Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Social Media Marketing: A Love-Hate Relationship


I know a lot of people that have a love-hate relationship with social media. I have one too.  Meaning,  I love its potential and hate how it’s frequently abused.

Social media marketing should be about adding value to the digital community by sharing insights, expertise, and opinions.

It shouldn’t be used like an advertising channel.

I see a lot of social media marketing efforts that are rude, self-serving and disruptive to the online community. Not only is that approach wrong, it doesn’t work.

Social media the right way is ethical and effective.

Below are a few social media rules and best practices.

1. You Can’t Force Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is is an unpaid form of promotion—oral or written—in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product, service, or event.

That said; before you spend a huge amount of time posting on Facebook and Twitter consider this basic rule of social media and word of mouth marketing:

Social media marketing accelerates word of mouth marketing not only when you’re doing great things your customers would want to share but also when things are not going so well.

So the first thing is that you want to make sure you’re doing great things that your customers want to talk about.

With that being said, social media is not a silver bullet though. If you have no word of mouth marketing already, then social media will not create it. It can only enhance what’s already present.

So before you invest in social media, start by focusing your energy on creating things that are of interest to your target audience.

Then use social media to let people know about it.

2. Know Your Audience and Target Market

Not to sound completely mercenary, but the only “useful followers” are followers that share interest in your product and your market. Don’t waste your social media dollars (or time) attracting followers that don’t help support your bottom lines and organizational goals.

The basic rule of thumb, as I see it, is:

You get followers based on the content you post and share. So be strategic with what you are sharing.
Don’t try to increase your social reach just because you want your follower count to go up — that’s a meaningless metric. You want to see engagement and hopefully long term conversion to sales.

Here are our own guidelines on content and social media sharing:
  • Focus on content that is related to what your audience is likely to be interested in.
  • Be original.
  • Don’t advertise.
  • Don’t waste people’s time.
  • Only promote content that has specific and honest value to your audience (or the audience you want).
  • Don’t re-post or re-tweet something unless you agree with it, have read it, and it has value.
Pay attention to what content your followers and customers share and read. Use your analytic tools and pay attention to engagement, time on page, bounce rates and conversion rates.

The number of followers you gain isn’t as important as that.

3. Be Conversational But Not Rude

Social media is all about conversations. There is nothing prohibiting you from joining in as a businessperson or marketing professional.

Just don’t try to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Don’t be that ass that barges into a conversation, with nothing to add other than: “look at me, look at me!” — particularly on twitter.

That type of rude activity might get you the occasional follower but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of everyone else.

Here’s our rule about reaching out to comment on blogs and engaging in social media conversations:
If you want to join into a conversation then you have better have something valuable to add.
Introducing your product is not value.

Provide a bit of data, a link to a blog article (one that is valuable and not half-assed), or offer a valid and thoughtful suggestion.

Remember, your goal is to promote relevant conversations. If you provide enough value, other people will begin to follow you because you are an expert and they respect you.

In the long run, that will lead to more opportunities and sales in a sustainable and ethical way. Plus, you’ll learn a great deal in the process.

4. You Don’t Own Your Facebook Wall

Many companies treat their Facebook pages like they were marketing pieces. They want them “designed” to show their product in the best possible light.

That’s not how customers see Facebook pages. They see a post as something they own and it’s their right to post whatever they feel is appropriate on your Facebook wall.

Your customers are going to post things you don’t like to your Facebook wall, blog comments, and group conversations.

It’s going to make you angry and frustrated, but think very carefully before you delete it or report it — particularly if it’s from a customer.

That customer who’s bad-mouthing you on your Facebook wall is doing you a favor. They are giving you an opportunity to respond, and to respond well.

Deleting the post is most definitely not responding well — and it’s guaranteed to generate word of mouth — just not the kind you want.

So try this: acknowledge their complaint, sincerely apologize, find a way to make it right, and thank the customer for letting you know about the problem.

5. Treat Competition With Respect

Do not use social media to bad-mouth or plant false information about your competitors. It’s unethical and wrong.

Treat your competition with respect and take the high ground. Make it a policy not to engage in conversations about your competitors.

Of course, your competitors may not be as grown up about it as you are. So what do you do if a competitor posts content on your site, blog or Facebook wall?

