Gee, marketing myself by saying something provocative like “Come see my most controversial post ever” really delivered the eyeballs! Who knew?
Well, actually I kinda had that figured before I went and did it…
Saying something provocative is only one of many kinds of social marketing stunts. Of course, you can pull those stunts only so often (and I certainly can’t pull the same stunt again anytime soon).
But more importantly, when you pull a marketing stunt, you had better deliver the goods.
One of the things I learned from Jason Alba’s presentation last year was about using social media to raise “brand awareness” of my product – me! While he did cover self-promotion, I don’t recall him addressing marketing stunts.
There are several factors to raising brand awareness, particularly when using social media. I’ve seen a phrase used recently about social media marketing, “He who sells first, loses.” When you sell something, you are asking others to give you something. While a mutually beneficial exchange of value is the end goal of any business transaction, in social media it can damage the social connection if it is made too early, while that social connection is not yet firmly established. You might make the sale but lose the customer, unless the exchange heavily favors the consumer.
Similarly, in trying to raise your own brand awareness, you are asking others to use their time and attention to give you “eyeballs”. It may seem to you that you are not asking for much, but to the consumer, their time and attention is valuable, at the very least from an opportunity cost perspective.
It is imperative, therefore, to give maximum value in return for their time.
Social Media Rule #1: If what you want is eyeballs, content is king, and your content must have value to your consumer.
Do my articles provide you with value exceeding that of your perception of your time and attention? Only you can tell me that, though I can infer from my hit count whenever I post a new article that I do, otherwise my hit count would decline, not increase, over time. I can also infer, from the number of “eyeballs” that find their way to my site through internet searches, that I am writing about what people want to know more about.
Social Media Rule #2: If you have any doubts, refer to Rule #1.
In my experience, blog posts about thoughts or ideas get some (or a lot of) hits at the time of publication, but that generally trails off over time. Blog posts about how to do a task, however, people tend to read only when they need to find out how to accomplish that task. But the tradeoff for the lower initial hit count is long-term staying power, a steady drumbeat of hits over time, if what you are writing has value.
As I have built a catalog of information on my blog, I’ve watched some of my posts disappear from the hit counts. But I have watched others march along steadily, building a base of “eyeballs”, and in the month of June, 40 of my 56 posts and pages got at least one hit, so I do have a long tail.
Of course, having keywords that people are searching for and having useful content are two different things, and you have to do both. If you have the keywords, but not the content to back it up, you’ll be “the boy who cried wolf” in no time at all. But if you have the content and no one can find it, it does no one any good.
Which brings me to my next point… self promotion.
Social Media Rule #3: Promote yourself.
With the help of my little marketing stunt, last month my blog had its biggest month ever, as well as its biggest day and week.
How did I promote myself? Well, I have my blog tied to my twitter account, so every time I make a new post, a tweet automatically gets sent out. Same for my Facebook. But in June I went a bit further. On Linked in, I am a member of several SharePoint groups. I posted my Provisioning series to the discussion boards for each of the groups. I also realized that not everyone is watching the #SharePoint hashtag on Twitter 24×7 (for example, I don’t). So when I post a new blog entry, not everyone is going to see the tweet, even though I use the hashtag. So on May 27, I Sent off a tweet every 40 minutes or so announcing one of my SharePoint related posts (and begged forgiveness from my followers afterward). For career-related posts, I always send out an e-mail to the discussion list for LaunchPad Job Club, which usually gets me about 150 hits. When it came time to post No Secret, I knew I had a winner on my hands, and went a little further. I posted to a number of non-technical LinkedIn groups that I am a member of, and used the provocative phrase “my most controversial post ever”. Then when my hit count climbed, I tweeted about my hit count. And of course, everyone wanted to see what they were missing!
How about some stats? (Scroll past if you are bored by stats, I’ve got more stuff to say after. Me, I love stats!)
|Biggest day||May 20, 2009 – 157||June 29, 2010 – 221|
|2nd biggest day||May 19, 2009 – 36||June 30, 2010 – 159|
|Biggest Month||August 2009 – 919||June 2010 – 1273|
|Second Biggest Month||June 2009 – 684||July 2010 – 920+|
|Average Day||6||40 (since June)|
|Most-hit Post||You’ll never be able to guess, but I’d like you to try! Guess in the comments. First correct answer will get the pride of being right.|
BTW, one of the interesting things you can find out from the stats is the best day to publish (and promote) a new blog entry. Tuesdays seem to be the biggest days for readers to look at my blog…. Just a tip.
Well, now that you’ve seen what a little self-promotion can accomplish, how about I do a little more self-promotion?
Coming up in November, I am going to be giving two presentations.
On November 10, I will be presenting “InfoPath and SharePoint: Business Partners” at the Central Texas SharePoint User Group.
On November 16, I will be presenting “Tools, Techniques and Resources for Supporting and Guiding the Disemployed Back to Employment” at St. Martin’s Stephen Ministry.
(Presentation titles are subject to change, but I like them and I think they will stay)
And guess what? You’ll be hearing more about these events as they get closer.
So bottom line:
- Figure out what your brand is.
- Produce value.
- Find an audience or three.
- Tell them what you are up to!
Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.