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Social Marketing Is Work.
Don’t let the idea of free social accounts and simple curating tools fool you into thinking otherwise.
Of course, if your goal for social media is “just be online” then it’s not so hard. Anyone can (and pretty much does) throw out a bunch of photos of their dinners, pick a few links to share and hit the “retweet” button once in a while. You may get some attention that way, especially if your dinner looks tasty. You may even strike up conversations with new people.
But there’s a difference between being social and using social media for marketing your business.
And if you’ve been working at it for any length of time, I bet you’ve come up against challenges that alternately make you shake your head in frustration or want to throw your computer out the nearest window.
The good news is that with smart planning, realistic goals and the right tools, you can spend less time focusing on the challenges and more on improving your marketing.
Today I want to share some of my own challenges and frustrations and those I’ve heard my customers repeat over and over. And then I want to share a nifty social tool that I recently discovered that can help.
“But Carol Lynn, You Never Talk About Tools! Why Start Now?”
True… if you read my blogs you know I almost never talk tools. Once in a while I’ll talk about resources that can help make your marketing easier (like the calendars and worksheets in our Marketing Game Changer Kit) and mention some of my favorite platforms (like Triberr) but when it comes to tools I’m a firm believer that marketing is about your business goals and your customers – and last and least about the tools you use.
But let’s face it. Without tools we’d be overwhelmed. We’d spend more time managing minutiae and have less for strategy or other important things like actually running our businesses.
So when MavSocial popped onto my radar and was presented as a “digital asset management and social publishing platform” I was eager to give it a whirl. And I liked what I saw, which is why I’m sharing it with you today.
By way of short background before I get to the good stuff, the reason MavSocial popped onto my radar is because they’re running a campaign on Triberr, where they’ve hired bloggers to try out and then share their experience with the software. And they’ve hired me to manage the campaign. So I was lucky enough to get a free trial of their top account, which was a little like being a five year old in a toy store a week before Christmas.
I tinkered, tested and poked around for a couple of weeks and here we are.
Let the good stuff commence.
Social Challenge #1: Where The Heck Is My Stuff?
This is a frustration I deal with so often with my customers that I’ve learned to start a whole lot of conversations with, “So. Do you know where your stuff is?”
And by “stuff” I mean photos. Videos. Graphics. In marketing-speak, your “digital assets”.
Sadly, the answer to that question is most often, “No idea.”
I’ve worked with customers from big non-profits down to teeny mom-and-pops who have spent time and money taking great photos only to lose track of them the minute they leave the camera card.
My contractor customer who can never find a single photo of his beautiful kitchen installations.
My landscaping customer who doesn’t know where all those photos of his gardens went after the guy who had them on his computer quit.
My accounting customer who thinks someone took photos at her last seminar and maybe they’re in a dropbox somewhere but nobody knows the login anyway.
Then they come to me for help with their social marketing and I ask them for their “stuff” because we’re not going to do any lazy curation for them. We’re going to post real photos of real people and real work. The gorgeous kitchens and lavish gardens and community events and happy customers.
Except… we can’t. Because all that stuff is MIA.
And this is where social marketing gets hard. Because instead of sharing the good stuff that matters, we’re starting off by ransacking hard drives and camera cards and in a pinch, digging into cell phones. (Or worse… curating!)
Planning takes a whole lot longer. Stress levels go up. Everyone gets cranky.
But it doesn’t have to be that way if you add a small step to your everyday processes that includes “back up my stuff in one place where I can easily find it when I need it”.
Every photo that gets snapped should go immediately into its home so you, your team and even your marketing company can access and use it without a lot of shuffling, digging and cursing of planetary alignments.
How MavSocial Can Help
For the disorganized and haphazard among us, MavSocial has built in photo, audio and video management so you can upload all your stuff into one place where you can then grab and use what you need for your social marketing.
Plus you can share your account with team members so they can access your stuff, too. For anyone who ever said, “I have no idea where that photo went,” this is worth a try.
Say goodbye to dropboxes and hard drives and digging through some guy’s archives in hopes of turning up a stray photo to post to your social accounts. You now have one place where you can keep, tag, search for and actually find the stuff you want to use.
Social Challenge #2: This Is Taking Forever
A typical social share for you probably includes something like this:
Go to Bigstock. Buy and download photo.
Go to editing tool. Add some cool text and filters and save photo.
Go to scheduling tool. Post photo.
Subsequently forget about and lose photo.
We’ve talked about mitigating the “lose photo” part, but what about all those steps?
If you’re a Photoshop whiz and you take great pride in your creative output, then stick with it.
But for most businesses trying to run their social marketing, expedience is more important than the perfect shade of blue. Most of us just want to get a photo up there. We want to make it our own by adding some text or cool effects. We don’t want to spend all day jumping from tool to tool and agonizing over visuals.
