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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.



social media

social media

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.

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.


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

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!



Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?



facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Social Media

Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.



TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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