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Mari Smith

10 MORE Social Media Posts Everyone Should Read

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A little while ago, I compiled a list of the 25 Social Media Posts that I think everyone should read. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so – there are some fantastic posts on that list from bloggers who live around the world.

Life keeps truckin’ on, and since then there have been some absolutely brilliant posts published about social media. Let’s take a look at 10 MORE social media posts that everyone should read. Note: this list is in alphabetical order, not in order of important/value.

7 Ways To Craft Your Facebook Posts For Maximum Shares by Mari Smith (@marismith)

Facebook recently changed the way users interact with content on fan pages: any user, including non-fans, can now post on fan page walls and like/comment/share fan page content. In other words, a Facebook user does not have to first like your fan page before they can interact with your content. This is a good thing!

Since this change, the emphasis has shifted slightly from gaining more likes (fans) to increasing the number of shares on each piece of content. When you craft your fan page updates in a manner that naturally inspires fans and their friends and visitors to your page to share with their networks, you set in motion ripples of viral visibility. Basically, free additional exposure.

Facebook is not my social media strong point, so I love reading posts that give advice on how to best share content on this network. Mari is the queen of Facebook advice, and this is a great post from her blog!

10 Laws of Social Media Marketing by Susan Gunelius (@susangunelius)

1. The Law of Listening

Success with social media and content marketing requires more listening and less talking. Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than clutter to their lives.

This is just the first of ten super smart “laws” when it comes to using social media for your business. I’m not a fan of rules that people say you have to follow, but these are really smart guidelines to use if you want to grow your network.

17 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Top Tips, Tricks, and Tools by Tamar Weinberg (@tamar)

With the breadth and depth of social media services out there, it’s no wonder that we often find ourselves lost in the vast array of services. Further, those who are seasoned may seem at a loss in the apparent “simplicity” of it all. I took the opportunity to contact some of my esteemed friends and colleagues who are experts in their field and asked for their advice on their favorite little known social media secret and social media tools, including their own if they had them.

I love a great list within a list! Tamar did an awesome job compiling this one, which includes social media advice from some of the top influencers out there and even a number of past BlogWorld speakers, including Jason Falls, Chris Brogan, and Lee Odden. Each person on the list gives a little known social media secret and a little known social media tool – and these tips are fantastic. This is a must-read post.

A True Measure Of Influence by Tom Webster (@webby2001)

An influence score makes assumptions about the value of your follower count, how many people click on your links, etc., and then bashes those assumed values together with yet another set of assumptions – their supposed relationship to each other. Yes, there are mathematical functions involved, but just as the “likely voter model” many pollsters use for pre-election polls can never predict whether or not a specific individual will actually vote, the influence score will never be able to predict the impact of an individual on the behavior(s) you are trying to influence.

If you’re a stats geek like I am, this is the post for you. Do numbers like Klout score really matter? Yes – but if you actually want to measure influence, you can’t stop there. As Tom suggests, you have to develop your own performance measures if you want to truly understand your social media influence.

An Honest Look at Being a Social Media Consultant by Mack Collier (@MackCollier)

Over the past few months, I’ve had several discussions with people that are working in this space as the umbrella term of a ‘social media consultant’.  What prompted me to write this post was because several times I have heard from friends that are struggling, and they assume that since they are struggling, that it’s a direct reflection on their abilities as a consultant.  They also assume that most consultants are doing extremely well, so if they aren’t, that further cements the idea that they just aren’t ‘cut out’ for this type of work.

If you’re considering leaving your job to work in the social media industry, this is a post I highly recommend reading first. Mack’s post doesn’t just talk about the fact that it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows out there; it also gives some pretty great advice for becoming successful in this industry.

Conversation Isn’t Hard by C.C. Chapman (@cc_chapman)

I firmly believe that if you talk and act just like you do in the real world when face-to-face with people you’ll do well. Sure, that is over simplifying things, but at the root of everything I do believe this. Of course this means that if your a jerk in person…well you know what that means. *grin*

Having a conversation shouldn’t be a chore. You either enjoy talking with people or you don’t. Twitter and social media are not for everyone.

I really dislike it when people assert that there’s only one right way to do social media, so this post resonates with me. I think one of the reasons my personal network is continuously growing is that I’m totally myself online. I’m a little more outgoing, perhaps, but what you see is what you get – and people like that.

Cyberbullying is Not a Joke by Matt Ryan (@mattryan) with video by Chris Pirillo (@chrispirillo) and Christopher Burgess (@burgessct)

Social networking is one of the latest challenges facing parents today. As both a common form of communication between peers and a source of information, social networks are becoming increasingly difficult for parents to ignore or shrug off as a simple trend. Parents are challenged with not only reading the signs of their child’s mood and general demeanor; they have to maintain awareness of what they go through online.

