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?
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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 #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.
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 #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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, orguilty 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: #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 #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.
Reading Time: 2minutesI may be compensated if you click links and visit websites from this article.
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.
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.
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.
Reading Time: 2minutesA social media driven contest is a great way to build brand awareness, increase your customer base or reward your current customers. There are many contest types, but today I’ll be talking about sweepstakes. A sweepstakes-style contest can be promoted online or even offline .
Here are some benefits and features you get when you implement a contest into your social media strategy.
Lead Generation and Customer Loyalty A sweepstakes contest is great for lead generation and building customer loyalty. You will want to have a low barrier of entry. At the very least, make sure to capture an email address. Not only is this a great way to contact the winner but, you can now also add them to your mailing list if you have one. It is the most valuable type of data you can get. A contest can be promoted online through various social media channels, your website, or newsletter. It can be shared anywhere with a short, easy to remember URL If you have brick and mortar business that has a lot of foot traffic, consider putting a sign with the URL in the window. Contests that are mobile optimized work even better. This is very important because as of 2016, 80% of social media time is spent on mobile devices.
Engage A social media contest should not just be about lead generation; it is a great opportunity to interact with and engage with your current fans and customers. Remaining top of mind with your customers is never a bad thing. When you reward them for their loyalty it’s even better and you increase the likelihood of them coming back.
Contest Length and Urgency When a sweepstakes contest has a countdown timer it creates a great sense of urgency. The shorter the time span of the contest the better. If the duration of your contest is too long you run the risk of getting less participation. Especially if you are promoting your contest solely online. You do not want people clicking through only to think that they can enter later. I recommend running an online sweepstakes contest for two weeks. If you are a brick and mortar business you may want to advertise your contest in the store or display it in your window. and have monthly drawings.
Virality You can increase virality and word of mouth with a contest that has social media sharing options.
Terms and Conditions
When running a sweepstakes contest, if posted to Facebook, you must abide by the terms and conditions that Facebook lays out. You will also want to add your own terms and conditions .
You want to have a nice clear picture of your prize. Including a strong call to action on the image is another layer for driving engagement. The prize you pick for your sweepstakes contest is very important. Everybody would love a Starbucks gift card, but it is most likely not relevant to your brand. Choose a prize that aligns with your brand, product or service and that can potentially drive future purchases .
Pick your prize
Decide on what information you want to capture
Set the terms and conditions
Decide where you want to promote it.
Pick a start and end date
Pick a winner
Follow up, through email marketing , and continue to engage with all contest participants.
Reading Time: 3minutesIn the social media marketing space, I think that there may be a misunderstanding of what a social media campaign should actually be. Many social media campaigns evolve around a promotion, a sale, a contest, a giveaway, or a new webinar. Most of the time the focus is the campaign itself. The missing link and what can go overlooked is what happens before and after the campaign has completed. A presidential campaign has a before, during and after and a social media campaign should be no different.
The before can be considered any former office or career someone has had leading up to their declaration to run. The during is the primary and general election. The job really begins after the campaign has ended. Imagine becoming the President and then not really doing anything at all. That would not be a very good president and that is not how a successful campaign works. In addition, the losing candidate, and those who dropped out during the primary may be forgotten if they do not remain in public office. The same process applies when launching a social media campaign. If you are not prepared with a follow-up plan after your campaign has ended, you run the risk of being forgotten and you do not want to be forgotten.
I have outlined different aspects to consider for every step along the way.
There needs to be preparation leading up to the the start date of the campaign. You will want to answer the following questions:
What is the goal of the campaign?
What is the type of promotion?
Where will it run?
How long will it run?
Who do you want to target?
Will you be running any social media ads for your campaign?
What information will you capture? At the very least get an email address.
Once your campaign is running be sure to interact with people. If people are leaving comments or tweeting or posting on Instagram around your promotion be sure to reply. If your social media campaign is attached to an ad be sure to pay attention to your ad metrics. Facebook gives you amazing targeting options. You can really hone in on your demographic. If you see that your campaign is not getting the desired results, do not be afraid to make adjustments.
