Facebook Organic Panic

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The recent changes at Facebook announced by Mark Zuckerberg have caused panic and meltdowns by some so-called social media “experts.” These one-trick marketers think it’s the end of the world for Facebook and are spreading false fear to brands. I hope your competitors listen to this insanity.

Please share this terrible advice with your competitors:

  • Yes, Facebook is dying. It will probably go away forever very soon.
  • Facebook organic reach will be so low that it’s just not worth using Facebook anymore.
  • Facebook ad rates will go up. So instead of advertising to grow your business in the midst of the biggest business boom in 30 years, you should pull back and start hoarding pennies.
  • Stop using social media altogether.
  • Go back to relying on direct mail ads, newspaper ads, and yellow page ads, because, sure, that’s where customers are spending time.
  • Also, the sky is falling! Eek!

 

Don’t Panic

Let your competitors lose their heads. If they’re going to pull back on Facebook due to decreased space, that’s more space for the rest of us!

I’m not sure if any of these social media “gurus” really believe Facebook is falling, are just trying to get noticed, or have a deep resentment of Facebook’s success and are looking to celebrate a decline. But make no mistake – the only failure here will be made by those not constantly adapting and capitalizing on changes in social media.

 

What to Do

Here are my three recommendations in dealing with these changes on Facebook:

1. Double down on Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. Will ad rates go up? Of course they will. Facebook ads are more effective and more efficient than any other ads available today. Prepare for a year where the US economy will grow 3-4% (finally!). So yes, ad rates will go up and so will your revenue if new customers can find you and can engage with you.

2. Create even better, more sharable content. The value of organic content is no longer about hitting many current fans with a message. The real value comes from getting a few fans or customers to share your content or their experience with their friends.  As per last week’s news feed changes, these shared posts by friends will dominate screens.

3. Consult a professional. Do you really want to spend your entire day navigating these increasingly complicated waters?

 

 

Advice From Your Social Media Consigliere

When debating what is the greatest film of all time, the only question for me is “Part 1 or Part 2?”

 

Of course I refer to The Godfather. In both parts, the Consigliere had an important role in mapping out plans for the future and giving advice (some taken, some not) for the next move.

 

12.-Tom

 

I have written on this blog many times about my dislike of terms like Social Media Expert, Guru, Ninja, and Maven. But lately I like Consigliere: a trusted advisor to the Boss.

 

As your unofficial Consigliere, I can tell you this: In social media marketing right now there are too many Fredos and not enough Michaels.

 

FredoCorleone1. Don’t be a Fredo

Be bold, be strong, and be smart.  You may have a good heart but that will still  get you passed over. Most importantly, never take sides against the organization.

 

 

 

Sonny corleone_22. But don’t be a Sonny either

Saying what you think at the wrong time may result in tragedy for your boss and your hotheaded carelessness will lead to your own demise.

 

 

Michaelcoreleone3. Be a Michael, to a point

Be fearless and innovative, yet patient enough to act at the perfect time. But when you want to get out of a bad situation, don’t let them pull you back in!

 

 

 

 

Stop Following Social Media Influencers

facebooklogoupsidedown2


What does being a social media influencer mean?

They’re influencing people via Facebook? Or they’re influencing people about Facebook?

One issue with seeing social media as an industry (which I don’t) is this idea that you should have already heard of everything and everyone who is “an expert”. I constantly hear this from marketing colleagues and people who will soon no longer work with me:

“Do you follow Joe X?” (Joe’s name is blocked here to protect the ignorantly blissful.) And I always reply, “Who?”

This is usually followed by, “Whadya mean ya don’t know who Joe X is!?! How can you not follow Joe X?”

No, I don’t follow Joe X, and neither should you.  

No offense is meant to Joe X. Joe X is probably a good writer. I see Joe X’s blog occasionally in search results and I’m usually impressed by Joe X’s writing skills and ideas.  I couldn’t write as well as Joe X in a million years. I will be likely to read future posts should the subject appeal to me, or more likely, the keywords match what I am searching.  But following? Nope. It’s pointless.  

Who should you follow? Two Tactics:

 1. Follow influential people in your industry. If you’re in retail, franchising, food services, healthcare, automotive, or any industry,  there are many smart professionals with whom you should engage. Don’t worry about what they’re saying about Facebook or Twitter…pay attention to what they’re saying about retail, franchising, healthcare, etc.

2. Don’t follow any specific people; search and follow ideas!

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
Marie Curie

5 Things to Ask a Social Media Expert, Guru, or Ninja

 

syn_beverlyhillsninja_1
In case you’re being pitched to by a social media expert or you’re thinking of handing over your company’s money to a social media guru, here are some things to ask them. Oh, and I included social media ninjas too because you never know when they will strike!