Here are some rules of thumb:
  • If a comment or post has value and is relevant, then leave it.
  • If the comment mentions your competitor in an honest and open way, then leave it.
  • If the competitor misrepresents himself or herself, (e.g. pretends to be a customer but is really just advertising their own company) then you are entirely within your rights to edit (or delete) the comment.
Remember: Don’t remove or edit a post just because it mentions a competitor. Just don’t allow someone to misrepresent who they are or lie.

Also, if you do edit a comment, don’t hide it. Leave a mark about what you edited and why.

Final Note:

If your job is content and social media marketing then do the right thing, try to add value to every conversation and with every post.

Here’s one final rule for this article.

It’s a general guideline for all social media interactions, not just marketing:

“If you don’t have anything valuable to add to a conversation, don’t post anything at all.”

Now it’s your turn … what are some of your social media best practices?

Monday, July 08, 2013

How Much Time Should You Invest in Social Media?

One of the questions I get asked most is, “How much, exactly, should a company or business be investing in social media?”

Intersection Consulting, a digital strategy and social media marketing firm, has created an infographic that gives marketers an example of what a 40-hour workweek might look like for a company’s social media management.

Here’s how some of the time is split in this example:
  • 7.5 hours for blogging
  • 4 hours for updating social networks
  • 4 hours for research and planning
  • 2.5 hours for curation
  • 5 hours for contingency
  • 2.5 hours for analytics
Of course, every organization is different and any workflow that is designed and implemented needs to work towards the achievement of business goals,” writes Mark Smiciklas, the man behind Intersection Consulting. “That being said, I feel the time scope represented here is far more realistic than the notion that organizations can get value from the social channel by investing 15 minutes a day.

Here’s the full infographic:

Intersection Consulting - Social Media Workflow

Friday, July 05, 2013

6 Elements of Successful Online Communities

huddleThe problem with well-meaning adages like “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” is that for some, it implies that a group of people can be depended on to identify a particular need, implement a solution, carry it out through completion and follow up periodically to make sure things are going as planned.

People often forget that even within a village, one person usually still bears the brunt of the responsibility if anything constructive is going to be accomplished. How’s this for an adage. “Rely on a whole village and nothing will get done!”

It takes someone to step up and make certain that a well thought out-strategy is staying on point and moving forward. The same way with online communities.

Successful Community Managers know that your online community is only as good as the people who contribute to it.

Anyone can set up an online community, but howdo you make it thrive? In order to have a successful online community for your group of members, there are six elements you must have:


Creating open dialogue can be important to your online community. It can be as easy as asking a question or taking a poll or survey. If your audience isn’t communicating, find out the reasons why and encourage them to engage in a conversation.


What kind of business are you? What is your claim to fame? If you want your online community to flourish, it’s important to be transparent about the values of your organization. Knowing your culture and your mission, make sure that is communicated throughout your community to build it.

Encourage your community members to be themselves. If the persona of your online community doesn’t fit with the culture of your company, it won’t take long for people to figure that out. If you encourage members to be engaging and personable, your company should be comfortable being engaging and personable too across multiple channels.


People want to be involved in a vibrant online community. Encourage new voices and new members to participate in conversations. Provide content relevant to the overall mission of your online community


Obviously, you should measure the engagement of your community. For example, if one of your goals is to drive traffic to your company website, you’ll need to monitor the posts that drive the most traffic. If you arespecific about what metrics support your goals, the better you can monitor your progress


Thanks to the impact of social networking, members expect transparency in online communities too. To build a foundation of trust, be upfront with the goals of the community and be honest when replying to questions; this can build a foundation of trust. Value Think about what your members want from your community. Groups should have something of value to offer its members. Try to provide something to your members that they cannot get anywhere else and make it easy for them to participate.

What are some things that are important to you when you are thinking about joining an online community? Please share in the comments section below.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Why People Unfollow You On Twitter

This is a post that is well-overdue and I need to get it off of my chest. I’m very selective with who I follow on Twitter, I don’t want my feed cluttered with junk that I don’t care about.
The following points are the top 10 reasons why I unfollow people on Twitter:

1) You’re An Egghead  
EggheadBy “an egghead”, I’m referring to the infamous default Twitter profile pic, which is is an egg with a colored background. If you don’t take the time to complete your profile on Twitter, I’m going to infer that you won’t tweet anything of value or worth reading.

