Authenticity can make all the difference

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Authenticity

Authenticity is a word used frequently in the digital marketing space. Authenticity builds trust. Humanization is important too. People want to do business with other people not logos.

I have been considering switching cell phone carriers for a long time. T-Mobile has been on my radar recently. I have only heard good things and their pricing is better than what I’m currently paying now. I still haven’t been able to pull the trigger and switch but that may change in the near future.


A few weeks ago I was looking for a slow cooker recipe and stumbled across John Legere’s Instagram account . John is the CEO of T-Mobile. He’s active and posts to Instagram Stories. He also drives traffic to other social media channels.

Every week he has a Facebook Live show called #SlowCookerSunday. He wrote a cookbook and the proceeds go to a charity.

He frequently wears magenta and he dyed his hair magenta once too. Overall, he puts out a very positive and engaging energy. He’s a real person and it shows.

When it comes to social media it can’t all be about sales. Consumers come to social media for a different experience. They do not want to be sold to at every turn. He does a great job of balancing fun content and sharing the benefits and features of T-Mobile.

Being present, honest and authentic, while posting content consistently can make all the difference. It increase the know, like and trust factor.

I still need to consider and research quality of service and pricing but after watching John for the past few weeks he just may have changed my mind. I have no idea who the CEO of AT&T is. But know I know who John is.

From looking for a slow cooker recipe to the possibility of becoming a new customer is an interesting journey.

How do you incorporate authenticity in your social media presence?

For more case studies like this one check out Social Media Done Right


Content Creation for Social Media

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Do you struggle with creating or curating content for your social media platforms? For some business owners, it can be a challenge. They aren’t sure where to start, and they are told that they can’t talk about their business. This is true to an extent. You can sell your business on social media, but it needs to be done in a slightly different way and can’t be in your face marketing like people are used to. Your customers and community expect a different experience on social media than they do watching TV, reading the newspaper, or listening to the radio, even when these traditional experiences are online. 

Social Media Content and Engagement

The bulk of your content should be engaging and relevant to your customers and community. Think about your customers like they are your friends or family. When you are with friends or family, you all share stories, information or jokes that you think they will enjoy. You share something that is relevant and will make them, smile, laugh or think, something that can start a conversation.

Have you ever met someone at a party or had a friend who would only talk about themselves? It’s very unpleasant. Think about the people on the other side of the screen. They probably feel the same way if all you do is talk about your brand on social media. You want to have a two-way conversation. 

“To  Do or  to Have? That is the Question?”

The best conversations start from stories or questions based on experiences. It was studied and reported by Dr. Leaf Van Boven in his study “To Do or to Have? That is the Question?” that we get more pleasure and happiness out of experiences than materialistic purchases, which makes sense because experiences resonate and stay with us for a very long time. 

What’s better “I went on vacation and watched the sun set over the pacific ocean.” or “I bought a TV at Target over the weekend.” Something interesting or funny could have happened at the store or on the way there, but the prior experience will probably, have a longer lasting impression.

ActorsFCU, a credit union that services entertainment professionals working on Broadway posed the question on their Facebook page “What was your first Broadway Show?” This struck a very big chord with the Facebook fans, getting over 200 comments and 30+ shares. The reason this was successful is that ActorsFCU was really talking to the members on a personal level and asking about an experience. An experience, in fact, that was very fundamental in their career path. Content that resonates is key.

Content Post Example

By sharing content that you think your audience, community, and customers will like and relate to, it shows that you care, and understand them. It also adds a human element to your company. This allows you to engage your customers and give them a reason to participate. It can take some time to figure out what your customers will really like but once you do you will be well on your way to building a strong social media presence and community.

Vanity Metrics and why you should do without them

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vanity metrics mirror
Image by analogicus on Pixabay

Earlier this year I wrote a two part blog piece about my social media wishes for 2019. You can read Pt 1 here. Number 11 in Pt. 2 is about Vanity Metrics. I go into further detail about Vanity Metrics in this article.

