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Lessons in Social Media Management: Slow and Steady

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

                                                                                                

                           

I just finished a three month trial working with a local startup called Mikey’s Balloons.  It’s a one-man company started by balloon artist Michael Guerts.  The company is in its infancy so I decided to try to take this company through a social media campaign to see if I could get some momentum started for my friend Mikey.

The lessons I learned are worth sharing.  In short:  Slow and Steady, Client Involvement, and Budget.  This post will center on the first lesson invloved:  Slow and Steady.

Slow and Steady

You remember that bed time story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  The Hare erupted from the starting gate.  The turtle was soon so far behind that the Hare lost momentum stopped for a nap.  While he was sleeping the Tourtise slowly but steadily gained ground, passed the Hare, and won the race.

Social media fits that story to a tee.  We hear the Cinderella stories Social Media stories and we dangle them in front of us like a carrot.  We jump from the gate and sprint as fast as we can.  All too soon however, we have used up all our energy and we stop. 

As surprising as it may seem for so many, social media is not the end-all-be-all of next generation business. As far as I know there is no magic wand that magically triples business and turns a start up into a household name. Slow, steady consistant growth in social media is the only way to stay afloat.  This is a lesson I learned first-hand, thanks to Mikey’s Balloons. 

I came into the campaign ready for immediate, organic, self-perpetuating growth.  I know Mikey and believe in his skill.  A few videos, a facebook, twitter, and flikr account and we should be good.

Two weeks into the campagn I started to see the light.  After friends and family joined the Mikey’s Balloons facebook page, it lost all momentum.  The results resembled the behavior of a traditional brick-and-mortar company, not the instant sucess that online marketing touts.

So, we went back to the slow and steady approach, posting only once per day to every other day about things not necessarily related to Mikey’s Balloons.  We started building a community-oriented page and slowly we started gaining more followers.  It was a longer process than we expected and it took much more energy.  But such is life as the turtle instead of the Hare.

Meg Fligg, Senior Manager of Social Media at Georgia-Pacific, referenced the Tourtoise and the Hare analogy in a presentation at Blogwell this November.  Her presentation centered on Georgia-Pacific’s recruiting success using social media.  “Georgia-Pacific is a lot more tortoise-like than hare-like when it comes to social media,” she said. “Embracing my tortoise-ness helped me understand that slow and steady wins the race.”

Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten with SocialMediaClub.org also endorses the idea.  She writes, “Slow and Steady will Always Win the Race.”

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#Social Media Management is #Ruining my #Life! (rt @toddhamann)

October 10, 2011 3 comments

For the last few months, I’ve been focusing on the Social Media and the Small Business posts.  It’s been an education and I hope it’s helped some small business somewhere.  As a Matter of Fact I’ve been focusing so much on introducing small businesses to the power of social media that it’s most of what I think about.  As my poor wife knows all too well, if I’m thinking about it, I’m talking about it.

I thought I would take a couple blog posts as a deep breath.  I am enjoying social media management so much that I worry sometimes of burnout.  So, a healthy breather is probably a good thing.  I have decided to ramble…just a little.  You know, just close my eyes and type and see where my thoughts take me.

I am getting ready to graduate in May 2012 from Utah State University in Public Relations.  I am gearing that toward, you guessed it, social media management.  It’s fun. Plain and simple.  We’ll see what comes down the pipeline after graduation, but I am doing everything I can to gear my career toward Social.

I’ve been working with a small one man company out here called Mikey’s Balloons (No explanation needed).  Mikey is increadibly talented and has utilized word-of-mouth advertising up until about three weeks ago.  Facebook: non-existant.  Twitter:  nope.  Flikr/Youtube/Google+ were all resoundingly absent as well.  Mikey is a performer by nature.  He is fantastic at what he does.  I’m going to see how fantastic my team is at what we do.  Trying to build something from nothing with no budget…well, hold on to your seats!  I want to do this from here on out with the blog watching, completely transparent.

Argh!  There I go again!!!!!  You see, it is a fever.  It’s a hobby turned into a sick and twisted obsession toward promoting all things facebook and G+. 

I heard a story about six months ago of a world-renowned Chemist who asked his son how college was going.  His son, who was majoring in chemistry, told him that everything was ‘fine’ and left it at that.  The father sat his son down and looked him in the eye.

 “You never talk about school,” he said.

“So,” his surprised son replied, “I talk about school at school.”

“You need to study something that you love enough that you talk about it even when you don’t have to talk about it.”

The son took it to heart, changed his major to Business Administration, and crafted a highly sucessful career.

I relay that to you so you can ask yourself, “What do I talk about?”  What makes you tick?  What is that one thing that you can talk about for hours at a time?  That thing that you don’t mind researching because it’s just that fun? 

I’ve found my thing and it’s taken entirely too long to find.  In my situation however, when I started college Social Media wasn’t Social Media.  It wasn’t accessable.  It wasn’t invented!!!!  I was forced to feel my way blindly through most of my college education until my thing found me.  It was a long, tedious, process full of dead ends and broken dreams, but from this side of the tunnel finding my thing, my major, my passion, is that much sweeter. 

