Saturday, September 21, 2013

Who has time for all that tweeting?

Without fail, the two question I hear most often when I talk to clients about using Twitter are "Who cares what I had for lunch?" (YouTube link of me answering this question) and "Who has time to tweet all day?"

Today we are going to talk about time.

If you are using Twitter as a social NETWORKING tool, then you need to keep in mind the basics of networking - ask questions, find out about the people you meet, be interested in them

If you are using Twitter as a social NETWORKING tool the fastest advice I can give you for a posting strategy is: in order of importance, do this

1. Reply to other people's tweets
2. Retweet other people's tweets
3. Share a slice of life tweet (just like small talk in real life, the weather, the food, hump day)
4. Share a link to something related to your industry, but not your own content.
5. Talk about your business, share your own content

Numbers 4 and 5 can be planned and scheduled. I'm not going to talk about those. I'm going to talk about how to find time to do numbers 1 through 3.

I don't know about you, but I find I have lots of time where I'm just standing around, waiting for something or someone. This is the perfect time for me to take out my phone and reply to a few people.

1. In the grocery store line (doesn't your line always seem to move the slowest?)

2. Waiting for the barista to make your fancy coffee drink.

3. While your computer is trying to open Microsoft Excel (maybe it's just my computer that completely stops doing anything while it's trying to open a new program).

4. In between stirring the pot of onions, risotto or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stovetop. Or in my case, between shaking the pot of popcorn, or waiting for the microwave to reheat last night's leftovers.

5. While you are standing at the door in your hat, shoes and jacket waiting for your significant other to be ready to leave for dinner.

6. First thing in the morning when you are not quite ready to get out of bed yet, but totally awake.

7. In those few minutes while you are waiting for everyone else to show up for your meeting since you are always early for things.

If you assume each of these things will give you about 3-4 minutes of down time, in one day you've suddenly found around 20 minutes to say hello to a few new people, deepen your relationship with people you've known for a while, and maybe even learn something new about a local event.

And since we all only have 24 hours in a day, you've just re-captured 20 minutes that might have been lost to worrying about the future or regretting the past.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Is online media part of marketing?

I just finished reading Social Media is Bullshit by B.J. Mendelson. Despite the controversial title, and a Part One that probably made him no friends in the marketing industry, his message isn't that different than mine is. Numbers mean nothing. You might have thousands of followers on twitter, thousands of Facebook fans, hundreds of contacts through LinkedIn, you might even have high website visits, but none of that means anything if you aren't getting business from it.

Sometimes I notice themes happening in the podcasts I listen to, the books I read and the seminars I attend. And lately the theme I've been noticing is people putting the basic practices of marketing into using online media. And that makes me really happy.

Just last week I was at Tweetstock 8. This last event brought together big name authors like C.C Chapman, Dave Delaney, John Morgan and, the one I squeed over, Mitch Joel. Not only that, the director of social media from Chevrolet was there as well.

What I heard over and over at Tweetstock is that using online tools is part of business. It needs to be approached with business principles, with expectations, goals and measurable results.

Results. Return on Investment. Metrics. These are words people didn't want to use concerning social media for a really long time. Mostly because people looked for a direct line from tweet to sale which is not the way it works. It's not the  way any other lead is measured!

In every sales job it is expected that a certain number of calls needs to be made to get one lead, and that a certain number of leads needs to be made to get one sale, and a certain number of sales needs to be made to get one referral. A lot of businesses have this system down, they know their numbers. But when it comes to posting something online they expect a phone call, or an online order, or a customer walking through the door the next second. And if they don't see that they say it's something that can't be measured.

And that's not true. They just haven't applied the same thought to understanding how many followers they need to get a lead, or how many video views they need to get a phone call.

These aren't easy things to figure out. They take lots of attention to detail. Yuck! Nobody wants to do that! And that's why we had years of people saying you couldn't measure using online media. And why a book like "Social Media is Bullshit" is written.

In the last part, when Mendelson takes some time to teach people how to use online media in a more responsible way, he shares a story of a cross-country trip he took as a fundraiser and how despite hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter he received almost no donations from them and no visits at pit stops. And he got frustrated since he was told lots of followers equalled success. But that is just not true.

skeptical white baby says "You mean to tell me my 1300 followers won't click on all of my links?"The idea that lots of followers equals success is the reason the snake oil salesmen are out there selling us tools to increase our numbers. And it's also the reason that lots of followers does not equal success! It's a snake eating it's own tail. The more we rely on vanity metrics like the number of followers the more we try to increase that instead of increasing the engagement with the ones who really do like us.

"Increasing engagement" is one of those over used terms that means nothing in the online media world anymore. To put it into business terms think about when growing your business. Sure you can bring in more customers, but you know that is going to cost lots of money in advertising to get in front of more people so the growth will be minimal. Instead it's easier to increase the sales to your current customer.

Think of your current fans and followers on social media, on your website or blog, in your email list, as your current customer and work on increasing sales to them. All of your "engagement" online is making your product and your business indispensable to your current customers. What do they want? Give them that.

Here's a hint: They don't want an ad from you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Facebook Graph Search is Useless

A few months ago Facebook held a press conference. Rumours were that they were introducing a better search function for their site. Count me as really excited at the prospect of having a better search on the Facebook page.

