A Successful Social Media Strategy (A Post That Needs Work)

Someone recently asked me to share an example of a post that I considered to be poorly written. So, per their request here is an excerpt of something that I wrote and dislike.

Part of my real world existence involves daily discussions about how businesses can craft a successful social media strategy. Every one of these discussions begins in the same manner. We sit down and have a brief conversation about campaign objectives. Is it branding, is it lead generation, is it crisis PR etc.

Once we establish what the overall objective is we can start outlining goals and action items. Basically, it is not much different than putting together a report such as we did as school children. You develop an outline and follow it.
Now that is a very rudimentary explanation that doesn’t take into account establishing benchmarks or constructing any sort of system of metrics that you can use to try and measure the success of your campaign. Metrics are important as they help give you guidelines that you can use to see if what you are doing is working, but it is also important not to overweight them.
I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with clients and prospective clients in which they tell me about these elaborate proposals and presentations that were made to them. Every one of them filled with the latest marketing jargon and gibberish.
That sort of stuff is nice, but I wonder how much of it is smoke and mirrors. If you ask me a lot of it is fluff and padding that is thrown into the pitch because they are not confident with their services. I won’t present myself as being the best out there at what I do. Others are better and that is ok.
But I am effective and efficient and that is what I want in my social media strategy. I want to see a plan that I can understand and follow. I want to see simple metrics that

An Expert on Social Media

Lately I keep describing my life as being similar to a Bollywood production. Every where I look there are bright flashes of color and intricate dance routines being executed. I attribute part of the problem to being constantly connected to everyone and everything.

The BlackBerry is always buzzing with texts, emails and alerts from LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook and Twitter. And every other message is from a self proclaimed expert on Social Media. Every one of them offers a cure for what ills me or my business. Sign up now and you will receive a free ebook that outlines the seven steps you must take to send your business to the next level.

Click here and I, Jack, social media expert will gladly show you how to generate 1 million followers on Twitter, 5,000 friends on Facebook and much more. For a modest investment you can hire me and I will help you craft a the Keep It Simple Stupid Social Media plan for success.

I am sure that I am not the first one to roll my eyes about all of these experts, but at times it gets to be rather humorous. It creates sort of a clown car image in my mind. I can’t help but giggle at the thought of 176 experts on social media piling in and out of that tiny car.

Allow me to clarify my sarcasm. While I do not believe that there are as many experts in Social Media as claimed I haven’t any problem saying that they exist. So the question then becomes how do you find an expert and how do you qualify them as such. I think that I’ll leave that for a separate post on the matter.

Stay tuned to this bat channel.

What Your Favorite Social Network Says About You

Advertising Age has an interesting article about a study that was conducted about the users of various social networks.

The survey was conducted by Anderson Analytics this past June. It covered a variety of areas and breaks down a number of the social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.

There were a number of things that I thought were interesting, such as the information about people who do not use the networks:

Contrary to what some might think, people who spurn social media aren’t tech haters. In fact, they spend as much time as social-media fans surfing the web. But they say they don’t use social media for three basic reasons: They don’t have the time, they don’t think it’s secure or they think it’s stupid. While the first two groups — which Anderson labels “time-starved” and “concerned” — may be swayed to join eventually, don’t hold out much hope for the last group: 94% said they will never use social media.

About 22% of time-starved people said they’ll be using social media within three months, and another 27% said they probably will within a year — when they get the time that is; they’re more interested than all others in pursuits such as exercise, entertaining, music and movies.

The concerned non-users are an older demographic (one-third are retired) who don’t use social networks because they’re worried about their privacy. However, they do recognize value in social media and may join as they become more comfortable with it.

That makes sense to me. It fits with what I have been told and what I have observed. That is not to say that my experience is going to be applicable in all situations, but…

I avoided using Twitter for a long time because I didn’t see the value proposition, but I have long since changed my mind. I thought that the information on that was interesting as well.

This is the super-user group. Twitterers are more interested than the others in many subjects but skew particularly high in all news categories, restaurants, sports, politics, personal finance and religion. They also especially like pop culture, with music, movies, TV and reading, ranking higher than average. And their buying habits mirror that. They’re more likely to buy books, movies, shoes and cosmetics online than the other groups.

Twitterers are also entrepreneurial. They are more likely than others to use the service to promote their blogs or businesses. How do they keep going? Coffee, apparently. Some 31% buy coffee online, far above the average 21% of other social networkers.