2) Your Tweets Aren’t In English 
This one is a no-brainer, in my opinion. Unlike the other nine reasons listed here, this point is probably the one that some can’t help. If you can’t write in English, I can’t read it; if I can’t read it, I’m not cluttering my Twitter feed with your tweets.

3) Your Tweets Are In English, But I Still Can’t Understand Them   
Yes, I know Twitter limits you to 140 characters, and because of that, sometimes you need to use some acronyms.

But when you tweet “Ova wit, yeen, finna, wazzam?, Truu, you flexxin, bruh, fa sum, Bet” (Yes, that is an actual tweet…IN English), you might as well tweet in Cantonese  I’ll understand just as much….then I’ll unfollow you.

4) You Tweet Way Too Much   
In real life, no one likes the person who just doesn’t shut up; the same goes for Twitter. If I open my Twitter feed and your tweets take up 8 of the 10 spots, you’re getting the axe.

5) You’re Always Trying to Sell Me Something   
Even if you’re a brand, the occasional self-promotional tweet is okay and tolerable, but when you do nothing but try and use Twitter as an advertising tool and not an engagement tool, you’re doing it wrong.

6) You’re A Sucker and You Always Click On Those Stupid Spam Tweets, Which In Turn, Spam Me 
NEWS FLASH!!! No one is saying nasty things about you and no one took a naked picture of you. STOP being so gullable and clicking on those links. If it seems fishy, it probably is, even if it is from someone you know; chances are, they got hacked.

7) You’re Offensive and Vulgar   
Pretty straight forward here. While social media is a great way to express yourself, you still need to conduct yourself and your words in such a way that it would not make your grandmother blush or your boss fire you.

8) You Rant About Politics   
Keep it to yourself unless it provides true, unbiased insight.

9) You’re A Beggar/Pity Party 
Nobody likes the “oh, woe is me” girl, and when you consistently post how bad your life/situation is, you only make us hate you. Oh, and stop begging me for retweets; how about tweeting something interesting for a change? Then, I might retweet you.
And last but not least…

10) You Don’t Add Twitter Value   
When I follow a person or brand, I do so with the intention that their tweets will benefit me in some way. If you want to add value to your tweets, share links, interesting articles, cool photos, etc. It’s rare that a tweet without a some sort of link is of any use to anyone (aside from quotes).

But those may just be my Twitter pet peeves. What makes you want to unfollow someone?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Passion.Platform.Profit ... Are you ready?

We've all been there... when we had a great idea, or something we were passionate about, but that idea or passion never made it out of your mind because you didn't have a platform.

You see, platform matters a lot. You cannot do anything without a solid platform, a foundation, which you can build on. Having a platform usually means having access to a group or community, having privileges which other people don't have as a result of your job or perhaps family background. That platform allowed people to spread their idea - or as Seth Godin calls it: Ideavirus.

Now, if you think about it, it doesn't sound right, does it? I mean, if someone doesn't have a platform, are they done? Is there absolutely no hope for those who have an idea they're passionate about, but don't know how to profit from it?

Let's take a look at someone who has built a platform around the idea, and now the idea and the platform are one.

Erica Zidel founded SittingAround.com, a website that makes it easy to create, manage, and grow a babysitting cooperative. She was featured as one of Obama Administration's "Champions of Change". 

David Karp founded Tumblr in 2006 because he had been intrigued by the idea of creating a microblogging platform. His company recently got acquired by Yahoo! for over 1 Billion Dollars. Yes, you read that right. That's billion with a "B".

That's just two examples...

Every day, as we sit there and pray that we don't get fired or laid off, there are people turning their ideas into platforms, beating the economy at its own game, and generating millions of dollars a year for themselves.

That's what we set out to do at the P3 Network. P3 stands for Passion. Platform. Profit. and we just have one mission: To help you make money doing things you love, know and enjoy.

