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social media marketing

Social Media Marketing: What To Do, What Not To Do

Social Media Marketing is not so new anymore. It’s no longer a consideration but an integral part of one’s overall marketing strategy. Even with that being the case, it’s still new to many people. It’s new for those who are just starting a business or career, and it’s new for those who are late to the game.

Recently I had the honor of presenting on social media marketing at ICLE’s Probate & Estate Planning Institute with Terrence Quinn, Estate Planning Attorney. Terrence was presenting, “Marketing Matters” which discussed how to market your law practice. He brought me along to discuss social media. I thought it would be fun to discuss the Do’s and Don’ts.

Whether you’re late to the game or just new to business, you need to know a few rules. What better way to illustrate some of the most important rules than with a few “do’s and don’ts?” Here are 5 that I outlined at the presentation that I feel are key for starting off right and positioning yourself for many wins.

Let’s count them down!


The content you share should help make your audience a more informed consumer.Click To Tweet Your content should be valuable and relevant. Offer tips, industry news and recommendations. Social media marketing can help to brand you as an expert in your field, and a thought leader. Take for example, my client, Attorney Terrence Quinn. When  Michigan’s Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act was announced, Terrence immediately wrote an article explaining what it meant and what you need to do. This is how you join in on a conversation that is relevant to your audience and establish yourself as an expert.


My friend Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media always says, “Think Conversation.” Not only should you be sharing relevant content but you should be having conversations. Take the time to comment on posts, reply, retweet, ask questions and share. Be present even if it’s just a short time but be consistent. Conversations build relationships. Relationships lead to business.


Or, like you SHOULD offline. When you’re at networking events you’re looking to make connections. You don’t just walk up to people and start talking about yourself and your business. That is so not social. Think about how you feel at networking events and what you do or don’t like when you’re networking.


Some professionals, like lawyers, are restricted from soliciting business under the Rules of Professional Conduct. GREAT! That’s doing it wrong anyway. People like a soft sell on social media. They like to do business with people they like and trust. This is achieved by developing relationships. Gain their confidence by providing value. Most people are tuned into WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Focus on making your audience more informed and having conversations.


Have you ever heard the saying you can do anything but not everything? This is true with social media marketing.Click To Tweet Do what makes sense for your business. Know your target market and where they are hanging out online. By all means, don’t try to wing it. You need a plan. Plan where, and plan how by doing your research. You could simply survey your customers or clients as one way of learning more about your target market and what their habits are.

On the flip side of research, do know that your audience is doing their research. It’s called Google. When they search, are they finding you or are they finding your competition? If they’re finding you what are they finding?

Keep these important rules in mind when beginning your social media marketing journey. Set yourself up for success.

social media

Social Media Spotlight: Mandy Edwards

In my first post of my new series the “Social Media Spotlight”, I am picking the brain of my dear friend and colleague, Mandy Edwards of ME Marketing Services. Mandy is currently a contributor to Steamfeed, blogging on social media advertising & etiquette.  She also contributes to Social Media Today, Business2Community, Internet Billboards, The Southern C and Millennial CEO. She is my go-to expert on social media marketing advertising and I simply enjoy chatting her up from time to time as colleagues. For our spotlight, I asked her a variety of social media marketing questions in order to get some valuable “nuggets” to share with you all.

Here’s our Q & A:

  1. How do you find relevant content for your audience?

I have a variety of sources I use to find content. I have my favorite authors I like to follow (Mark Schaefer, Jay Baer, Scott Monty – to name a few) but I also follow aggregate sites like Social Media Today and Business 2 Community to see what people are writing about. I also like to follow industry publications like Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes and such. I have Twitter lists set up to follow all of those so it’s easy to retweet the articles I think my followers may enjoy.


  1. What are the two most important social media tools that you use?

The two most important are Sprout Social and TailWind. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a hopeless Sprout addict and Sprout took notice and asked me to join their new Sprout All-Star Influencer Program. Their social management tool has made managing my clients’ accounts a breeze and the customer service their provide is amazing. TailWind is the app I use to manage my clients’ Pinterest accounts since, unfortunately, that is the one platform Sprout doesn’t provide management for (yet). I love being able to schedule pins out a month in advance and re-pin older pins that maybe didn’t do as well as you would have liked.

