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How to Become an Expert in Anything

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Experts get a bad rap these days.

The online culture has turned calling someone an “expert” or a “guru” into a bad thing. Somewhere along the way, being seen as an expert at something (or worse yet, calling yourself an expert), became equated to being a jerk. And I’m not sure how that happened.

Frankly, I don’t have an issue with experts. As jerky as this may sound (see, I have to defend it – weird, eh?),  I don’t mind it when I’m occasionally called an expert at something. I’m sure you don’t mind being called an expert so much either, right? (It’s okay, I won’t think you’re a jerk either). After all, like me, you’ve worked hard to know what you know.

There’s a funny contradiction here. For all the people who say, “down with experts!”, there are many, many people who actually would like to develop expertise in certain things.

My Dad, Expert

My Dad is an expert at lots of things. He was an expert at what he did for a living, and now, in his retirement, he continues to develop his expertise in many things, like carpentry, digital photo editing, and Greek Mythology. Want to know his secret? Here you go….

Read, Then Read Some More

Just about every birthday and Christmas present I’ve ever given my Dad has been a book of some sort. My Dad LOVES to read. He reads and reads and reads. He’ll get into the odd novel, but most of what he reads is non-fiction, and he’s really big into history. He knows an awful lot about things like the 2nd World War, the Romans, and Greek Mythology. After he and Mom retired, they started to travel the world. He read and read and read about the history of the places they were visiting. I’d call him an expert on these things, though he may not agree. Suffice it to say he can recount historical facts and stories like nobody’s business.

My Dad has always been of the mindset that you can learn about anything you want by reading – and this was before the Internet!

Today, we are so fortunate to have access to anything….ANYTHING we want to learn, at our fingertips, 24/7. Libraries full of information are literally in the palm of our hands.

You want to learn something? You have so many choices! Start with Google. Go to the library. And do what Dad does – read and read and read. You’ll soon find that you know more than you could ever imagine.

And don’t tell me you don’t have time to read – we all have time, every day when we are waiting. And now, we have audio books, so we can read when we’re stuck in traffic too! Open a book every time you are waiting, and you’ll find that you have more time than you thought.

Be Curious

My Dad has always loved to take pictures. Our family has thousands and thousands of photos. Every time him and Mom go traveling, he comes back with hundreds more.

As the digital era dawned, Dad became curious about the potential to be able to use a computer to manipulate his photos. My brother helped him find a good computer and got him set up with some photo editing software. He many spent hours learning how to use the software. He made plenty of mistakes. When he got really stuck, he’d call me or my brother for help (which we were always happy to do).

Eventually, he got really good at it. Now, he’s got albums full of great photos, embellished with scrapbook-style graphics, that tell stories of his and Mom’s travels and adventures. He didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on the tools or the training – he has just never lost his child-like curiosity for how things work, and he put in the hours to figure it out.

I think one of the things we lose first as we get older is our curiosity. We think old dogs can’t learn new tricks, and our stubbornness prevents us from taking on new challenges. We use excuses like, we’re too busy, or we aren’t techy enough, or we’re afraid of failing, so we decide to hide our curiosity away and just stick with the status quo.

The truth is, to become an expert at anything, you have to be curious first. You have to redevelop your sense of wonder about things. You have to realize that it’s okay to not know something, but that being curious about it is the first step to mastery. Because eventually, your curiosity will get the best of you – and you’ll HAVE to know more.

Learn by Doing

As long as I can remember, my Dad has always built things. I remember when I was a kid, he built desks for me and my brother, so we could do our school work. He builds stuff for the garden, like bird feeders and pergolas. He’s done most of the renovations on his and Mom’s house himself. He’s built doors for our shed and a cabinet for our bathroom. How did he learn to build things? He might tell you he took a workshop somewhere along the way, I don’t remember. But most of what he knows about carpentry he learned by what he’d call “OJT – On the Job Training”. He just did it. He made lots of mistakes – I’m sure he could tell you some stories. But perseverance and many many hours paid off, and now, he can build just about anything.

A few times a week, someone says to me that they don’t know enough about social media and the Internet. They seem to have no idea how to get started. They ask me how I became such an “expert” at this stuff, and are surprised when I tell them that I am completely self-taught. I learned by listening to smart people and watching what they were doing. But the most important thing I did was, I just dove in and started doing it. I screwed up a LOT. I spent a LOT of time. But eventually, I learned it, and I got better at it.

