Archive | June, 2010


Social Media Strategies Explained

How many times do you log onto Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any social network in a day?  Once?  Two times?  At least fifteen?  If you’re in the last group, you’re a loser I won’t judge you, but how many times do you stop to think abut why you are actually going onto a social network?

Why you use a social network is what the professionals call a social media strategy.

While that sounds great for businesses, for the rest of us, it seems a above our heads.  Do we need to plan on a chart or break out some whiteboards?  Is this strategy supposed to be like a battle tactic?  Do I need a sword and shield, and should I prepare to make enemies?

It’s actually much simpler.  All you need to do is ask “Why am I using this tool?”

Boil your reasons down into a verb describing why you’re spending time online.  Are you keeping up with friends?  Finding the latest news?  Growing your business?  Think it over.  Now, find a piece of paper and write this out.

I use (Social Network) to (Action).

There’s your answer to why.  Now let’s fill in some of the ways we can accomplish this goal.  Here’s where you can get creative.  Consider publishing awesome content.  Or, try finding and sharing cool stuff.  Or you can message and interact with people.  These are some simple ways to go about it.  Go crazy and think of ways you can accomplish your goal.  Once you get three, add them to your statement.  You can always add or subtract methods, but three is a good number to start with.   Your statement should look something like this:

I use (Social Network) to (Action) by (Method 1), (Method 2), and (Method 3).

So, we’ve got the basis of a social media strategy here.  If you’ve come this far, you aren’t an idiot, so let’s make this an even better strategy by adding a goal you can measure.  You could do this by tracking sales, getting number of followers, or tracking how popular your website becomes.  Either way, you’ll need to figure out what you can measure and how to measure it.

So now, our statement looks like this:

I use (Social Network) to (Action) by (Method 1), (Method 2), and (Method 3).  I will be successful when (Goal).

This is my statement.  Yours should look something like this:

I use Twitter to promote my blog, the Anti-Social Media, by publishing awesome content, interacting with smart, funny people, and sharing hilarious content.  I will be successful when I have 1,000 followers and I am listed 200 times.

That took me three minutes to come up with.  Stop looking at whatever site is distracting you, write out your goal for each social network, how you’re going to do it, and how you’ll know you accomplished that goal.

Got all that?  Now, get to work making it happen.


This is not social media news, Mashable. Next time you write a…

This is not social media news, Mashable.

Next time you write a post advertising a service, you might want to annotate that the post is sponsored by Verizon.

And if for some reason this post wasn’t sponsored by Verizon, why the hell did you write it?


Personal Branding 101: Privacy and Porn

One of my favorite things to do on Twitter is see who other people are following.  It gives this wonderful sense of spying, like you’re seeing something you’re not supposed to be seeing.  It’s also a great way to see who other people consider important and find new people to follow.  

Unfortunately, for every gem you’ll find, you can also find a turd.  And every now and then, you’ll find an atomic bomb like I did.

I was browsing who a Twitter user followed the other night.  Everything starts normally, and I see a bunch of people we have in common and some celebrities. Then, I start noticing a number of strange profiles.  Their avatars are grainy and have pictures of increasingly scantily clad bodies.  My curiosity led me to a couple of profiles, where I realize that this person followed a significant number of pornographers.

I wouldn’t have cared at first, but this person named his/her account “MyName_JobTitle.” Really.  Name, job, and face all right there following a barely covered behind. Not only do I know what they like to read and who they like to talk to, but I also know how they like to get down and do the nasty.

Unless you are involved in the adult industry, and face it, if you’re reading this blog, you probably are not, there is no reason you should use a public account with your name, face, and personal info to connect with naughty pictures and materials.  You don’t need a social account to find porn online.  If you really want to let out your inner social media slut, make a separate account.  Don’t use your real name and photo, and have fun.  Don’t ruin your image and name by attaching your identity and work life.  If you have to ruin your professional life, at least do so in a way that has a good story.

