Tag Archives: Strategy

Please RSVP

The first time someone commented on one of my blog posts … oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH!!! Excitement and fear overwhelmed me for a number of reasons. First of all, someone other than my mother actually read my blog. That in itself seemed like a miracle. Then the fear hit. What if the comment isn’t good? What if someone questions what I wrote? I can “what if” all day.

That was about 4 years ago and today I have a few more family members that read my blog posts. I make a concerted effort to reply to each comment with something thoughtful combined with a thank you. When there are multiple comments I address each one individually.

A few things I’ve learned when someone comments on your blog post …

1. Always respond. It’s lovely when a blog comment is simply complimentary, but sometimes the commenter wants to ask a question, share information and/or tell you how they feel.

2. Answer your commenter’s questions, thank them for sharing additional information and address their feelings.

3. When comments are not all rainbows and kittens – stick to the facts and keep your emotions in out of your response. See Chris Beadling’s post on addressing flaming here.

Remember that blogging is social media. Treat it accordingly. Be social with the folks that comment on your blog – especially the ones that are complimentary. I read post a few days ago from Pushing Social called Blog Traffic Secret:  Woo the Groupies (written by Stanford ) that I keep going back to … the author suggested that you engage the commenters whenever possible and across other social media channels. The people that are commenting and tweeting and sharing your posts are “your groupies” and they want to engage with you.  He has a whole section on “Groupie Seduction” that you must read.

For new bloggers, it can seem like forever until you get that first comment (from someone other than mom) so engage the person making the comment right from the start, be gracious and always say thank you.

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An open letter to the “tweeter-in-Chief”

Dear Mr. Obama:

I heard on the news recently that you have decided to start taking the reigns of your twitter account. Good for you. Sorry you have to waste those three extra characters each time in order to sign your work…trust me when I tell you there’s going to be a time when you really want those three characters back, but it is nice to know which tweets are really from you and not from your handlers.

Even though you are the leader of the free world and can reach out to whomever you want for twitter advice I thought you would appreciate hearing some ideas from a guy who spends quite a bit of time working with baby-boom newbies like yourself. I am also asking all the SMMI faithful to post a tip or two for you in the comments, free of charge.

I am certain you have the SMMI feed in your Google Reader, so feel free to pop me a quick DM (that’s Direct Message Mr. President) and let me know that things are going smoothly.

1. People like twitter. According to their own numbers, more than 100 Million new people jumped on board during 2010 and more than 25 Billion tweets were sent. You probably heard in one of the staff briefings on this move that you have more than 8.5 Million people following you right now. That’s huge. To put it in perspective, the top FIVE daily newspapers in the United States serve 2 Million fewer folks…and you have probably learned that in the press you don’t get to control the message. Tweets get repeated, news gets spread, and you are in charge.

2. People like engagement on twitter. Don’t just broadcast….engage. I realize that the managing the debt ceiling, overseeing Afghanistan and keeping an eye on Mr. Biden can be major time-sucks. You’ll get a pass if you don’t read every tweet that comes your way, but maybe task an intern to find a tweet or two every day that you can reply to personally. Heck, if Lady Gaga can find time to engage the little monsters, you can find a second for Dan from Des Moines, right? Users feel really connected to their twitter pals, and trust me when I tell you that if someone gets an @reply from the tweeter-in-chief it’ll do wonders for the Presidential cred.

3. I think this one has been covered already, but tweeting pictures that you wouldn’t show to the kids is a definite no-no. That said, tweeting pictures of other things is highly encouraged. In the world of 140 characters, a picture really is worth 1,000 words. Just remember to ask the Attorney General to check the fine print on your photo sharing service to make sure they can’t use your pics for something beyond what you intended.

4. I get to “tweet & delete”…you don’t. With 8.5 Million followers, if you tweet it you’re going have to take ownership. So think about what you say before you hit the submit key. Speaker Boehner won’t be too happy if you call him nasty names on twitter…even if you tried to take it right back. Count to ten when you’re angry; it works for the rest of us too.

5. Leave me some room to share your wisdom. Too many users type all the way to the end of their 140 characters and then when I go to re-tweet their greatness I can’t carve it up enough to fit so I give up. Yes, I know a few of your constituents created some tools to extend your tweets, but that kind of feels like cheating…so keep it concise.

6. Learn some hashtag humor. I know you are not going to spend your whole day being cynical or cracking twitter jokes, but a #pleaseHillaryleavemealone tag once in a while would be really funny. If you’re not going to do that, at least tie in to some of your favorite tags once in a while (like #WhiteSox or #Hawaii or #leftygolfers).

7. Finally, Mr. President. Consider tweeting your own news. We all knew about Osama bin Laden before you finally came out and told us; it would have been super-cool if we had read it in a tweet that said “we got him -BO” instead. Plus then we wouldn’t have had to watch the networks vamp for three hours trying to learn how to tell us things we already knew.

Good luck behind the wheel, Mr. Obama. You have technology at your fingertips that really could change the paradigm of how government works; make the most of it and offer us a glimpse of what representative democracy 21st-Century style could really be. I will be watching…as will a few million others.

