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Re-Committing to Your Goals and "The Fresh Start Effect"

It's almost March, which means this year is officially no longer new. Remember all of those inspiring Instagram posts on Jan. 1 about how this was page 1 of a 365-page book, like this one? 

Today is Day 54 of 2016. Now is the time when we start to feel less like the photo above, and more like the photo below. 

 

Getting punched in the mouth happens to me almost every day that I try. I flail around every time it happens, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. In fact, flailing around just makes it take longer for me to regain my balance. 

The "Fresh Start Effect" allows us to reset and re-commit to our goals. Hear more about how to replicate the "fresh start" without needing to wait for another new year or milestone.

Here's a tool I'm using every day to deal with getting punched in the mouth (also inspired by James Altucher, the podcaster you heard if you clicked the link above).

Writing 10 ideas every day. I like to do this early in my workday. Here's a method for practicing.  

What I get out of this: A safe space to spout as many bad ideas as I can think of. Not just an outlet for creativity, but a kickstart for it.

Ten minutes of absolute freedom from self-criticism. Room to be creative. Room to sound like an idiot. 

 

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The Difference Between “Boost Post” and “Boost Your Posts” in Facebook Ad Manager

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Facebook ads: Have you thought about using them? Even if you have a $5 budget to begin with, I encourage you to test them out. Not just because you'll reach more people. A colleague at my co-working space recently reminded me what else you get for your $5: When you buy an ad, you get a TON of information on who responds to your ads. That information may surprise you. Are you reaching people you didn't expect? Not reaching the people you expected to? 

Both of those insights allow you to take action, either to experiment with your messaging to reach the people you really want to reach, or to re-assess whether your target market is different from what you thought it was. 

Those are actionable metrics, as opposed to the vanity metrics I talked about in previous posts. 

So buying ads can be useful even if you don't make a single sale. (Although odds are you will make a sale if you are sharing good content with a simple call-to-action.)

Today I'm talking about dipping your toe into ad-buying, and a simple what-not-to-do. Don't click on "Boost Post" at the bottom right corner of one of your Facebook posts. Instead, go to ads.facebook.com and click "Boost Your Posts."  Here's why. 

If you click "Boost Post," here are the options you get: 

If you go to ads.facebook.com and click "Boost Your Posts," you get about 8 bazillion more options. (Yes, 8 bazillion is the official number from Facebook's own team.) 

Those include: 

"Detailed target" which allows you to find people who engage in some pretty specific behaviors. Such as... people who are likely to watch home improvement shows and have also recently bought a home in a particular zip code.

That's pretty specific targeting for, say, an interior designer. And it's just the kind of targeting you don't get if you click on "Boost Post" at the bottom right of the post itself.

So don't do it. 

 

 

 

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Humans of New York: Why People Who Hate Facebook Pages for Marketing Should Take a Second Look

Do you know what Humans of New York is? If you use Facebook as part of your strategy for reaching people online, maybe you think that HONY is the exception that proves the rule. 

That's because while most posts from Facebook brand pages have very low engagement rates (say about 3-5% of your total number of Facebook fans), HONY sees a 15 to 20% engagement rate, including likes, comments, and shares. Tons and tons of shares.

Yes, HONY is the exception that proves the rule at the moment. I think that has at least as much to do with the strategy (or lack of strategy) that businesses execute using their Facebook pages as it does with whether Facebook "decides" to show your business posts to your friends and fans. 

What do I mean? 

HONY founder Brandon Stanton could ask his subjects anything, and he probably asks them a whole lot of things. But he only shares the photos and phrases that he knows will resonate with his audience. He knows what will matter to us, his audience, and he thinks from our point of view. 

He said as much when the New York Times talked to him last year after he shared a photo of a teenager who mentioned the principal of his school inspired him. 

Mr. Stanton noted that while he often asks people about the influences in their lives, few younger people think to give credit to a teacher. “It resonated with me, and therefore I knew it was going to resonate with other people,” he said.

