Monthly Archives: October 2011

How to target social media partners to get what you want.

Was there ever a golden age of Social Media? Did we all help each other and share links and pass on our contacts, or was that just what we thought should happen?

I remember going to seminars where we wer told to share the good stuff , hand out compliments because it will surely come back to you (and your business).

Slightly evangelical? – Ah but we were back then – and to a certain extent I still believe it. I like to go out on Twitter with my friendly hat on.

But the return on this kind of generosity can be disappointingly small. In my experience, when you praise an item in someone elses shop, they are delighted and re-tweet it to all their friends and customers – they may even say thank you but rarely seem to make a note to do the same for you.

It would seem that the one night stands are not working!

I am being flippant of course. Social media has always been about the long-term but could I recommend a consistent and targeted approach that works towards finding new partners to work with both off and online?

By identifying new possibilities you can spend some time finding out which are solid. So many people would “love to do business sometime” but then disappear. But a good short-list of people you can rely on is invaluable.

You can then work towards having a more long-term and meaningful relationship which might include newsletter swaps as well as social media mentions and Retweets. In one recent project I was involved in, several different partners pulled together to create self-published original content – sharing the costs.

This really is the way to go. You could pay for advertising and you could hope for good press or you can get together with other people to create content, good vibes and with any luck success.

The one night stands are not working!

Why Social Media is no longer an exciting new challenge

Hello! Today I’ll be coming back to running again – but it’s an analogy and very short so please bear with me.

When you first take up running (or any other activity) you don’t think of yourself as ‘a runner’ – you are just you, doing something new, challenging and often exciting. As you grow in confidence and ability you reach for a goal – maybe one you never thought possible, like a marathon – or in my case a half and you strive to achieve your aim.

But. Once you’ve done it and got over yourself for being so clever, you have to face up to the harsh reality. You can never call yourself an amateur – a non-runner – again. Like it or not, those days of ‘little old me, I’m just messing around’ are over.

You have become the thing!

I’m sharing this because I think many of us have come to this place with Social Media. It’s been so long now, that claiming to be fiddling around with the possibilities and dabbling no longer ring true.

It’s time for small businesses to forge ahead with a good strong strategy. Take each social media tool  in turn and have the confidence to use it in a way that best suits you. That’s not to say that there won’t be uncertainty – the Facebook changes alone are enough to keep everyone on their toes – but it’s time to admit that social media is not just an exciting new challenge but a solid part of the marketing mix.

So here’s a rallying call to all those still hovering about in the LinkedIn discussion pages debating whether social media can ever really match up to the good old skills – Let’s cook or get out of the kitchen.


Is the party over for Facebook marketers?

If you are not paying for Facebook then you are part of the product and as such you have no say – this is the harsh reality facing marketers who have become accustomed to using Facebook as a free marketing tool.

The free ride is over – now you pay.

So is the party over for Facebook marketers?

Not necessarily. The changes rolled out by Facebook over the past few weeks are certainly making it harder to get stories into main news feeds and people are reporting big falls in the number of page impressions they would normally expect to see.

Facebook quite simply want brands to pay for the exposure they currently enjoy and have made things signficantly harder to get something for nothing -which is bad news for small businesses on a shoe string budget. Facebook ad products – like sponsored stories – will help brands get back into the main story feed at a price, but do not despair just yet.

It is my view that we need to return to first principles of social media.

  • Are you broadcasting or engaging?
  • Is your content relevant?
  • Do people welcome you/seek you out or tolerate you?
  • Are people commenting on, engaging with and sharing your content?

What we need to do now is really no different to what we advised back in the day for using Twitter effectively. Think about your customers needs and interests, not about your latest promotion and come up with content which is genuinely interesting, sharable and if possible original.

With Facebook users in the driving seat they can choose whether they want to see your posts in their timeline and if you annoy them with the hard sell they will remove you. A fashion retailer needs more than ever to provide gorgeous content, advice and trends that the consumer really wants and looks forward to.

The user is like an editor curating stories, choosing which items they want to see and if your content is not good enough it will be spiked.

If however you win their attention – being mentioned in the news feed will significantly increase your social reach – so you really want to do everything you can to make that content unmissable.

A few more key points to remember.

  • The number of Fans or Likes are now less important than fans’ engagement with your content. (I would say that has always been true but many are seduced by the numbers game.)
  • But confusingly the bigger you are the more influence you wield in getting your posts into feeds via the algorithm (go figure as they say in the States but it is an argument for teaming up with like-minded partners to promote each others content or even to persuade the big hitters to pass on your stuff – again its Twitter 101)
  • One highly relevant post a day is worth more than a stream of drivel. Recent stories don’t automatically take precedent in the news feed – top stories do.
  • Posting your content is going to give you more power to stay in the news feed than sharing other people’s – so keep it original. Maybe sharing is going to have to become something we do as a prearranged reciprocal deal with a list of trusted social media partners? – see above.
  • Businesses that actively encourage engagement are going to be the ones that stand out in the new Facebook world.

So those are my thoughts but the shake down hasn’t happened yet and we need to keep on our toes and adapt. What do you think?