     

1. Did your studies of the ancient guru or ninja arts take place on a remote mountaintop in Asia or at Florida State?

2. How long ago did you stop being a PR Guru?

3. Does that gmail address on your business card mean you’re too cool to have a real company email?

4. How much of your clients’ revenue increases are a direct result of your work? The metric I’m looking for here is called US Dollars.

5. According to Twitter, you have fewer followers than I do. Or anyone in my company. Or most of the consumers with whom we intend to engage.  So, uh, how long have you been an expert?

 

 

Andy Griffith and The 3 Stages of Social Media Engagement

Note: here is a republished post from November of 2011 I wanted to share as we remember Andy Griffith today.

As we begin to wrap up a year of explosive growth in Social Media usage and engagement, I’m seeing many Social Media Marketers moving into new stages of their own involvement. It reminds me of similar changes of audience engagement by one of the all-time great story tellers.
  
I speak, of course, of Andy Griffith’s portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry!

Stage 1: Over the top and finding our way

At the start of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy’s depiction was the same as the characters he had been playing on stage and screen and in his popular monologues and comedy records for the previous few years. Andy was over-the-top, absurd, and loud. It’s what Andy knew how to do to get attention and laughs. 
 
Andy Griffith
Stage 1 Andy: All Laughs

We dig into our own history of past success and use those same tactics when launching our social media engagement. Sometimes it fits, but more often than not, marketers need to tweak their voice and role, leading to…


Stage 2: Getting down to business and finding our role

After the first season or so, Andy realized that it would be best for the show if he played the straight man and let those around him get the laughs. His decision to pay it forward catapulted the show into legendary status.

Andy Griffith
Stage 2 Andy: Paying It Forward

The character of Andy as the normal and wise hub for the crazy Mayberry citizens’ shenanigans is a great role model for how Social Media Marketers should carry themselves within their online communities. Be the Andy by helping solve your connections’ business problems, mediating different point of views, and most of all promoting others before yourself.

Note, many so-called Social Media “Experts” or “Gurus” are the equivalent of Deputy Barney Fife. They take credit for others’ heroics, crow about their own expertise, and obsess on the tools of the trade rather than the message. Barneys don’t really make a community worse; in fact, they can be funny. But in the end, we’re just laughing at them. 

 
Stage 3: Getting annoyed by and tired of those around us

It would be best if you as a Social Media Marketer could stay in a perpetual stage two. Toward the end of The Andy Griffith Show’s original run, Andy’s character further developed into a role that you don’t want to be. These episodes are easy to identify as they are in color and “Angry Andy” is constantly irritated by the dimwits around him.   

Andy and Aunt Bee
Stage 3 Andy: Annoyed
If you feel yourself getting easily agitated by the day to day engagement with the Goobers and Aunt Bees in your online communities, it may be time to stop and to move on to new challenges.
 

Don’t Be a Social Media Electrician

Social Media Electrician

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the negatives of being a Social Media Hammer Guru. Now I’m asking you to avoid becoming the social media equivalent of an electrician. 

Ever talk to an electrician who’s starting a job or project? What do they talk about the most?

Other electricians.

Specifically, they criticize the previous work done by other electricians who wired or rewired the place. There’s always lots of “that was done wrong”, “I would’ve done this differently,” and of course “that guy doesn’t know what he’s doing!”

The same goes for many trades: computer programmers, sales managers, and NFL coaches. It happens in any job. Maybe I’m giving electricians a bad rap.

Social media marketers and communicators can easily fall into this trap of spending all day pointing out flaws in others’ social plans and tactics. But unlike the electrical trade, there is not yet enough history to establish absolute Rights and Wrongs. As soon as we get close, platforms’ rules change, public sentiment shifts, or research appears showing us that we didn’t really know how few or how many consumers were engaged.

We will do ourselves a favor by not going down the path of the social media electrician or armchair quarterback. Social Media Marketing is still so new (yep, still no “experts”!) that we should relish this time of experimentation and crowd learning.

Andy Griffith and The 3 Stages of Social Media Engagement

As we begin to wrap up a year of explosive growth in Social Media usage and engagement, I’m seeing many Social Media Marketers moving into new stages of their own involvement. It reminds me of similar changes of audience engagement by one of the all-time great story tellers.
 
I speak, of course, of Andy Griffith’s portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry!

