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Social Media and Connections

This morning social media told me I’m unlovable, not good enough, and not wanted. And it’s only 9:00 AM, give it a few more hours.

Advice and motivation can feel hollow because there is something missing on social media, the deeper story, the complex, the vulnerability, the soul of true connection, and the art of honest listening.

If you are struggling to pay for food and the roof over your head, many posts will tell you that you are not good enough to love, to hire, or even to know. I am cash poor and have no clue how to pay my bills,  no one wants to be me, some fear my bad luck will rub off on them, and I can’t blame them. Hell, I don’t want to be me most days.

I could believe the posts that make general statements about who is desirable enough to love, who is rich enough to be happy, and who is successful enough to know. For some this road is a competitive challenge to dig deep and make it to the next level in this game called life. For others, this road leads to depression and despair as they believe their worth is measured by other’s values.

I am not a competitive person and I refuse to value myself based on a reflection of other people’s values.

Social Media is a reflection of the shallows of society. It is filled with incomplete stories, misunderstandings, and insecurities. It is the pavement of good intentions and placating advice. It is messy. It is kind. It is cruel. It is supportive. It is ugly. It is beautiful. Social Media is a reflection of life, not life itself.

Life is more complex. People are deeper than the Mariana Trench. They say things they wouldn’t if they just thought a bit before opening their mouths. They react based on their own issues, hurts, past lessons. They have stories that are so intricately woven they create an image you would weep to see. If we took the time to truly listen to people when they are being their most honest selves, we would find the connection we crave.

Social Media is not Connection, it is Connections.

We know ads and marketing messages are tailored to take advantage of people’s insecurities and promise to make you prettier, richer, happier. Social Media is a  reflection of these messages as we try to portray ourselves in the best light possible using the same techniques as professional advertisers. Seth Godin said it best when he called Marketers liars, we are in a way, we tell the best stories and spin the worst into appearing better. We manipulate stats to fit our stories and we strategically make our topics fit what we believe society wants.

Social media is a study of society and the individual’s driving needs. Take a moment to study your social media profiles, what do they say about your values and goals?

Social media is a difficult world to navigate and a business needs a Marketing Manager who understands how to analyze the data and create engaging content to tell a brand's story. The rules keep changing as the industry tries to manage the large amount of content being posted to it.

Edit Your Social Media Copy

Your brain does funny things when trying to edit recently written copy, it sees what isn’t there. It knows what you intended to say when you wrote it and reads that intent, instead of what is actually in front of your eyes. Then after a few days, when you reread what you wrote, the errors start jumping up and down while screaming at you. Don’t feel bad, even the best writers in history needed editors. As Hemingway said, the first draft is shit.

There are countless ways to say the same thing. That is the beauty of the English language, two people can write about the exact same topic using very different styles, vocabulary, and tones. This article has been rewritten over ten times and I still can find errors in it, can you? If you do please let me know in the comments section.

Here are some tips to help you write error free social media content.

1. Find a proof reader - a good one

2. Be patient and proof it before you post

3. Take time before you proof your work, a day or two can make a difference

4. Use grammar computer programs to help you.

Engagement is the Currency of Social Media

The hard part is creating content people want to engage with. By analysing the reactions people have with your content, you can learn what kind of content you need to be producing.

Couple problems -

There is the content you like to make and the content people like to engage with. You can't create content that doesn't fit within the parameters of your brand and marketing plan, so what do you do?

The best thing you can do is create the best content you can. Content that reflects your brand, reputation, and image. Then tell your story to the marketplace to attract those customers who will identify with your product or service. You will have to boost posts and pay for ads to get your message in front of the right eyeballs.

The other problem is the lurkers who don't engage with any content, making it harder to know what is good content and what is bad content. Even if they love what you create, you'll never know, so you might as well make content that reflects who you are.

You can't be everything to everyone, don't try to be. Be you.

Social Media is about People not Tech

Since we communicate on social media with technology and don't actually see the person we are talking to it can be hard to remember that there is someone on the other side of the screen. This can be seen when people make cruel hurtful comments on stranger's posts. Comments they would never make to someone's face in the real world for fear they'd get beat up or slapped down hard.

