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Social media is still not working for many; how to improve

(Social Media) Many people feel like their social media efforts are failing, even some industry professionals, but there is a fix.

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What’s working in social media?

What’s working in social media is one of the most frustrating questions to answer.

For six months, I’ve been trying to write an adequate answer to this question. You’d think I could move on, but I said I would answer this question. Giving my word is not something I take lightly, I’m sure you know what I mean.

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It’s not frustrating to answer because nothing in social media is working. In my opinion that’s just what people think if they don’t know how to put metrics from social media in the proper context.

Just because you’re not viral doesn’t mean you’re failing

Just because all of your content marketing isn’t going viral on Facebook doesn’t mean the social part of your marketing strategy isn’t working. If it’s spreading in the right places, it doesn’t have to spread in all places.

People try to go viral because they don’t know how to reach just their market, or because they want a burst of links.

No, this question gets hard to answer because

• it’s hard to pretend that social media exists in a vacuum, and
• it’s hard to pretend that is somehow divorced from the rest of the world, then
• it’s treated like an afterthought in marketing or
• it’s treated like it’s only a marketing tool

You could get away with that when social media was Web 2.0 and only a tiny portion of the world used it.

Now you hardly ever meet people who don’t know what YouTube or Facebook is.

And when was the last time you organically – not on a break or vacation!- went through an entire day without
watching a video on YouTube, reading a status update, or checking whatever social app we’ve used to put a graphical interface on our photo sharing or texting habit?

You can’t answer the question of what’s working in social media that way

I could say video.

But what if your goal is to get more people listening to your radio station?

Video could work but if there are ten easier ways that can get your customer to turn on the radio without risking that they’ll decide to watch another screaming goat video instead?

I could say creating infographics.

But what if your target market is full of that small minority of people of which I am a part?

Namely, people who’d rather read than watch, who feel talked-down-to when information is dumbed down into a pretty picture, who only listen to audio or watch video for leisure. Our reason being that you can’t speed read a moving picture?

You get the idea.

Not every social site is for everyone.

Not even the social staples are for everyone. Business blogging can give microbusiness owners and medium companies an edge. But to do that you need people who are, quite frankly, excellent writers and knowledgeable about their field.

It’s not that rare to be both a great writer and have time left in your life to also be a topic matter expert. However, it is increasingly rare for somebody to actually have time for both things, to do them well, and to work for you instead of themselves.

On top of that, there are companies who don’t have the company culture to support a blogging or social strategy. To invite them to blog or use Twitter without prep work is what results in those brand snafus we’re always reading about.

The REAL problem? People are generally clueless about marketing, period

You see, we wouldn’t have these kinds of questions come up if everyone truly understood why we’re doing any type of digital marketing. So much of the time, companies lack enough of an identity to know why they are in business in the first place, never mind who their target audience.

You need both of those things to be able to market yourself. And in the tech and startup space, we’re actively encouraged to push the idea first and the research second.

What’s the mission statement of your company?

What is its vision? What are you best at?

Do you think your company has weaknesses or is your head buried in the sand hoping that the very arrogance you have to say that you don’t have issues, is what will one day make them disappear?

In many ways the web makes it easier to take any skilled technician and make her believe that the excellence in their work is enough to run a business on. Numerous studies and books like the E-myth series have proven that this is just not true.

And yet, we are getting to the point that anyone with more than a half-baked idea believes that the ease in getting started marketing on the web also guarantees success.

Few things are less true in life.

Let’s answer this pesky social media question

You want to know what’s working in social media? I’ll tell you two answers that are really the same if you look at it from a marketing angle.

Answer one: it’s the common thread that every single successful social media “campaign” has had in common for as far back as there were companies doing anything social: a sound marketing strategy, and an understanding of how to move tactically within it.

Remember Old Spice’s initial YouTube hit? You know why that worked?

I bet there isn’t just one answer. I can think of a few dozen reasons why I ended up buying Old Spice on more birthdays than ever before.

But if I had to pick one reason I’d say that it worked with what they were already doing. In the TV commercials, the Old Spice guy was talking to you. A general you, we all understood but still.

On YouTube for a while there, he was talking to You. You had the chance to speak to him personally and if not, enough people were picked for the conversation that he spoke to someone like you.

And how does that happen? When you build social in on top of a marketing foundation that’s already going in the right direction, it simply has to amplify what it already working to be a success.

Answer two: it’s the opposite of what all failed social media efforts have in common.

Before we go down that road, let’s be honest about it. Failure in social is so much more widespread that we don’t even need a famous example anymore. Here’s one I see every day.

A person follows you on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, where ever. Then for months they never say anything – not a favorite or a like. Their occasional activity is the only reason that you know it’s not a bot.

Nothing.

Then one day, out of the blue, with no particular rhyme or reason, usually in the most jarring way possible it comes.

The sloppy, lazy, half-assed, weak, pitiful, bad-breathed, thoughtless, tactless, boring, horrible, and – my favorite- public ASK.
You know what an “ask” is, right?