Cyberbullying is a big deal, and the ramifications of it can last well past a person’s high school years. In 2010 alone, 34 teens committed suicide as the result of cyberbullying that took place on personal Web sites, social networks, and various other forums across the Web.

What I’d like to add to this is that it isn’t just kids who are bullied via social media. Just because you can say something anonymously doesn’t mean that you should say it. Think about the things you post online, especially as they relate to other people. Build people up; don’t break them down. Kids look to us as role models, so it’s up to us to set a good example and refuse to take part in online bullying.

Search Engine Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: The Showdown by Kristi Hines (@kikolani)

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, there are a variety of ways to get visitors. The primary two that individuals and businesses almost always have a struggle with investing their time and money into are search and social. Sometimes the issue is convincing people why these are a necessity for a thriving business. Other times, the conflict is whether to invest in one marketing strategy more than the other, or to only pursue one marketing strategy but not the other.

I think this is an awesome post about two of the very best ways to drive traffic to your website. Of course, you don’t have to choose one or the other, but determining where it makes sense to focus your attention can help your site (and by extension, your business) grow.

The Next Layer of Social Media by Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel)

Personally, this is the easiest way for me to think about innovation in media: Is it passive or active? What’s the percentage? Can a passive media become an active media? Can an active media become a passive media? Is this what the public wants? How will passive and active media play together in a marketing mix? How well will brands be able to blend those two types of media together?

Where is social media going? I don’t know that Mitch Joel knows the answers (and he isn’t claiming to know them), but I do think that this post is a really smart way of looking at the future of social media.

Top 10 Social Media Fears that Go Bump in the Night and How to Make Them Worse! by Liz Strauss (@lizstrauss)

It’s the middle of the night. The wind is blowing. The moon is high. Creaking noises are sounding. Memories of comments are running through your head, and you’re thinking of emails you sent that went unanswered.

You had such hope when you started in social media. It was daytime. You were always laughing then. Now you’re just shell of yourself in despair, dejected, and broken. Your socmed fears have taken over with the things that go bump in the night.

Fear is a paralyzing thing for some people, myself included. When it comes to social media, sometimes the fear of doing something wrong can keep us from being truly successful. This is an older post that Liz revamped for Halloween – and I’m so glad she did. I love it when bloggers bring old, awesome posts to the surface again.

Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment with the best social media post you’ve read in the past few months.

58 Seconds of Mari Smith: Bringing The New Relationship Marketing to BWELA

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Session: The New Relationship Marketing
Speaker: Mari Smith

Mari Smith plans to share plenty of nuggets from her new book The New Relationship Marketing (due out October 25th) in her BlogWorld LA session. Specifically she’ll cover strategies, tips and tactics on how to seamlessly blend online and offline marketing for optimal results, including improving your bottom line profits!

This is Mari’s fourth year attending and speaking at a BlogWorld event. She says it is one of the best places to get top quality education in a vast variety of social media, blogging and online marketing topics + discover the latest technology and gadgets in the big exhibits area + enjoy some of the best entertainment.

Here’s a video Mari shot about her session.

See what other speakers are saying about BlogWorld LA.

Social Media Automation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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During the entire month of February, BlogWorld and Social Media Examiner founder Michael Stelzner have come together to bring you Blogging Success Summit 2011, which is like a miniature virtually BlogWorld. When I read over the list of presenters, I separated them into two categories in my head – speakers that I needed to see (ok, “listen to” since it’s virtual) live and those that could wait, where I could just watch the recordings later if I get the chance.

Mari Smith was 100% on my “gotta see it live” list.

For those of you who don’t know Mari, she’s pretty much the queen of Facebook. I’m more of a Twitter girl myself, but as much as I tweet, I don’t know half or even a tenth about Twitter as Mari knows about how to use Facebook if you’re a blogger or marketer. the presentation left my head spinning because of all the awesome information, but one of the strongest take-away messages, in my opinion, was this: Before you automatically update, really think about whether or not it is a good choice.

Whenever someone says automation in regards to social media, we all kind of have this knee-jerk reaction to say, “AH! NO! BAD!” but the truth is that most of us use at least a little automation to help us out. And that can be ok – if 1) it makes sense for the platform and 2) most of what you do is not automated. It’s called social media, not robot media.

Good Social Media Automation

Social media automation can be good if you do it sparingly. Whenever you write a blog post, you have two choices if you want to promote it. First, you can update all of your profiles manually. This takes a lot of time, even if you just concentrate or four or five platforms, but the payoff is that  you can add a personal message with the link. I’m a fan of services like Twitterfeed, to be honest. Instead of having to update manually, it pushes your link out for you. There are Facebook aps that do the same thing (which Mari talked about in her presentation).

