Social Media Not Working? It is Probably Your Fault.

Social Media Not Working blog post

I evaluate tons of social media executions a year… for clients, people in our trainings or just for fun. While I don’t have all of the answers, one thing has become clear: Most businesses that don’t get results from social media don’t to it right.

Blogs are great examples. I heard a stat years ago that most corporate blogs fail. Most of the corporate blogs that I look at suck. Why?

  • The content isn’t strategic.
  • They have no strategy.
  • The headlines are mediocre.
  • They don’t post consistently.
  • The posts don’t have great visuals.
  • The posts aren’t structured well.
  • The content isn’t very interesting.
  • The audience isn’t clearly defined.

These are just a handful of reasons – most blogs suffer from many of these.

It is easy to say “we invested in a blog, wrote on it for months, but blogging just doesn’t work for us”.

No. Mediocre blogging doesn’t work for you.

The bar is higher in social media than ever before. If you don’t write great stuff, people won’t pay attention.

Do it well or don’t waste your time.

In almost every industry there are companies using every social media tool and getting great results. If you aren’t one of them you are probably doing it wrong.

It isn’t that social media doesn’t work. You aren’t doing it right.

Spend the time and effort to build a solid strategy and learn best practices.

Mediocre won’t get results and won’t cut it. You can’t afford to not be great any more.

Marketing Tip: You Don’t Get Ahead by Doing the Same Thing the Same Way as Everyone Else

Do things differentIn marketing, a lot of the time we look at what other businesses in our industry are doing, and we all tend to follow the same playbook. We follow the same rules and use the same tools. The problem with this is that you don’t get ahead in business by doing the same things, the same way as everyone else. You get incrementally better results by doing things differently.

Be Different — In All of Your Marketing

To get better results than your competitors you must do things better, smarter, faster, cheaper, (something that ends with an er) than your competitors. This is challenging because it requires us to think outside of the box.

When I was running marketing for an internet startup, I built up this way of thinking. Not because I was smart, but because I couldn’t afford to spend money and not get results.

We started this at conferences and events. We couldn’t afford booths so we did Guerilla marketing at the event — we’d do things like handout information to people in the registration lines or figure meet people on their way out. We hustled and we were smart about where we spent our time.

This is Important for Social Media – Be Smart

This is true in Social Media too – most of the businesses that I work with wait until their competitors are using a social network, and then they basically do the same thing. This isn’t how to get a head. If you do the same things the same way you get the same results.

Be creativer.

Be smarter.

Be faster.

Be better.

Be interestinger.

 

How Traffic Can Hurt your Blog

A few months ago I spoke at BlogHer about DIY Content Syndication and most of the questions asked were about how to get traffic to your blog.  Bloggers should be after an AUDIENCE and not just TRAFFIC.

An AUDIENCE is not the same as TRAFFIC and here is why.

Traffic = Getting people to go to your site.  Pageviews.  Visits.  Often 1-time visitors.

Audience = People who actively read your content and engage with your blog.  Regularly.

The difference?  An audience is relevant to your content, these are your regular readers and commenters who are really interested in your blog and what you have to say.  Traffic often comes through one-time hits on sites like Digg or Stumbleupon and is often interested in

What is so bad about traffic?

  • It can be a distraction to your regular readers.  The traffic you get may be an entirely different crowd from your regular readers.  Traffic comes from headlines often written by other people and may or may not be very closely related to your regular topics and audience.
  • Traffic can crash your servers.
  • You can spend TONS of time trying to get traffic and get none.
  • Writing for traffic is hard.  Very few people are good at predicting what will actually get to the front page of Digg and noone really understands how to get Stumbled.  Write great content and it will come.
  • Traffic is a one time hit.  Thats right.  Most people who have landed the elusive front page of Digg did not see a continuous increase in their traffic – just a one-time bump.

OK, so what can you do to build your readership and start making more ad revenue?

How to Build an Audience:

  • Comment on other blogs – say something smart or interesting on another blog in your area.  If people like what you say, they’ll click through to your blog.
  • Link to other blogs – Link love matters.  Link to other blogs so that 1) they’ll see you in their stats and know who you are, 2) you can gain readers and 3) you can show up in their trackbacks if they accept them.
  • Submit your content to Niche sites – Don’t waste your time submitting to Digg – go for something more targeted.  When I started a photography blog we used photographyvoter – a Digg-like site for photography – which got us lots of relevant and interested traffic.  Look for relevant niche sites – you won’t get as much traffic, but the traffic that you get will be more meaningful.
  • BlogRoll – Yes, these are less popular, but build a blog roll of other blogs in your area, and email the writers and tell them that you added them to your blogroll and let them know why.  They might link to you or think of you in a future post – plus link love can help your seo ratings.
  • Twitter – Twitter is a great way to gain publicity for your blogs.  Your audience on twitter is probably already interested in what you are writing about, so tweeting your latest posts lets people know what you are writing about.  Just remember – give and take… tweet other stuff too or you’ll lose followers.
  • Social Networks – Use your other social networks too – Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc – let people know what you are writing about.

The Point? Spend your time and energy building a meaningful audience.  There are no quick fixes or cheap tricks to build your online empire…. Sorry to dissappoint.

What do you think?  Share your audience building tips in the comments.