business, customers, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

Gotta Crawl Before You Can Run With Social Media

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Welcome….please, be a fly on the wall and observe the world of the Social Media “Doctor” at your next networking event:

“Hey, you are that social media person, right? Let me ask you a quick question: How can I get to 1000 twitter followers?”

“Well, how often do you post?”

“Oh, maybe once or twice a month, but I retweet lots of great stuff from comedian Aziz Ansari, that guy really cracks me up.”

“You’re an insurance agent, right? Yeah I like Aziz too, but…well, do you blog?”

“Naw, those things are outdated. I really want to get followers on Twitter, and probably a lot more likes on Facebook too. How can I do that?”

“What do you post on Facebook?”

“Oh its linked to my Twitter, do you think I should post more on Facebook to get more Twitter followers?”

“Uh, yeah, maybe you should start posting more…..”

Yikes! You gotta crawl before you run people!

First of all: What is the obsession with Twitter followers? Why do you need 1000 followers when you aren’t posting anything relevant for them to read?

Second, and most important: Social media did not change anything about marketing… it only added a multiplication sign where a plus sign was before. (you know—3 who tell 3….well now its 3 x 3 who tell 3 x 3) So no matter what you do on social media, you are going to have a larger following–you just may not see them right away!  The problem is that you do not have a strategy, a social media strategy.  And isn’t it time you got one?

Here is how the social media strategy process goes:

OK, seriously, here is how it goes….

Crawl: You have decided that your business and/or career needs to have an actual social media program, and you are taking the lead and going through the ranks to get support. You have a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. Maybe the company has one or two as well, but there is no one posting on a consistent basis. People think you are a little crazy because they are sure you are already “doing” social media. You know better and keep pushing.

Walk: Now you are having actual meetings about the social media program. Your leadership has given you (or someone authority) to get this program going and report back. Everyone is now aware of the current sites, the existing posts, the news, and the stats of the importance of having a program in place. Ideally someone is hired to coordinate the program with you, or at the very least, you will be given compensated hours to handle the program. And the program is walking more steady….

  • The Social Media Policy is being drafted, reviewed and finalized.
  • Specific goals of the program are being finalized and posted.
  • Keywords, hashtags, and content themes are all being input onto an excel spreadsheet called “2015 Social Media Strategy.”
  • A color-coded Social Media Calendar is being drafted and posted.
  • A Workflow & Crisis Chart are being drafted up as the current comments and posts filter up the chain of command.
  • Training is being set up for employees to discuss the program, review the policy, and set guidelines.

Run: This is the momentum stage, so watch your step!. The policy is created, edited and in operation. That Workflow & Crisis chart is now committed to memory. Training is ongoing and now includes everyone in the company because the leadership now realizes that having all employees as “brand advocates” on social media is not only good for sales and customer service, but employees are actually excited and engaged in your business.

Marathon: This is the sweet spot that you dreamed about in the beginning. Everyone in the company (and even on the board) is using social media consistently, effectively and with some confidence in their expertise and purpose. The goals and objectives you set out are now the benchmark of every new program, every meeting, included in every correspondence. And your customers are are now on board with your brand–posting all of your articles, quotes, white paper research documents, and cool Instagram images…some of them are even trying to work for the company because it looks like such a cool place.  You are in a very good place and it feels awesome!

Don’t Stop.

It takes a strategy and patience to really pay off, and yes, you are probably well over 1000 Twitter followers by the time the marathon portion begins, heck, most of the management now probably over 1000 Twitter followers in their personal accounts. So throw a “Twitter followers party” and then talk with leadership about getting someone full-time to head the newly created “Social Marketing” Department–and do it fast–because this is a process with multiplication signs, and you are going to need someone to stay on top of it.

I love horror stories, so share some of your strategy stories with me. At the very least, follow me on Twitter @mbear88 …I am trying to get over 1000 followers too!

