Social Media – It’s All About THEM

October 15, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                              return to JayVee Media Link LLC 

launching rocket covered with social media iconsLaunching a social media campaign can be daunting.  We are excited by the prospect of a new business challenge; we are eager to show positive results as quickly as possible.  We can easily become overwhelmed in our attempts to build an audience, post consistently, create quality content, etc.

Points to Remember

There are three things we need to keep in mind with each new campaign launch:

  1. Every new campaign needs direction.  Just as we plan out a road trip, with a designated travel route and defined start and end points, we need to build a strategy map for each campaign we launch.
  2. Building social relationships is essential if enough trust is to develop for conversion to take place.  This takes time.  There is no short cut for allowing familiarity and trust to take root.
  3. As we research, post and engage in our quest for the most direct route to a successful campaign, we must remember that our efforts need to be all about the people in our target market.  What appeals to them?  How can we satisfy a need that they have?  What can we share that will have good value to them?  These are the questions we need to keep in mind as we proceed.
Tips to Apply

What are some of the best ways to get quality interaction going with our fans and followers?  Here are some of my favorite methods:

  1. Post authentically.  Be open and honest.  Show eagerness to help.  Let others see that our brands have human sides.  People can spot phonies very readily.  Why would we risk such a branding?
  2. Do an analysis to determine what days and times the greatest number of our fans and followers are on their social media profiles.  We can then arrange to concentrate our posts during those peak times.  Don’t neglect weekends, too!  Recent studies have shown that a lot more activity takes place over weekends than was originally assumed.
  3. pitches forbidden

  4. Avoid constant sales pitches.  The majority of our posts should be carefully crafted information (original and shared) that has great value to our fans/followers.  Remember to use multimedia postings, too.  Pictures and videos get the most attention and inspire the most engagement.
  5. Contests and special promotions are wonderful ways to build and engage audiences if our businesses lend themselves to such strategies.
  6. Use picture postings to encourage fun conversation.  For example, invite fans and followers to supply captions.
  7.  Ask open questions, both at the end of our blogs and as stand alone posts.  Queries can be business related or about life events, general/current issues, etc.  Be ready to respond in a timely fashion, so the engagement we foster doesn’t languish.
  8. Involve fans/followers in certain business decisions.  For example, if a new product is in development, post pictures of various possible designs and ask for input.
  9. Ask fans and followers to post their own pictures on our business page timelines. Photos depicting our products in use can be great testimonials!
  10. Encourage crowd sourcing.  People love to feel valued.  Asking for their input to help others breeds excellent loyalty!  This activity can also teach US more about THEM: the way they think and problem solve, and what makes them tick.

Each social media campaign we launch requires a large time investment and plenty of patient diligence.  We must remember that there are no short cuts to success…and we must remember to make that point clear to our clients if we are managing campaigns for them.  Working steadily and employing the tips listed above are good ways to pave the most direct route to success.

What tips can you add to the ones mentioned above?  Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

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The Importance of Social Media Audits

September 17, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                            return to JayVee Media Link LLC

I recently shared a wonderful infographic by Mike Lewis on my social media sites.  The topic was “How to Perform a Social Audit.”  I would like to talk a little about the necessity of this vital task for launching our clients’ social media marketing campaigns as well as for maintaining positive momentum throughout them.

social media audit with magnifying glassIt is important to approach our social audits on multiple levels as we begin developing strategies for our clients’ internet marketing efforts.  Obviously, the first thing for which we need to look is the kind of presence they already have on the World Wide Web.  How well optimized are their websites, and how visible are they to the major search engines?  Do they have profiles set up on various social media platforms?  What is the quality of their web existences, and how effectively are the sites being used?  In his infographic, Mike Lewis presents great tips for these questions in clear, concise form.  Note that while he uses Twitter and Facebook as examples, the advice he offers can and must be applied to all social media platforms.  And I second his recommendation to assess our clients’ internet presences in accordance with the general rules for set up and appearance AS WELL AS against the profiles of their competitors.  It is essential to research what those competitors are doing that is or is not working, and to use that information to better our clients’ presences.

A tip I will add to Mike Lewis’ advice is to revisit and update our social audits at regular intervals after we set up and implement our clients’ media campaigns.  As part of our research into the effectiveness of our strategies, we should continue to monitor what their competitors are doing, and how successful they are in their efforts.  Doing so affords us greater vantage points from which to tweak our clients’ strategies.

What tips can you offer for conducting our social audits?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Twitter: Terrible…or Terribly Misunderstood?

July 9, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Twitter new logo“Twitter?  Ugh!  I HATE Twitter!”  That is the reaction I often get when I recommend the platform as a business building tool in new clients’ social media marketing toolboxes.  In spite of its wild popularity among business owners who grasp the vast potential Twitter holds, those who are less well informed about social media marketing seriously misunderstand the channel…and underrate its value to their companies.

