On Social Media Marketing

Justine is a character in the novel, 40 Something and this is an excerpt from the novel.

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About Social Media Marketing

Gary left for work and dropped the kids off at school, leaving me home alone.

I work from home. I’m one of the so called lucky ones.

My daily task list pops up on my computer. Today is my day to analyse the data from last week. I like analysing the data of campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not,so I can efficiently allocate resources. It’s a lot of work testing, analysing, trying to figure out what people will engage with.

It’s a game.

I reserve Mondays and Tuesdays for content creation and scheduling it to automatically post. Wednesdays are for analysing, so that on Thursday, I can plan next week’s content. Fridays are for research. There is so much information online it can take all day to read it, analyze it, and decide what is relevant and what is complete BS.

Most of it is BS.

The noise online is deafening at times. Everyone is screaming look at me at the same time, it’s easy to miss relevant information and hard to get a message in front of eyes.

People share the dumbest things and ignore the most intelligent information. The amount of fear based posts and articles going viral, shows just how stupid the populous is. Most of the facts in these articles are made up, rumours, gossip, and lies. Still gullible people believe it and pass it around as if it’s gospel, just because someone wrote it on the Internet.

My least favourite social media posts are the ones about celebrities and their stupid lives. They are just people and they can’t even get a cup of coffee without someone making up some meaning about it.

A-list celebrity was seen alone buying a cup of coffee, does this mean splitsville for this Hollywood powerhouse couple?

God, who cares?

I guess the majority of those wasting time on social media because sites capitalizing on high traffic don’t offer up good content. They offer up sensationalized content, celebrity gossip, and complete mind numbing click bait garbage. People click on it, the sites get huge amounts of traffic to entice advertisers to pay the big bucks.

It makes my job harder.

I had one client suggest we attach a celebrity to his product by photo shopping the product onto a celebrity pic, which he stole off the web.

“Think of the hits we’ll get and the sales.” He said.

“We can’t do that.” I said.

“Why not? Just take this pic, paste the product in and viola, instant celebrity endorsement.”

“The photo is copyrighted, you can’t use any photo you find online. It has to be a photo you either took or bought.”

“Buy one.”

“It’s not that easy or cheap. Sure I could buy a stock photo for ten bucks, but a celebrity photo, that’ll cost thousands.”

“No one is going to care.”

“The celebrity will because they will want a fee for using their image and the photographer will sue you for use of his property. That’s two law suits.”

“The publicity will be great.”

My head began to hurt.

“It’s illegal, unethical, and bad taste. I’m not going to do it. And if you do, it’s time we rethink our arrangement.” I told him.

“What? You thought I was serious? I was just kidding, Justine. I know we can’t do it, but can you imagine the traffic if we did?”

He wasn’t kidding. I finally cut ties with him over another hair-brained scheme to use cat photos. His product has nothing to do with cats. I hate it when companies start using cat gifs and photos to attract attention, it’s inauthentic and screams desperation.

Clients like him, end up finding someone who will bend the rules, find the loopholes, and, for the short term, it works. Thing is, these same clients are calling me crying about how their website and profiles are blacklisted by search engines and the social media companies. They beg me to take them back, but by then, the damage is done and it will cost way too much to fix.

The only thing they can do is start over.

It’s like authenticity and integrity got lost on its way down the information highway. Everyone wants quick overnight success and my clients expect me to get it for them. They don’t look beyond last week to see the years of work that it took for big names to get overnight success. Not to mention, the foresight and luck.

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Phone Rings.

“Hello, Justine here, how may I help you?”

“Mom, I forgot my Math book and I need it for next period. Can you bring it?” It’s my son, Harper.

“I can, I’m totally able to get up, find the book, get in the car and drive it to you. The question is, will I?” I ask.

“Mooooom. You know what I mean. I need the book for class or I’m gonna get a detention.”

“Maybe you’ll remember it next time.”

“You know, other moms bring their kid’s their books.”

“Do they now?”

“Pleeeeeeease?”

Why do I go through this farce? I know I’ll end up taking him his math book. It’s what good moms do. We save our children from the evils of detention. We save them from their mistakes, just like Gary saves me from mine.

“What time?” I ask.

“In an hour. I’ll clean my room when I get home.”

“Riiiiiiiiiight.”

“No really. I will. Cause I won’t be in detention.”

“Alright. Meet me out front in an hour.”

“Thanks mom.”

“So, where is it?”

“Where’s what?”

“The book.”

“I don’t know. I think it’s in my room somewhere.”

“Be out front.”

I download the analytic data onto my computer, I’ll head over to the closest coffee shop and work from there today for a change of scenery.

Harper’s room is a disaster area.

