in small business. While your intentions, I’m certain, were to build your following and build relationships – one of my life mottos is “All things in moderation.” There are some social media professionals that will tell you there are specific times to post – be it to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other platform. They’ll also tell you there’s a magic number as to how many times you post in a day. I personally think that’s a bit bogus. It’s not about how MUCH you post anymore. It’s about how CONSISTENT you are.

Sure, analytics can tell us when the majority of our audience is online – however – you need to keep your eyes open. Watch what you post. Pay attention to the content, the reaction of your followers, amount of engagement. Idle posts get you nowhere. Once people start seeing others talking – they’re going to want to be heard as well – and YOU need to listen. No computer can replace human contact, interaction… relationship building. This is all dependent upon you, someone who knows you and your business or someone you trust can learn it.

Moral of the story – Is marketing via social media a science?  Of sorts – but the truth is that there isn’t a cookie cutter approach to it. Each business is different as its audience is different from one to another. Audience = people. As we each are different, our businesses must cater to that uniqueness. This is the joy of relationship building, therefore, the joy of social media.

I Have to Choose between Email and Social Media? … No.

I’ve heard some marketing gurus say that email is soon going to be the dead language of the marketing world.  I say something different.  Language doesn’t die if you know how to keep it alive, so keep email alive, we shall.

Marketing via email and marketing via social media typically reaches two very different audiences.  However, there is absolutely some overlap.  In fact, there’s quite a bit of overlap.

As with any post, any blog, any newsletter, you absolutely MUST keep your audience in mind.  Just because it’s interesting to you doesn’t mean it will be to the people who’ve requested to follow your business… so here’s the plan:

Your first goal is to get your email newsletter list compiled.  Your subject matter needs to be something that is so compelling… So inspiring… So shocking (in good taste of course)… that your audience can’t help but forward it.  Here’s the thing though – you also need to provide a way for your audience that uses both social media AND email to share the story – EASILY.  Humans – we’re such a lazy group! Give us an “easy” button and we’re set.  Make us save a picture to our hard drive, find said picture, upload it to Facebook – then post it… and we’re spent for the day.  So we’d rather just not.  Provide us a button.  Approve.  There it is!  And like magic – more followers.  And you look all the more genius for it.

Looks like you’ve got some writing… or research… or editing to do.  I’ll leave you to it then.

Tarantula Tarantella

Ohhh boy.  Woke up yesterday morning knowing that I had to do a fear blog because…. well… today is Friday!  I had no clue what to do.  I have enough fears, I suppose.  But none of them (except for one) are paralyzing fears.

My friends who have known me for at least a couple of years – or those who have had the privilege of living with me – know this fear to be my biggest.  Their funniest, but my absolute nightmare.

I think I developed this fear when I was around 12 or 13 years old.  The movie Arachnophobia came out.  My neighbor was scared senseless.  I was bound and determined that i was going to show her what I was made of.  I was one brave chick!  So I watched it over…. and over…. and over… and over again.  Until I fully understood EXACTLY why she was so afraid.  And it stuck.

So yesterday morning, I decided.  I know my fears may be puny – but these silly Friday blogs aren’t really just about me.  They’re also about my readers.  I want you guys and gals to take steps outside of your comfort zone to meet your fears .

In my case, last night wasn’t so much about overcoming any fear because I think a fear of spiders is something of a rational fear.  In this case, it’s more about not letting anything  get in the way of your dreams and your passion.  Not a little spider, not a big snake, not fear of failure and not even yourself.

You’ll have to excuse my appearance. My hair had been under a scrub cap all day and I had to consume 2 glasses of wine and eat a Rice Krispie ® Treat the size of Texas before I even worked up the gumption to walk out the door.  When I got to the place (which will remain nameless due to their less than ethical purchasing strategies… hey, it’s the only place around that had a tarantula.  Back off. I didn’t buy anything.) the associate was with another customer and I had another 30 minutes of pure hell waiting around to hold a creature that I’m fairly certain was spewed from the mouth of Satan himself.  My. Nerves. Were. Shot.

