• #TRGrules 10: Your Social Media Posts Don't Last Forever

    A fact which many get wrong about social media is the tenth of our #TRGrules, your posts don’t last forever.

    In the “set and forget it” times we live and work in, it’s easy to think a post on any social media platform will be there forever…and they will to an extent. The thing is no one* will ever discover those posts if you aren’t doing the best you can to make sure your audience sees them.

    Studies repeatedly show the shelf life of posts on the various platforms is close to:

    • Twitter: Seconds to eighteen minutes
    • Facebook: Less than four hours
    • Instagram: A couple of hours to twenty-four hours
    • The rest: Multiple days on LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.

    Two points to consider when considering the life of a social media post

    1. The life of your post is determined by your individual audience members. If a fan has 1000 friends and brands pages Liked, the chances they see your Facebook post are less likely. If a fan only follows a dozen or so people on Instagram, including you, then your life expectancy is longer. Every individual feed on every platform is a unique snowflake and you are but just a part of that frozen mixture.
    2. I’ve said it a thousand times in presentations and I will type it again here, “The internet, like a diamond, is forever.” Your content has the opportunity to live forever in the deep pages of Google searches, linked to random hashtags, or in the screen caps of your loyal opposition (this is where the * above comes in). It can also live forever as what is referred to as “evergreen content.” These timeless pieces of website content can remain relevant for lengthy periods of time and can become dozens/hundreds of social media posts.

    Your audience is the key factor in the lifespan of your social media posts

    The unique snowflakes we mentioned before? Your fans timelines and newsfeeds are not only populated by the content they chose to connect with but also advertising, their health, their availability to peruse social media, their connection to Wi-Fi and electricity, the social media policies of their workplaces, and more.

    If your Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos can make it past all of that, you may have a chance at a longer life.

    I’ve said this before as well, but your content needs to be relevant, timely, and attractive in the newsfeeds while educating, informing, or entertaining the fans and prospective fans who see it organically.

    If you always aim for the goals of the previous paragraph your posts will have a greater life than just throwing stuff online all willy-nilly.

    This now completes the first series of the #TRGrules posts. Be sure to let us know if you have found them helpful in the comments below or across social media and stay tuned for the next series. We have a couple hundred left to go!

  • #TRGrules 9: Size Doesn't Matter

    The thing about growing audiences on social media is that the number of fans and followers you have doesn’t matter, it’s the way that you use your digital stump them to educate, inform, and entertain them that does.

    Almost every day (true story: writing the lede above was interrupted by someone asking how they get more Likes on Facebook) someone asks us how to or to get them more fans and followers. Then we audit their accounts and see they aren’t doing much to engage the audience they already have.

    Why would new fans or followers be attracted to you if you don’t help the ones you already have? We call these audience numbers “vanity metrics” and they are not what you should be paying attention to.

    People, businesses, organizations, and nonprofits get hung up on in social media:

    • How many Likes?
    • How many followers?
    • How many comments?

    What people, businesses, organizations, and nonprofits should get hung up on in social media is:

    • How many clicks in your posts?
    • How many calls/emails/contacts made because of your content?
    • How many in-store purchases because of your social media activity?

     

    We, ourselves, have had calls resulting in thousands of dollars in activity because of a piece of content we spent thirty minutes on. That’s a pretty good return on investment.

    It only takes one click to make it all worth it.

    While you are concerned with audience size envy, realize that the average professional social media profile you are most likely actually competing with has less than 400 fans, followers, pinners, etc., across the various platforms.

    Heck, we ourselves have fairly decent numbers on Facebook and Twitter but they are nowhere near the tens of thousands we could have if we didn’t block spammers and focus on people who can actually do business with us.

    Don’t sweat the size of your audience. Focus on working with the audience you already have to engage them in mutually profitable relationships, conversations, and interactions!

    Need help to figure out who those audiences are? Be sure to check out the ongoing list of #TRGrules here on this site and contact us at The Rocket Group if you ever have any questions or challenges we can help you with!

  • #TRGrules 8: Do Something Purposeful Every Day

    The eighth of our #TRGrules of social media may sound familiar: Do Something Purposeful Every Day*.

    Nike was right when they said, Just Do It!**, to sell their shoes. It's a phrase that has become applied to many different things in our lives over the past few decades. A variation of the slogan is what I want to convey to you here which applies to social media.

