Bridging the Gap: How To Master The Social Web In 5 Easy Steps
Greetings fabulous business owners and my fellow Infusionsoft fans!
I hope you enjoy these additional notes from my InfusionCon 2013 keynote session. Feel free to share with your team and your peeps.
So, what exactly is this gap we need to bridge? It’s the gap between fast-paced, rapidly-changing TECHNOLOGY and good, old-fashioned PEOPLE skills! When you understand the principles of what I call the new relationship marketing, you’ll bridge that gap! You already know how to connect and network in person. It’s no different online. All you need is proper training on the right technology and to implement a proven strategy!
People talk about how the world is getting smaller, but I like to say the world is getting more CONNECTED. You meet someone (online or in person) and quickly realize you have many friends in common… around the world.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of the “six degrees of separation,” where a study was done that revealed we are typically only six people away from anyone else in the world. Well, Facebook commissioned a study in 2011 that reported the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the world was not six but is now 4.74!
Facebook put the face on the map!
Access my slide-deck below and/or click here to download as a PDF file.
With over 1 billion active users and 1 trillion connections, Facebook’s new Graph Search allows you to conduct very granular searches that surface people, photos, places (place pages), and interests (fan pages!). Currently, you can drill down with more than 40 search variables!
In future, Facebook will add in the ability to search status updates. (Keep in mind, Graph Search is privacy aware. That is, posts shared with friends can only be discovered by those friends in searches. Only public posts can be found by anyone.)
Is Facebook’s Graph Search a threat to Google? No way! Google will continue to dominate mainstream searches for some time to come. We talk of Google now as a verb, “oh just Google it.” We go to Google with a problem we want to solve.
Google started with search and is now adding a social layer, a la Google+.
Facebook started with social and has now collected billions of bits of data and is now adding a search layer on top, so your search results are dependent upon the various inter-connectedness of the data (graph).
Let’s dive into the 5 steps now.
Step #1: Create crystal clear clarity and FOCUS
This first step applies to all of your branding and messaging. When prospects come to your website and all of your social channels, is it crystal clear what you do? Is it obvious how you help your customers? And who your target market is?
Look at your design, bio, about and contact pages. Does this all communicate the right message? (Btw, I’ve always loved the word FOCUS as an acronym for Follow One Course Until Successful!)
EXAMPLE: Let’s look at the Facebook fan page for Infusionsoft customer, Antonio Centeno of Real Men Real Style. The cover image instantly communicates what his company offers. (And, of course, we love that Daniel Craig is on there!) In the About section, Antonio has his URL first which is great – you want to have a link to your website or a specific offer/opt-in page and a call to action. Make sure your link is visible in this smaller About section (vs. buried or truncated in the longer section). Real Men Real Style’s description in the About section clearly states what the company offers: Providing men the tools to educate themselves and build the wardrobe that complements their individual style.
To enhance Real Men Real Style’s Facebook page even further, here are some tips I’d recommend that can equally apply to your own fan page:
- Expand the extended About section with more keyword rich content. Facebook pages are fully indexed on Google. The more keyword-rich content you place in the About section, the better. Plus, keep in mind Facebook’s new Graph Search is now surfacing fan pages! And, hashtags are coming to Facebook soon, so we may see the use of hashtags in page descriptions and, of course, status updates.
- Real Men Real Style offers a free 47-page ebook – but it’s “hidden” in the extended About section that visitors/fans may not see. This should be added as an app/tab with opt-in form and placed in prime position as one of the three visible apps.
- Antonio might consider adding himself as the Page Owner which can help a) increase Followers on his personal profile and b) humanize the Page a bit more and have more people reaching out directly to Antonio. (This is totally optional, but I recommend this part unless you have your profile on total lock-down for friends only.)
HOMEWORK: go review all your social profiles, bios, about sections, images, photos, branding, design elements, etc. Does all this clearly communicate what you do, who you help and how you help them? Is it obvious how to do business with you? Also, I highly recommend enabling the Follow feature on your Facebook personal profile so more people can see your public updates and you’ll expand your reach in the News Feed. Go to http://facebook.com/follow.
Step #2: Cultivate your authentic VOICE
Don’t just automate your broadcasting. You cannot afford to be 1-way. Don’t be ‘stiff’ and corporate. Yawn! That’s boring. People won’t relate to you. The way to build a sizable following is by being “followable.”
Before we turn to content in the next step, first, you need to bring in the human element.
I have a theory about marketers. There are two types — the first looks out onto the giant marketplace and sees numbers, dollars, conversions, stats,”traffic,” and so forth. The second looks out onto the giant marketplace and sees real human beings with beating hearts, people with families and with dreams, and with real-life problems they want to solve. The first time is a Numbers-based marketer, the second is a Heart-based marketer.