My Dad taught me that you can learn to do anything you want – but you need to get in there and just start DOING it.

Let’s face it – we all want to know more. We all want to be able to achieve things. Some of us may even want to become experts – not so everyone else can see us that way, but because we want the personal satisfaction of being curious, learning about something, and then putting it into practice.

So take it from my Dad…be curious, read, read, read, then do, do do. You’ll soon find that with enough time and commitment, you can become an expert in anything you want.

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35 Ways Social Media Can Make Your Life Easier

Twitter is about more than telling people what kind of sandwich you had for lunch and Facebook is about more than posting party pictures from your days in college. The next time people tell you that social media is worthless, point them to this post. These are very real ways new media sites have made my life easier:

  1. When I was in Las Vegas, a city I don’t know well, for BlogWorld 2010 I asked for directions to a bar I was trying to find by tweeting at a friend who had just checked in there on Foursquare.
  2. I commonly ask for recommendations for movies, music, and other forms of entertainment on Twitter.
  3. As a writer, if I meet someone who might have freelance work for me, I can connect with them on LinkedIn when I get home or even with my smart phone before I even leave the party rather than relying on them to remember my website or having to keep track of a business card.
  4. Speaking of work, if you need a job, you can mention it to your friends/followers to see if anyone knows of any job openings where you might be a good fit.
  5. I tweeted at a hotel where I was planning to book a trip once, and they sent me to a hidden page on their website with awesome travel deals for upcoming weekends.
  6. Once, I was trying on shoes and trying to decide whether or not to buy. I posted a picture on Facebook and got my friends’ opinions before I made the purchase.
  7. Need to know an obscure fact? Someone on Twitter can probably help you remember who sang that song stuck in your head or what movie that quote you like comes from. If you ask, people will gladly offer up trivia tidbits and it’s often easier than using a search engine to find the fact.
  8. I once saw an a-lister tweet that he forgot his power cord at home and was already at the airport getting ready to board a long flight to another country. One of his friends brought him a back-up. Even if your network isn’t as robust, often they can help you identify where you can get replacement items in a hurry.
  9. Forget the lyrics to a song? Twitter knows. Twitter always knows.
  10. And even better, if you can’t find what you need on YouTube, most bands have their most popular songs posted on MySpace. Yes, MySpace really does still come in handy from time to time!
  11. Also handy when it comes to music – I was wondering when a favorite band of mine would be going on tour again, since there was nothing listed on their website. I asked them on Twitter and they pinged me when the page was updated. It isn’t just bands – ask questions about products to any small business on Twitter or Facebook and most will reply.
  12. When I was apartment hunting, I made sure to mention it often using social media. Some people responded with apartment listings they had found that might work for me.
  13. Once of my Facebook friends was recently selling her changing table. She posted a picture on Facebook and within a few hours, someone had replied, as one of their friends was pregnant and interesting in buying. It’s much easier than selling items on eBay or Craigslist.
  14. Last month, at about midnight, I needed some web design help with my website. I asked on Twitter and even with my relatively small network of about 1300 people at the time, over ten people replied. At midnight.
  15. When my sister’s computer died a few weeks ago, I mentioned it on Twitter and a number of people offered computer advice both for fixing the problem and for purchasing a new laptop.
  16. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about a conference he was attending. Within 24 hours, he found people to carpool with him to the event.
  17. He also found a hotel roommate.
  18. Twitter usually explodes with news of something important happening, even before major news sites have stories online. If you aren’t near a TV or radio, it’s often the best way to stay up-to-date.
  19. Want to pass the time while waiting at the doctor’s office? There are always links to some interesting reads on Facebook or Twitter.
  20. If I don’t have an acquaintance’s phone number or address, I can still wish them a happy birthday on Facebook. In fact, Facebook even has birthday alerts so I don’t forget (or let me know for people who I don’t know very well). Phone calls are always better, in my opinion, but a Facebook note is still nice, especially for new friends.
  21. If you need to know what time something starts, just ask your social media friends. They’ll even translate it to your time zone if you’re too lazy to figure it out (like me…I hate dealing with time differences).
  22. Many stores offer coupons just for checking in with a location-based app. I’m always down for saving money.
  23. Posting pictures to Flickr or Facebook makes it easy to exchange photos lots of people took at a single event. Do you remember the days of getting double and triple prints, or worse, scanning pictures and emailing them to everyone?
  24. If you’re a member of the media in some way (blogger or otherwise), social media makes it really easy to connect with people to get a quote for whatever story you’re working on.
  25. Similarly, if you want to link to a source for your article, just ask via social media. People will send you relevant links. Who doesn’t love promotion. It works the other way too – you can get promotion simply by paying attention and sending links to people who need them.
  26. Twitter DMs are great to contact someone if you just have a short message. It’s faster than email.
  27. With a Twitter DM or Facebook message, you can also exchange email addresses if you don’t have that information. It’s easy enough to search and find someone’s social media profiles, even if they don’t have a blog or contact information listed elsewhere online.
  28. It’s pretty easy to meet new people on social media sites, especially on Twitter. If you’re dating, online dating sites (which are, in essence, social media sites) are a great alternative for people who don’t like bars or clubs.
  29. Just now on Twitter, I saw someone tweet that his plane had just landed and he was wondering if anyone had the sports score for a baseball game that was going on. It’s much quicker than trying to find an up-to-date score online.
  30. Conference hashtags (like #BWENY) and Facebook event pages make it super easy to find other people attending an event.
  31. Occasionally, I read a post I like but forget to bookmark it. They aren’t always easy to find by searching on the site or with Google, but if you send a message to the blogger on Twitter, they’re usually happy to help you find an old post.
  32. Want to travel? If you are active on Twitter or Facebook, you can couchsurf with the best of ‘em – travel planning is a breeze, even on a budget. At the very least, people will recommend hotel and tourist destinations, and you might even be able to find someone to pick you up at the airport.
  33. Companies often tweet out discount codes and post coupons on Facebook. For example, if you aren’t already, you might want to follow Rick and Dave – they’ve been tweeting out 20% off codes for BlogWorld tickets.
  34. If an appliance in your home breaks and you can’t find a manual online, ask your fans/followers. Often, you can find someone who has had the same problem in the past and can help you find a fix.
  35. Stuck on what to make for dinner? Ask your friends online. People will offer up quick recipes you can make.

