Choosing a Social Media Marketing Workshop

About a month back, I have had the opportunity to attend Finggle’s first Social Media Marketing Workshop.

The one day workshop opens the doors and takes you into the world of social media, and how your business can leverage on it for marketing and outreach.

What I really loved about the course is that is a good balance between the platform specific techniques and the strategic concepts. Some of the concepts are potentially very powerful, like changing your “instructions” to “conversations”, identifying to leading social tribes, learning the 6 keys to writing content for social media, and the 3 key phases (and what activity to focus on in each phase) when marketing on any social platform.

Afterall, while Facebook and Twitter are now the hottest platforms where everybody is clamoring to put their business on, it is hard to say if this will stay the same 2 years from now. The social media and web community scene, in just the past decade, has seen many usurpations – since the good old days where we were still forming eCircles and the Friendster logo was still blue.

If you are reading the inside stories, you will know that many of these huge communities died or got bought over not because people didn’t like them, but because they didn’t make enough profit to sustain! So the platforms are always going to change, whether you like it or not!

Having a good social media marketing master plan is essential.

You need to go where your target audience is, and learn the technical stuff quickly so you can focus on building your tribe, rather than spend time beautifying your profile.

So if you are looking to get your business started on social media, you need to choose a social media workshop that gets you to think about your master plan and has enough material on the strategic concepts, rather and one that just teaches you how to set up a Facebook account and fan page.

Makes sense?

Plaxo: its goods and can-be-betters

A while ago, I talked about a book I’ve read – Never Eat Alone, and about how important is is to keep in touch with the contacts, rather than just collect namecards. Then I got a comment from Melvin about Plaxo.

PlaxoI gave the piece of software a go. Well, I really liked the software, but there are some way Plaxo works that does not suit me very well.

Anyway, for the uninitiated, Plaxo is an online address book service, bundled with excellent software bits to synchronise your contacts wherever you store it – Outlook, LinkedIn, Thunderbird, Netscape… whatever so you always get the latest and most updated contact information from your friends, and so they do the same for you.

It is an excellent piece of software in doing this. For my first sync, I found 13 other contacts (okay, that is pathetic! :mrgreen: ) from my currently typed in list of about 300 contacts, who are also using the same service, and for some, I got to know their new phone numbers now, when I originally only knew only their email address.

However, one fallback I thought, was the inability to control what it syncs. For example, one of these 13 contacts is my buddy – and naturally being friends for almost half our lives, I have his address, mobile number, skype, MSN… and everything I know. But he wasn’t willing (or its probably too cumbersome) to list everything in his Plaxo profile, and the sync helped me remove this information I had about him.

So it in a sense “messed up” my address book again. I felt lucky that I had only 13 records to clean up. So, for Plaxo wanna-sign-ups – here is a potential challenge you might face. Again, it is an excellent service and piece of software for synochronising contacts, considering that it provides that for totally free, but some limitations need to be worked on.

On that note, does anyone know of any other services that do a similar thing that Plaxo is doing?

How do you optimize your blog for social media marketing?

This is what social media optimization is about, and in this article on Social Media Optimization Tips Louise Rijk shares with us several pointers, from content creation to navigation structure of your website, to how to format your copy. Excellent read.

In Louise’s article, she explained also, the different objectives between SEO and SMO.

…Whereas SEO is designed to help leverage your content in organic search, SMO is designed to help achieve greater visibility on social media sites. Your content might be very original and provide high value for your target audience, but if it’s disorganized and you have not provided an easy way for visitors to pass it along the social web, it probably won’t be effective in your social media marketing campaign.

SMO is more human targeted, more usability, and “sharabilty“. SEO is more to “get results in organic search engines”. But we all know that we need both, don’t we?

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

I remember, just before the World Internet Mega Summit in Singapore this year, I asked a couple of closer friends why did they bother to spend another 4 days and all that money to attend the seminar – afterall, they’ve been to the WIS at least once before, and they all know that what they get in the 4 days are Internet gurus trying to sell their stuff. It is like attending 4 days of previews!

The common answer I got was “I’m going there for the contacts”. Frankly, then, while I understood the possibilities that would open up for someone with great contacts, I never understood how people “get their contacts” at the WIS, because the previous time I was there, I did get a lot of namecards, but I didn’t make many friends… and even though someone bothered to compile the email addresses into a mailing list, all I got from the list was a bunch of unsolicited emails, from people who were marketing more “make money online” kind of products. Not even one bothered to call or send a personal mail. Well, neither did I take the effort to do so.

Its been eight months since that big event I went to, and yet, no real contact.

Never eat alone bookThen, for the past two weeks, I’ve been reading this book by Keith Ferrazzi – Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time and I realised how successful people actually build their network of contacts.

It is so different. Everything is so organized and systematic! For example, Ferrazzi recommended that we “ping” our contacts (get in touch in one way or another) on a regular schdeule, that we use our free time buses, on the airplane etc, to write simple and short emails to just buzz each other just to tell them “Hey, I’m still alive and kicking. Are you?” This takes the relationship beyond just “we exchanged namecards, and I know of his existence”, to a level where you earn the right to call them if necessary.

Its totally inspiring. I’m totally impressed.

As I started reading the book, I also started realise my mess of contacts – namecards lying on my working table not followed up on, and multiple Ms Excel documents with contact information of my classmates dated over a decade ago! :mrgreen:

So its time to get back in touch! With a couple of hundreds of names in the list (which, luckily, still isn’t too much), getting in touch is definitely going to take a while, but its better late than never, right?

Hopefully, as I get in touch with them one by one, I’ll also be able to direct them this blog as a platform for our future communications. Well, that’s one wonderful way to use a blog, ain’t it?

Is it also time for you to get back in touch with your old friends and start pinging those people whom you’ve exchanged namecards with? Or do you already use a systematic plan to keep in touch?

Update: First, I’ve forgot to mention it earlier – thanks dear brother, for recommending me the book! Secondly, do check out Melvin’s review of the book (see comments) and follow the link to the video, its awesome!

Social Media Abuse

Muhammad Saleem shared his views on Two Ways to Market Yourself on MyBlogLog today at Pronet Advertising.

In his post, he shared:

Look at the average blog community member’s avatar and more often than not you will just see the person in the photograph. If you are going to use your photograph as your avatar, keep one thing in mind, sex sells.

I think this is and soon will become a problem in social media marketing – its a known fact that “sex sells”, and with the increased use of avatars and photos in social networking site (which are meant to be photos of yourself!), more people will be putting up more “mature audience” pictures on their sites – hoping to attract eyeballs… and clicks.

The challenge becomes tougher for the authorities, because while search engines can read and filter text (usernames, descriptions etc), categorization of images is still largely done using meta data.

I would think the only (and the best solution) to this is really a good education. I mentioned my concerns about increased spam and its detriment before. Users of the web need to be more aware of the consequences in the long run.