The thing is, you are creating content in hopes that people will read it and not be offended or think you are a troll. Create marketing messages that appeal to people's emotional needs. Understand why your customers buy your product and create interesting content that explains how you meet their needs and solve their problems.

Entertain, Educate, Inform on Social Media

Social media is an interactive platform to build a community. It is not a broadcasting station to scream your ad all day long.

How can you get better results on social media?

Consider all the ways you can entertain, communicate, and include others in your business' story. Think like an informative, educating, entertainer.... Basically, be Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Facebook is making it harder for businesses to engage with their followers.

It is putting a wall up between the two so that businesses have to pay to get their message in front of their targeted market. The minute Facebook went public profits became important and considering the size of their community, they have every right to charge for advertising.

Facebook advertising is different.

It is better suited to branding than it is to sales or driving traffic off site to your website.

The rules keep changing and what worked yesterday will not work today. The amount of noise, competition, and distraction the audience is faced with makes it harder than it was five years ago to get noticed by your fan base.

Businesses have to be strategic and constantly aware of how their audience interacts with the content to get the most out of their advertising dollars. Testing the market before jumping in with all resources will help businesses get in front of their target markets and ensure they get the most out of their budget. Anaysing the results and digging deep into the data to understand the how your ads and posts are being received, engaged with, and charged is vital to making better decision on future ads.

It has never been easier to get in front of your target market and it has never been so complicated to manage an advertising campaign.

You Got to Pay to Play on Social Media

In the days before everyone and their dog got into content marketing and posting on Facebook, social media had the power to do amazing things for a brand. In today's world, you have to pay to play - but before you do you need to understand how Facebook ads work or else you'll end up spending a lot of money you didn't need to spend.

It's not good enough to occasionally put a look at me ad every once in a while. It takes a strategic plan of action to ensure that you are getting the best ROI possible. Keep the sales ads to a minimum.

Social Media is Today's Word of Mouth

Social media and online reviews are the 21st century's version of word of mouth and are more valuable because of their reach.

Are you asking your customers to write reviews?

Are you finding social media engagers to follow your business page?

Are you engaging with your customers to be part of the conversation?

Don't fear reviews. Good and bad are opportunities for you to tell your story, show your integrity, and inform about your policies.

Let's say you get a horrible review from a client who wasn't happy with your service. You did everything you could to make them happy, you even gave them the kitchen sink and they still sunk you online.

Has this happened to you?

It happens to small businesses all the time because some people are jerks. They want to get everything for free and have you thank them for the opportunity to serve them. These are the people you don't want to have as clients, they don't deserve your service.

When I worked in the online review industry I had clients who found themselves in this position and would call me looking for help. The good news was that the review brought them to the table and they could tell their side of the story in a professional manner. It also meant that the business owner could bring all his happy reviews to the table to offset the one bad review.

Online reviews are like a scale. Good on one side, bad on the other. As long as you have enough good reviews to offset the bad ones, you're golden. In fact, your more golden then if all you have are good reviews, because people don't trust companies with no scars.

Reviews and customer comments on social media are part of your story. Draw on them to show the marketplace why they should contact you.

Social Media isn't a Commercials only station

I know you are on social media to get people interested in buying your product and service, it can be tempting to post ad, after ad, after ad.

Thing is, people don't like to be sold a product, they don't want to share advertising with their friends and family, they want to share stories, images, and interesting facts.

If you want people on social media to buy your product, you need to build a reputation for being likeable, caring, and trustworthy. People want to have a relationship with you before buying from you. Developing a virtual relationship is different than a real world one, it takes a lot more time, patience, and less sales pitches.

Social Media is a Community...

If you approach social media as a place to build community and connection rather than a place to sell your wares, you will find success.

As people get to know you, know more about what you do and why you do it, they will start to pay attention and when someone they know needs your services, they will refer you.

It can be time consuming, difficult, and frustrating, however if you approach social media strategically and create helpful content people will find interesting, you will meet your goals.

Marketing in today's competitive filled market needs a strategic approach to branding, marketing, and sales.

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