There is an idea that if a social media account has a large following that more people will be attracted to it and be more likely to do the same. I do think there is some truth to it, but faking it won’t do you any favors. The focus is on the number and the number alone. When this is the case it becomes a vanity metric. Perception is important but it’s not the be all end all. Vanity Metrics may look nice, but in the end it has to be more than just appearance.

If you are applying for a job, it doesn’t matter how good you’re resume is, if you show up late and mess up in the interview your not getting the job.

Vanity Metrics: What to look for

There are companies and services that you can pay to grow your social media audience. Essentially, you are paying for “Likes” and “Followers.” Some of these companies say that they will grow your audience organically. (Anytime you hear the word organic when talking about social media it means that it is activity that is not paid for.) Most of the time it’s not organic, and it’s the worst thing you can do.

The problem is that the likes you are going to get are fake and from click farms. All day long people just like Facebook pages. They are fake and will grow your business or help your online presence. After someone from a click farm likes the page, it will NEVER engage with your content. NEVER. The energy and focus needs to be spent attracting and engaging people to your social media platforms that care about you, your business, your product, and want to engage with your content.

The main problem is only a small percentage of the people who have liked your Facebook Page will see the content you post. Because of this you want the accounts to be real. The more engagement (likes, comments, and shares) a post receives shortly after it is posted, the better it will do. When there is high engagement, Facebook and other platforms then show that post to a larger audience. You want to INCREASE your chances of success not decrease.

Remember, the quality of the followers is more important than the number itself. of the followers that’s importantVanity Metric bad. Engagement good.

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My Reddit Journey with Advice Animals

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This article was originally published in 2014. It is still very relevant so I wanted to post it again. I’ve updated it with some some additional thoughts throughout. 

Reddit is known as The Front Page of the Internet. It is a place where people can post interesting links and start interesting conversations. Reddit has its own unique culture and community. Each community is known as a sub-reddit. It is different than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks in that content can be upvoted and downvoted by members of the community. Based on your upvotes and downvotes you get points known as karma. The content that gets the most upvotes will end up on the front page of the sub-reddit it was submitted to. The video below does a great job of breaking it down, even further.

 

People often ask if they can promote their business on reddit. This is very difficult to do. Each sub-reddit has its own rules around what can and cannot be posted. Some groups allow promotion. It is best to go into a sub-reddit, or reddit as a whole, and engage first. Get familiar with the reddit ecosystem before you start to promote anything. You really want to acquire some karma before you promote anything. Think of karma as credibility. If you go onto Reddit and start promoting with no karma, there is a great chance you will be called out for it.  

Redditors, sometimes depending on the sub-reddit, can be extremely opinionated and honest. They let you know how they feel about the content you post ad share. They will let you know when they agree with you, and when they don’t.  

I have found some minor success on reddit in the sub-reddit r/AdviceAnimals. It didn’t have anything to do with business but gave me a great understanding how reddit and social media as a whole could and should be used.      

R/AdviceAnimals

One of my favorite sub-reddits is r/AdviceAnimals. Advice Animals are a type of internet meme (also called image macros) that have taken off in recent years. It’s basically a picture with text on the top and the bottom of the image that helps people make funny observations about our culture. About a year ago, after seeing hundreds of Advice Animal posts, I set a goal for myself of getting to the front page of Advice Animals. Seemed easy enough.

Bad Luck Brian


Bad-Luck-Brian

I submitted my first Advice Animal, featuring Bad Luck Brian, around March 2013, with the utmost confidence. I was sure that everyone would love it. The post got 4 upvotes and 9 downvotes.  That’s -5 votes! Everyone that thinks that Facebook should have a dislike button should join the Reddit community. Reddit has the downvote button and it is not fun. My first attempt at getting some “Reddit karma” on Advice Animals was disappointing to say this least.

Futurama Fry

FRY

I did not post my next Advice Animal, until December 2013. I didn’t have a new idea and to tell you the truth, I was still recovering from the initial blow from my Bad Luck Brian fail. I decided to give my take on  Futurama Fry. It got 4 downvotes but 6 upvotes! That’s 2 points total.  At least it wasn’t negative!