The biggest complaint about Twitter that I hear from new clients stems from their notions that everyone on the platform does nothing but tweet nonsensical minutiae about their personal lives.  The second biggest grievance I hear is that the channel spreads users’ messages too widely to ever be useful to them.  Objections like these are quickly put to rest when my clients learn a few facts about Twitter:

Targeted Searches

It is easy to build a following that is very specific to one’s niche by using Twitter’s search tool.  There are other related sites, like Twellow, that also offer this service.  But the one built into the platform is very easy to use, and returns the best results I have seen.  Just type in some relevant keywords and click the search button.  While not necessary for this activity, it is helpful to precede the words with the hashtag symbol (#).  Follow any accounts that look like good potential matches; Twitter etiquette dictates that the vast majority will follow back.  Of course, be sure to message a note of thanks to those people who do, which helps set the stage for engagement.  But don’t try selling right off the bat.  On Twitter, as on every other social media platform, the name of the game is relationship building.  Pitches must come later.

Twitter search example

Sharing Information

As we build and engage our targeted Twitter followers, we become immersed in a constant stream of the freshest industry information available, posting almost as it is breaking.  Think of it as the most valuable instant messaging system we can join.  We can contribute our expertise as well as benefit from that of our peers at the uppermost levels of our niches.  The best way to grow our following further is to demonstrate our knowledge, and to be willing to help by freely sharing it.  The best way to service our clients is to operate with the most cutting edge information we can find.  Twitter is one of the best resources for both sides of this business equation.

Hitting proper targets for our expertise

We can target our messages to those who will potentially benefit the most, and hence stand the best chance of becoming clients, by using one of the same tools that helped us locate relevant followers in the first place.  Hashtags are invaluable for this process.  They also categorize our messages by subject or niche, making them easy to find.  As with all great tools, however, be sure to use them wisely – and avoid overuse.

Twitter hashtag and driving traffic examples

Driving traffic

By posting links in our tweets, we can use Twitter to drive traffic to our websites, our blog pages, and to our other social media platforms.  In fact, Twitter has the potential to drive more traffic than almost any other channel.

Brand identification

Twitter allows much latitude for businesses to advertise their branding.  Almost everything from a profile’s background image to the colors of its text can be configured to match a company’s branding.  This is very significant, as uniform appearance across a website and all social media channels strengthens a company’s identification and instills confidence in its customers.

Twitter branding example JayVee Media Link

Whether new to social media marketing or not, every business owner needs to understand the importance of using a Twitter account.  For any of the above mentioned necessary activities, the platform is an invaluable tool.

Do you get pushback when you speak of Twitter to your clients?  How do you handle a negative reaction toward this important social media tool?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Facebook Ads: Thumbs Up or Down?

June 25, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                     return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook ads – to buy them or not?  Considering how many posts are circulating on both sides of this issue, the choice is not an easy one to make.  My views aren’t set in stone just yet, but I’d like to share them with you.

Facebook ads logo

I like Facebook for marketing, and I frequently recommend it to my clients.  I especially like the business friendly features the platform added to its pages.  But, while I understand its desire and need to generate revenue, my belief is that the push for more advertising goes against the social media site’s core concept.  Facebook has always been a place for social connecting, not hard selling.  I recommend the platform for engaging with a brand’s current and potential fans; as an avenue to breed familiarity, build trust, and service those fans.  With the new, no cost features Facebook has given its business pages it is relatively easy to highlight new products, services, special deals, etc.  For my philosophical purposes, that is good enough.

Of course, I will not refuse a client who wishes to advertise on the Facebook platform.  And lately, there has been push back against the reports that as a marketing venue Facebook isn’t successful enough to be considered truly viable for businesses.  But most of those countering reports stem from one marketing analytic organization, which lists Facebook as one of its main clients.  It would be nice to see analytical interpretations done by other associations as well.

The research I have done so far has indicated a proclivity toward unhappiness over Facebook’s push toward monetization via its ads.  Some merchants feel the rule changes shift the playing field so that creativity and traditionally successful strategies can be undercut by competitors who are willing to pay for more exposure.  Personal profile users are not happy about being bombarded with ads all over Facebook.  And some of the platform’s newer marketing systems target users via methods that are more intrusive on privacy than ever before.  For example, facebook sponsored stories ad examples merely liking a business page can be reason enough for a user to turn up in a “sponsored story.”  Also, the platform is using cookies placed on profile users’ computers to track their off-Facebook activities in order to tailor ads for them, as opposed to just relying on the preferences they list on their profiles.  This is similar to the methods Google uses for its advertising.  Facebook claims that its users have the ability to opt out of this level of intrusion.  But how many users on average know how to change their settings to do that?  For the general public who wants to connect, socialize and engage with friends, this is a bit too much privacy to sacrifice.

