Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail: Why You Need a Social Media Plan

FAIL STAMP

This is post #9 in the WBB Guest Posting Contest! If you like it, please leave a comment and share this post :)

What is a Social Media Plan?

A social media plan simply outlines how you intend to use social media to help your brand or business succeed. Social media is a tool: use it to listen to what your customers (and competitors’ customers) are saying; use it to have two-way conversations with those customers; use it to communicate with peers and exchange ideas; use it to generate buzz about your next product launch – but don’t wander aimlessly into it without first creating a map and having a destination in mind.

Define Success – What do you hope to accomplish by getting involved with social media? If you don’t know, now’s the time to figure it out.

Measure Success – How will you know you’ve achieved your goals? What metrics will you use to determine whether you’ve succeeded or not? How will you collect the data?

Create Rules of Engagement – How will you respond to (or escalate) negative feedback from customers? Who is in charge of saying what? Is there a unified message and a strategy for communicating it – and has that been clearly communicated to everyone involved in implementing your plan?

Develop (and document) a social media plan, and do it before you start linking all your social media accounts and blogs and letting them talk to each other while you sleep.  The next few sections of this post will help you to more effectively follow through on your plan.

An Effective Web or Abstract Art?

Auto-cross-posting and linking like bunnies is all the rage, and the tools to do it seem to encourage this compulsive madness. There is such a thing as too much interconnectedness. “All of these various permissions can lead to an embarrassing loop of repeat tweets and/or Facebook status updates if you’re not careful. Consider going manual until you understand exactly which permissions you have opted into for each platform. (from 5 Easy Steps to a Winning Social Media Plan)

A little anecdote for those who don’t understand the concept of an endless loop: Years ago, I was sitting in a chat room with my friend PeterZ, tinkering with an autoresponder. He said, “Hey, why don’t you program it to say, ‘Oooh, it’s a Z word!’ every time someone in the room says a word containing the letter ‘z’?” I thought this sounded like a brilliant idea, and I proceeded to do it. Next time my friend said anything at all, it knocked me offline with an endless repetition of “Oooh, it’s a Z word!”

To make matters worse, we were so amused by this, that about a week later we were telling some other friends about it. We got confused silence and a “Huh?” or two from the less-technically-inclined folks in the chat room, so PeterZ suggested that I demonstrate. After crashing right on cue, rebooting my PC, and reconnecting to the network, I suggested to PeterZ that he change his chat handle. He suggested to me that I fix my autoresponder script – or maybe stop using it altogether – and get less gullible. Here’s what it looks like from the customer’s perspective when a company starts engaging in this kind of silliness: Press This Key to Speak to a REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING!

You don’t need to be everywhere at once, although the easier you make it for customers to engage with you, the better. You should jump through hoops for them, not the other way around. Wherever you actively engage with customers, do it right – be real, be present, follow up. Spread thin as peanut butter is one thing; spread out like the oily tendrils of the Deepwater Horizon and sinking to the bottom of the great wide Gulf under the weight of your own mess is another.

Autoposting and autotweeting are useful tools – they can help you communicate with people and get your message out to folks in different time zones, while you sleep. But use these tools judiciously, lest you be accused of “just phoning it in.” People want to engage with people – not automatic post pushers and twitterbots.

3 Each: Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Empire Avenue, and LinkedIN Tips

3 Blogging Tips

  • If you maintain multiple blogs, have a solid plan for the content and let your personality shine through. Let readers know what they can expect to find when they drop by – and make each a friendly, inviting place that encourages them to do so often. If you can’t maintain multiple blogs, or haven’t got the time or energy for one, let alone thirty-two of them, be sure you’re using categories and tags effectively. Think of categories as “chapters” (use only 1-2 per post) and tags as “index entries,” and don’t go crazy – better to pick a few really good ones and use them on multiple posts than to tag your post with every word in it that isn’t “the.”
  • Reply to commenters. Answer questions. Follow up. If possible, anticipate the next “big question” as it applies to your business – and blog about it!
  • Learn to respond firmly, but graciously, to negative comments. Learn to recognize an Internet “troll” and don’t feed him. But remember that legitimate, negative comments from unhappy customers are your chance to turn a PR disaster into a major win. Respond graciously and follow up.

3 Facebook Tips

  • Pages can interact with pages, but only people can post on other people’s wall. If you post on your own wall, and refer to one of your Facebook friends by starting their name with “@” your post will also appear on their wall.
  • If you comment and refer to one of your friends, starting their name with “@”, they will be notified that you’ve commented about them.
  • You need 25 “Likes” to get a “vanity URL” for your business or blog page – it’s not that hard to get 25 “Likes,” if you’re likable and you simply ASK.

3 Twitter Tips

  • Use a Twitter client, like Tweetdeck or Seesmic, to keep track of conversations that use hashtags. Hashtags begin with “#” and can make it easy to search for tweets on a topic (e.g., #weblogbetter) but a good client app will let you display them all together in real time, so that they appear as a conversation.
  • Use scheduled tweets (easy to set up, using a Twitter client like Tweetdeck) to invite people to an upcoming event, to promote the occasional blog post, to tell them where they can get help and support using your products. Just remember that it’s meant to be a two-way conversation, not a bulletin board. Follow up.
  • 3? I’m just kidding. Here are an additional 10 Twitter Tips that will have you chirping like a pro (and laughing, too, I hope)!

3 Empire Avenue Tips

  • Remember that it’s meant to be a game. That means, don’t cheat, don’t abandon your virtual shareholders if you opt to play, and don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing whatever serious work you’re doing. People want to engage with businesses because they: provide useful products and services that help them have more fun in their lives; are interesting; make them feel valued. Not because they are staid, boring, or make customers feel like they’re talking to a wall. (Even if it’s on a Facebook “wall.”)
  • If you’re using Empire Avenue as a brand or business, invest in customers who give you great feedback (“great” meaning useful – it could be positive or negative, but if it helps you to improve your products, services, or the way your company is perceived, it’s worth investing). Be sure to give those customers a Shout Out and a loud “Thank you!” as well, so they’ll know there’s a real person there, someone who’s really listening.
  • Use Empire Avenue to gain insight into your “networking value” and to get a picture of how balanced (or unbalanced) your network presence is. Did you forget to blog regularly, this week? (What would happen if the local newspaper forgot to publish a paper for a week, or the Daily Paper only published on Monday and Thursday?) Were all your “interactions” on Facebook and Twitter really just one way broadcasts? How can you use these metrics in your overall social media strategy?

3 LinkedIN Tips

  • A LinkedIN LION (LinkedIN Open Networker) is someone who is, at least theoretically, open to receiving invitations from people on LinkedIN that they’ve never met. By contrast, some use LinkedIN as a strictly professional network – as it was originally intended to be. Consider asking, first, before sending an invitation to connect there with someone you really don’t know and share no professional or personal history with.
  • “Recommendations” on LinkedIN are good for the ego, but may not be all that helpful as real-world “references.” See Scott Hartsman’s excellent post, “LinkedIn for Pragmatists: Why I Stopped Recommending.” Doesn’t hurt to have recommendations, but may not carry all that much weight, either. And while so much social interaction on the Internet is reciprocal in nature, remember that reciprocal recommendations on LinkedIN are about as effective as a reference from your mother.
  • Join some groups that share interests you’re passionate about, and help start the conversation – or keep it going. Let every online interactions serve as a possible first impression, and contribute something to the community. Explore some of the newer tools on LinkedIN – presentations, collaborative workspaces, plug-ins for your blog and Twitter, and more.

Free, Dynamic Business Cards

Years ago, I made a grown man cry. He’d just received a brand new box of “indestructible” business cards printed on Tyvek. Always up for a challenge, I held out my hand, smiled sweetly as he waxed poetic about the fact that these cards would still be around during the next Ice Age, and proceeded to work a small tear in the edge of one. If you’ve ever worked with Tyvek, you know all it takes is a little determination and a good start…  Anyway, my point is, no business card is perfect – except the one that brings in customers. The “cool factor” will only take you so far. Would I remember a radiologist whose business card looked like an x-ray of the human body? Absolutely! It’s clever, but also says something memorable about him professionally. Same with these fun business cards used by Lego employees. But what about this awful business card? I couldn’t remember where I saw it – only found it again by searching “youtube” “business card” “crap” “guy”. ‘nuff said?

Maybe an online business card is best for establishing your online presence – all your contact info effectively located in one place, where it can be updated and shared and tweeted and embedded in all the places you want to be seen. Here are two good examples:

Jump scan – If you want an online “business card” that proclaims to the world your cutting-edge geekiness and tech savviness side-by-side with your standard social media links and contact information,  then Jump scan is for you. Rather than creating multiple QR codes to go to different sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, your website or blog, etc.) Jumpscan allows you to have all your digital contact info in one place for easy mobile sharing. Or you can download your QR code and share your contact details by leaving a printed version cryptically pinned to the corkboard at your local Starbucks. Jump scan is easy and quick to set up and best of all – it’s free.

BusinessCard 2 – Business Card 2 gives you a free and interactive online profile you can use like a business card – you can share it through your mobile device, email, Facebook, and so on -  or embed it on your website or blog. It’s kind of like a business card on steroids, because you can also use it to stream live video from YouTube, provide live feeds to show how active you are on a variety of sites, share files such as presentations, images, or spreadsheets, use SEO features to get yourself ranked right up there in the search engines for your business, get reviewed and interviewed, and peek at the stats to see how much of an impact any of this is actually having on your bottom line.

 


If you found this post useful, entertaining, educational, please help me to win the We Blog Better Guest Posting Contest by joining in the discussion, leaving your comments below, then sharing it on Blokube, Blog Interact, Facebook, and Twitter – you’ll find the buttons just above the comment box. Thank you!

About Holly Jahangiri

Comments

  1. What a plethora (lol I think of The Three Amigos every time I use that word) of great tips you provided us, Holly.

    You’re auto-responder story was hilarious, and demonstrates why I try to limit my automation whenever possible. It’s a balancing act that I find the need to adjust several times a year.

    I’m very interested to read your link about recommendations on LinkedIn. I’m just getting back into using my LinkedIn account and was looking forward to writing some reviews this week.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Good morning, Brad! Yep, this is the “kitchen sink” post, the plethora of practical tips! Glad you liked it. (It’s a bit long – may you be richly rewarded for your perseverence by finding nuggets here that you can put to immediate good use.)

      I think it’s important to always look at what you’re doing – whether it’s the autoresponder, the cross-posting, the template, the interactions online, and make sure they’re still a good use of your time and everyone else’s. (You have no idea how many pithy, Erma-Bombeck-type posts I owe my regular readers when this contest is over…)

      • I saw a bad auto-responder snafu just yesterday. Someone whom I am connected with on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. The same 140 characters was posted 4 times in my Tumblr feed, 4 times in my FB feed and 5 times in my Twitter feed. I graciously sent him a tweet altering him to the problem and didn’t immediately un-follow and block on all networks. I am a bit less likely to pull That trigger on tacky mistakes like spamming auto responders. I know a woman who has over 1500 FB friends who has a Block w/o notice policy for things like spam. It’s something that every social “networker” needs to keep in mind.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Gee, someone you’re connected to on Empire Avenue, perchance? (That’s the one downside to that site; it tends to encourage this sort of nonsense.) I’m completely sympathetic (obviously, having made that mistake innocently enough, myself, in the past) – but I WILL block spammers without notice. And anyone who cannot tell the difference between a soulless spammer and a real human being who is having a “senior moment” and just needs to unravel the links probably doesn’t want to be “following” me anyway. The jokes would sail right over their heads.

          Gotta keep a sense of the ridiculous about ALL of it, right? I have an “unfollow without notice” policy for sticks in the mud. ;)

          • I have to agree with Alan. If I have received spam from any of those in my friend’s list I will alert him/her first to the existence of the problem, and if he.she does not do anything about, then I won’t have any option but to block him/her.

            But this very seldom occurs as I only accept friendships at FB if I know the person and I only follow when I have proof that he/she is not a spammer.

  2. It seems me so useful.

  3. Social media is one of the most effective technique to get know about what customers are exactly demanding. You have provided great information. Thanks.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Not only what they’re “demanding,” but what they need, would like to have, what delights them, what really ticks them off, and where they go to have fun. All of which CAN be clues to your success, if you pay attention.

      And thank YOU, Sandy, for dropping by with a comment this morning. :) Join me for some coffee? Still propping my eyelids open with toothpicks over here.

  4. Hey Holly,

    Really Great post you put together here!

    Social media is really becoming the main talk online. It’s amazing how fast businesses are moving towards using social media. These are great tips for us to get the most out of social media. I think being able to auto-tweet is awesome, but as you said people want to be able to connect with you. If you want to get anywhere online, then you have to learn how to connect with those who reach out to connect with you.

    I have not created a social media plan, but I will work on that today! Thanks for the awesome advice, because I need a gameplan. Even though things are working out for me now a plan would only help.