I don’t mind them because part of the reason people are following me (and part of the reason I’m following them) is because I like to read what they write. I don’t mind if their blog automatically sends me the link or if they take the time to do it manually. The end result is the same: I get the link I want to read.

There are also services that tweet out random old links from your blog. I know a few people who have it set to tweet these links once or twice while they are sleeping, which I think it a great idea. It keeps you active around the clock for international fans and brings to light some posts that may have slipped through the cracks.

Bad Social Media Automation

Let’s talk about the dark side of social media automation – and yes, as you probably realize, it is really easy to go from Rebel to Empire when it comes to using any type of automation on social media sites. Twitter and Facebook will turn on you pretty quickly.

First, Mari made an excellent point during her presentation that I actually didn’t know. When  you update your Facebook page, whatever you post is given an “Edge Rank.” This is the likelihood that it will show up on the default news feed for your followers. Pictures and videos have a higher edge rank automatically, followed by links and then just regular posts. If you push your links out through an automated service, like the NetworkedBlogs ap, it will have a lower edge rank than posts pushed out manually. She recommends having an automated “blog” tab on your page, but posting to your wall manually.

With Twitter, there is no edge rank of course, but there is fatigue to consider. I know people who promote a new post 10+ times on the day it comes out, as well as several times over the week that follows. These bloggers often post several times every week and also use automation to tweet older posts, so that can translate to 20 or even 30 tweets a day, all pointing back to their own blog.

Often, these bloggers simply argue that “it works.” I have to ask this though – what are you measuring it against? That much automation might help you get a ton of traffic to your website, but if you lose one loyal but fed-up fan for every ten clicks you get, is it really worth it? Could you be growing faster without automation? Could something work better?

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or another social site, I don’t like to see more than three or four automated posts from you every day – and that’s if you are also saying a lot that isn’t automated too. If you have something that you really, really want to promote, start doing it manually. It tells me that your link is important to you when you set beyond automation.

Ugly Social Media Automation

We’ve all seen it: people who go overboard with automation. If you don’t have time for Facebook or Twitter, it is better not to use these sites at all than to give a half-assed automated attempt, at least in my opinion. The face of ugly social media automation can look different from person to person, and you might disagree with me (beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all), but here as some things I can’t stand seeing:

  • Auto-DMs: I think we can all agree that they are annoying, ineffective, and damaging to a tweeter’s reputation
  • Lack of Engaging Posts: If all your Facebook page or Twitter stream does is automatically send out your links, you’re probably just spinning your wheels.
  • Automation through a VA: Virtual assistants (VAs) can be awesome, especially to help you with social media, but it gets a little slimy, in my opinion, when they tweet as you because you’re too busy. It isn’t automation in the traditional sense, but it’s still weird and I don’t like it.

Ok, so what do you think of social media automation on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites? What’s acceptable? What makes your skin crawl?

Facebook’s New Groups Feature: Is Opting In Really the Problem?

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It’s been a few days since Facebook announced their groups feature upgrades and bloggers are still buzzing about it. What I’m hearing most from people is the sentiment that your friends shouldn’t be allowed to just add you to a group willy-nilly. You should have to opt in – agree to become a part of whatever group they’re creating.

Let’s back up a second though, and first think about who this groups feature was really created to help. Says Mari Smith, Social Media Thought Leader and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day:

Frankly, the New Groups have clearly been designed for Facebook’s “average” user. That is, he/she has around 130 friends and predominantly uses the platform for personal/social connecting, playing games, sharing photos, etc. I can actually see some reasonable benefits for the more personal users to connect with small groups of known Facebook friends and, of course, family.

Mari goes on to talk about why groups has caused such a hulla-baloo in the blogging world:

Those of us who have chosen to optimize our personal profiles with thousands of friends for professional networking purposes and the likes are the anomaly. However, we are the ones at the forefront of any major Facebook change like this, and we feel the brunt of suddenly being “force joined” to Groups we have little or no interest in… that dump a barrage of emails into our already crowded inbox and cram up our Facebook notifications. That is, until such time as we turn off these settings (which I always do; I only have three Facebook email notifications turned on – Page stats, email, and birthdays.)

Sure, we can adjust our notifications and we can just quietly remove ourselves from any Groups we don’t care to belong to. But, we cannot turn off the “option” to be added to Groups.

I was shocked to read on Facebook’s official announcement that we could “use Groups as a replacement for mailing lists.” A forced opt-in mailing list? I don’t think so!

But the question I have is this: Is a forced opt-in really the root of the problem with the new feature?

If you know someone and they share their contact information with you, you have the right to categorize them. Twitter already has this feature  – you can create lists for people. Granted, Twitter does not have a way for you to mass-tweet to this list, but there’s also no opt-in/out going on. People can add you to whatever list they want, so you might show up on some list called “hates-women” even if you do not, in fact, hate women.

