Tag Archives: content

social media for business

Mismanaged content meant the wrong kind of reach for this dealership.

Mismanaged content meant the wrong kind of reach for this dealership.

Your Business On Social – It’s Really Not Personal

A six-month social media marketing consultation for a multi-line powersports dealership that reps several metric makes, a domestic brand, and PWC and OHV inventory was the inspiration for this post. Located in a large Southeastern market, a neglected social media program wasn’t producing the growth one might expect given their footprint.

Management depended on traditional automotive push marketing techniques based largely on motivational training and consisting largely of clichéd slogans and a steady diet of overwrought memes. Making matters worse was content posted by employees who didn’t understand that the approach required for a business page had nothing to do with their personal life online.

a waste of their money and my time

When I got involved the CMS vendor hired for site design and management had just set up an incomplete Google+ page and a lamentable blog that immediately failed. These “assets” joined a struggling Facebook timeline and an abandoned Twitter feed that, together with a local weekly bike night, made up a dysfunctional marketing strategy that defied the concept of content coordination.

The social goal was easily defined: increase organic growth, reach, and engagement using proven social media business techniques. In the end it was a waste of their money and my time. Based on my direct experience with this dealer, I came away with a Five-Step Program for improving your social media marketing assets.

Here are my Top Five Social Marketing Essentials: the minimum elements a social media marketing program needs in order to have any chance of success.

5) Management Engagement

Christmas in july 2

This ad for snowmobiles in Florida stayed up for months.

Would you expect to see snowmobiles sold in Florida? In July? This embarrassing post by the client’s CMS vendor and web site IT, a well known powersports service provider, stayed up for weeks because management wouldn’t look at their own channels. I won’t comment on the use of transparent background PNGs against a lime green <IMG> tag background color.

Lesson? Stay engaged or risk the consequences.

4) Coordinate Activities

Social didn’t have a seat at the table when sales, promos, or events were planned by the sales manager. OEM marketing opportunities came and went without generating earned publicity. Result: a failure to connect using basic tools like page event apps to promote engagement and activity.

Further muddying the waters — multiple managers had independent control of multiple channels. Result? A total lack of content direction and coordination.

Lesson? Assign one manager as point-of-contact, with authority for all content and the option to grant multiple contributors access to team functions.

3) Understand Social Stats

Facebook personal page used to drive likes

Personal friends list used to prop up skewed reach.

Stats can inform or mislead. When they’re manipulated, the result can be deceptive and misleading.

Despite a favorable (chart at top) 68% male-31% female fan mix, the reach skewed heavily towards women, not men. This disconnect is traceable to flawed post content by the lobby greeter’s attempt to pad metrics by polling her personal Facebook male friends for likes. This shifted the ratio alright, but only by creating a false positive that distorts the desired organic results and won’t fool Facebook.

Lesson? Manipulated stats disguise reality, lead to bad decisions based on false facts.

2) Understand How Social Media Works

Social marketing is about pull, not push. Understanding the general strengths and weaknesses is essential.

It’s a unique medium that requires regular care and feeding in the form of professional attention. Audience engagement can’t be forced; only quality content of interest will attract interaction. Google knows this, and you should also.

Lesson? Quality content continues to be the prime ingredient in a successful social campaign.

1) Speak With One Voice

The number one requirement for a successful social marketing program? Speak professionally, using one knowledgeable voice.

The dealership’s in-house voice, a former barista turned lobby greeter with zero motorcycle knowledge and a dysfunctional writing “style”, was allowed to post disconnected content online, without review, like the incoherent example below.

This sad word salad, intended to boost OHV sales, was posted to the dealer’s very public Facebook brand page. It clearly demonstrates why writing pros should be responsible for social media messaging. (Subtitle: Don’t write stoned.)

 

Off-roading enthusiasts love the adventures and the risks and adrenaline associated with it. Speaking with the novice portion of this crowd, one of the most commonly inquiries is, “Do you know where I can ride these?” It’s a very just question. Now a great place to cross off your bucket list is the Apalachicola National Forest. Located in the panhandle, there is 195,000 acres worth of lush, loamy nature. They conveniently have about 80% of their trails marked very well. However, it is also rumored to have many undiscovered trails with very little traffic. Yeah it’s a bit of a trip, but do ya really plan on staying at home for the rest of your life?

 

I rest my case. Lesson? Social programs too often see Nike’s success selling shoes as an easily copied meme. Reality? Without professional creative talent efforts aren’t just wasted, they’re counterproductive.

social channel growth: a job for pros

Don’t be this dealer. Commit to using the prestigious power of social media. Make it count. Engage your qualified market.

choosing your content platform(s)

Brian Solis' conversation prism shows social media relationships

Brian Solis’s latest Conversation Prism illustrates the increasing complexity of Social Media content management.

conversation prism displays social media relationships

Brian Solis recently updated his hugely popular Conversation Social Prism which charts the best known channels in the social media spectrum.

