3 Secrets to Viral Video Success

Last month, I had the privilege of appearing in Entrepreneur Magazine as their Entrepreneur of the Month to discuss social media, PR, entrepreneurship, side hustles and more. The below is taken from the first article written that month.

Q: What is the best tool for creating videos that I can edit and share across different social media platforms?

A: In the ever-evolving field of social media, video has become the darling of the moment. Both Mashable and Buzzfeed, among others, have made a transition to focus more on video due to the increased demand and consumption of online video content. Indeed, Cisco reports that by 2018, 69 percent of total internet traffic will be video. And, right now, 100 million internet users watch online video every day and many of these are videos are significantly longer than 10 minutes. This should not come as a surprise, as we see an increase in smartphone usage, faster internet speeds and in more total video content being created. As we feed the beast, the beast consumes.

So video consumption will grow, and it will grow in part because it boosts retention, but it also comes at a cost — of human time and energy that does not necessarily produce a net positive ROI. Therefore, companies need to think about video as a delivery mechanism.

As for what is the best video platform, there unfortunately isn’t a one-size-fits all tool. You need to find one that best meets your business goal. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

1. Decide if video is the best option for your business needs.

In my classes, students are constantly interested in the latest social media fad – GIFs, podcasts and of course, videos — and we can see these being incredibly successful. It worked for Chewbacca Mom. However, for most people, video, along with the other trends, is expensive and time consuming. Creating daily or weekly video content requires a huge amount of time and effort – not to mention a fair amount of money, and a lot of creativity. Yet, rarely nets the results needed to justify the time, cost and effort, especially for small businesses.

Therefore, you need to ensure — and this is something I talk about a lot in my e-course and my University of Florida classes — that your social media and business goals are best met through the tools you are choosing. Could you perhaps use photo, text or other content in a way that can be just as effective for your business goals?

If the answer is no, and video is the only delivery mechanism to serve your business goals, then you need to determine which style of video is best for your brand and then what social media platform will be the best delivery mechanism. The platform shouldn’t inform your decision. Your needs inform your decision.

2. Determine your preferred video style.

There are a few different styles of video you can post online:

Unedited: Video content as see on platforms like Snapchat or Facebook Live where the video is created fast, on the fly and often in short “sugar bursts” of content. Generally, these videos are not edited and are shot using a smart phone.

Semi-edited: This is video content that you can shoot and edit on your own using tools like the very simple to use Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie – both of which come free with your computer. For paid options, professional bloggers like Sarah Conly of StyleIt and Monica Vila of The Online Mom recommend Adobe Premier, which has a deep and full suite of editing options.

Professional: This is video content that is lit, edited and shot by a professional. You can often save yourself time and money by using a freelancer or finding students who are looking to take on a project for their portfolio at no cost. As a result, you’ll get high-quality video at a lower price point.

Each one of these styles is and should be reflective of your brand. For many online influencers, using an unedited video style helps to build authenticity with their followers and grow their follower count. For many brands, a semi-edited or professional edited video helps to create the professional brand persona they are looking to create online. Given the immersive quality of video and its lasting impression, it’s important to ensure that the video content is deeply reflective of your brand.

Determining your style will also help you to understand which platforms are best suited for your goals.

3. Choose the goals of your video

There are a myriad of goals that you could have for your business that involve creating video content. Given that, the below is a sampling of these goals and recommendations on the best video platforms for achieving them:

Goal: drive sales

If your goal is to drive sales from video there are a few questions to consider when choosing the “best” platform: who is your audience, where are you currently the most active and what is your video style?

First, you’ll want to choose the platforms that have your most active consumers. From those platforms you’ll want to select which one has the best video style that aligns with the video your brand wants to create. Finally, you’ll want to create a video that drives people to a sales landing page.

Alternatively, you could increase your customer scope by going to a platform where you have a few amount of current followers but a big potential for new followers and build your video content there.

Goal: increase brand awareness

If your goal is to increase brand awareness, the best platform will be one where you have a strong pool of potential customers, where your video style is a match for those most popular there and where you can put paid advertising behind promotion. Ultimately, videos that are not promoted, unless they have the best content you have ever seen, will rarely get seen outside your brand page.