The Times interviewed Stanton because he was able to raise over $1 million dollars for the school whose principal was mentioned in the Facebook post. 

I'd say that's pretty incredible engagement. ... So why do some people still claim that Facebook doesn't allow them to reach their audience? 

It goes back to something I've pointed out before: your content competes with content from all over the web. It also competes with your brother-in-law's fishing trip photos, reminders that it's a colleagues birthday, an inspirational quote your mom just shared.... 

But rather than giving up on Facebook for being too crowded, what if you created content that resonated in a way that makes us, your audience, stop scrolling and pause for a second on what you had to say? How do you do that? 

Well, for one thing, you have to believe that what you're sharing matters. And then you have to tell us why it matters. Usually it matters because this tidbit, photo, idea, insight, or piece of knowledge is going to make our lives better in some way. 

One way to do this by writing a post that solves a problem. In fact, that's what I'm doing here: I'm trying to help those of you who aren't sure how to connect with your audience on Facebook. 

While HONY posts don't "solve a problem," they do have something in common with problem-solving posts: they make a connection. 

The connection in a HONY post is between the photo subject and the audience. And Stanton has gotten very good at figuring out what will facilitate that connection. That's the reason he sees so many shares on each post: audience members "get" something about the subject, and it's something they want their social connections to get, too. 

So, when you're developing your calendar for Facebook, remember what you want your audience to do: stop and click. How you connect with them is up to you but putting yourself in their shoes, and asking currently clients what they have found most helpful are two good ways to create posts that bring value to your audience and help them develop trust in you. 

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The Lesson to Be Learned From This Silly Bio Generator (and 1 Great Tip that Helps Your Bio to Write Itself)

Maybe you heard about this randomized Tumblr, which parodies the tone of so many bios you see across Twitter and Instagram. If not, give it a try! I will wait. 

Well, when I saw this, I blushed. That's because my Twitter bio used to be ... enigmatic. At one point, it absolutely did have the word "intersection" in it. Eventually, it said something like:

 

"Steady hand. Dodgers fan. Ladies man." 

 

 

So, besides the fact that this bio is twee, there's another reason that this is a dumb way to write a bio. 

And learning this lesson is KEY to finding and building your audience. 

Because this is my Twitter bio now:

The difference? I watched Amy Schmittauer's video How to Write a Bio that Attracts the Right Following." 

Her advice: a good 140-character bio contains

  • What you do
  • Why it matters
  • And (importantly!) what potential followers CAN EXPECT to see you tweet

That last element is so helpful because it really allows the bio to write itself. Many people take Twitter "bio" to mean: cramming my life story and accomplishments into 140 characters. (That is why I gave up after a while and just wrote some random lyrics to a song I like.) 

But that is NOT what bio means when it comes to social media profiles. Whatever you write in the bio is searchable, which means, once again, you need to think like your audience.

You should include keywords and hashtags that your potential clients might search for. And once you've popped up in that potential client's search because you included those relevant keywords, the next step is to hook them as a follower by letting them know exactly what to expect.

"I tweet travel tips" or "I answer FAQs about applying for college." Or whatever it is that you do that is of use TO THEM. Take it away, Amy: 

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3 Lessons Magazines Taught Me About How to Get Your Audience Clicking

In a past (career) life, I worked as a fact-checker and copy editor for national magazines. That included fact-checking and copy editing the magazine cover, which meant I got to see all of the other editors' notes on the "cover lines"—those enticing titles framing the cover girl. I learned how editors construct cover lines and how they choose what to call out on the cover. 

Although I never worked for Cosmo, theirs are my favorite. Notice a trend? 

Sexy sex sells sexy magazines. 

Sexy sex sells sexy magazines. 

Lesson 1: Write titles from the point of view of your audience

The toughest, and the best editors excel at asking this question of every story:

"Why should we care?" 

Once they've answered that question, they often slap that answer on the cover. When I thought about the title for this blog post, at first I thought of the title, "3 Lessons I Learned from Magazines." 