    Thanks for the awesome article! & look forward to seeing you back around WBB!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Hey, William! (That’s my son’s name, too, and I think he’s pretty great.) I’d be really interested in hearing how things improve for you after putting some of these tips in place. Planning is key to achieving your goals (sometimes even to figuring out just exactly what your goals are and how to measure them). Putting thought into the plan, writing it down, focusing on what success LOOKS like, in your mind, also helps program your brain to do what you need to do to get there.

  5. This is well researched article. It would be very useful to users who want to establish their online presence. I find participating in forums also essential, especially if you get to interact meaningfully with other members, like in MyLot and Yahoo Answers. While interacting, you could also post sufficient information to create a link to your best posts in your blogs.

    Superb article Holly, thanks for the treasure trove of information.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Jena. Really excellent point about forums. I have to admit, I haven’t spent much time in any of those, in a long, long while. It takes a lot of time and effort to run and moderate one, and the wrong ones can be awfully contentious. I’ll have to check out the ones you recommended here.

      As you pointed out, it’s critically important that any links you post in forums be relevant and that you actually contribute to the discussion there. No one likes spam; no one wants to be labeled a spammer. The content behind your link ought to add to the discussion. But don’t just say, “Oh, I just wrote a post on that” and leave a link. I see a lot of that and it’s really starting to get on my nerves; my brain has automatically started retorting with a silent “Who the @#$% CARES?” Add something substantive to the discussion (pay your dues) and use your post as a sort of “See more…” link.

      Anyone else have forums they’d like to recommend?

  6. Very well researched and well written article. If there’s one thing I’m not good at, its Social Media and I need to have a plan, good thing you published this article. Now, all I have to do is bookmark it and use it as reference. Thanks so much! :)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      There’s something you’re not good at??

      ::jawdrop::

      Okay, hang on while I process that one. I smell the wiring in my brain burning, Jaypee. There’s NOTHING you’re not good at. I refuse to believe otherwise.
      :) Thanks for the kind words, though – I do hope you find something in here that’s useful to you.

      Psst, for those who don’t know this, Jaypee is my Blogging Knight in Shining Armor. He has saved my blog not once, but at least three times, from total destruction and oblivion, and, in the process, kept me from going bald and throwing my PC out the window. No, in fact, there was no window in my house high enough to suit me…

      Please, go check out his site: http://jaypeeonline.net/

      Like, now. :) Okay, like, maybe after you leave a comment on this post. But really soon, okay?

      • Jaypee is your WordPress guru?

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Well, lest he be blamed for ALL my folly, he’s the one who has saved my blog from complete wreck and ruin. I’m pretty good with WordPress – most days. ;) Until I really screw something up royally. Then Jaypee’s like the Cavalry.

          • I’ve often thought that every technically challenged blogger like me Really should have a friend who’s a WP guru. I am so thankful for JD, who is mine.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Are you suggesting that I’m technologically challenged? I just occasionally do really stupid stuff. When really stupid stuff and databases collide, it’s kind of horrifyingly awful.

  7. Does @ before the name in FB realy post on their wall? I thought that was a Twitter thing. Thanks for the tip, I have to go check this out.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Absolutely. But of course on FB, it’s the person’s Facebook account name you need to use, not their Twitter handle.

    • Percival, tagging people in FaceBook is a super useful thing to do. If you tag me, I will get a notice that you have a a link to right where you’ve tagged me. It’s a great way to get somebody to read something specific and make very clear exactly whom you are addressing.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        Knowing how to remove tags is also a very useful thing.

        Tagging people carefully and judiciously – priceless. I get so tired of being tagged on random things people just want me to see – and then getting notified ad nauseum that “so-and-so has just commented on a photo of you” only to find out it’s some random photo of a landscape someone wanted me to see a month ago. Ooookay.

        Useful, but there’s definitely an art to it.

  8. “…respond firmly, but graciously, to negative comments.”

    To me the above is the most important line in this article. While customer service representatives are usually trained on how to handle negative feedback, I have seen far too many instances where the representative of the business gets angry or defensive with complaints or criticism. (And honestly, once you’re feeling angry and defensive the interaction can really only go downhill. If you’re feeling angry and defensive, you’ve Already failed.)

    I was Very impressed with how you handled the somewhat cryptic but definitely negative comment in your previous guest post. That showed me that you, Holly, not only talk the talk. You can walk the walk too!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Alan, it really helps to have had supportive parents and a manager early in my career who was also supportive. You learn that “escalation” isn’t the kiss of death, if you’ve honestly done your best (or can quickly confess to your superior and say a sincere “I screwed up, I’m sorry!”):

      “I’m going to tell on you!!!”

      “Okay, you do that.”

      “Who’s your boss? I want your manager’s name! Right now! Transfer me to your supervisor!”

      “One moment, please… yes, Mr. Smith will be HAPPY to speak with you. Thanks. Have a great day!”

      You don’t dig yourself a deep black hole. If you cannot do anything more to make the customer happy, you escalate or INVITE them to speak to someone higher up. If they’re acting like a complete a$$, the next person in line will figure that out in due time. Transfer them before YOU are tempted to act like an a$$.

      Here’s a really good example of what I mean (and it ties in well with the whole “forum” discussion, too): http://jahangiri.us/new/2009/05/14/champagne-and-strawberries-vindication/

      • Reading this I get the impression that you, like me, have customer service supervisor somewhere on your resume?

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          No, in fact I don’t. :)

          Although, I did get a kick out of having customer service phone calls from a major online service transferred to me at home, once or twice, many, many years ago…

          It’s common sense, Alan – maybe common courtesy (which seems to be falling out of fashion, but is NEVER out of style). Having listened in to live calls at a call center, though, I have a whole new appreciation for the stress those folks are under, the pressure to perform. It’s easy to be nice when people behave decently to you, but it’s a challenge, some days, to “kill ‘em with kindness” when they start out angry before even reaching YOU.

          • In the call center, I always tried to focus on helping the agent to always control the call. Callers were often angry and frustrated. And although we were constantly hiring additional agents for the first 2 years the new ISP was in business, long waits on hold to speak to an agent were a fact of life.

            The agents were trained to be unfailing courteous and friendly. Even someone who is utterly furious will often to respond to a genuine “Mr. Jacobs, I’m genuinely sorry that you’ve experienced all of these problems with us today. I certainly understand your frustration. Will you work with me know and let me take care of _____________” whatever the caller indicated the issues were.

            And you are also absolutely right about the high importance of having an established and available escalation queue. We tried to have one “help queue” or tier 2 agent for every 8-10 tier one agents. These much more experienced reps were trained to be the “supervisor” that calls could be escalated to. If you answer the call and the caller is irate and immediately demanding to speak to your boss, it is essential that there be a means of transferring him to someone else who can be the “boss”. Anytime an agent encountered an issue they didn’t know how to handle they called or IM’d the help queue. I was the help queue lead and the one the help queue agents contacted when they didn’t know what to do or a refund request exceeded their authority. Over me there was a supervisor and a manager and on really busy days every single one of us spend time talking to and assisting customers and training the agents and empowering them in all ways we could.

            Agents were not required to listen to obscenities nor to take abuse. They were trained in de-escalation and most of the time were quite good at getting the caller calmed down, the business taken care of and the caller sent away feeling that their issue had been resolved.

            (sorry. Ranting on you a bit)

  9. I have to admit that although I have been using Twitter for over three years, and have been online for almost 20 years now, and have written fairly frequently about social networking, I’ve never even attempted to create a social networking plan.

    Part of it for me is that I tend to see my use of social media as an experiment. I sometimes like to make fun of those I call the “copy/paste social media experts” who always seem to be writing about whatever all the other ones are writing about. /Yawns. But in reading your article, Holly, what I am realizing is that all of the charlatans and hangers on in the social media space have tended to blind me somewhat to some of the good advice I probably really should have _heard_ (which implies processed, considered and acted upon as opposed to merely received) some of the excellent advice you’ve given so generously here. You’ve given me a lot to think about this morning. (Which is one of the highest compliments I ever give ;)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Dang, Alan, you mean I missed my chance to become a millionaire in my sleep by selling these secrets for just $47? NOW you tell me. ;)

      Thank you.

      • ROFL! No Holly, I don’t think it would do one bit of could to try to sell this advice for some fancy fee. We both know that would be against most everything you stand for. But if I might suggest something– once the contest is over I genuinely hope you will consider uploading this post to iWriteReadRate.com You can make it a free download or charge perhaps 79 cents. If you do charge, the site will pay you 60% of the sale price you set. And at this time the UK based site is not required to charge or collect sales tax on the downloads.

        While it is of course another potential income stream from content you’ve already created, more importantly it can help to get this excellent advice and information into the hands of as many people as possible.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Well, true.

          I really need to spend some time poking around iWriteReadRate.com. I think you just answered one of my questions from yesterday, which was “Do they take shorter pieces, or does it have to be a BOOK?” That might be a good spot for some of my short stories.

          • There are regular blog length articles published there, most of them free of charge. The whole should you charge or not debate would be Way off topic on your social media post, but the great thing is it’s beside the point since whether and how much to charge for your work is totally up to you the author. I find I am really hearting IWriteReadRate.

  10. Social media is not easy for a 71 year old. I have been active on the internet for only 8 years with an ecommerce site, selling golf clubs.
    Trying to figure out how to utilize social media for marketing is not easy for me. It’s a fast paced environment, with new jargon, and very complex for me.
    I found you and will hang on to learn what I can.
    Thanks much.

    • Dan,

      It’s very complex for everyone. I’ll soon be 47 years old. There were no personal computers when I grew up. I’ve been online since about 1993 or 94, I’m not intimidated by technical jargon and I certainly find social media at times overwhelming and extremely confusing. It is truly a different paradigm I believe, and paradigm shifts are frankly challenging at any age. I will say that Holly’s advice is spot on and I give her huge high marks for leaking to so many truly excellent resources. There’s a wonderful depth of information in this post and in all of the links.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        Anyone remember the PDP-9? PDP-11? That’s the first computer I ever actually USED. (My dad worked with computers before that, so I was casually acquainted with the idea of a mainframe and a card-punch. Great for making confetti, until someone figured out the hard way that those little cardstock rectangles were sharp enough to cut an eyeball.) A game called “Hamurabi”? Early, text-based version of Sim Earth? :)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I’m 48, guys, but I got on CompuServe’s “CB” chat on my dad’s RS Model III at 300 baud back in 1981 or so. :) I’ve been hooked ever since.

      Dan, I applaud you for being on the Internet and having an ecommerce site for EIGHT YEARS. That means you have pretty extensive experience of your own, and should not be at all intimidated by social media. At your age, I imagine you have some real social SKILLS – the trick is to transfer those same skills to your blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and other places where your customers might be hanging out. (In your case, they really ought to be hanging out on the golf course – you might want to focus on making your ecommerce site really mobile friendly – iPhone, Android apps, etc. They may not be sitting at home on the PC, but I’ll bet they all have their smart phones in their pockets!)

  11. Whitney says:

    This is very catchy, Holly: “Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail.” Along with defining and measuring success, creating rules of engagement and all of the helpful “no nonsense” advice, consider reviewing the ideas from Beema.com. They’ve developed a 10 Step planning process that even the simplest of people could follow: http://www.beema.com/10_step_planning_process.aspx I think now, we are fully prepared :)

    Best,
    Whitney O.

  12. Holly,
    Great points here on how to use Social Media properly. I spend about ten minutes each day on Twitter and Facebook and occasionally use linkedin.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Very efficient use of the tools, Justin! (Some of us appear to LIVE there.) Funny story – I have some people convinced I really can be everywhere at once. We’re all so connected now – and with all these little “show online status” options that I forget to check or uncheck, I know there are people who think I never sleep, am always on GMail, always on Twitter, always on Facebook – the truth, though, is that I’ve always got 2-3 DEVICES online, and forget to hide my status. I definitely spend more than 10 minutes a day on those sites, but I’m definitely NOT online 24/7!!

    • 10 minutes a day on Twitter and FB??? Wow you must be super efficient. I’ve spent twice that much time just looking at this thread this morning, sipping my coffee and trying to decide where to dip my oar in and leave a comment.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        It’s hard to strike the proper balance between “super efficient” and “genuine and engaging” – some of us are more one than the other, but those who can balance the two are worth their weight in gold.

        How do you like your coffee, Alan? I prefer it strong enough to melt a spoon.

  13. Good post Holly, many of us who should know better, have a social media presence that sort of morphed together over the years as we got involved with, or abandoned, each dazzling, new site.

    I suppose thinking back on the mistakes we made, helps us be better advisers to others.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Being honest and humble enough to ADMIT to the mistakes, rather than coming across as an insufferable know-it-all “social media guru” helps, too. (No offense to the gurus out there, but if you have that word – or “expert” for that matter – anywhere in your bio or Twitter handle, I think you’ve just made your job 10 times harder than it has to be.) People learn from making mistakes, and maybe they can learn from ours. They’ll certainly find us more approachable if we’re human.

      • I feel that this post was a reply to me.

        Guru means GU + RU one who takes someone from darkness to light. Being humble makes a better guru, I agree with that and I have to first know a person well before I call her/him a guru :))

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          A real guru would never put that word in his own Twitter bio, right, Ashvini?