Super Cool Ski Instructor

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 12.10.53 PM

Next, I submitted this,  Super Cool Ski Instructor Advice Animal in February 2014. I based this Advice Animal on the play “Waiting For Godot” by Samuel Beckett. I thought it was funny, but Reddit not so much. It received 5 downvotes with 9 upvotes. Net 4 points total.

At this point, I started to try and analyze why my posts had not taken off. I thought this would be a lot easier and realized that my next post had to be super relatable and something that people could get behind.

That Would Be Great

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.30.25 PM

I wasn’t getting my hopes up but had a good feeling about this That Would Be Great Advice Animal.It totally took off. In a few hours, it had several hundred upvotes and they continued to grow. I’ve never refreshed my browser so many times in one day. I excitedly shared the link with my brother, a fellow Redditor. He wrote back, “You made that? It’s on the front page of Advice Animals!” I clicked on Advice Animals and sure enough, there it was. Number 24. I was completely floored. The post peaked at position 22 out of 25 on the front page of Advice Animals with 1,722 points. To date, it has 2,730 points, with  3,288 downvotes… but 6,018 upvotes!

Front page of Advice Animals … Achievement unlocked!

After my 15 seconds of Reddit fame had ended, I started to think, “Why did my last post get so much traction?” And “What makes a good Advice Animal popular?” Here are some of my thoughts, and some questions you can ask yourself when creating an Advice Animal. This is not only relevant to advice animals. These questions can be implemented into your overall social media strategy. 

Questions to ask: 

– Is the subject or situation relevant, current or topical?
– Is it something that can resonate with people/is it relatable?
– Is there any kind of emotional connection? Sad or funny? Humorous memes tend to work better?
– Is it opinion based?
– Can it be controversial?
– Can a wide audience appreciate it?
– Is it specific?
– Are you using the meme correctly? Go to Knowyourmeme.com to make sure.

Reddit can be intimidating at first, but stick with it and you might get yourself some upvote love.

To explore which reddit community is right for you there’s even sub-reddit about sub-reddits.   Check it out!  http://www.reddit.com/reddits/

 

Countdown clocks and what you need to know about them

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Earlier this year I went talked about my social media and online marketing wishes for 2019 and beyond. I’m braking down some of these ideas in a series of blog posts. This week I’m talking about countdown clocks.

There are two types
1) Standard
2) Evergreen

I recently found a tool called Countdown Mail.  It is easy to use and built specifically to incorporate into your email marketing.

A Standard Countdown Clock is based on an end date. These are best used for a set promotion period. Perhaps a time specific sale or contest that has a hard end date. It displays in real time.

An Evergreen Countdown Clock is activated depending on when the recipient opens the email or page, or when the email was sent.

Although I’m not a huge fan of scarcity or urgency both clocks have their place when used correctly.


There are many wordpress plugins available. I still need to try them out before I can make a solid recommendation.

In addition to email blasts countdown clocks are also commonly displayed in landing and sales pages.

Do you use them? Have you noticed an increase in sales or conversions when you do? I’d love to hear your results. Comment below.

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7, is it still the magic number?

Reading Time: 2 minutesnumber 7

The other night I was at a party. The discussion turned to marketing. I spoke to a gentleman (a non marketer) who said that he refuses to buy any product, offer or course, that ends in a 7.  He had seen the trend so much and heard it from so many people, usually on webinars, that it made him not want to buy. Have other people become tired and burned out from seeing 7’s everywhere? Has the 7 had it’s time in the sun?

Have other people become tired and burned out from seeing 7's everywhere? Has the 7 had it’s time in the sun? Click To Tweet

Where did it come from?

According to Blog Marketing Academy: “It seems to have begun with a well-known marketer named Ted Nicholas. He said in one of his workshops that the number “7” raises sales – and from there it started what became almost an urban myth.” The article goes on to state that “If the number 7 had some magic factor to it, you’d see retail stores using it constantly. But, you don’t. At least not more than any other number.” I think that’s a very good point. We don’t see the 7 anywhere but online. The infomercial industry hasn’t adapted it yet either.