Goal: social media channel growth

If your goal is social media channel growth, I’d argue that the best video platform right now is probably Facebook Live. Facebook is putting a premium on brands that are creating sticky video content and ensuring that Live feeds show up higher in the Facebook feeds of page followers.

If growth on Facebook is not a priority, you’ll want to look towards the channels that have the biggest following in your customer base and create the type of video content that is shareable on those channels. For something like LinkedIn, this would be video that has numbered tips on how to do something related to business or some other “news you can use” content.

When you’ve examined your business goals and your brand personality/style the answer comes that there is no best platform for video. There is no best advice for where to place your video. Instead, the best social media advice, I or any other expert can give you, is to get very crisp on your business goals. Use those to inform your social media goals and then pick the tactics and platforms that will best help you to achieve those goals.

Once you have credited video content on your identified platform in your identified style, you could consider a tool like Slope (still in beta) which helps with collaboration, storage and management of video content or my personal favorite app Edgar which loops and schedules content for you across all of your social media networks. With Edgar you can create content once and repurpose it for months and years to come – thus reducing the burden of constant video content creation and freeing up your time to put social to use in even more effective ways for your brand.

Find the article as originally published here.

 

The Future of Content Marketing: Why Click Bait Won’t Cut It

This past month, I had the pleasure of appearing in Entrepreneur Magazine as their Expert of the Month answering questions about entrepreneurship, public relations, marketing and social media. One of the articles that did particularly well on the website is the following article on the future of content marketing. 

Q: What is the future of content marketing?

A: More often than not, when I’m in New York City, journalists complain about the overwhelming amount of content they need to produce each day. Whether it is to feed their social-media channels or website, it’s a burden to produce the volume needed to satisfy the click-throughs to get the biggest slice of the advertising dollars that propel that industry forward.

In business the need to create “cool” content, likewise, employs lots of expensive marketers who produce a huge amount of content in the hope of getting one piece that will “go viral.”

Content marketing is unsustainable and will require a cultural shift and a corporate structure change to make it sustainable. The future of content marketing is high quality content created by people who are not employed within companies. The future of content marketing, I write in my book and am adamant about, is influencer marketing.

Brands, in a study by LinkedIn, claimed they have five big content marketing challenges:

  • Lack of time and bandwidth (51%)
  • Producing enough variety in content (50%)
  • Producing engaging content (42%)
  • Measuring effectiveness (38%)
  • Developing consistent content (34%)

There’s only going to be one response: We need to make less click-bait content and more high quality content. We need to learn to tell fewer stories but to tell them better. Doing so will ensure they are impactful when they happen. Finally, we need to turn to content creators to generate these stories.

Right now there are hundreds of thousands of professional content creators online who are looking to make money. These social-media influencers have built followings out of their ability to create content. Businesses are paying them to post about the business in one-off transactional engagements. The one-off model isn’t working for anyone: Businesses are unsatisfied with the majority of the results and influencers are constantly having to hustle to manage their business and create compelling content.

The future of content marketing is going to require a change in these transactional relationships. Doing so will improve both business content performance success and social media influencers financial well-being and curatorial focus. Here’s how you can get ahead of the curve:
Acknowledge you are not the world’s greatest content maker.

Your company is likely producing bad or ineffective content on most of its channels. The people running your content development teams are not natural content creators. They are marketers and your brand is not interesting enough to have a 24/7 news cycle.

Realize there are great content creators out there.

There are millions of social-media influencers who are great content creators for your niche audience. Hire five to seven of them to sit on a virtual team for your brand. Look on Trackr or Klout to see who is considered influenctial in your market. Educate them on your brand consistently: invite them to meetings, share your latest products, allow them to meet your executives.
Pay them a base salary and ask for RFPs.

Pay them a base salary, so that they will be constantly thinking about how to improve your brand and tell your story online. Tell them that you want to see two request for proposal (RFP) from them a year on creative ideas to differentiate your brand on the web. Remember, they are the experts and constantly online.
Trust them to be your content creators.