          It’s like – this one writer I know claimed to write “classic literature.” Okay, but really, isn’t “classic literature” a term to be applied by critics – usually POSTHUMOUSLY?

          • Real Guru would not even talk about it. As my guitar teacher once said “Simplicity is the best form of sophistication”. He is the best guitar player in town and you would not know if you see him.

            Maybe the person writing this literature would like to be known after his death ;))

  14. Hi Holly,
    This is a great post.
    There are people whom I dont know on linked in but got connected by someone else. It is always a good idea to send them a message or interact with them before sending them invitation. I normally get a lot of invitation from recruiters which I dont want to be friends with and I ignore them.
    Also for a company it is bad to be hyperactive on social media. If I like a page of FB and they add content every hour, I would be more inclined to hide posts from them on my wall. Discretion is a powerful force even on internet :).

    Great tips and thanks for sharing.
    Ashvini

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Good point, Ashvini. Thank you. It’s tempting to want to shout “Look at me! Look at my stuff! Isn’t this COOL!!” if you’re promoting something – whether it’s a blog, a product, or a brand. But sometimes it’s better and more effective to do it with a light hand. A balanced hand, too – you can post a lot of that stuff if you balance it out with some real human interaction and don’t get mistaken for an autobot.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      P.S. …says she who has posted 30+ tweets begging for comments on this post, today. ;)

      Occasional allowances can be made, surely.

  15. I love this article. I have to admit I struggle with the social media aspect, although I do love it. I am totally a consumer – the person everyone is trying to reach. The suggestions you have made for businesses to use on twitter, I sure hope they do try. I hate reading the constant spam of a product or marketing of a product or service. I really want to know there are live people there wanting to interact with me. The sell is in the interaction, not in the blasting.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Realistically, we all know that companies can’t ALWAYS afford to gab over coffee with each customer individually, court him for weeks, and subtly suggest that maybe they have a product he can’t live without…

      But secretly, we all wish they would.

      Barring that, we want good products, someone who’s there for us when we need help with them, and someone who will make it right – without any hassle whatsoever – when the thing breaks. None of that can even be discovered, let alone had, until we have enough trust to buy. If the spam turns us off and makes us run screaming the other way, well…

      I used to write for a site that shall remain nameless. I had a regular column there, and got paid a few pennies each time a reader lingered on my article for a specified period of time (smart – none of this click, click, click business – I got paid, at least in theory, if they stuck around and READ the thing). One contributor, though, abused the system badly – cleverly, but badly – by writing misleading articles about things like broccoli spears but entering tags like “Britney Spears”. Ruins it for all of us, when advertisers move their sponsorship ANYWHERE but there, right?

      Thank you, Janice, for coming over here and joining in the conversation – like Dave M., you’re offering a very valuable perspective – that of a consumer, not a blogger. It’s so easy to forget that even if we, too, are consumers, we’re not always blogging with our consumer hats on.

      • “Realistically, we all know that companies can’t ALWAYS afford to gab over coffee with each customer individually, court him for weeks, and subtly suggest that maybe they have a product he can’t live without.”

        I can’t deny this is true. Certainly Ford’s or AT&T’s real life shareholders might look askance if Scott Monty and Chris Baccus spent a great deal of time and money courting their Empire Avenue shareholders.

        BUT.

        It seems to me that when corporations come into the social space, they really kind of have to, well socialize. IF that is they hope to be effective in the social sphere. Honestly, I don’t think to expect that from the big corporations is all that different than how we expect entrepreneurs and independent professionals to act in the social space.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I’m sure large corporations see this as a real gamble: We all know that it CAN become a huge time-sink, fun, but not big on ROI. We all know from a few hugely public mistakes that it can be a PR nightmare, handled poorly. (This is the risk of being real and human – real humans often say the wrong things, but the trade off is that even then, they’re more INTERESTING and, well, likeable than the autobots.) To me, the kiss of death is to get into social media and then simply abandon it and your loyal followers (virtual shareholders, on Empire Avenue, if you choose to play). That says to people, “Yeah, I wanted you to get emotionally invested in my brand, but my brand doesn’t give a rat’s whisker about YOU.” That’s the opposite of sincere. Maybe every social media plan should have a graceful exit strategy, as well.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          The other thing about brands needing to socialize if they get into this space is that, well, nothing is more boring than a corporate “talking head.” And nothing says, “Someone told me you have to do this to succeed, but I don’t know why, and who ARE you people?” faster than a talking head on Twitter.

  16. I thought Janice hit the mark and she made the first comment on this thread. “If you can’t talk to someone as a consumer, why would you buy something from them?”

    I manage phones for a company that advertises 24×7 connectivity with a live person. I’m required to distribute Real Estate voice inquiries through a call-center via analog, VOIP, Mobile Extensions for SmartPhones, etc. It is a royal pain in the butt and it’s worth it. Every person we can actually talk to becomes a conversion because they are tired of -net-inspired exuberance- and the email brush-off. Flippant and auto-reply text answers from folks that don’t care just piss people off.

    Janice had it right, if a retail site has an 800 number that a live person (not a zombie) answers, you might be safe purchasing from them. Otherwise, you’re better off dealing with a chain at the mall or someone locally.

    Social Media feels like a comfy suit when you try it on but the seams pucker a bit after dry-cleaning…

    I’ll give you two examples: Go to http://www.hp.com and you can readily find an 800 number for support or sales within three clicks–go to http://www.quicken.com and you can’t call them for either sales or support, they simply don’t care about you…

    Social media will be as good as it’s match to the benefits they provide to community. Someday they’ll have to come out from behind their “Terms of Service” and decide to be a part of their community(s).

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I love it: “net-inspired exuberance and the email brush off” and “flippant and auto-reply text answers…just piss people off.” My mom would’ve eaten these folks for lunch. (She and I once marveled and laughed over a wedding announcement on the society page that said, “The bride and groom were joined at the reception by 300 of their closest friends…” Neither of us could even imagine having 300 friendly acquaintances, at the time, let alone “closest friends.” My parents were both big on sincerity, honesty, and cutting quickly through the B.S.) You know me, Dave – the pen is sharper than the sword.

      I just love reading between your lines, too, Dave – thank you. :) You are right – the personal touch is important. People would rather buy from a friend than a random stranger.

      For what it’s worth, Janice’s comment was the most recent one, before this – not the first.

  17. The hashtag concept is good – in theory. The problem, I feel, is that a lot of people abuse the system and use tags that have nothing to do with what they’re tweeting about (just to be found on a trending topic). The end result is a lot of useless “noise” when you’re trying to follow conversations on a certain topic…

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You are absolutely right, Kid’s – what do I call you? Kids’ Craft Blogs? KCB? Joe? Susie? – people abuse a lot of things, and hashtags naturally lend themselves to such abuse. Of course, there’s a price to pay for that. (We should all go tweet #supercalifragilisticexpialidocious #floccinaucinihilipilification #antidisestablishmenarianism – right now – see if we can get those to trend. No room for any conversation there, now, is there?)

  18. What an in-depth post! It makes so much sense to actually make a plan – something we take for granted. I found myself jumping in without really having a goal and it turned out to just be wasted time! If only you had posted this earlier and I saw it. Live and learn – key is to not make the same mistakes twice.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thanks, Edward – this is my “kitchen sink” post. If you have the patience for reading this much online, may you be richly rewarded with tips you can use!

      “Live and learn” is right.

      I used to have a boss who, upon learning of an employee’s mistake, would say, “I just have three questions: Can you back your a** out of it? Did you LEARN something from it? Are you ever going to do it again?” If the answers were yes, yes, and no, he’d just smile and say, “Good. Now get back to work.”

      I’ve wasted a lot of time online. I’ve also learned a lot through trial and error and “playing around” – and I’ve learned it better than I would have through reading blog posts and books. Just learning that you can survive most mistakes is valuable. I know people who still think if they press the wrong key or click the wrong button, they’ll blow up their PC if not the world within a three mile radius.

  19. Wonderful post. Ashvini has an interesting view regarding discretion. So which is the best approach when you want to make yourself noticed but you don’t want to be annoying to others ? I am talking here about Facebook

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Try to balance the self-serving posts with a good mix of the following:

      - Posts that serve others
      - Posts that are informative, useful, educational
      - Posts that are intriguing and conversation provoking
      - Posts that are funny
      - Posts that reveal your personality but ask nothing of others (and are, one hope, way more interesting and comment-worthy than what you had for lunch, unless lunch was truly offbeat or comes with a recipe)

      • There is actually a pretty good book for new bloggers “No One Cares What You Had For Lunch”. I actually reviewed it a few years back:

        http://libdrone.info/2007/10/19/the-thoughtful-blogger/

        For personal bloggers in particular it can be really challenging to create content that is both personal and interesting. IMHO, if you have a knack for it great. If you don’t you’d be better off blogging in a different niche.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Why Alan…you tempt me to fish.

          That sounds like a wonderful book. Of course, I already know no one cares what I had for lunch, unless I cook it, make jokes about it, and post it on YouTube. (Yeah, search for “adventures in tripe” and “balut” and you’re bound to find…something.)

          Anyway…speaking of lunch, is it dinner time yet? All this talk of fishing is making me hungry.

          • lol. one of the nice things about having written book reviews for three years, is that on almost any subject, I can chime in ‘oh yeah. so and so wrote a great book about that. And I reviewed it. Here’s the link…’

            (It is good the non-bloggers you’ve attracted to this thread Holly. Bloggers just have a certain mindset…)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Well, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I trust my NON-blogging friends to give me a swift kick in the pants whenever I’m making a…fool of myself.

            (Now, I just announce to the world when I’m PLANNING to do it, so they’ll either join in the fun or look the other way for a specified time. To wit, this contest.)

            See http://jahangiri.us/new/2010/01/29/meet-prunebutt-whats-left-of-my-muse/ – that’s why we should all have our very own Dave M. I don’t like to embarrass him, but I am very grateful for readers who are also friends, and are not afraid to yank me back to the real world where I write to entertain, instead of metablogging and metawriting. (I have struck a bargain with said people just for the duration of this contest, and I’m going to owe them, if I win – just so y’all know – I’ve sold my soul, here, and I think payment involves styling my hair like Donald Trump and posting silly pictures and writing the writer’s equivalent of a month’s worth of Hail Marys.)

          • Honestly, I am so afraid of what Youtube is going to suggest for my playlist now that I Liked the first of the tripe videos. I’m almost afraid to click the prune whip link. But I will try. I must say you were Way braver than I would have ever been with the tripe project. (And I wish we had Fiestas up here in the Northwest.)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Well, like I said over on YouTube in reply to your comment there – “That which doesn’t kill us…doesn’t kill us.” Did you find the balut video? :)

  20. I love your in-depth take on Social Media plan – very intelligent and concise. This is a must read for every entrepreneur and bloggers who want to expand their customer reach via social media. Thanks for the tips. A must read indeed!

  21. Holly Jahangiri says:

    Social media is a gamble for corporations; done well, it can certainly increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Done badly, it can lead to scandal. Done half-heartedly and without a plan, it can lead to apathy – which may be the worst option of all.

    So, should every social media plan include a graceful “exit strategy”? What would that look like, do you think? How long would you give it and what might trigger you to pull the plug?

    • I suppose you are right that social media IS something of a gamble for corporations. Yet it also seems to me that NOT engaging in social media would Also be a gamble for most corporations, albeit a different gamble.

      I can remember within my lifetime that thick printed catalogs were an effective way for big corporations to market a huge number of products. I remember a day when broadcast radio was a huge part of my day, and most everyone else’s and a very effective means of advertising. But I suspect that any companies still focusing on the printed catalog business or using broadcast radio as their primary marketing means are few and far between and far from successful.

      With the truly critical mass of consumers now using social media, can a corporation that hopes to compete actually avoid the social space?

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        Probably. Like, I don’t know – how about companies that manufacture farm machinery? Not big corporate farm machinery, but small farm equipment? (Okay, social media could give them an edge, but I think most small farmers are too busy and too tired at the end of the day to be alert to the social media space. Could be wrong on that, but that’s been my experience.)

        • Hmmmm. It seems to me that some of the most successful small farmers these days are those that sell their produce through subscription plans that are almost completely run via web sites. With all due respect to our small farmers, whom I totally respect and want very much to support, I believe that pretty much most if not all small business people work very hard and tired at the end of the day.

          Since it seems we live in outsource nation– perhaps it would be a good idea for more entrepreneurs and independent professionals to hire someone to be social for them, in a cost effective manner.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            My point wasn’t that they’re the only ones who are tired after a long day – just that they’re outside and not sitting in front of a PC. And not all of them are selling to the local farmer’s market or via online subscription. I know one who checks his email about twice a year – when he remembers he HAS email.

  22. This post has caused me to do a great deal of thinking about my own social media plan. I’ve previously mentioned that I have viewed my social media activities much more in terms of an experiment– a quest if you will to learn how social media works and how to use it to my best advantage.

    I am pretty sure that having read your article and using some of the excellent resources you linked that I will take some time to write out a social media plan. But unlike some people I’ve encountered I don’t believe my plan is going to focus on metrics that may not be meaningful to my particular goals.