    There are several reasons why you should do something purposeful every day on social media:

    The Why: Depending on the platform, your audience, and what else your audience is connected with on social media, your posts will only last for minutes to hours online. Then they fall off the newsfeeds and timelines to live forever on your profile page...which 99% of people never see. (See also: #Thumbstoppable)

    The Why: Your audience, in general, is not searching for the content you are posting. Just like you, when you use a social media platform, you are staying on your newsfeed/timeline most of the time. This is why it is some important for you to know when your best audiences are online so you know when to post you best content with the best chance of it being seen.

    The Why: Your competition for social media attention, your customers money, or your fans interaction is possibly doing a better job at social media than you are. Check out their profiles and see how and what they are doing to gain additional insights into what might work for you as well.

    How Will You Do This: Taking stuff (photos, videos, words, etc) and randomly posting them at random times - most likely when you remember you haven't made a Facebook post in a while - isn't a strategy. You need to listen to your audience, establish your goals, and then build a strategy to put into place. Then put it into place and follow it.

    What Should You Do: Our mantra here is Educate, Inform, Entertain. The goal of every post, tweet, and video we put online is to reach at least one of those points and sometimes more than one. If your content doesn't do one of these three points, your audience will not care and will move on.

    What Should You Do: Your content can still be the photos, videos, words, etc. I mentioned earlier. You also need to add questions, answers, and other points of conversation which you can have with your audience.

    What Should You Do: You shouldn't be trying to sell all the time. As a matter of fact, less than ten percent of the content you post should have any sales message to it if it is standalone content. You can have calls to action in your posts but just saying "10% OFF" and "Buy From Me" is not going to move any audience interaction for you. Or at least from an audience you really want to deal with.

    What Should You Do: In order to sell to you audience, you have to earn the right to sell to them. No matter if you have known some of your fans for years, not every one of your dozens, hundreds, or thousands of fans knows you personally and they don't want to be sold to in their social media. Focus on the Educate, Inform, Entertain mantra and you'll be earning their attention and their interest in doing business with you.

    Here's something else you can purposefully do every day, connect with us on social media at the links below. We're posting dozens of pieces of information to, wait for it, Educate, Inform, or Entertain you about the world of modern communications.

    *Every day means seven days a week. This is what the scheduling tool is for!

    **If you don't know the somewhat dark story behind the Just Do It slogan, you can learn more here.

  • #TRGrules 7: Own Your Name

    We are going to get more personal with the seventh of the #TRGrules: Own Your Name. This rule goes beyond the professional world and into the personal world of social media.

    A couple of years ago, you could get away with having different numbers for your home, work, fax, and mobile phones. Now you can do all of that with one Google Voice number (or just ditch everything but the mobile phone!).

    Not many folks have time, or the want-to, to find you, your business, organization, or nonprofit, across a dozen platforms if you are using different names everywhere.

    Especially email**.

    The solution is to go to a web registrar, like a GoDaddy, and buy your name as a domain. Owning GusWagner.com*, YourBusinessName.com or YourPersonalName.com will give you a central location, brand, and identity to conduct your online business.

    Then use a webtool like NameCheck to see the availability of your name on social media platforms. Go ahead and claim it everywhere you can, even on platforms you don't use yet, so you will have when you want to start using a Periscope or Snapchat.

    Also, it keeps your competition from grabbing it or someone shady with a similar name from having it and then their content comes up under your name's Google search results.

    It's better to have your name, the same name, everywhere and not need it than to need it everywhere and not be able to get it.

    Owning your name will save you a ton of headaches now and in the future. What are you waiting for?

    Thanks for checking out these #TRGrules. Be sure to stay tuned as we release more over the coming days, months, and years.

    *Full disclosure: I tout this rule because I, myself, have been burned by it. My personal name and professional name are both rather popular for different reasons. I do own GusWagner.com and variations of it and The Rocket Group's name across the web but not everywhere because of their historical ties.

    **It's the 21st century, if you DO own your domain and are still using AOL, Gmail, or whatever Hotmail calls themselves for your professional email address, well, you are doing it wrong.


  • #TRGrules 4: Be Human on Social Media

    The fourth of the #TRGrules of social media, shouldn't need saying...but here we are. You have to be human on social media to succeed.

    People, customers, and prospects connect with businesses, organizations, and nonprofits on social media platforms they want to, or have to. To succeed over all the brands out there in the white noise who have robots tweeting/posting for them, you have to be human in voice, appearance, and responses.

    What does it mean to be human on social media?

