What needs to be done in Social Media so it doesn’t die?

During my intervention at the Madrid Music Days event last year, I stated my idea, reasoning and examples of why social media marketing as we know it is coming to an end. I rescue here four of the most important points of my speech about what we can do so that Social Media doesn’t die. Note: this won’t avoid its evolution, however.

what needs to be done in social media so don't die

What needs to be done in Social Media so it doesn’t die?

This is the approach we’ve been working on for the past two years and it’s working.

1. Social platforms are communication and marketing channels and, as we’ve proven, are still viable sales channels. However, they need to be led correctly. They need a coherent strategy and execution that focuses on results, on connecting with our community, therefore creating certain resonance with our people in a dynamic, interesting and brilliant way.

Social Media doesn’t create a different world; neither does it invent or define. This is something that only comes about with an idea, initiative, project or business. At the end of the day, it’s only marketing through a new means of communication. Navigate your project or brand through these channels, seeking a clear, defined project. Do so without losing track of the people because, most of all, you need them right now. The value you provide is the value that the world will give in return.

2. Symbiotic models have always worked best (except in the case of Spiderman and his alter ego). Throwing conventional communication and marketing out of the window was, still is and will always be a dumb idea!

Look for a cross media strategy. Traditional communication isn’t dead, PR is extremely useful for word-of-mouth, there are still a variety of offline means to cross over to digital communication. Use what you do well out there, such as sales, to bring your customers to your company blog or to have a 24/7 customer service over Twitter.

3. Companies that claim to care about people but who can’t be bothered to interact with their buyers can ignore all of this. We’re ignoring you in one way or another.

Ask, listen, do something with all of this. Look out for conversations, take part in them. Recommend services that are in line with your audience, become “the person to turn to if I need something” and let the results speak for themselves.

4. If you want to use the social web and the great opportunity that lies therein, at least attempt things, learn from them, fail often, experiment, fine-tune, use any feedback you get, be creative and try something different; all of this before, during and after using social media. There’s no other way. That’s my recipe to get to where you’re so good that no one can ignore you.

Should you advertise on Facebook? If that’s your concern, there’s so much more you should be concerned about. Is being on Pinterest worth it? Who knows. Should you programme your tweets? Have you ever tried this and measured the results obtained? The only way to get an answer to these and many other similar questions is to just go for it and try it out. You need to work with the social web thoroughly to understand what works and what doesn’t. The best –or worst– thing about this is that it’s a day-to-day job. What worked yesterday may not work today, or what works today may not work tomorrow.

The direction that such work is taking means that if you want to make the social web to work for you, it must become a part of all your business processes. It’s not less important but, rather, the driving current. The work you carry out is part of your marketing, your customer services, internal communications, human resources; it’s part of your company’s wiring. It’s a part of it all!

What else needs to be done here? What’s your role?

Photo credit: hollywoodhollows.

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How efficient is your blog?

I’m usually quite matter-of-fact in these actionable posts, so straight to the point! Here you’ll find 8 ways to help you measure how efficient your blog is.

blog efficiency

8 Ways to measure your blog’s efficiency

1. First of all, compare the natural growth of visits to your blog overall with regard to a similar period the previous year, and then the average visits for each post. Compare also the bounce rate, sources of traffic, social conversion, individual visitors, pages visited and average stay on your site and in each post.

2. Measure the number of people who unsubscribed to your newsletter, email or RSS subscriptions in the last month / quarter / semester / year. This way, you’ll understand whether your content is the right content for your community, if you have an interesting community and whether there is a connection with your readers. According to the measurements I carry out of my blogs and others I’m in contact with, the average rate is usually 2-3% per month at most.

3. Furthermore, check how may subscribers are RSS subscribers and how many are via email. If you have a newsletter subscription, how many subscribers do you have? Calculate this weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.

3. Volume of comments in each post. The more comments you get, the more popular your blog is; the more popular it is, the more it’s read; the more read it is, the more it’s visited; the more visited it is, the more conversions you should be getting.

4. The number of “leads” you get every week / month. By “leads” I mean business opportunities. These will be different for every person depending on the type of blog you’re writing, the field and industry you’re in and the objective you seek. This could be a request for a quote regarding the interior decorating of a house in a home renovation blog; or, a question regarding the clothes you described in your fashion blog; it can also be a company contacting you for a PR activity through your advertising blog; or the proposal from an agency who wants to hire you as a speaker at a gastronomy fair through your food blog.

