6 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

I must admit, I’m not an SEO or Social Media guru.  In fact, on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being extremely interesting), I’d give this topic a 3.  But, after reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” (which I would give a 10), I’ve shifted my thinking entirely.  I also realized why, the topic has had little interest for me – most of the books, articles and blogs I had read were full of formulaic tips  – but none of the advice and tips felt like a good fit who I was and what I had to offer.  And in fact if I had applied some those tips to my blog or my Facebook posts, I would have done myself and my business a disservice by not being “myself” – or authentic.

Some social media marketing mistakes to avoid:

  • Putting the wrong content on a platform – Each platform, (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram etc.) has it’s own “native” language or how the community communicates  and interacts with one another.  A good marketer understands that “context” is just as important as content.  Your content must provide the same value to the viewer that is native to that platform. Your content should fit in with what drives people to that platform.
  • Content is not memorable – Your content should be something that people want to share. ooe fb [age Facebook uses edge rank, which determines who and how many people see your posts.  The more shares, comments and likes, the better your edge rank and the more people who see your posts.  Keep your content, informative, entertaining or both and give people the desire to share.
  • Selling too often – You have to “give” more than you “sell” on social media platforms. If every post you make is a pitch for your products, no one will be interested, let alone want to share them.
  • Text is too long – Twitter has a cut off, but Facebook doesn’t.  Keep in mind that more and more people are viewing your posts on mobile devices and simply won’t read lots of information.  Provide more info via links. Make sure your text is provocative and entertaining.
  • No use of imagery – If you don’t have an image in your posts on platforms like Facebook or Tumblr, you won’t attract attention.  People will just move on to something that catches their eye on their news feed.  And, make sure the images you post are good and professional – they’re a reflection of your business. Make sure you overlay your logo on your images.
  • No call to action – Remember you are ultimately selling your products and your services, so don’t forget to give your viewers a call to action.  But don’t confuse them by giving them too many.

5 Tips for Filmmakers (and other artists) for Building an Audience

The good news for Indie filmmakers, musicians, photographers and new media artists is that technology enables us to take control and distribute our own work to the masses or a more targeted niche audience.  The bad news is that even though we are able to reach a global audience without giving the lion’s share of our profits to an agent or distributor – it’s a lot of hard work.

When I completed final production on my first feature documentary, Opening Our Eyes, I knew I was hardly finished with this film, not if I wanted people to see it. theater interioeIMG_0150Since most filmmakers make their movies to be seen, they need to decide how they want their movies distributed and marketed.  As a filmmaker, do you want to delegate this task to a distribution company or do it yourself?  Will you be one of the lucky 1% of filmmakers who get their films picked up for distribution?  If not, do you have a plan on how to do that?

1. Identify and build audience – Regardless if you decide to sign with a distributor or distribute your work yourself, the most important part of marketing and distributing a film is to identify and build your audience – and you should start building your audience before the film is finished.  As soon as I made a commitment to make a film, I started blogging about it.  I created a blog specifically about the film where my daughter and I talked about preparing for and taking a 99-day journey around the world. I also wrote about the making of the film on this blog where I talked about gearing up for it as well as the post-production process.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was building our niche audience.

2. Have a social media plan:

  • Decide on platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo
  • Carve out the time to engage
  • Decide where the content will come from – behind the scenes photos or footage, blogs, podcasts?
  • Who and where is your audience? Find other Facebook groups or pages and followers who are interested in the same topic as yours.  Collaborate. Build your Twitter followers same way.

3. Finding true fans – Since most filmmakers will most likely NOT have a mega hit with huge profits, the best thing a filmmaker can do is build their “true fan” base.  First you should ask yourself how many “true fans” would you need to sustain yourself as a filmmaker? And by true fan, I mean people who are willing to buy whatever you are selling, be it a book, a DVD, a music download or a t-shirt.  The key to growing your core “true fans” is to engage them by sharing interesting content as opposed to just selling something.

4. Be consistent and stick with it – Like anything else, building an audience takes time.  Be prepared to constantly interact and engage your audience by sharing relevant and interesting content with them.  You’re building a tribe or a community.

5. Find likely partners – Making films is a collaborative effort.  Similarly, for filmmakers to be successful in marketing their films they need to find their core niche.  One great way to find your niche audience is to identify like minded groups and share links.  The non-profit my daughter works for partnered with us and we frequently share each other’s news with our followers.

Some DOs and DON’Ts of Social Media

This past weekend I put together a presentation on Social Media Tips for the group, Professional Women Photographers, this coming Wednesday, Jan. 6th in New York City.
Here are a couple of tips that I will talk about.