#socialmarketing #Socialmediamarekting #smallbiz #Socialmediatraining #Training #Twitter #marketing

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Trainer, Designer & Small Business Strategist who helps busy professionals and small business owners learn how to brand themselves through Social Marketing. Design Bear Marketing is her Social Media & Design Company. @mbear88


business, customers, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

KISS: 3 Steps to Social Marketing


Have you ever heard of the KISS Principle?

Keep It Simple Stupid: The more explanation something needs, the less effective it will be.  Well, not always, but when it comes to getting started on a new project, simplicity is the key.  And when it comes to Social Media Marketing, I would say that the KISS Principle is what is missing.  Sure, it seems a simple process of setting up a bunch of sites and then posting pictures and quotes, but why then is it so hard to get businesses to do it?  They all know they need to get it up and running, but when it comes to explaining it to the CEO it is not so simple to explain exactly how to do it. Am I right?

So here you go, a 3-Step KISS Principle to get your Social Marketing up and running in 2015.

1.  Write Out and Post your Goals.  Without these there cannot be a marketing plan.  You knew that already, but what you may not know is that “goals” does not equate to percentages, numbers, and metrics.  Goals are your simple, heartfelt reasons you do what you do.  Yeah, like a mission statement, but more directed to the year ahead.  You see, social networks don’t give a hoot if you want to sell 35% more widgets.  Social networks care about your reasons for selling widgets. Because behind the blinking colors, on the screen are people. So instead of writing out: Sell 35% more widgets in 2015, try this:  Help more small businesses solve the problem of (fill in your solution to their problem.)

Why is that goal better? Because we all have problems that need to be solved.  If your widgets will solve them, it feels like a solution when you say to want to help me, rather than sell to me.  Get the subtle shift?  You want to connect with me, help me. You want to engage your social network with things that we care about.  Your P&L Statement doesn’t impact our lives at all, but get rid of our problems?  You got a deal.

Stick with your top five goals, and be sure to post them everywhere.

Everywhere?  Sure, did it ever occur to you that your employees would like to know why they do what they do for your business? Don’t you think there might be a bit more smiles if they knew you were problem solvers rather than number crunchers?  Try it, it works.

2. Have and Post Your Social Marketing Calendar. “What is that?” you ask. Well, that is the calendar of events in the company and community that matter to your employees and customers. Break it down into three-month intervals–like the seasons perhaps. Look at the community where your business is located and see if they are having any local events that your company can participate in; find a cause and invite your employees (and customers) to join you on a 3k run/walk for the local animal shelter; is it restaurant week somewhere?  Post it, encourage your employees to participate in it….and then what?

Take lots of pictures of happy smiling people, colorful visuals, and yummy food and then post them. Make sure to hashtag the #eventname, #city, #yourcompanyname. Encourage people to vote on the pictures or share their own from the same event. Engage in a conversation with the people in your company, your community, your current and future customers.  Don’t stand on the sidelines trying to get people in your door, go outside and participate in the world around you!

Benefits include: Employee fun and happiness.  Community involvement and goodwill. And most likely, some good press for your company and customers who stay loyal and refer their friends.  But it starts with posting the calendar and the OK for everyone to participate.  And that brings us to number three.

3. Have a Simple, Do/Don’t Social Media Policy in Place.  The key words here are “simple, do and don’t.” You do not need a lawyer to write up a 32-page list of social media posting mumbo jumbo, but you do need to have a policy in place called “Social Media Policy.” Two pages Max!  Do’s on one page, Don’t on the other. (KISS remember?)

Start with the goals sheet from #1.  What are you trying to do?  Establish relationships with customers and the community?  Well, then encourage your employees to participate in that by giving them guidelines on how to help.

Don’t post personal, confidential or proprietary information.
Don’t misrepresent yourself or your company.
Don’t lie or make personal attacks.
Don’t post political, religious or personal views in the name of the company.

Do let people know you work for the company.
Do think before you post.
Do post only things related to the work we do and the goals we want to achieve.
Do let someone know if you think you messed up so we can fix it.