There is also talk that Facebook may eventually begin charging for the special features it now offers to business pages for free.  This may happen especially if the platform’s ads don’t generate the revenue for which it is hoping.  One recent study actually concluded that more positive response is coming from the free features than from the paid ads.  That said, it stands to reason that Facebook might want to push everyone into a scenario where every type of special promotion will cost.  I can’t say so definitively, but I believe a move like this will turn more people away from marketing on Facebook – especially when we consider how many new social media platforms are cropping up almost daily. It’s only a matter of time before one (probably more) of them rivals the number of users that Facebook currently has.

examples of Facebook ads

While I understand its motivation, I feel that Facebook is trying to make itself into something it wasn’t meant to be.  Its current structure plays an important role for its social clients as well as its business pages.  Change can be a good thing, but sometimes completely reinventing oneself can have undesirable outcomes.  In its quest to procure greater profit margins, I wonder if Facebook may be going too far in a direction its users do not wish to go.

How do you feel about all the new methods for paid ads that Facebook is pushing?  Do you approve of this new direction the platform is taking?  Will it help or hurt, in your opinion?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

See also:

Facebook to Debut Real-Time Bidding on Advertising Prices,” by Douglas MacMillan & Jonathan Erlichman, Bloomberg

ComScore: Stop Bashing Facebook Ads,” by Jennifer Booton, Fox Business

Facebook Consultant Argues That Website’s Ads Work,” by Sarah McBride, Reuters

Here’s ComScore’s Massive Report on Facebook Ad Effectiveness,” by Laura Stampler, Business Insider

Avoiding Social Media Overload

June 4, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                     return to JayVee Media Link LLC

passed out with head on top of computer keyboardContent creation; posting; engaging; marketing; curation; strategizing; maintaining an active presence on all the relevant social media sites; mobile marketing; email marketing…  Hour after hour we sit, until our eyes blur and our minds turn foggy.  Day turns to night; darkness gives way to dawn, and still we toil.  There is SO MUCH to do, and so few hours in a day…

Does this feel like an accurate description of your life in the social media field?  If it does, you’re not alone.  I recently came across this mind blowing social media infographic posted by Business Insider, and it put everything into perspective.

When we love what we do our enthusiasm is high, and it’s easy to overreach.  That’s why it’s so important to understand the scope of the tasks we undertake, and to know our limits.  Even the most knowledgeable and motivated amongst us can’t possibly deliver quality work when spreading themselves so thinly.  The only possible result of trying to do it all is poor quality for our clients, and a bad case of burnout for ourselves.

So how do we navigate the labyrinthine processes of the social media field?  Here are some thoughts:

Research
  I mean this on several different levels.  Stay on top of the changes and rollouts that impact the major social media platforms.  This way you will remain knowledgeable on how to best utilize their features.  Do your best to become familiar with at least some of the smaller outlets across the different facets of the social media marketing sphere, too. That will help eliminate the need to blindly cast around, grabbing at the latest, newest crazes for which it may not be truly worth devoting any time.  Instead you will be well equipped to recommend the few platforms that will optimally suit your clients and yourself.

Bring in help
  There’s no getting around this.  The only way you will be able to deliver consistent, quality service is to share the work load.  But please note:  It won’t do to “hire” your 12 year old niece because she is a Facebook powerhouse or your best friend because you enjoy socializing with him/her.  You need to look hard for people who:

–share your dedication to the field;

–eagerly embrace the ongoing learning, including the necessary research to be able to faithfully speak and engage in the voice of your clients;

–have great marketing skills;

— possess strong communication and writing abilities, including proper spelling, grammar and sentence construction;

–are intuitive enough to readily adapt as circumstances dictate.

Interns are fine, as long as they are interested enough in the field to pursue related work.  In other words, innate interest, intrinsic motivation, dedication to the process and commitment to the end goals are necessary qualities to seek when bringing in assistance.

The social media marketing field is exploding as more businesses come to understand its power and significance in today’s marketing strategies.  For anyone who finds the field exciting, it makes a wonderful, stimulating career.  But we need to remember to prepare ourselves on all levels so that we are able to deliver great quality while avoiding the pitfalls and the burnout.

What steps do you take in your business to ensure top quality service and keep from becoming overwhelmed?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

social media icons exploding out of computer

See also:  “Building a Great Social Media Team,” by Social Media Today’s Deborah Sweeney

Be a Social Media Overnight Sensation! — Or Not

April 23, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

internet quick cashEvery time I receive a message telling me to “read on” or click a link to learn the well guarded secrets of being an instant success in the field of social media marketing, I lose a little more patience.  It shouldn’t surprise you to know that I get a steady diet of those, every single day.   Don’t you?