5. What is the reach of your posts without the use of social tools (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Menéame, etc.)? This will help you measure your blog’s true influence, how influential it is on its own.

6. Of the visits you receive for each post, how many actually carry out the action you’re looking for. That is, how many visitors click on the “call to action” that will take them to your online store, to purchase the theme you’re recommending, to make the donation for the NGO you collaborate with, etc. Sometimes, this “call to action” may simply be for them to answer in the comments section the question you set in your post, or signing up to an event, webinar or conference.

7. Analyse the number of links on other blogs, posts or sites that each of your posts gets. This isn’t only positive at SEO level, but if you get many links, then you know your post is valuable and others are using it as a resource.

8. Recommendations that your blog receives between users in the social web: Twitter, Facebook, Google + or LinkedIn. Count also the number of times that your blog (or each post) is bookmarked in a social bookmarking site such as Del.ici.ous or Diigo.

What other ways to measure your blog’s efficiency can you think of?

Photo credit: Saurabh Shukla.

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What you can do with this opportunity to create change

Communicating, marketing, selling, gaining visibility, sharing content, writing posts, maximising your brand’s reach, starting promotions, working from home, optimising your time, tweeting, uploading photos or building your personal brand. These are only some of the things that you can do with the social web and the Internet of things; but I guess you already knew this!

the opportunity to chenge things

What we don’t see is the other side of the social web; the side that changes it all. How can we dedicate our time to social media yet show no interest or dismiss the importance of people?

That is my favourite part. This is what you can do with this entire new world in front of you:

  • Make an impact on the world.
  • Develop your professional profile and both your professional and personal skills and competences.
  • Create connections and interactive bridges.
  • Start-up your business.
  • Connect with people you don’t know personally.
  • Build a community of people interested in something they have in common.
  • Head a charity cause.
  • Modify the expected result.
  • Study, learn and grow.
  • Find a purpose.
  • Start a movement that inspires others.
  • Start a new business – it’s never been easier or cheaper!
  • Gather ideas together and check out what happens when they hit the market.
  • Decide how you’re going to help those in need.
  • Communicate with and reach anyone you wish.
  • Start a revolution.
  • Educate people through shared knowledge and experience.
  • Share stories that are worth knowing.
  • Add value to your industry.
  • Create your own story.
  • Change people.

How can you do this and more? That’s where you need to step up and work towards this tirelessly.

Reading the above, I think we sometimes don’t realise the times we’re living.

Photo credit: Benoit Tremblay.

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How to Market your Online Store through Social Media

Before we get started, let’s get back to basics: you need to have a great customer service that is fast, efficient and useful. If you also send your orders in less than 24hrs then you will have come a long way. Similarly, it is equally important to have a well-structured e-commerce platform that is practical and easy to use.

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

1. Prepare a Launch Campaign: spotlight news on your website, sending a newsletter to your database (offering them something, don’t just send an email), a special promotion.

2. Pinterest: create boards; for instance, for a clothes e-shop, the boards could be ‘T-shirts’ (distinguish between men and women), ‘Accessories’, ‘Shirts’, ‘Jackets’. Categorise according to your range of products. For better social media optimisation (SMO) include the original link to your website. Also, include the price (check here to learn how to do it) and a description that is rich in keywords. To avoid too much work, you can import them directly using the “pin it” button on your browser.

3. Instagram: publish only the most relevant and attractive items together with a link and picture. If you wish, you can adorn them using the effects available in Instagram.

4. Facebook: as your store probably has many items, a good option can be to publish something daily, marketing a concept: for instance, “a souvenir for today” or “recommended item”. This can be done daily, every two days, weekly; it will depend on your target audience. Don’t forget to measure the results of these actions.

5. Google + : H&M has the most popular  Google + page. They don’t sell directly but when when you check it out you realise they’ve done a good job of it. Take a look for yourself. They use lots of pictures (also by importing them from Instragram), videos, etc., not to sell but to create conversations that will later generate traffic.

6. Foursquare: if you have real-life premises (that is, a place where our products can be located besides our online store), you can include the best items from one or more stores, choosing 4 or 5 for each store. Choose always what you believe will sell best. Don’t forget to add links to purchase the items directly and your “call to action.”

7. Yelp: Business pages on Yelp can advertise their promotions and the products located in the store (considering we have a physical store). The more adverts you publish, the greater the visibility.

