Stopping the cycle of panic in small business social media – don’t be a deer in headlights

  • THEY said Social Media was FREE!

    They said it was free
    They said it was free
  • THEY said it wouldn’t take more than a few minutes a day!

You’ve signed up on Social Media, but now you feel like a deer in headlights. You begin to realize you have taken on a part-time job that you have no idea how to perform.

The cost?

High stress and lost valuable time that you already didn’t have.

But the ROI?

Huge – if you go about it the right way!

What have you gotten yourself into?! Calm down, here’s how to think about Social Media in realistic terms…

First get out of panic mode

Your accounts aren’t going to EXPLODE if you have to take a little time to get your feet wet before diving in.

Remember when you got your first desktop? Learning how to use the software, setting up your email, searching the internet… all seemingly insurmountable tasks, yet you don’t even think about doing all those things now, right? Same thing with Social Media.

Second… some foundation rules.

You’re going to hear or read a lot of “you have to do this!” and “you have to do that!” I’m here to tell you that no, you don’t. Not until you know what you are doing and are comfortable doing it.

Stick to the basics and don’t try to learn / do it all at once or you’ll wind up quitting out of frustration.

(This is all directed at freshman in Social Media, so you graduates, please don’t comment that I’m leaving out how to get followers, how to increase visits, how to optimize SEO, and so on and so on… I am talking to those people rocking in the corner sucking their thumbs terrified to turn on their desktops because they tried to master social media all at once. Leave ’em alone! They’ll get there soon enough!)

Now back to you newbies…

Stick with The Big 3 – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – because those are the must have social media!

Beginner’s Rule #1: As a newbie, I wouldn’t recommend linking your accounts.

What is linking?

There are tools in the Big 3 that allow you to link (connect) your accounts so that such as when you post a tweet in Facebook, you’ll be simultaneously posting on Twitter, etc… Same goes for Twitter and LinkedIn, LinkedIn updates posting to Twitter, you get the picture. Enough linking already!!!

Why not? Wouldn’t it be more efficient?

NO. Because until you get a feel for the tone and heartbeat of each of them, you won’t know which posts will attract the corresponding audience.

Some people think it’s important just to get something out there and everywhere. WRONG. Eventually, that just begins to resemble spam. No one likes to open their page and see multiple streams consisting of just YOUR posts of mindless rambling.

In addition, if you don’t really know what you are doing, you may wind up posting the same thing several times on one account when you start using tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Then you wind up looking like you just don’t know what you are doing. Because actually, you don’t.


So, spend some time looking at what others in your industry are doing on their pages. Get a book or two on Social Media Marketing. Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen and Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan – among others… and start playing around with it all!

And tune in to my next post (that’ll make me get writing!) to learn more about how to go gently into the Social Media world of increasing customer response and traffic!

Happy Posting!

What Would Don Draper Do with Social Media?

If you are active in Social Media, don’t try to deny it – you ARE in marketing.

The show Mad Men is our current cultural reference for the origins of today’s marketing. And although traditional marketing can’t match the power of today’s social media and its reach, the philosophies behind traditional marketing are always relevant, no matter what the medium.

So sit back and learn from these quotes of the character of the #1 SOB in 1960’s marketing – Don Draper. Nobody liked him but he knew what the hell he was doing. (Think Steve Jobs.)

1. Don Draper: Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.

Nobody wants to read posts that are depressing or disturbing. And they don’t RT or share them either. There’s a reason. Inspire. Teach. Motivate. Make followers happy.

2.  Don Draper: I don’t care if you work ten seconds if you bring me something I like.

You could spend all month working on content strategy, but if people won’t like reading it, you’ve failed. If it inspired you, and more importantly, it would inspire your followers, then don’t over-analyze it; post it.

3.  Don Draper: You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself.

If all of your posts are links to someone else’s material and quotes from the greats, what is setting you apart from everyone else?