Okay those are my 35 contributions…but I’m sure there are more. For all the naysayers, add your experiences too – how as social media made your life easier?

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4 Myths About Social Media and Business

25% of small business owners said they plan to spend more on social networking in 2010, according to the Ad-ology Small Business Marketing Forecast.

Facebook ranked as the most beneficial social network for small businesses, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter, according to the November 2009 report. The 1,100 small business owners surveyed said the biggest benefits of social networking were the abilities to generate leads, keep up with their industry, and monitor the online conversation about their business.

But despite the enormous growth of business presences on social networking sites, there are still many misconceptions about how best to use social media. To help cut through the hype, here are a few social media myths dispelled.

Myth #1: Small Businesses Must be on Social Media 

Ad-ology’s study found that 31% of small business owners said they don’t use social media because their customers don’t use it. If that’s the case, find where your customers are and the best way to reach them there.

Warren Sukernek, partner and vice president of strategies atLift9, said there’s a rush to get on Twitter and launch a blog without a plan. He stressed that spending time up front doing analysis, research, and goal setting will make a social media plan easy to execute.

He recommended first getting active as a lurker on different social media networks to see what’s happening and what people are saying. For example, check out what other companies are doing on Twitter and then assess what you like and don’t like.

Sukernek also pointed out that social media fits more naturally for certain types of businesses, but that doesn’t mean other businesses shouldn’t be on there. It may just take more time to build an audience.

“I wouldn’t dissuade that B2B company from dipping a toe in. It might make sense to dip a toe in a different pool of water,” he said. He suggested that being on an industry-specific forum or LinkedIn might work better in some cases than being on Twitter.

Depending on what the goals are, gathering competitive intelligence might turn out to be what’s most valuable to a business, according to Sukernek.

“It’s hard to put a price tag on that,” he said.

Myth #2: Set It and Forget It 

Don’t expect a case of build it and they will come. Sukernek compared it to building a brick-and-mortar store and not putting a sign on the outside.

“You’ve got to promote it,” he said.

Cross promote your web site with the pages you set up on social media sites. Sukernek advised integrating these social media sites into your business’ offline activities. For example, a retailer should list their fan page URL and Twitter name along with its company’s web site.

Time spent on social media efforts depends on the type of business and the goals involved, according to Sukernek. Goals should be distilled down to revenue and key performance metrics.

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Set some reasonable, manageable objectives,” he said.

