Paul L. Wilson

The 3 Worst Social Media Tips & How They Made Me A Better Marketer

The Internet has no shortage of tips on how to do social media. However, you’ll find most aren’t that great. Post often, be personable, and don’t make your boss look bad — rinse, wash, and do it all over again.

The tips I’m going to share with you are pretty bad, particularly if you implement them at face value. Yet, these 3 horrible tips have helped me be a much better marketer.

Before I share these tips I have a dark secret I need to share with you — I hate social media. It’s true! I am a social media marketer who hates social media. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it works too well.

There have been too many times I’ve gone to setup a Facebook campaign or send out a well targeted tweet and I’ve fallen down the very deep, deep rabbit hole of clickbate content. I read, and I click, I read some more, and I click even more, and what should have taken two minutes has turned into two hours.

recent study by Global Web Index shows I am not the only person with this problem. Internet users, on average, are spending close to two hours on social networks each and every day. If you take out eight hours for sleep, about one in every eight minutes is spent in online socializing. That’s a sobering thought.

When you couple that statistic with 97% of online adults, aged 16-64 in 34 countries, visiting or using a social network within the last month, it’s easy to see why I have a friend-enemy relationship with social media.

Years ago I realized that if I was going to be successful in my career I needed to figure out how to quickly work around my fellow peers’ marketing antics. It wasn’t an option, like it is for some of you, to just ignore social media. In fact, when I got hired my employer actually unblocked the social media sites for me.

When I went searching for tips to help me out, I seemed to only find advice that wasn’t all that great. So, I forged out on my own and in the process learned that the worst advice I read was actually helping me the most.

It’s important to note, these tips are not so much focused on how not to get sucked into social media, as they are more about how to do social media efficiently, which will obviously help you avoid reading articles about the Middle Ages being a hoax or how a cat actually received her PhD (sorry, I couldn’t resist 😉 ).

Tip 1: Don’t Actually Get On Social Media

It’s very difficult (though not impossible) to get sidetracked with social media if you’re not actually perusing around the network. You can’t be targeted, redirected, or anyway persuaded if you’re not actually on it. Of course, you might also believe you can’t do social media marketing without the social media part.

There are a number of social media management tools that aggregate the networks and allow you to push and pull content without ever leaving the management tool. Here’s a quick chart I created to showcase several of the more popular tools and what advantages they provide for you.

Hootsuite is my choice of poison, yet I also like Buffer a lot. Hootsuite is free if you only need to manage up-to three social media accounts. It’s a robust tool and I strongly recommend becoming comfortable with it if you haven’t already.

There are several aspects I like about Hootsuite. First, I’m able to select only the areas I am interested in seeing. If I don’t want to ever see my firehose Twitter home feed or my overly sharing friends on Facebook I don’t add it to my Hootsuite streams. Instead, I can laser target keywords, searches, comments, news feeds, and anything that’s of value in my marketing efforts.

Next, Hootsuite has what they call the Hootsuite Hootlet. This is a browser tool (here’s the Chrome Extension and the Firefox Add-on) that makes it possible to share a web page onto a social network without leaving the page. Another nifty Hootlet feature shows who’s tweeting your keyword when you’re searching Google (this can get annoying over time, though, and you can switch it off until you want to use it again).

Finally, and probably most important, is the ability to schedule posts out on Hootsuite. I can sit down and plan out a week’s worth of posts on all my networks, schedule them, and not have to worry about finding more content until next week. With the exception of engaging (which you unfortunately can’t/shouldn’t schedule out) it only takes me under 30 minutes a week to post to my social networks.

The Hootlet browser tool also has scheduling baked into it. It gives you the option of auto scheduling (meaning Hootsuite picks the time to schedule) or schedule it out manually. Obviously, having these features make it even easier to post to my social networks when I stumble across an article I want to share. With ubiquitous scheduling I’m given a more efficient way to do social media marketing and in a condensed amount of time.

There are many, many more great features with Hootsuite, but these main ones make it possible to stay off social media and at the same time do marketing on social media. Honestly, my job would be a lot more difficult without a social media management tool, and with all the free features Hootsuite offers there’s no reason to not use it.

Tip 2: Don’t Spend Time Figuring Out Your Audience

If you told any of my good friends that this next tip came from me they wouldn’t believe you. Knowing your audience is absolutely imperative to building successful social media campaigns, and I preach this principle to anyone who will listen.

Then why would I tell you to not spend time figuring out your audience? When I first started marketing I spent countless hours digging into my audience likes, dislikes, and even their sleeping patterns.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the Hootsuite plugin Demographics Pro that pretty much does all of this work and more in a mere few seconds (minus the sleeping patterns, which really is overkill). Here is an example of what my audience looks like using Demographics Pro:

So, in truth when I’m telling you not to spend time figuring out your audience, what I’m really saying is let someone else (or something else) spend their time researching your audience. Basically, Demographics Pro does a deep dive analysis into anyone’s Twitter account and shares with you the gold nuggets of data to help you nail down your audience.

Demographics Pro has a free option that allows you to analyze five accounts. If you select these accounts wisely you should have a plethora of data on your audience in less than three minutes.

