Social Media Marketers: Will they stay or will they go now?

I’m BACK!

Sorry for the blog hiatus, as I was working on a few different projects and wanted to concentrate on the growth of those. Since my last post I also moved out on my own, and learned to be much more inspired to work harder. Naturally I become inspired and motivated by social media related growth, but then I question this growth as well? Is social media, and especially social media jobs, a fad?

Recently I went on a good two week streak of job searching, resulting in nothing more than a few good contacts and one great lead. I focused on two areas, one being social media and one being hospitality. I would love to be able to focus strongly on social media, and I try to do this, but in the back of my head I keep thinking, will these jobs last? Hence why I keep hospitality in mind as well, everyone is going to need a hotel!Image

Marketing itself has been around for a donkeys age, with Gutenberg and the printing press making mass media more accessible. Businesses saw they could get their name out, and since then it hasn’t stopped growing. Many different versions of marketing are out there, and social media is the most recent. The difference between social media and what the professionals call “traditional” mediums, is that social media is much more accessible to the general public. Almost everyone has access to Facebook or Twitter, and therefore could take part in social media marketing. Not everyone has access to traditional forms of marketing like radio, television or print advertisements.  Herein lies my confusion as to if social media marketing as a profession, will last. I of course wouldn’t write a blog on social media unless I believed that it will last. I tend to second guess it every once in a while though, but in the long run, social media marketing is just another form of marketing.

Admen have talents in certain areas, and social media marketers have a talent to market in a certain way. Marketing and social media have to work seamlessly in order to have the most impact, and the social media marketer does this. Social media loses its appeal when marketing becomes to apparent, and selling takes precedence over the act of being social. Therefore, some people have the special talent of creating campaigns and ads that are directly social media related, where engaging the audience, in turn, creates a buzz about a product or company. This is different than the graphic artist or ad exec that has a talent for words and can create a slogan for a car commercial. Social media engages audiences while most marketing speaks to the audience, and each involves a different talent. Therefore, social media marketing I believe is a talent that some do have, and a profession that I believe will continue to grow!

 

I hope….

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Buying followers isn’t for me!

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As many of you do, I log in to my Twitter account a few times a day, scan through my feed and read funny, sad, informative and sometimes inspiring tweets. I follow those that interest me, those that I admire and some that are just plain funny.

It seems though that the landscape is changing. As an avid twitter’r, I like to post things that I hope will get a reaction from people, maybe even a reply or retweet, or at the very least a favourite? I’m seeing a change now though, as my twitter feed is becoming spammed with promoted posts. For example, I just went on and under “similar to follow” I was greeted by the founder of the DIVA network and relationship and intimacy expert? *See above picture* Not sure what Twitter thinks about me, but that really doesn’t sound like me? Just ask my girlfriend, I’m no relationship expert! Therefore my concern for promoted posts is two fold…

1) Why am I being told about things that don’t interest me? The algorithm for choosing who receives what promoted posts and promoted accounts seems to be quite off. It reminds me of the recommended channels on TIVO! I can understand the odd weird promoted account, but I don’t think I’ve said “why yes I do want to follow that account!” ever! Twitter needs to fix up this part of its business model, because those that pay to have their account promoted, won’t like that it seems to be random accounts that they’re promoting too.

2) Is anyone else mad at the idea of promoting posts and accounts? I get that it’s simple, you pay for your account or post to get a big audience. What about those that have worked hard to provide their followers with relative info, or useful info, and gained a following “the old fashion way”. This new way of promoting is good for those that can afford it. I for one am not a fan of it though, I think it takes away from the good ol days when in order to go viral you need good content. Yes many still find ways to gain lots of retweets, but I think now that social media is growing so much, companies are now paying for retweets. I think it defeats the purpose of content is king.

Overall, even as I manage the social media for a hotel group, I still don’t believe in paying to promote. Our executive team just recently made me add a content creator from a SEO management company, to have access to the Facebook pages. I’ve seen a difference in how many accounts each post on reaches, but does it have any ROI? Am I just really honing in on my audience and what they like to see and that’s why more likes are aspiring? Or, does it have nothing to do with the content, and we’re just paying for likes? I’m going with the first option…

What are your thoughts on promoted posts? Are you getting a proper ROI, or are you just a great content creator?