I don’t really care who you follow online. I do care that you make yourself look the best you can online.  You don’t want your clients and friends to find out everything about you from your Twitter account.  You’re an adult, you should know better.  Start acting like one.


This is not social media news, Mashable. I’m just going to…

This is not social media news, Mashable.

I’m just going to let this “story” speak for itself.

I mean, I knew they liked Avatar, but I didn’t know they liked Avatar.


Stop Worrying Why You Don’t Get Comments

Imagine: You’ve just written what you consider to be your best blog post.  It’s funny.  It’s poignant.  It even teaches something at the end.  You hit publish, and wait for the comments to arrive.

Then nothing happens.

No comments.  No retweets.  No online reaction whatsoever.  It’s like you dropped the atomic bomb and it evaporated before it hit the ground.  What happened?

As bloggers, we live for feedback.  We constantly want people to read what we write, spread the word and add their opinions.  If we weren’t selfish, egotistical narcissists, we’d stick to writing books and journals without the capacity for immediate feedback.

Here are five things I do to get comments on what I publish online:

  1. See if anyone read the post - You should be using an analytics tool like Google Analytics to begin with just to see how much traffic you’re getting. Set it up, and see if anyone is reading.  If no one reads your posts or watches your videos, there’s no way you’re going to get any comments.  Get off your lazy butt and start shamelessly promoting your posts.
  2. Don’t Have All the Answers - If you are too thorough and too knowledgeable, people won’t want to comment.  No one wants to come across as dumb.  They also want to be able to contribute.  Leave room for people to fill in details or their experiences.
  3. Ask for comments - A lot of people don’t know when to say something.  For every one person who will jump in and say something without a second thought, there are at least two more who aren’t sure if it’s ok to go ahead and speak up.  End the post with a call for people to respond with their own stories and ideas.  Your readers will then feel free to dive right in.
  4. Be Bold - Most people don’t write just to say “Great Post!”  They want to either add information, relate a story, or disagree.  Getting people to say I disagree is a great way to stimulate conversation and get people thinking about opposing ideas.  If you don’t say something that gets someone angry, you aren’t trying hard enough.
  5. Reply to the comments you get - Get a comment?  Great.  Now reply to it.  Even if your reply just says “Thank you,” your readers will appreciate knowing you actually took the time to read what they wrote.  Chances are they’ll come back for more.

I know there are more ways to get people talking.  What do you do to get people commenting on your blog posts?  (See, I even took my own advice there!)


The Two Most Important Words in Social Media

It is an overwhelming understatement to say I am a negative person.  I’m a depressive pessimist who is quick to anger.  I write a blog about social media that consistently has posts titled “I Hate….”.  If that isn’t beyond negative, I don’t know what is.

It will probably come across as a surprise then that I think one of the most important qualities to express online is gratitude.  My black heart isn’t above acknowledging and thanking the people who’ve helped me.  In fact, I believe the two most important words in social media are “Thank you.”

Why should you start saying, “Thank you?”  Well, you aren’t any better than anyone reading your blog or retweets you.  It’s time to get off your high horse and shake hands with the people who actually do the heavy lifting of interacting and spreading your message beyond your PR blast. 

You’re probably thinking there’s something wrong with me, and I changed into the manners police.  But, think of what saying “Thank you” a can do for you.

Saying “Thank you” acknowledges what another person did for you.  Whether that’s sharing your link or leaving a comment, it says, “Hey!  You did something for me and I noticed.”  It also shows gratitude that you appreciate that work, and humility that you’re not above any of the people who actually share and spread your message.

Gratitude does more than just realizing that another person is in the room.  It opens the channel for communication and engagement.  See someone new sharing your blog or post?  Thank them.  For every time I’ve done that, at least every other person gives me feedback in some form.  Whether it’s positive or negative, I’ve opened a channel with a new potential reader and customer.  

I can’t think of a disadvantage to saying “Thanks” to someone online.  When it’s said honestly, the message is entirely positive.  If you happen to come across someone who has a problem with you expressing your gratitude, that person is probably crazy.

