Free Social Media Webinar June 14th

Hey there, rockstars. I’m just a few days away from officially launching my first social media online class (or an e-course for those of you more in the know – sign up here) and I’m gearing up for it with a free online webinar – a social media class for small businesses and social media strategists (sign up here for that). It’s a good chance for you to get to know me, and ask me questions in real time.

So first off, who should take this free class:

  •  Anyone who wants to learn how to spend less time running their social media accounts for their business.
  • Anyone who might want to run their own social media consulting company or currently does but is looking for a simple straightforward plan to simplify social media content creation and posting.

What are you going to learn?

  • I’ll teach you how to use the Social Works(out) System to reduce the time you spend creating content.
  • I’ll share the Social Works One Page System
  • And, I’ll give every attendee a free pre-release version of my upcoming book: Social Media Simplified
  • Plus, there will be lots of free tools and tips!

What makes me qualified to teach this?

  • I ran my own social media marketing agency for five years before leaving to head up consumer PR at Microsoft
  • I have taught hundreds of hours of classes to students around the world on how to use Social Media for entrepreneurs and small businesses
  • I currently teach a four semester MA level course at the University of Florida on the how to implement social media practices in the real world.
  • I have a book on simplifying social media coming out soon because I believe Social works if we just make it simpler.

Join me on June 14th at 8pm PT for a live webinar; find out all the details when you sign up on the mailing list here.

In the meantime, reach out in the comments section below or on Twitter (@kristinalibby) and I’ll happily answer your questions!

Is Social Media Dead? No, but you don’t need social media for your business.

Students often ask me: Do I need social media? Generally, they are already in my class and at this point it’s a bit late for them to turn away. Yet, they are often surprised by my response. No. No you don’t need social media. You can still run a surprisingly effective business without engaging in social media. And, if you don’t have a plan for how to do it effectively, then you are better off not doing it at all.

My dear friend Monica Villa said something really insightful to me about social media the other day. She said, that content is not king but rather context is king. She then went on to elaborate that what small businesses and companies need is to focus on what the context of their social media platform is, i.e. what is the conversation that they are trying to start on social media, who are they listening to and what are the conversations that they want to drive in return.

Brilliant, right?

It also made me think a little bit harder about the context that I want to set for this blog and for the work that The Social Works Co and our sister brand SoCu will engage in. The contextual conversation I want to set is the fact that when asked “Do I need social media?” the answer that pundits and everyone else should give is “No. Unless you are going to do it right.” Doing it wrong means hundreds of thousands of hours of wasted time.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with Michael Hyatt who told me that on average people spend 72 hours working per week. For the record that’s 8-8pm Monday through Friday and then half a day on the weekend. That’s essentially your whole life and it doesn’t have to be spent working.

Instead, small business owners, in particular, need to learn how to create and run social media strategies and campaigns that are efficient, effective and strategic. We need to automate the content and its distribution. We need to rely on partner and influencer networks to extend reach. We need to measure and tweak. We need to make social media engagement a part of our employee’s lives and a system.

That’s what I want to talk about and how I want to provide value for for you. In return, I want to know:

  • Is this working for you?
  • Are you simplifying your strategy?

And I want to start a broader conversation about social media strategy: simplifying the rules, creating a social media certification and a process that people can use to manage social media in the same way other industries have processes, established best practices and workflow content.

Do I need social media? No. Should my business have social media? No. Unless you are able to do it in a smart, strategic and timely manner than no. No one needs social media. However, when done effectively social media can improve your business. It just needs to be done right and we, as social media gurus, owe it to you to tell you how to do it in the easiest way possible.

Content is not King. Context is King – An Interview with Monica Villa

“Content is not king. Context is king.” – Monica Villa

In a recent conversation with social media expert Monica Villa, she shared this: Context is King. Context is the key to a strong social media conversation and the way that you can begin to frame for your audiences everything that you share whether created by yourself or created by others. In this case, context means the conversation you are creating online.

Your online conversation is the conversation that you want to create and the conversation that you want to illicit. In short, it is the story that you want told about you and around you. It defines the message that people will think of when they think of your brand. When we think of Coke, we think of happiness. When we think of Nike, we think of being able to “just do it.” Their story is their context.

For me the context of this blog is to teach small businesses that social media is manageable. That’s the conversation I want to have that dictates the direction of the content I create here. My personal story I want to have with the world is to “Think Bigger” to get outside the small picture thinking that inundates our lives and to think bigger about what our own possibilities are.

