Party City Learns a Scary Social Media Lesson

I will admit it. I hate Halloween! I hate the mobs of zombies, scary haunted houses and definitely spider webs everywhere. But in social media, there are few things as scary as a mob of moms who want to teach you a lesson, and today Party City learned a scary lesson in social media management. I’m not sure what it is, but when another mom is in trouble our capes come out and we will fight for a fellow warrior!

So when Lin Kramer went to find her little three-year-old daughter a Halloween costume, she was disappointed to find the selections so limited for little girls in the career choices area. Boys could choose to dress up like police officers, mail carriers, fire fighters, ninjas (I think this is now a career), doctors, and many more, but in the girls section, there was a cheerleader (Is that a career?), a cowgirl, a princess (not sure how you apply for this one), and a “sexy” police officer with a V-neck top and ruffle skirt. When Lin posted her concerns on Party City’s Facebook page, the company replied with the standard, “We appreciate you bringing this to our attention…” and then…they DELETED HER POST! AHHHHHHHHH (insert psycho music here)

never delete a post from an angry social media fan

When you open your social media doors on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any other social site, you are welcoming the little angels that come trick-or-treating, as well as those creepy, bloody-faced, devils. Today, consumers don’t have to call and ask to talk to your manager, they simply go to social media and let the manager find them. (TWEETABLE)  Deleting their comment is like hanging up on them. They will go home, gather their friends and dozens of eggs before returning!

Never underestimate the power of a group of people on social media! Social media moms came out in support of Lin and canvased Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else, committing to boycott Party City until they apologized to Lin. I’m sure their social media team is dressed in Scooby Doo costumes today, saying, “Ruh Roh!”

The lesson here is, never delete a post from a customer who is bringing you valuable feedback. Like the toothbrush you get in your trick-or-treat bucket, you may not want it, but you can’t toss it in front of the person giving it to you. On Facebook, you can HIDE a post, which essentially hides it from the public, but the person who posted it, still sees it. This might be an option if you suspect the person posting is a troll or it is a fake post created by a hater. We manage the social media customer service for a few hotels and this will happen when someone throws out a post about bedbugs and we look at the profile, only to see the account was created that day, there are no posts or photos, and we suspect it is a competitor or disgruntled employee. We first ask for the person to contact one of our managers to gather more information. When they don’t reply at all, we simply hide the post. If the post looks legit and it is from a real person, leaving it out in the open allows the public to see how you handle difficult situations. Do people not realize we all LOVE taking screen shots, adding scary music, and making a bigger scarier scene than it really is?

Once again, another company allows us all to heed the warnings without enduring the pain. Thank you Party City for the reminder. When was the last time you had the conversation about how to handle a negative post with your team? If you don’t have one, create a crisis plan and a solid process before you need it. Make sure every person who touches your social media channels, knows it and can perform the necessary actions if needed.

You can run and you can hide in the basement, but just like in the creepy vampire movies, the fans of social media will find you! May I suggest the sexy garlic costume?

hiding from social media fans is never a good plan

 

president of socialknx gina schreck

 

@GinaSchreck is not only a social media mom, but she is the president of SocialKNX, a digital and social marketing company. Helping you build your business and MANAGE THAT PRECIOUS BRAND!

Content Marketing Strategy: What Makes You So Special?

Social media and content marketing is one of the most crowded spaces on the internet right now. Everyone and their nephew has hung out a shingle claiming to be a Facebook expert or now a Blab expert, so it is harder than ever to be heard above the chatter and all the blabbing! 

Is your industry crowded? When potential customers look for your services or products are you sandwiched in between hundreds, if not thousands of competitors? When we the last time you did a Google search for your industry topic? Every business believes they are unique. They believe they are the BEST. Some claim it on their marketing materials and even in their store windows.

When everyone says they are the best, the consumer searching thinks everyone is lying. Instead of saying we’re the best, let’s start showing it. Your content marketing strategy is about showing your community that you are helpful and trustworthy. You are going to be proving you are the best by creating so much “social proof” through your content that others will start talking about how great you are. 

Last week we had the assignment of discovering your sweet spot in your market. We looked at your brands true expertise and your passion points. (If you haven’t read that post yet, go back and read “Why Following a Content Marketing Strategy is So Hard” to get caught up)

This week we are looking at what makes our content, and thus our brand, unique. If there are 87,000 people who are talking about the same things, what will be your content tilt? How will the information you share be seen as different?  

