Cyber PR Social Media Food Pyramid

It happens to me all of the time when I teach social media. Faces go blank, frustration begins to settle in and then I hear:

“I just don’t have anything interesting to say.” OR “I don’t want to share what I’m eating!”

REALLY?

You do things we mere mortals are totally enamored by you create businesses, you make art, you play music, you get up in front of people in public!

So please do not tell me you have nothing interesting to say. I ain’t buying it.

All you are missing is a System for Social Media Success.

The inspiration for this hit me while I was teaching a client in my kitchen… THE FOOD PYRAMID!

Now, I’ve been told they don’t actually teach this in school anymore… but for those of you old enough  – it’s that chart they brought out when we were in 2nd grade to show us how to eat well-rounded meals? I have re-visioned it for you.

Most people are only serving their tribes one thing consistently and are trapped either being boring or over promoting – This is like eating plain bagels over an over again.

We might want a burger, or green healthy salad, we want some candy!

We want the protein but you keep serving bagels, bagels, bagels!

Luckily, social media is a learnable skill. To ratchet up your social media effectively and manage it easily, there are only five kinds of activity that you need to engage in. Feel free to mix and match within these activities in order to suit your comfort level.

Use these as a guide to mix and match them to suit your comfort level (just like your diet, eat what feels right for you)

GROUP 1. DIRECT ENGAGEMENT

Like: BREAD, CEREAL, RICE & PASTA
Servings (Recommended Frequency): 3 – 4 out of every 10 posts

Make sure you’re in a two-way conversation with people consistently

imgres Facebook: See something interesting on a fan, friend or band’s Facebook pages? Don’t just “like” it, write a true comment about it and get more involved. Facebook: See something interesting on a fan, friend or band’s Facebook pages? Don’t just “like” it, write a true comment about it and get more involved.

images Twitter: Send messages to people or mention you are with them by using the @ sign and their username (For Example: I’m @CyberPR). Retweet (RT) Tweets you like by others.

url Blog Reading: read and share great posts on your socials and leave comments!

Tumblr-3.5-for-iOS-app-icon-small Tumblr: Tumblr is a simple to use blogging platform that will allow you to comment on and re-blog others’ links, quotes, videos and songs with a click of a button.

YouTube-icon Youtube: Bonus! Make custom video comments or greetings with a smartphone; post them as comments or contributions. Subscribe to other people’s channels, and comment on their videos. A brand new service called Viddy which allows you to capture quick, 15 second videos that can be posted to Facebook or Twitter. Jason wrote a Musician’s Arsenal Guide to Viddy that will better explain how it works.

instagram-logo-transparent-background_zps6befc220

 

Instagram: Like and comment on others’ photos!

GROUP 2: SHINE A LIGHT ON OTHERS

Like: FRUITS & VEGETABLES

Servings (Recommended Frequency): 3 out of every 10 posts

All the best social media users know this and use it well. This takes all of the attention off of you and puts it onto others, and people will appreciate your kindness because you are recognizing them in front of new potential fans and followers and therefore helping them get known.

imgres

 Quote people you like by sharing their profiles and videos on Facebook and share (re-post) on your page.  Also link to articles and interesting things that catch your attention.

images Twitter: Use hashtags, @’s and RT on Twitter – talk about why and how particular tweets influenced or touched you by using http://www.bit.ly to track the effectiveness and to shorten your Tweets.

 

GROUP 3. CURATE CONTENT

Like: MEAT, POULTRY, FISH, BEANS, EGGS
Servings (Recommended Frequency): 2 – 3 out of every 10 posts

Content may be king but content curation is queen!

378838-rss-icon The best part is you can set up an RSS reader to pull interesting content for you so you don’t have to come up with anything brilliant – just select what you like and share it. And if it’s interesting to you it’s probably interesting to your community.

Then all you have to do is grab the content you like and share (remember to always give credit where credit is due).

Music: Use Rdio, Spotify, or Soundcloud to share songs, albums and playlists 

Recipes: Post links to foods you like from Pinterest, Epicuious or TheFoodNetwork

Media: Post book reviews, music reviews or film reviews

Blogs: News, politics, celebrity gossip, parenting, fashion, art, sports – all make good topics for people to connect around

 

GROUP 4.  A PICTURE SAYS 1,000 WORDS

Like: MILK, CHEESE & YOGURT
Servings (Recommended Frequency): 2 out of every 10 posts

Visuals are extremely effective. And they mix up your strategy nicely.

instagram-logo-transparent-background_zps6befc220

Everyone loves Instagram take photos often – and tag!

images

 

Mix up your Tweets with photos & videos – they go straight into your feed and they get stored on your homepage – bonus!

pinterest-icon-220x213 Pinterest is a wonderful way to share photos of anything you are passionate about and create boards for your own content and anything you sell.

YouTube-icon Post videos on your Youtube channel, embed them and post across socials too! They don’t even have to be videos that you make on your own. They can be videos that make you laugh or subjects that are thematic to your niche.

 

GROUP 5. SHINING A LIGHT ON YOURSELF (AKA SELF PROMOTION)

Like: FATS OILS & SWEETS (Use Sparingly!)

Servings (Recommended Frequency): 1 out of every 10 posts

Of course, these are OK to do once in a while, not in an over-hypey, annoying way.  Just like treating yourself to a great pastry or some fries: it’s OK – but not too often!

It is after all, vital to tell people if you have an album coming out, a new track, a show, or anything that’s newsworthy, noteworthy, and important for your fans and followers to know about.

Don’t forget about your specific calls to actions or these won’t be fruitful.

So – Choose from Groups 1-5 and mix it up and soon you will be fully engaging people easily and naturally, without thinking. Just like eating!

4 ‘Normal’ Challenges to Building a Strong Online Brand

The key to establishing yourself online and within your niche, is building a strong brand. Unfortunately this is far easier said than done. The process of designing, building and nurturing a new brand means you have established:

  • A unique voice
  • Consistent compelling content
  • A trustworthy reputation

The problem for most comes down to the simple fact that there is no single path to achieving any one of these things. And yet, you need to achieve them all in order for your brand to blossom.

What works for some, may not work for others.

What seems to be an obvious indicator of success for some, may be hidden for others.

A ‘brand’ is such an abstract, malleable concept and it may be difficult to know if you’re heading in the right direction. In fact, it can be down-right frustrating.

So the question becomes:

What is ‘Normal’ what it comes to building an online brand?

Here are 4 normalcies of brand building that, although may not give you the answer to the status of your brand’s growth, should give you the comfort knowing that you are not alone in your frustration and process.


Defining Your Voice Can Take A LONG Time




Whenever branding is discussed, one of the first components to be included is the idea of establishing a ‘voice’. This ‘voice’ must combine a powerful mission statement with a unique approach.

It won’t work with just one or the other.

This voice may not come to you right away. In fact, it is normal for this to take a VERY long time to fully realize.

As Malcolm Gladwell has said in his book ‘Outliers’, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a craft.

Once you do fully realize this voice, your focus and ability to create compelling content will be likely to become prolific.

When I created MicControl, it took me over a year’s worth of daily blogging before I found my voice.

I knew I wanted my mission to be helping musicians to advance their careers through digital marketing. But it wasn’t until I found the right approach of creating lean, skim-able, and most importantly actionable articles focused on social media marketing tactics, that my voice became truly defined.

Once this happened – the content started POURING out of me. What once took me several days of sketching, researching, drafting, re-drafting, editing and formatting, now took me only a few quick hours at MOST.


You Will Doubt Yourself… And Then You’ll Doubt Yourself Again




Doubt HAS to be the number one killer of brands. I can say from personal experience that this was the hardest obstacle to overcome. And yet, I had to work to over come my own doubt about my brand on a weekly basis (if not more often).

Because building a brand is so abstract, and can take such a long time to establish, you’ll often feel like you’re just treading water.

This is normal!

Because of this, it is important to find any successes, even if they are small, that you can not only rejoice in on a regular basis, but can use to keep you motivated:

  • A handful of Facebook ‘likes’ on a status update
  • A comment left on a blog post
  • A Re-Tweet or an inclusion in a #FF (Follow Friday) tweet

These are all successes. Use them as indicators of your growth and realize that with each small success, you’re working towards your brand-goal of creating compelling content, a unique voice and a trustworthy reputation.


There Is Often No Discernible Tipping Point




All of the small successes that are discussed above will, as Malcolm Gladwell once again famously outlined, help you to reach your ‘Tipping Point’. That is, the point in which all of these small successes finally barrel over into your one major moment… in this case it would be the moment that your brand becomes established.

And as true as this idea is, the more realistic truth is that often there is no discernible tipping point when creating a brand.

To once again use my own experience as the example, after a year or so of working day-in-and-day-out of blogging on MicControl, giving guest blog posts to others, tweeting consistently and building conversations, my personal brand as a blogger had developed.

But it wasn’t obvious to me AT ALL.

I still dealt the same lingering doubt that I felt from the beginning.

It wasn’t until one day when I woke up and realized that I had 3 separate article being published in the same day (one on my own blog and two on other highly reputable music marketing blogs) that I realized my brand was there.

This was likely months after my tipping point had come.

Although the concept of ‘the tipping point’ is certainly real, it may be more normal than you think for it to be hidden from you.


Your Commitment to Engagement Will Be Greater Than That Of Your Fans




Let’s face it, it is human nature to avoid disrupting the status quo. Very few people are willing to put themselves out on a limb, for the fear of being judged is too great. It is this simple reason that studies show people fear public speaking more than death.

Now let’s take the idea of putting yourself out on a limb, and add in the fact that through social media you’re now doing this in a VERY public forum where anyone and everyone can judge you.

If you consider this, it makes all the sense in the world why your blog posts aren’t being commented on, or your questions on Facebook aren’t being answered.

People are afraid to be the first to speak up.

Because of this, it will be absolutely normal that your commitment to engaging your fans be far greater than their commitment to engaging with you.

It is only once you establish yourself with the trustworthy reputation that any ideas, comments and responses will be heard, validated and appreciated, that your fans will start to match your commitment to engagement.

As my final self-driven example, I didn’t receive my first comment on MicControl until about 6 months into my blogging.

In each blog post, I would include a clear Call to Action at the end, asking people to engage, but was always left with nothing.

However once I started engaging with people through OTHER forums (i.e. other blogs where I had guest posted that already had an existing, engaged reader base), by responding to all comments, joining conversations that were good or bad about my ideas, and simply letting others be heard, the reputation started to build. It was this that lead to the same level of engagement I was achieving elsewhere to happen on my own blog, ultimately helping me to establish my brand a blogger.


What About Building Your Brand Has Left You Puzzled, Frustrated or Confused?




I am thankful enough to say that I was able to build a personal brand, and no doubt Ariel can say the same. Share your brand building challenges, questions or concerns in the form of a comment below and we will both weigh in based on our own personal experiences.