4 Secrets for Social Media Failure

How to fail at social media marketing, 4 helpful tips

Failure isn’t “rocket surgery”.

Any person or organization can handle its social media posting without a huge commitment of time or money. It is quite likely that by doing it right, you, and your organization, will achieve at least some level of measurable success. And while success is never guaranteed, there are several different ways to guarantee failure. Here are some of my favourites.

  1. Post nothing but link spam:

    This is probably the number one rookie mistake. You’ve taken the plunge into social media marketing, you’ve chose a realistic and measurable goal (driving more traffic to your website), and you begin your tweeting and posting. Three times a day, five days a week, you post something along the lines of.
    we have the prices in Toronto for silver plated widgets! Click Here to buy some.
    Ask yourself how often you’ve clicked on a link like that? Probably not too often. How much value does a post like that add? Is there anything worthwhile to be learned from it?There is a saying from the early days of the Web that’s as relevant today as it was twenty years ago, “content is king“. Every post should provide something of interest or value to your stakeholders, even the posts with links back to your blog or website.

  2. Spread yourself too thin:

    If you are a full-time social media professional working for a larger organization, this may not apply to the same extent, though it still matters. If you are a self-employed professional, or working for small volunteer-staffed organization, it is all too easy to sign up for accounts on every social media platform that you happen upon, in the hope that by being everywhere, you can get your message across to everyone. Unless you actually are a social media professional, you’re soon going to learn that if you post everything to every platform, you’re not going to have enough time to actually accomplish the core tasks of your organization. Or, you’ll spend so much time working on promoting your work, that you don’t have time to actually do any work! Or (most likely) you’ll just give up completely on social media and just walk away. Choose a couple platforms that are right for you and/or your organization, and work them consistently.

  3. Choose the wrong platform:

    Not every platform, not even all of the “big three” (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) may be right for your project, business, or organization. Eventually most organizations are going to bump up against their limits of time and monetary resources. Like any other important project, it’s important to concentrate your social media efforts where they are most likely to yield your desired results. A retail business selling gourmet chocolate products will probably get great bang for their marketing efforts by investing time and money in its Facebook Page. LinkedIn would likely be much less effective for a retail business like this. On the other hand, the exact opposite would be the case for a professional who offers business to business services. In a previous post I offered some helpful advice on choosing the best platforms.

  4. Become too busy, too lazy, or too complacent to post:

    .…And of course the absolute best way to fail at social media marketing is to not do any.Back when I was a teenager just starting to go out to restaurants and bars on my own, my buddies and I couldn’t figure out why our waiter would not return to our table after we bought our first round. I finally screwed up enough courage to go up to him and ask. This was his response:”a horse can’t do no work if you don’t give it no hay

    Simple, and to the point. If you don’t put in any effort, you will not reap any rewards. By avoiding to the three previous failure “tips”, it becomes much easier to avoid this last one too. All it takes is a few minutes, once or twice a day, and the self-discipline and task prioritization needed to make those few minutes available every day.

Now go forth and post my friends. Go forth and tweet! The world is waiting for you.

The Secret to Successful Blogging

Every successful blogger knows that there is one secret factor that every successful blog shares. No blog can succeed without knowing this secret.

What's the big secret?

So, What’s the big secret?

Well, I’m going to share it with you now, so that you too will be “in on it”. The secret consists of only a single word. DISCIPLINE.

Discipline, or more accurately, self-discipline, is the difference between having a blog that works for your business, and continues to engage your stakeholders – vs. having a blog that just stagnates online and falls further and further down search engine rankings.

Notice, that I didn’t say, “hard work”, “great writing”, or “technical proficiency”. These are all things that can make blogging easier and more effective, but none of these things, or the 50 other things that can lead to blog success, will make any difference if you don’t have the discipline to post regularly to your blog.

What do I mean by “post regularly”?

That depends on your business and your blog. In an ideal world, in which the typical self-employed business person has lots of extra time available, regular posting would mean posting a new blog article every day. But let’s assume that you (and me too for that matter!) are not blessed with unlimited spare time—that we actually have businesses to run and families to spend time with—what’s really reasonable?