Myth #3: Word of Mouth Presence Isn’t There 

Sukernek said small businesses think that if no one is talking specifically about their company on social networks, they don’t need to be there. He disagrees.

“They’re talking about subjects that are germane to the brand,” he said.

On the other hand, what if your small business is being talked about on social media in a bad way? Sukernek said people are probably already doing that, and suggests it’s better for small businesses to be aware of it and address it directly on those platforms.

Myth #4: Social Media is Only for Broadcasting Messages 

megaphone imageTreating social media as a one-way communication channel is an approach that’s doomed to fail. Check in with your fans and followers by asking for feedback, responding to questions and comments, and being personable to build relationships with customers.

“It’s conversational. It’s dialogue,” Sukernek said.

Concerns of small businesses on social media aren’t much different than those of large companies. For those businesses that aren’t careful, subscribing to these social media myths can result in some big mistakes.

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Social Media for Business: The Dos & Don’ts of Sharing

It doesn’t matter if you’re on FacebookTwitterYouTube, Flickr; your online personality is not only part of your overall brand, it becomes an interactive experience for you and your business. So, who is the face or voice of your brand and what do they share? It’s a very important decision in and of itself.

Just as you create branding guidelines and key messaging guides, so too should you dedicate time to creating your social media personality. There are multiple combinations that you can use to increase your brand visibility and converse with your customers.

Be transparent and authentic. Be human.

Don’t want the worst day of your life to be played over and over again like Groundhog Day? Then don’t talk, share, Tweet or write about it via social media. That said, no one is happy, or perfect all of the time. It’s okay to let people into the “real” events which happen in your life. Social media for business is about return on engagement. Connect with people, build opportunities through dialogue which would not have otherwise occurred, then connect them with your business.

Think in terms of “bad driver just cut me off” instead of “just got served papers for a lawsuit.” The first example connects people and encourages dialogue. Who hasn’t been cut off by a bad driver? The second example has the potential to make people uncomfortable or turn them “off” to your brand.

A great example of “what not to do” is posted on Peter Shankman’s blog, How an “accomplished communicator” communicates. The sender of this email has now publicly shared a not-so-nice side of his personality in a VERY public setting.

A profile pic is worth a thousand tweets

A major part of your social media personality is your avatar and your profile bio. The first rule for avatars and bios is to stay consistent across social platforms. If you’re sharing information from your business account, decide whether you want your avatar to be your company logo or the face of the president. Each sends a completely different message and requires a different messaging and branding approach.

Who is doing it well? Here are a few of my favorite business and/or personal branded avatars and profiles on various social media platforms:


Businesses have many options when it comes to creating a Facebook personality. There are options for “group” or “fan” pages versus a personal account.


· Benjamin Leis and his pet project’s group page, The Campus Buzz for College Media: Ben uses The Campus Buzz as his avatar to reinforce the importance of his project and brand. He is becoming one with this identity.

· Carrie Kerpen and her company’s fan page, the Kbuzz: Carrie’s profile is on par with her personality—smart and helpful, a loving wife and mother.


· Blendtec’s Will It Blend? – The company offers a full library of “Will It Blend?” videos on its YouTube account with a profile perfectly suited to match.


· @VeronicaDLcruz – Tweeting from the CNN newsroom in New York City.
· @jasonfalls – Social media explorer for a brand building agency.
· @PRnewswire – Vicky Tweets on behalf of PR Newswire.

An inviting avatar may include one of the following attributes (along with great content): a smiling face, a full color photo (as opposed to black and white), or a familiar logo.

Leaving a legacy

Your social media personality becomes part of your brand’s legacy. Don’t brand your personality for the day, the month or the year. This is serious stuff. What you post stays around for a pretty long time and the information (good and bad) isn’t too hard to find. Your social media posts offer vast archives of information about you.

This means, what you share, post or tweet today should reinforce your brand tomorrow. Think about each message you share via social media as an email which has gone public to your entire organization and all of your stakeholders. Now, imagine if they are reading this email and RESPONDING to it. That’s part of the power of your social media brand.

Who is leaving a legacy aligned with their brand on Twitter?


· @BreakingNewsOn – Why? All breaking news, all the time. I’m not confused about what I’m getting from them.

· @dannybrown – Why? He walks the talk on business with a strong emphasis on philanthropy.

· @barefoot_exec – Why? Her messages completely align with her goals—to empower women, celebrate success and encourage greatness.

