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7 “Must Do” Social Media Tactics Most People (Like Me) Ignore

on October 29, 2014

When my wife and I moved into our new home close to three years ago, I said, “Let’s plan on learning one new recipe every week, so we’ll have an arsenal of new meals.” It was a great idea, and it would have been awesome if we had actually done it. We didn’t. And that’s the problem with “great” advice. We recognize the value in it, and how powerful it would be if we actually did it, yet we simply ignore it because we’re happy with the processes we have in place that don’t take nearly the same amount of effort. I’m really good at microwaving, and making pasta and sandwiches.

Here’s the big secret about the work I and other social media “pundits” do. We offer up advice we often don’t follow ourselves. Coming up with advice is so easy and cheap. Heck, I hear it all the time, I read it all the time, and I write about it all the time. But actually applying all this advice would take 12 lifetimes. It’s far easier for me to simply tell my faceless readers and my clients to do the work.

What follows is some advice that I think is excellent, some stuff I’ve advised others to do, and for which I do sparingly for my own business. For each I will admit to how much I do or don’t do myself.

This post began as an effort to write about innovative social media marketing tactics after being inspired by the answers on the Quora question, “What’s your best social media marketing tip?” As I started writing I realized that yes, this is all great advice, but heck who is actually going to do any of it. Am I? Sometimes I do. Read on.

1: Test your ability to do better

“Always ask yourself, ‘How can I do better?’ Turn every social action into a test,” advised CamMi Pham (@CamMiPham) who recommends creating private accounts to test theories.

What awesome advice. I’ve heard this all the time. The Internet is built for this, but do we actually do it? Chances are you don’t because it actually takes more setup work to test. I myself have either avoided it just to get a job done, or simply forgotten to do it, and then realized it as an afterthought where I begin scrambling to find some data to see how my efforts did.

How you and I can improve: Simply bake testing into the overall process of getting anything done

2: Build relationships, not a social network audience

The social Internet is great at measuring followers, it’s not good at measuring really good friends. Since the advent of social networks, many have been obsessed with increasing follower counts and audience. Even when we see that the effort is empty, we still deem it a success because our counts go up. Here’s the reality of all social networks. If you were to just sit there and collect dust, your follower count would go up from people you don’t know and don’t have a relationship.

For most, those thousands of uninvolved followers don’t drive business. Only your true friends and fans drive business.

CamMi Pham once again notes, “Every social network will die at some point, if you invest time in building a good community, they will follow you everywhere.”

How you and I can improve: See the next tactic.

3: Surprise and delight at least one person every day

If you go out of your way to make someone else’s day, it will eventually come back to you in spades. The reason most of us (again, myself included) don’t do this is we’re so wrapped up in our own nonsense that we don’t think that delivering a wonderful moment will make someone’s day for which they’ll never forget. If you knew that, wouldn’t you do it? Surprising and delighting someone could involve sending them a small gift, producing some content about them, or an endless number of other items.

Years ago I pulled off something that did surprise and delight hundreds of people. I sent 555 personalized video greetings. The response I got back was phenomenal (read the story and the results). This was an extensive effort that took me weeks to pull off. I should have spread it out over the year.

If you actually did this, at the end of the year you could potentially have at least 365 fans who would become a “word of mouth” marketing force for you. In three years, you’ll probably have more than 1,000 true fans and according to Kevin Kelly, that’s enough for anyone to build a business.

How you and I can improve: Spend some time thinking about what would constitute “surprise and delight.”

4: Build relationships with influencers through content

This is exactly the advice and the service we offer to our clients. During our business’ early years we did this a lot. Since then, we’ve interviewed hundreds of influencers for our clients that we really haven’t had the need to interview influencers for ourselves. Our motto of PR 180 is to not ask influencers to pay attention to you, but rather pay attention to them first.

How you and I can improve: While I do interview influencers on my co-hosted podcast, Tear Down Show, I could be more targeted about what influencers I choose to interview. If you don’t already have a venue for which to invite influencers to participate, build one.

5: Be more reactive to your audience’s needs

We’re always in our own heads. In fact, I’ve got a project management application that tells me every single day what I should do. Sadly, one of the things not on the list of things to do is to listen to other people’s concerns. I guess the reason it’s not on my to do list, or anyone else’s who doesn’t work full time in customer service, is because we don’t know when we’re done. It’s a hard item to make a “to do.” Being more reactive and responding to people’s needs will cause others to “notice” you.

How you and I can improve: Instead of waking up and having in your head what you should do today, look at what your audience is saying in social feeds and let them dictate what you should do today.

6: Siphon your old content for redistribution

You know what your old content is? It’s new content to the millions upon millions of people who never saw it. Assuming the information is evergreen, you should look for opportunities to reintroduce old content by adding a news hook.

How you and I can improve: Republish content on LinkedIn’s new publishing platform. Retitle the post (see next tip) and rewrite the introduction.

7: Brainstorm 20 titles before you publish

Your blog post title is essentially what sells your content, yet most people spend hours on their content and only seconds on their title. Spend some time truly brainstorming creative titles. While I have been a lot better about brainstorming more titles, I usually quit when I reach 10 different titles. Most of the really successful viral sites, such as Upworthy, highly recommend compiling a list of 20 titles. The exercise forces you to think of title ideas in completely different directions. For example, here was my brainstorming exercise for this post. You’ll see where I started, and where I ended up. It also caused me to change the angle of the article. While I did write a lot of titles, I didn’t come up with 20.

  • 9 Innovative Social Media Tactics
  • 9 Ways to Reignite Your Social Media Efforts
  • Here’s Why Your Social Media Efforts Are Dragging
  • 8 Innovative Social Media Techniques and 1 Hackneyed One
  • 8 Fresh Social Media Techniques and 1 Old One You Ignore
  • 9 Great Social Media Techniques and 1 That Will Ruin Your Business
  • 9 Great Social Media Ideas You’ll Probably Ignore
  • 9 Great Social Media Ideas You’ll Read and Not Apply
  • 9 “Must Do” Social Media Tactics You’ll Most Definitely Ignore
  • 9 “Must Do” Social Media Tactics Most People Ignore
  • 9 “Must Do” Social Media Tactics Most People (Like Me) Ignore
  • 7 “Must Do” Social Media Tactics Most People (Like Me) Ignore

In the end, I realized two of the tips didn’t deserve to be in the article. That’s why it dropped from 9 to 7.

How you and I can improve: Actually put the “to do” item in your editorial and production process to write 20 titles for every article you create. I suggest doing it at the beginning to help direct your writing and so the title doesn’t become an afterthought.

CONCLUSION: Will you do it, or continue to ignore it?

I feel confident that I can adhere to doing better on some of these techniques. It may though be hard to adhere to all of them. I do though want to start cooking some new recipes.

Creative Commons photo attribution to Sean Dreilinger, Daniel Kulinski, UGA College of Ag and Environment, Len Matthews, Kristina Alexanderson, Chiuy,

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