Bigger, Better Things

I’ve been a little busy lately, but I have a good excuse: I’m moving. Not moving like two-doors-down kind of moving, but I’m picking up and moving from Washington, DC to Chattanooga, TN.

If you’re wondering why a digital media professional would leave a big city like DC for a southern mountain town like Chattanooga (population: 167,674 as of the 2010 census), here are a few reasons:

  • Bigger is not always better. This is something that I’ve heard come up a number of times in interviews lately, both referring to the market and to the size of their business. Smaller markets can be untapped gold mines of opportunity. Small businesses in these markets still need good people to help them grow and navigate these digital media waters.
  • Chattanooga is positioning itself brilliantly to attract smart young talent. Not only does it have naturally gorgeous scenery and outdoor activities, but it has the fastest internet in the country. Check out this initiative to attract entrepreneurs.
  • Chattanooga is bringing in some of the coolest parts of DC, like food trucks and a bikeshare program that even uses the same bikes DC’s Capital Bikeshare does.

So even though my move is technically to a smaller place, it’s on to bigger, better things for me. I’m excited to become a part of such an exciting growing city. (And maybe get a dog.)

Update:

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Are You Being Antisocial on Social Media?

It may sound strange, but it is actually very possible to be antisocial on social media. It doesn’t matter if you have accounts on every site–what matters is that you’re interacting with your audience and giving them something they value.

You’re antisocial if:

  • You’re just constantly posting links to your own work–no one wants to follow someone who only talks about themselves and just sees it as a self-promotion tool.
  • You’re ignoring people who reply to you or ask you a question. One of the best things about using social media is using it to form relationships, so why not take advantage of it?
  • You’re robo-tweeting or coming off like it. A social media presence is an opportunity to show your personality a little bit and give your company a human face. It’s okay to schedule a couple of tweets in advance, but make sure you’re actually present and responding to things that are happening, too.

Breaking News: Everyone Hates Facebook Timeline

Well, this doesn’t surprise me at all: everyone else is just as annoyed by Facebook’s new profile format as I am. I was an early adopter, mostly because I thought the big new banner was kind of cool, but once I started looking through the rest of it, I immediately regretted switching.

I knew that large parts of my life were documented on Facebook, but now I can pick a date (say, December 2007) and immediately see all the pictures I posted and things people wrote on my wall. I didn’t know wall posts from exes were considered “highlights.” Not only does it strike me as more invasive than ever, it feels like I have less control over the amount of information I reveal.

A SodaHead poll (via Mashable) finds that 70% of survey respondents would get rid of Timeline if they could, and it annoys both men and women equally. U.S. users hate it more than the rest of the world does, but that could be because we’ve had it the longest and gotten used to the old way. I’m sure that discomfort with change is a large part of it, but I think it goes deeper than just a cosmetic change. Timeline reminds us that everything we do online is public and permanent, and we’re uncomfortable with the loss of privacy. That may take some time to get used to.

Is Social Media Invasive?

I came across this MediaPost article the other day that cited some interesting statistics:

…nearly two-thirds (64%) of people say they “hate” when a company targets them through their social networking profile, and 58% agree that social media marketing is invasive, according to a new study.

 

At the same time, findings from Insight Strategy Group showed a majority of those surveyed (55%) believe social networking sites are the best way to give a company feedback and that posting about a product or service on a social site can have a strong impact on a brand.

 

In short, people like being able to provide feedback to marketers via social media — but they don’t necessarily want to be followed by them.

 

These statistics may seem like bad news for companies, but it makes sense to me–we want to be able to find companies with the tools we already use (like Facebook, for example), but we don’t want to feel like they’re able to peer into our lives.

However, I want to point out some of the language in the blog post and the survey: they’re asking about how people feel when companies “target” them. Who likes to feel like they’re being targeted?

There is a way to take this information into account when using social media as a marketing tool: don’t get too pushy. It’s so easy to block or unfollow a brand that’s too annoying, which is exactly what you don’t want. Use social media as more of a relationship-building tool. No one starts a relationship by targeting someone, at least not outside of The Pickup Artist.

Notice Me!

If you’re new to digital and social media, one of the first things you may notice is how many people are using it. Hint: it’s a lot. That’s one of the things that makes it an attractive place to market your company, but it can also be a bad thing. How do you stand out and get noticed among all those people?

I’m going to suggest something revolutionary: it’s not all about the number of followers you have. It can be really easy to get obsessed with watching that little number, but what you really need to be doing is finding your audience. It matters more that you’re really connecting with a core group of people who care about what you’re doing, because that’s how you gain loyal customers…who spread the word for you. And that’s the best kind of free publicity.

Find groups of like-minded people out there and join those groups/follow those people, and then make sure you’re talking about things that matter to your audience. Just a reminder: no one likes following companies or people who only talk about themselves and never give anything back. You should be interacting and responding to what other people are saying, not just posting boring ads all the time.

All you have to do is repeat after me: success in social media means quality, not quantity.

Measuring Social Media Results

Ah, yes. We all love social media. Everyone talks about it, it’s definitely the best new thing. It does great things for your business…but just how great is it? How do you measure its impact on your business?

The biggest secret about social media is that there still isn’t one standard way to measure your impact or ROI (return on investment). Many people think that the more followers you have, the better you’re doing. More followers can mean broader reach for your brand, but it matters who those followers are. Are they the right audience? Are they engaging with you?

While there are many tools out there to help capture data, I think the most important thing is to get back to basics. Ask:

What are my goals? Who is my audience? What do I want them to do?

Make sure to keep the answers to those questions in mind when formulating your strategy.     If your goal is to increase sales and your audience is 14-16 year old girls, that will affect not only the tools you use (hint: they’re not on LinkedIn) but also the tone and message. You want them to go to your website to buy your product, but if you do nothing but post links to the things they should buy, you’ll get nowhere. This is why just measuring number of followers and clickthroughs to your website is too simple–you’re really using social media to create relationships.

If you’re interested in reading more, I recommend:

How the Pros Measure Social Media

2 ways to measure social media successfully

Measuring Social Media ROI: 3 Things to Consider

6 Ways to Measure Your Social Media Results

 

Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day

I promise, it’s a thing: Community Manager Appreciation Day is today. What’s a Community Manager, you say? According to Jeremiah Owyang, the creator of CMAD, it’s basically a customer advocate willing to help, whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or in the comments on a corporate blog.

Social Fresh has created a handy little infographic based on their 2012 Community Manager Report:

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