    I also think that one aspect of social media planning that many entrepreneurs and independent professionals need to know is that it is Not necessary to do Everything. Empire Avenues focus on a handful of particular networks and the super- engager’s practice of being on all of them obscures the fact that there are Thousands of social networks out there and no one could possibly participate on even 10% of them and ever hope to do any other productive work. IMHO, choosing which social networks you concentrate your limited time and resources upon is a critical part of creating a good social media plan.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You hit the nail on the head, Alan. You have to define your own goals, figure out what “success” looks like – TO YOU – and ask yourself how you’re going to measure your progress towards those goals. You can’t just use someone else’s canned metrics.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      No one can do it all. Meaningless interaction all day, every day, may rack up points in a game, but none of us are at our best if we’re sleep deprived and spouting social media buzz words to our kids. ;)

      What’s funny, though – I see people whittling down their friends lists on Facebook, in recognition of that fact. I see them culling their Twitter follow lists. And that’s cool, because no one can really give 14,000 people the individual attention they crave and often deserve.

      But having said that, I’ve looked through the 800+ “Friends” I have on Facebook, and there’s really not a one I feel a burning need to sever ties with. Is that odd? I never imagined I had so many friends… some I’ve never met, like my pen pal from Sweden from back when I was about 9 years old. Seriously. These are all PEOPLE, and if they choose not to remove ME from their lists (and so long as they’re not stalkers and complete jerks), I’m not likely to remove them from my contacts. I may not always show it 1:1, but I value every one of them.

      • lol. honestly, I do find it funny that even as some people who are fairly new to social media put beaucoup efforts into expanding their followers and friends lists, older hands begin working on trimming their lists which have grown unweildly. I have a friend on FB who recently created a brand new account for herself and has abandoned or is in the process of abandoning her old one– which had grown to over 5000 friends and was simply unmanageable.

        And yet I completely relate to your comment about having 800 friends and honestly not wanting to cut off any of them. I’m inclined to agree with you that at some point, it simply becomes physically impossible to keep up with (2,000–4,000–20,000–x,000) friends. I suspect that the practical upper limit varies from person to person, and I would never presume to tell someone that they have too many friends. But when someone who is following 20,000 people on Twitter follows me, I NEVER follow back, presuming that with that many followers they are using Twitter as a broadcast medium rather than a place for conversation.

        And yet. I got my 500th follower on Twitter the other day and was really excited about it. I don’t believe that I have become a Twitter broadcaster or stopped being a conversationalist. But I have to ask myself how can I possibly be following the conversations of 500 people?

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Yeah, well… I have well over 2000 followers and I’m following most of them back. It’s not that unwieldy, as many of them don’t tweet daily. I periodically use one of those sites that let you see who hasn’t tweeted in over a year, who isn’t following you back (not that I care, but if they aren’t, and haven’t said anything interesting to anyone in a year, I unfollow). Again, if I recognize them and remember WHY I followed them in the first place, I hang onto them. ;) If I visit their page to remind myself, and find that all they’re tweeting are affiliate links, well… buh-bye! I don’t really care most of the time about reciprocity – if I find you interesting enough to follow, it’s sweet of you to follow back, but I’m not going to drop you like a hot potato if you don’t. (On the flip side, if you follow, lure me into following back, then drop ME like a hot potato just to make your follow:follower ratio look good, I have a few choice words for you, the nicest of which might be “tacky-a** social climber.”)

  23. I am pasting this from a discussion on Michael Q Todd’s Facebook page, because I believe it is Very relevant to the social media goals thing we’ve been talking about. I wrote:

    1. have fun
    2. meet great people
    3. make connections to promote my writing
    4. provide great quality content to my audience
    5. grow my audicence

    Clearly my goals are a bit different than most of those in this thread. But I’m pleased to say that so far 1. check, done 2. check, every day it seems 3. check. working on new projects connecting with new distribution channels 4. working hard at it every day 5. friends and followers on all networks Way up. I think I’m doing Great on Empire Avenue.

    To which Michael responded:

    Those will happen automatically Alan but I have been learning that by setting specific and realistic goals with time limits I am naturally compelled to improve my skills which leads to acceleration of the goals you mention.Thoughts?

    And here in this thread I reply:

    I do not in any way shape or form believe that making friends, meeting people, promoting my writing career, creating great content and developing my audience will EVER happen automatically. In my considered opinion regarding these 5 goals, all of which require real hard Work every day to effectively pursue, that believing these things will ever come “automatically” by hitting some metric I’ve contrived (X Facebook friends Y share price, Z ranking on some list, etc) would be the most Dangerous mistake I could make in my social networking plan. Your thoughts?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I don’t know that you can (or SHOULD) turn #1 and #2 into SMART goals, Alan. That would be…soulless.

      #3 might be rephrased, but first define “connections to promote my writing” – do you mean friends who will share your blog or agents who will try to sell your book or publishers or what? It could be “Send out xx queries each month” or “Submit manuscript to 3 agents each month” or “request guidelines from x publishers each week and follow up with a query or manuscript or phone call…”

      #4 “Write 3 well-researched and carefully edited blog posts each week on the subject of adult literacy and recruit one new guest poster each week for rawwr.info” (It’s a thought!) :)

      #5 “Hold a subscriber drive on rawwr.info and give a prize to the 200th email subscriber.” (Could be a personalized, original sonnet with their name or the name of someone they’d want to give it to – doesn’t have to be expensive, get creative!)

      Just a few ideas for metrics, there, Alan. 3, 4, and 5 are quantifiable goals (my suggestions are just off the top of my head – you’d have to craft them to suit your personal goals). And once you’ve achieved those, it’s time to set new ones. ;)

      • Well, “having fun” definitely seems to me an “I know it when I feel it” sort of goal. And I whole-heartedly agree that placing a metric on the goal of “meeting people” would indeed be soulless. But about the “promoting my writing career” goal– it seems to me that meeting and getting to know Adam Charles of iWriteReadRate.com was genuinely useful and his very intriguing new web site does in fact strike me as a new market for my writing. Even if neither of these facts fits neatly into a “metric”.

        Your suggestions about writing well-researched posts for one of my blogs is of course a good one, and holding a membership drive with a valuable but non-monetary prize also sounds like an excellent idea to me.

        My point though, is that there are goals that can be genuinely worthwhile, both from personal AND business perspectives that really don’t fit will into quantifiable widgets that you can calculate an ROI for. And I really do believe that failing to understand this– that not everything worth doing can be quantified is one of the Biggest mistakes that people can make in Social Media.

  24. Holly Jahangiri says:

    Do you believe that EVERY worthwhole business goal can be defined, quantified, and measured – or that it should be?

    Example: If the goal of good product manuals is to reduce the number of times customers have to call in to say “How do I use this thing?” – how do you measure that for a NEW product? How do you know that it’s not just intuitive design (or flawed design) that’s having a significant effect on the numbers? How do you measure “fewer calls” when you haven’t had any? How do you measure “usefulness” or “customer satisfaction” if satisfied customers don’t ever comment on something like the manual, but only comment if there’s a problem?

    • Having worked for several years for a corporate-bred small start up that merged and acquired itself into a huge corporation, I have sat through more than enough meetings to well understand that in a corporate environment, it is more or impossible to get the resources to do much of anything at all that can not be quantified and subjected to numerical analysis.

      Does this mean that every worthwhile business goal Can be quantified and subjected to formulae like ROI? Gosh, no. Small start up companies that are following founder’s and or investors’ passions and no answering to a team of managers and accountants can do extraordinary things and make extraordinary profits. There are numerous examples of this in business. At the same time, people who are investing upon and following their passions rather than a CPA and CEO approved business plan can also LOSE a great deal of money.

      I really do understand why corporations insist on quantifiable. But I believe it would be naive to believe that was the only route to success.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        “Profit” and “loss” are quantifiable, Alan. :) Let’s turn this one on its head: Can you think of any business goal that’s of value to the business but is NOT quantifiable?

        I think it can be challenging to measure things like “good will” and real “satisfaction” (what does that MEAN, really – your products are reliable enough that no one’s complaining, or that they’re so FANTASTIC everyone’s saying great things about them?) But is there anything that really CANNOT be measured that is of high importance to a corporation?

        On the flip side, when it comes to personal goals, I suppose you could graph your moods for a month. “Happier than yesterday” is a measurement. A very subjective one, the benchmark of which changes often, I think. “Happier than yesterday but still miserable” isn’t really achieving the goal of “happiness” at all.

        “Make new friends” has a lot of value, but probably shouldn’t be quantified and measured, because the NUMBER of new friends is kind of irrelevant. WHY would someone want to “make new friends”? They don’t have enough old ones? They want some fresh ideas [for...]? They don’t have any friends willing to go skydiving with them? (This is where specificity matters.)

        “Make more money” needs both specificity and realism. “Okay, here’s a dollar, that’s more than you had ten minutes ago – now shut up about your money-making schemes, already.” I can’t help you if your goal is to make five million dollars by tomorrow morning and you have no plan for how to do that.

        Interesting. We all have our mental yardsticks. I’m just curious about the ways we use them that vary from the conventional measurements. Your thoughts?

  25. Holly, thanks for this post. Having a plan that really supports business objectives is absolutely vital. You’ve covered all the basics, and even added a little more. Great stuff.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thanks, Rick! Glad you found it useful. Yeah, once I got started, I got on a roll, and figured “Why hold back?” LOL

  26. Awesome blog Holly. Just what I had been looking for . Have voted and given it the thumbs up.Good luck.
    Baz

  27. imho, the question of growing vs culling your lists of Twitter followers and Facebook friends is both Much more complex and infinitely more interesting than it might at first seem.

    At this point I have about 500 Twitter followers and about 165 Facebook friends. I feel certain that if these numbers keep growing, inevitably they will reach a point where they are more than I can manage to realistically communicate With (rather than spam At).

    You have reported that you have about 2000 Twitter followers and about 800 Facebook friends. It sounds, Holly, as though you to agree with the idea that at some point an ever expanding base of friends/followers becomes unmanageable and yet although you are exponentially ahead of me in building up your friends and followers, you too seem to regard that point as somewhere in the indefinite future. And neither of us, it seems, can pin down exactly at what point that will be.

    That leaves me to wonder if those acquaintances who have 10,000, 20,000 40,000 100,000 on their lists might not also say that of course at Some point it Must become un-manageable. But I’m still managing just fine with the number I have now.

    #justathought

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Honestly, Alan, it’s not about the numbers at all, so I just don’t worry about it. 100, 500, 5000, 14000 – who CARES? Every now and then, I follow someone (or something) whose tweets are constant and repetitive (and no, I am NOT referring to ME, this week! Hmmph.) The numbers only matter when you expect and deeply care about reciprocity. (Sure, I sweated it out a little when I invited my husband to connect with me on LinkedIN, earlier this week – he could always ignore me. No, really. Does it all the time… ;) There are people who, if they didn’t follow back, could maybe hurt your feelings. But really? If they’re that kind of close, they’re talking to you and doing things with you through other means, right?

      • Holly, my talk about the numbers isn’t from a focus on reciprocity I don’t think as opposed to the possibility of impossibility of actually reading a few messages as they scroll by in my inbox. I have a friend who is trying to be an online marketer. He told me he always follows back when anyone follows him and with the I think 2000 or so followers he has, he’s completely given up trying to read msgs as they go by and uses a search function to find when people have @ mentioned him so he can reply.

        I’m _really_ on Twitter because I enjoy talking with people there. My concerns about how many to follow are mostly about still being able to have conversations.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I hear ya.

          But think of it this way:

          You’re at a party. Some people are in the living room. Some have drifted out to the lawn and gardens. Some are chilling by the wet bar in the basement, and a couple have gone off God-knows-where (best not to ask) and taken it private. You mingle. You catch snippets. And if you or anyone else care to have a more indepth conversation, you include their names or key phrases, to get the attention of your INTENDED audience. If you want everyone’s attention, you clink your knife against the glass or use a bullhorn.

          I’ve come to see Twitter the same way.

  28. Delphina says:

    If we consider how many hours yearly company spends on making budgets and review and revise budget this surely shall be part of it just as Customer Service is part of budgets.

    Social Media has proven to be common practise thats where consoumers are & people are more and more unwilling to use the phone for customer service. So a quicks and easy first step could be shifting CS into the ressources of social media and plan accordingly in wich medium to be present.

    Great post Holly,

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Delphina, I think that’s an excellent idea. Though I think there are still folks who are eager to pick up a phone and speak to a real person, I think online chat, forums, and twitter are quickly becoming the preferred method for getting help. It also makes it easier to share troubleshooting info with others, helping more customers to find what they need, faster. But it’s also more personal than a knowledgebase. :)

  29. I absolutely agree with you take on starting with the strategy. I have heard people ask again and again, “can’t I just have it all connect together, so I can post once and it just go everywhere?”. And the answer is of course yes, but do you want that is a better question.

