Social Media Basics: 5 YouTube Tips

YouTube and Social Media

Get Started on YouTube

In honor of today’s online workshop, which is YouTube for Small Business: Getting Started, let’s  cover a few YouTube tips to get you rolling.

1) Do it or be left behind:   USA Today noted that “If you’re one of the estimated 25,000 small businesses in America, then – whether you realize it or not – video is in your future.”  It went on to quote  Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey who said that, “Whether you’re a hot-dog vendor in Boston or design firm in Santa Fe, you will be producing video for the Web, video is how your customers will find you.”

2) Get over yourself: The best videos aren’t slick, super-produced videos. They are videos that meet a need, give information, are entertaining and are authentic and real. Get over thinking that it’s about you and it has to be perfect. Grab your iPhone or your Flip camera and get with the program.

3) Consider audio and lighting: Yeah, I know that I just said you don’t need to be Steven Spielberg…but the video does need to be clear and audible. Informal videos are fine, indeed, but be sure that the resulting upload is clearly lighted, easy to see and the audio is understandable.

4) Be passionate: This is particularly important for small businesses. I suspect that if you are one of our nonprofit or ministry clients, you can easily find something passion-worthy about your cause or outreach. But, what if you sell radiators? Or fertilizer? Listen – social media is still for you. You just need to be a little creative, that’s all. For example, is the fertilizer used to grow the biggest pumpkin at the state fair? Maybe it’s used in a garden to grow produce for a homeless shelter.  Take a look at your product or service in a fresh way and find the passion that will connect to your audience.

5) Keep it short: No one wants to sit through 10 minutes of video on YouTube or Vimeo.  No matter if it’s part of a conference, informational, an event, how-to – whatever – keep it to less than 5 minutes unless it is spectacularly engaging. 

Get motivated and get your small business or nonprofit out on YouTube now.  If you need assistance planning and executing on a strategy, online training to get your started right, an updated web site, or cost-effective monthly group mentoring to keep things moving, let us know.  
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Social Media No-No’s: A Top 10 List

Social Media No-No's

Mojo's List of Social Media No-No's

Last week I reviewed an online audio created by some self-proclaimed “inspirational” dude who goes around the country giving talks on social media and how it can help your association or business. It was almost physically painful to listen to him discuss all of the shortcuts to use to “automate” your relationships and “push” content to friends and followers. He so misses the point. And worse, he’s running around the United States spouting off this drivel. (Can you tell I’m irritated??)

So…thought I’d share our top 10 list of things you should NOT do – even if you hear it elsewhere. And, I think when you see the list and the business reasoning, you’ll agree, too.

10) Don’t jump into social media without a strategy. Please see our previous posts about planning to illustrate this point. You started your business with a plan. You make calculated decisions based on concrete, written goals and objectives. This should not be any different.

9) Don’t focus solely on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter. The social media landscape is rapidly changing, with new applications launching every week. Despite what you might have heard, not every application is for every business. If you need a strategy, a once-a-month mentor or just some initial planning help, call on us.

8 ) Don’t forget to observe and monitor BEFORE you leap.  Rushing into social media without understanding how your brand is perceived is just plain dumb. Monitor your brand before you start conversing. Determine who the influencers are and what your customers/prospects are saying. That will help you get the lay of the land.

7) Don’t focus only on quantitative metrics.  Alas, there is a component to social media that many businesses just don’t understand – the, uh, social component.  Consider qualitative metrics that can help you assess the quality of the dialog and conversation. 

6) Don’t forget to prioritize. You cannot do all things well. It is much worse, as many of you have heard me say in our workshops, to launch multiple social media initiatives only to have them die a slow and painful cyber-death due to lack of nourishment. Choose wisely based on what you need to achieve and do ONE well first. Collect your data, then move to the next initiative. Rinse. Repeat.