So, to end my rambling, Social Media is ruining my life.  Short and sweet.  Just like Mickey Mouse ruined Walt Disney’s.

Social Media and the Small Business…Location Based Marketing, eh…..huh?

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

This is the third installment of Social Media and the Small Business, a series designed to educate the small business owner on the power of social media in today’s business world.

 

Location Based Marketing, eh…huh?

 

The Power of Geotagging for the Small Business

 

Location, Location, Location.  The old real-estate addage privides an entire lecture in three words (or one word now that I think about it).  Brick-and-mortar businesses grow around their location.  The better location beats the better product most of the time (Times Square vs. Main Street, USA).  In this new business climate dominated by social media, a concept is now emerging called “Geotagging.”   As A Matter of Fact, location based marketing is slowly redesigning “Location, Location, Location,” into “Tagging, Tagging, Tagging.”

Geotagging is the process of logging your gps location into a host of websites for the public to use as a type of yellow pages. For those who haven’t heard of Geotagging before there is quite a public following to them.  They are called “Lo-social” websites.  Flikr, Foursquare, Yelp, SCVNGR, Facebook, Google, Loopt  and Gowalla are a few websites that support Geotagging.  You may have heard of some of those, eh?

What’s in it for you?

From a business perspective, Geotagging makes perfect sense.  Every time people return to your business, they log in to, let’s say for the sake of conversation Foursquare.com, they tag that they were there.  Some companies reward the person who tags them the most (in foursquare they are entitled the “Mayor” of your business).  The Mayor receives discounts, services, gift cards, whatever you can dream up.  This will cause a stir between the Mayor and others who visit.  This is designed to promote more visits (or at least more tagging).  The more your business is tagged, the more competitive it gets with the Geotaggers and the greater following you will have.  This vicious circle repeats itself over and over and over again.

Some rewards are less monetary in value and more virtual, such as virtual “badges.”  These are given pretty much as bragging rights (e.g. first to tag, first to tag twenty times) that the public can have as status symbols on their profile.

SCVNGER.com puts a twist on their Geotagging philosophy.  They call themselves a game and instead of checking in, you have challenges to perform.  For instance just Geotagging your business may be worth a few points, but taking a picture with the manager, well that would be a larger number of points.  Singing the National Anthem….you get the idea.

There are a host of Lo-social sites right now. Is your business registered with them?

Flikr.com gives the option geotagging all photographs uploaded to it’s site.  Foursquare.com focuses it’s Geotagging community to a social network and provides some fantastic marketing opportunities. 

Lee Odden, in his online marketing blog www.toprankblog.com (that’s right, a blog), gives 17 tips for starting Location Based marketing campaigns.  One concept that hit me while I was reading through his article was the idea that your business may already be on those lists.  People may already be tagging your business and you don’t know it because you’ve never been exposed to the idea.

Another good read as you learn about Geotagging is Shane Snow’s article on Mashable.com.  Worth the click and five minute read. 

It would be wise to at least consider Geotagging sites as part of your social media strategy.  Their main advantage is they bring actual people into your actual business to spend some actual money.  In addition to the bottomline, customers can leave feedback of Lo-Social sites.  The feedback that you will receive from these sites can only help you understand your local public better, and in this economy gaining that feedback is not just a good idea, it is vital.

 

 

 

April Social Media Club Meeting

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment

How quickly a month can roll by! I have made my wife and coworkers sick of social media stories since I had such a great experience at the Social Media Club of Cache Valley (SMCCV) meeting last month. The April meeting was tonight and it again was fantastic.
The meeting had a different flavor to it compared to last month. It highlighted Liz Butcher, creator and owner of Butcher’s Bunches. She creates premium jams that have been celebrated such events as the Sundance Film Festival.
Liz markets almost exclusively through Facebook. She said she took out a newspaper advertisement one time, but did not get the results that she continues to get by marketing online.
I was impressed by her story. She is riding the social media wave in a unique way. The right people found out about her and the right things happened. It went ‘organic’.
I wrote last month about my paradigm shift with social media. Social media is nothing to be controlled or managed. It is a matter of finding the right wave and jumping on. Social media is organic. It deals with millions of human users, so it comes as no surprised it demonstrates human tendencies. I come back to that word again…it’s organic.
Liz’s story motivated me to start up that gerbil in my head. You know, that little gerbil in that little wheel that starts running, spinning the wheel and cranking out ideas. Butcher’s Bunches sells jams and is thriving through social media. What is a business plan that I can hold on to? I am looking and talking and thinking. It is exciting. Social media opens up so much.
Back to the meeting. I must admit that I enjoyed the ‘how to’ format of the March meeting more, but that is my personality. It was nice to see the outcome of successful social media use and I enjoyed every minute of it. I see the benefit of that as well. I wonder if a meeting could be planned that would handle both formats? Maybe an hour of ‘how to’ and an hour of a highlighted success story.
Just an idea.