8. Flickr: open photo galleries with your products on Flickr. It is in your best interest that your items are found. For the “Flickr” search to work correctly, all items need to be named, described and tagged correctly and, of course, include back links.

9. YouTube: use the photo shoots that you’ll be carrying out for the website or for promotional images to create videos with them (a “making of”). Publish them but make sure that you make them more human and less superficial: tell the story behind the pictures. Another alternative would be to show your products in the form of a video. Also, you can have someone for the company talking about each product in different episodes. That may help as a prescription element.

All of this work must be supported by working on community engagement, creating conversations, providing answers, clarifying doubts, seeking information, connecting, measuring, analysing and evaluating.

Photo credit: Daniel Broche.

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Community Leaders and Social Media Managers In Depth

I want to go beyond some simple advice for community managers, the keys to handle social media efficiently, how to increase sales on social networks or tricks to optimise your social media strategy. I believe there are some aspects regarding the community manager and social media scene which have to be looked into in depth to understand their implications.

community management in depth

Understanding the play between Social Media and Online Community Leadership

These are some of the things we should pay more attention to when working in the field of the social web so that we’re able to understand what we have on our hands, what we’re facing and how to do something of relevance.

Hybrids

I have always believed, and have confirmed, that we will never be a simple Community Leader/Connector or Social Media Manager but a hybrid, located somewhere between Social Media, Community, Marketing, Digital, New Media, Communication, PR, Sales, and HR. That is where the potential lies. Oh! And also in remaining human.

That is, many tasks which aren’t fully defined or detailed. Are you dedicated solely and exclusively to leading online communities? I very much doubt it. You’re likely working also in Marketing, Communication, even PR if necessary, Sales Management, Customer Services and even in screening job candidates. We’re hybrids. You can take a look at this role in depth and how to develop it, here.

Online Leaders of your Brand

This is a delicate matter. Would you put your company’s Facebook page in my cousin’s hands? Probably not. Well we’re talking about the same thing here. There’s no one better than someone on the inside to learn and progress until they’re capable of taking on all of these tasks and responsibilities. There is an added complexity –and risk- in giving this task to an intern; representing the brand in the online sphere is, after all, a vital role, and isn’t limited to using Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Remember these people lead people, they’re not directing things.

How to Connect with the Community

Quite simply, don’t invade their space! We live in the era of permission marketing, an interruption of the system, processes based on a human attitude that intends to do something with a meaning, open innovation, creation and chaos. This isn’t an era of communication and marketing, once the interruption created an over-communicated society through intrusive marketing and mass communication a while back.

Now we’re at it again with the social media. Our sole intention is to get our message out there and for our message to have an impact on as many people as possible; feedback is unimportant if we have many likes and comments. That’s ‘short-term gain, long-term pain’! The people who want to reach you will do so because of your content, your interaction, your attention, humanity, closeness, humility, truthfulness and credibility. The only thing you need to do is to be visible at all times and create relevant content that engages your audience. Then, make sure you remain human at all times.

What to Do

Test, try, do something, review what you do, make corrections, launch something again, try one campaign, another one, and then another one, one of them will work, try not to risk too much, remain loyal to your brand value, what you represent as a brand and as a person, make the brand truthful, make the person behind the brand visible, manage the whole online fabric, follow the conversations, observe and measure your content’s scope, the state of your community; if you’re launching a campaign, whether you need to review your Apps, your landing page, the comments, likes, repercussions, etc. Creation and distribution means actions carried out with your content.

You can do whatever takes you where you want to be. You can specialise or not; the advantage of doing so is that you focus on a niche, and the smaller, the better.

How to Coordinate

Work in the distribution of tasks, create GANT charts, timelines for the different parts of the projects and actions, anything that helps you in the structure and architecture of your objectives, responsibilities and team work. This may help you.

Internal or External

An example: we work with a multinational company as Advisors and Online Project Leadership Team. When we arrived at the company and during the first few meetings to carry out an online audit, the topic arose of who would lead the online community operations. The company said it did not have the human resources and that none of them would be able take on any of the tasks as they were all up to their ears with work.

We always recommend someone who’s been trained on the inside. First of all, it’s easier to act as a consultant and educator and to train someone inside the company in the knowledge necessary to carry out the job than to bring someone from outside who needs to adapt to, understand and work in new surroundings.