Stop and meet the people who spread your message.  Thank them for doing work that benefits you.  The karma alone will come back to you tenfold.


Why I don’t follow your brand on Twitter

I follow people on Twitter for because they either have information or entertain me.  Notice I said people.  Not brands.  Not companies.  People.

I firmly believe all social media is about connecting with people online.  The most massive social media networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, are all about connecting with other people.  Companies are secondary.  I like knowing that the avatar I’m communicating with is more than a mindless PR or marketing slave stuck behind a computer all day.

When I think of brands on Twitter, I want the same two things I want from people: information, entertainment and a connection with a person.  Your brand fails because either you’re inhuman, you’re not informing me, or not entertaining me, and I consider myself easily entertained.

If you’re going for the information route, put up something more than just your PR releases and photos.  I can easily see those on a bunch of other websites, and they’re more likely to grab my attention than a short tweet.  Show me a neat fact or photo I’m not going to see anywhere else.  Teach me something about your service I didn’t know.  Find links that will be relevant to people interested in your products.  If you really get into this, you’ll start bleeding into the category of entertainment.

Entertainment seems harder because you’ll need to bring a smile, but I’ve seen great people even make lightbulbs seem cool on Twitter.  If someone can make lighting awesome, you can do it too. Find cool ways people are using your product.  Show the fun side of life at your office. Show how your competitor’s product fails.

Most importantly, let me know there is a person behind the avatar.  I want to connect with the person behind the logo.  I don’t need to know their life story, but just the sparkling of a personality behind the corporate facade is enough to take your presence from ordinary to amazing.

Once you can do that, maybe then I’ll start following your company.  Until then, I’ll just talk about you with my real friends.


Why I Blog

Behind my facade of an angry, sarcastic blogger with grands plans of changing the way we use the internet, I’m an insecure, self-doubting writer.  I’ve come to accept that I will never think any post is good enough.  I also accept that my posts I loathe most become the most popular.

Still, every four weeks or so I go through a blogging identity crisis.  Why do I do this?  Who on Earth reads this?  What is the point of all this writing?  Will it ever pay off?

I like to imagine every blogger goes through a similar journey more often than I do.  Thinking this way lets me feel better about my own self-doubts, and makes me think everyone else is worse off than I am on my worst days.  This thinking has gotten me through the rough patches, but still, those questions nag me.  However, I find the more I answer them, the more I want to blog and make a difference.

Why do I do this?

I write because I love to.  I write about what makes me angry because I know there are other people with the same feelings.  I write about what makes me angry with social media because I know I live in a time where I can use my anger and the anger of others to make a difference in the way everyone, not just marketers and PR folks, use social media.

Who on Earth reads this?

People who hate Facebook read this blog.  So do people who love Twitter.  People who heard about this social media thing and just can’t figure it out come here.  Gurus who think they know everything about social media and want to learn why someone hates it end up on this site.  People who want to do business online better come here too.

In other words, this blog is for anyone who can read English with access to the internet and some vague interest in the way we interact online.  You can’t go wrong with that broad of an appeal.

What is the point of all this writing?

I want people to have fun and learn about social media.  I think all messages can be broken into information or entertainment.  I aim to do both.

At the same time, I want to be a voice for people who can’t say no, or tell people they are being absurd.  I want to challenge ideas and see if there is a better way to do things.

Will it ever pay off?

It already has.  Who knows if it will pay off monetarily, but the connections I’ve made are invaluable. I talk with people around the planet about things that matter.  I’ve made a small difference in the way people interact online.  Nothing crazy, but enough to know we’re thinking about deeper issues that why Facebook sucks today.

Also, my ability to write honestly, openly in my own voice, and be able to make jokes has improved significantly.  Who would have guessed having to write something every weekday would do such a thing?

Do my motives seem crazy?  Am I a fool for not being blinded by greed and a desire to earn money?  I want to know why you blog, and what you think of my motivations.