To determine your context, ask yourself the following:

  • What is the story I want to tell the world?
  • What is the conversation I want to have with the world?
  • What is the conversation that I want the world to have with me?
  • What is the conversation that I want to listen to?

Then, once you’ve got that figure out, turn to your how. How you want to engage in this conversation determines the channels you launch on and the content you create. Content is not king. Context is.

Did I just hear your mind explode? I thought so.

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What is the ROI on Influencer Marketing?

When I talk about social media, I mean more than just the platforms of Facebook, Instagram, etc. I mean the entirety of the social media space in which those platforms exist. To me influencer marketing, i.e. engaging with those people who have influence in social media, is a pivotal aspect of a good social media strategy. Yet, this term is confusing and the concept of influencer marketing is loaded. In fact, more often than not people get a blank look in their eyes when asked to explain it. When they finally do explain it, it sounds exhaustive and time consuming, and then my students often ask: what is the ROI of influencer marketing?

A study put out last year claims that on average an every dollar spent on influencer marketing returns $6.58. That’s not bad; although, not quite as good as email marketing.

So, what do you need to have a good influencer marketing strategy? It’s simple: time, dedication, research and value.

  • Time: Influencer marketing is a long haul game and the relationships that you make now may not prove fruitful for a year or more.
  • Dedication: Influencer marketing requires lots of testing, re-testing and re-engaging with different groups of people until it pays off.
  • Research: You must continue to constantly resource and determine new types of influencers. A great tip from the Intel head of Influencer Relations is to look at traditional media to determine where social media influencers are being quoted, photographed or writing. A great social media influencer will have multiple channels of influence.
  • Value: To be good at influencer marketing, you must provide value to your audience. Some marketing experts see the term value and think: money. However, I believe real value in influencer marketing comes from providing non-monetary value so that you build deep relationships. Think of it this way: an employee only has loyalty to you while you are paying them. A friend has proven loyalty to you even if you are paying them. Great influencer marketing involves making great friends.

So, work to get your money out of it but also work to get your network out of it. Those influencers who you can convert will drive long term sales benefits into your value funnel.

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Is Social Media More Effective Than Email Marketing?

One of the questions I often get in my classes by older students (normally those in their fifties and sixties who are just beginning to experiment with social media for their businesses) is: Is Social Media More Effective Than Email Marketing? The short answer? No.

Social media has been heralded as the great equalizer for brands and a way for any brand to go from zero to something. Pundits and enthusiasts call this the age of social media and have positioned it as the tool to best all marketing tools. Yet, email marketing still out performs social media from a cost and efficacy perspective.

According to a study from 2015, every dollar spent on email marketing has an average ROI of $38, with roughly 20% of companies reporting returns of 70:10. [1] This is substantially higher from the industry trend seen in social; although, good quantifiable data wasn’t found. What this does point to is the positive benefit of using social media to drive email signups as part of your marketing campaign objectives.

I teach an e-course on social media marketing using the Social Works One Page system. As part of that, I’ve taken a number of courses with top e-course instructors learning how they grow and monetize their businesses. The key aspect of their courses is in the email distribution list as a lead generator for the course. In fact, they recommend not even launching a course until you have over one thousand followers on your email list. This is also the de facto recommended number for many first time authors. A great email list means a great pool of customers who will convert.

While email marketing may have seemed to run its course in the late-aughts as our emails got spammed with every email list ever, and as open rates plummeted (more than 80% of emails go unopened), it hasn’t. Worthwhile emails with valuable content for the consumer creates a large and valuable pipeline for those looking to convert openers to purchasers.

As such, it is critical to think of how social can be a driver for your email listserv. One of the simplest ways to convert social media users into email subscribers is to ask them to join your list and to ask them to do so repeatedly. People often forget this very simple step. Other ideas include:

  • Including a reminder to join the list at the bottom of each blog post.
  • Including a newsletter signup link in the signature of your email.
  • Including a newsletter sign up button on your various social media pages
  • Making your newsletter sign up form visible “above the fold” (i.e. on the top part of your website) on your blog, website or other digital property.
  • Asking friends and family to share your newsletter with people who might be interested.
  • Sending newsletters religiously so as to generate consistency in expectations.

As you take these steps to further your email list, or are thinking of how to change and augment the concept of a newsletter base, you may want to look at those who are doing email successfully. The two most successful examples of late are newsletters TheSkimm and Clover Letter. Both newsletters focus on news of the day with Clover Letter being a form of TheSkimm for teen girls. What makes them both effective is the strong tone in the newsletter (fun, quirky, snarky) and the strong connection to community. Reading either you feel like you understand the author, like she showed up in your inboxes to have a coffee and a water cooler conversation, and you feel connected because she knows your friends, or the cool girls online, or the girls you want to know. Consider this in your own email newsletters: how are you showing up as the most complete realized and personal version of your brand and how are you creating and promoting your community?

