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Social media is about content, not puffery

Social fakery

Don’t be caught with fake, puffed up numbers.

I resisted the urge to go out as a consultant for a couple of years. Why? It’s tough to get through the fakes. The people who swear they can get you instant results for $10 a month.

Social media is fun, rewarding and can bring business and brand awareness to your company. It’s just all those screamers out there. And, as it turns out, people who swear by their huge social media followings aren’t always to be trusted, according to this report from Forbes. Included in the article is this excellent quote from colleague Steve Farnsworth;

The social media industrial complex is fraught with digital marketers and consultants who puff up their abilities and accomplishments. I tell my clients to be honest in their marketing, and in turn strive to walk the talk.

Truth, brotha…

Shea-Cahir Consulting is a new venture. I’ve joked with friends that this firm will only stand on my previous achievements for so long, and it’s the success of the clients we land that will lead to success of the firm. We won’t promise magic, nor will we engage in trickery. We won’t promise thoroughness, only to provide one-size-fits-all drivel. We don’t reinvent the wheel, but we will help you pick the wheel that best fits your business vehicle.

The work and the past success are real. I guided Princeton University to new social media heights. I guided Waddell & Reed and Ivy Funds through a massive compliance labyrinth. I gave the University of Kansas School of Engineering a social media voice that continues today. I worked with Apple and iTunes on a trend-setting marketing campaign for KU’s Lied Center.

I did these things for employers. Now, Shea-Cahir Consulting is building a social media presence – and a successful firm – from the ground up. It only fits that we’re doing the very thing for the firm that we’re going to do for clients.

Yes, our Facebook page has 37 followers; the Twitter feed has 13 followers (although my personal feed is nearing 400!). That’s OK. Because we’re walking the talk. Why not join in and see where we can take your company?

Contact us for information about services.

 

Making Facebook friends with Applebee’s

Applebee's

Mmm, chicken tenders.

The subtitle of this post should be “A reminder that engagement doesn’t just happen.”

This story of journalist Chip Zdarsky and his long, funny relationship on Facebook with the local Applebee’s is well worth the read. The interaction between Zdarsky and the local eatery is funny and positive, and kudos to whoever is doing the social media for the restaurant for staying on message and trying to promote the Applebee’s brand throughout the exchanges.

However, the big takeaway from the article for social media marketers can be seen in this quote from Zdarsky:

I started digging deeper on the page and noticed it was, well, pretty barren of comments. It just seemed like whoever was in charge of their social media kept putting up new photos and trying to engage conversation and was left with a whole lot of nothing.

The person running social media for this Applebee’s did an admirable job of trying to bring people to the restaurant’s account, with little return on their time. So the question has to be “could they have done something different?”

In short, yes.

One of the biggest misconceptions of social media management is that engagement comes automatically from asking questions of the audience and letting the magic happen. In reality, most people who follow a brand’s page are looking for three things: News, deals and customer service.

Brand pages that have a mature, established audience can add question or poll posts to their strategy and get engagement. The goal of a post such as “Our Three-Cheese Penne goes great with ___ for a perfect Pick ‘N Pair combo” is to get users not only answering but debating. User X loves one dish and comments about it, while user Y loves something else. They (and others) begin to debate the merits of their favorites, and the restaurant gets a ton of positive feedback with little effort. In the end, each user is more likely to go to the restaurant and order a new dish.

Followers of this local restaurant – rather than the Applebee’s corporate brand page – are most likely looking for daily deals and coupons. To build engagement, this page might need to understand that communication is going to be more one-way than not for a while. And that’s OK.

(Side note: Question posts were horribly ineffective during my time at Princeton University, and many financial services companies find that asking open questions can backfire more often than not.)

The goal of any social media presence is, in the end, to get more money in the coffers and more people in the business. Not every Facebook page is going to be Starbucks or George Takei, where every post earns thousands of likes, comments and (most importantly) shares.

Success is engagement. If that means changing course midstream, it’s always worth a shot. Either that or get some publicity from Buzzfeed and The Atlantic. No problem, right?

If your business is looking for the right strategy to build a successful social media presence, contact us at Shea-Cahir Consulting today.

Comedy is difficult… especially on social media

Twitter

Think before you tweet.

By now, you’ve read about “The Tweet Heard Round the World,” by public relations executive Justine Sacco. It’s pretty short and sweet.

Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!

The outrage related to this is well-placed. It’s racist, classist, really inappropriate, and just plain stupid.

However, there is a more business-related reason that Sacco was fired, and it provides a lesson to all companies.

Read the rest of this entry

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