  1. How do you find inspiration for blogging consistency?

Blogging consistency is something I struggle with all the time. When I say the struggle is real, the struggle is real. Life and business gets in the way. My goal is two articles each week but as long as I get one, I’m good. I find setting a goal to be a good inspiration – and not wanting the (local) competition to have more out than you! Blogging consistency is more of a discipline than anything else. Some people are good at publishing 3-5 articles a week, while others are good at 1-2 per month.

Inspire yourself with a realistic blogging goal and see if you can beat it each time.Click To Tweet

  1. What is your best tip for engagement?

Just be there. It’s hard to engage if you aren’t online. Be online and look for conversations to take part in or just start one yourself by asking a question.

  1. What do you think is the most important social media trend in 2016?

This seems to be the million-dollar question. I don’t know if there is one important social media trend this year. I see several – more video, more social advertising, more real-time posting, more being in the moment, more creative content. Companies are going to have to get out of the box and get creative because of content shock – be on the lookout for that!

Be sure to follow Mandy on Twitter and Facebook and check out her blog. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below.

twitter advanced search

Content Curation Made Simple: Twitter Advanced Search

Social media marketing has become a way of life for savvy business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals trying to build a personal brand. Truth be told, social media marketing is a lot of work in building a community and sharing great content.  One of the best ways to engage with your audience outside of creating engaging, valuable and relevant content is to curate interesting content to share.

Using the right tools and resources to find the right content and easily share it with your audience will allow you to be able to save time and find content your audience will appreciate.


Finding the right content is about using the right tools and knowing what and how to search.Click To TweetTwitter Advanced Search is a powerful resource. On Twitter’s search results page, you’ll have menu options allowing you to filter by media type, (photos, videos) profiles, and more. But what’s also great is the ability to curate content on any topic.

In the search fields, add your topic to the ‘All of these words’ field and then add ‘http’ to ‘This Exact phrase’. So, for example, if you want to find blog posts related to estate planning, your search will pull up results  as seen below where you can select to see the top tweets, the “live” or most recent ones, photos, videos and more.

twitter advanced search








Another time saving aspect of Twitter Advanced Search is the ability to save searches. Twitter allows you to save up to 25 searches per account. To save a search, click More options at the top of your results page and then click “Save this search.” Saved searches are also a great way to track keywords that are relevant to your business.


When you’re using Twitter Advanced Search you’ll no doubt come across Twitter profiles who share awesome content or whose content is ideal for your audience. Those profiles you’ll want to be able to come back to for fresh new content on a regular basis so that you can in turn share that content with your audience. A great way to do that is with Twitter lists. You’ll want to create a list of profiles that will filter out just their tweets so that when they tweet our their latest blog posts you’ll be able to see it quickly and easily. I have a list of Social Media Marketing resources that include companies who share amazing content such as Buffer, SocialTimes and Copyblogger.


One of the biggest mistakes you can make in social media is “firehosing.” Make sure that in addition to creating and sharing awesome content, that you’re having converations and sharing your thoughts. Tell your audience why the post you’re sharing is valuable or your favorite takeaway. Ask your audience what they think in return. Don’t just set it and forget it. Be sure to engage as you get replies and shares.  Always begin and look for the conversation.


Facebook Just Got A Little More Emotional With Reactions

Remember when Facebook was kicking around the idea of letting you do more than just react to a post with a “like”? Speculation began that all types of emoji-like responses would be available. When a post is sad or tragic, upsetting, or infuriating, it just doesn’t seem right to “like” it with a thumbs up. Right? Nobody wants to “like” that a blizzard is headed their way. Well maybe some people do. It feels awkward to “like” that someone’s dog is missing or that there is a 20 car pile up on the highway. So Facebook decided to address that.

Enter Facebook Reactions.