However, what we did in this case was to bring an outside person; not an intern, but someone knowledgeable in Social Media, Communities, PR, Communication and some Marketing. We established a part-time job for six months (working Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 14:00). During the first month, this person did no online work but simply learnt about the company’s departments, lines of business, products, staff, culture, company ethics, suppliers and other important details necessary for them to carry out their job in an efficient, professional and results-oriented manner.

Once the month was up, this person (a freelance worker) understood the running of the company perfectly and was ready to start. It all went so well that this person now works permanently as part of the company as Head of Social Media and Online Community. We’re happy that this is the case.

Going Beyond

All of this goes beyond what we think is going on. I’m talking about leading, connecting, aligning, developing, integrating, implementing, managing, updating, building, consolidating, driving, comparing, executing, measuring, following, monetizing, listening, reading, commenting, understanding, acting, doing something, remaining human.

Photo credit: Text100.

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Strategic Areas to Run Online Projects Successfully

Leading online projects is much more than simply managing a brand’s social networks. It is a bigger challenge that involves great responsibility: you need to involve more people in this task, not robots who do as you say, look down and don’t ask questions, just receive orders. No, I’m talking about passionate people who are engaged, committed and enthusiastic. It is your duty to inject them with this enthusiasm at all times.

strategic areas to run online projects

Running Online Projects

Once you face the challenge of leading, developing and running online projects, you must consider a series of concepts related with some of the areas required to carry out this type of job:

- Social Web Strategy: Develop, feed, maintain, optimise, grow and lead the online ecosystems.

Web site/blog: optimise our strong points, focusing on improving “shareability,” usability and navigation.

- Community engagement: build the foundations for participation, emotional bonding and passion by interacting, answering and sharing with fans, friends and followers. Create an interconnected community that increases the online scope, passion, strength and feeling.

- Content generated by the user: seek this type of content in a way that can be shared in order to strengthen affinity with the community.

- Newsletters: create dynamic newsletters that are effective and can be shared: indispensable to complete a good online marketing programme. This is a valid tactic to increase leads. Depending on how fresh you content is, how interesting your product/service is and how innovative or creative your strategy is, you can programme your issues on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.

- Databases: every day that goes by, your database should more or less increase and should continue to increase. That is what we live and die for in marketing. This much hasn’t changed even if the game has changed.

- e-shop / ticket system: think about becoming your own online distribution channel, managing your distribution, sales, customer services, middlemen and salespersons. How? Setting up your own online store or ticket service or whatever your product/service is.

To this end, you need an e-commerce platform, excellent and efficient logistics (try to deliver your product or service in less than 24 hours and see what happens…). I’m not talking about the quality of your product/service as we’re taking that for granted. Otherwise, forget everything I’m talking about here and make sure that your company delivers a product based on excellence and a value that will change whoever purchases it. Once you achieve this, get started with the marketing and social media side of things!

- Mobile commerce: think about how to sell through mobile technology, create an App that encourages the interaction between consumers and the company, an interaction that simplifies any transactions that might take place. This can happen through a direct sales platform through the App, QR codes, “print at home”, etc. There are new systems that implement all of these improvements and others such as analytics, real-time results, SMS or email support, services like “entradas a tu alcance” which, furthermore, adapt perfectly to mobile devices.

- Online monitoring and branding: monitoring the brand in the online world, in such a way that you’re able to see what happens around it. Whether you like it or not, there are conversations going on about your brand out there. Some of them will be positive and others will be negative; both are equally important and, yes, you should be taking part in them!

- Online support: offer support to your audience and brands in terms of customer services, post-sales, pre-sales or guidance in the purchase process.

- Marketing actions and campaigns: the idea behind this will vary according to the objectives and the strategy to reach them. It could be creating a database, reaching a new segment in the audience, creating brand perception and awareness, product penetration, market testing and the list goes on. Whatever the action, make sure it has a launch, execution and end dates, a budget, team/resources and monitoring/results.

- Inter-department collaboration: collaborate constantly with the press, design, production or management departments, for instance.

- Online promotion programme: develop and launch programmes aimed at promoting our service/product using the online media. The idea behind this is to boost sales.

- Corporate social responsibility campaigns: design and launch this type of campaigns which aim to contribute to society in one way or another. Discover new talent, courses or training for the unemployed.

How do you carry out your online projects? How do you face this challenge? What other areas am I missing?

Photo credit: katrina_30.

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Burning Man Quest: 573 km non-stop (bike + swim + run) to create a positive change.

