I often get questions about how to do things to get better results in social media.
Some of those questions go a little like this: What’s the proper length for a video? Is a 2,000-word blog post too long? Should I use third-party apps to post to my Facebook Page? Should I have a Twitter Feed on my sidebar?
Sure, best practices say a video will keep more viewers engaged if it’s under two minutes. Usually posts over 1,500 words are a bit heavy. According to Facebook, there is no difference between posting directly or from an external source. Twitter feeds on your sidebar are not always a good idea.
But those are the wrong questions.
If things like these are determining how you operate in social media, you are putting your focus in the wrong places. Hear me out, I’ll give you 3 reasons:
Your actual work
The reason people will consume your work, services or whatever it is you put out there in the social universe is simply because your work is remarkable, not because your video is under two minutes.
When your focus is in adding value on people’s lives, the format and the medium are irrelevant.
Your real prospect
Erika Napoletano said it perfectly: “Quit acting like you’re Walmart.” Trying to please everybody is a huge mistake. People that don’t watch your entire 14-minute video or don’t read your 2,321-word post are most likely not your ideal prospect.
Put your time and energy on the ones that do and can’t get enough of you. Those are the ones that will keep coming back for more and eventually buy your products or services. In a way, you are filtering prospects.
Marketing is a testing game. If you limit yourself to following “best practices”, you will not find out what works best in your particular case. You might be taking advice from a blogger that recommends things in a certain way because that has work for her, maybe it will be different for you, maybe that blogger already tested several options.
Test a 5 minute video, go for 10 or 15 minutes and see how it goes. Test different days to post content, even the weekend. Test everything you do in social media. What works for others will not necessarily work for you.
In other words, your true fans will consume your message and your work, whether you post it on YouTube or on Vimeo, your content is 400 or 3,000 words. And they will find you whether you are or Twitter, Google+ or Instagram, because you produce amazing work.
I have 2 examples for you…
Example #1: Marie Forleo
You probably know Marie Forleo, if you don’t you should. She has turned her business into a huge digital empire and as a personal brand, she is a powerhouse on her own. Even tough it’s clear that I don’t qualify as her target market, I follow her and periodically visit her site just to watch her mad skills for producing consistent awesome sauce.
What got my attention the other day while visiting the Marie Forleo Facebook Page, was that I could easily spot a few points where she clearly fails to follow conventional wisdom on how to manage a Facebook Page:
- She uses Hootsuite to post and manage the page content, a third-party app. Best practice: Don’t use third-party apps to manage your Page
- Some of her posts are not very visual, they don’t contain images. Best practice: People engage more with images. The Timeline was built for brands to be more visual
- Sometimes she posts what appears to be a Tweet and even an RT. Best practice: Never post tweets on Facebook, people don’t like that
- I even saw a few Hashtags. Best practice: Facebook doesn’t have Hashtags
For some of us those things are a social sins. So how does Marie get massive engagement on every single post? a simple status, a link, and even a quote? It’s like none of those things really matter.
Here is the reason why
Marie is focused on one thing, she has developed a brand, a message, a program, a platform and a user experience that makes people fall madly in love with her in a split second. As simple as that. She has built a world-class brand and a community of hardcore fans that are exactly the target prospect she aims to.
It doesn’t matter if she uses a third-party app, if she’s on Facebook or Google+ or how long her videos are. People are looking forward to whatever she puts out there next.
Example #2: My daughter
Yes, my daughter. A Visual Arts student at Cal State Fullerton where she also holds a part-time gig and very skilled at everything hand-crafted. She started doing crotchet for fun, which quickly translated into friends and family asking her for stuff but, at some point she decided she could use some extra cash.
You’d think that if she wanted to make a few sales on the Internet, she’d come to me for a quick tip or to her mom, the queen of business development. But no, she went right ahead to take a couple of pictures to post on Instagram. What? No strategy? no plan? no e-commerce? I mean this kid doesn’t even own a Paypal account! This has #epicfail written all over, right?
She made five sales with one picture.
No experience, no best practices, no etiquette, no platform, no e-commerce or technology of any kind other than her iPhone and clearly, no planning. From concept to production to marketing in one afternoon, without leaving her freakin’ room.
The takeaway: This kid is definitely ready to start paying rent!
Here is the reason why
When we start putting all these things in our heads, we create obstacles. We limit ourselves. We fail to focus on producing remarkable work.
What she did here was simply follow her intuition, she used Instagram because she likes it, she behaved as she does in real life and never questioned the format, the medium or the best practices simply because she never read a social media post before.
She smiles because she made 5 sales and she doesn’t know that out there, thousands of us are trying to figure out this complicated puzzle of how to do business online, debating best practices and worrying about how to measure ROI.
What do you think?
Photo credit: schtumple