If you give people guides to behavior, and you yourself are participating, then it will work out.  Too many Don’t and not enough Do’s and people will not take the time to participate, and you want them to participate so that your “social marketing” is social. Not to mention, it will engage your current employees and attract new ones who want to be a part of your business.


Yes, I know there are metrics, SEO, hashtags, and a whole lot of other “marketing” things that need to be addressed, but you just need to get things started.  You need tracks in the snow so people will find you.  You need to get started, 3-months at a time, and before you know it, you will have likes, connects, shares, comments, and ultimately you will sell 35% more widgets by year end.  In fact, you may just surpass 35%, and pick up some really amazing clients and employees in the process.  So jump in and please let me know your progress!

If you need a simple Do/Don’t Social Media Policy just email me at and I will send you one for free.  It is so simple that anyone, any industry can use it.

#socialmarketing #socialmedia #KISS #hashtags #goals #employeeengagement #socialmediapolicy #2015 #smallbiz #socialmediacalendar #designbear

business, customers, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

The world you desire can be won


Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle.  The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.

As with so many things that change when the clock strikes midnight announcing the new year, our lives are given a moment to review the past and embrace the future.  For every business, there are tax consequences, employees who are reviewed and let go or promoted, new laws take effect…it is all new!

“Check your road and the nature of your battle,” wise words to guide our lives and business.  Look at the direction we are heading and then make modifications, but use the New Year Resolution as an opportunity to really focus on the end goal over the next months. Get the To Do List done.

For those of you who had your fill of articles and new stories on social media, perhaps this is the year to really embrace the movement and create the spark that is missing from your business and career.  Baby steps are all that are required, but steps none the less.

2015 Social Media Goals Part 1: Steps 1 to 4

1.Define the End Goal: If increased sales are the end game in 2015, then look first at increasing your current client engagement with your employees and company.  How can you communicate better?  How can your employees engage your customers more with your expertise and services?  Perhaps it is time to get that Blog started, create an Instagram account, or just revamp that newsletter that no one reads because it is outdated.  Focus the process on the goal.  Get open and honest feedback from employees and then let them help you in the process.

2. Assemble Your Team: Your social media force for action. I get it, cost cutting makes hiring new people, especially “social media” people impossible, but if the goals are solid and the process strong, then it may really be the time to get those sparks fanned into a real fire.

  • Social Media Strategist: Someone who can turn those goals into a long-term, day-to-day social media system.  This may be the only position that you must consider hiring from outside because they can get the structure in place for current employees to take over.
  • Content Manager: Yes, it is a job!  Writing relevant content directed toward your goals and the needs of the customer are essential in today’s 15-second-attention-span-world.  This includes all content–website, printed materials, tweets, posts, and eNews.
  • Community Coordinator:  Here is “command central.”  This is where the wall turns into a wonderful circle of post-it-notes with themes and messages that are spread across the social media platforms you have created.  It is where you respond to Yelp reviews and thank people for Tweets and shares on Facebook.  It is the ears and eyes of the customer; where all the conversations and information take place.
  • Analyst:  And don’t get all freaked out over this.  Someone can do this job.  It is just a collection of data on how your strategy is working, or not working.  It is someone who understands keywords and your brand goals.  This is the longest term position because social media takes time to grow and prosper.  This is where the baby steps will happen.
  • Social Media Manager:  This is the person who can get you all together every single month to plan and grow this very important marketing initiative. They are on top of every single thing going on with every platform and they are right there stoking the flames toward your year end goals.

Roles may cross-over and be one or two people combined, but they need to be in place and accountable for the year end goals to work.Define them, it is part of the process for success.

3. Strategy. Strategy. Strategy:  Get the team together and write it all out.  Answer the questions, and listen to the really tough answers.  What is your brand?  What is your brand voice?  Who really are your customers?  What information do they need?  How best can you offer that information?  These are just the tip of the iceberg questions when it comes to creating your social media strategy.  Follow the lead of the Strategist on the team and make sure they understand the big picture.