5) Don’t try to buy your way in.  Despite what many self-proclaimed “gurus” say, it is less about the number of followers and fans and more about the quality of interaction. You cannot achieve your goals by purchasing followers, buying your way onto Twitter lists or engaging in other nefarious activity that promises quick returns. If you approach your social media strategy this way, you will not be successful in building the kind of robust, word of mouth relationships for which social media is known.

 4) Don’t grab the latest intern and stick her on the project. This is a no-brainer. Understanding the technology is NOT the same as understanding the business strategy and the purpose behind the initiative.

3) Don’t hesitate to look for outside assistance.  Don’t you reach out to mentors in your business community? Have a once-a-month call with your finance or tax expert? Make sure you’re on the right track? This is no different. It’s a fallacy that since the platform is free, you shouldn’t seek customized assistance. Mojo offers monthly calls, group mentoring, online workshops and a suite of content-generation services.

2) Don’t automate your efforts. I am also disgusted with folks advocating automated software and bots that will tweet or post for you or writing a single tweet that populates everywhere.  That is not conversatiion. That is not dialog.  It will backfire.  Do not engage in social media if your sole purpose is to spam and push propaganda out. Please.

1) Don’t make it all about you.  You knew this one was coming after reading #2, right? It cannot be all about your business. It must be about what you need to achieve and what your community members will receive in return. 

Ahhh, I feel better now that I’ve cleared the air a bit. What are your top social media no-nos?  Feel free to share.

Facebook: Top Questions Revealed!

Professional Mojo answers your top Facebook questions

Lee & Rachael answer your top Facebook questions.

I’m proud to say that we’ve trained hundreds of folks who prefer the do-it-yourself route when it comes to social media.  Yes, we have other clients, too, with whom we develop a strategy, build or upgrade their website…but there are those independent spirits out there who are determined to tackle the social media universe on their own.  It is in their honor that we reveal what Professional Mojo has found to be the top Facebook questions (both non-techy and techy).  Enjoy!

Top Non-Tech Questions

5)  Isn’t Facebook for youngsters?:  Nope. In fact, if your current prospects/clients/vendors/partners aren’t on Facebook right now, they will be soon. The fastest growing demographic is the 35+ crowd.

4) How much should my personal profile and the business stuff overlap?We routinely recommend that you keep your personal stuff private. Trust me, posting pics of you or your spouse on vacation in Bermuda will do more harm than good – no matter how good looking you think you are.

3) Isn’t Facebook a big black hole sucking up all my and my employees’ time? Well, that depends on if you think developing relationships with prospects and customers is a waste of time, too. Remember, it’s not about the platform, it’s about how  you use it, track it and monitor it. If you think your time is wasted…honestly, friends…you’re not doing it correctly.

2) Why can’t I get any fans/members to my page/group? You need to see #3 because you’re probably not executing on a good plan.  When we evaluate social media  efforts, we find that a failed Facebook presence is usually a symptom of these ills:
                  * Poor moderation/administration: Not asking questions, not responding to comments, not updating regularly, spewing unilateral sales-y propaganda
                  * Not reaching out: Not friending/fanning others, not commenting on other pages or groups, not asking your contacts to be your fan
                  * Poor or little integration with your site and other marketing: Treating Facebook like a stand-alone silo, not promoting it on your site (prominently), not promoting it in your other marketing efforts
                  * Bad content: making it all about you and your organization, not having fun, not being a resource for your fans, not giving them relevance and useful info

1) Do we even need to set up a Facebook page? Do you care whether or not you are left behind when your competitors reach more and do more? Then, yes, you probably do. NOTE: If you are unable to commit to it or create a plan that fully leverages Facebook, then don’t do it.

Top Facebook Tech Questions

5) How can I save time? Use both Facebook and third party applications to quickly and easily integrate your Facebook info into your site and your other social media assets (blogs, Twitter, etc.) into your Facebook fan page.

4) Can I set up a business page without a personal account? Yes, you can. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and choose your settings. At the end of the process, Facebook will ask you if you have a profile and you choose No.  Then, simply enter your email address and your birthday. That’s it. No profile set up. CAVEAT: you can do all regular admin tasks this way, but if you want to notify others to be a fan or search within Facebook, which we recommend, you will not be able to do that without a personal profile.