Don’t be a social schizo

Multiple personality disorders do not work well in social media. If you confuse, you lose. If you are a business expert one day, a media maven the next and live news feed after that, people will ultimately stop connecting.

A very simple approach is to make a short list of what you WILL talk about via social media. Stick with it. The pay off? When someone thinks about an expert in interior design, they will think of you because you will have BRANDED yourself as one. (DISCLAIMER: This is not an opportunity to “play a doctor on T.V.” You should actually be an expert in the areas you claim to be.)

The same concept applies for joining multiple networks. Keep the same personality for each.

Ever heard the compliment about a truly admired person, “he or she is the same in public as he or she is behind closed doors?” This is what I believe to be the golden rule of your social media personality. Live your brand across all networks (including offline).

The following people blog or vlog about specific topics and continue the dialogue via other social media platforms consistently:


· Aronado Placencia: (@Aronado) This man lives to promote entrepreneurs and new startups. With a goofy sense of humor and an ability to connect quickly, he is ultimately all about promotion (in a good way).

· Jeff Pulver: (@JeffPulver) Usually looking for social media speakers, getting ready for the next social media summit, or just talking about social media – he really does live “in” social media.

· Melanie Notkin: (@SavvyAuntie) She has branded the new, hip way to be an aunt. Her blog and online personality co-exist harmoniously.

Social climbing not the best approach

Social climbers beware. As you build your social media personality, don’t only connect with people who have a lot of “followers,” “friends,” “connections,” etc. It makes sense to engage the “big dogs” of social media, but it’s even better to connect with other quality audiences. Spending too much time looking for the big fish may take away from an entire school passing you by. Go grassroots and begin to build your personality one social media platform at a time.

A relatively easy approach on Twitter:

Use the search function and type in keywords associated with your brand. Reach out to everyone talking about these items with a personally crafted “Tweet.” Do not resend the same thing over and over. People you interact with will read your Twitter stream and want to see what useful information you provide.

Check out networks, groups, or fan pages on Facebook:

Creating a group or fan page for people to become a member of both gives you a new to interact with current customers and offers the opportunity to grow your reach exponentially. The Creative Commons fan page is a great example of a fan page doing it well. Their fan page has several discussion board posts (similar to a blog) and many wall posts – which demonstrates that people are engaged. They also have “REAL LIVE” employees who participate on the fan page.

Start a conversation on Seesmic, a video blogging community:

Post a 30 second video blog on Seesmic, asking for feedback and you’ll get it. There is a small, but mighty network of users on this video platform. If you’re looking for a way to jump on the video bandwagon this is a great way to get started. Todd Jordan (@tojosan) is an engaged member of the Seesmic community and offers “tell it like it is” advice. He gets that it’s not all about the numbers, and follows people who enjoy frequent video conversations with him.

It’s not a one-stop shop

There is no one-size fits all personality for your brand. In fact, think you know your brand? Explore social media and see how people really experience what it is you’re selling. You may need to adjust or reflect on your brand.

What is your brand offline? Social media isn’t an opportunity to reinvent a new brand, but to widen your brand’s reach. It’s all about the experience, right? People should get the same (or similar) experience with you online that they get offline. For example, a business owner talks up an impressive customer service experience at his or her business online without ensuring his or her staff truly delivers this service. Making a promise you can’t keep is worse than never having engaged your audience at all.

Remember Motrin Moms? Sharing information via social media without someone there to interact is a giant NO NO! A “must have” when branding on social media is being available to your public.

Return on engagement

It’s all about ROE – return on engagement. Is your social media personality working? You’ll know when opportunities arise that never would have been possible otherwise. A few ways to “quantify” engagement:

• Track incoming traffic from links

• Number of people subscribed to RSS feeds

• Number of people in social media groups, fan pages, etc

• Trackbacks or linkbacks to posts

• Conversation tracking tools like Twitter Search (Mashable guest writer Dan Schawbel previously discussedfree and fee-based brand monitoring tools)

• Comments on blog posts

• Increased sales and general inquiries

Best advice? Don’t take anyone else’s advice

You know your brand better than anyone. Learn some of the social media fundamentals, then apply and find what works best for you.

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HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Facebook and Twitter Promotions

Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller at the ...

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Once upon a time, you had to use a phone book to find a business’s contact details. Mercifully, those days are behind us. As social media has worked its way into every aspect of our lives, we as a culture have come to expect that our favorite brands — from “Big Gay Ice Cream” trucks to national airlines and fashion houses — are easily accessible on the most popular social networks.