Dozens of major social channels have been categorized under 26 distinct headings representing social’s broad range of interests. The list includes the best known, not every social channel on the web.

It’s an eye-opening experience trying to comprehend the near limitless opportunities he presents while deciding on priorities. To get an idea of how far digital media has come, you might want to compare his prism to my web universe sketched only four years ago.

how successful your rank is depends a lot on where you publish

The two most popular platforms for individualized content publishing are brand-here-dot-com websites and/or blogs.

Blogs are dynamic, while publishing as a straight html web page tends to be more cumbersome even though it allows greater flexibility. It’s a trade-off that should be considered with an eye towards time management, creative skills, and frequency.

Social sites are also widely used for content, but are restricted in one form or another as to length and type of content. To put all your eggs in one basket, i.e. Facebook, places the cart before the horse. Pinterest, SlideShare, YouTube, Behance, and others offer a wide variety of options as well as optimized content management. But none offer the overall flexibility of a native domain. Further, crawling and indexing social sites may not be as optimal as a dedicated site.

using only social media has its limitations

Publishing Content Management System (CMS) web site or blog usually means a one-look theme that’s template based. I publish to both platforms: HTML material to my site, and this blog for short updates like this. What this means is that my dot-com web platform maintains a consistent look with the option of inserting one-off pages if desired.

Most small businesses should find blogging only very well suited to establishing a reputation for customized content, especially if that blog is self-hosted.

Once you’ve decided on a workflow and have begun publishing, the next step is promoting that quality content. Today, that means social media and email.

While it’s obviously impossible to cover the entire spectrum of social media, the trick is to focus on a half-dozen or fewer sites and make sure they’re well integrated into your prime channel.

google rewards creative content

Page one rank out of 5 million plus for "powersports advertising"

creative content best approach for page rank

Cute names aside, Google’s algorithms known as Panda, Penguin and who knows what’s next, are getting smarter. That’s good news for site operators who value creativity in their quest for SERP rank.

It’s important to keep Google’s goals in the proper context: their consumer is the person who enters a search term and expects to find a quality site in return. Google’s concern is not about individual sites, or the size of those sites.

Attention is focused on the individual consumer and how satisfied they are with the results of their inquiry – in short, how well does the search result match up with the consumer’s anticipated result.

there is no magic formula for success – but quality content is a key element

My own site, Siebenthalercreative.com, has been well received by Google for a number of years for search relating to powersports marketing. The SERP results are fairly consistent, and seem to support the general consensus that quality content is recognized and rewarded by Google.

My site is nowhere near the largest nor the most active within the power and motorsports community.

It also doesn’t get any advantage from having a sought after search term – in this case, “powersports” – in the domain or page URLs, or even in site directories. If that’s been the major thrust of your search strategy, Google has indicated it may not be enough in the future.

My goal since launching the site back in 2002 has been to create an easily navigable property within which is stored a variety of generalized information and industry specific updates, using a combination of individual pages and self-hosted blog posts.

concentrate on content for the best long term strategy

The result, after trying to pay attention to the hints and suggestions Google shares with their audience of webmasters, is consistently ranking on page one for searches involving the main marketing functions within the powersports community, including social media.

For more on the role of creative content’s importance to B2B and B2C marketing, review Slideshare’s “50 Stats You Need to Know About Content Marketing.”

clues to cycle world’s future hinted

wsj reports on hearst new media aspirations

One of the first departments to get the ax after Hearst announced last June the completion of the HFM media sale that included Cycle World among others was that brand’s social media department.

That was followed last month by a rumor on the alt-lifestyle site Hell For Leather (subscription required) that the title was already up for sale, again, possibly to the first bidder willing to step forth and make an offer. Any offer.

Today’s Wall Street Journal announcement has Hearst looking very closely at the digital components of their extensive media empire, which now includes 15 dailies, 38 weeklies, nearly 200 magazine titles, and an eclectic collection of local t.v. and cable outlets ranging from A&E to ESPN.

WSJ points out the obvious: Hearst is caught in the same dilemma as very other purveyor of traditional media; namely, a no longer debatable downward spiral of sub and ad based revenue that, like Rosebud, is lost forever.

And it is to that end that corporate strategy now seems heavily focused on building out Hearst’s Interactive Media group and with it a pronounced shift in emphasis from old to new media and with it all the promise offered by the tech sector.

Too soon to tell if any of this will spill over to the Newport Beach offices of America’s most popular two-wheel journal. But if it does, that can only be good.