As a person helping businesses set up pages I struggle to help my clients find other pages to follow that are interesting, relevant, and sharing good content. We try to find local pages by searching the name of the city, with okay results, but not great. Then we search the subject of some pages they may want to follow, with not great results, but with patience and time we find some to follow.

Wouldn't a better search feature be great for me and my clients so we can build up a great home feed and meet other local and complimentary businesses?

On the other side, as a person helping businesses set up pages I struggle to help my clients get found. Until they reach the magical number of 30 fans they can't change their unique URL to make it easier to tell people how to follow them. And I often work with small organizations of two to five staff. Even if they all like it, and ask their family to, it sometimes takes some time to get there. And once they've reached the number and have their unique URL, it's still a challenge to get people to connect with their page. They rely on shares and search.

So, I have clients who use that search bar to search their own business name and see if they show up in the first couple of automatic links. But they don't. And the average Facebook user doesn't realize there is a link at the bottom of the list that reads "See More Results" and they may find what they are looking for there. Every one of my clients wants to be the first automatically suggested result.

Wouldn't a better search feature be great for me and my clients and the average Facebook user to get the results they want right there at their fingertips?

So, Facebook introduced Graph Search, promising a more robust search feature. A way to connect better with other Facebook users and find out what your friends like. Sounds great until you start to look at it.

Graph search will help you find stuff your friends like, so if you want to find Facebook pages about video gaming or parenting, or your city the search results give very limited results. So then you need to change your search terms to fine tune what you are looking for. And then you still only get a handful of answers and none that you are looking for.

I recently wanted to check in with a friend who is a children's musician and see what he's been doing. I've worked with Music with Brian, performed shows with him, liked and commented on his page. But when I typed "music with brian" in the search bar (since that is the fastest way to get to a Facebook page or profile) I got results that sucked!

Brian's personal Facebook profile showed up at least, but nothing remotely like his page. So I clicked "See More" and the results became even more ridiculous.

Only when I hovered my mouse over the list did I notice there was a scroll bar. I scrolled through the option of finding Music liked by Brian's I had never met or even heard of, let alone friended on Facebook. It wasn't until the second to last item on the list (which is to give up on Facebook and go the Bing search page) that the official Music With Brian page showed up.

The worst part is that now that I've switched to Graph Search, I can't go back to the regular old, less sucky version of search.

I rarely complain about changes to Facebook, but this one has really created a challenge for me and I'm not sure how to overcome it.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Read - Word of 2013

I used to be the world's biggest bookworm. Nobody recognized my face because there was always a book in front of it. In fact, I used to read a book during my 20 minute walk to school every morning from 8 years old to 11 years old. Then I read on the bus for the rest of my teen years. I would go to bed at 9pm every night, and often read until 2 or 3 in the morning. My bookshelves still suffer under the weight of all my books, and I come home with new ones regularly.

But somewhere in the last 5 years I stopped reading books. Well, I didn't really stop completely, but there has been a significant slow down. I started to feel too busy to read. Not only that, for the last 3 or 4 years I've spent the better part of every day online, reading and writing. I've become so accustomed to reading online that all of my speed is there now.

Just the other night I read a 140+ page e-book in a couple of hours. And it's because I've gotten so good at filtering what I see on my screen. I use keywords, formatting and page breaks as cues on where to read. But that's just not reading.

I miss holding a book in my hands, turning pages and pouring over every page. I'm still a pretty quick reader with paper books, but I don't scan, I read every word (including footnotes).

I used 2012 to get back into reading. I started the year deciding I would join the #26in2012 group, read 26 books in one year, one every two weeks. Seemed completely doable. There were times I would read 3 or 4 books in a couple of weeks. But I just couldn't do it. Turns out I think every time I sit down to read a book that I am wasting time and could be doing something else. I don't like that feeling.

About midway through the year I decided to join a book club. I love it because we read non-fiction, my favourite type of book. It also becomes easier to take the time to read because I can justify it to myself as work when they are books about business or community. Plus I have the expectation from the rest of the group that I will finish the book. I still struggle with setting aside the time to read, but I think I did well this year.

In 2013 however, I plan to read way more. I've started a list of books to read. I still know that I learn more from reading a full book than I do from reading a blog post or article. And I learn best by reading, not by watching or listening. So I will take the momentum I've created in 2012 and push forward this year and read, learn and implement more.

*note - these aren't all the books I read this year they are just the ones I took pictures of. Some of them I haven't even started reading yet.

The best way to read!

The second best way to read!



Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I've just created an account with Technorati, which is a blog directory. People everywhere have knowledge, expertise and unique views on topics, and I want to learn from the best. I'm hoping to navigate Technorati to find those best blogs.

Do any of you use Technorati regularly? I'm still learning how to find new blogs and posts, how to add posts and build Technorati Authority. Any tips from people who have gone before are welcome.

In the meantime, the first thing I did was claim my own blog. I don't expect to ever be in their top 100, but why not have another way for readers to find me.

It's really easy, and if any of you have blogs, I recommend doing the same thing. Simply create an account and on the account page scroll down the bottom and add the address and RSS feed to your blog. They will ask some questions about how your blog should be categorized and what tags to use. Be realistic with your tags, but put in as many as you believe your blog to be about.

Once you are done that you will be given a claim code and need to write it into a blog post. Simply copy and paste it into a new post and publish, then click the Verify Claim Token and you are done. Your blog is now on the largest blog directory around.