There are impossible challenges worthwhile. And on August the 23rd, we will try prove it. I will race 573 km non-stop between Fairfield (California) and the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. An ultra-adventure without rest to seek a clear objective: all funds raised in this initiative will help build the first music school in one of the townships of Langa (South Africa), working with the NGO Bridges for Music.

I believe in Bridges for Music projects and their mission as I’ve seen how music can change peoples lives and how young creative minds in the slums of South Africa have found their path in life thanks to their support. I also believe in the values of Burning Man as one of the biggest movements in the world to create positive change.

For this matter, we decided to launch Burning Man Quest campaign, using the online platform justgiving.com for online donations and social initiatives to promote a positive change in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the planet.

The goal: To build the first music school in one of the slums of South Africa

Bridges-for-Music-School---Langa,-Southafrica.

Burning Man Festival, which is held during the last week of August in Black Rock City (Nevada, USA) has the perfect prologue. And we’ve decided to convert the pre-festival hours in a unique social challenge.

Burning Man Quest does not seek commercial purposes. All the funds raised from this initiative will go towards the construction of the music school. 100% of the donation will go directly to the school. This school aims to provide a space for young people to develop their creative skills (music, graphic design, video, etc) and at the same time stay away from the usual problems of these neighborhoods, such as street gangs and drugs . We believe we can become a developed area and build a brighter future.

The challenge

Burning-man-quest

I’ll go from Fairfield (California), cycle160km through El Dorado to Lake Tahoe, where I’ll do a 6km swim. Then I will cycle again for 307 km, passing through Reno to Lake ’Pyramid’. The last part consists of running over 100km to reach the heart of Burning Man in the desert of Black Rock City. Why am I going to do this? To support a positive and important project to help communicate the values of Burning Man. And as far as I can get and reach, I will not leave behind any resources to do so.

Donations and support

Bridges-for-music-school

We set up a campaign for fundraising. Its as simple as accessing the website and clicking the button “donate”. ”Burning Man Quest is not only a challenge, it is a journey into a different way of understanding the world. The purpose of this trip is mainly to create something that creates changes within bounds. This trip is going to give, offer and help. Deliver more of our effort under the most demanding and extreme circumstances to provide a culture orientated to connect people determined to change things (and perhaps the world).

  • All of the information about the campaign here.
  • More information about the Burning Man Festival here.
  • Bridges for Music details here.

Everyone can make a big impact in the world, we only need to act.

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8 tasks that define a social media workflow

In 2010 I spoke about the social media workflow to handle and optimise the time and effort you dedicate to social web activity. I updated this in 2012 with a new version that included a graph designed by Luis Calabuig.

While adapting this for a new project, I quite recently realised that this workflow could be further completed by describing its steps and adapting them to the current times.

Which 8 tasks define a “social” workflow?

The following tasks will optimise the time and effort you dedicate to your social web workflow.

1. Reputation – Active listening.

Monitor and follow up on key words regarding what people say about the brand from one day to the next. Analyse and classify mentions according to their nature (positive, negative or neutral.) A new tool has recently appeared to help you with this: SocialVane. It has an interesting ‘artificial intelligence’ feature: the more you use it to filter words out, the more it can classify mentions according to their nature, offering better search and filtering results. There are other tools on the market that can do this, such as Pirendo or Mention. The latter is quite complete, boasting a more comprehensive search feature that searches not only across social platforms but in other channels too.

Once you’ve gathered and analysed this information, select the results that are of greater interest to your organisation. Present a daily report or document with active links to each news item, mention or post.

2. Updating and interacting.

First of all you will need to define your social objects according to a content plan (a day early or even previously for the entire week or month; see below.) Now you need to create this content and disseminate it using the different channels available, not only social platforms. Interaction is another significant moment in your workflow: respond to comments, offer and get feedback, provide information and connect with the brand’s community through bilateral interaction on any of your ecosystem’s platforms.

3. Content marketing – Distribution

Draw up a content plan for the next day (or for the next week or month) and decide how to promote and circulate your content through different platforms and channels. Decide also what pieces you will create: press releases, videos, audio, newsletter, pictures, etc. You must also take into account the call to action linked to every piece of content you publish and how you will measure its result: what action are you expecting once the content reaches your community? Make sure that the result is in line with your objectives: subscriptions, visiting the online store, download of ebook or podcast, contact form requesting more information or a request for a quote.