So, when they ask me is social media more effective than email marketing, I say no but then I challenge them if it is better only because it has been around longer. And, if its is better because we understand it.

As you think towards the future of social, what does the email newsletter become? Do chatbots become our personal friend and connection? Do they show up in our email boxes and talk us through the news of the day, while connecting us to other cool people? Will social media platforms find a new way to be more effective in their ROI? If so how?

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How to Make People Joyful and Get Viral Success

What’s the secret to success of the laughing chewbacca mask mom’s video on Facebook Live? This article explains that it is creating emotion filled content, in this case joy. 

By now, you have probably seen the laughing Chewbacca Mom who posted a Facebook Live video last week. If you haven’t seen the video yet, its still early on Monday morning. Someone is going to talk to you about it this week. Someone is going to talk to you about it because its ridiculous and what’s more ridiculous is that it somehow garnered over 135 MILLION Facebook Live video views. While ridiculous in the sense that that is a lot of video views: it is not surprising.  This video succeeded because every single person who watched it felt joy.

Joy is among those very elusive emotions to produce on social media and yet, when done well, brings with it virality. A friend, behavioral scientist Jon Levy, talked to me recently about the need to create wonder to create deep connections with your audience. Wonder creates new neural pathways in your brain. Joy, I would argue, lights up your pathways and pulses endorphins through your body. The thing about feeling joy at watching something is that you also want to share it with others. You want to spread happiness.

By sharing the happy content, you share happiness with others.

There’s a body of interesting research around why human beings share content.  It argues that there are essentially five reasons that people share content.

  1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others.  49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action
  2. To define ourselves to others. 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about
  3. To grow and nourish our relationships. 78% share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with
  4. Self-fulfillment. 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
  5. To get the word out about causes or brands. 84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about

The first bullet explains exactly what I have addressed above. Sharing the Laughing Chewbacca woman brings valuable and entertaining content to others because it brings joy.

What lessons can you take from this when thinking about your social sharing strategy? In the Social Works(Out) System, we tell you to spend one day a week creating social media content that drives emotion. The reasoning being that we want you to deliver emotion to inform others, entertain them and create deep connections.

So this week as you work on your social media content strategy, use Candace Payne as an example of how a simple emotion filled video piece of content can drive a big and exciting cycle of news and engagement in social media.


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How to Be A Great Social Media Content Creator: May Edition

A lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about how to be a great social media content creator. In the end, the secret to creating great social media content — or any content– is, as my friend Jennifer Braunschweiger says, to be an interesting person. In the spirit of interesting things, I’m going to share once a month the most interesting things that I have come across (mostly books – because I read a lot of books).

  • Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From. This book looks at the genius of good ideas and argues that good ideas come from play, from free associations and from stepping away from learning and/or working on occasion. [This is how I justify my expensive and time consuming kite boarding sessions— thanks Steven!]
  • Brit Bennett, The Mothers. This is not a novel for those looking for a beach read. This is a great novel about love and loss and regrets and choices. It’s fiction that we need to read because we all need to understand – we need to see a strong woman who makes choices about her life and her education and her love reflected in the tribulations of her family and community. We need to see her make choices we are uncomfortable with and we need to see her not regret them, but not ignore them. The way she comes to terms with the love lost, the baby lost and the life lost is familiar to any of us who have left behind one small vision of life in favor of another and who have had to deal with a community who did not understand. I don’t want to say it’s a travel book, although it is – as we travel through Nadia’s choices and decisions. I don’t want to say it’s a love story, but it is – as we are forced to wrestle with worlds we love and hate, as much as the characters face their own loves. I don’t want to say its counter culture, but it is that too – as we are forced to understand that husbands can cheat and wives can accept, as babies left unborn can live on in our lives, and as mothers can kill themselves but remain forever in the lives of their daughters.
  • Michael Hyatt, Platform. This book is a straightforward story of how to create and build a platform. It’s filled with tips for people of all levels of success and experience and shares how to think about platform as a stepping stone to other things. That combined with a Teachable summit webinar by Tucker Max has helped shape my perception about the role for individuals in creating platforms — in short: create a platform to change your possibilities but have a good understanding of where you want to get to. Otherwise, your social media platform creation is for  going to be wasted.
  • Lin Manuel Miranda’s Commencement Speech: This first taught me somethings about Philly that I had never known and second makes an impassioned argument for why we step outside the narratives we have been taught to believe and have embraced for ourselves – whether it has to do with love stories or immigrant stories. While I might be a third generation immigrant, I still tear up when people talk about the can do spirit of immigrant culture – we hustle because we have to and because it pays off. Immigrants built this country.
  • Alan Watts interpreted by the South Park Creators: Basically this short film sums up everything I am currently ruminating on at a big meta level. I’m not even going to ruin it for you. Just read it because it is absolutely amazing.