How to become a social media wizard…without the wand

How do I become successful when starting out in social media? How do I gain more followers on twitter? Why can’t I get more likes on Facebook? These are the age-old questions…kind of. Social media is pretty new to the marketing scene and can’t quite yet be claimed as “age-old” but you get the point. The idea is that people want to gain followers, likes, retweets, comments, anything so they can measure they’re success. The answer to all that is audience. You have to know you’re viewers, likers, commenters, followers, and what they want to learn about.

I run a social media & technology blog for example, therefore I would think those that follow me have an interest in social media and technology. My blog posts are all related to these topics, and therefore those that follow me will hopefully become engaged and comment and share my thoughts and ideas. We may even exchange ideas, and keep the conversation going. I always love to learn new things, and maybe someone reading a post has some insight into the post, I would hope they would share that with me and those that also read it. Each of my followers share a common interest with me, and I like to keep my posts specific to these interests. If I started jumping around on topics, posting about Justin Bieber and his naked photo in front of his grandma, I’d maybe get a few likes, but I’m not getting the engagement out of my audience that I want. In order for you to gain AND retain(yes I ryhmed) followers and likers, you have to stick to your topics you know. Your followers will come to expect posts, and will keep coming back for more. You have to keep your content fresh, but also relevant. Once again, Justin Bieber naked in front of his grandma, creepy, weird and clearly not relevant to my blog, I’d assume I would lose some of my followers and gain some negative feedback from that.

I also would like to mention that I am interested in social media and tech myself, I am knowledgable about it and study it. I don’t study the science behind pop star PR stunts, and therefore won’t write about them, although that probably would be fascinating. To be successful, one must have a vested interest in the topics they write about, or the ideas and posts won’t come about properly and your mass following will never come to fruition.

If you follow these simple rule of consistency and interest, you’ll be on the path to mass followings! Happy blogging everyone!

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Your social media content has an expiry date

As mentioned before, I provide all the social media content for the hotel chain I work for. From Facebook posts to Instagram pictures to Twitter updates. Recently I’ve thought of an idea to create a social media campaign based around a hashtag. This is not a foreign concept to me or anyone familier with social media marketing techniques. I’m finding the hardest part is that I have to find the right type of content for each of the different media channels. I believe that each channel provides a certain type of update.

Instagram is for the visually stimulated consumer, Twitter is for quick snipits of information, and Facebook page posts are more in-depth.

Many social media marketers will create a campaign, and in order to grow the reach they will post the same info on all the different channels. This in theory makes sense, you will reach the most people with one message, but I don’t believe it is the most effective use of the outlets. This to me is the lazy way out. One piece of content is created and shared on all channels, such as a instagram photo that’s shared to both Twitter and Facebook. This photo has now been shown on three different channels but providing the same message on all three. It’s what I call “stale content”, there’s nothing “fresh” about the message.Image

The problem I see when this happens is that you’re not giving your audience a reason to follow you on each individual media channel. Instead users will say “I get all updates through Facebook, I don’t need to see the same thing on Twitter!” Boom! You’ve lost followers, a sad thing for any marketer trying to grow a campaigns reach. Your campaign has gone stale like a mouldy piece of cheese, and not the good stuff.

The solution? Simple, create content that suits each media outlet. Don’t share a Facebook post on Twitter, instead say separate things on each channel, but tie them in with a #hashtag. That way people will gain more information but they will understand it’s still connected. Your audience will also become more involved in other aspects of your media outlets, because they know different information regarding the same topic is available, and they’re getting a fresh prespective!

I’m in the planning process right now of starting a full on social media campaign for the hotels, and I’m organizing my updates and pictures and segmenting them into certain outlets. It’s important that the information your sharing is suitable for the outlet you will be using. For example, don’t share in-depth details on a contest through Twitter, as 140 characters isn’t enough and will get people confused. Instead share the in-depth details on Facebook or your website where there’s more of a forum for that information. On Twitter you could announce your grand prize, a quick update to gain attention, and provide a link that will provide more information. This way the consumer will get hooked from the quick update and want to learn more, and then they’ll be directed on where they can find out more. You are also drawing in potential followers to new media outlets as well.

ImageThe overall idea is to have content that drives the consumer to learn more and participate and eventually drive up reach and the sales of the company. Fresh content that is suitable for each individual media channel is a key factor in creating a successful social media marketing campaign.