But why would you care about what I learned at magazines? I'll tell you why: because it'll help you get clicks! 

Lesson 2: Try numbers in the title. 

Did you notice the title of my post? 3 lessons. THREE. People want to know what they're going to get when they open a magazine (or click a link). Including a number in a post works so well for web content, and here's why: it lets the audience know that they will be able to SCAN the article. Somehow, THREE points will be highlighted. They'll be able to quickly scan these points and pick them out.  

Another way magazines use the number in the cover line is to represent an abundance of info. "YOU'LL LEARN SO MUCH IF YOU BUY ME!" screams the magazine.  

When I worked at Gourmet, we would often verify a cover line like "32 Tips and Tricks for the Juiciest Chicken." Those tips might be found throughout the magazine, and we would page through the magazine to verify that there were 32 and that we hadn't missed any. But the overall effect of the cover line gave the impression that if you opened the magazine, you'd be swimming in tips and tricks! (You can see another example of that in the 99 SEX Questions cover line in the Cosmo photo above). 

Lesson 3: Learn from experience. 

As a content creator, when you share something and see a lot more engagement than usual (likes, comments, shares, clickthroughs), take note!

In Cosmo's case, they know that cover lines that feature SEX (NAKED is a close second) sell magazines. They have tested and learned. So they continue to get the word SEX on the cover, month after month. 

In your world, this might mean you keep blogging about topics that you've seen your audience respond to in the past. You try different things until you land on something! And you re-share content that engaged them in the past. Don't be afraid to repost popular content. 

 

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Try This When Sharing Your Content to Your Facebook Brand Page

BBM created a lovely graphic to promote our interview, using a cute photo of a very exhausted mom and dad, and a very sweet baby who did not yet sleep through the night. 

BBM created a lovely graphic to promote our interview, using a cute photo of a very exhausted mom and dad, and a very sweet baby who did not yet sleep through the night. 

Today, the Brilliant Business Moms posted my conversation with them about their Facebook brand page. They do a great job sharing their brand on social media. We talked about a lot of things, but one theme I returned to over and over: Put yourself in their shoes. 

For example, if you are going to blog about a particular topic, always think about titling the blog post using the same keywords that your audience might use to Google it.

You want to do this not only because it may help your page come up in Google search results, but also because when you share post to Facebook that has a title you're audience is interested in, they are just plain more likely to click. If you want your audience to read your blogs, listen to your podcasts, and watch your videos, you have to explain what's in it for them. The title is a great place to do that. 

 

 

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Tactics: Staying on Track

It's been a busy week. After running a million errands over the past four days, my husband and I realized we have at least one rat living in the wall of our house. The exterminator came and plugged the hole where he came in, but he wouldn't promise the rat couldn't find another way in. 

All of this is to say that I ran out of time today and didn't get a chance to write my blog. But I promised myself, come hell or high water, I'd blog twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday. It says so on my home page

I can't advise clients to blog consistently, create a schedule and stick to it, and not do that myself. 

So, it's still Thursday here on the west coast, and I'm blogging. I'm blogging a yawp of persistence and doing what I said I would do. 

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Your "Why" and Their "Why": Honing in on Your Call to Action

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Your "Why" and Their "Why": Honing in on Your Call to Action

So many people who are using social media to build their business have never heard of or thought much about "CTAs," yet the call to action is a big deal when it comes to social media marketing. In fact, it's the difference between a social media presence that builds your business, and using social media just for fun.

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Measuring Success: Split Tests and Social Media

You can conduct very effective tests using your posts on social media. They may not be perfect split-tests, but they can provide enough data to help you decide whether saying something like "Click here" works better for your audience than saying, "Get it now." Here are some options. 

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What’s a Vanity Metric? (And Why You Should Care)

A woman who had launched her website recently was asking, “What is a good number of page views your first month?” 

You may have asked the same question as you try to build your audience. After all, if you want to build your audience, doesn’t that mean you want more page views? 

Yes and no. 

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