Accept their RFPs and believe in their ability to execute on your businesses content needs. If you have trained them the right way and given them the right access, they will be experts on your brand but at half the cost of an in-house team and with twice the experience. Worried that they don’t know how to translate business goals to content creation? You can teach them that too.

This is the future model:

  • Brands create less content.
  • Brands trust natural and proven content creators to act on their behalf.
  • Brands pay them on retainer.
  • Influencers rep only a limited number of brands because they can now afford to do so.
  • Brands reduce their social media footprint and instead rely on ambassador/content creator influencers to push their stories.

If we don’t make this change, we will continue to inundate the world with dumbed down content that does not deliver in the way our businesses need. Instead, we need to create a new model of content marketing that demonstrates real ROI.

The article was first published here.

What to Read This Month

As you know, I believe that the only way to be a good content creator is to be consuming a lot of content. I read at least a book a week and devour articles, podcasts and videos from across the web. It keeps me on my toes, making connections between great ideas, and challenging my ways of thinking.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about suburban living this month and the way it unnaturally isolates us; plus, I’ve been absorbing everything I can about the #sidehustle. You’ll see that reflected in the below.

  • The End of the Suburbs: This book is older (2014) but was a best-seller and should be a must read for anyone who struggles with suburban living, is wondering where to buy property or is confounded by life outside the urban oasis.
  • The Confidence Game: A compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again. It’s a book that also helps you think about and navigate the world: what is manipulation? Who is doing it and who is falling for it? Are you thinking about the motivates of all the people in the room?
  • Ryan Holiday’s “Dear Dad, Please Don’t Vote for Trump” shows us what persuasive journalism is about and how to weave emotion into your writing.
  • Modern Love Podcast – Turns out my all time favorite column in the New York Times has a podcast where famous people read the best essays on love, relationships and break-ups. A huge thank you to the women of CEO Wattage who brought this to my attention.
  • Overcoming Your Ego – I must be on a Ryan Holiday kick because this episode of the Lewis Howes School of Greatness also stars him and concerns his new book on overcoming your ego. If your ego ever gets in the way of your success this is a must listen.
  • Startup Podcast – 2680 Madison Road: Ever wonder why some business locations seem doomed? This team did and went out to investigate how businesses fail. In this episode, they uncover the history of one “Doomed” location in Ohio.

And if you want to see what I’ve been writing, check out these two articles in Entrepreneur Magazine:

  • How to Launch your Business while Working Your 9-5
  • 3 Secrets to Making Your Videos a Success on Social Media

Now what are you reading this month? I’m always looking for ideas!

Three Secrets to Great Social Media Campaigns

Great social media campaigns can be defined in a hundred different ways – great engagement, great content, just stunningly beautiful — and those ones are often the ones that wind up at the top of the advertising awards lists. What we rarely get to see are the social media campaigns that actually win at driving business impact.

In my book, You Don’t Need Social Media Unless You Are Doing It Right, I spend a lot of time talking about business goals and social media goals. This is because I believe so firmly that social media a tool that must align to your business needs. Because, it must align to those needs, I think the only way we can judge a great social media campaign is by how well is delivers on your business goals.

As such, here are my three secrets for great social media campaigns:

  1. Understand Business Impact: Know your business goals and know how your social media campaign will help to deliver on those goals.
  2. Spend Less to Deliver More: Don’t waste a bunch of money on tools or storytelling tactics like video that don’t directly attribute to your goals. It’s easy to get caught in the fad. It’s less easy to stand back and do only those things that drive sales.
  3. Advertise: As I talk about in my e-course, the dirty little secret of social media is that advertising is a must. Include dollars for advertising and an advertising distribution plan in your campaign plan.

For more tips and ideas, use the form below to subscribe to my mailing list or subscribe to my e-course.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required




 

Social Media Advertising for Small Businesses

Let’s get down to the dirty little secret – advertising! In social media, the prevailing ideology has been that it should be free – if your content is good enough then you will attract followers.  This is a topic, that I discuss in my new book and this idea is partially true; it is also partially false. If your content is good enough you will attract followers; unfortunately, it will be at a slow rate. There is always the edge case where viral content spells massive growth instantly (Dollar Shave Club or Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady) but for most brands, it will be an uphill battle to get even a small amount of followers. All small businesses should have a paid distribution plan for ensuring their social media content reaches the largest number of customers.