    You'll have to act like a human - not a business logo on a profile photo - to follow this rule. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

    • Show your work. This can be photos from behind the scenes, video of your processes, heck even Instagrams of notes like the ones I used for this post can work for you.
    • Show your people. Here is a great way to use photos and video (which also get more interaction on social media than words on a screen!) of your team, your customers, your community at work and play. Again, we are trying to build connections and the more people your audience know the better the connections. [Pro tip here: be sure you have your settings on Facebook, et al, open to allow folks to tag themselves and others in your photos. This gets you even more reach than just posting photos alone.]
    • Talk to them with your voice. Just like I do with these words I typed, and said in the video above, keep the language, terminology, and tone at levels everyone can understand. Getting more technical, high-level, and snooty with what you are saying will not help you to succeed.
    • Photos and videos or photos of videos. Again, photos and videos are social media gold and you should be using them as much as possible. You most likely have a great camera on your phone and its probably in your pocket as you read this. Use it to the benefit of your social media goals! The more visual your content is, the better you will compete with the big guys or little guys down the street, or around the world, who are talking to your audience as well.

     

    Think about how you choose who you are going to do business with, your audience, prospects, and customers are making choices like that as well. The more human your vendors are, the more likely you are to do business with them yourself. You are not alone in making choices like that.

    When it comes down to earning a Facebook fan, making an online sale, or attracting a prospective employee, the more human you can be on social media the better off you will be.

    It's only human for me to ask you to share this post with your audience and stay subscribed for the upcoming #TRGrules. If you have any questions or struggles we can help you with, please feel free to reach out at any time!


  • #TRGrules 3: Set Goals

    As these #TRGrules are designed to help you build your own success story on social media, we bring a bit of personal history into the third: Set Goals.

     

    I used to coach league hockey for high school age kids in the St. Louis. One of the first team goals we set when we found out we could score was 100 goals in the fourteen games of our first league. There were stipulations to those goals so we weren't just running up what I now call "vanity metrics" but we did actually achieve the goal in our thirteenth game.

    The same rules we made in that hockey season apply to social media as well: set goals, know what they are, and how you will achieve them.

    What goals can you set in social media?

    You'll need to figure out what you want from your social media: more followers, more sales, the biggest audience in the field of your business, organization, or nonprofit, an active audiene or a lurking one, more traffic for your website, more email newsletter signups, or a hundred other goals?

    Establish goals, implement goals, measure goals, adjust goals, repeat

    • You'll need to do a lot of testing of content forms, posting times, interaction levels, and more metrics to see how your goals can be attained over social media.
    • When you have a feel for which tactics work and don't work you will need to implement the tactics and stay on course with them (or continue testing additional methods).
    • You'll have to measure your goals against the audience results in your social media and Google analytics to truly know if your goals are being achieved.
    • Regardless if your goals are working, or not working, or tailing off, you will have to adjust them as new competition, social media algorithm changes, and other factors impact your potential for success.
    • Finally, you will have to repeat all of these steps throughout the life of your goals on social media.

    Remember this: You can be active on social media in any way you want to but if you truly want to find and continue to have success, you will have to set goals.

    Make it another goal of yours to subscribe to, and share with your audiences, these #TRGrules. We'll continue producing them as long as folks like you are looking for help on the way to building a social media success story!


  • #TRGrules 6: Use the Social Meda Platforms Your Audience Uses

    The sixth of the #TRGrules is one which applies every day to our own communications, which means it does to you as well. To succeed in social media, you will have to fish where the fish are.

    There are dozens of popular social media platforms and hundreds of niche social media platforms out there which people use every day across the world. You only really need to focus on the platforms where your intended audience is actually at and active.

    For 99% of us marketing on social media, that means Facebook. If you are looking to attract or influence influential voices in the media, elected officials, or celebrities, then Twitter is your current best bet. If you are a photographer or videographer, you may think Instagram is your best bet, and it is for a showcase, but for local people who can actually do business with you, it probably isn't.

    As I write this, one of the shiniest of the new platforms is the live-streaming app, Periscope. Twitter is used to associate your account and audience with the platform. When I signed up, there were only 105 of my 4200ish Twitter followers on the platform...and my followers are pretty tech savvy!

    How do I find out if my customers, prospects, and neighbors are on a social media platform?

    Most of the platforms have an email integration function where you can search for folks you have communicated with that way. The best way to find out if people are on the platforms are interested in your topics, geography, or products is to use the ad tools on all of them.

    There is no more demographic-rich data available than through social media platforms and their advertising tools. Heck, on Facebook you can target an ad to people with the job title, "President of the United States."

    That's less than six people.

    Test the other platforms, but Facebook is going to be your main answer because of the 1+ billion people who visit the site every month. That's pretty much everyone, everywhere.

    You wouldn't fish in a dry lake, just like you wouldn't sell medical supplies in a town without a health care provider.

    Focus your time and efforts on the social media platforms where your audience is actually using. You should also stay tuned to the #TRGrules here so you can focus your time on increasing your chances at a social media success story!