We all got use to “It’s only $19.95! Act now. Has the 7 become normalized? Has the same thing happened with the $27?

Has the 7 become normalized? We all got use to “It’s only $19.95! Act now. Has the same thing happened with the $27? Click To Tweet

Sales ?

Does it actually make a difference in sales? That is the real question. I have not come across any solid evidence or articles, that the 7 pricing strategy works. Just like most things it comes down to testing. What works well for one product or audience might not work well with another.

There must be some kind of pricing psychology involved. If it wasn’t working, everyone wouldn’t be doing it right? Or is it just a herd mentality?

What do you use in your pricing strategy? Do you end your pricing with a 0, 9, 5, 7, or something else? What kind of results have you seen? Please comment below.

In a previous blog post, I went over my Social Media wishes for 2019. The number 7, was number 1 on the list.

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Online Marketing Wish(es) for 2019 – Pt 2

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Last Week I went over my first 7 online marketing and social media wishes for 2019. This week I finish them up.

social media marketing scrabble
Online Marketing Wish #8: Just be you

Let’s stop referring to other professionals and competition in a given industry as the “experts” and “gurus” and putting it in quotes when comparing services, offers and information. It doesn’t make anyone seem any better, more knowledgeable, qualified, or more trustworthy. This is just a common scare tactic. It could even be off putting.

Don’t feel you need to build yourself up and take others down in the process. Just provide useful and helpful information.

With that being said it’s much better if the market has given you that title than giving it to yourself. Remember, you will always be an expert to someone. With that said, I did meet someone at a trade show once who introduced himself as a “Social Media Guru”  with a straight face (quoting his title). I couldn’t take him seriously.

Online Marketing Wish #8. Let's stop referring to other professionals and competition as the experts and gurus when comparing services and offers. Click To Tweet
Online Marketing Wish #9: Value, Value, Value !!!

Value was probably the most overused word of 2018 and I’m sure we will see it more in 2019. Stop declaring that you are about to give value or drop “value bombs”.  Just provide it with no explanation or introduction.

Online Marketing Wish #9. Stop declaring that you are about to give value or drop value bombs. Just provide value with no explanation or introduction. Click To Tweet
Online Marketing Wish #10: Prove it

Stop preaching and talking about 6 figures! Or saying you made X number of dollars in X amount of time without even stating the price of the product or service.

Online Marketing Wish #10. Stop preaching and talking about 6 figures! Click To Tweet
Online Marketing Wish #11: Vanity Metrics

Stop buying likes and followers. The big number is just a vanity metric.

A vanity metric, puts emphasis on the number of likes, followers etc an account has and the number alone, regardless if they are real or fake; the idea being that people are more likely to interact with accounts that have more of a following. The reality is when paying for likes their is a great chance that they are coming from fake accounts. This does NOTHING positive, and in the long run will not help you. Engagement will be low or non existent.

Stay away from companies that offer this service. Focus on organic or paid growth, where you know you can target and engage with your ideal customer. It’s just not worth it.

Online Marketing Wish #11. Stop buying likes and followers Click To Tweet
Online Marketing Wish #12: Use Direct Messages for good, not evil

Stop sending direct messages (DMs) that go right in for the sale on the first point of contact. Would you walk up to someone at an event hand them your business card and walk away? Probably not. It’s the same thing.

Stop pitching to other businesses and professionals that offer the same service that you do.

Online Marketing Wish #12. Stop sending direct messages that go right in for the sale on the first point of contact Click To Tweet
Online Marketing Wish #13: Mindset

All over the internet we see motivation quotes and images. Additionally, people talk about their experiences and positivity as it relates to their business or life. Positivity and mindset is important and can have an impact on any individual, business and it’s customers. When everyone is talking about positivity and mindset, the message can get oversaturated. If you honestly believe it works and you want to share it, by all means go for it. However, don’t feel obligated or pressured into incorporating motivation into your social media presence. Do what you think alines best with your personality and brand. Not everyone needs to a motivational speaker.