In the battle for followers, the most effective weapon is advertising. Let’s break it down:

1.      Do you need advertising?

Determine this by looking at the work we’ve asked you to do in other posts using the Social Works One Page System. Look at those goals and then ask yourself the questions listed below. Determine if your response would be yes or no.

  • Do you hope to see (or need to see) rapid (i.e. 3x or more increase) in followers within the next six months?
  • Do you hope to see (or need to see) rapid (i.e. 3x or more increase) in followers within the next six months?
  • Do you hope to see (or need to see) rapid (i.e. 3x or more increase) in followers within the next six months?

If you checked yes one time or more times, then consider social advertising as a facet of your plan. It drives growth a lot faster than an unpaid, organic strategy which can take years.

2.      What would advertising look like if you were to do it?

Social media advertising can take a number of different forms (side bar ads, boosted posts, in channel posts) and it can serve a number of different purposes. Amongst the different purposes are:

  • Fan Acquisition/Engagement: Help to grow your followers through advertising that targets a specific demographic and asks them to follow or like.
  • Website Traffic/Conversion: Help to drive traffic to your website in the same way that any other type of online ad does.
  • Post Reach/Engagement: Help to boost a particular post by increasing the chances that more people will see it.

Within these three key categories there are a number of more discrete actions you can take. Overall social advertising will help you acquire fans, drive traffic and increase the number of eyeballs on a specific piece of content.

You can run all three types of advertising but if your budget it smaller you may want to only one or two types at a time. If that’s the case, then you need to figure out which one of these will have the biggest result. Choosing this is largely dependent on understanding how these results will affect your business.

How do you figure out what’s right for you? Let’s break the categories down further.

  Fan Acquisition Website Traffic Post Reach
Why Creating a bigger Facebook page can create the illusion (or the reality) that you have a big and successful customer base.
It is also an ongoing community of people who will be receptors of your content – i.e. a captive audience of consumers
Increasing better Google’s understanding of your relevance – which will increase your visibility in page ranks. More traffic means that search engines believe you have more authority and are more relevant. Boosting the reach of a specific post helps to get more eyeballs on your content. This is useful when you are trying to get more people engaged and naturally sharing and consuming your content.
 But why for business? More consumers on your channels means more opportunities to promote your brand, create product evangelists and drive sales. More web authority means higher ranking in search results which means the potential for more eyeballs and more sales. More engagement with your content means that there are more people who consumed what you shared. This means that they will have your brand and your message top of mind when it comes to purchasing.
In short? Best path to long term community growth and hopefully sales. Most immediate path to raising traffic and sales. Best path to product and message retention.
Next steps? Test Facebook ads. Test Google and Pinterest ads. Test Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter ads.

3.      How much advertising can you squeak by with?

You don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands or even thousands of dollars on advertising but, you likely have to spend something when you are starting out and looking to grow your community. The simple truth is that it’s hard to stand out online. New pages rarely get the visibility you’d hope for.

My friend, an author of a fiction novel who recently launched her Facebook channel, spends about $20/week on advertising. So far each new fan has cost her about a dollar. Because her book sells for $20, if she can convert each new fan to a purchaser, she will see a significantly higher ROI for the dollar spent. Even if just one out of twenty fans buys her book, she still has a net positive return immediately and the long term benefit of an active fan pool for future books. She is not paying for fans! She is advertising her channel to Facebook users so that they can find her page and choose whether or not to become her Facebook fan. You will likely want to employ a similar strategy. To do so, go into your Facebook page dashboard, click Ads Manager on the left. The system will then guide you through the process to get started.