  • #TRGrules 5: Be Truthful and Transparent

    Here's one of the #TRGrules of social media we can put to the test right now. You have to be truthful and transparent online or you will quickly fail.

    Here's the test, go ahead and send a tweet (or make a post if you don't tweet) that stretches the truth a little bit or brags a little too much about your efforts. I'll wait right here.

    If your audience (see also: competitors) is truly listening to you on social media they will call you out, unfollow you, or screen cap the information so it can be used against you.

    In these days of modern communications, including social media, it takes seconds to wreck yourself, your reputation, and your efforts. You have to be truthful and transparent all day, every day online.

    • Have you had some bad news happen to you? Then report it yourself before anyone else gets the chance to.
    • Have you had some good news happen to you? Then show your work when you go on your virtual victory lap.
    • Have you had no news at all happen to you? Be truthful when you tell your audience why they haven't heard from you.

    Votes, purchases, donations, jobs, and more are lost every minute by businesses, organizations, and nonprofits who tweet out shady messaging. This is the information age and some of your audience knows more about your messaging than you probably do before you even send it out.

    Did you send that bragging tweet out earlier like we discussed? How did that go for you? Being truthful and transparent, at all times, on social media will help you be prepared when your minute comes along.

    Truthfully? You should probably share this post with everyone you know who needs to be more transparent in their social media. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of the #TRGrules which will help you succeed online.


  • #TRGrules 2: The Audience Matters Most

    The second of the #TRGrules is just as important as the first, the audience matters most. If you don't have an audience in social media then who are you talking to?

    It doesn't matter if your audience is online, on social media, or IRL, if you are talking, tweeting, or promoting content they don't want to talk about then you are doing it wrong.

    How will you know what your audience wants to talk about on social media?

    You need to focus on creating and sharing information your audience actually cares about. To learn what that is you'll have to take a couple of steps

    • Look at your Google Analytics and your Facebook Insights to see what your fans and visitors are clicking on in your posts and spending time with on your site. Do more of what attracts their attention.
    • Apply the lesson of the first of the #TRGrules and listen to what they are saying online. Then you can craft content around their questions, comments, and concerns about the specific field your business, organization, or nonprofit works in.
    • Again, your content needs to educate, inform, or entertain them (or all three!) about the information they are looking to you for. If you can accomplish one or more of these goals with each post, tweet, or video, you will get much more response from your audience.

     

    Think about it this way, have you ever had a beloved television show get cancelled before it was finished with its story? It was cancelled because it didn't connect with enough of an audience to cover its costs.

    The same thing happens to books, movies, and bands as well as professional efforts just like yours all the time.

    Figure out what matters most to your audience or plan to get cancelled.

    We'll be adding more and more #TRGrules to this blog to help you succeed at social media, be sure you've subscribed and we'll keep you posted when new ones go live. If you have any you'd like to see covered, be sure to send them our way as well!

  • #TRGrules 1: Listen First, Everything Else Second

    We start this ongoing series of #TRGrules with the most important thing you can do in social media: Listen first, everything else second.

    (Actual first reason, I get to use this graphic of my dog, Taffy.)

    Why is this an important rule? Listening is critical to your social media success story because if you don't know what your audiences - current and future - are talking about how will you know what to talk about on social media?

    When you base a social media strategy around talking/broadcasting/not listening, you can look forward to these things happening:

    • If you talk all the time about yourself, you miss out learning about others.
    • If you talk all the time about your business, organization, or nonprofit, you miss out on opportunities.
    • If you talk all the time about what you are offering, you will not grow an audience which will benefit you.

    Think about the guy at the party who runs his mouth about everything and everyone the whole night (I look in the mirror at this comment) and think if you really want to be that guy on social media when you see how the audience at the party reacts to him.

    So what should you listen for on social media?

    • Listen for conversations you can monitor, join, or add value to through the folks you follow online, hashtags, and Twitter chats.
    • Listen for business opportunities like hirings, requests for proposals, and events you can participate in IRL or online.
    • Follow your local or industry hashtags and social media leaders to listen for community news which may be beneficial to you.
    • When you have done a sufficient amount of listening, then you can talk. Be sure to focus on content and comments which will educate, inform, or entertain (or all three at the same time!) your audience.
    • Finally, always be comfortable with listening more than talking on social media but avoid becoming a lurker. The only way to grow an active, and profitable, audience for your own voice is to use it. After you listen.

    Need help? Be sure to check out the ongoing list of #TRGrules here on this site and contact us at The Rocket Group if you ever have any questions or challenges we can help you with!

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