    Starting with a plan, as you suggest, is the most important thing, I believe, when implementing a social media marketing plan. It always goes back to people, the people we are trying to interact with, and the way we all choose to interact. The technology only matters as much as it helps us connect to people, engage with people, or tap into the conversations people are having. So as technology changes, the best strategies, that focus on the people, do not have to change, just the way you implement them might ;)

    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, they have reinforced mine, and given me some new ones.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      “Do you want that?” is an excellent question. Do you want to look lazy? Do you want to look like a spammer? Do you want to be accused of violating your own copyright? I almost did that to a woman, once – she was posting her poetry in varying stages of editing and under various pen names on different sites. Fortunately for us both, I just emailed the one I was pretty sure was legit and said “email me back as your alter ego or I’m going to report you as a heinous rip-off artist!!” She promptly wrote back and thanked me for looking out for her interests. We actually had a good laugh over it later.

  30. Great stuff here, Holly. Please excuse me while I go add this to my retweet list!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Gosh, JD – consider yourself excused and your sharing this greatly appreciated! May your share price, divs, and earnings increase 100-fold. ;)

  31. Dave M. says:

    Alan’s 5 Goals:

    I started a new thread as I wasn’t sure where to jump in…there are so many insightful comments on this post and I’m enjoying all the different views–do you bloggers always have this much fun?

    I especially like the back and forth between Alan and Holly. You two are like conjoined twins regarding thought and probably share a skull, you two could easily discuss and pound the crap out of the relative differences between Mr. Rogers’ and Martha Stewart’s good baking intentions or how to properly hang up a sweater with patches on the sleeves:)

    Here are my thoughts on Alan’s five goals as a reader/consumer:

    Numbers one, two and five should be a metric of measurement–of three and four. Both Alan and Holly are correct. One, three and five are byproducts of doing three and four correctly, sincerely and with passion.

    Social media has been a part of everyone’s life since Cain clobbered Able and God tweeted it to everyone via Gutenberg and the Bible–we all expressed FaceBook-like sorrow for Able and determined we should stay away from and not vote for Cain-like peeps (think CraigsList). I remember being an unemployed semi-starving furniture maker in northern Minnesota about thirty years ago and had to take a job selling cars to put food on the table; social media back then was waking up at 5:00am and buying coffee for fishing-guides at two or three bait/gas station/diners on the way into work. Social media was sending hand-written notes to my customers and prospects about where the Grouse and Deer were hanging out prior to season opener. Social media was following a customer through the service department and discovering they were charged for a warranty covered service–then tracking them down across the street at Paul Bunyan Land, tearing up their charge card receipt and handing them the pieces.

    Little has changed about marketing in 40 years I think, or I’ve suddenly become old and naive:) I have maybe fifty friends on FaceBook by choice, my livelihood doesn’t depend on it and most are family, others are actual friends. I don’t tweet and I’m not LinkedIn. I like Alan’s five goals but I think they could be two goals and three measurements.

    Do a couple things well and the other important components will happen as a byproduct :)

    Dave

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Oh, Dave – you’ve seen “What if God Had a MySpace?” haven’t you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU_iZfe5Xa4

      Your analogies are spot on. (I love reading your writing, sometimes even more, I think, than you enjoy mine.) The “personal touch” has evolved to cross larger geographic spaces and time zones, but it’s still important – it just takes different forms, over the years.

      We all know that Mr. Rogers would’ve said that the cookies were perfect, just the way they are – lumpy, oddly sized, mis-shapen lumps – because they’re warm and tasty and YOU made them. Martha would trim the edges, add a bit of homemade royal icing (colored in seasonally appropriate colors to distract the discerning eye from minor flaws – which we all know were only in her mind, anyway). Both would be perfect in the eyes of the kids who gobbled them up in two point four seconds, washed ‘em down with cold milk, and ran back outside to play, leaving Martha and Mr. Rogers to clean up.

      And you’re right – do a couple of things very well and let the rest fall into place, for the most part. You can’t be good at everything, all the time. But you can focus on your strengths, recruit help where you know you need help, and let some of it go – it’s not critically important.

      Thanks, Dave.

    • Dave,

      I find I’ve been sitting here for going on an hour, contemplating if ‘having fun’ can in fact be a measurement for ‘create good content’. I find I’m of _at least_ two minds about this. Honestly, I put having fun as my first goal, because honestly if I were not having fun with it, I wouldn’t be doing it. Lately it seems to me I have met so many people who are just Very caught up in numbers games surrounding social networking. And to me, that seems to miss the point.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        Numbers give me brain freeze.

        Now, all those pretty legends and infomaps, all those crunchy WORDS as people try to explain the numbers…

        Those are amusing. ;)

  32. Oh, dear God, not another learning curve!

    MA

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Marian, Marian – how do you eat an elephant?

      ONE. BITE. AT. A. TIME.

      That’s why I used headings! ::breaks own arm, patting self on back::

  33. Another brilliant post from Holly “Ho Ho” Jahangiri. Many folks will appreciate it. Heck, the tip about posting with @ on your page alone is worth the price of admission. Wait! Your advice is free! Well done.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Well hi there, Heather! Not only is it free, it’s spreading across the Internet like wildfire – picked up by reputable sites and scrapers alike (that’s when you know you SHOULD’VE charged for it, because SOMEONE out there’s making money – or thinks they are). Can’t you just picture them chortling evilly on the other side of the screen?

      But for all who’ve commented here that they’ve found something useful in this post, it’s worth it. Thank you.

  34. My goodness, what a post! This is definitely the definition of a true pillar post, that’s for sure. I’m trying to think if I have anything to add and I don’t, so I’ll just say I picked up an interesting tip from you on Facebook and the use of @, something I never knew. This was something else; thanks Holly!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      A true pillar post? Is that one of the holy grails of blogging? Dangit, I don’t need SEO training, I need “How to charge what you’re worth” training. ;)

      Just kidding. I’m surprised by how many people who regularly USE Facebook have said the use of the @ is new to them! (One update: I’ve noticed, lately, that the @ may not be needed – you start typing someone’s name, and if they are one of your friends or a member of a group you’re posting in, their name will show up. Just select it from the list. You may have to try last name first, though, if their first name is very common – Facebook still only shows a handful of names when you do this.)

      • “How to charge what you’re worth training…” OOOO. If you get that, pass it on to me, please. I would Love to be able to charge what I’m worth ;)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          My dad used to say, you don’t get what you deserve – you get what you ASK for. (Or “have the nerve to ask for.”)

  35. Lynne Thompson says:

    Holly, this is a great article. I don’t know where you find the time to pull stuff together like this…:-) Thanks for helping me think about a plan and basically to understand a few more things about that crazy online world out there (sometimes it feels like the big bad woods…) LT

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Sometimes it IS like the big, bad woods, Lynne. But it’s also full of fun critters – if you don’t get out there and explore (while carrying your stun-gun and wearing your asbestos catsuit, of course), you’ll miss out on a lot of cool experiences.

      It’s like romance: You can wall yourself off and never get hurt, or you can be sensibly wary but open to new relationships and just MAYBE live happily – if not happily ever after. ;)

      Can’t you almost hear the groans from everyone here but Dave M.? “OMG, you’ve got her off in the weeds, making bad metaphors again…”

  36. Hey Holly

    I never knew we had to “plan” our social media actions. I personally don’t have a social media pla…why you might ask; simply because I didn’t know about it and I don’t “sell” anything except of course for my writing. Even if many of us have a media plan how it works totally depends on how effectively one uses it (as you demonstrate here!).
    Too much of information overload for a newbie like me, amazed at actually how much there is to learn! Thanks for such an informative post, Good Luck with the contest! You are such a darling competitor! :)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Hajra, even writers (maybe ESPECIALLY writers, since they seem to be such easy prey for the unscrupulous) need a plan. Sometimes, it helps to give others a plan for how they can help you – you know, they’re willing, even eager, to support you in your efforts, but they don’t know where to start. When I do a virtual book tour, I have this handout for my blogger hosts – because I don’t generally ask other writers who’ve done this before, I ask moms and dads and readers, people who ARE part of my target market and thus can speak to others in it: http://www.scribd.com/doc/19711956/Virtual-Book-Tours

      So yeah, even if you’re not selling much of anything, it helps to have a plan. Doesn’t have to be some big inflexible monolithic corporate PLAN, but a general outline of where you want to be and how you think you want to get there. Like hiking through the woods.

  37. Sir Ian Paul says:

    Being the early hours of the morning and seep has eluded me for several days and I have not read all the comments I would just like to say very well done all of you you have done a splendid job (taken from a sit com called are you being served ) which brings me to my point is the customer always right by the way it was a great sit com and there was no use of obscene language in it

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      ::coffee:: for Ian! Goodness, yes – I keep forgetting the time differences. I haven’t yet gone to bed.

      Thanks, Ian.

      You know, I do like the notion that businesses should remember that the customer is always right, but customers, too, can be unreasonable. Just imagine that in every customer interaction, a nice, wonderful customer is watching – one you’d really do well to make a good impression on. That doesn’t mean making yourself into a doormat or acting against your business’s best interests; it simply means always being courteous and respectful and reasonable even with the unreasonable people out there.

  38. Awesome article, Holly, I’ll definitely be leveraging those Twitter tips, as I’ve not really understood that platform yet. Thanks!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you!

      Feel free to practice on me, John Henry.

      Feel free to give me additional opportunities to make typos, too. Any time. ;)

  39. Social Media is needed because you can get traffic rapidly. As now days social media is booming.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      That’s very true. Actually, it’s been “booming” since the early 1990s – but I wonder if, now that marketers have caught on to the boom and so many are taking the social OUT of it (encouraging a high degree of superficiality), it won’t drive people to the “next thing,” whatever that may be?

  40. Hi Holly,

    Another great article. Your posts always prove to be very enjoyable reads. You say, though, that you need 25 ‘likes’ to be able to get a ‘vanity URL’ for your Facebook page? Not sure if I misunderstood what you said, but that’s not actually the case I don’t think. My FB page has had a vanity URL from its inception, even when it only had one person ‘like’ it (me).

    On a related note, I found that one of the best, most effective ways for me to get more ‘likes’ for my Facebook page was through several social media and eMarketing groups on LinkedIn that organized ‘Facebook page like exchanges.’

    -Petra

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Petra, according to Facebook, there’s still a 25-fan requirement to set a username for a page: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=15073

      If you’re talking about your PERSONAL page, though, that’s true – you don’t need anyone to “Like” you to have a short username there.

      • Hi Holly,

        My company fan page had a vanity URL even when no one liked it.

        Not sure if this is typical, but for my page this was the case.

        -Petra

  41. Holly, Great advice for so many out there without a social media plan. You made it very clear and gave a lot of links for more information.

    Do you think some avenues are better based for different businesses? Is there an easy way to figure out where you should be if you’re an aspiring writer, or a local musician, or just getting off the ground with a product or service?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Hi there! Nice to see another familiar face over here. ;)

      I’ll be honest, I hadn’t given that a whole lot of thought! But one thing that’s true no matter what business you’re in – you need to get out there and get acquainted with your customers. TALK to them. Don’t assume that just because you have some things in common with them that you understand them – you’re selling, they’re buying, and they will see YOU differently than you will see you.

      I think that professional groups and associations are great – but we can’t stay within that comfort zone when we’re reaching out to find customers. Figure out where your customers are hanging out. If you write children’s books, try schools, libraries, and reach out to parents online. Mom and dad bloggers can give you a tremendous boost. If you write mysteries, why not hang out in forums where mystery lovers hang out – maybe there’s one on bn.com or amazon.com, or try the TV station forums, find one for fans of CSI, maybe. If you’re a local musician, find all the hot spots for your town, make connections with event planners, wedding consultants, musicians’ guilds, etc. Network! Don’t forget about the old-fashioned forms of social media Dave mentioned – the corkboard at your local Starbucks, for instance. Like I said, sometimes we get tunnel vision – life isn’t ALL online.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I just finished reading this post; it addresses your question in some depth: http://www.smartbloggerz.com/2011/05/how-do-i-know-which-social-media-is-right-for-my-business/

  42. So I took your advise and made a social media plan. It’s low on “SMART goals” and yet I believe it is a smart plan for me:

    Continue participating on Twitter, Facebook and Empire Avenue. Continue to attract new friends and followers. Continue policy of accepting all friend requests on Facebook but only selectively follow back on Twitter.

    Begin getting people to sign up for my new e-mail list on Mail Chimp.

    Continue writing e-book about Empire Avenue. Send a link for free e-book to everyone on list, once it is published.

    Write more articles for BrooWaha.com It appears these articles continue to attract regular readers month after month, making the site a good place to create content and backlinks.

    My plan contains NO numbers. No metrics. But it is specific and achievable and I believe it will enable me to further my goals.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Alan, that’s great! But these seem more like methods to achieve a goal. Pretend for a second that you’re a five year old. Read one of these and then follow it with, “Why?”

      I don’t want to reduce your SMART goals to something harsh and soulless; I agree with what I think you’re getting at, here. The goals may be motivated solely by personal reasons that have nothing to do with business or money or tangible things that can be easily measured.

      Obviously, you don’t want to “attract new friends and followers” simply to increase your follower count. But some people would rather pluck off their eyebrows than ever log on to twitter in the first place. So for YOU, what’s the “Why?” behind why you want to “continue participating”? From our short acquaintance, I’d say it’s because you love to be a part of a winning collaboration with people who share your interests. You enjoy taking action and promoting people, causes, or products you BELIEVE in. That’s what’s ‘fun’ for you. That’s what I’m getting at – if “have more fun” IS your goal, paint a picture of your ideal state and aim for it.