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In Search of Time and Inspiration

It happens to all bloggers … we get bogged down with the business of our business and push off blogging. When we know we must write – we get stuck on what to write.

Consistency is a crucial key to blogging. I truly believe that blogging can help your business. Too often we look at our blog as an “extra” which could be why we keep pushing it off. I propose that we add blogging on our To Do List in the same manner we would for returning phone calls or emails. Posting on a regular basis is tough, but remember that you can always mix it up with video posts or a photo post.

For as much as blogging can help your business, the inconsistency of your posts can hurt your business.  An abandoned blog can affect your credibility and leave consumers with a negative impression.

Inspiration is a bit harder to tackle. What inspires you? For me, it’s reading. Sounds so simple I know. Reading through the posts on my Google Reader is a great way for me to get inspired. I also try to think of questions that I answer 9 times a day to see if I can get a post there.

A few things I do when inspiration is lacking:

1. Read, read and read some more
2. Bounce ideas off others
3. Remember that I am not saving babies

Reading is great for inspiring me with a topic idea and bouncing ideas off others can create a nice spark too. But when in doubt, I remember the words of a dear friend, “we’re not saving babies here”. In other words, there are way bigger things to worry about – don’t sweat your blog post.  Just write it!

What inspires your blog posts?  Use the comments to share!

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Backing up your Social Media

In a recent presentation I asked the audience if they back up their online files. Only one third of the audience raised their hands, which is normal for a group of 50 people or more. So 1/3  of the audience backs up their documents on their computer. Well, how about emails and all your social media files? Even fewer hands raised.

People! This is a sad state of affairs. Back up is essential. I even believe in redundancy of back up. An external back drive costs less than $100 and will be worth every tear you cry when you lose your files. I also believe you should back up online. Some companies that do this are sugarsync, mozy and carbonite.

Good news! In doing some research for other back up tools I came upon this new company Backupify. Just had a phone interview with them and they have an amazing concept. This company backs up all your social media.

Backupify is the leading backup provider for cloud based data, offering an all-in-one archiving, search and restore service for the most popular online services including Google Apps, Facebook, Twitter and more.

With one account you get centralized access to all of your information, stored securely, easily searchable, and ready for restoration or transfer at a moment’s notice.

Backupify is modeled after a computer backup central service to have an independent copy of your data. Because communications is exploding on social media sites,  small business owners need to also have copies of this content as well. Backupify’s clients include:

  • Small business owners
    Social media directors
    IT professionals

According to Ryan Harnedy of Backupify, on February 28th when Google left 1000s  of small businesses without access to their email, Backupify added more than 25,000 users as a direct result of that outage.

I just set up my account, It was very simple and once you set it up it automatically does the back up for you. They are also working on the ability to search all your back up as well.

According to Charlie Ungashick the VP Marketing, Backupify was started  to give people personal control over their data living in the cloud. They have been around since 2008 originally as Lifestream Backup and then moved on to become Backupify. As far as security? They encrypt the data using AES 256 bit encryption key before transferring it and hold it encrypted. The only people capable of reading your data are our CEO and VP of Security and they would only do so with your written permission by court order.

Check it out and tell me what you think!

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Ready, Fire, Aim!

Image by reeltor99 via Flickr

In life there always seem to be more ways to fail than to succeed, and Social Marketing is no exception.

I think the use of social media is easy for small businesses and professionals. They can use free or low cost tools to position their goods or services for delivery to their intended market and when they use them properly to position themselves as trusted members of their online communities. Because of the democratization of publishing there are few barriers to reaching audiences of  any geographic or demographic description. And yet people keep finding ways to make it more complicated or less effective.

The drive to be perceived as involved seems to outweigh the need to think about how to be involved. The ease of registration and participation iin online channels leads to poorly executed strategy- the old ready, fire, aim that has plagued businesses forever.

People join LinkedIn because it seems to be about business. They hear that people are successful in obtaining business using Facebook so they have join Facebook to create a persona profile and use it for business purposes. They create Facebook Pages because they hear that a having a Facebook page is a good strategy. They get a twitter account and try to follow as large a group as possible so that they in turn will be followed. They join everything and have as their plan using these channels for the broadcast advertising that they are most familiar with.

I’m a fan of social media and social marketing. I’m also a fan of a multi-channel approach to social marketing engagement for a wide variety of reasons that will probably be the source of another blog post here. But I am not a fan of of “faux engagement”  or participation without consideration. Obviously I am a fan of social media education, but some of it just doesn’t seem to have a sustainable strategy for the students.

So as you create your plans moving forward, perhaps you might want to answer a few questions before you choose a social media channel or strategy;

  1. Who do I want to reach?
  2. Where can I reach them?
  3. What do they care about and what do they need?
  4. How can I provide that to them?
  5. What is my goal and how can I measure my success?

It’s not a lot to ask, and the answers should help you think about not only what you will do, but why you are doing it and what you wish to accomplish. And with that in mind, you might just hit the target you’re aiming for.

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