When someone becomes your friend on Facebook, they are opting in to be contacted by you. The groups have a lot of functionality problems, which I’ll talk about in a moment, but this isn’t about opting in. If you don’t want a specific person to contact you, don’t be their friend on Facebook.

There is the argument that you want to keep in touch with someone but not be on some kind of mailing list for their business. That’s where the “remove” feature comes in handy, in my opinion. You can very well decide that you don’t want to be a part of a person’s specific group, and once you do that, you can’t be added by someone else again. It’s like if someone has your email and is sending you personal notes, business communications, and funny chain letters. You shared your contact information with that person, so you can’t be upset when they contact you. What you can do is email the person and say, “Hey Alli, your funny chain letter forwards* are clogging up my inbox and I’m not really interested in them. Can you stop sending them to me?”What Facebook does is even better – it forces the user to not email you in a specific way any longer. You’re guaranteed not to get my forwards with the Facebook system, whereas with email, I might forget and keep sending them to you anyway.

Opting in is not the problem here, in my opinion. The problems lie with how the groups function. As it stands, they’re nothing more than pages that a current member has to invite you to like. That’s…well…stupid.

Social media expert Lewis Howes has also weighed in with his opinion, which has highlighted some of the core problems with the groups feature:

To be completely honest with you, I was about to take off for a flight to Vegas yesterday and opened up Facebook and saw the new groups. I created one for sports professionals and one for social media and realized that people were active in them immediately. It wasn’t until I landed 6 hours later that even more people were commenting on them, everyone was trying to join them, and I was getting notifications like crazy from people (even some who said they removed themselves from the group because they were getting too many notifications).

I’m still in testing mode, but agree with Mari that it should be opt in/accept instead of automatically putting people in groups without them accepting that request.

Let’s note some of the things Lewis said and why this groups thing wasn’t thought through:

1. Facebook doesn’t have proper easy-to-use documentation on how to use groups, especially for Internet marketing professionals. We have to play around with the settings and see what happens. That’s just not smart. I’m sure someone will come out with an ebook that costs $97 and teaches you how to best use Facebook’s groups settings. More power to you, future ebook writer. But Facebook should have that already. When you company introduces a new feature, it should also release a report that covers the basics of working with it.

2. People get a million notifications. Maybe there’s a setting where you can turn that off, but in general, it just shouldn’t happen. You should only get a notification when the person who created the group wants to contact you. If you’re interested in a thread, there should be a box you can check, like with comments on a blog. Yes, I want to receive further notifications when someone else comments on one of my opinions. No, I do not want to receive further notifications when I say “cute picture!” and a million other people do too.

3. Correct me if I’m wrong (because again, there’s not a lot of documentation on this), but it’s set up so that a member of the group can add other people to it, right? You have to be invited to be a member of a group, but not by the person who created the group. Furthermore, you can request to be a member of a group. Lewis talked about the fact that he landed to find that a bunch of people were trying to become members. It shouldn’t work that way. A group should be for the PERSON WHO CREATED IT. It should be a way for that person to categorize his/her friends. As an Internet marketer, you likely want people to add others to the group because really, the more the merrier, but what if you’ve created a group for…I don’t like, let’s say your work friends. Then someone adds your boss. Sure, your boss works at the same place, but you created the group for your friends, not everyone in the world who could possibly be categorized that way. It should be set up more like events – you can make it public for guests to invite others, but the default is that only an administrator can add people.

Like Mari, Lewis notes that groups should be opt-in. That’s where I disagree. Facebook needs to rethink how they do notifications and how people are permitted to join a group. This whole project was just not organized in a logical way. I already have pages. I don’t want my groups to be made up of the same people so that I basically have to spam two groups when I have something to say. Facebook needs to ask themselves, “What makes groups different for pages? How will users make use of groups? How can it meet the needs of both business owners and for-pleasure users?”

For now, a few things are apparent to me:

  1. Don’t be friends with someone if you’re going to be mad when they contact you. That’s your level 1 opt-in right there.
  2. Do some notification control. Facebook doesn’t make it easy or even intuitive, but you can control the notifications you receive.
  3. Opt out of the groups you don’t want to be a part of. It only takes a second.

If opt-in was the problem, people would have been mad about Twitter lists. If opt-in was the problem, people would have been mad about someone being able to invite them to an event and for you to show up on the page as an invited guest (even if you say no). The problem is the group function itself. Opting in, in my opinion, is just the scapegoat.

Also, clearly Facebook should hire me to be quality control for features they roll out. :-p

Some more opinions on the new groups features of Facebook:

*Note: I hate funny chain forwards and don’t send them; this is just an example.

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