Is there something about you or your brand that is truly different? Let’s look at a couple examples. 

Technorati claims there are over 17,000 food blogs and there are millions of entries so how can you stand out if you are a foodie trying to capture the attention of your audience? Well, Hannah Hart took her passion and figured it out when she created My Drunk Kitchen show on YouTube! With over 2 MILLION subscribers, she has figured out her uniqueness! 

my drunk kitchen

Perhaps your expertise gives you the twist you need to zoom in and dominate a crowded space. Could you serve a very specific niche that could open the door to content that would spread faster and wider? Joan Rogliano is a real estate broker who happens to be a “divorce specialists.” This is a niche that she can really make a difference in with her content and how she markets her business. Joan has special resources and workshops for people going through a divorce and of course can help them buy or sell their property. I would love to see her putting out videos and social media content that really spreads this easy-to-dominate niche!

Another realtor standing out with unique content is Jessica Edwards of The Carolina’s Finest Real Estate group. She dominates in the video content arena with over 400 videos on her YouTube channel (most of them with her talking to her dashboard-mounted camera). Her topic is not what is unique, her content delivery method is what sets her on top! And, she is charming and consistent!

Content Marketing examples of niche markets

Regardless of your industry, you must discover what makes you and your content unique. What can you share through your content marketing that makes you one-of-a-kind? If you are still trying to serve everyone, realize that it is a very crowded space. 

We struggle with this ourselves here at SocialKNX. We have several health and fitness buffs on our team and serve a large number of fitness, therapeutic massage and hormonal wellness brands and could write specifically for content marketing in these industries, but we have a large number of other businesses we serve, like professional speakers and authors, hotels, software companies, realtors, corporate training companies and even a fun educational science toy and media company. What we do that is different is managing the entire process. We don’t just post social media content, we don’t coach people on how they can do it. We don’t just blog or do newsletter management and email marketing campaigns.  We do it all for you. 

But our marketing content is not unique enough to separate us from the thousands of marketing companies out there. We need to find that twist, that angle, that unique approach to our content that makes us stand out. Like Jessica Edwards, we do quite a bit of video, but I will admit, I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like. I love answering the questions we get each week from our customers and from strangers via social media, and video is a quick and easy way to do it. I also know that we need to create a more unique approach, not so mamby-pamby, middle of the road, same-old-same-old, kind of content. Our content marketing strategy was developed to serve the small to mid-sized company that is trying to do it all themselves. We provide resources and tips to manage the chaos, until that company is looking for a partner to outsource their social and content marketing to.

So it’s YOUR TURN to spend time reflecting on how you can stand out in this content-saturated area of your industry. What can you do this week to start putting a more unique spin or twist on your content that is part of your marketing strategy? Next week we will take this information and craft our content marketing mission statement to help us stay focused each day. Until then, I’d love to hear your challenges, thoughts or questions on our 5-week journey together. Leave me a comment below and have a great and focused week!

   social and content marketing management agency

Gina Schreck is the president at SocialKNX, and is always exploring new ways to help people connect with their target audience!  Connect with her on Twitter or any other social media platform you are on  @GinaSchreck

Why Following a Content Marketing Strategy is So Hard

You know that social and digital marketing is more than just throwing a post about your upcoming event, sale or business quote on Facebook, and yet that seems to be all you have time to do. Your content doesn’t have any theme other than it’s all about YOU.

Staying true to a marketing strategy can be difficult for the small business owner or marketer because there are so many other things on your plate, like running your business and actually taking care of paying customers.  Planning and executing a content marketing plan to attract new customers often times gets moved, not just to the back burner, but to the refrigerator with the other left over ideas and plans for advancing your business. 

I know I often use the old excuse of, the cobbler’s children are always without shoes, and I promise myself to go away on a retreat to plan our own content strategy. But of course, that romantic notion gets pushed aside by the need to work on proposals, team issues, and on-boarding new clients. 

So I’ve decided to take you on the journey with me. If you are up for it, together we are going to embark upon a content marketing strategy plan and implementation journey over the next five weeks. I’ll be held accountable by posting my plan right here on our blog. You are going to be challenged to do the assignments along with me and share them here in the comments or perhaps on our Facebook page, whichever is easier for you.

content marketing strategy

Here are the steps we are going to go through: 

  1. Finding our sweet spot.

    Regardless of how long you have been in business, we need to take a step back and identify where our true expertise is and what pain point will that knowledge or expertise address for our potential customers. This will help us start identifying the type of content we will create.