Additionally, I’ve worked with a number of brands who use Pinterest as an advertising platform. This is an interesting way to boost your website traffic and engagement. Pinterest can be viewed as more of a search engine than a social network, as I discussed earlier. For many brands it is the number one e-commerce driver. If you have consumer products for sale, this is a must test. Great boosted posts on Pinterest (bright, long vertical images) can see massive increases in traffic and conversion. To do this, log into Pinterest. Then click Ads on the upper left hand task bar. Their system will walk you through what to do.

The beauty of social media advertising is that you can set up the advertising to align with your specific business goals. Therefore, you can target advertising for growth of your social media channels or traffic to your website. So, play around. You can A/B test your content by trying out different types of ads and seeing the results you get. For a full primer on A/B testing methodology refer to the blog post by KISS Metrics on A/B testing or check out A/B Testing The Most Powerful Way to Turn Clicks into Customers by Dan Siroker.

Fill in your advertising goals into the appropriate box in the Social Works One Page System.

4.      How do you create the right type of advertising?

Advertising creation is the whole reason advertising agencies are in business. It’s not easy. First, focus on headlines – a poorly crafted headline will immediately turn away over 90% of users. Not to mention, 5 out of 7 people will only read the headline before sharing a post or other advertising boosted content. Secondly, focus on simple images. These images should say something without text. Find a picture that is sharp, clear and evocative.

For more ideas on advertising, I’d suggest reading deeply about David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, or following some of the major social networking tools like Hoostuite for their downloadable PDFs and guides on the topic.

Want to stay in touch? Use the form below to subscribe to my mailing list.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required




 

How to Be A Great Content Creator: June Edition

Every month, I give tips on the best books I’ve read and things I’ve watched to help you become a great content creator. If you missed it, you can find last month’s books here. This month its a smorgasboard of things I have found with a great social media fact (re: headlines) and a good social media book thrown in.

Books

  1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: A probing look at the DNA that has been the source cells for solving the world’s biggest health issues and the black woman that was taken advantage of to get them.
  2. Reputations: A book (novel) by a Colombia author translated into English that discusses the role memory plays in the framing and shaping of our lives.
  3. American Girls: Social Media and The Secret Life of the American Teenage: This book has a strong point of view and makes it with a series of examples, interviews and observations that provide interesting insight into the future use of social media, what’s happening to our American children and how to better protect ourselves in an age of oversharing.

Other Things

  1. Modern Love Podcast: Basically the best column on the planet, now has a podcast.
  2. 6 out of 10 of you will read the headline of this article and share it without ever reading the body text. That’s depressing. This WashPo article looks at our social sharing patterns and makes some assumptions about the over-staturation of the internet.

Your Thoughts?

What are you reading or watching or listening to right now that you can’t put down? I can’t wait to hear all about it.

 

5 Easy Ideas for Your Social Media Strategy (AND WEBINAR!)

Do you ever feel like you are sitting around creating social media post after social media post but your audience size isn’t growing and you aren’t seeing results? You are not alone. The majority of small business owners who participate on social media don’t see the results they want. The number one culprit for this occurrence is that your social media strategy and your business strategy are not aligned.

Tonight, starting in two minutes, I’ll be hosting a live webinar on Facebook to talk about why your social media strategy and your business strategy need to be aligned and the simple way to do it. Join to ask questions in real time!

If you can’t make it, here are the 5 Easy Ways to Connect Your Business Strategy with Your Social Media Strategy.  First off, get two pieces of paper. On one, write your business vision, business goals and business audience down. Repeat this on a second piece of paper.

  1.  Visualization: Take one of those two pieces of paper and put it in front of wherever you sit when you are creating your social media posts. This will help you to constantly check that what you are posting on social, aligns with your business goals.
  2. On the second piece of paper, look at your business goals and ask yourself which of this will be improved by social media? Often, not all your goals have a social media component. This is important direction to have as you are building your social media platforms.
  3. Then ask yourself: who is your audience? What social media platform would they be using? Re-position your social media time to invest in those platforms over others.
  4. Now, write down next to your business vision, goals and audience, your social media vision, your social media goals and your social media audience. This will help you to understand what you are trying to accomplish on social media and why.
  5. Finally, spend time understanding how your social media goals can benefit your business goals i.e. what would have to happen on social to see you have a successful business result. Make sure there is a way to track and measure this.

Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses

Confused about what it means to set a business goal or vision? The below taken from my upcoming book on social media titled “You Don’t Need Social Media, Unless You Are Doing It Right: A Small Business Guide to Social Media” coming out in July, explains:

You want to understand the goals and vision of your business because it should directly translate to the goals and vision of your social media plan i.e. your social media plan should help reinforce and be reflective of your company goals. This may sound like common sense to some but it is often surprising to realize that small businesses with two or more owners don’t have common understandings of the business’s vision and goals.

When I was teaching a class in Nairobi a few years back, I was asked to consult on the creation of a social media plan for a start-up incubator hub. The five partners sat with me in a room and explained why they needed a social media plan. When I asked them to step back and tell me what their business plan was, I received five very different and somewhat conflicting answers. I explained that until they knew and were aligned on what their business should do, I wouldn’t be able to craft a social media plan that achieved results. If I didn’t know what the business wanted to do, the social media would only reflect that and they would see the slow, listless growth that had been the impetuous for the original meeting.

Similarly, last year, I was working with a professional leadership development coach who shared that while her business was growing rapidly, she was struggling to see any growth in her social media channels and she couldn’t figure out why. She routinely spent an hour a day on social media and yet, she only saw one or two followers increase per week. When I asked her why she was on social media, she looked at me like I wasn’t listening.

“I have to be on social media,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because everyone is,” she said.

“But, why are you on it?” I asked again.

Then she stopped talking and looked at me and really listened. Eventually, we determined that she wanted to use social media to build her brand personality so that she could get speaking gigs and eventually launch and publish a book. Now, she has a laser focused vision for how to engage on social media and a plan that is tuned to getting her in front of the TED community, interacting with leaders in her sphere and sharing her thoughts online, so that she has the material to write a book in the next few years. Her goals of speaking and book publishing align with her business goals to increase her passive income (i.e. ways to make money without requiring service) and to enhance her credibility with top tier corporate leaders.

A social media plan to be successful needs to have a central thematic topic and vision in order to allow customers to understand why the channel exists and how to relate to the channel. A business vision does this for your social plan.

To determine your business vision, look five to ten years in the future and ask yourself, if I was wildly successful, what would my business do? Examples of business vision statements include Microsoft’s previous vision “to put a PC in every home in the world;” Starbuck’s vision statement ss “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time;” and Tesla’s vision statement is “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”

If you are having trouble creating a vision statement, check out Five: Where Will You Be Five Years from Today by Dan Zadra. It’s a useful book for figuring out your personal or professional vision statement and simpler to use than a lot of the MBA books on the topic.

I believe that setting a big business vision is the single most important thing that you can do for your business. As Lafley and Martin say “A too modest aspiration is far more dangerous than a too-lofty one.”  The reason being that a modest vision mostly achieves modest results. Modest results are boring for your employees, for your investors and for your customers. You could be a run of the mill car manufacturer or you could be Tesla. Which do you think gets people more excited and interested in being associated with your brand? Tesla wins every time.

When I host classes, I challenge students to expand their business vision using a simple exercise that I have outlined below. I’d encourage you to try this as well before you read any further:

  • Take a few minutes to write down your vision statement.
  • Then ask: how could I expand what this statement accomplishes? Can I make it bigger?
  • Then ask yourself again: how do I make that more interesting to me?
  • Then ask: would I be happy doing this and if not, what would make me more satisfied?
  • Then ask yourself, one more time: how can I expand this?

Having a vision for your business is about having a vision for yourself, for each person who works for you and for every person that will come in contact with your brand. It’s also about understanding why you are doing what you are doing and creating alignment on the why is what directs your social media execution i.e. the story you tell across those platforms.

Noted speaker and author Michael Hyatt’s recent book discusses the concept of drift. Drift is what happens when you are living a life without intention and strategic goals. Drift happens when you’re just floating through your life taking what comes to you. Drift happens all the time in social media when we do not align with our business visions and instead waste time tweeting, liking, friending and following rather than strategically acting to ensure the biggest results. Fight the drift, by engaging in a big business vision.

