social media wisdom

I spend a tremendous amount of time coaching young people and others who are new to the marketing scene. It occurred to me that some of the advice I’m spreading around might be helpful to a broader audience … well … you, in fact! So here are some perspectives on digital marketing, content creation, and social media that might connect with you in a helpful way.

  1. Don’t obsess about finding your “voice.” It will arrive. Just write. Or film. Or record. Begin.
  2. Be more human. In every post, in every response, in every engagement. Strive for this every day! The most human company will win.
  3. Content is no longer the finish line. It’s the starting line. How are you going to get that content viewed and shared? That’s the real formula for success.
  4. Maybe the most important social media measure isn’t ROI. Perhaps it’s relevance.
  5. Where do you start? Content fuels the social web. Concentrate on establishing one superb “rich” content stream — a blog, a video series, or a podcast.
  6. Wait before diversifying. It is tempting to chase every shiny new object. Infographics. Streaming video. SlideShare or whatever is happening this week. Resist that temptation. Build one strong audience base on one platform before diversifying. Don’t ever dilute the quality of your content because you are stretched too thin.
  7. Social media marketing is about marketing, not social media. If you don’t know the fundamentals of marketing and how a business works, you are just checking a box with your social media presence and probably wasting a lot of time and money.
  8. We have to earn the right to be read every single day. I have to publish something that is insanely interesting and entertaining and so do you. Scream at them. Stomp at them. MAKE them read that thing. Make them remember you by doing something new.
  9. What should you write about? Make notes about EVERYTHING that strikes your interest during a day. A quote in a book, a news item on the web, a new idea. Then, when you sit down to write, you have a whole list of options to choose from.
  10. Find somebody to do the technical stuff. Fiddling around with WordPress plug-ins and audio editing does not produce revenue. Out-source everything that isn’t directly connected to producing content, serving a customer, or the activities that are directly responsible for producing revenue.
  11. Quit worrying about “the next Facebook.” It’s Facebook.
  12. Be kind. Lift people up. Sure, a bully will draw attention if they start a fight … but nobody trusts a bully. You can disagree with people and still be professional. Attack the issues, not the people.
  13. To stand out on the web you must be original. And to be original, you must have the courage to tell your story. There is only one you. You have no competition. Show up.
  14. Yes, it is important to find a niche. You might not get it right out of the box. It is perfectly OK to pivot. Take your best shot and go for it. Your audience will help you find your place by rewarding your best content with comments and shares.
  15. Stop being a creative writing show-off. Sure, you need to be entertaining, but cut the fluff. Blogging is a battle for attention, not a creative writing contest.
  16. How do you find the time for social media? We all have the same amount of time. It is a matter of priority. If your customers are engaging on social media and discovering products and services there, it’s probably time to make an adjustment, right?
  17. Punch them in the nose. Blog readers are scanners. If you don’t wallop them in your headline and first paragraph you have no hope of getting them to spend time on your work. Write in a way that DEMANDS attention!
  18. Be patient. There is no substitute for consistency, no short-cut to building an audience. It takes time, tenacity and consistency to succeed.
  19. You can blog or you can watch TV. You can’t do both.
  20. Long-form content is important because people tend to share longer content — if it’s good. If it sucks, it doesn’t matter if it is long or short. The main rule is, “give it what it’s worth.” If it is worthy of a long treatment, go for it but don’t force it and betray your readers by wasting their time.
  21. Don’t “pitch” people. Befriend them.
  22. The best way to develop a relevant and engaged audiencefor your content is to build your Twitter audience. If you build relationships there, your new business friends will probably be interested in seeing a blog post now and then.
  23. The key to successful marketing is maneuverability. You can’t copy what your competitors are doing and hope to be successful. Where can you maneuver? A new channel? A new demographic? A new content type? A new topic?
  24. Marketing is about math. It starts with data and analysis. If you don’t like math, you probably won’t like marketing.
  25. Social media success doesn’t require rocket science. The fuel is meaningful content. The launch pad is a relevant audience. The ignition switch is authentic helpfulness.

How are you gaining an audience with social media? Let’s chat on Twitter. I’m at @MarkWSchaefer, and let’s include @DellPowerMore.

This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site PowerMoreDell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.

Illustration courtesy of Flickr CC and Pedro Simoes

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