• Be consistent and strategic with your “brand” – Create a plan. Who are you? What do you have to say?
• Listen first – then engage in the conversation.
• Build your community – Who will you follow? Who do you want to attract?
• Be authentic and share – provide value – relevant and useful content.
• Don’t sell.
• Use links – provide news.
• Create and sort groups of Facebook “friends” – separate personal and business “friends”
• Set up a Facebook Fan Page for your business – complete the profile, including photo.
• Take part in discussions or answers on Linkedin.
• Set up an editorial calendar for blog – this will give you a structure.
• Comment on other blogs – become an expert.
• Use tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, SocialOomph, SocialToo, Ping.fm, involver – to organize and automate tweets.
• Don’t create tweets with more than 120 characters – leave room for retweets
• Use www.search.twitter.com for topics and people
• Set up “alerts” with Google alert or tweetbeep – to see where your name is being mentioned
• Use @(name) in tweet for someone who is not a follower
• Set up a daily routine – will help with time management

Please add to the list. Interact and share.

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Input Overload

John Lennon once voiced in a song “everybody’s talking and no one says a word”. That was 30 years ago – way before social media. Nowadays it seems like everyone is talking – everywhere – a constant electronic pipeline into our lives. But with all this talking I wonder sometimes if anybody is really being heard. And isn’t that the point – to be heard?

I admit I’m guilty of the same thing. The very fact that I write a blog adds to the cyber babble. To be honest I really do it for myself. It helps me focus my thoughts. Sometimes what I write is not meant for anyone other than myself or maybe a close friend. Other times, I put it out there when I feel I have something to share. And every once in a while I say something that resonates with someone “out there” and a connection is made. And that can be a powerful thing.

That’s the appeal of social media – to connect with others. A basic human need. Ironically sometimes we spend so much time in the cyber world “connecting” we become more insular in the process. And when we do spend face-to-face time with others – many of us are multitasking plugged into whatever portable devices we have at the time. In other words not totally “there”.

These days I try to manage the time I spend on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and so on. It can be a real time suck if you’re not careful about managing your time. I go online with the social media sites 2 or 3 times a day and I give myself time limits when I do. It’s all about maintaining a balance.

Ultimately all this talking we do on social media platforms is not good or bad – it’s not that black and white. I’ve made some incredible connections through social media. I’ve also reconnected with people I’ve lost track of over the years. I’ve promoted my business utilizing social media and gotten work from people I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. But I’ll always prefer a real connection with people – outside the cyber world. I think most people do – that’s just being human.

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Embracing Technology and Why

There’s a lot of talk these days about technology. Should I get a video camera or a hybrid camera? Should I twitter? Should I connect on Linkedin and Facebook? Should I upload videos to YouTube? Perhaps the question most people overlook is asking themselves why? And if they do ask themselves why – what kind of answers do they give themselves?

There is no one answer for everyone. But the worst way to try to answer those questions is to say because everyone else is. However, here are some possible answers to the question why?

Should I buy a video camera or the best video camera like the RED? Ask yourself if you want to target clients who are using more and more video. How are they using video – online? Broadcast? If the answer is online then perhaps the RED camera is a more expensive option than needed for something that will be output for online purposes. If your answer is broadcast then understand that those needs are high end and may require a high end camera. But don’t stop there. Ask yourself if you want to just be a shooter or do you want to play a bigger role in the production. Ask yourself if you are willing to devote the time necessary to learn these new skills of how to shoot motion. Ask yourself what are the markets that you want to work in. If you are leaning towards videojournalism, then perhaps the RED is not the camera for you. You may be better off with something more discreet.

Should I get a Facebook profile? Should I twitter? Should I use Linkedin? I’m a firm believer in utilizing all these platforms but only after you have come to an understanding of how and why. Each one of these platforms has the potential to either create awareness and strengthen your brand or do harm to your brand if you haven’t come to terms with who are you trying to target and why? Furthermore, you need to know that Facebook and Twitter are ways to give insight into your personality as opposed to Linkedin which is more of a professional networking platform. You should also realize that social media is all about sharing. So if your motives are to sell and promote in a direct way – it will be self defeating. Sharing builds trust. Sometimes that takes time. You need to be consistent and you need to be sincere. You need to be authentic. When you share and are sincere and are coming from a “right place”, good things will ultimately come from that.

Lastly, embrace technology because it enables you to go after opportunities. It levels the playing field. No longer do you need Hollywood budgets and big crews to tell a story in motion. No longer do you need the “gate keepers” to write the rules of who gets published and who doesn’t. Anything is possible because technology empowers all of us to fulfill our dreams. But you need to define your dream first. Only you can do that for yourself.

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