      Now, having said that, the plan SHOULD contain the “how to get there” steps, which this seems to do – I think this is a great start, Alan.

      Now, how do we sign up for that email list??

      • You know, Holly, your feredback about my social media plan is spot on. And made me realize how extensive my unspoken planning actually is– the meta goal right now is to become a successful self-published author en route to becoming a successful small press publisher. It’s all kind of an outgrowth of starting my book review blog a few years back and (while confessing that at times I have believed all sorts of other things I’ve done online would make me money, though few ever have) I believe that my goal is more realistic now than any of its predecessors ;)

        Fun really IS my first yardstick for all of this. If it stops being fun, I’ll change what I’m doing. I do enjoy all of the things you mentioned, Holly. But for me the biggest things are that I love to write, I love to read and I love to interact with other interesting people.

        I think it might be a very good idea to actually write out the whole plan and elaborate the goals as you described.

        (And you can sign up for Libdrone’s newsletter in the right sidebar on my personal blot at http://libdrone-personal.blogspot.com.)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Your personal “blot”? Isn’t that what Rorschach called his blog? :)

          One of the other reasons for writing out the goal and then plan – committing them to paper (and yes, I do mean paper – never hurts to write it out longhand, because that accesses different pathways in the brain) is because we tend to make happen the “dreams” we can clearly visualize. (I’m still not convinced that we could fly, if only we could visualize it clearly enough – but there’s really a lot to the idea that some parts of the brain can’t distinguish between reality and a really carefully constructed daydream – once you convince it it’s real, it goes, ‘Yeah? Okay’ and helps make it happen.)

          • blot (as in Rorschott perhaps; it is a Personal blog) can also be filed under ‘blog commentators can not afford copy editors’. I know that longhand accesses different parts of the brain that typing. But honestly, I find long hand painful after a few minutes and my writing reduces to a scrawl as the discomfort mounts. Honestly, Holly, if the godess had intended me to write long hand, she would never have permitted our world of keyboards up the wahoo all over the place.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Well, good point – but do consider accessing those pathways with the abridged version. :)

            Speaking of typos (not yours, in this case), I really enjoyed your latest book review at http://libdrone.info/2011/05/24/non-gatekept-it-does-not-elminate-the-need-for-editing/

            ALL writers should read this before engaging in that empowering and independent activity known as “self-publishing.” It is an excellent cautionary tale, told without malice but without sugar-coating.

            Is there something wrong with me, though, that THIS post makes me wonder if you’d review MY books? LOL It should make me tremble in my boots… but no, it really makes me want to ask…

  43. Reading Alan and Holly’s posts regarding a social media plan triggers lost memories for me from my time in sales. I thought Alan’s outline and goals were excellent and at first I thought Holly’s reply was way wrong. Alan’s plan seemed to include the smaller action items that can lead to successfully attaining a goal. In the end I thought Holly’s question of how those individual plan items might be executed to help reach a goal were important. Thinking back, any plan that helped me in the past included smaller behavioral or daily goals based on the action items that I could measure every day instead of waiting weeks or months for performance data. If I believed in my goal, made a plan based on smaller action items then measured and critiqued my behavior according to those smaller items, the overall performance goal would almost always happen. My best results always came when I worked on behavior daily rather than becoming hypnotized by statistics.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Metrics are important, but you raise a good point – you can get hypnotized by them, by creating different views and charts and queries and reports – and lose sight of the fact that it’s the ACTION that makes the needle budge.

      Tackling a big goal is a lot like the old, “How do you eat an elephant?”

      “One bite at a time.” If you try to do everything at once, it becomes a lot harder to tell, too, which efforts are paying off best.

    • I love your phrase “hypnotized by statistics”, Dave. I think it’s very apt for some of the metrics-obsessed folks I’ve been shooting a bit of fun at. I’ve worked in corporate before, and I do understand the need for metrics. But honestly, I am more a Words person than a numbers person, and find I often work better with goals defined in words rather than numbers. And thanks for your compliment, I appreciate it.

  44. So, What is Social Media, Seriously?

    This discussion on social media is interesting reading. I don’t blog, therefore I don’t Tweet and currently have no need for LinkedIn. I’m on FaceBook because it’s necessary to interact with friends, family and acquaintances. I don’t write letters and I never call people to wish them happy birthday anymore. FaceBook is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions social media to me. Social media has always existed I think and I’ve always relied on it but never thought about it much. I was on vacation in Blue Ridge Georgia a few years ago and stopped into what looked like a good cafe, the one with tacky hand painted signs advertising “Shoo Fly Pie”. So I’m sitting there eating my pie and noticed a huge white-board hanging on the wall. I thought this was pretty high tech for a cafe using a noisy old electro-mechanical cash register. The white-board was where patrons would write messages to other patrons knowing they’d eventually show up at that location and check the board. The messages were fun and my favorite was: “Fred, the laundry is in machines 5 and 6, put it in the dyer and I’ll pick it up on the way home from work, Margie.” I stopped in a couple more times during the week and the owners would put up a new thought for the day and dry-erase old messages. They’d also post “Terms of Use” policy for their cafe like “Don’t spit on the sidewalk, use the can!” I plan to vacation there again and go back for pie–I really hope they haven’t put up a FaceBook page, they already seem to have the whole social media thing figured out.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Well…let’s look at the etymology:

      media: “newspapers, radio, TV, etc.” 1927, perhaps abstracted from mass media (1923, a technical term in advertising), pl. of medium, on notion of “intermediate agency,” a sense first found c.1600. (from http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=media)

      social: social (adj.) c.1500 (implied in socially), “characterized by friendliness or geniality,” also “allied, associated,” from M.Fr. social (14c.), from L. socialis “united, living with others,” from socius “companion,” probably originally “follower,” and related to sequi “to follow” (cf. O.E. secg, O.N. seggr “companion,” which seem to have been formed on the same notion; see sequel). Meaning “living or liking to live with others, disposed to friendly intercourse” is attested from 1729. Meaning “pertaining to society as a natural condition of human life” first attested 1695, in Locke.

      Social climber is from 1926; social work is 1890; social worker 1904. Social drink(ing) first attested 1976. Social studies as an inclusive term for history, geography, economics, etc., is attested from 1938. Social security “system of state support for needy citizens” is attested from 1908. Social butterfly is from 1910, in figurative reference to “flitting.” Social contract is from Rousseau. Social Darwinism attested from 1887. Social engineering attested from 1899. Social science is from 1811. In late 19c. newspapers, social evil is “prostitution.” Social justice is attested by 1718; social network by 1971; social networking by 1984. (from http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=social+media)

      As you can see, the sense of “followers” and “following” dates back to the 15th century, at least. So Twitter suddenly seems very old school, don’t you think?

      Your examples would certainly qualify as “social media.” The only difference is in the reach, and the breadth of interactivity between people. Your white board is very local, very tightly focused on a particular target market. ;) It’s most folksy, has a community appeal, and is fairly intuitive and user-friendly.

      • Ah, but you employ the same homey and smarmy white-board attitude as the Appalachia Holly. You refresh and renew a couple times per week, you answer every comment sincerely and sweep the corners to keep things fresh, and sometimes patrons connect in your cafe.

        Your “reach and breadth” are impressive but you make everything seem local no matter where a person lives, even with regulars from Iceland to India or the Philippines…that -exactly- is what I like about your blog–it’s a neighborhood of people, not a business enterprise:)
        I’m sure you haven’t done this without exceptional SEO and social media attention– I’d be hard-pressed to notice.

        I will confess to purchasing and recommending your books though:)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          That is probably one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me – certainly the nicest thing I’ve heard all day! (And people have been pretty darned nice to me today, Dave.)

          You know, that’s how I see my blog – it’s my online “home” or “salon.” I want everyone to feel welcome there. On the Internet, everything’s “local.” Conversations are disjointed, and we’re all kind of getting used to that, and it’s okay. (Some of my best friendships are those where we can lose touch for a decade or more, only to pick up exactly where the conversation left off last time we saw each other.) If I toss a problem over the fence, someone on the other side of the world may cogitate on it during their daylight hours, and have suggestions for me over coffee – while they’re wrapping up their day. And vice versa.

          And you know I love it that you like my books – and that you spread the word. I’ll bet you do that in person, gabbing with the school librarian. ;) Every form of social media needs the human touch.

          I’m so proud of this bunch of commenters, too – we’ve gone off on the zombie apocalypse, but there haven’t been any bland and smarmy comments that leave me wondering if the person’s really READ anything I’ve written. :) That feels good.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Did you really just call me “smarmy”??

          I need sleep, if I mistook that for a compliment. ::glares at you::
          :P

          • Well kinda, you’re not really close enough to slap me so I can talk tuff sometimes:)

            :PP

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Do you really imagine you’re far enough away to get by with THAT? ::eyes Dave M. with a wicked twinkle in her eye as she sharpens the nib on her fountain pen::

    • (I am by the way a Huge believer in creative visualization. I have used it many times to change my life for the better. What stated as I’m going to create a great book review blog (and make a bunch of money from it–HA)

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        When I watched “The Secret” (and I’m sorry – I really can’t quite make the leap that you’re all just characters I made up in my head, and I can do absolutely ANYTHING – way too Matrix-y for me), my first thought was, “Well, yeah, that’s what my mom’s been saying for years.” She was spooky good at winning contests – that was her hobby, but when I say “spooky good,” we’re talking a ski boat, two cars, several trips, cash, and a guest part on HBO’s series “Dream On.” People would ask, “How do you DO that?” and her advice was pretty simple: You can’t win if you’re not in the game; you have to believe – not that the prize will be yours, but that it is ALREADY yours; be grateful and happy no matter how big or small the prize is; always thank the sponsor; be generous with your loved ones.

        As a writer, I find that writing it down, painting a concrete picture in my own mind, daydreaming, all lead to that state of mind where it’s ALREADY happened – it’s just going to take “reality” a few cosmic nanoseconds to catch up.

        • Holly– it’s a Good Thing that you can’t believe that all the folks you know are just characters in your head. If you could you’d probably be suffering from a serious sociopathic condition, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

          I remember when I was living in the Boston area, working a crappy dead end job and one day I read a book about creative visualization. I started seeing myself living in Seattle and having a good job in high tech and maybe even a spouse. A year or so later, I lived in Seattle, had a great job with an ISP and a wonderful spouse….thinking maybe I should get a hold of that book again and dream a new dream….

    • A man who likes pie is pretty high up in my book, Dave. But I do find myself wanting to make clear that Twitter and blogging are different things. There are most certainly some on Twitter who do not blog as well as bloggers who do not tweet.

      You’re absolutely right of course that social media really isn’t anything new– although I might argue that the Internet makes distances irrelevant to a degree that is unique in human experience. (It was not that long ago that most people never traveled more than 10 or 20 miles in their entire lives; now I have friends not just all across the United States and in Canada but in Europe, Asia, India, Africa and Australia. Yes, I remember pen pals, even had one or two way back when, but the speed and volume of communication now not merely possible but commonplace is a huge game-changer.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        Here’s irony for you, Alan: My pen pal from Sweden, a girl I wrote back and forth with for maybe 6-12 months, back when I was about 9, is a friend of mine on Facebook.

        I have no idea what prompted me to search for her, one day, but when I wrote and asked if she’d ever had a pen pal in the U.S., she wrote back that she remembered me. That was over 30 years ago.

        They used to say that you’d encounter everyone you’d ever met, if you stood long enough at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I think the modern-day version of that may be Facebook.

  45. Holly Jahangiri says:

    I have seen everything now.

    I thought for SURE this blog would now rank #1 for search terms: social media zombie apocalypse

    With or without quotes. But no! No, and you will not BELIEVE what does. We might as well hang up our SEO hats right now – ain’t happenin’ folks.

    http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies_blog.asp

    That’s right. The CDC. For real – dispensing advice on how to survive the zombie apocalypse (and other emergencies, of course). Who knew???

    • I’ve seen that page several times and each time found myself thinking ‘What the phuque???’

      • Friggen gov…can’t fix a shallow pot hole or shore up bridge but they’re experts on Zombies now. Can’t wait to see what’s in the school lunches next year -gag-

  46. Hi Holly,
    This really was a great post. I won’t speak so much of my gain of knowledge about social media, but rather your lay-out and presentation of the information for those that need to learn about it. Not to say the content was lacking, because it certainly wasn’t! Great post,
    Bryan

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Bryan! Given that your business IS social media – that you RUN a social media site – it would surprise me if I taught YOU any new tricks! ;) Thanks for the endorsement, and for helping to share this post with those who might benefit from it.

    • LOL, Bryan. I do believe that’s the only time I’ve read a good comment that said “great post” in the first line ;)

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        He said it in the last line, too! But Alan, I’m SURE Bryan’s seen more than his share of spammy comments – he knows how to be a great commenter, too.

