25 Nuggets of Essential Social Media Wisdom


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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  • Stephan Konrad

    Awesome tips! Great content as always. What would you say are the top 10 dips to go with the nuggets? 😉

  • That was a giant mouthful, Mark, and I enjoyed every tasty morsel. I feel like I just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner and now I’m stuffed (with social media stuff that sits nicely on my palate).

    Long versus short content:

    “Give it what it’s worth.” AMEN to that. The longest blog post I’ve ever written was about 1300 words. My comfort zone and where I do my best writing is in the 450 – 750 range. I realize longer posts get more shares but guess what? I don’t write for shares. (OMG!! A unicorn just died.) I write because I have some “thing” to share. Maybe I’m the odd duck but word count doesn’t count for me. Readers share my short posts. Imagine that. 😉

    “Blogging is a battle for attention, not a creative writing contest”:

    Yes AND No, Mark — at least in my estimation (as a copy editor). Forgive me for being crass but my eyes land on mounds and mountains of really crappy content … content that lacks creativity. NO DOUBT we need to grab people by the collar and rope them into consuming our stuff. Otherwise, what’s the point in producing content, right? But lackluster content and an obvious lack of creative writing skills gets zero kudos and cupcakes from me. I can’t flush that crap fast enough.

    Shared this gem across social media channels. Keep crankin’ out the good stuff! 🙂

  • 1.) Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
    2.) BBQ Sauce
    3.) Dijon Mustard
    4.) Tartar Sauce
    5.) Ketchup
    6.) Sweet Pickle Relish
    7.) Salsa
    8.) Spinach Dip
    9.) Guacamole
    10.) Worcestershire Sauce

    LOL!! (Couldn’t resist, Stephan.)

  • Stephan Konrad

    Nice! No chillie or peri-peri dip??

  • Well, Stephan …
    You only asked for 10! 😉

    I LOVE chili, by the way.

  • I certainly did 🙂 I LOVE chilies,too! Did you know gram fro gram they contain more vitamin C than oranges? They are also rich in fibre and rumour has it they can speed up your metabolism as well. Besides all the wonderful benefits they make every dish more interesting.

  • LOL

  • This is getting weird.

  • Sorry about that 😉

  • Thanks for the kind words and support. I did not mean that blogging cannot be creative and fun. It can be and should be. But I see too many bloggers writing in a way that waltzes to the point instead of marching to the point. Just doesnt work for most readers these days.

  • No worries. All weirdness welcomed here.

  • I read(listened to) your book ‘The content code’. Brilliant advice and I’m implementing some of the strategies already. Thanks!!

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  • Although I love to play a waltz on the piano, Mark, I don’t waltz on my blog. And neither do you. You look good in those marching boots, I must say. 😉

  • awesome to hear!

  • Happily retweeted with a Dell mention thrown in for good measure. I’m reminded of my ongoing challenge with making our influencer marketing relevant to the sponsor as well as the influencer. The link here is kind of a stretch but done tastefully so no problems to my eyes.

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  • Thank you sir.

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  • Frederic Gonzalo

    “You can blog or you can watch TV. You can’t do both.”
    That is without a doubt the saddest truth about this whole post. In order to churn out two quality posts per week (one in French, one in English), on top of my consulting and speaking engagements, I just can’t spend any free time watching TV. My only exception: watching a movie with kids on Friday night!

    Another great post, Mark. Thanks for that!

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  • Thank you sir. I am a blogger and basically a pop culture illiterate. : )

  • “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”

    I love this tip because sometimes I get paralyzed by the analysis of what goes into social media. It truly isn’t rocket science – it’s about building and nurturing relationships.

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  • Amen Danielle. Thanks for stopping by my friend.

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  • BiggsMontana87

    Basically it seems like at your core, you have to be an actual human and not treat people like objects that can make you money.

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