4. Blogging

If you have a blog or offer news on your website, you should previously define what this section will be like as part of your content marketing strategy. At this stage you simply have to write, optimise and publish your post, news item, event or whatever it is you will be publishing. If you’re writing a post that is meant for the following day, leave it ready to be posted by scheduling it. Consider sharing it on platforms or using tools such as Buffer, Twylah or ScoopIt.

5. Planning and brainstorming

It may be interesting, even advisable, to spend up to one hour every day thinking about creative actions, contests, promotions, campaigns and other tactics that are in line with your objectives. They must add value to your community and your brand. By doing this on a daily basis you will be able to run a tight operation that works constantly.

6. Community engagement

Identify the conversations held by your community and take part in them. Share content that is valuable to them, engage with them by putting them in contact with resources, allies or people that meet their needs and interests. Do this by being one more in the conversation, not the one dominating the conversation or the flow of content.

7. Search and analysis

Monitor how your organisation performs in online conversations. In this case, intervene in the case of both negative or positive comments (acting to put a positive spin on things or, in the latter case, to reinforce such comments). Remember to watch your tone in doing so!

8. Eventualities

The chances are you’re not only in charge of the “social” side of things. You therefore need to combine all of the above with any other duties you have outside this area. Don’t worry if you can’t always follow this workflow strictly; there will always be other distractions: emails, phone calls, unexpected meetings, you co-worker’s love life, etc.

Find your own formula

The best thing about this is you don’t need to follow the precise order of tasks and responsibilities I set above. Distribute them across your day however they work best with your strategy and time. You can repeat more than one task within a day; some may take two hours, others 15 minutes. This will depend on your objectives, the time you can dedicate to online tasks or how relevant all of this is to your organisation.

Everything boils down to what you require. The idea is for you to define and structure what tasks need to be carried out. Don’t approach them all at the same time and dedicate time to each one separately. Online activity is increasingly integrated into the day-to-day running of companies, so perhaps they’re part of customer services and you need to integrate the social media workflow into your own workflow mix.

What is your workflow like? Are there any other tasks you think I left out?

Photo credit: woodlyewonderworks.

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Improve your results using the social web

improving your results using the social webWhat goes on out there when we use the social web to communicate our product, improve our organisation’s marketing or connect with our potential target? After a year spent observing, analysing and measuring actions and cross-referencing behaviours, this is the pattern that I’ve seen repeated the most by brands, companies and even people and professionals.

Current strategy

  • Four tweets regarding business purposes.
  • Two or three updates of the company’s Facebook page; photos and videos mainly.
  • Spending about $400-600 per month on Facebook Ads campaigns to increase the official page’s fan base.
  • A couple of images in Instagram and Pinterest.
  • One or two links shared on LinkedIn and perhaps another in the group that is closest to our industry and has the most members.
  • Perhaps posting a news item on Google+; you know, for SEO purposes and stuff.
  • Very occasionally, carrying out a promotional video about our company or about what we do, basing it on a current reference that we liked.
  • If we’re lucky, our SME, business or personal brand has a blog. Perhaps we might publish something once a week or every two weeks; more often than not, on a monthly basis. Then we massively (sometimes, intrusively) promote our post (and blog).
  • Sending a commercial newsletter to every contact that has ever given us a visiting card, whoever we exchange emails with, whoever subscribes to our blog or whoever’s in our database through subscriptions.

I’ve also seen lots being said about content marketing and strategy. Although there are some large brands using content marketing (very well in some cases), there are still many smaller companies and organisations, personal brands and self-employed workers out there. I’ve read about 40 posts that talk about content marketing as the trend for 2014. Wasn’t it the trend for 2013? Of course, content marketing is very different from filtering and publishing links that are coherent and that build towards a common goal. This is what I’m talking about.

So, it’s hard to measure change. However, I know that when you’ve done the work that matters, your social media efforts will decrease and be more focused. The more people turning their heads to take a look at you, the more things you should be creating.

The deal here isn’t the content but, rather, the results you get. Create processes that help you achieve your goals. The following ideas may help you improve your results using the social web.

What else can be done?