…………….

A business goal is a one to two-year goal that you want to accomplish because it helps your business get that much closer to achieving your vision. These are measurable, and actionable goals. In general, these goals will be focused on the bottom line i.e. these goals should in some fashion help you to increase your ability to SELL your products and services or fundraise to be able to accomplish your mission.

There is a business acronym for setting goals called S.M.A.R.T. This stands for specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and timely and is a tool to make sure that the goals you are setting you can achieve. First created by G.T. Doran in the early nineteen eighties, this framework has been widely embraced by the business community. In his book, he writes “Ideally speaking, each corporate, department, and section objective should be:

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Notice that these criteria don’t say that all objectives must be quantified on all levels of management… (it) is the combination of the objective and its action plan that is really important. Therefore, serious management should focus on these twins and not just the objective.”

Examples of business goals can include:

  1. Selling X number of products in 2016
  2. Raising X amount of dollars in 2017

As you think about your business goals, make sure they are achievable in the short term, easy to understand, and something that is measureable. You generally do not want to have more than three goals and one of those goals should be a definitively focused sales goal. Well this may seem like a lot of work to do just in order to make your social media plans more effective, I can tell you it is worthwhile.

If you, your social media team or any other member of your business does not know your goals then they will not be able to effectively implement them. If they don’t know how to implement against them, time and energy are being wasted caught in the drift of social media.

Will the Content Bubble Burst?

Will the content bubble burst? You know the content bubble i.e. the crazy machine that brands are force feeding with the drivel, boring bottom of the internet garbage that gets put out there all the time. It’s the culture that’s response for telling me what Kim Kardashian ate for breakfast, who walked down the aisle with Jennifer Lawrence at her best friends wedding, and the 800 ways I should feel bad about my wrinkles, body fat, hair color and the miracle products that will fix it. It’s the reason Vogue is boring and no one wants to read the New York Times. It’s the content bubble and its killing us.

It’s killing us because it is inundating us. It’s ineffective and it isn’t cost effective. Do you know the Daily Dot employs 15 people to run is Snapchat channel? Cosmo has more? Mashable is moving to video to feed the content beast. They are all struggling with the real pressure to increase numbers, drive engagements, and push out more content  because…. Because why? Because more subscribers mean more dollars from advertisers. Because, advertisers think more eyeballs means more potential customers. But, does the dumbing down of content results in fewer eyeballs overtime because people are constantly disappointed?

I had lunch with a friend the other day who was telling me about how she is constantly intrigued by the headlines of a certain Time Inc women’s outlet but constantly disappointed when she actually gets to the article. She’s been “click-baited” and the content has under-served her. I so often feel this way too, that I basically NEVER click on articles online. I only respond to those people I trust share or to those that arrive in my inbox collated by newsletters I believe in.

Recently, in a conversation with Casey Lewis, Co-Founder of the Clover Letter, she talked abut the response that girls have to their daily newsletter. “They want smart content is the response we get from 100% of readers because right now they don’t even know where to go. They go to top news websites and they dont even know what to find because there is so much traffic driver click-bait on the channel.”

I love to point to the upcoming generation as a way of understanding what is and isn’t working in our own social media channels. As such, I believe we need to take what The Clover Letter is finding into account and what we ourselves are also encountering. The world is basically just pumping out shitty content to drive traffic to people who are not going to continue to consume shitty content.

The power comes from the brands that understand this, the brands who lean out to create poignant content, just maybe not all the time. Wait but Why the long form  blog on complicated scientific and cultural issues is the perfect example of this. They do not post uniformly on specific days or issues but instead when they do post they are adding VALUE.

Value is something I write about a lot in my forthcoming book and something that I encourage people to think about in the Social Works System. If you provide real value, people will respond. If you create content with value people with respond. You don’t need to fill the internet with more shitty content. Instead, do us a favor and make valuable content that people will want to consume. Until more brands do this, we will see the content bubble grow and at some point in the future burst. Gen Z, at the very least, isn’t going to put up with it.

 

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.

Want to Stay connected?

Subscribe to my mailing list

* indicates required