Today, Facebook is launching Reactions, which is an “extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a post in a quick and easy way.”

To add a reaction, you simply hold down the Like button on mobile or hover over the Like button on desktop to see the reaction image options. You can choose from either Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry. That’s right… No dislike, folks.

Go beyond the like: choose love, laugh, wow, sad or angry with Reactions.Click To Tweet

Here’s what it looks like:

facebook reactions


This is a big change, and sometimes we don’t like change. Facebook tried to curb the negative “reaction” by  conducting global research with focus groups and surveys to figure out what type of reactions people use most. They analyzed existing posts and the top stickers and emoticons and emojis as indicators for the types of reactions people use to see which of the many ranges of emotions they could offer. Facebook has tested it in a few markets since last year, and so far so good! Today, if you use Facebook, you have Reactions.

What does this mean for businesses and brands?

I guess it can be risky. It may make you nervous that there are more options for people to react to you, your service or product. It’s a little scary sure. But then again your audience members who really love you and what you have, will make it fun.

Business and brand Pages get the same Reactions as personal Facebook accounts and there is no way to disable them. It’s consistent across all posts and all countries.

The new Facebook reactions presents an opportunity to creatively engage with your audience with the debut. Like Chevy did. 

Have you used the new update? If so, what do you think? Give me your…well…reaction. I know, I know. I’d love to get your thoughts below in the comments.

auto direct messages not social

Why Automated Direct Messages Are So Not Social

I don’t like automated direct messages. I do not like them in a box, I do not like them with a fox. To me, they are along the same lines of publishing posts from FB to Twitter. It’s just so not social. I have to guess that it works for somebody out there. I just don’t see how. There are few things on social media more annoying to me than receiving an automated direct message from someone I just met trying to pitch me on something, or get me to do something. We just met! There’s a courting phase that has to happen before we get personal enough for direct messages, right? Besides, this is an automated message. You say this to everyone.

Here’s an example, I recently followed someone back who is also in digital marketing. Great. I like connecting with others in my field. I’m always interested in seeing content from a new source that I can perhaps share with my audience or just having someone to connect with that share the same professional interests. Then, I get a direct message from this person asking me if I am interested in social media marketing strategy services. What?? That’s what I do! I have to conclude that you did not even bother to read my profile, my tweets and probably send this message out to everyone regardless. That is so not social. The whole point of social media is getting to know someone. You didn’t even bother to do research on me before approaching me. Here’s another message I found odd, “great tweets, can we find 5 minutes to connect?” Nope. We can’t. I already feel like you’re pitching me. We just connected. It’s already weird.

I also find that some of these offenders, don’t do much engaging on Twitter. They’re simply broadcasting and firehosing. If I go to a profile and click tweets & replies, I’m hoping to at least see you thanking someone for a share, a retweet or chatting in a tweetchat with others at some point. Where is the conversation?

Automated direct messages come off as impersonal and self serving. With Twitter, and social media in general, you should show some interest first, genuine interest, in people that you are connecting with. Check out their tweets. Retweet what you find is valuable. Look at a person’s bio and see if you have something in common that you could start a conversation about. Visit their website, or blog, and share their content. Be a friend to make a friend. In all the automated direct messages I’ve received recently, I am very happy that it’s been a few years since I’ve gotten the direct message saying, “let’s take this beyond 140 characters” with a link to their Facebook page. Ugh. Gross.

I’m not saying direct messages are not okay. I am referring to the generic automated direct messages sent to the masses.

If direct messages are organic and natural, and have purpose, they can work.Click To Tweet Social Times lays out a few great examples of how direct messages can work with the purpose of introductions, getting feedback, testimonials, quotes or addressing customer service issues.

digital marketing search and social influence

Digital Marketing: The Search and Social Influence

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Eastern Michigan University, Center for Digital Engagement’s Search Marketing Workshop. The theme of this year’s event was, “The Fusion of Everything”. While Digital has shifted from web only to many things: web, mobile, car, home entertainment system, etc;. search and social media remain the constant in this fusion. As a result, digital marketing is becoming more and more personal.