      • Alan,
        I just caught that, and I have to say – you’re right! Generally finishes off with some sort of spam!
        Bryan

  47. Wading through internet trash and detritus has been a google given for users this past decade. If I were to blog, I’d call it “American Pickers” and get sued for copyright issues. Some, and I do mean some bloggers have a knack for picking through society’s trash and have a way of refining it for the rest of us that are consumers.

    The more important metric I would think, might be the ratio of “nice post” versus other comments that were more than two words…

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I love the word “detritus.” Sounds so much nicer than what it is.

      I am pretty sure I’d get more comments if I asked more questions. There’s this, “I can’t think of anything to add to what you said” business (especially when I write a post like this one and DON’T beg for comments), and a certain odd “intimidation” factor (What? Is it because I’m tall? Because I’m a ‘published author’? Because I’m – what? I don’t get it, and it’s usually the wrong people who are intimidated, but it’s there.) The most important metric, to me, is the yawn to comment ratio. (I don’t really count “nice post” as anything, unless I happen to KNOW the person and/or Akismet doesn’t.)

      But seriously, I’m not out to amass eyeballs. I’m out to find and connect with readers. It’d thrill me to no end if they also buy one of my books, but I’m not kidding – there are some days I feel like I’m writing the blog for about three readers, and that’s really okay with me, if they’re reading and enjoying it. :)

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        P.S. I should add that I know from the stats that it’s considerably MORE than three readers – but some days I’m lucky if I get three to comment. Personally, I LOVE the comments – the CONVERSATION IN THE COMMENTS – and that’s my own measure of satisfaction and “fun.” This right here? This is fun.

        • Good comment, Love your post! Do I know You?

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            ::gritting teeth:: Uncannily and alarmingly well for someone I’ve never met face to face.

            You play nice. I’m still not entirely over that “smarmy” comment. :P

    • I don’t think comments are necessarily the only metric of blog success, Dave. I know from stats for instance that lots of search visitors read my book reviews, even though I don’t get a whole lot of comments. It seems to me that providing a visitor with an informed opinion about a particular book (especially if _that_ is what the visitor was searching for) has real value, even if they don’t stop leave a comment “great post”.

      • I agree with you Alan. I would not have known that my two blogs are having more visitors than my favorite blog if I did not have my Google Analytics.

        My two blogs which are read more often, rarely get comments from readers. But the stats from analytics have shown me the truth that they are more read than any of my blogs with more comments.

      • I would like to add also that the bounce rate is also lesser in the blogs with less comments.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        Now that’s interesting about the bounce rate, Jena! I’d have thought that would be the other way around.

  48. So many people head out to the bloggesphere, and social media world with no plan. They flail about and waste so much time and energy. Thanks for showing a clear path. Great job.

    • Thank you for saying that, I agree Jules!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Jules! Some people do learn better by doing (even flailing) but too much of that can be painful for the bystanders, too. ;) One thing flailing around without a clear plan can lead to is loss of credibility. I’ve seen people start, abandon, restart, move, redesign their blogs – each time, essentially announcing, “I really mean business this time, come see!!”

      I’ve done that. Each time, it gets harder to entice anyone over for a look. When you finally get it right, everyone’s waving a hand in dismissal, mumbling, “That’s nice, dear…” ;)

      • I have to agree that “some people learn better by doing” and even or perhaps especially by failing. I’m remembering when I got my first computer– and knew absolutely nothing about any of it. I started playing with it, then got hooked into playing with it some more. Then after awhile I finally got a job helping people play with their computers. Learning by doing is definitely a viable option, imho.

  49. Exemplary post, Holly!

    Delighted to meet you. Your references and resources are wonderful and you’re a great storyteller.

    Now that I’ve read your post …
    I plan to get better at planning. :)

    Wishing you good luck in the contest!

    Melanie

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Melanie! Delighted to meet you, too. From what Hajra tells me, I’m going to need luck, if you’re entering this competition! Thank you for dropping by my personal blog – I do hope you’ll visit often, kick off your shoes, make yourself at home. (Take a break from the business side of blogging now and then, just come on over and gab.)

      • “Kick off your shoes (already done), make yourself at home, and come on over and gab” — sounds like my idea of a good time!

        Thanks, Holly.

        Had tons of fun dropping by your blog today and departed with a gaggle of giggles!

        Hajra is a sweetie and I’m blessed to have made her acquaintance online. I adore her sense of humor. :)

        Melanie

  50. Hey Holly, I would like to say something about handling irate customers and negative comments. There is always two ways of reacting in these situations, a right way and a wrong way. If you choose the wrong way you best be prepared for the fallout. However choosing the right way has a lot of positive benefits.

    The wrong way would be to get defensive and arguing rather than trying to resolve the situation.

    The right way is to listen to the customer, find out what the issue is and then try to resolve the issue. Do this and not only will you have won a loyal customer, they will also spread the word opening the door to new customers.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Isn’t that the truth?

      I don’t think customers GET “irate” most of the time if they didn’t start out emotionally positive about the brand. They feel let down and disappointed, precisely because they did have faith enough to buy in the first place. If you approach them the way you’ve suggested, restoring their faith and making them feel good – not only because you’ve fixed the problem, but because they feel valued – you’ve definitely won yourself an ally.

      • And that is the same with people selling stuff on the net. I’ve been to blogs where someone has done a review where it wasn’t entirely positive and then the owner of that product writes a nasty comment in return saying the reviewer must have done something wrong. Heaven forbid there may have been a flaw in the coding or something. As if that wasn’t possible?

        What those people fail to see is that others will gauge him and his product on the way he/she handles the situation. There is a lot more chance of damaging your brand or reputation on the net than out in the real world because there is so much more exposure.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          That’s very true.

          Happens to authors more often that I’d like to think. There have been some pretty spectacularly humiliating incidents involving “irate” authors (the business) attacking reviewers in front of customers. I’ve always felt it was better to take your knocks and move on – remembering that not everyone likes the #1 bestselling author of the moment, either. Respond with a gracious “thank you for giving your honest opinion,” and drop it. Sometimes, the less said, the better. Others will move on more quickly, then, as well.

          • Yep. Not that long ago someone brought a thread on a book review blog to my attention. The reviewer complained about typos and mis-spellings in the self published book, and the author of that book left blog comments blaming the reviewer for having an out of date copy (Huh?). It does indeed happen with great regularity and with self publishing becoming more and more popular, I’m sure we will see a great deal more of this sort of thing.

  51. The problem with that whole “Custoner is Right” thing is that Holly doesn’t believe a customer is always right, she does believe I think however, that a customer is entitled to interaction.

    I’ve never been satiated commenting on her blog but I can always count on being “Interacted With.”

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      How can you say that to me after my last post!? Harrumph. I feel like a mouse that’s being toyed with.

  52. Sire, if Carter were selling liver pills in 2011 would he be screwed because of a defetive product?–Might he overcome the bad publicity with prompt attention to comments on his site/blog?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Depends on the harm caused by the defect.

      Prompt attention coupled with a recall and an information campaign and a sincere apology and every attempt to make it right? That’d help.

      Pharmaceuticals and the food industry have some unique risks. Well, so do the makers of buzz saws, but they’re more apt to be able to blame the harm on “user error.” ;)

    • No amount of “customer service” can ever make up for making defective products that kill people. But a lack of “customer service” can easily make a great product unprofitable.

  53. Wow, wish I had time to read all the comments, but I definitely am glad that I had time to read this post. Some thoughts: The keys are knowing what you want to get out of a social media campaign, and then, yes…planning it to accomplish that. Covering all the bases can be problematic unless you have a team of people dealing with it all. If you’re a lone horse in the race, then I suggest focusing on one thing at a time, until you are comfortable enough to add another thing to the mix. For instance, just creating and maintaining a GOOD Facebook page can take a fair amount of time – both in the planning stage and afterwards. Connecting, engaging, offering, responding…all these things just for that one campaign makes it hard to also handle all the other social marketing you could be doing. So, start by choosing the one place that the majority of your audience is hanging out. Be where they are. Focus attention there first, and then spread outward as time allows.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      The comments are as good as the post, Donna! Bookmark ‘em for later.

      That’s excellent advice – it cannot be stressed enough – focus attention where your audience/customers are hanging out. Play on the playground of their choosing, don’t make them jump through hoops to play on your turf. Nothing annoys me more than brands that want customers to come to their site but make it exhausting just to sign up, then offer little in return for the effort.

      Feel used, much?

      • Of course, I’ve seen people complaining about having to jump through hoops to implement a social media marketing campaign, but hey, better the business jump through hoops, than the clients! I mean, dude, if you don’t want a good rep, lots of great word of mouth recommendations, happy customers, plus new and repeat sales, then by all means, don’t jump through hoops to implement SM strategies. Just sit back and expect clients to arrive at your door. It’ll happen…not. :)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Well, now, Donna…they might. But they’ll be carrying flaming torches and pitchforks. ;)

  54. Is it okay to muddle around for a bit when you’re a baby blogger? :)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Just my personal opinion here, PC, but yes. That’s THE PERFECT TIME to “muddle around for a bit.” Before anyone else has EXPECTATIONS of you. Get comfortable with your own style, your own niche, your own “voice” as we writers say – play with all the tools and sites out there (but don’t waste time on them if they don’t (a) WORK; or (b) bring you pleasure. If we’re honest, there are a lot of fun things out there that may not be the perfect fit for a business presence. But all work and no play leaves you stodgy and possibly lacking in personality. You have to find the balance that works for you, and part of that means you dive in and “muddle around.”

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      P.S. I don’t think of myself as a “baby blogger,” but much of the time, I do see myself as still “muddling around.” It’s kind of fun. ;)

    • muddle, PC. Muddle! MUDDLE!! Life is a learning experience. I say experiment, try different things and never be afraid to ask questions. The difference between an expert blogger and a newbie baby blogger?? About ten years of muddling ;)

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        ROFL!!! So true. We “veteran bloggers” just make muddling look EASY.

        • Haha. Thanks so much for the encouragement, guys. I’m 9 weeks old. I love that I’m finally blogging on a daily basis, meeting other bloggers who’re providing fantastic resources for me to learn the technical tricks of the trade and best of all, it’s all fun.

  55. Bruce T. says:

    Good article, BUT… ( didn’t you know that was coming?)

    I think the same level of focus needs to be put on the fact that like an tool, these can be used for negative purposes. These can range innocently harmful through obstructive / destructive to malicious. The former is seen in the current strategy of tech marketing through blog hype as the manufacturer / seller keeps a “dignified” silence… and we all can state cases of the latter.

    What’s needed is a general “survival guide” for the general public on how not NOT to interpret / react to ye hype machines. This is going to take a while.

  56. Excellent article Holly and your points about Blogging, Twitter, and LinkedIn ring true. I only recently started becoming more active on LinkedIn groups (probably last 90 days) and have seen a benefit right away. Personality is key to standing out in a blog, when 100 blogs write about the same news story, product or tip the ones that have the most interesting, entertaining or memorable way of presenting the material are the ones that will attract long term readers.

    Good luck in the contest!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      The whole wide world is a tough audience, isn’t it, Justin? If you’re writing about news that’s already been covered in the mainstream media – with all it’s experience, its financial backing, its attractive news anchors and reporters – good luck with that. You HAVE to have a new angle or fresh insights or expertise to bring to the table. Same goes for high tech and blogging. As Melanie Kissell said, in her excellent entry, it’s probably better to be a big fish in a small pond. And if you don’t have the inside scoop on the latest news from your niche, the only thing that can possibly make you stand out and be worth reading is personality and style. Picky as I am about grammar and spelling, I’ll even read some pretty poorly written stuff, if the author has put their own unique perspective, personality, and style into it. Badly written AND boring is the kiss of death. (Ironically, though, the harder some people try, the farther they move from their own “voice” and the closer they come to bland and boring. It’s kind of sad to watch, some days. It’s even sadder to watch yourself do it. Yes, Dave, I see you smirking over there…)

      Thanks, Justin!

  57. I would like to add something more based on my experience about Social Media. It is wise to have a plan on how to optimize your site/blog making use of all web 2.0 platforms. Through the years though I found more success not from Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, but from producing relevant and content-rich posts in my site.

    If you want to attract readers who really want to read your posts, then write relevant content. When you do this, you will earn more visits from search engines from people who really want to read on that particular topic and not from online friends who visit your site to say hello and engage you in a conversation.

    I’m not saying that social media is useless…it is for people who do not have the primary purpose to make money online.

    If you seriously want to earn online, then write rich, relevant topics that online users would search for.

    My site which I rarely advertise through social media has more visitors than sites that I have frequently linked from my social media pages.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Jena indirectly brings up an interesting point. Facebook, Twitter, Empire Avenue, etc. all serve as platforms to make new connections with people and/or promote blogs, interesting news, and so on. But I think they can also dilute readership.

      Jena, you and I talked about this a year or two ago – it seems that once the conversation and friendship move from blog comments to email and Facebook posts, interaction on the blogs tends to dwindle to non-existence. It’s a strange phenomenon, but I see it over and over.

      Dave, you may be an exception – and the key MAY be that you’re not blogging. But we’ve been friends everywhere from a forum to Facebook to email to blogs (mine and others’) and we just carry the conversations around with us wherever we happen to be. I’ve been pleased to introduce you to some pretty cool people and blogs that you seem to enjoy completely apart from me. To me, that’s where the fun is.

      And you make really good points. I tend to advise against writing on the same topics everyone else is, but what I’m REALLY saying is, “Don’t just regurgitate the same ol’ thing. Give us YOUR take on it – ADD to the conversation.” I have no interest in reading paraphrased news I got three days ago on CNN. Or could get, if interested, from a Google search. Don’t DILUTE the conversation. ADD to it.

      • Hello Holly,

        You’re right about “ADDING” to the conversation. In the news site where I write though, we are not allowed to include our opinions. We are just allowed to read as many sites as possible and do a meta-report. I am having a hard time doing this as I am used to butting in with my opinion, no matter how trivial it is, lol. So, I always control myself. If I am really fired up with a topic, I run to my blogs (there are 13…lol…) and pour my heart out and express my angst… That’s why I find it harder to write for the news site. We have an “Opinion” page there, but we are not encouraged to use it very often. It’s somewhat difficult for me because I ramble, but I’m learning to write “summaries” lol…TC.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I know, Jena, and it breaks my heart, sometimes, to read your fingers so tied. I will say, though, that I’ve learned of a few food recalls from your articles first – even though you’re culling through the U.S. news and reporting it on the other side of the world. But I learn of your posts there through Facebook, because honestly, I’d have little other reason to read that site. So you’re definitely getting SOME of your readers by way of social networks. ;)

        • Jena,

          I really hear you about how hard it can be to keep your opinions out of a piece. I once took a job to produce “reading passages” and related questions for a company creating a practice SAT test. And at first all of my work was rejected because none of my passages were neutral. IMHO, writing without opinion is Very challenging.

      • I mean we are only allowed to report about the facts. But it’s a learning process and I’m happy with the progress because we get sometimes a thousands of hits in a day, which is to me a first…lol…

        I would like to write a post as comprehensive as this one. Perhaps someday I would.

        Congratulations for an informative, flawless and well written post.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I wish, honestly, that more news sites were ONLY allowed to report on the facts. I’d like them to do the digging and investigative REPORTING, and let me form my own @#$% opinion, thankyouverymuch. I really, truly despise the “talking heads” that have to take up ANOTHER hour of TV time explaining to me a speech I’ve just watched. (Of course, it’s optional – some people enjoy it. I get that. I just kind of wish there was a mirrored station on which my favorite programs ran right after the speech, since I GOT IT ALREADY.) Know what I mean? I have no problem with a clearly labeled “Opinion” section, and find it very valuable and interesting to READ others’ OPINIONS (that’s exactly what I DO want from the blogs and newspaper op-ed sections I read!) but I don’t want those passing for “news.” Facts and opinions should be separate and clearly delineated.

    • I think you’re definitely on to something about friends carrying around conversations to different venues which evolve and change over the years. I find it especially annoying that Empire Avenue ignore activity in FB groups, since it seems that these days I am spending most of my time and tossing out some of my best mots in FB groups. Your theory also helps explain why I just don’t seem to get many comments on my personal blog, even when I write about what everyone is talking about.

  58. Recent posts on this thread have been interesting. I hear “Write well on a topic as others will be doing the same” and “You don’t need Social Media if you post rich content.”

    I believe there’s a kernel of truth in both thoughts. I often check two or three sources before making a decision or forming an opinion if I need a sincere point of view to jack me up and get back on task. Product and book reviews are a good example, forums and social media allow me to collect trusted opinions. I read a few blogs that are touchstones for familiar topics that bubble-up every week. The folks writing those blogs are writing on the same topics as major news and vendor sponsored forums but I’ve come to trust their take on things even if I don’t agree with them. A good example is Alan whom has been posting on this thread for a couple weeks, I may not agree with him but I enjoy and respect his take on things so I began following his blog.

    No offense Jenna but it must be nice to be sitting fat without Twitter (I don’t tweet either). I wonder what might happen if you engaged people on social media? I work a strange schedule and http://jahangiri.us and http://www.thestrugglingblogger.com keep me grounded and I appreciate it when they gig me on social media and draw me back down to earth:)

    I truly appreciate the blogs I read.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Dave, check this out:

      http://theclamorofkalinga.blogspot.com/

      That’s probably my favorite of Jena’s blogs. I don’t read as regularly or as often as I’d like, and rarely comment. But THIS is something I can’t find on tech or parenting or writing blogs. THIS is what I’m talking about – adding personal insight and personality to something you just aren’t going to find elsewhere. She doesn’t advertise it much on social networks. But I think it gets pretty good traffic. Talk about a niche!

      But if you want educational, fascinating, and sometimes funny – there’s http://wwwclinchemexplorer.blogspot.com/ – now, don’t you wish your professors were so engaging and made learning so much fun? Not only do her students learn about clinical chemistry, they learn about technology, blogging, the Internet, social media.

      Jena is nothing if not versatile; she’s got plenty of stats to show her where her readers come from, I’m sure.

      As a data point, I think about 4-6% of my blog visitors come from search engines. The rest come from word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook, and blog comments on other blogs.

      • Holly,

        Thanks for the “linky love” to Clamor. It’s being neglected now, because classes will open right after summer, and it has been a toxic week. I could hardly sit down and “write” what I would really like to write about.

        And I’m flattered that you were talking about me and my blogs with Dave…lol…I take it as a compliment…lol…

        I am referring particularly to my LabMed News blog which I don’t really promote, but it earns more visits than those that I usually promote. I am sure promoting through social networking sites will be good if one has the time.

        If you combine social media and relevant content, then you have a “perfect” formula for online success.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          You should definitely take it as a compliment, Jena!

          Your LabMed News blog is great – especially because you KNOW what you’re talking about, you can back it up with authority. Probably more folks out there searching for that info, too.

          BUT, as a personal reading preference, I really do enjoy Clamor. And it’s the sort of thing that ironically has little competition but also needs some promotion to get the word out that it’s there and worth a read, you know?

          In the end, obviously, I prefer “primary sources.” I guess that’s really what a lot of it boils down to – if you’re just repeating what others have said, there may still be value in it (as Alan Jobe keeps pointing out to me, with his lectures on good curation of data) but the value to me, personally, is what YOU the blogger KNOW about the subject or THINK about the subject that adds something – not necessarily an earthshaking, groundbreaking SOMETHING, but something new or different – to the conversation.

    • Hello Dave,

      Ideas well taken. I am always open to suggestions, recommendations, ideas about online activities. Learning is a continuous process.

      My good friend Roy Dela Cruz writes for The “Struggling Blogger” . I’m glad you like it.

    • Thanks, Dave. As I grow older I find myself more and more valuing people who disagree with me. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s fairly easy to get an ‘Amen’ chorus going. Finding someone who will politely tell you you’re full of spit when you are, is actually a good bit more difficult.

  59. OK Holly, you can rub it in again and say “I told you so”…

    If that’s actually one of Jenna’s blogs I owe an apology. I don’t know Jenna, only from her poignantly witty comments on your FaceBook page.

    That blog actually has rich content and many contributors, I’ll go back to read more–it’s fun, interesting because of a family connection with the Philippines and it’s way deep in content rather than personal opinion. As a consumer, if I could envision a polished and entertaining blog, this is what I like:)

    Kudos to Jenna!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Yep, those are Jena’s. And you know me, I’d rather smile magnanimously and listen to you tell me how I’m missing out on an opportunity to rub it in and say “I told you so…” Would I say that to you?? I’m still basking in the occasions on which you’ve acknowledged agreement with one of my political opinions – such things give me hope and a reason to greet each new day (particularly with an election year upcoming) with a smile.

      • You’ve never rubbed it in when someone has exposed a foible or fell on their sword. You have an ability or maybe a calling to wake up, go to Starbucks and embrace a great day on your way to work without being distracted by the office pool guessing whether Rep. Weiner purchased Nathan’s or Hebrew National for his undie tweets. You’re like a cross between Mary Tyler Moore and Lady Gaga, a silk scarf with a meat-vest attitude.

        What I can’t figure out is this: I can click on someone’s blog-link from your blog or FB page and I often get transported to a state fair midway of auto-ad-barkers and discount fried cheese curds, barely a tenth of the page is devoted to content–Jenna notwithstanding.

        No amount of social networking is going to help a blog whose articles are line-listed as links to buried content amongst ads. I understand the need to make money and I like your layout, I can read it easily in a browser or on my SmartPhone.

        Some blogs remind me of redirected search pages…

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Dave, some blogs ARE misdirected search pages. But you shouldn’t run into many of those on my blog – most of the folks who comment there are real and have real blogs (albeit some of them are glugged up with blinky ad bling). Let me know (privately) if you spot one slipping through my gatekeepers – both the automated robocops and my manual efforts.

  60. I have a friend who connected automatically most of his accounts with one another. His blog posts are automatically posted at FB and twitter and this saves a lot of time in manually posting every link to his articles from his blog.

    What is the best method to do the automatic posting etc.? I am still looking for the perfect tool that would do that.

    The business card is good. But I’m still deciding if I would use one or not.

    I have decided though to make my posts automatically tweeted and FBed, but what tool? I would love to hear suggestions from you guys what is the BEST method to do this based on your experiences.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    (I hope you don’t mind Holly. Thanks)

    BTW, my keypads are acting up once again, and I can control the spaces…lol…so….

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      For blog > Facebook auto-posting, I like Networked Blogs (the app on Facebook).

      For amped-up cross-posting and autoposting, look into Posterous. I had to back off and disconnect some things, and really look at the overall flow of information, but Posterous supports a variety of autoposting options and sites, and it’s easy to set up. Right now, I’m using it primarily for short posts and mobile posts, with more photos and such than my other blogs. I’m feeding Flickr and Facebook with it, but could be doing much more.

      I think you’re the first to mention the business cards. ;) I have one set up and a QR code link to it in my signature at work. That gives me some idea of who the curious cats are, if nothing else.

  61. nowienowie says:

    hi there!

    the title itself says it all; Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail.

    that is sooo true, i agree that everything should be organized and planned. The social media is a great tool in advertising and interacting to people,if we are not planning on how we are going to use it we might end up wasting energy and getting nothing.

    Your post is really helpful especially to someone new in the blogging society (like me). :)

    its nice reading your blog and meeting you :)you are introduced to me by maam jena :))

    if you dont mind, kindly visit my blogs and leave a comment, suggestions/recommendations for improvement are highly appreciated.thanks!

    http://clinicalchemistry32-c.blogspot.com/

    http://nowienowie.blogspot.com/

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Hi there, nowienowie! (And thank you, Jena, for kindly introducing us.) I’d be delighted to drop by your blogs, and than you for your thoughts on this one!

  62. Nice to post to maintain the social media plan.

  63. I just want to stress out that if you’re planning to engage in twitter marketing, you have to make sure that your followers are real people and not just auto follows. Most internet marketers believe that following auto follows will greatly help them with their efforts however they don’t realize that by doing so, it will just waste their time since this accounts are like machines. They don’t bother reading your tweets and are not interested in your niche.

  64. For Social Media I would prefer facebook and twitter. These both site are really helpful for me. It gives me a better web presence over search engine website.

    • I get a lot of traffic from Facebook, but that’s because I have a lot of friends there who want to read my blog (either because they really want to read it, or because they’re friends and think I might have my feelings hurt if they had to admit they didn’t). ;)

      I get slightly less from Twitter, but I think Twitter’s a good way to share and promote new posts IF you have an engaged audience (I hate that word, really – I don’t think of readers or followers as “audience” and I’d rather have a conversation than be “broadcasting” a message). Otherwise, there’s so much competition for attention now – so many other things to read and to do online (and offline, for that matter) – that I think just blasting links doesn’t work so well. You have to give people a better reason to click.

  65. I think social media is really helpful to gain more availability over web presence. Now a days it is more important to us to get rank over search engine using social media.

Trackbacks

  1. Blokube.com says:

    Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail: Why You Need a Social Media Plan…

    What’s your social media GOAL? How will it help your bottom line? Don’t wander around aimlessly without a map, destination, and plan to get there!…

  2. Good Morning, Team H2W2B2! - It's All a Matter of Perspective says:

    [...] on Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail: Why You Need a Social Media Plan. Yep, I threw everything into that one, including the kitchen sink. Tips on social media planning, [...]

  3. Left Behind - It's All a Matter of Perspective says:

    [...] Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail: Why You Need a Social Media Plan and also on Search Engine Optimization? SEO What? [...]

  4. Today’s Mission - It's All a Matter of Perspective says:

    [...] Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail: Why You Need a Social Media Planand also on Search Engine Optimization? SEO What? NOTE: Only the first three levels of threaded comments count, so here’s a thought – leave one comment for each point in the post – for example, what did you think of the planning tips? How about theTwitter tips? Facebook tips? And so on. It’s good practice for writing single topic emails later in the day, right? [...]

  5. Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail: Why You Need a Social Media Plan says:

    [...] By Holly Jahangiri | 188 Comments [...]

Speak Your Mind

*

RSS and Marketing Services