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Archive for July, 2012

Quality Web Help

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

I had a question come up recently with a prospective client that interestingly comes up a lot.  The question was, “How do I know you’ll stick around to do these campaigns?”  I’ve had some clients go so far as to ask for a contract for a dedicated length of time to work on their project.  These questions and requests are all based on the same problem.  It’s hard to find good web help.

The internet is only expanding which helps explain why hiring web help is difficult as demand stretches qualified professionals and introduces unqualified “professionals” attempting to tap into the market.

It took me a while to get used to these types of questions.  The defining moment for me was when a business owner asked me for a quote on redesigning his website.  The site was already professionally done, so I asked why the person who created it didn’t do the redesign.  The business owner responded, “Because I can’t locate him.  He got most of the site done and right after that we had a few extra projects for him.  I guess we paid him what he needed because he disappeared.”

So here’s an insider’s view on what to look for if you’re going to hire someone to do any web, internet, social media, or email marketing work for you.

  • How long have they been doing the work?
    Don’t go with just a date established. Seek out testimonials or referrals that validate the individual or firm have been consistently providing a service.  A lot of between job web professionals become freelancers for a few months but then vanish as soon as their next employment opportunity materializes.
  • Who do they work with and what do they specialize in?
    Anyone claiming to be everything to everyone should raise suspicion especially for freelancers or small firms.  The web has grown too big to be an expert in all industries and media.  A lack of specialization might be a sign of casting a wide net but not being well equipped to service clients.  Make sure you clearly define what is needed and what the freelancer or firm will be responsible for.
  • Do they practice what they preach?
    A web design firm should have a website.  A social media expert should have a sophisticated social media profile.  To some extent it’s true that our own sites are the last to get attention but a lack of a professional presence is a sure sign that the individual or firm might not be as qualified as they need to be.

The good news is there are a lot of web professionals available that will do a quality job.  Just make sure to do some homework before hiring them so you’re not left with a poor quality or unfinished project.

Post Overload in Social Media

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

A good question was recently presented to me, “Can we overpost to our social media accounts and wear people out?”  Unlike email, social media communications aren’t falling directly in an inbox where the audience needs to do something with it (at minimum delete it) but rather the audience has to proactively seek out the content.  The answer is, it’s very rare to overload your social media audience because content is rapid, short lived, and not intrusive . . . but that doesn’t mean post overload can’t happen.

Social media post overload is the polar opposite problem many trainers, consultants, and professional coaches have where they are trying to squeeze social media into a busy schedule.  However, once a campaign is in place, especially if it involves many individuals’ social media accounts then the number of posts from a single company can start to grow exponentially.

For a business there are a few important questions to ask to see if the quantity of social media posts is burdensome to your audience:

  • What accounts are company profiles and which belong to individuals?
  • Do individual accounts sync to company accounts and vice versa?
  • How many shared contacts exist between accounts that would get redundant posts?
  • Is the content being posted trivial, always copied from elsewhere, or off topic?

Overloading on social media posts is usually the result of one or two problems.

The first is that the same information gets regularly posted multiple times.  This can be frustrating to the dedicated followers on social media because they can’t be sure if content is new or a rehash of what they already saw.  This most commonly happens when accounts are improperly linked or individuals don’t use discretion on what gets posted.  For example, an individual forwarding a post about the dog show they attended to a company account adds unfocused clutter that’s inappropriate for the business.  It’s also a potential problem if multiple people share the same thing and have shared contacts.  While the source is different the shared contacts are seeing duplicate messages.

The second problem is a lack of original content.  Providing reposts or links to relevant information can be a valuable piece of a social media campaign but it can’t be the whole campaign.  When an audience gets the sense that posts are just a series of copied or reposted notes then they’ll tune out because nothing unique is being provided.

Post overload has varied risk factors for separate social media platforms.  The risk of post overload is almost non-existent on Twitter.  Tweets are rapid and fleeting.  Facebook and LinkedIn can be problematic in that it’s virtually impossible to rapidly produce quality content consistently for these pages.  So if content is too frequent it’s usually a sign of copied or poor quality information.  Think about your Facebook contact that posts everything they do.  How much attention do you pay to their “at the store post.”  None, and after a while you expect that person to post trivial information and you begin training yourself to ignore everything they post.

Social media post overload isn’t a common problem.  But if you find that content is being listed in a rapid fire way, it’s worth reviewing your campaign to ensure that it’s providing value to your audience.