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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

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.

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Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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Social Media

This LinkedIn graphic shows you where your profile is lacking

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn has the ability to insure your visibility, and this new infographic breaks down where you should put the most effort.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a must-have in the professional world. However, this social media platform can be incredibly overwhelming as there are a lot of moving pieces.

Luckily, there is a fancy graphic that details everything you need to know to create the perfect LinkedIn profile. Let’s dive in!

As we know, it is important to use your real name and an appropriate headshot. A banner photo that fits your personal brand (e.g. fits the theme of your profession/industry) is a good idea to add.

Adding your location and a detailed list of work-related projects are both underutilized, yet key pieces of information that people will look for. Other key pieces come in the form of recommendations; connections aren’t just about numbers, endorse them and hopefully they will return the favor!

Fill in every and all sections that you can, and re-read for any errors (get a second set of eyes if there’s one available). Use the profile strength meter to get a second option on your profile and find out what sections could use a little more help.

There are some settings you can enable to get the most out of LinkedIn. Turn on “career interests” to let recruiters know that you are open to job offers, turn on “career advice” to participate in an advice platform that helps you connect with other leaders in your field, turn your profile privacy off from private in order to see who is viewing your profile.

The infographic also offers some stats and words to avoid. Let’s start with stats: 65% of employers want to see relevant work experience, 91 percent of employers prefer that candidates have work experience, and 68% of LinkedIn members use the site to reconnect with past colleagues.

Now, let’s talk vocab. The infographic urges users to avoid the following words: specialized, experienced, skilled, leadership, passionate, expert, motivated, creative, strategic, focused.

That was educational, huh? Speaking of education – be sure to list your highest level of academia. People who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who do not. And, much like when you applied to college, your past education wasn’t all that you should have included – certificates (and licenses) and volunteer work help set you apart from the rest.

Don’t be afraid to ask your connections, colleagues, etc. for recommendations. And, don’t be afraid to list your accomplishments.

Finally, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. You’re already using the site, right? Use it to your advantage! Finish your profile by completing the all-star rating checklist: industry and location, skills (minimum of three), profile photo, at least 50 connections, current position (with description), two past positions, and education.

When all of this is complete, continue using LinkedIn on a daily basis. Update your profile when necessary, share content, and keep your name popping up on peoples’ timelines. (And, be sure to check out the rest of Leisure Jobs’ super helpful infographic that details other bits, like how to properly size photos!)

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Social Media

This Twitter tool hopes to fight misinformation, but how effective is it?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Birdwatch is a new tool from Twitter in the fight against misinformation… in theory. But it could be overkill.

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Twitter welcome screen open on large phone with stylus.

Social media has proven to be a blanket breeding ground for misinformation, and Twitter is most certainly not exempt from this rule. While we’ve seen hit-or-miss attempts from the notorious bird app to quell the spread of misinformation, their latest effort seems more streamlined—albeit a little overboard.

Birdwatch is a forthcoming feature from Twitter that will allegedly help users report misleading content. According to The Verge, Twitter has yet to release definitive details about the service. However, from leaked information, Birdwatch will serve the purpose of reporting misinformation, voting on whether or not it is truly misleading, and attaching notes to pertinent tweets.

Such a feature is still months away, so it appears that the upcoming election will take place before Birdwatch is officially rolled out.

There are a lot of positive sides to welcoming community feedback in a retaliation against false information, be it political in nature or otherwise. Fostering a sense of community responsibility, giving community members the option to report at their discretion, and including an option for a detailed response rather than a preset list of problems are all proactive ideas to implement, in theory.

Of course, that theory goes out the window the second you mention Twitter’s name.

The glaring issue with applying a community feedback patch to the rampant issue of misinformation on social media is simple: The misinformation comes from the community. A far cry from Twitter’s fact-checking warnings that appeared on relevant tweets earlier this year, Birdwatch—given what we know now—has every excuse to be more biased than any prior efforts.

Furthermore, the pure existence of misinformation on Twitter often results from the knee-jerk, short response format that tweets take. As such, expecting a lengthy form and vote application to fix the problem seems misguided. Simply reporting a tweet for being inaccurate or fostering harassment is already more of an involved process than most people are likely to partake in, so Birdwatch might be overdoing it.

As always, any effort from Twitter—or any social media company, for that matter—to crack down on the spread of misinformation is largely appreciated. Birdwatch, for all of its potential issues, is certainly a step in the right direction. Let’s just hope it’s an accessible step.

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