Now, the real secret is you actually want to be BOTH! You have to track your numbers or you’ll just be playing the guessing game. But when you approach your marketplace first from a heart-based, relationship-focused perspective and second from a numbers/business perspective, you’ll notice a big shift in your social media marketing results. It’s about compassionate CARING for all people. (See Step #4 on Engaging.)
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde
Effective online social networking (which includes social media marketing) is very similar to networking in person. The biggest difference is that what you say online is pretty much permanent! Otherwise, all the standard rules of etiquette apply. We don’t go up to someone at a live networking event and thrust our business card or brochure in his/her hand without first making eye contact, shaking hands, introducing ourselves, and making a bit of small talk.
Use the standard carat and initials for replies by specific members of staff, such as Heather does with “^HD.” I’d also highly recommend having PHOTOS on the Twitter background image. For example, see @ExactTarget.
HOMEWORK: review your brand’s ‘voice’, messaging, feel… real humans? What about your corporate culture? Could use a boost? Grounded in solid values?
Step #3: Produce and curate quality CONTENT
You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “Content is King.” It’s certainly true for effective social media marketing. You need a consistent (daily!) flow of great quality, relevant content for your friends/fans/followers to consume through your social channels. Content is your backbone; your foundational piece.
The good news, though, is that you don’t have to be a prolific producer of all your own content. You can use a mix of yours + OPC. Other People’s Content. This is what we call, “curate.” You can become known as the go-to expert in your niche, the authority, simply by being a terrific resource of the best hand-picked content.
Of all the social media marketing components you need, curating content (OPC) is the easiest part to delegate. They key to success is that you MUST have systems in place.
- Set up and use an Editorial Calendar. (Free example here in Google doc spreadsheet; to use, just click File > Make a copy).
- Set up and use Scheduling tools: my favorite that I use daily, 7 days a week is HootSuite. See also TweetDeck, and for Facebook: PostPlanner, PostRocket. There are many others out there.
- Set up and use Curation tools: my two favorites are Trap.it and Spundge.
HOMEWORK: Review and set up your Editorial Calendar, Scheduling Tools and Curation Tools. You may also need to hire/appoint content staff and set up tighter systems.
Step #4: Proactively ENGAGE daily
Depending on how global and/or how active your audience is, you may well need to implement 24/7 community management. Given almost half of all questions that businesses and brands receive via their social channels fall on deaf ears, there is a LOT of money being left on the table.
Responding to your fans/followers leads to money in the bank. People want to know that they’re being *heard*. Even if you don’t directly solve their issue, when upset people receive a response, the negative energy instantly dissipates. In fact, you should strive to EMBRACE negative comments — these are golden opportunities to demonstrate stellar customer service right out in the open and quite possibly attract and convert more customers! See this study – though from 2011, the stats correlate to more recent findings by SocialBakers:
45% of questions that companies receive on social media are not responded to.
The average response time for companies on Facebook is 13.7 hours.
The volume of questions posted to Facebook has increased by 26% from Q2 to Q4 2012.
HOMEWORK: Check out some of the top brands doing well with their “socially devoted” standard here. (Notice the top ten are all outside the U.S.!) Look for some of their high-engagement approaches that you could emulate. Do you need to appoint more staff? See the “Team Mari” approach where I set up a separate fan page for my global moderation team to respond to fan posts on my main Mari Smith fan page!
Step #5: Integrate the CONVERSION
It has been said that you can’t sell through social channels. Fortunately, that belief is not as common in more recent years. To be truly effective, you must be able to track real, measurable results from your social media activities. It’s fine to go out there and amass more online friends. But the ROI ultimately needs to be money in the bank!
With your Editorial Calendar, also integrate your Marketing Promotions — what campaigns do you have coming up for which you can build up anticipation? Get people excited. Don’t change your style between sharing value-add content and sharing promotional content. Keep it seamless, personable, fun, and compelling.
It’s okay to ask for the sale. It’s okay to ask people to opt in… especially when you’re giving away something of great value.
Plus, are you focusing on proactive growth? Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to do so. Over time, find and follow relevant people and most will follow you back. A couple of my favorite tools for finding people to follow are: ManageFlitter (also great for Twitter follow/follower management) and FollowerWonk.
HOMEWORK: Review your Editorial Calendar and integrate upcoming promotions. See also this free Marketing & Communications Plan (Google doc spreadsheet). Plan out what social content you’re going to post when in order to drive traffic to specific campaigns. Do you need to add a landing tab to your Facebook Page? Check out Infusionsoft’s GroSocial! Also, carve out time (with your team’s help) to proactively build your Twitter followers.
Got Facebook questions? Come join my community of over 470,000 Friends, Fans and Followers! Just click the Follow and Like buttons below to connect with me on Facebook!
Phew! Okay, that’s all for today… I trust you found this additional resource of particular value. I wanted to over-deliver for my fellow Infusionsoft business owners. If I can be of any further support, please do reach out. If you’d like support with your internal social media training, consulting, strategy planning, and/or are interested in done-for-you social media services, just let my team know and we’ll be in touch!
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