They’re more likely to be employed part-time (16% vs. 11% average), have an average income of $58,000, and average 28 followers and 32 other Twitterers they’re following. They’re not particularly attached to the site, though — 43% said they could live without Twitter.

The Facebook Fight

It has been my experience that in most relationships there is an exchange of information about things/people/experiences that took place prior to your time with your significant other. I suspect that out of respect for your significant other many of these stories are censored. You don’t really want to tell them that you and Jimmy once held the record for most sex in the dorm or other intimate things.

Sure, you want them to know about your past. You love them and want them to feel like there are no secrets between you, but do they really need to know all of the sordid details. Probably not and chances are they don’t really want to know those about you either.

Thanks to the joys of modern technology this is something that could potentially become more of a challenge for couples. My friend Ken called me an hour ago to catch up on life and shoot the breeze. During the course of the conversation he told me that Facebook was going to cost him about $50 bucks in flowers.

I of course asked him to tell me why and he related the following tale. He and his wife both have Facebook accounts. Over the course of the last month or so he had reconnected with a bunch of friends from high school and college. Several of his new Facebook friends were women, a few of whom he had once dated.

She knew a few stories about them and as far as he knew had never cared. But their reappearance on Facebook was a different story. She was very uncomfortable with it and wanted to know why he felt the need to be in touch with them. He explained that it had been more than 20 years since he dated any of them and said that he had no interest.

It didn’t satisfy her and she demanded that he unfriend them. He refused.

Bam, Facebook had suddenly gone from something fun to the impetus for a power struggle in the relationship.

I told him that I understood his position and that I understood hers. The funny thing about feelings is that they aren’t based upon logic. Sometimes rational thought is not something that you associate with anger/love/joy/sadness etc.

I received a somewhat sarcastic thank you for not taking a position and was asked to provide advice. I laughed and reminded him that I wasn’t married to her, but if it was me I’d find a way to resolve it. He lives with her. He wants a future with her. Figure out a way to make her relax and she probably will end up not caring about them.

It seemed to me that his insistence on keeping them made her angrier and fueled her concern. So defuse the situation. Give everyone a moment to calm down and then reapproach it. It is like two kids fighting over the same toy. Take it away for a moment and when they are calm they both can play with it.

Of course I also told him that if this didn’t work or led to a bigger fight I took no responsibility. Sometimes it is good to be the one advising an attorney. 😉

Social Media Can Be Too Social

I’ll readily admit to being someone who takes great pleasure in blogging. I’ll grant that there are many things that I enjoy about Facebook and Twitter too. But sometimes I find that all this social media can be too….well, social.

All of these so called social media tools/applications remind me a bit of being trapped inside a casino in Las Vegas. Casinos intentionally strip away many of the elements that you would normally use to try and gauge what time it is. They do their best to create a warm and inviting environment so that you don’t want to leave the tables.

Without a doubt there are limits to the warmth you feel. If you’re losing it can feel like a nightmare. If you get stuck at a table with a jerk you can really begin to feel irritated. And there is no doubt that the sirens, bells, whistles. cheers and groans can leave you feeling exhausted.

But the same can be said about social media. It is easy to get sucked into the cyber world and find ways to spend your time. But sometimes you have to take a step back and ask if it is helping you or hindering you. Are all of the social media platforms beneficial or are they just one big time suck.

Part of me very much enjoys reconnecting with old friends on Facebook. It is kind of fun to see whatever happened to Mark and Ann Stacey. I have some interest in learning whether Brian ever became a surgeon. But sometimes I think that having a online beacon that people can use to find me is not such a good idea.

There are reasons why I don’t talk to everyone from my past. Sometimes it is as simple as we just lost touch and sometimes it is because I don’t want to be in contact with them. The social media that reconnect us aren’t always doing us a favor. I have heard more than one person say that they feel guilty about not friending everyone who requests it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want someone to reconnect with me out of guilt. If they don’t want to do it, they should simply ignore the request or politely say no.

It may be decades since you graduated, but the social networks have a way of making some people feel like they never got out of school.

It is a funny thing. I teach my children that you can never have too many friends. But what they haven’t learned yet is that the reality is that you can. It is a matter of time and resources. Even if you are independently wealthy there is only so much time in the day. I don’t know how some people keep up.

All I know is that there really are moments when I think that social media can be too social.