  • Instead of (aimlessly) publishing on Twitter, try to link with your potential audience more and pay greater attention to your customers. Look for conversations, analyse and measure them and then take action in them.
  • Set up your fan page as a place to get test samples, special offers, peripheral services that are only carried out on this platform (for instance: a form for free samples). Publish blurbs from your customers or show different ways your product can be implemented.
  • Focus your Facebook Ads budget on achieving leads to your end point of sale on your website or online store.
  • Carry out visual contests through Instagram with attractive incentives. Use Pinterest as a catalogue for your products, experiences or featured services. In the case of products, include the price so they can appear in lists of “gifts”.
  • Try to connect through LinkedIn with the contacts that can strengthen your organisation. A sales agent in the UK, a legal adviser in Colombia, etc.
  • Create a community in Google+ with the people who have things in common with what you do and share with them. Use your Google+ page to tell funny, surprising and attractive stories that resonate with your industry.
  • Create a video every month or two explaining the craft involved in the work your organisation carries out (for instance, how you prepare your rye bread or how you prepare fruit milkshakes)
  • Publish the most important thing you’ve worked on at least once a week, explaining what you’ve learnt from it and whatever may serve as a recommendation for your potential target.
  • Work on content marketing based on your strategy, defining the actions you carry out and, most of all, measuring what happens with each piece of content. It should help you.

Was this useful? Did it help your ideas? How do you use your social web to get results?

Photo credit: ntr23

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13 ways to add human understanding to the Internet

If the Internet is made up of people, I don’t understand why brands use the Internet to communicate and market their products in a way that keeps them at a distance from human relations. If human relations are the essence of the social media, I don’t understand why no one is connecting and humanising instead of just sending out the same message 100 times, aiming to have an impact or simply wanting us to click on an ad in Facebook, LinkedIn or during a YouTube video.

add understanding to the internet

How to add the human touch and understanding to the Internet

Thinking about this, I hope some of the things included here may help us to understand the term “humanise” in regard to the Internet and social media.

1. Establish the foundations for listening: spend your time processing everything that’s being said about you or your organisation and do something with this. For instance, you can offer an answer to your audience. You may not know this but they’re the new “killer App”.

2. Respond to LinkedIn invites in a personal way, reviewing the other person’s profile, taking care in how to word your message to connect with the other party. Offer individual personalised answers and don’t use templates. It works for me. The same goes for emails.

3. Start or finish any comment, message, tweet, recommendation, review or shared content by naming the person you’re addressing.

4. Always answer any comment made and try to do what you’d like people to do with you: leave a comment, RT, “like”, “recommend”, “vote” or mention.

5. Speak positively, deal with situations with optimism, even when faced with harsh criticism or comments. Don’t lose your nerve and let humour reign. Researchers from Georgia Tech found that staying positive, useful and resonating is a tactic that leads to the trust and credibility needed for people to purchase at our store.

6. Look for ways to be innovative, staying true to yourself. For instance, use a word or catchphrase that is close to you, even one you make up. For instance, “rock on”. It may seem daft but try it out and see.

7. Look for conversations that are close to your interests. For instance, the contact made between a designer and a programmer to create a new blog, or contacts made between food lovers and the cooking blog you’ve discovered. So, make that introduction, connect!

8. Take an interest on subjects that may also be of interest to your audience and offer them information. For instance, if you’re a hotel, recommend tour routes. If you’re a dinner restaurant, talk about places where you can go for a drink later or recommend clubs. If you’re a club, recommend a good after-party.

9. Filter information that may be useful to your community and transform it into actionable points you can work with. For instance, if you provide a guide on how to install plug-ins in WordPress, explain exactly what plug-ins you need to install and summarise the steps you need to take in a direct way. Otherwise, you’re not really contributing anything new.

10. Perhaps through your experience and knowledge, even through your failures, you may extract conclusions, reflections or moments –transferred into content- that may connect with your audience and which betters them. This would be equipping them. Try talking about when you lost your nerve with a client, when you launched a campaign with the wrong target or when you paid your Facebook “Ads” with the wrong credit card.

11. Look for conversations regarding your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ (hint: look for hashtags and keywords). When you find them, engage in them, contribute your point of view, share, recommend, provide information or clarify doubts.

12. Every time you want to read something interesting, spend 5 minutes looking for it among the content posted by your audience / followers / fans. You’re sure to find something worthwhile, something you can share and recommend. We’ll be grateful!

13. Ask your community what they want from you, don’t be afraid! Then, work towards making it possible if you can’t offer it right away. For instance, if people complained that there weren’t enough women in your last event, work to fix this in time for the next event.

Obvious?

I honestly think I’m not really discovering uncharted territory here. Neither is it a cure for all. Similarly, discovering humanity on the Internet or in social media is a greatly complex task. A paradox perhaps? What do you think?

Photo credit: al shep.

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