3) Can I customize my page with cool graphics? Yep, you sure can. Although Facebook is notoriously persnickety about customization, you can use various HTML and FBML third party apps to add links, graphics, and a general customized look and feel. Keep it simple, though.

2) I have a group. I want a page. What do I do now? This is related to #1.  Again, Facebook isn’t use friendly on this count, but you can follow these steps: a) create your biz page, populate it b) go to the group and begin messaging them to move over and fan your new page (I let them know that the group will be closing in X days) c) after your group members are fans of the biz page, then manually remove every group member. When you remove them all and then yourself, the group goes away.

1) Should I set up a group or a page? This is the #1 question and the answer really is based on your social media strategy (please tell me you have one). If you need a private, invitation-only, members-only area, then a group is for you.  Many NPOs have had great success with groups.   On the other hand, if your strategy is to promote, engage, and build community in a broader sense, improve your SEO rankings, use ads to promote your page, etc., then a business page is the way to go. 

What are your top questions?  Let us know and we’ll collect them for another edition of Top Questions Revealed! Starring Lee & Rachael.

Interested in online workshops, website design, social media monitoring and content creation? Then give us a ping.

3 Big Social Media Myths Debunked Here

Social Media is about business. Don't be dumb.

Social Media is about Business. Don't be dumb.

We have had the pleasure of spending a good amount of time talking with small and large business key executives in the Vistage group and with small biz chamber members via our local chambers of commerce.

There continues to be a lot of misinformation surrounding social media and its impact on business. I’d like to hop up on my soapbox and address a few of them based on recent conversations with prospects and new clients.

Myth 1: Social media is easy. Wrong. Social media applications are usually easy to understand. But social media as a strategy, like any other marketing and sales strategy, requires planning, knowledge and experience.

A successful social media strategy takes time, patience and finesse. Remember, social media is SOCIAL. You are developing a relationship with these folks. That is no easier than walking into a party and trying to develop a trusting relationship with someone you just met. Do ya think that only takes 15 minutes, too?

Myth 2: Social media is free. Wrong. The applications and software are usually free to use, but to do social media right, there are costs.
* who will monitor your online reputation and efforts?
* who will Tweet and write for you?
* who will gather content assets for you to use?

Are time and resources worth something to you? Is your brand worth somoething to you? Is your online reputation worth something to you? If you can put a dollar figure on these things, then social media needs to be taken seriously.

Myth 3: We know how to do this because we’re young (or already using it personally). There is nothing you can show me that I don’t already know. Ha! This is my favorite. If you think social media is something that anyone can know everything about, you’re wrong there, too. Even the top names in the game (Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, et al) can’t know it all because it’s an ever changing landscape. Just because you understand the mechanics of some of the more common social media applications and use it to tell your friends about karaoke does not mean you have the business prowess to connect the dots to lower expenses, increase sales leads or impact the bottom line.

I know how to paint and hammer a nail, but I get some help when I’m adding on a larger addition. This is your brand, your business, your future. Be smart about it…Take some time and a little money to get some input.

Small Business Toolkit: Should Your Biz Go Virtual?

I haven’t driven into an office in over 5 years. My employees have lived all over the world and in almost every time zone; yet, as a team, we grew 5 small companies, served thousands of professionals and small businesses, and developed B2B services and technology that made a difference.

Has your company considered “going virtual”? Telecommuting, or working virtually, is the trend for many businesses looking to save money, gain access to top talent, ensure business continuity, and go green.

Is your business ready to go virtual and go green?

Is your business ready to go virtual and go green?

Research predicts that by the end of 2009, 14 million workers will not be driving to work. Is your small business a candidate for going virtual? Let’s take a quick quiz and find out:

1) What does virtual mean to you? Are you taking your business online (that’s another whole set of planning) or are you simply relocating your employees to home offices, shedding expensive office space, and going paperless?