  2. Find our content tilt

    This is what makes you unique. What is the gap you fill that others do not? What is the niche you are going to target? Are you the only one who can explain things easily on video for the topic you cover or perhaps you have a  style of writing and sharing photos that no one else does. This will help us look at the platforms you will dominate. 

  3. Create a content marketing mission statement!

    Most companies do not take the time to do this and it will become our guide through the strategy process. Why are you providing this content to this audience you have identified? What is the purpose of your posts? Are you creating content to entertain? To educate newbies to an industry or provide a higher level discussion with those who might be peers? Be clear on your mission and look at it often as you create content to stay on track.

  4. Decide on our content channels and type of content.

    Where are we going to DOMINATE? We are going to be handing out blinders as we discuss this because there are many shiny objects that can make us feel we should be EVERYWHERE (Facebook Live, Snapchat, Periscope, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.). Will we deliver content via video, text, audio? We will dive into all of our options, but we must know where our ideal customers are hanging out so we don’t develop strategies for channels that are not in our sweet spot.

  5. Be Consistent

    This is the hard part. no matter what new shiny object comes across our path, we need to stay true to our plan. (Oh, this is SO HARD!) We will build an audience who grow to depend on us and look forward to our content. We need to commit to ourselves and to our audience to be there consistently. We’ll look at this step in our last post in the series.

 

So let’s tackle the first step right now! Let’s find our content marketing sweet spot. 

If you were launching a new business today, ideally, you would want to look at what you are great at, what you have experience in, what you are passionate about (sometimes these are very different). Then the sweet spot is where that meets what need the market has that is not being fulfilled.  This is also the place where many of us get delusional. We may think the world is our market and everyone needs what we have to offer. You might believe that, but we want to know who will PAY real dollars for what you are going to offer. 

I love a quote I heard from Andrew Davis, author of Town, Inc.:

“If your content is for everyone, it’s for no one.”

So let’s take a little assessment or inventory of our skills and expertise:

What Are You GREAT at Doing?  What Expertise Do You Have? 

Don’t let your logical brain stop you here. We are not going to say, “I’m good at X but I certainly can’t make money doing that.” We’ll get to that. Perhaps you are a fabulous interior decorator and you are always giving people tips and advice on how to make their homes more beautiful. Or do you have the ability to help motivate people to take action in their businesses and you know the steps needed for them to succeed? Perhaps you have used these tips yourself and have helped others do the same, so you have experience in this area as well. Do you have experience starting and growing businesses or making homes look incredible?  

MY TURN: I’m great at playing with new technology to see how it fits into different business situations. I enjoy using video and audio to connect with people. I’m comfortable in front of a camera or microphone. I am passionate about helping people understand technical information and making it “doable!” I know how to identify a target audience then create a strategy to engage them and build relationships online. I have experience doing this as well.

Now to identify the pain-point that we can address. If you are good at raising chickens but have little experience, you will need to work on the experience side before you start holding poultry care seminars, but perhaps you can start your chicken blog and share your journey with other beginner chicken farmers to build an engaged audience. Now as you are blogging and engaging with other chicken farmers, perhaps you discover not only are there a heck of a lot of suburban chicken farmers out there, but there are really no other places to find and share information about dietary tips, health issues and of course chicken accessories. You now have a pain-point that needs addressing.

If you are the interior decorator and you are sharing tips and ideas with your community, perhaps you know that many interior decorators are women who struggle to balance all that it takes to run their business. You may start a podcast or blog to share business tips for women juggling family, home and their decorating business.  Now you are on to something.

MY TURN: Most small businesses know that they need to use all the tools available to them for marketing, but social media marketing, blogging and newsletter management takes time and the greatest pain point I can address is having NO TIME! I also want to address the pain-point of confusion caused by so many new tools constantly coming at us with the “TRY ME” sign on them. I can help by showing and explaining what each tool is and how it can be a good fit for some and can be a time-waster for others. My goal is to provide content to help the small and mid-sized business become more social and connect with more of their target audience without wasting time experimenting and not being focused with their marketing efforts.