4.  Be Consistent: If this single factor is not in place, for the entire year, your efforts may get one or two good moments, but you will never turn those baby steps into a real, living breathing social media marketing program.  Everyone in the company needs to know what you are doing and be a part of the process.  Social Media Marketing is not just for MBA’s, it is the culture and core of your business today.  It is your brand.  It is what makes the consistency absolutely doable.

Steps 1 to 4 are just the beginning of the process begin to create success in the new age of business.  Next week we will talk about Employee Engagement. can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is your.

Feel free to send me an email with your questions and progress.
Part II Next week.

#socialmedia #branding #2015 #contentmarketing #goals

business, Marketing, Social Media

6 Ways to Model your Social Media Plan for 2015

Social Media Signpost Shows Information Support And Communication

Social media marketing is an overwhelming process of posts and images shared across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others. Sure, it’s easy to be fun and relevant when you are Nike or Virgin Airlines, but what do you do when you are a boring business solving every day, difficult problems for consumers? How can you make your social media sound fun? Forget fun, how can you get people to read your content in the first place?

The best way to start off your new 2015 plan is to model it after someone who already makes it work. There are lots of very successful companies out there, but let’s take a look at one of the most necessary (and boring) businesses there is: Taxes. Liberty Tax is well known for its statue of liberty signs and street dancers who bounce up and down trying to get you to notice their offices around the country, but did you know that their Facebook page is just as effective?

Let’s take a look at a few of their posts and see if you can model your own posting by following their strategy.

#1 Relevant Content. This is one of their new year posts that touches everyone who spent just a tad bit more than expected over the holidays. It is not directly about taxes, but it falls under the overall services that a good tax Advisor would offer its clients: money management. There is no sales pitch, just useful, relevant information that establishes Liberty Tax as an authority.

#2 Be The Resource. It is important that every business become a resource of knowledge to help navigate the overwhelming amounts of information that come across our newsfeeds. Who do you call to get answers to questions? Well, that should be you. Affordable Care Act is not directly related to the services that Liberty Tax would provide, but why not offer the knowledge in tips to their followers and then gently offer their number for them to call?

#3 Problem Solving Tips. Using the hashtag #taxtuesday, Liberty is offering tips and solving problems while at the same time optimizing their content consistently. #TBT became a thing because enough people understood the consistent message of posting old photos on Thursdays. Find your voice for tips and problem-solving and then make it a day of the week that people begin to look forward to.

#4 Branding. Liberty Tax is all about the Statue of Liberty. That green foam statue hat on top of the white sheet is waving its arms at us from January through April on most street corners. We recognize it. It is their brand identity. In our visual world, we need to have these touch points to distract us from our overwhelmed lives, and Liberty Tax does it well. Everyone posted a Happy New Year Image, but when we use our branded image to reinforce the message, there is a purpose behind the post.

#5 Fun. I suppose that Willie Nelson wouldn’t find this post that fun, but for everyone else– who doesn’t want to feel a sigh of relief in a world of celebrity news? Here are real situations related to the business of tax that are fun because they involve someone else. Find newspaper comics or stories that make light of serious situations and people will look forward to your information.

#6 Links Back to Their Site. Most of the articles posted by Liberty are from their blog. A blog being your natural and most effective way to become the resource and go-to source that people need. Finding your voice in the world of social media is essential for success. You have views, information and a whole lot of resources that people really want to read and share. Plus, having a blog and posting the content on other sites gives you the best social strategy of all: bringing people back to your website!

So take a look at successful company pages of your competitors and see what works for them. Are they consistent in their posting? (probably yes) Are they selling all of the time? (most likely no) Are they giving us a piece of their personality? (if people are following them then you can be sure the answer is yes)

Make a plan. Post on a schedule. Create your own content and share. And remember, you must be consistent!

#2015 #socialmedia #marketing #designbear #facebook #posting