Social Media-the new information super highway

Being a social media addict I came across a funny link today on the #googledown hashtag that appeared when google in fact “went down”. A lot of the funny tweets using the hashtag referred to the fact that consumers had no where to gain info, or answer questions they had! Many said since google was down, they turned to Twitter or Facebook. I found this very interesting, I thought to myself maybe social media is taking over from regular websites that still litter the World Wide Web.

My first example is that of the hotel guest. As the social media manager for my hotel chain, I myself get many requests and questions about the resorts and hotels our guests are coming too. These questions range from dinner reservations to engagement proposal requests. Many of the inquiries can easily be found on our website, but I find people are more and more turning to social media to ask these questions. This confuses me as the website itself is very easy to navigate, but also pleases me as it shows my social media efforts are having an impact with our customers!

My second example is from my own experiences in gaining info about products and companies. As I planned a trip to Florida for my girlfriend and myself I tweeted a few different companies and hotels to get info on different things. I could of googled each website and browsed the websites to gain all the info. Being the social media nerd I am though I tweeted and Facebooked my way to answers, and that’s what I got, including a discounted hotel rate thanks to a friendly hotel Facebook page!

I believe the reason for this move from website to social media is based on two reasons. A website requires work on your part, you have to search for the site itself, and once there you have to go through the task of finding the info you want! Oh the pain. Once you find the info you want you wonder to yourself, is this correct, it must be? Is the website updated often? After you’ve gone through all this, you probably also realize this has been a very anti social method, no contact with a real person, it’s not very reassuring after all. The brilliant part of social media is that for one, its easy to tweet a question, two, you save yourself wandering around a website, third, you receive an official answer to your question, very reassuring!

Social Media- Wikipedia for the 21st century.

A picture of one of interactions with west jet as I plan another trip!

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“Strategize not apologize”- Making your Social Media investments succesful

Social Media is now relevant in almost all businesses, it’s becoming an integral part of a companies overall business plan. It is important though in this time of change, where everyone is getting on the Social Media bandwagon, to have a strategy!  Anyone can create a twitter account, follow people and businesses that are similar and create a small following for themselves. The hard part is making sure that account, as well as others (you can’t just be part of one social outlet), fits in with your overall business plan. You must:

                                            “Strategize not Apologize!”Marketing business sales

This phrase is important for any company, because you have to create a plan for your new avenues of marketing and public relations that fit with the rest of your business plan. In other words, your Twitter and Facebook pages can’t be an after thought, instead they have to be an integral part of your business. Why you ask? Good question!

When social media becomes an after thought for your business, it has a different voice and a different feel than the rest of the business. It won’t work smoothly with your marketing campaigns because the two weren’t created at the same time. Your company Facebook page and Twitter feed will just re-iterate what your other channels already are presenting. New information meant specifically for those channels won’t be available, and your customers won’t be engaged.

A poor social media presence can also be confusing to customers. The consumer is turning more and more to social media in order to answer simple questions, and if all parties in your company are not on the same wave length, customers may receive mixed messages. This in turn will get them annoyed and you will end up looking unorganized, a big no-no in any successful company!

Below are two great examples of companies, one with a successful social media strategy, and one that seems to be an after thought!

Nike during the 2012 Summer Olympics, created the #makeitcount hashtag, and showed 11 Nike athletes and how they pushedImage their personal boundaries. They had billboards around the city with the “make it count” hashtag, a true sign that all outlets are involved in the making of a marketing plan. The whole company was behind the idea, and all marketing avenues presented the message in varying ways. The best way they showed this was by using a #hashtag, therefore consumers could easily track all parts of the campaign with one simple slogan! They created engagement as well, by allowing others to tweet or post about how they #makeitcount. It was a very successful campaign overall, especially when Adidas was actually the official Olympics sponsor!

An example, one of many, of how companies who are trying to piggy back on trending topics, is Kmart. Shortly after the Newtown shootings in Conneticut, Kmart issued a tweet paying respects to the families. A nice form of sentiment, but then they added a promImageotional hashtag about toys! Not a good form of business, and it seems little thought was put into this tweet. Yes a tweet is only 140 characters but it can have a huge impact! Also, piggy backing on a trending topic is ok, but not when its a national crisis with innocent children involved!

So remember, “Strategize not Apologize” and your company can succeed in all Social Media channels!