After your campaign has ended, hopefully you have reached your goal, and have gained new data on your customers, seen an increase in engagement or sales, or have collected email addresses from your campaign participants. An email address is very important because now you are able to market to people off of social media. Email marketing can be a very powerful tool. Capturing an email is the “Golden Goose.” However, do not bombard people with frequent promotional emails that shout “buy me, buy me.” That is one of the quickest ways for your unsubscribe rate to go up or to be ignored. This is not to say that you cannot sell with your email marketing. You can and should but there is a process involved. You spent time and money on your campaign, now is the time to nurture and grow these relationships with your existing and new found consumers. The after is really just the beginning.
Identifying your social media campaign goals and laying out a long term and well thought out strategy that details what you will do before, during and after your campaign will increase your chances of success.
Reading Time: 2minutesLinkedIn can be a very powerful tool for building and cultivating relationships. Some relationships can start off-line and move to LinkedIn, while others can start on LinkedIn and move off-line. As we build our professional networks, establishing credibility and social proof is very important. On LinkedIn, this is most commonly done by asking for a recommendation from one of your LinkedIn connections.
LinkedIn allows you to request a recommendation for the same position from three different people at the same time. They also give a template message that I do not recommend using. Each relationship you have is going to be different and you want to cater your message to each individual. Because you have the option of asking three people at the same time, LinkedIn adds a salutation on your behalf. You can’t see it be the recipient does.
For that reason , there is no need to add your own. If you do, the recipient will see both your salutation and the one that LinkedIn has added automatically and you will end up with something like this:
Dear Dave, (Linkedin’s Invisible Salutation)
Hi Dave, (Your own)
I’m writing to ask if you would write a brief recommendation of my work that I can include on my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Whenever possible, contact the person you want to write a recommendation off of LinkedIn first. Not everyone may be as active on LinkedIn as you are, or have the necessary notifications setup, and you don’t want your message to go undetected.
One last point! All recommendations are date stamped so don’t go on a recommendation request spree.
Help spread the word, by sharing this post and we can stop the double salutation from ever happening again!
Reading Time: 2minutesHere are three reasons why you should start or continue to use video in your social media marketing:
1) Incorporating video content has become extremely important in telling a company’s story. Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat have joined YouTube in that they all allow you to upload video content. There is no sign of video slowing down. Embrace it now.
2) Using video allows you to expand your visibility and reach.
Uploading content to YouTube allows you to reach more people as it is the second most used search engine and owned by Google.
Facebook gives video content uploaded directly to Facebook more reach and visibility in the timeline vs posting a link from YouTube.
Uploading a 30-second video to Twitter will help you stand out from the news feed noise.
Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, allows you to broadcast to the world in real time. It has great discovery features and allows you to reach a whole new audience.
Periscope celebrated its one-year anniversary last month. In late 2015, Facebook announced Facebook Live to compete with Periscope.
Facebook Live is increasing in usage. After a broadcast is complete, it will remain on your page’s timeline.
Instagram is expanding its video upload length from fifteen seconds to sixty seconds. This gives you more time to tell your story.
Snapchat has been gaining a ton of momentum in the past few months as brands and professionals have started to embrace it. Snapchat is all about creating a story. A story is a series of short videos, of up to ten seconds, and pictures that are strung together. In Snapchat, you can add different effects and overlays to your content. Snapchat stories will last for twenty four hours. Snapchat allows you to save your content to your phone.
Six platforms does not mean you need to create six different kinds of videos. Repurpose your video content across the different platforms.
3) Using video allows you to showcase your products, and humanize your organization.
It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, at the end of the day, people want to do business with people and not logos. Consumers have become very cynical. Most of the time they feel like they are being sold to and shouted at. Creating video content that features key players, staff and company culture can alleviate that cynicism and create a level of trust and comfortability. This can then foster relationships and create new customers.