Greetings, friends! I had a truly educational evening that I would love to tell you about. If you follow my blog or know me well, you know I have a passion for the ever-changing world of social media and digital marketing; not an easy market to grasp considering its dynamic nature.
Since graduating college in 2010, I have not had that “light bulb” or sudden HALLELUJAH moment where I discover my life calling, despite all the movies that portray single girls in their twenties who manage to clumsily stumble into their dreams (sounds nice). Between friends, hobbies, and various other projects, this ‘life calling’ just seemed to take a backburner and never made itself apparent to me. Until about three months ago.
Enter BRANDING, stage left. This marketing term took me by complete surprise as I had never encountered it before. I majored in Communication from a well-known university- How had I never ONCE heard of this so-called “branding”??
Cue Marketing and Media continuing education courses. Cue Photoshop tutorials and late night workshops. Cue becoming a student again, after two years of life without homework or professors (Update: I am really enjoying it).
Branding, social strategizing, digital marketing… developing a company into something more than a selling machine, but instead something with a distinct personality… this was when my metaphorical light bulb went off and I thought to myself, “Self, you might really enjoy doing this”.
From there I began researching people working in the industry, and reading a plethora of articles I thought would help me to really dig into this new world I wanted to so badly understand. One person in particular caught my eye, and I began to follow him and invited him to connect on LinkedIn and Facebook (naturally). Blake warmly accepted my requests and after a few weeks I reached out to him again, asking him for any words of wisdom and/or a nudge in the right direction to pursue a career in his field; Social Media strategizing. His response was more than I had hoped for when he suggested we video chat and talk more about it.
Although I had never met Blake in person, the hour and a half we spent chatting was effortless and exceptionally beneficial. Below is a brief summary of what we covered, and what I took away from our first virtual meeting.
- Social media shouldn’t be used to sell and push product on fans. Instead, catch their eye, earn their loyalty and trust. Think you’re going to get more business by spamming them with boring product knowledge via Facebook? Forget about it.
- If your pages aren’t easy to find and aren’t visually appealing, they turn more people away than you may care to know.
- CONNECT with your audience. Don’t bore the shit out of them.
- It’s all about ENGAGEMENT. Likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites. Produce content that is worthy of recognition if you have any hope of being noticed.
- Going off that last point- Social media is one big snowball. Everything begins tiny and once it starts to grow it just gets bigger and bigger. And to grow you need to connect, and become involved.
- The “People Talking About This” Facebook metric is based off of the amount of activity your page receives: page likes, photo likes, any comments and any shares. This statistic will prove to be increasingly useful; 5-8% audience engagement appears to be the norm.
- Your own personal news feed (the feed on your homepage) is custom designed to you based on your Facebook activity. The more you engage with a certain person or page, the more Facebook will prioritize those posts for you to see. Susie’s activity will appear way more than Johnny’s will on your home page because Facebook remembers that you talk to Susie regularly, and you haven’t spoken to Johnny since he pushed you off the swings in middle school.
- Social media is a great tool that every company can use to its advantage. Even the smallest mom and pop shops. Nothing is un-social-mediable. Just think outside the box… a lot.
- Sometimes you have to spend money to make money back. But if used right, social media will grow the audience and provide a way greater ROI (return on investment).
- It is never too late to change. Make a dedication to yourself and take steps to change what you don’t like about your life without hesitation.
- When you are ready to do this, dive in headfirst. Don’t tiptoe the edge or go halfway. Make the plunge and commit. Learn everything you can about what you want to do until you are (at least) as good as the rest.
- Gary Vaynerchuk. Jon Loomer. Melanie Duncan. These people are remarkable, and need to be followed. STAT.
- Audiobooks can be your best friend if you give them a chance.
- New Years resolutions are NOT just for suckers.
- Twitter is undeniably useful, but still pretty silly.
Our talk was both valuable and inspirational. Blake turned his life around with a New Years resolution to create a career path for himself, and things unfolded for him as he made the decision and went for it. His story was a good reminder to me that things are never set in stone. You can keep up with him and his social media insight HERE!
We both wish we had recorded our session so we could share it with all of you who have many of the same questions I did, but I assure you we will share the next one! :) Until then, keep giving the interwebs what they want to see and pursuing what your soul needs, whatever that may be. Be persistent. Be confident. Have faith. Oh, and never stop learning. Ever.