However, it’s no longer enough to simply interact. Consumers are increasingly hungry for promotions, exclusive discounts and giveaways. In fact, recent data suggests that most people who follow brands on Facebook and Twitter both expect and want to receive coupons from these brands.

According to an Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of 1,000 participants regarding digital consumption habits, 65% of consumers want the brands they follow to offer coupons. Compare this figure to the percentage of respondents who said they wanted enhanced customer service (42%) and you begin to get a clearer picture of the landscape.

Certainly the Ad Age numbers indicate that the demand for promotions exists, but how effective are Twitter andFacebook promotions in practice? Do they really increase engagement or sales? While no conclusive studies have been done on this exact topic, substantial anecdotal evidence suggests that they do.

Examples to Learn From

A recent Facebook case study highlighting a campaign by Healthy Choice, shows positive results.

Targeting healthy eating-related keywords on Facebook’s ad platform, Healthy Choice created a promotion that exploited the viral nature of social sharing. The frozen food brand offered a coupon that increased in value as more people “Liked” its page and signed up to receive the deal.

As a result of the promotional campaign, Healthy Choice saw their connections explode from 6,800 to approximately 60,000 at the time of the study. A quick check of their fan page shows that they have gained over 8,000 additional connections since that time. Healthy Choice witnessed 3 times more user engagement after the promotion than prior, and by offering a newsletter capture on the coupon signup form, they were able to register approximately 60% of connections for their mailing list. Pretty impressive for a product as mundane as frozen dinners.

What remains to be seen is the staying power of Healthy Choice’s newfound audience. It seems likely that engagement will taper at least slightly now that the campaign is over, as users who connected solely to receive coupons start to tune out. It will be up to Healthy Choice to continue interacting with their broadened fan base in new and creative ways.

Renowned designer Diane Von Furstenberg has also been famously successful in social media. With over 100,000 Facebook fans and 182,000 Twitter followers, the brand certainly has a solid audience to draw on. At this very moment, DVF is offering free shipping and an unspecified gift (a pony?!) to users who refer a friend to the brand’s page. What makes this campaign smart is that, similar to Healthy Choice, it offers rewards for spreading awareness of the brand to others.

In 2010, Diane Von Furstenberg reported a 13% gain in web traffic after having been active in social media.

All these numbers are exciting, but the key to seeing a positive return on your efforts is to execute your promotion in such a way as to encourage maximum engagement. Here’s how to dive in.

Define Your Goals

“Defining goals” sounds almost too obvious to be worth mentioning, you’d be surprised at how often businesses fail to pinpoint goals for their social media efforts. The allure of Twitter and Facebook promotions is strong. It’s tempting to look around at the competitive landscape and imitate the actions of others without fully understanding what’s at stake. By defining exactly what you hope to gain from your promotion, you can better design the promotion itself to achieve these goals.

Do you want to gain followers or “Likes?” Design your promotion to provide incentives for doing so. Reward your 1,000th follower with a lavish gift bag, free consultation, or complimentary meal. Encourage retweets and shares to further spread the word.

Do you want to drive sales on your ecommerce site? Offer small, one-time discounts or free shipping offers to anyone who follows or “Likes” your brand and shares your campaign.

Do you want to garner more newsletter subscribers? Give users the chance to sign up to your mailing list when you give them their coupon or promo code.

Exploit the Medium

Facebook and Twitter both have enormous potential to spread promotions at viral rates. It’s up to you to craft your campaign to take full advantage of this fact. Learn from the strategies of Healthy Choice and DVF, who incentivized sharing with rewards, thus expanding their campaigns’ reach exponentially.

Set Metrics

Once you’ve defined your goals, you must also set metrics for measuring your achievements. Make sure you have a solid grasp on all your “before” figures before the campaign launches and be sure you know how to isolate social media traffic from your data.

Evaluate and Adjust

Finally, as our grade school teachers always told us, learn from your mistakes. If your first attempt was more of a belly flop than an olympic dive, don’t develop a fear of the water. Just be sure to assess the strengths and weakness of your first campaign before suiting up again.

In the end, unless you are cranking out extremely high quality content at a breakneck pace or are a naturally dazzling public face of the brand (and let’s face it, we can’t all be Tony Hsieh), your brand might not be able to engage people the way you really want to. Social media promotions are a great way to obtain a larger audience base on which to build your brand and maybe pocket some extra cash while you’re at it.

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