Here’s how you set up Demographics Pro: Everything you need is inside Hootsuite (don’t bother going to Demographics Pro’s website since they only offer their paid solution there).

  1. Go to the left black sidebar in Hootsuite and select the App Directory.
  2. Next, you will get an overlay box that has Hootsuite’s different apps. In the top right hand corner you’ll find the search. Type in Demographics (be sure to put the “s” at the end). Once found, click on “Install App.”

3. Once the App Directory is closed you will see that Hootsuite added Demographics Pro as a new stream to your dashboard.

Okay, this is where it gets really fun. Think of a Twitter profile that has an audience similar to what you want to reach. Let’s say, for example, I wanted to build an insurance audience similar to my co-worker Mahendra.

I would take his Twitter handle, which is: @mahendranambiar, and click on the @ symbol found at the top of the Demographics Pro stream and add it to a drop down that looks like this:

When I do this the app analyzes Mahendra’s followers and provides me the following quick demographic view of his followers. What I really want though is the data found in “View full profile.”

It’s the data from the below screenshot that truly helps me understand what Mahendra’s audience is all about.

I am now able to see what additional interests a similar insurance audience might have beyond just insurance. For example, in the professional section I learn, “The account has a particularly high concentration of entrepreneurs (within the top 10% of all Twitter accounts in this respect).”

I can then create and share content that has an insurance and entrepreneur overlap. For instance sharing the Forbes’s article, “Entrepreneurs Funding Businesses With Their Insurance Policies & Avoiding Taxes” with a Mahendra-like insurance audience will peak their interest.

Tip 3: Don’t Spend Time Finding the Right Content

Okay, I know I am not going to fool you twice. Just like tip #2, what I am saying here is to allow something else to find the right content for you. Following this one step will save you a load of time and allow you to focus your efforts on more meaningful marketing activities. Meaningful activities like these:

Finding the right type of content to share is what often takes the most time, and can be quite distracting. I’ve also noticed that many people usually just find what everyone else is sharing and then resharing it as well.

In the marketing world, sharing out someone else’s content, and then adding a bit of your own commentary, is called curating, and isn’t necessarily bad. When trying to build a unique brand that provides thought leadership in an industry having provocative curated content helps, but sharing stale and re-hashed content doesn’t.

There is a tool that helps you find the right content for your audience that isn’t necessarily the same ol’ same ol’ (and no, it’s not Google). This great and magical tool is known as Right Relevance, and what’s even better is that you can use it as an app in Hootsuite. Discovering this tool has saved me more time and I really should add the Right Relevance and Hootsuite team to my Christmas card list.

When I found Right Relevance I wasn’t aware they had a Hootsuite App, so I was a heavy user on their web interface. Now that I use both, I realize that setting up Right Relevance is much easier on their website, but managing and sharing content is better suited in Hootsuite.

The most important feature with Right Relevance is their topics section. This, for me, is the core of Right Relevance’s magic. Here you can setup topics you’re interested in and a feed is created around it. You’re also able to review the current news around the topic and what is popular on social media.

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Now, if you’ve been in the social media world for a while, you’re wondering how this tools is any different from all the rest. I’ve tried BuzzSumoPaper.liAlltopSocial MentionFeedly, Buffer Suggestions (R.I.P.), and even Hootsuite’s Suggestions mobile app. All of them failed in one distinct way — their content recommendations.

What I’ve found with Right Relevance, that is different from the rest, is relevance (fitting that it is a part of their name). When I say this, I am saying that most of the time they give me result that I can actually use. Even more important, is their recommendations seem to be from a deeper part of the Internet than all the rest. The other tools all seem to pull from the same fishing pond, and frankly, it’s annoying when you’re trying to find good content that is unique and different.

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Other powerful features are their Influencers/Conversations. Clearly, it is helpful to target content that has built in social influencers, and easier to get on their radar if you know who they are. I also appreciate Right Relevance making a noble try of separating brands and individuals. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best automated tool I’ve found.

Finally, a feature worth noting (though, I’m sure I could utilize it more) are the analytics tied to your social account.

I wouldn’t say their analytics are a wow factor, but if you’re on Right Relevance it doesn’t hurt to check them out. It helps you better see what you’re sharing out and where you should probably focus more.

On the Hootsuite Right Relevance App you will find these features, minus the analytics. I find myself jumping between the app and the website a lot, and I’m grateful to have the option of either one. It was time consuming when I was manually finding content on Right Relevance’s website and then copying it over onto Hootsuite to schedule it (it’s the little things that makes life beautiful).

Final Thoughts

I wish I could say that I can be a social media marketer and completely avoid social media. I can’t, and in truth, I shouldn’t. Social media has created a prominent place in marketing and in life. Entirely avoiding it won’t help, but I can avoid the areas that are problematic to living a rich and full life.

As you can see, Hootsuite helps me to achieve this objective. It is a major component in saving time and avoid the social media black hole. Using all these features and apps together help me create an insightful social media curation strategy. Now if I can just find 3 bad blogging tips to help me overcome writing long winded blog posts!