Online Marketing Wish #13. Positivity and mindset is important and can have an impact on any business and it's customers but not everyone needs to be a motivational speaker. Click To Tweet
Online Marketing Wish #14: Stop using “RE” in marketing emails

Stop using RE in marketing emails that are NOT replies. At best, you’ll trick someone to opening your email and they will buy your product or service . At worst, they’ll go from confused to pissed off, and unsubscribe.

Online Marketing Wish #14. Stop using RE in marketing emails that are not replies Click To Tweet
Online Marketing Wish #15: Webinar Pitches

I’ve lost count of how many webinars I’ve watched over the years. They have become very formulaic. They always start and end the same way; the END almost always includes the pitch.

I have no problem with the pitch or the pricing, (unless it ends in a 7. #1 on my list) it’s the set up that gets me. “You get all these modules at all these prices. A $$$ value, but we’re not going to charge you that, or that, or even that.” I know that there is a method to the madness but why not just offer a good product at a fair price?

It’s straight out of infomercials. If it hasn’t happened already, the consumer that watches multiple webinars will become desensitized to all of these tactics.

Conclusion

The online marketing world can be challenging. I understand that getting, grabbing, and keeping attention has become difficult. Everyone is bombarded with the never ending streams of content and ads. Because of this, we go to great lengths to be seen. We do everything we can to get prospects and customers. Still, I think there needs to be a better way. We can all do better. At the end of the day just be AUTHENTIC.    Being authentic isn’t hiding behind a logo. It is showing you care about the consumer. It is about being real.

Going into 2019 and beyond. Let’s help people and offer good products and services without using any trickery, and smoke an mirrors.  

Now that you know my 2019 wishes, please tell me yours. Comment below.

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Online Marketing Wish(es) for 2019 Pt. 1

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I have been in the social media/online marketing space since 2010. So much has changed in that time, and the changes keep coming. Looking back on 2018 and looking ahead to 2019, I have some online marketing and social media wishes. There are some trends in the social media and online marketing world that have been very effective, but there are some I wish I could change. Some may have run their course.

In some ways, I might be more aware of these methods than the average consumer. It is my job to study these strategies and the marketplace to see what others are doing, what is working and what is not.

I always try to look at things from the perspective of the consumer. After all, CONSUMERS are THE MARKET. We need to remember that the consumers have become very savvy and may be getting too familiar with the marketing techniques that we have been using. I will be breaking down some of these ideas even further in future blog posts, so make sure you subscribe.

First off, I understand that getting, grabbing, and keeping attention has become challenging. With the never-ending streams of content and ads, we as marketers and business owners go to great lengths so the content we all create can be seen.
With all this said, I think there needs to be a better way. A better way to market to consumers that can be more transparent; with less smoke and mirrors. A more straight forward approach to social media and digital marketing, will not only benefit companies but their consumers as well.
Internet Marketing Grapihc
Online Marketing Wish #1: The number 7

It’s time to stop ending prices in 7. I met someone at a party who said he now refuses to buy anything that ends in a 7. Is one person’s opinion a reason to change everything? No, but it’s overdone. The 7 has become the new normal.

Online Marketing Wish #1: It's time to stop ending prices in 7. Click To Tweet

Online Marketing Wish #2:  Scarcity

It’s time to end the fake scarcity with seats or items available and countdown clocks. Don’t send out emails about live webinars and say that there won’t be a reply available and that “this isn’t a scarcity tactic” and then send an email the next day with a replay.

Online Marketing Wish #2. It's time to end the fake scarcity with seats or items available and countdown clocks. Click To Tweet

Online Marketing Wish #3: Landing Pages

Let’s stop making landing pages longer than a CVS receipt. If it’s too long I lose interest and move on.  CONSUMERS probably do too.

