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Archive for March, 2013

Social Media: Quality Over Quantity

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Are you abusing your social profiles? A lot of trainers, consultants, and professional coaches don’t think they are but on analysis their profiles contain very little quality information.  Rather it’s a long series of hastily crafted messages or reused content with little or no value add. Social media marketing isn’t about finding and posting anything with relevance to your profession.  The value of viewing or subscribing to your social profile is in getting expert viewpoints on industry or professional topics.   Social media marketing is much more effective when the focus is on quality rather than quantity.

Regurgitating other profiles
Reposting is the most prevalent abuse of social profiles.  There is never a situation where your profile should automatically repost everything from an industry or professional resource.  People can link to that resource’s profile if they want to see everything they post.  Your social profiles should reflect you or your firm’s view on a topic. It’s OK to selectively repost from an industry or professional resource but, at minimum, any repost should have a short note on why you are linking to it.  A follow on commentary can be a nice touch if what you want to say won’t fit the space restrictions in the first post.

Posting low value blurbs
Space restrictions are a fact of social media life.  That isn’t an excuse to post gibberish that no one cares about to fill a lull in posts.  Take some time to write a message that means something to your audience. Here’s a real-life low value message from a sales training firm: “Do your behaviors today!”  That has no meaning to people unfamiliar with their content and little value to those that do know the content.  With a little tweaking it could be more impactful, something like, “Sales success comes from doing assigned behaviors designed to meet goals. What are your non-negotiable behaviors for this week?”

Pawning off other’s Content as their own
Some people ensure that they are “scooped” on everything they post to their profiles.  This happens when they largely plagiarize from other industry sources.  The internet is a big place and many people get away with taking content but it’s never really an original thought.  It’s impossible to steal an authentic consistent voice.  Worst case scenario is that your content is exposed as copies of other’s information which damages credibility.  Best case is that you have an inconsistent set of postings that provide no overarching principles.

Too much one way communicating
The beauty of social media that many trainers, consultants, and professional coaches ignore is the potential for interaction.  Ask questions of your audience.  The above revised post is an example of writing a question that can be rhetorical but invites interaction from dedicated clients or interested prospects.  There’s a fair chance that interaction will be low but the post is designed to add value even if no one responds.  However, if someone does respond then it makes for a quality interaction and encourages others to participate in the future.

Frequent reposting of the same content
It’s ok to repeat an important point.  Reuse can be spawned from calendar recurrences or current events.  Using the example above, the same post might be used at the beginning of the year for a sales training firm, something like, “The new year is here.  Are your sales goals set and behaviors written down?  If not attend our goal setting workshop on ____”.  But it’s important that some time has passed between posts and that reposts have a logical reason for reuse other than a scramble to put something new on the social profile.  For instance, if you have an event or a tactic, don’t use it back-to-back.  If you have to post something similar within a few weeks of one another, at least change the message up to generate interest.  There should never be a time where the same thing is posted more than once in a week.

There are two techniques to avoid quantity over quality.

  1. Set a social media editorial calendar.  A monthly schedule is a manageable amount of time.  At the end of a month, take a few hours and write out all your posts for the upcoming month.  This ensures a balanced calendar and gives some time to write well thought out, quality posts.
  2.  Links are your friend.  Sometimes space restrictions prevent a quality communication going right on the social profile.  Use links to your advantage by creating content on your website and then linking to it.  In that way, the social post just needs to function as a subject line teasing people to view your more robust content.

Quantity is often the focus to “fill up” a social profile.  However no one ever complains if they get higher quality content but it come less frequently.  Better to post once a week with something impactful to your audience, than to post several times a day with content that holds little value.

Is your Value Add Content . . . Valuable?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

A content based email or online marketing campaign relies on providing valuable insights to keep the audience engaged.  No insightful content, no audience.  In principle most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches agree.  In practice however, it’s a difficult practice for many to adhere to.  While the goal of online and email marketing is to drive leads and new business, the campaign should be careful not to over solicit.

An example of this happened to me recently when speaking with a sales training company.  I asked how their email marketing efforts had gone to date.  The owner said, “Not real well.  We aren’t generating a lot of leads or attendees for events.” So I asked how often they sent an email for an event or offer.  The owner assured me that  they only did one solicitation a month combined with two content emails a month, one was an article and one was a video feature.

I was surprised that they had so few responses or inquiries on their offers if they were consistently providing valuable content in two of their three communications.  Then he gave me a sample of his article.  To say it was a value add article was beyond a stretch.  The first paragraph touched on a sales topic briefly, in three sentences.  The second paragraph talked about what sales training courses they offered that featured that topic.  The third paragraph was a link to an upcoming event.  In short, it wasn’t an article.  It was a three paragraph commercial.  Upon seeing the article I asked for a sample of the video which primarily talked about why a person might want to attend an upcoming event.

In reality, this firm had three emails in their matrix that were solicitations and none with value add content.  While I have no doubt that the events and the offers had value, people on their lists were simply tuning out because there was not valuable content to keep them engaged.

Take some time and review your value add content.  This should be video, audio, or text that is offering insightful information about your industry or professional expertise.  If you read your value add content and find a lot of references to the work you do, things people can buy, or feature/benefits then there’s a good chance that the content doesn’t provide much value to your client/prospect base.