The time it takes to create and share content is also an excuse that people use for curating. They say that creating original content is a lot of work. And if they want a social presence then they need to do something easier, which usually ends up being curation.
And I don’t know about you but I’ve never generated a lead from someone else’s blog post.
How MavSocial Can Help
This is where MavSocial is the next best thing since peanut butter and chocolate got together.
You can purchase stock photos right there from your MavSocial account. It ties into Bigstock and Shutterstock so you can search for, buy and store your purchases from one place.
It also has a photo editing tool built in so you can do all kinds of fun stuff to your photos before you use them. Crop, colorize, add frames and filters, overlay text. You know, all the stuff you do anyway in a lot more steps.
Upload, buy, store, edit, use, reuse, share – all in one place, in one tool. That takes a whole lot of effort out of the equation so you can create content a whole lot more efficiently. It really puts a nail in the content curation coffin because with how easy it is to share (and re-share) your own creative work, you won’t need to fill in so many holes with other people’s stuff.
But – if you must – you can also add RSS feeds so you can curate any post that comes in via the feed and immediately share or schedule it. Hint: how about adding and sharing your own feed?
Social Challenge #3: OMG I Hate Scheduling
Ok, this one is 100% mine.
I really hate scheduling.
I’m happy to take photos, record podcasts, write (and read) 2,000-word blog posts. I enjoy quipping in a social status update. I’m even pretty good with storing and editing my own stuff.
But I hate scheduling.
That single trivial task takes up a ton of of my time. It requires about 27 billion steps. Seriously, I counted once.
I’ve used other tools to do it and I’m not going to name names but some of them are so laborious that I’ve been known to shoot scathing emails to help desks everywhere just to vent my frustration.
I hate scheduling so much that I even feel guilty making my interns do it. It’s that time-consumingly, mind-numbingly aggravating.
And to add to this particular pet peeve, it’s twice as aggravating to schedule my blog posts when those blog posts are not live yet.
I bet you’ve run into this, too – you schedule your blog post to publish tomorrow. But you want to get a jump on your promotions so you schedule all your social status updates today. Except you get the “page not found” preview of death because your scheduling tool quite reasonably can’t find an image on a post that does not yet exist.
Your options at this point are limited. You can delete the preview but then your link will go out with no visual and that’s a marketing fail.
Or you can attach a separate image and make more work for yourself and end up with an update that is sort of what you wanted, but not really.
And Then Mavsocial Came Along
This is worth the price of admission for me because MavSocial kicks both of these problems to the curb.
First, it’s designed to let you post once and schedule across multiple networks simultaneously. So let’s say I have a post that I want to publish to Facebook and Twitter. I can write a paragraph for Facebook but have to limit my post to 140 characters on Twitter. In the traditional publishing methodology, I would post one update to Facebook, start over and post another to Twitter.
But in MavSocial I can pop one status update in the box, toggle between networks to check my character count, modify on the fly, then set and schedule once. For someone like me who likes to tweak my post so Twitter is different than Facebook which is different than LinkedIn and so on… this is such a tremendous time saver.
And here’s the real deal-sealer for me – I can swap out the photo in the preview when I get that crummy “page not found” message. It doesn’t mess with the post. It doesn’t add extra links or require anything but clicking the upload button.
In fact, with a little planning ahead, I can bulk upload all my future images to the media library in my account and grab them right from there instead of uploading one at a time to each post.
A Tool Is Only As Good As Your Willingness To Use It
There is no shortage of tools to try. And it’s up to you to find the ones that work best for your business, your needs and your process.
It doesn’t matter how great a feature is if you don’t use it. No tool on the planet can take the place of your time, effort, attention and commitment. But some can certainly make our lives easier when we choose to use them. MavSocial is one of those tools for me.
It’s got a few quirks – I’ve done a lot of post-delete-post-delete to figure out how things work. There’s no Google Plus integration yet so I find myself defaulting to other tools out of necessity. As with all tools, you’ll test its limitations and probably find some.
But I’ve gotten to know both founders (we had one on our podcast last week) and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that they’ve got plenty of improvements and new features in the works. They understand those unnecessary social media challenges and are continuously working to make social marketing faster and easier for their customers. And they’re great with customer service. If you have a question, comment, suggestion or issue, you can reach out to them and you can expect a helpful reply.
Given what they’ve got so far, I look forward to the day that MavSocial falls off everyone’s tongue the way Hootsuite and Buffer do today. If I’m right, those other guys may actually start implementing some meaningful features just to keep up.
If any of the challenges I’ve mentioned hit home with you, give MavSocial a shot. There’s a free account to get started and no credit card required so you can test the waters and see for yourself.
And if you do try it out, tell me about your experience. And tell the MavSocial team, too. They’re always eager to hear feedback from customers.