I told the associate of my plight to face my fear of spiders.  I told him I wanted to hold one of the tarantulas at which he said, “on one condition. When I put this on you, you can NOT throw it if you get freaked out.”  Done.  The mission had begun.  I began to feel my nerves actually calm knowing this venture was coming to a close.  That is, until he opened the first container and said, “Ummm no.  That one won’t work.  Any time they pull their fangs up like that – I’m not messing with them.”  I’m sorry… THEIR WHAT?!  It’s ok.  It’s clearly for the best that I didn’t do proper research before I had an 8-legged hairy monster crawling on my arm.

The second monster seems less peeved.  Up and over… and…. ohmygoditsonmyarm!!!!!!!!!!!  Breathing.  Be very still.  Don’t let the monster know you’re scared.  They sense fear.  They like the taste of fear.  The monster most surely is going to bite me.  Ok, you may now remove the monster from my arm.

As it turns out, the monster liked me.  It’s when it had to trade hands to the associate that it decided to bite… him.  Poor sucka. :-)

spiders2 copy

 

Go do something that makes you grow!!!

You want me to WHAT?!

“I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” – Herbert Bayard Swope, American editor and journalist; first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize

And this, ladies and gentlemen is the truth.  There will be clients that want the world from you.  Once they get the world – they’ll want the sun… and the moon.  And the truth is that you’ll want to provide it for them to your own detriment and to the detriment of your other clients.  There will always be someone that you just can’t please no matter the hours you spend with/for them, no matter the effort put forth, no matter the amount of sleep lost.  Now there will be two possible outcomes.  Outcome #1 – You continue trying to please said client, suffer inordinate amounts of stress, possibly lose other (quality) clients due to time spent on this one – OR – Outcome #2 – You fire your client.  Yes.  YOU are the one in control of your stress level and you are the one responsible for keeping it at a safe and tolerable level.

 
Do the right thing by everyone, always.  Yourself included.  To conclude, a little ditty:  “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.” – Kenny Rogers

Did a Social Media Professional just say….???

Hey you. Yes… You. You said you wanted to grow your business, right? Here’s the thing: You’re never going to do it hiding behind a computer. That’s right. I said it.

Our culture is on social media overload. One of the reasons I hear multiple people say they veer away from social sites is that we have lost the art of truly connecting with each other – and to an extent, these people are right. Social media is just one of many avenues to get and stay connected.

Networking in person is still a completely viable way to grow your contacts – and in turn your business. The difference now is that you use social sites to help you at your networking events. That’s right. I’m telling you to do some social stalking. *Disclaimer* – I’m not really telling you to stalk people. :-)

But what you CAN do is join local meetups. On these sites, you can actually see who will be there. Decide on a handful of people you’d like to meet there by checking out what they do. Google their names to find out businesses they’re in – or even better sometimes – is who THEY know.

Information is gold and it’s now at your fingertips. Let your fingers do the walking, but get your body there in person.  I promise that the extra effort will be worth it.

Quality AND Quantity

In social media, twitter in particular, a lot of people are focused on numbers.  While yes, social media is a numbers game, it’s also important to recognize how much time you’re spending on gaining followers that have absolutely nothing to do with what you have to offer.

You may have fallen victim to the “trends”.  You may see those tags that are trending to the left on your twitter page and be tempted to add them to your own posts.  Why?

Let’s take a practical approach to this:  You own an all natural dog food company.  You’re excited and you know you have a quality product at a fair price.  Right now, if I were to follow “trends” on twitter, my post might look a little like this:

Top 5 reasons your dog will benefit from all natural dog food <insert link> #vicodin #RepublicanMovies #Hawaii

So, here’s what you could possibly end up with: Vicodin heads that like to watch Republican movies and would really like to vacation in Hawaii.  I kid, but you get the idea here.

The moral of this story is, of course, target your audience!  Yes, you want to have a lot of followers, but you want to have a lot of followers that are interested in what you have to say.  I think what might be just slightly (note the hint of sarcasm) more effective would look a little more like this:

Top 5 reasons your dog will benefit from all natural dog food <insert link> #dog #DogFood #pets #natural #food

Just remember.  Numbers are important.  Quality numbers are gold.  Happy tweeting!