If you’re worth your salt in any profession, at some point people suddenly start to ask you for way more stuff than they used to:

• read a chapter of my book,
• blog about my project,
• retweet this link,
• share this on Facebook,
• take me to the airport,
• run this press release….

Oh, what, you wouldn’t take someone you just met to the airport? Me either. Which is why I don’t get why people screw up “the ask” so badly or so often. What is the point of:

• asking someone you don’t know
• to endorse something they haven’t used before
• in a way that amounts to spam?

There is none. This is by far the most common mistake after not leveraging social to build contacts outside the given platform. (You build an audience WITH Facebook, not ON Facebook. But that’s another article.)

To spell it out- the ask is everything.

It is Everything.

It. Is EV-er-Y-thing.

If you only have room for a single concept in your head for the remainder of the year, let it be this:

The ASK is Everything. And either you’re asking, the right way, at all times, or that’s your problem.

If you want to get down and dirty, stay tuned.

Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the CEO of Leveraged Promotion and a member of Network Solutions Social web Advisory Board. Her website promotion company specializes in reputation management, and engineering demand generation system for businesses, integrating search, expertise marketing and social media.

Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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Social Media

TikTok enters the e-commerce space, ready to compete with Zuckerberg?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Setting up social media for e-commerce isn’t an uncommon practice, but for TikTok this means the next step competing with Facebook and Instagram.

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Couple taking video with mobile phone, prepared for e-commerce.

Adding e-commerce offerings to social media platforms isn’t anything new. However, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, is rolling out some new e-commerce features that will place the social video app in direct competition with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Instagram.

According to a Financial Times report, TikTok’s new features will allow the platform to create and expand its e-commerce service in the U.S. The new features will allow TikTok’s popular users to monetize their content. These users will be able to promote and sell products by sharing product links in their content. In return, TikTok will profit from the sales by earning a commission.

Among the features included is “live-streamed” shopping. In this mobile phone shopping channel, users can purchase products by tapping on products during a user’s live demo. Also, TikTok plans on releasing a feature that will allow brands to display their product catalogs.

Currently, Facebook has expanded into the e-commerce space through its Facebook Marketplace. In May 2020, it launched Facebook Shops that allows businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram stories into online stores.

But, Facebook hasn’t had too much luck in keeping up with the video platform in other areas. In 2018, the social media giant launched Lasso, its short-form video app. But the company’s TikTok clone didn’t last too long. Last year, Facebook said bye-bye to Lasso and shut it down.

Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok by launching Instagram Reels. This feature allows users to share short videos just like TikTok, but the future of Reels isn’t set in stone yet. By the looks of it, videos on Reels are mainly reposts of video content posted on TikTok.

There is no word on when the features will roll out to influencers on TikTok, but according to the Financial Times report, the social media app’s new features have already been viewed by some people.

TikTok has a large audience that continues to grow. By providing monetization tools in its platform, TikTok believes its new tools will put it ahead of Facebook in the e-commerce game, and help maintain that audience.

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Social Media

Your favorite Clubhouse creators can now ask for your financial support

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Clubhouse just secured new funding – what it means for creators and users of the latest quarantine-based social media darling.

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Woman talking on Clubhouse on her iPhone with a big smile.

Clubhouse – the live-voice chat app that has been taking the quarantined world by storm – has recently announced that it has raised new funding in a Series B round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

The app confirms that new funding means compensation for creators; much like the influencers on TikTok and YouTube, now Clubhouse creators will be able to utilize features such as subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales to monetize their content.

To encourage emerging Clubhouse creators and invite new voices, funding round will also support a promising “Creator Grant Program”.

On the surface, Clubhouse is undoubtedly cool. The invite-only, celebrity-filled niche chatrooms feel utopic for any opinionated individual – or anyone that just likes to listen. At its best, Clubhouse brings to mind collaborative campfire chats, heated lecture-hall debates or informative PD sessions. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually obsessed.

And now with its new round, the video chatroom app will not only appear cool but also act as a helpful steppingstone to popular and emerging creators alike. “Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse,” said Paul & Rohan, the app’s creators, “and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions.”

Helping creators get paid for their labor in 2021 is a cause that we should 100% get behind, especially if we’re consuming their content.

Over the next few months, Clubhouse will be prototyping their tipping, tickets and subscriptions – think a system akin to Patreon, but built directly into the app.

A feature unique to the app – tickets – will offer individuals and organizations the chance to hold formal discussions and events while charging an admission. Elite Clubhouse rooms? I wonder if I can get a Clubhouse press pass.

Additionally, Clubhouse has announced plans for Android development (the app has only been available to Apple users so far). They are also working on moderation policies after a recent controversial chat sparked uproar. To date, the app has been relying heavily on community moderation, the power of which I’ve witnessed countless times whilst in rooms.

So: Is the golden age of Clubhouse – only possible for a short period while everyone was stuck at home and before the app gained real mainstream traction – now over? Or will this new round of funding and subsequent development give the app a new beginning?

For now, I think it’s safe to say that the culture of Clubhouse will certainly be changing – what we don’t know is if the changes will make this cream-of-the-crop app even better, or if it’ll join the ranks of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in being another big-time social media staple.

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