4. Don Draper: [Reading aloud from a piece of paper] “The man is shamed by being openly ridiculed and rejected; it requires an audience.”
Pete Campbell: What is that, fortune cookie?
Don Draper: It’s from that book you were all supposed to read.
Pete Campbell: Oh.

Do your research. If you are going to post with authority, know what the hell you are talking about. Don’t show your ass by not keeping up with what your followers already know.

Social Media participants show their asses more often than you might think. This occurs all too often in discussion questions such as those posted on LinkedIn or Quora. If you’re paying attention to what others post, you’ll notice the redundancy. I do.

5.  Peggy Olson: Sex sells.
Don Draper: Says who? Just so you know, the people who talk that way think that monkeys can do this. They take all this monkey crap and just stick it in a briefcase completely unaware that their success depends on something more than their shoeshine. 

If you want to be provocative in your posts, make it make sense. Make it have relevance. Don’t use it just for cheap attention.

YOU are the product. You – FEELING something. That’s what sells. Not them. Not sex.

Social Media has the unique aspect of requiring you to reveal yourself as a person. Whether you are a company, a sole proprietor, or just you personally. This is why Social Media is more popular than traditional media. People like to connect – and connection occurs via emotions, feelings, personal nature. Take if from another (real-life) marketing guru, Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

6. Don Draper: Every woman wants choices, but in the end, none wants to be one of a hundred in a box.

Post like you are talking directly to your individual followers. That’s golden. Followers want to feel recognized for their (perceived) uniqueness. No one wants to feel their interests are generic. Read about Chris Brogan’s Unfollow experiment to understand more.

7. Don Draper: And there are so many real problems in the world.

Don’t post crap just to be able to post. Don’t waste your followers time. Make it real. Make it worthwhile. Make it stick.

8. Don Draper: People tell you who they are, but we ignore it – because we want them to be who we want them to be.

If you are working too hard trying to make your followers into your wannabes, they’ll see right through it and leave you or ignore you. They’ll know you aren’t listening to them and that will turn them right off.

9. Don Draper: When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he’ll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up. If you listen, he’ll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect. 

And finally, give a damn about your followers. Quit being the posting narcissist. People who take the time to create a Social Media account are putting themselves out there. They are human beings, like Willie Loman, and “attention must be paid.”

When is the last time you clicked on a followers page or profile? Their Twitter bio, their Facebook info tab, their LinkedIn profile? Do you take the time to learn who your followers are?

– If not, you’re slinging your posts like a slingshot at no particular target…


Feeling left behind in social media know how?

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...
Image via Wikipedia

If you still use the newspaper as your primary source marketing vehicle, then forget reading this post.

The events in the Middle East have given Social Media a new dimension and more credibility.

Social Media should really be renamed the new mass media. But, I am meeting more and more of you 40+ business people who are now worried about getting caught in the dust of those who are already social media and Smart-phone savvy. I meet you at every networking luncheon and at your place of businesses when I am shopping and chat with you.

Are you a victim of past success?

What I am hearing from you most often:

  1. I used to have staff that handled all the work on the computer, but I had to cut back and now have to learn to do it myself.
  2. I don’t even know how to add an attachment to my email and young people are too condescending when I ask for help.
  3. Customer support reps assume I have a higher level of computer knowledge when they answer my questions.
  4. I thought social media was a fad for college kids.

You should not only start paying attention to social media, but you must also participate to create loyalty with new and existing customers.

Educate yourself!

Sign up with enewsletters like Social Media Smartbrief and websites like Mashable

Go to YouTube and search for how-to videos on using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Foursquare for a visual learning experience.

The bookstore also has social media books from social media gurus like Chris Brogan and others who don’t talk down to you. Buy only the latest published as social media is changing constantly.

Go for it! Take steps to learn and have fun making your business expertise public! — Learn How Human Business Works – Beyond Social Media

It’s all about seeking solutions for your customers…and going outside the box. Sticking to the same sales approach will never give you more of the necessary options when conditions change. Stay open, take risks, BE your business.

Read this latest post by Chris Brogan. — Learn How Human Business Works – Beyond Social Media.