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What Should I Measure to Know if My Social Media Is Effective

I have been involved with the University of Florida for the previous year and this coming fall will begin teach a multi-semester practicum course. As part of that work, I will occasionally post on the University of Florida blog and am sharing a recent post below on the case for social media metrics.

 Social media metrics have laid unchanged for the past decade; yet, we are finally entering a time where they not only can change but they must change. No longer will the impressions or engagement numbers rule. Fans and followers in sheer numbers should not be a singular focus of the social media practioner. Instead, practioners must begin to define their key performance indicators based on the business goals of the company they serve.

 Throw out: impressions, engagement, followers – the metrics used to validate social within the industry —  and grow up. Now, social metrics must be closely aligned to the business needs of our clients and our companies.

We need to focus on metrics that go above the narrow confines of the social media sector.

Keep reading here:

Automate Blog Posts to Publish To All Social Media Feeds

Have you ever said: I just want to automate my blog posts to my social feeds? I did.

At the Social Works Co, we’re all about reducing the time you need to spend on social media. Remember, its a tactic of your business, not your business. If you wanted to get into the social media game, you should start your own company, get a social media management job, or go teach somewhere (thanks University of Florida – I appreciate it!). However, if you’re here likely you want to automate your blog to publish to all your social media feeds without having to do too much work. I don’t blame you. I wanted to do that too and now I’m sharing here what I do and what I’ve learned from others with my three (sort of four) favorite social media tools for automating content.

Automate Blog Posts

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Sign up to use Edgar. Edgar republishes old content from your RSS feed, and a content library that you house onsite. This content library includes categories like “funny posts,” “tips” and “promotional.” If you wanted to, you could reallocate those categories against the Social Works(out) System and be able to simplify your content management into a very hands-off approach.
  • Sign up to use Board Booster: Board Booster helps you to loop Pinterest content. Remember Pinterest isn’t a social media tool — its really a search engine and one that drives massive amounts of traffic. You want to ensure you always have content posting there that will drive people back to your site.
  • Sign up for Rich Pins: Like the above point, Rich Pins make your content more pin-able. It looks more professional, smarter and has a better call to action for people to click through. It helps to keep your content at the top of searched categories. You can find a great post on enabling this here.
  • The last automation tip for users is to ensure you having the publicize setting connected with your social media accounts. The content will then automatically push to the selected pages when it goes live.

These tips should save you tens of hours a month and hundreds of hours a year reducing the hassle of posting, reposting and keeping content fresh. Phew – now more time to sit back, have a cup of wine and catch up on my favorite books.

University of Florida Professor – Social Media Class for Sales

Over the weekend, I shared that I’ll be launching a social media class to help you, small business owners and entrepreneurs, learn how to sell your products and services on social media.


Because I’ve spent hundreds of hours teaching small businesses and entrepreneurs how to launch their social media platforms and I realized that these ideas needed to scale. I can’t be in classrooms everywhere and there are a lot of people that need help. The thing is, that bringing help, in my mind is about bringing simplicity. This social media class is designed to make social media simple with free tools and tips.

We need to stop wasting time on social media and start using it as the targeted consistent marketing tool it can be.

What that means is that we need a system to understand and drive our social media plan around. Everyone needs to understand how their business goals determine their social media goals and how their social media goals determine their content tone and style and how they engage with social media influencers.

People are wasting time: 1 hour a day on social media according to a poll I did last summer and that’s ridiculous.

So this class teaches you:

– How to create a social media strategy directly related to your business goals

– How to work with influencers

– How to run advertising

– What tools are necessary to automate large portions of your social media engagement so you publish once and appear everywhere.

Stop reading daily articles on Mashable or Social Media Today. Save that for people who want to spend their lives in the world of social media. Instead, I’d love for you to take this class and learn to streamline what you are doing.

Sign up to get more information on the course, here.

Also, we will be offer a FREE Webinar later this month. Interested? Sign-up to find more about that here.