Click here to go to the Passion.Platform.Profit home page right now and just play the video!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Blogging for Profit: Back to the Basics

This infographic project was created to help the average business owner, or aspiring blogger, understand the ins and outs of blogging. Easy to understand and full of amazing content, this infographic answers critical questions like: How often do most businesses blog? Are consumer buying decisions influenced by blogs? What are the Top Earning Blogs and how do they create revenue? It also breaks down the Top 7 Blogging Platforms and their features, who’s blogging and how blogging can help your business.

Friday, June 28, 2013

3 Ways to Turn Your Facebook Page Into an Epic Sales Machine

I’m sure you’ve heard the tale of the “Elephant and the Blind Men.”  It’s a simple story of six blind men being led to an elephant and describing their encounters.

The first one touched the leg and said the elephant is pillar, the second touched his tail and said the elephant is a rope, the third the branch of a tree after touching his trunk, the fourth thought the elephant was a fan after feeling his ear … and you get the point.

Sometimes by focusing on one area of one thing or even being up too close, we’re not able to get the full picture. That means we’re missing something and often that something is a huge money-making opportunity.

That’s true even when it comes to your Facebook Page. 

So when thinking about ways to make your Facebook Page more effective, take a step back and consider the goals you have for your page.  Is to drive traffic to your website? Interact with current and potential customers?  Sell products directly from your Facebook Page? Or all of the above? 

Keep your goals in mind as you read the 3 tips below to help you increase engagement and generate more sales from your Facebook Page.


Posting content on a consistent basis is key to keeping your audience engaged. While the life of a Facebook Post is longer than a tweet, it’s still important to post 2-3 times a day to stay in front of your audience.

Be sure to post photos and videos of your products, videos from happy customers, and pictures of you in action. It “opens the doors” of your business and gives your audience a look inside to learn more about you and how your business operates.

If you see posts that are receiving a large number of Likes, Shares, or Comments consider investing in promoting this content to further market it. Not everything you post will be well received, however of those posts that perform well, take note and invest to further the reach of this content.


Social marketing isn’t easy and it takes a lot of time. In order to understand what works well, be sure to track your efforts so you can constantly improve results, build a bigger audience, and drive more sales from your Facebook Page. ClearStats is a great service that allows you to see which posts generate the highest engagement (clicks, Likes for the post, and Likes for your page) and view stats to see how this engagement is turning into sales for your business.

You may also want to learn more about EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that determines what is displayed and how high a post appears on a newsfeed.

EdgeRank takes into account three elements: Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay. An “Edge” is any action that takes place on Facebook including a comment, Like, Share, or status update.

  • Affinity looks at things like how often a user has commented, Liked, or Shared a brand’s post.
  • Weight looks at the types of interactions a user has had with you and places a value on those interactions. For instance, a comment carries more weight than a Like, so Facebook deems a comment as a more valuable interaction when weighing how a user has interacted with you or your brand.
  • Time Decay, as the name suggests, looks at how long ago the action/Edge took place. An action could be a comment, Like, Share, or a status update.


It sounds so simple, but interact with your audience on Facebook. It’s not enough to simply post messages, photos, and videos to Facebook. Be sure to get involved in the conversation if your audience is commenting on a post or asking questions. Be genuine and work to connect with your audience.

Promotions, contests, and sweepstakes are a great way to increase engagement and drive more sales for your business. You can incorporate a viral component into your promotions, contests, and/or sweepstakes by asking your audience to Like or Share a post, or Like your Facebook Page, in order to participate.

Just because you’re linking to your website from a Facebook Page doesn’t mean you have to link to your homepage or even to a product page on your website. Set up a separate landing page for your website or a product and test various elements to see how it performs. As you learn what converts well from your social traffic, incorporate elements from these tests across your website. Try using a tool like Unbounce to easily create and test landing pages.


Include a call-to-action at the bottom of each post or in the right column of your blog to be seen by each visitor. Do you want this traffic to sign up for your email updates? Would you like for visitors to sign up for a trial? Perhaps a demo? Whatever the goal may be, make sure you're giving proper instructions on what to do next.

I hope these 3 tips (plus a bonus) help you increase engagement and drive more sales from your Facebook Page. I’d like to hear how you used them or please share if you have others that we can add to the list.