 

Stage 1: Over the top and finding our way

At the start of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy’s depiction was the same as the characters he had been playing on stage and screen and in his popular monologues and comedy records for the previous few years. Andy was over-the-top, absurd, and loud. It’s what Andy knew how to do to get attention and laughs. 
Andy Griffith
Stage 1 Andy: All Laughs

 

We dig into our own history of past success and use those same tactics when launching our social media engagement. Sometimes it fits, but more often than not, marketers need to tweak their voice and role, leading to…

  

Stage 2: Getting down to business and finding our role

After the first season or so, Andy realized that it would be best for the show if he played the straight man and let those around him get the laughs. His decision to pay it forward catapulted the show into legendary status.

Andy Griffith
Stage 2 Andy: Paying It Forward

 
The character of Andy as the normal and wise hub for the crazy Mayberry citizens’ shenanigans is a great role model for how Social Media Marketers should carry themselves within their online communities. Be the Andy by helping solve your connections’ business problems, mediating different point of views, and most of all promoting others before yourself.

Note, many so-called Social Media “Experts” or “Gurus” are the equivalent of Deputy Barney Fife. They take credit for others’ heroics, crow about their own expertise, and obsess on the tools of the trade rather than the message. Barneys don’t really make a community worse; in fact, they can be funny. But in the end, we’re just laughing at them. 

 
Stage 3: Getting annoyed by and tired of those around us

It would be best if you as a Social Media Marketer could stay in a perpetual stage two. Toward the end of The Andy Griffith Show’s original run, Andy’s character further developed into a role that you don’t want to be. These episodes are easy to identify as they are in color and “Angry Andy” is constantly irritated by the dimwits around him.
   

Andy and Aunt Bee
Stage 3 Andy: Annoyed
If you feel yourself getting easily agitated by the day to day engagement with the Goobers and Aunt Bees in your online communities, it may be time to stop and to move on to new challenges.
 
 

Social Media Strategy = Snake Oil

 

Snake Oil

Go search Twitter right now for the phrase “social media strategy” and see who is trying to sell you snake oil. It’s not pretty!  A few Tweets every minute pop up by someone using that phrase.

I cringe every time I hear or read the phrase “Social Media Strategy”. It’s still being used frequently by so-called Social Media “Experts”. By the way, that’s a bogus term too, but that’s well-covered ground here and at many other places.
 

There is no such thing as Social Media “Strategy”.
 

You have a business strategy and perhaps a communications strategy and hopefully a communications plan.

Your Social Media tactics are a means to execute those strategies just like any other tactic or activity. Social Media can be a platform, avenue, channel, or tool.  
 
I have had many organizations tell me “We don’t yet have a Social Media strategy.” My reply is usually, “Do you have a telephone strategy?” Of course not; you use a telephone to make the connections and build relationships to achieve your business goals.

It’s the same with Social Media!

Social Media Douchebag
I hereby pin this badge of dishonor on anyone claiming to be a Social Media Strategist or Expert.

Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus? Part 3

 

As discussed previously on this blog, a good carpenter does not call himself a Hammer Guru. Being knowledgeable in your tools of the trade is important, but you should focus on the job, not the tools.

And that’s what social media is: a medium, a channel, or a tool with which you may engage. Saying you’re an expert with the tools is saying nothing.

Too many PR people are riding the wave of corporate ignorance about social media and promoting themselves as Social Media Experts. As of today, here are the numbers of those whose Twitter profiles identify themselves as being the following:
  
Social Media Expert      382

Social Media Guru         218

Social Media Maven      163

Social Media Strategist  460

 
 

Strategist?!? There is no Social Media Strategy! You need a business strategy or a communications strategy and apply tactics – including the use of social media – to it.
 
I won’t go as far as Foursquare and give out Social Media D******** badges, but I’m getting close.
 

 

Another group of self-proclaimed experts, gurus, kings, queens, and mavens is the PR Measurement crowd. About 99% of the discussion at PR conferences, on blogs, and via Twitter is about WHY you should measurement PR activities and results. Rarely do any of these “experts” tell anyone HOW to measure. Maybe that’s the secret sauce that I haven’t paid for. Or the snake oil…

Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of smart PR folks who know measurement. But a PR person saying they are “into” in social media or measurement is like a politician saying he’s against waste. Wait, who is FOR waste? Again you’re not saying anything.  

A better long term reputation-builder is to show your skills in creating the messages and content and starting the conversations that will help your clients achieve their real goals.

So, I ask you – what are the best ways for PR prosfessionals to promote themselves as being great communicators without resorting to telling the world they’re Hammer Gurus?