With digital, you can be marketed to at any time and messaging is tailored to your preferences.Click To Tweet

I’d like to share some of my favorite highlights, tips, quotes and “snackable chunks” from the workshop.

The day started with a Morning Keynote from Jon Beebe, Director of Digital Advertising and Analytics at General Motors discussing “Advanced Audience Marketing: Using Big Data to Understand, Recognize and Engage Customers.”  Big Data for Marketing has big opportunities. Every engagement as the opportunity to create different sets and types of data. Here are some highlights:

  • Throughout all interactions, customers move from one state to another. All data can be anonymously matched back to a “Universal ID.”
  • Outside-In Approach to Data:Leverages external data partnerships, and may include or exclude customer data, depending on objectives and the target customer. “Universal ID” enables cross-interaction recognition, integrated messaging and media efficiencies.
  • Integration provides greater customer insights but a one size fits all approach is suboptimal because the path to purchase is complex.
  • 3 integration barriers: poor data quality, siloed departments and inability to link different marketing technologies.
  • Stream together behavioral data with your customer data. Engagement from your audience can help optimize your content.

At the Integrated Digital Marketing Track: Search and Social, Making It All Work Together included presentations from Susan Emerick, Principal of Brands Rising, Jeff Alderman, VP, Partner of Performance Digital-Search, Universal McCann and Sean Hickey, COO of PWB.

Highlights on General Search and Social Integration:

  • Create a vision of the integrated world within your company and have a shared plan to get there.
  • Play to their strengths: search is a demand/pull tactic, social is an engagement/push tactic.
  • Encourage bi-directional learnings.
  • Be a testing fanatic.
  • Use a centralized measurement system.
  • Avoid waiting until it’s perfect.

Brands are looking to engage people that are seeking information and express intent to purchase. The real time bidding ecosystem including SEM and social enables brands to identify, engage and acquire audiences throughout their decision journey.

In the Effective Social Campaigns breakout, we heard fronm Kelly LaVaute, Editor in Chief, Chevy Social, FleishmanHillard, David Murray, Manager of Social Media, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Taylor Hulyk, Social Media Director, re:group.

All three speakers shared real campaigns, what their goals were, what the results were and what they learned. My favorite takeaways from this breakout were:

“Branded hashtags don’t really insert you into a conversation. Broad ones help you to be a part of a broader conversation.” – Kelly LaVaute

“I believe that creating an emotional connection with social communication is the most important thing.” – Dave Murray

“When faced without assets, advertisers can use social to run photo contests that drive engagement and assets.” – Taylor Hulyk

Following the workshop, re:group posted a blog on how to execute social media contests for the purpose of crowdsourcing customer multimedia assets based on Taylor Hulyk’s talk at the workshop. Make sure you bookmark it!

We wrapped up the day with a lunch panel that included Bob Chunn, Co Founder and CEO, ContentOro, Shamir Ozery, Director of Marketing, Message Blocks, Matt Laurin, Web Marketing Analyst, General RV and moderator Grace Hsia, Co-Founder and CEO, Warmilu.

We discussed in general, how do you make digital work without blowing the bank?

Here are some tips:

  • Business owners should learn how to do as much as they can on their own. Use videos and blogs to teach yourself how to do a lot of your own work, and outsource what’s left.
  • Use marketing channels for what they’re intended for.
  • Creating content! Content creation is not paying for search but get the benefit of people searching.
  • Content marketing is a solution to the need to communicate with customers.
  • Creating content and curating will help you avoid spending a lot of money and getting nothing back.
  • Figure out what your goals are FIRST. Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish, THEN look at the data according to that.
  • Focus your efforts on the outreach and use free tools to analyze data.
  • In order to grow you need to look at unbranded traffic/keywords.

The workshop resulted in plenty of valuable information and takeaways that were very applicable to marketers and their everyday use of digital marketing. I am looking forward to 2016!

You can catch more highlights from myself and all the attendees who were tweeting out information and quotes with the #EMUDigital hashtag with my storify story: