This is a guest post from Jim Katzaman. He’s a regular on my weekly #TwitterSmarter chat. He’s a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Not everyone is a marketer — although they play one on social media. Lack of formal training does not disqualify a novice as long as you pay attention and are willing to learn.
Entrepreneur Madalyn Sklar — who is indeed a marketer and has been one for many years — discussed social media tips for non-marketers. As she explained, a little knowledge picked up here and there can go a long way.
Lists, for example, are something everyone on Twitter should use — marketer or not.
“I like creating lists that serve me and that I think others will find interesting,” Sklar said. One such list includes her favorite podcasts and podcasters.
Another marketing tip from the experts at Hootsuite touched on the virtues of joining Twitter chats.
“Find Twitter chats relevant to you,” they said, offering a non-inclusive assortment. “Once you’ve found an interesting chat, share your knowledge. Provide value by answering the questions.”
That’s just one segment of marketing and a helpful first step.
“You can learn a lot from Twitter chats,” Sklar said. “They attract super insightful marketers who are like an encyclopedia.”
“All I really need …”
On a broader comparison for novice marketers, more than 30 years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote his classic book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Now, relate that to Twitter chats.
You certainly don’t become a certified marketer by being on Twitter chats, but if you’re a small-business owner struggling to get by with a limited budget, listening and learning during chats could yield a good return on investment.
“Know your audience” is a universal constant. It’s the first rule you’re taught in public speaking. The same holds for public relations. It’s fundamental to all communication. Logically, that also applies to marketing. That helps you plot a steady course.
“Consistency is everything,” Sklar said. “If you want to make traction on any social media platform, you must be in it for the long game.”
You don’t have to go on a Twitter chat dedicated to marketing to learn about marketing. Going on marketing-dedicated chats helps, but you might be surprised how often marketing concepts appear in other chats.
Besides #TwitterSmarter and #SocialROI, you’ll often hear marketing referenced in #WinnieSun, #BizapaloozaChat, #BizGalz and #WeTalkBiz.
When you’re on another chat and see people talk about putting your best foot forward or branding, that’s marketing — or at least marketing related. That’s how you pick things up or reaffirm what you think you already know.
“Twitter chats will help you immensely,” Sklar said. She has a list of the best social media and marketing Twitter chats.
Jump right in
You don’t need marketing expertise as much as a willingness to get into conversations and learn — even if it’s hit and miss. The old saying is that you won’t know the answer to a question if you don’t speak up and ask.
During chats you might find yourself on a verbal fishing expedition to reply the best you can, not being sure if you make sense. Just hit Tweet. You’ll be surprised when you get likes, retweets and “Great answer!” Learn by doing.
That can be a welcome addition to chats, as #TwitterSmarter host Sklar explained.
“Not many people in other industries come on and show us their social knowledge,” she said. “If you are confident in what you know, speak up. We want to hear from you. Don’t be afraid to answer the questions. There is no right or wrong answer.”
You can get on Twitter chats and hear about social media marketing. If you get active in the give and take of chats, you’ll pick up tidbits about marketing. However, you won’t learn about marketing until you put what you think you know into practice.
If you’ve heard that lists are a great way to monitor issues and competitors, create lists — and use them. When people say you can get more mileage from evergreen content by repurposing it, try it. Heard any good branding pointers? Try a few.
The underlying message is learning by doing. If you see something, try something. Unless it’s an egregious mistake, chances are you’ll be the only one who notices it — like a typo. However, if you care and learn from miscues, it’s all to the good.
“I’m biased and will say you’ll learn a lot about social media marketing on a Twitter chat,” Sklar said. “There are so many good ones.”
Slow the automation
Lately, marketers and social media users in general seem to have taken a step back from automation. A couple years ago — in a span of five minutes — you might find yourself added to more than a dozen lists.
Today, you might go a month or two between list notifications. Lists are good, but not if you employ bots to boost your empty activity numbers. They cheapen the currency.
With Twitter and Facebook supposedly cleaning house, maybe those on social media can put more faith in influencers’ follower numbers as well as their own. Regardless, the emphasis — as tough as it is to accept — has to be on quality and not quantity on social media.
“I agree that automation use is down,” Sklar said. “I’m not knocking automation. It has its time and place. I use it, but it’s less this year. People embrace real, raw, right now. That is why I’m all in on video.”
There are a lot of social media marketing tools, which pose a challenge for the novice marketer or anyone new to the online world. It’s easy to get lost in a world of references to Buffer, Hootsuite, Canva and AgoraPulse.
Asked about tools during a Twitter chat, the novice’s snarky inner voice replies, “The space between your ears.” You repress the urge to say that and say nothing. Next thing you know, the chat’s guest says, “Your best tool is your brain.” Oh, so that answer was OK.
Yes, use your brain, and lists are good for marketers — novice or not. But here’s a new wrinkle on an old tool: Use Twitter Likes as a temporary file. Rather than like and forget, like with the intent to go back and pull content — especially graphics — for later use such as in blogs.
“There are more but these are my favorites off the top of my head,” Sklar said. “Check them out, and see what resonates with you.”
A little knowledge
While social media is renowned for being laid back and casual, have some sense of knowing what you’re doing. For instance, know the difference between using @ versus #. Misuse can yield wildly different results.
During one chat, a person — who based on profession should have known better — put an @ instead of a # before a geographical location. Clicking on the link brought up a Twitter account that was eye-opening — and not in a good way.
Marketing rule takeaway: Just be social while having a good grasp of what social is all about. If not for yourself, do it for the children.
“It’s about people,” Sklar said. “Social media marketing is about relationships. Connect, engage, nurture and have fun.”
For more about social media tips for non-marketers, see the Facebook Live discussion.
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