In the real wold we want to post something new to our blogs on a weekly basis. The bare minimum to keep a blog “alive” is monthly blog posts.

As an aside, one of the core services that I offer is a “keep-alive” package that includes daily Tweets and a monthly blog post. Contact me to arrange this.

The weekly (or if you are really pressed for time, monthly) blog post is where the secret comes in. It is impossible to maintain a consistent blogging schedule if you don’t actually schedule the time to do it!

The secret is discipline, and the secret to discipline is scheduling the time in your calendar to sit down and write. I’ve posted elsewhere on this blog, some tips to help you write blog posts, even when you are feeling pressed for content ideas. There is always something that you can write about, and remember, not every blog post has to be (nor should it be) a sales pitch.  But you won’t have a blog at all if you don’t actually blog.

Pick a day of the week. Pick a time of that day. Don’t “pencil it in”—carve it in stone! Who knows where a bit more self-discipline could lead you? But at the very least, you will end up with a blog containing new content for your customers, clients, suppliers—and for Google search engine optimization.

Content Curation: 7 Steps to Success

Content curation curator

What is content curation, and why should you care?

Content curation curator

What is curation:

Content Curation is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter.
~ EContent Magazine

In the world of blogging, content curation is the artful use of other people’s content, to provide value to your readers, while simultaneously providing value to the originator of the content.

Why you should care:

Done right, and done well, there is no easier to way to provide high value content to the people you are trying to communicate with through your online marketing efforts. Done poorly, there is no easier way to damage your online reputation.

How to do Content Curation Right

Let’s break it down to just 7 simple steps:

  1. Know your audience
    Before doing anything else, you need to know who you want to talk to, and what type of content those people will find valuable.
  2. Search for content
    Google is your friend. Use it well. Use it wisely. Search for blog posts and websites that your audience will find interesting and of value. You may want to avoid using (and this promoting) the content of a direct competitor, but even this “sin” is forgivable from time to time.
  3. Start your curated article with a catchy, SEO friendly title
    It’s usually best not to directly copy the headline of the article or web page you are curating, but obviously, the title of your piece must be highly relevant to it.
  4. Introduce the article in your own words
    Write a sentence or two to introduce the content that you are curating. Name the source, name the author (link her name to her profile on the original site, or her own site), and explain to your readers why you think that they will find the article interesting.
  5. Quote from the original content
    Quote a few sentences, a paragraph, or at most, a couple of very short paragraphs, of the original article. Do not overdo the quotation! Your goal here is to provide enough of the original content to provide useful information to your readers—enough for them to decide independently if want to read the original article, on the original page—or if they are satisfied with the snippet that you’ve provided for them.
  6. Comment of the article
    This is where your curation skills matter most. Provide either a short summary of the rest of the article (in your own words), or provide an opinion of the article. Remember that your ultimate goal is to prove YOUR value to your readers.
  7. Link back to the source
    Content curation is all about adding value. That includes, not only adding value to your own audience, but also adding value to the originators of the content that you are curating. One day someone may choose to curate your content! You want to provide a shining example to that content curator of how it should be done.

Potential Pitfalls in Content Curation

There are two major pitfalls to avoid when curating content for your own blog.

  1. Providing poor quality content
    There isn’t much point in curating content that your audience won’t find valuable. Avoid poorly written articles. Avoid articles that lack depth, or that repeat content that is so easy to find that your readers will find it useless or boring.
  2. Plagiarism
    Plagiarism is when you take credit for someone else’s writing. It is unethical, dishonest, and it will blow up in your face in numerous ways. Your online brand is your online reputation. It should not be taken lightly or squandered. Always link back to the original article and the original author. Never quote more than the minimum necessary to convey the key message of the article you curated. Search engines like Google are constantly improving their algorithms to detect duplicated content—and they can punish plagiarizers by demoting them in their page ranking. Don’t be that guy.

You are curating content that you located elsewhere. Don’t hide that fact, celebrate it by linking back to it. It’s what you should expect when your own content is curated by another blogger.

…and remember, good bloggers do more than just curate other people’s content. They create original content of their own too. For a few more tips about doing that, read my article about content creation.