How Social Media is Changing, and How Not to Get Left Behind

Social media and change go hand-in-hand. Facebook puts a 20% limit on the text in your cover photo. Then they take it away. Millions of Twitter followers “auto follow-back” anyone who follows them. Now they can’t. Google+ adds communities, and makes your cover photo huge. LinkedIn adds endorsements, and the ability to @ tag other users. Pinterest adds business pages, and the “people who pinned this also pinned” option. You get the point . . . Veteran social media users roll with the daily updates as joyfully as Pooh Bear greets each new pot of honey. Experts everywhere rush to blog about the latest change and the “revolutionary” effect it will surely have on the way we all do business. In reality, these changes might make things a little better, or a little worse, but they don’t significantly effect our strategy, or how we do business. Until recently, that is. Have you noticed this common trend in recent changes? Here’s what I’m starting to notice with each significant change made by the social media networks ~ there’s a major emphasis on helping users grow relationships. And an apparent desire to make it harder for those just interested in growing numbers. Let’s take a look. What Facebook Wants As you’ve probably heard, Facebook recently changed their algorithm. If you don’t know much about it yet, I highly recommend you check out Jon Loomer’s article on the changes. I agree completely with his analysis. Here, I’ll just highlight how the changes reflect Facebook’s desire to encourage and enable better relationship building. First, Facebook went to its users. Here are some of the questions they...

Why Guy Kawasaki Got a Bad Rap After Boston

It seems like tragedy has firmly implanted itself as a part of our country, and therefore as a part of social media. I’ve read opinions trashing the way businesses handled their social media after the Colorado theatre shooting, the Newtown school shooting, and the recent Boston Marathon bombing. Everyone has an opinion as to what your business should and shouldn’t post on its social media networks in the midst of tragedy. And, of course, their opinion is right. On the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, nearly all of the criticism seemed to fall on one person, Guy Kawasaki. While many, if not most, high-visibility brands stopped posting on their social media networks, Guy let his automated tweets continue to post on Twitter. In case you don’t know Guy (@GuyKawasaki), he’s a prolific tweeter. He tweets several times an hour. Many of his tweets are automated. And, he hires people to curate the content and post tweets for him. There are things that people can (and do!) criticize about his Twitter strategy. But, with nearly 1.3 million followers, it looks to me like it’s working for him. When news of the Boston Marathon bombing broke, I shut down my social media postings for the day. Nothing that I was thinking about saying seemed to matter at the time. So, I did what felt right to me. Apparently, this is what felt right for many other people too. And they decided to tell Guy that it’s what should feel right for him. Here’s a sampling: Guy’s response was, well, probably not perfect: It was likely this response, more than the...

The #1 Way to Increase Your Social Media Numbers

When you talk about how to increase the number of social media followers you have, people listen. Because more followers equals more money for your business, right? Well, as we talked about last time, bigger is not always better when it comes to your social media following. The Social Media Numbers Game is Hard Work Most advice focuses on ways to get people to click “like” on your Facebook page, or establishing a daily routine of following and unfollowing people on Twitter. All with the goal of increasing your social media numbers, and therefore, hopefully, your influence. There are a couple of downsides to playing the numbers game with social media. First, you are going to end up with a lot of followers who you have no influence over. Two things will happen with these people. Either (1) they’ll never be anything more than a number to you, or (2) you’ll work long and hard to build a relationship of trust with them. The second downside to this method is that it takes a lot of time. Every day. Posting and replying. Searching out new connections. And not just on one social media network, but on two or three, or more. There is no effective “set it and forget it” method. No leveraging your time. But, is There a Better Way? You could decide that social media is just too time-consuming. And go after a quicker and easier way to build your business. But that’s not a good choice these days. Despite its drawbacks, social media really is the easiest and most effective way to build your business. However,...

How to Use Automated DMs to Build Relationships on Twitter

As a business owner, your overall social media goal is to build relationships with people that are beneficial to others, and to your business. Last time, I took on the seemingly popular opinion that automated direct messages (DMs) on Twitter are a spammy and ineffective way to connect with people. As I told you in that article, Twitter auto DMs are actually a great way to build relationships with your target audience on Twitter. Today, I’ll show you the right way to use Twitter DMs to grow your connections, rather than your spam complaints. Twitter DMs Done Wrong Because I see so much of it, let’s start by looking at how not to connect with new followers through an auto DM. First, don’t use your auto DM to sell your opportunity/product/service (whether it’s “free” or not). Here are some examples of auto DMs I’ve gotten more than once: “Thanks for following… Here’s How I Make $688/Day with ZERO Selling!! <link> [100% FREE ACCESS!]” “Thanks for following. Can I offer you a totally free lesson on how I personally sponsor 800 to 900 people per year?” “Order chepz f0ll0wers with n0 eggy profile with fast service <link>” Just like you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger in real life and say any of these things, right? Second, don’t send a pointless auto DM to your new Twitter followers. Here are a few examples I’ve recently received: “Hello” “Thanks for the follow! I automatically followed you back using <link>! You can do the same thing for FREE!” “Thanks for following. Have a nice day.” But, these spammy and pointless examples shouldn’t be the death...

Twitter Automated DMs: Spam or Relationship Builders?

  Here’s the biggest lesson I can give you about social media ~ very rarely does one size fit all. And yet over and again I see the social media “experts” telling everyone exactly what they should do, and how they should do it. What social networks they need to be on . . . How many times a day they need to post . . . What times they should be posting . . . And even what their content should be. I don’t really blame the experts for trying to put everyone in one social media box. Building a substantial social media following, and monetizing it, takes a lot of work. So people want to know how to do it. Step-by-step. But your step-by-step is likely different than mine. Which is why the social media box theory so often makes me go “nnoooo . . . !” The latest piece of generic “expert” advice that’s got me shaking my head is the outcry against the Twitter automated direct message, or “DM.” “Don’t send Twitter automated DMs to each new follower!” seems to be the universal message. First let’s look at the logic that’s supporting that message. Then I’ll share with you why  it’s wrong to shove everyone into the “no auto DM” box. Social Media Experts Say: “No Auto DMs on Twitter!” On February 15, Hubspot published 30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore. The article rightly criticizes the number of “social media experts” in the world today who are long on advice and short on experience. It also accuses the “true” experts of giving...

Is Your Social Media Strategy a Waste of Time?

Is it possible that all the time you’re spending developing a social media strategy is wasted? I heard Tony Hsieh of Zappos say something in an interview a few weeks ago that made me think we might be taking all of this social media strategy stuff too seriously. When asked about Zappos’ social media strategy, Tony said, “Just be real, and use your best judgment.” Sounds reasonable. But what did this mean for the 50 blog posts I’d read over the last few weeks that spent a thousand words detailing how to develop your social media strategy for 2013? Can we just delete all of those and tell ourselves (and our employees) to “just be real, and use your best judgment?” Probably not. But I do think the “experts” tend to over-analyze stuff a lot. And I think we may all benefit from a simpler strategy that does focus more on “being real,” rather than worrying about who you are trying to be on social media. The Zappos Way There are two things Zappos does that makes this simple strategy work for them ~ where for others it would result in common occurrences of inappropriate and embarrassing tweets, followed by apologies and explanations. If you can do these two things, it will simplify your social media strategy, and your whole business. 1. Develop Your Core Values As Zappos began to grow really big, they took input from all employees and boiled it down into 10 core values to define the company’s family culture. And this isn’t just one of those “look good” kind of things that hangs out on...