I love this field.  That’s important, because you need to love what you do in order to put in the hours and carry out the responsibilities that are required to do the job well.  After several years of handling social media campaigns as favors for friends, I had no delusions regarding what it would take to launch my services as an official business.  Yet even though my eyes were open going in, I STILL wasn’t totally prepared for the time commitment and the overwhelming workload.  Especially since I was pretty much doing it all as a solo act; when you launch a business without a lot of “seed” capital, there isn’t much available to pay for help.

Frequently during vast undertakings such as this one, overwhelmed new business owners become susceptible to falling victim to hawkers of all kinds of magical formulas for instant success.  Day after day they are deluged with promises that if they will just purchase this program or that plan they will be making big bucks within a few weeks.  And best of all, they will be earning those huge payouts with as little as an hour or two of work a day.  Sounds irresistible, right?

man holding out packets of money

My friends, please remember that old saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it IS.”  Don’t waste your money on those get rich quickly while doing barely any work “systems.”  Remember that many of those schemes are completely transparent to potential clients, and will in fact send them running in the opposite direction.  Do be prepared to put in long, LONG hours of work that is demanding AND taxing.  Thankfully, there are plenty of highly reputable mentors out there from whom you can learn without being misled by fantasies.  In short, have fun, but understand that the satisfaction you will feel needs to come from a very high level of dedication to the field in general and to your clients specifically.

One of my mentors, Lilach Bullock, posted a blog about this very topic last week. In 3 myths other Internet Marketers don’t tell the truth about, she made the case so eloquently that I am eager to share her sage wisdom with you.  Heed Lilach’s words well and you will understand what it takes – and how long it takes — to be truly successful in the social media field.

What is your experience with becoming/being a social media manager?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!
free money mouse trap

On Facebook and Instagram

April 16, 2012
by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                                      return to JayVee Media Link

 Last week’s acquisition of Instagram by Facebook for a cool one billion dollar price tag gave new meaning to the term launching to the stratosphere.  Not too shabby a fetch price for a barely year old app with only a moderate degree of success.   What on earth would precipitate a sale of such magnitude??

Facebook and Instagram logoThe impression I get from listening to the musings of various social media heavyweights is that there is a twofold reason for Facebook’s megabucks purchase of Instagram.  The first is the quickening evolution of social media to the mobile platform.  These days any social media site is at a severe disadvantage if it can’t be operated smoothly from a mobile device.  While up to now Facebook has been the top contender among photo sharing sites, that feature hasn’t performed well for it on mobile platforms.  For this reason, the union between Facebook and Instagram is a match made in heaven for Mark Zuckerberg.

A probable second reason for this acquisition is that Zuckerberg may well have looked into his rear view mirror to see Pinterest steadily gaining on Facebook.  Pinterest, of course, is the platform that is based on compilations of all important visual content; the one which in seemingly no time at all has leapt into third place among the most popular social media platforms.  And it’s the medium that just happened to be feverishly working toward delivering a mobile app to make it usable on the go.  Pinterest is still working out the bugs, while Instagram was built for mobile.  The picture is becoming clearer by the minute, if you will excuse the pun.

Many current users of Instagram are understandably upset by the Facebook acquisition.  They are suspicious of Facebook’s intentions, as well as its possible ulterior motives considering the purchase may have allowed Facebook access to their photos and personal account information.  A number of them are jumping ship from Instagram.  But it is possible that the fallout may not be all bad.  Facebook promises to leave Instagram as a separate entity.  And think of the advancements Instagram can effect with a billion dollar infusion.  Ultimately, time will tell whether the acquisition was good for the two platforms, as well as for the people who use them.

What is your opinion about this megabucks acquisition?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Facebook and Instagram logo with Mark Zuckerberg's face in camera lens 

Social Media Partnerships

Social media marketing is a huge undertaking. There’s no doubt about it. For any business that desires social marketing, the task is equivalent to taking on another full time job. The ever growing number of social media businesses like JayVee Media Link underscores the fact that I preach to the choir when I make this claim.

The people I want to reach out to here are the growing number of social media managers who are in the trenches doing their clients’ business marketing day to day. While relieving their clients of the burden of that “second full time job,” the fact that it is SO time consuming, and all-encompassing, can easily overwhelm even the best social media managers. So I offer a word to the wise: DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL ALONE! Stick to what you do best, and partner up with others whose strengths differ from yours. The common tendency, especially at first, is to keep whatever money you make all for yourself. But you are one person, and there are SO MANY facets to social media marketing….and only so many hours in a day. Trying to do it all will most certainly lead to under-delivering for your clients, and burnout for you.

Do you want your social media business to be successful and long lived? Then do the Partner-Up Two Step! 🙂

How do YOU share the workload to stay successful in YOUR social media company?