I don’t even know where to start looking for the damn book. I put the dirty clothes, which are acting as carpeting, into the empty basket. I put the books on the shelf and carry all the dirty dishes into the kitchen. Where I discover the dishwasher needs to be emptied before I can put the dishes in it.

Always something.

Fifteen minutes have gone by and I still have to find the book and drive to the school. I rush back up to his room and look under the bed, on the desk, in the desk, and in the closet. I find lots of things I’d rather not, like the science experiment behind the desk that once might have resembled an apple or maybe a pear?

I make a quick trip to the bathroom to get some paper towel and cleaner, it takes me all of five minutes to clean up the mess. The carpet will have to be cleaned properly, another thing to put on my to do list.

I have to find that book.

The room is tiny. They build kid’s bedrooms so small these days that there isn’t any room in here to loose anything. OK, if I was a math book, better yet, if I was Harper‘s math book, where would I be? I strip his bed and then remake it. There are plenty of items that don’t belong in a bed, like video games and crumbs, but no math book.

Where the hell is it?

I’ve got fifteen minutes left to get the book and get it to the school. Maybe Gary knows where it is. I dial his number.

“Hey hun what’s up?” Gary’s chipper voice.

“Do you have any idea where Harper’s math book might be?”

“Math book? We were doing his math homework last night in the family room. Did you check there?”

“No. He told me it was in his room.”

“It should be on the right side of the computer screen on the corner desk. There might be a notepad on top of it and if he forgot his math book, his socials books might be there too.”

“Thanks, I really appr–.”

He hangs up before I finish my sentence.

I run down to the family room in the basement and there, on the right hand side of the computer screen, is a pile of textbooks. Math, socials, and science. I have ten minutes to get to the school.

 


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40 Something follows the lives of 5 women trying to figure out life in the 21st Century. Do you have any insights or stories you’d like to share?

For more about the series go to www.shannonpeel.com 

 


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

 

 

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Round Out Your Target Market

As a novelist, I create characters out of thin air and put them into different situations to tell a story. The more I know about the character, the more believable I can make their reactions, the more believable their reactions, the better the story. By using the same process as a novelist does to create a character, you can define your optimal target market.

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How do you create a target market?

First leave the fear of missing out at the door.

Don’t chase every lead. Most you don’t want. It’s your business you get to do the work you want with the clients you want. Yes, money is part of the equation but you only have so much time to work, don’t fill it up with the wrong thing.

Understand your business, product, and service

To determine your target market, you will need to completely understand your product, service, and business.

  • What does your business do?
  • What problems does your product or service solve?
  • Why should a person buy your product or service?

You must know your unique selling feature. I am always surprised when a business owner does not know why someone should buy from them and even more shocked, when they don’t know whom they are targeting with their marketing message.

Next, know thyself grasshopper.

Use the characterization method outlined below, to understand how you fit into the market and why you would buy from yourself. What do you, as a person, bring to the experience? This will help you to understand how you interact with your target market and why someone would want to buy from you personally.

Ask any business owner whom the best customers are and they will say, the referred ones. Similar people get along best with each other and it is easier to trust someone when they are like you rather than extremely different. By knowing yourself, you will be able to determine what characteristics in a customer are more likely to result in a positive experiences and referrals.

Now you can start asking questions about whom you want to do business with.

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Using the Characterization Method

Some characters are based on arch types, which are two dimensional and limited by expectations of the reader. They are made for a certain roles in specific story genres and for the most part are not based on real people and rarely grow or change.

In some stories the characters feel real, you can relate to them, you understand them and can see yourself being friends with them. They are flawed, learn and grow as the story progresses. These are the well-rounded characters that are created through a process of asking questions, creating back stories, and drawing from people in the real world. This is the kind of process you want to engage in to define a target client.

Start by identifying your favourite clients. If you don’t have any yet, think about the kinds of people you get along best with.

Traditional Demographics are Not Enough

Let’s start with the easy stuff, the obvious part of target marketing – demographic stats.

These include, Age, gender, race, profession, married, single, kids, homeowner, address, and income. Write down the general demographics your ideal client fits into, then take it one step further by asking why do you want to target that age, gender, etc and how will your product or service help them?

Now, round them out a bit more by looking at what they do. What hobbies does your client have? Where to they shop? Is it Walmart or Bloomingdales? Where do they like to eat, go for drinks, exercise, and vacation? Ask all the questions that will tell you what kind of buying habits they have, their recreational choices, and how they value their status or image.

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Dig Deeper

What values does your ideal client have? Values encompass things like, honesty, courage, leadership, and vision. The Internet has lots of lists to help you define a person’s values.

