Monday, October 01, 2012

Social (Media) Blunders

Don't make these preventable social marketing mistakes!
Over on Facebook, users get to "like" pages of companies, products, groups, bands, books, etc that they enjoy in real life. Which is all fine and dandy, except that, for quite a lot of these companies, etc, their posts come off as "spammy," and people start "hiding" the posts, or they skip over them. What's the point in doing social marketing if you're just going to annoy your readers into ignoring you?

So, how do you avoid coming off as "spammy"?

Well, for starters, don't post personal stuff. That means when someone ticks you off, don't post about it. Your social marketing should be professional. I remember when I was subscribed to the Facebook feed of a music publisher out of Texas. She had contacted me about licensing some of my songs, so I "liked" her page. For the next two months, I was subjected to 20 to 30 posts per day about her gripes with her ex, her problems at school, her issues with men in general, and her bragging constantly about how great she was... all the while, I was waiting for her to do something about my music she had asked to license. She rarely talked about music or her music publishing company except to complain about how the industry was unfair to her. It got annoying. I tired of reading about her personal issues and problems - laced with expletives for good measure - so I unsubscribed. (To this day, she has never contacted me about the music she was interested in.)

Secondly, don't overpost. While you want to keep your business and products on the minds of your followers and friends, there is a limit on how much people can take... and how much they're going to read. Usually, I recommend a MAXIMUM of 15 Facebook updates per day, but, usually, less. You want what you say to be deemed as "important," so posting random things 10 times per day while mixing in your "important" stuff - new products, links to news articles relevant to your business, new videos, etc - means that, more than likely, your "important" stuff is going to get "lost in the shuffle," so to speak, and you've lost an important marketing opportunity.

Thirdly, when you sit down at your computer to post updates and Tweets, start by making a list of all the things you want to post that day - doesn't need to be detailed; just a short list of what you want your customers to know about - and then organize them in order of importance. Delete or cross out anything that isn't particularly important, or save it for a slow news day.

Don't Update Bomb. You need to post updates and Tweets and other new content fairly consistently, every day, every other day, or at least 2 to 3 times per week. When you ignore your social networks and don't post anything for weeks or months, you end up DELUGING your audience with too much info all at once. When your audience doesn't hear from you for months and then you start posting ALL your updates in a few day span or over the course of week, people stop paying attention to you, like ignoring a shouting protester while waiting for the bus. It means that all your posting was, essentially, for nothing. but there's a solution: Create a schedule for posting and stick to it. It's perfectly okay to miss a few days in a row, but try to update at least once per week.

Unless your site is a humor blog or video channel, don't repost or "share" the randomly "funny" things that come across your feed. Your page is supposed to be professional, unless, like I said, humor is your focus and that's why your audience subscribed to you; for most businesses, that's NOT going to be the case.

In the next installment, we'll look at a social marketing posting schedule that WORKS.

Friday, September 21, 2012

DON'T DO IT!!!!!

Perhaps it's just that I am getting older and crankier, but I doubt it.

I've been seeing this all over the Internet lately, and I have to say:



An example: At Pinterest, there was a post touting "186 DIY Christmas Gifts." Now, what creative, financially conscious, crafty sort of person WOULDN'T want to see that, especially with the attractive candy canes as the "come on" photo accompanying the link? (The canes looked like they'd been dipped in white chocolate and nonpareils and wrapped in a red-and-white stiped box... very appealing, visually speaking.)

Anyway, so I click the link from the Pinterest post to go directly to the blog. On the linked page, the DIY content was broken up into sections of 30 crafts, accompanied by collage-style photographs of more attractive crafts. Okay... where are the details? Where is the content?


Under the collage photos were links that said, "To learn how to do these crafts, click here."

My blood's simmering at this point, but I click. Do you know what I found?!?!?

A page EXACTLY like the last,  including collage photos and links that SUPPOSEDLY led to the instructions for the freaking crafts.

Blood is beginning to boil, but I click. Can you guess what I found?!?!?!

A list of blog posts to which I would have to click to SUPPOSEDLY get to the content.

But you can probably guess what I did instead of clicking.

I closed the damned window, because there is no way that I have time to sift through thousands of blog posts to find the content I came to the blog to find in the first place.

And this, my dear readers, is a classic example of creating content people want and then FREAKING BURYING IT beneath layers and layers and layers of "organization." Don't get me wrong: I am all for organizing your content into something you can manage on the back end... but don't forget that your readers still have to be able to FIND that content.

And, make no mistake: Most people WILL NOT click more than three times to get to your article. And right there, you have lost your audience. And they're probably not coming back.

Another reason people link content in this fashion is to get the most "bang" out of it via page impression advertising. These people aren't interested in whether users actually find their content, read it, click on ads, find the article useful, or even share it with their friends. ALL they care about is the advertiser's pay check when the total reaches $20. That's it... or, at least, that's how I see it.

Because, if these blog designers and social linkers actually gave a good-golly-gosh-darn about the readers, when they linked their content from Pinterest or Facebook or Twitter or wherever, THE LINK WOULD GO TO THE ACTUAL CONTENT... NOT another stupid page listing links to the damned content.

This "at least three clicks to content" mentality is even worse when your site is selling something. Like I said, I understand the need for back-end organization, but you have to stop thinking like you and start thinking like your customers would think. Do you think that your customers are REALLY going to want to click on "Products" and then one subcategory, and then another, and then another, and then ANOTHER before they get to the product page of the item they want to buy.


No, your customers NEED your site to be simply organized so that they can spend their hard-earned purchasing dollars at your site and not your competitor's.

But, honestly, your competitor's site is probably designed with the same tectonic plate structure of subcategorized obsfucation, so it will hardly matter, anyway, when they go buy the Chinese knock-off at Wal*Mart.