Online Marketing Wish #4: Guilt

Let’s stop with the guilt ridden marketing messages. “You only have two options. 1. Work with me/us and I’ll/we’ll make you successful or 2. Go it alone and continue to struggle and fail.  Stop trying to make people feel scared , frightened, or guilty just so they buy your product or service.

Stop trying to make people feel bad they haven’t been able to achieve their goals, thus far, and scare them into thinking that they will not be able to do anything different even, with the new knowledge you have just provided. It’s not a good way to begin a business relationship.

Online Marketing Wish #4. Let's stop with the guilt ridden marketing messages. Stop trying to make people feel bad just so they buy your product. It's not a good way to start. Click To Tweet

Online Marketing Wish: #5: There are no real secrets

Let’s stop using words like weird, trick, and secret when talking about marketing methods and naming products or offers. There is no need to hide behind these words. It’s about strategy, research, testing, implementation, and results. If you’re publishing the information and telling the world, it is no longer a secret, is it? 

Online Marketing Wish #5. Let's stop using words like weird, trick and secret when talking about marketing methods and naming products or offers. Click To Tweet

Online Marketing Wish #6: Magically discovering solutions is a rarity

There are marketing messages that  claim people stumbled upon solutions to their problems, and everything was suddenly solved with one magical tweak. Now they want to share that same thing with you; mostly, in the online training space.

The online training space revolves around the selling and running of information and educational classes. Most of the time the classes are prerecorded and divided into different sections and are accessible 24/7/365. The class or webinar may also be attached to a Facebook Group where participants can go for interaction and support.

Trust me, people do not accidentally get lucky right away and discover one magical tweak that changes everything. If they do, then the challenge becomes to see if it can be replicated. You might get a bullseye on the first try, which is great but by no means does that guarantee it will work every time,
for everyone.  

People do not accidentally get lucky right away and discover one magical tweak that changes everything. Click To Tweet

Online Marketing Wish #7: Customized strategies are necessary

Let’s stop claiming that there is a one size fits all solution or template for every single business in existence. Don’t say you have all the answers!

Think of the templates and information available as a starting point. Every company needs a customized strategy! There is no true fill in the blank marketing solution.

Online Marketing Wish #7. Let's stop claiming that there is a one size fits all solution or template. Click To Tweet

Go here for Part 2.
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Social Proof will grow your business

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Reviews and Testimonials

When you are deciding to buy a new product or service what is the first thing you do? Go straight to Google to seek out reviews and testimonials.  We all do it. I did it just the other day when I had to find a new iPhone case. I searched all over on the company website, on Amazon, on the Best Buy website, finally finding a case I liked that got a positive review.  Positive reviews influence our purchasing behavior. This is known as social proof.

Positive reviews influence our purchasing behavior. Click To Tweet

When you read positive reviews, you have gained a level of trust with the product or company and now feel comfortable to make the purchase.

Your customers and prospects are doing the same thing but depending upon your business they might be searching for reviews on  Yelp, your Google Business listing, Facebook and on your website.

Having strong and positive reviews and testimonials are great for your business but only if people can find them. Most websites are limited to a single testimonials page. Why limit your reviews to one page? In other cases reviews may be hidden in the footer of a website.

Displaying reviews and testimonials front and center on your website will increase the chances of people taking action.  Visitors will see the results you create and increase the chances of them wanting to work with you.

Having strong and positive reviews and testimonials are great for your business but only if people can find them. Click To Tweet

Sticky Reviews

Sticky Reviews is a new tool that lets you display unlimited testimonials and reviews on any page on your website. They are called “Sticky” because they will stay in the same place, even when you scroll.

As soon as your site loads, the reviews start to cycle through and display on your website. Because your reviews are easily viewable and accessible your credibility is instantly boosted. Think of it from the perspective of a website visitor. What would you want them to see? Take out the barriers. Let people know that that you are great from the second they visit your site.

To see it in action, you can visit my website or check out the screen shot below. Do you want to find out more about Sticky Reviews and how I can help you get it on your site. Fill out the form and I’ll be in touch.

reviews and testimonials screenshot