Next week we are going to drill down even further into the concept of our niche, so before next Wednesday, find your sweet spot. Identify what you are really good at and what you have a passion for. 

YOUR TURN! 

 

social and content marketing management agency

 

 

 

Gina Schreck started her business in 1995 (4 years after the first website was launched) and is always exploring new ways to help people connect with their target audience!

Connect with her on Twitter @GinaSchreck or any other social media site you happen to be on!

3 Tips From Top Leaders to Beat Content and Social Marketing Fatigue

A content and social marketer’s work is never done. Because the online world is always changing, evolving, and AWAKE, it’s easy to get caught up in a laundry list of to-do items: create a new content marketing campaign, clean out your inbox, post to your social media channels, write another blog post, check your analytics, create cool graphics for another Slideshare presentation. The list goes on and on. Whether you call it decision fatigue or burnout, the results are the same. Becoming overwhelmed by content marketing tasks can actually decrease your productivity rather than increase your efficiency. With a mile-long list of action items, you may feel pressured to do a little bit of each of them, and end up finishing none. Studies also show that multitasking can increase the likelihood that you’ll make a careless mistake by more than 30%. If you’re in a high-profile role where your clients or business are counting on your ability to execute, that’s a statistic you can’t afford to gamble on.

Knowing that there are only so many hours in a day and that even the most savvy marketing mavens and digital marketing masterminds have limitations, we recommend a few tips and tricks from our favorite industry leaders to stay sane under pressure.

productivity tips for content marketing social media management

Richard Branson – Three Post-It Note Prioritization

Richard Branson is arguably one of the most successful marketers and brand builders of our time. His ability to create a meaningful connection between his services and products and his customer base is as legendary as a first-class flight on Virgin Atlantic. This unwavering success starts with clear prioritization. To help him quickly organize his day, he writes the top three – and only three – high-level priorities he needs or wants to accomplish on sticky notes. He then recommends ranking those goals. From there, simply back into each of those goals with the tasks that will lead to their completion. Any other action items should be deferred until the primary goals are complete. This method ensures you stay laser focused on what really matters and cuts back on unnecessary noise.  Now to decide which three you will select!

content marketing tips for productivity

Malcolm Gladwell – Know Thy Strengths

Famous author and social scientist Malcolm Gladwell has completed extensive research on what leads to greatness. He’s written on the power of trusting your instinctual decision-making process in his celebrated novel Blink and studied the traits that lead to success over failure even in the face of unspeakable obstacles in his newest book, David and Goliath. We’d like to think he knows something about how to beat the odds. To protect yourself from burnout and ensure you don’t become a jack of all trades (and master of none), Gladwell repeatedly champions the advice to know, and embrace, your strengths. In one of his most famous articles, he cites the “10,000-hour rule.” To become an expert on any given task or subject, you need to do it for at least 10,000 hours. If you want to be a leading social marketing manager or content marketing specialist, you need to laser focus in on tasks in service to those goals. If you know you’re a whiz at SEO, but your to-do list has six tasks better suited to a graphic artist, it’s time to reprioritize. Lean on your coworkers and network to leverage your strengths — and theirs. The aspiring graphic creative beside you might be thrilled to step in to support your needs or swap tasks so you can both do what you’re best at. This might also be where you look at outsourcing tasks that do not fall into your strengths arena.

productivity tips for content marketing managers and social marketing

Adm. William McRaven – Make Your Bed

Navy Seal commander and special operative responsible for capturing Osama bin Laden offered the University of Texas simple advice to beat task fatigue in his recent commencement address. And his first piece of advice was to make your bed. Whether you want to interpret his advice literally, or extend a metaphor to the proverbial bed of your life and work, the straightforward, earnest advice rings true. Making your bed, cleaning out your inbox of clutter each morning, starting your day with clear priorities (and maybe a few Post-It notes), or getting into gear with an early jog all give you an early sense of achievement to jump-start your morning and carry you throughout the day. Even a recent Huffington Post article pointed out that making your bed each morning can actually trigger feelings of happiness! And who doesn’t need more happiness as we face the social media world each day?

 

If these leaders can do it, so can you. Resisting the urge to jump on Facebook or Twitter every hour and not giving into the latest shiny object are tips we know to be true, but perhaps with a little prioritization and some basic success tips, we can all get a whole lot more done in our over-packed content marketing day. We want to know your top tips for staying productive in your marketing role. Share them with us here.