When I entered the social media world, I was pretty much clueless, just like everybody else, I guess.  Anyone who knows the difference between a Facebook page and profile and all those tiny but oh-so-perceptible differences between hashtags, @ signs and .@ signs on Twitter can now leave this post to get your afternoon tea or coffee, frolic in your garden, call your friends or do whatever it is you people do.

When_to_Post_to_Social_Media_Infographic - Infographic by fannit.com

When to post to Social Media – Infographic by fannit.com

As for the rest of us, I had no idea how much work, effort and expertise were required to get your message across.  The amazing – and more than a little irritating – fact is that things change so fast that I constantly have to learn new marketing tips.  For example, did you know the best times to post? Apparently, 1pm to 4 pm for Facebook, 1 pm to 3 pm for Twitter, 7 am to 8 am and 5 pm to 6 pm for LinkedIn, 2 pm to

4 pm for Pinterest. If not, don’t worry: next week, they’re bound to have changed.

A few days ago, I posted about how important the title of the blog post is.  Today, I ran into a number of articles that all promised to tell me the secrets to a successful social media marketing campaign.  I am pleased to say that I know quite a few of those nifty little tricks, so all these hours spent reading and learning did not go to waste.

In a nutshell, though, all these tips boil down to this simple advice: be nice.  Acknowledge the people kind enough to engage with you. Don’t pester people to buy your book, but be helpful and real.

Focus on writing out of the ordinary and remarkable stuff, then share it on different platforms – for, as I found out today, it is not as efficient to write something and then promote it in the same form through different platforms.  Rumor has it that each medium requires its own approach, which means much more work!  Of course, it now makes sense why most experts say that you have to choose which social medium you will place more emphasis on (and I am happy that I have my wife to help with that).

I’m not prepared to follow every bit of advice I read, mind you. Not all of it fits my personality or brand, and I have developed strong likes and dislikes towards some practices.  For example, among the many articles I read today, there was one that suggested that a successful blog is a controversial one; i.e., talk about contentious issues, create a buzz, make people want to comment – positively or negatively – and generate the circumstances for people to express themselves.

I disagree with this.  I am not a controversial kind of guy: I prefer to walk away rather than enter into a heated debate that will not let me sleep at night because of aggravation, anger and heartburn.  And I hate the idea of pushing controversial posts merely to create “buzz”.  Not to mention that I tend to find the most persuasive lines well after the fight, which frustrates me even more!  Anyway, if anyone tries it, let me know how it works for you.

On the other hand, I love a tip that I see repeated across many experts’ blogs, and that ties in wonderfully with my personal philosophy: help people, and get to know them.  Be more personal, because being all businessy without a human touch, just doesn’t work.  People are so overwhelmed with info, that they want someone that says, “I care about you, and I will make the extra effort to be your friend” instead of “buy my wonderful book”.

This works on every level. For example, a few days ago I completed a Facebook promotion for a client of mine.  It didn’t go as well as anticipated, and I contacted our assigned consultant on Facebook (yes, there is such a person, the ever helpful and sweet Pauline Chbat). She suggested we make the campaign more personal, e.g. “We are Pierre and Paul and we are the proud owners of a guesthouse with a magnificent view to the sea” rather than “Enjoy relaxing holidays with a breathtaking view of the sea”.  Upon making such small changes, the campaign exceeded its targets.

I will close this post with a fantastic infographic found on SocialMediaToday that gave it its title. As you can see, I am applying what I preach: helping others instead of plugging my book.  Piece of cake! 🙂

Infographic from http://socialmediatoday.com/irfan-ahmad/2349236/5-things-check-publishing-your-blog-post-infographic

Infographic from http://socialmediatoday.com/irfan-ahmad/2349236/5-things-check-publishing-your-blog-post-infographic

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