What does your client want most of all? Wants that are common are, security, fame, adventure, happiness and love. Once again you can do a Google search to come up with a list to help you.

What about your client’s morality or belief system? Things people passionately stand for are charities, causes, political views, religion, and world order. This is a starting target for your core ideal client, so though you may think this isn’t important, it is, because it will help you identify where your clients are.

What is the main problem your client has? This is where your ability to solve that problem comes in. Look deeper into the problem though, why does he have it? How does he communicate that he has it? Does he even know that he has it? When does your client’s problem become so critical they need your solution, yesterday? Understand how this problem fits in your target client’s life and what it looks like when he needs your solution.

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A novelist is determining the detailed characteristics of one character, not a group of identical ones, unless his book is about clones that is. The point is, don’t get so detailed that you will only target five-foot-nine, blue eyed, blonde haired, bombshells with great bodies. You want to keep your characterization general enough to describe a decent sized group of people. If you find your target market is too tight, loosen up your criteria, if it’s too large, tighten up your criteria. This is your target market and the size of your budget will help determine how large of a target you can afford to start getting your story in front of.

Now that you have your target market, how are you going to get your message out to them?

I have some choices for you:

Follow me on social media – I’ll be adding more posts to answer marketing questions.

Google – “Getting in front of a target market”

Let’s chat about your business and see if I can help you get your message out.

If you are in the Vancouver, BC Canada area, let’s have a coffee to brainstorm.


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.  Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.

Editing Social Media Copy

You Need a New Pair of Eyes

Your brain does funny things when trying to edit recently written copy, it sees what isn’t there. It knows what you intended to say when you wrote it and reads that intent, instead of what is actually in front of your eyes.

Then after a few days, when you reread what you wrote, the errors start jumping up and down while screaming at you. Don’t feel bad, even the best writers in history needed editors. As Hemingway said, the first draft is shit.

There are countless ways to say the same thing. That is the beauty of the English language, two people can write about the exact same topic using very different styles, vocabulary, and tones. This article has been rewritten over ten times and I still can find errors in it, can you? If you do please let me know in the comments section.

Here are some tips to help you write error free social media content.

 

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Be the Turtle, not the Rabbit

The main tool you need to ensure your posts are error free is patience. Don’t be in such a hurry to post, take the time to get it right because it is better to produce quality content, rather than, a large quantity of it all at once.

Even if you feel you’ve gotten to the race late, it’s how you run the race that matters more than when you started it.

 

Find a proof reader

Find a proof reader who knows what they are doing. Not just anyone will do. You want someone who will be brutal and tell it to you straight, not someone who will read it and say, “it sounds good.” Most people don’t understand where to put a comma, whether social media should be capitalized, or if you chose the right form of the words your, you’re and their ilk. You need someone who knows how to write.

A different pair of eyes will interpret your tone, intent, and humour differently.

In the world of the written word, it is the interpretation of the reader that matters, not the intent of the writer. Just ask anyone how fast intent get misinterpreted by the reader when trying to have a text argument with their spouse / life partner / lover. Makes for good comedy, not good relationships.

Sometimes what sounds funny in your head is lost in translation, especially if your humour tends to the sarcastic side. The last thing you want is for a person to be offended by something you sarcastically wrote. This is especially true when writing about hot emotional topics like, politics, religion, and cultural values. How many times have you seen a tweet or Facebook post comment bring out the worst in people? Don’t be that guy.

Don’t get upset if they don’t like something you wrote or they misinterpreted your intent, that is the whole point of the proof reader. Always be grateful for their input, even if you don’t agree, after all, they did take the time to read what you wrote and help you.

Use a Content Calendar

This can be as simple as writing all your copy using Microsoft word each day and save the document to post a week later. You can edit the content with fresh eyes, before you manually post them.

Another option is to utilize a scheduling program like Hootsuite. The program enables teams to work together by proofing each other’s work. Individuals can use Hootsuite to automate their social media campaigns and then go proof them anytime before the program automatically posts it.

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Get technological help

Invest in the program Grammarly for proofing your work for grammar and spelling before you post it. Your writing will improve as the program teaches you grammar as it suggests corrections to your work.

Don’t have the cash for Grammarly, an online program called After the Deadline does a similar job but at zero cost, remember you get what you pay for.

The free online program ProWritingAid analyzes your writing and produces reports on areas such as overused words, writing style, sentence length, grammar and repeated words and phrases. This is especially helpful to keep your writing interesting.

No matter how you do it, making sure your copy is error free will ensure you appear professional, educated, and skilled. This is especially important for Social Media Specialists and content marketers.

Have questions or need help? Let’s chat. 

 

Want more tips on writing social media copy and online content? It’s a click away.  


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.  Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.