2) What is your logistical plan? Explain to your family that the workspace is no different from any other office space – not a play space, not a place for Fido to come and visit. Consider every activity you engage in at a physical office and determine if you still need to do it and how to do it from your home office. No task is too small for you to plan for it.

3) Are your employees ready? If they are not on board, you haven’t adequately prepared them, and you haven’t researched and planned how you will maintain your company culture…you’re in for a rough ride. Going virtual is not about sending emails and surfing the Web. It’s about real, measurable increased productivity while eliminating needless overhead. Being virtual means leveraging the Web for sharing, learning and interacting as a team.

4) Are your employees the right ones – NOW? This is a critical point – – not every team member will adjust well to being a virtual employee. In fact, I have found that this is one of the toughest cultural and behaviorial fits for which to interview. Believe me…employees and potential employees will think working virtually is some sort of panacea. Those are NOT the employees for you. Really. Trust me.

5) Do you know what tools you will use to ensure communication, connectivity and productivity? If you’re not sure, then you’re not ready. There are many tools out there that purport to help your business go virtual, and they cost a pretty penny. In reality, though, there are many tools that are free or very low cost that can help you achieve piece of mind and grow your business.

Finally, if you are serious about going virtual and going green, as many small businesses are, consider our introductory online workshop to find out more.

Every day, the argument for getting in the car and driving into work gets less and less compelling. Most knowledge workers can easily work from home, saving you thousands of dollars, saving them stress and road rage and improving organizational productivity.

Social Media and Nonprofits: Share This!

We have been continuing our discussion about donor engagement and specifically how social media and other tools can amplify your reach.

Once you have decided that social media should be part of your strategic plan, what’s next? What will you say?

Consider these three key areas:

1) Organizational Impact: Donors want to know what good you are doing in the world. This is no surprise, I know, but consider how social media can help you extend that message. A simple Tweet may say: One new well just drilled in middle of town to provide fresh H2O!

2) Successes: Share them often and across distribution channels and stay on message. For example, building on the Tweet above, your blog post that day should be from the field, complete with audio and video. You should also Tweet out those pics.

3) Inside Organizational Scoop: This is the most overlooked area, and yet many donors crave info on the who, what and how of any organization to whom they give their money. Consider posting congratulations on your Facebook fan page to employees who excel, sharing goals met, etc.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can more effectively use social media to improve your donor engagement, consider joining us on 6/25/09 for our online workshop featuring a special guest..

4 Reasons Why Social Media is a Must-Have for Nonprofits

Social Media and Nonprofits

Social Media and Nonprofits

Professional Mojo tweeted an interesting story today from the The Columbus Dispatch that discussed how cultural arts organizations are using social media tools to generate buzz and reach new prospects. With donations down for most organizations, there has never been a better time to explore how social media can make up the ground. Here’s why:

1) Social media tools are free, fast, flexible, and they enable charities to engage with large numbers of existing and prospective supporters, both regionally and globally. The one to many aspect of social media makes it the most cost-effective marketing tool on the planet.

2) Social media gives prospects multiple ways of engaging with their charities of choice. You already know the rule – gotta touch them 5-7 times before it sticks – and reinforcing the message via blog, site, Twitter and more helps achieve the goal of establishing a relationship BEFORE you ask for support.

3) You can share more – more often – about the good you do. The National Wildlife Federation does a great job of Tweeting consistently and innovatively, using photos, video and more to create interest and buzz. This bears repeating – what is better than sharing a video of baby loggerhead turtles trying to make their way to the ocean for the first time! Sure beats just talking about it.

4) Once you’ve established a relationship, leveraging social media may very well increase your online giving. Sites such as http://tweetsgiving.org/ and Twitpay.me have proven that here are easy ways to collect cash online and spur giving.

There’s no time to be old-fashioned about this. Others are in the space and leveraging it for their objectives. The dollars these days are limited. Consider the best ways you can use your existing assets and resources, choose the best vehicles for you and get in the game! If you are unsure where to start, you may want to consider our upcoming workshop, too, featuring Lindsey Patten.

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