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In last week’s episode of #FanDamnShow, we discussed how to respond to a customer that leaves a complaint or negative comment online.  But what happens if you aren’t dealing with a customer?  What if you encounter a troll that’s trying to make your brand look bad?  This week’s episode walks you through exactly how to identify a troll, and how to respond to them!

Here’s where you can download and listen to the episode directly.  And if you can, please subscribe to The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show on iTunes, and I would *love* it if you could review the podcast on iTunes as well.  Also, #FanDamnShow is now available on Stitcher as well! BTW, thank y’all SO much for helping to grow #fandamnshow, the podcast had over 1,500 downloads in March and it’s almost topped that for this month just two weeks into April.  As a result, I’ve started to get requests for sponsor #FanDamnShow so I’ve created a custom page that has all the information on how your brand can sponsor #FanDamnShow and the rates. All available sponsor slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so please email me if you are interested in sponsoring #FanDamnShow.

We’ll talk again next week!

Pic via Flickr user sboneham

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Or do we simply need to change our expectations for engagement around the content we create?

Last year when I decided to launch The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, I tried to focus on how I could make my podcast different to help it stand out from everyone else that was jumping into podcasting.  I came up with three ideas:

1 – I didn’t want to have a co-host, and I didn’t want to make the podcast an interview podcast.  So many podcasts interview guests, and IMO few do it well.  And the few that do, like Kerry Gorgone’s Marketing Smarts do it so well that you’re probably not going to come close to what Kerry does, so it’s better to fight the battles you have a chance of winning.

2 – I didn’t want to have every episode be 45 minutes to an hour.  I just don’t have time for it, and now that more and more people are listening to podcasts during travels back and forth from work (which is typically a trip that takes less than 30 mins), a longer episode doesn’t work as well.  Plus, what I’ve noticed from a lot of podcasts, whether they have a co-host or not, is that many podcasters seem to approach their podcast as a pseudo radio show.  The opening 5-10 mins of the podcast is off-topic banter and small talk that has zero to do with that show’s topic.  Some listeners love it, I hate it.  Don’t waste my time, get into the show and cut out the fluff.  So I wanted to shoot for 20 mins or less per episode for my podcast.

3 – I wanted to create a way for listeners and fans of the show to have a real stake in the direction that the podcast took.  My idea was, since #fandamnshow is focused on how companies can create and cultivate fans, I wanted to let the fans and loyal listeners of the podcast have ownership of the show’s direction.  I didn’t really see any other podcasts really making an effort to empower their listeners and give them a way to make the show feel like their own.  The way I wanted to do this was to encourage listeners to engage with me and fellow listeners via the #fandamnshow tweets.  My thinking was that this would be a way for listeners to share their thoughts on the show and also suggest future topics, etc.  And I could pick topics that listeners suggested, give them shoutouts during the podcasts, and they could see that their voice was being incorporated into the flow of #fandamnshow so in many ways it would become their podcast, as much as it was mine.

 

Fast-forward almost a year, and #3 hasn’t happened at all.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some listeners (thank y’all!) use the #fandamnshow hashtag to promote the podcast, but there’s been almost none of the discussion around the podcast itself via the hashtag that I was hoping for.

And yet, the audience for #fandamnshow is growing at a rate that I never would have dreamed was possible when I launched the show.  Last month the show had over 1,500 downloads, which was a 170% increase over the previous month.  April looks like it could double the number of downloads from March.  So the show’s audience is rapidly expanding, but the engagement via discussions I am getting around the show via comments here, emails and tweets with #fandamnshow continue to be very low.

Now granted, a lot of that is simply a byproduct of podcasts not being the best channels for creating engagement via discussions.  As I said, a lot of people listen to podcasts while they are on the go, and mobile commenting isn’t a very convenient way to engage.  At the same time, I see discussions here have fallen for the last couple of years as well, and I’ve already talked about how no one is talking on Twitter anymore (Although I do like the recent ability Twitter added that lets you add a comment to a RT.  That’s a nice touch).

The reality is that most of us have decided that we would rather spend our time consuming content, than engaging in discussions about and around that content.  The time I spend crafting a comment about a post/podcast/video is time I could take to read another post or watch another cat video on Facebook.

From a business context, this change in how we define engagement could be a good thing.  For too long, businesses have relied on ‘soft’ metrics to try to measure social media success.  Comments, Likes, RTs and Favorites were tracked, metrics that have little correlation to real business growth.  Since these forms of engagement are harder to find, businesses will have to adapt and measure/track more relevant forms of engagement, like leads generated, white papers downloaded and click throughs.

But for all of us, I think we need to realize that the heady days of 2006-2008, when you could create almost any piece of social content and a discussion would spring up around it, are gone.

Pic via Flickr user Udo Springfield

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UPDATE: Here’s the link to the transcript for this #Blogchat.

Tonight at #Blogchat (4-12-2015) we will be discussing the changes that Google is about to roll out that are aimed at rewarding sites that are Mobile Friendly.  These changes will start to take affect on 4-21-2015, or Tuesday of next week.

Here’s where you can read about what these changes mean on Google’s webmaster blog.  In short, it seems that the main change will be that sites/blogs that google deems to be ‘mobile-friendly’ will rank higher than similar sites/blogs that are not mobile-friendly in google’s eyes.

You can use this site from google to check and see if google sees your blog as being mobile-friendly.

First, what does ‘mobile-friendly’ mean anyway?  In short, it means that your blog adapts to whatever device being used to view it, to present an adequate viewing experience.  For example, have you ever tried to view a blog on a smartphone and it looks like a smaller version of the entire website?  And you have to expand the text with your fingers to read any of it?  That’s an example of a blog that’s NOT mobile-friendly.  This is also called having a responsive design/theme/template for your blog.  It means your blog adapts to the device you are using to present text in a way that can be easily read.

Second, is google going to penalize my blog starting on 4-21-2015 if it’s not mobile-friendly?  Well, yes and no.  I think it’s more accurate to say this latest update from Google is more about rewarding mobile-friendly blogs that it is about penalizing ones that aren’t.  If you go now to your smartphone and do a google search, you’ll see that when you look at the results, some of the sites will have MOBILE FRIENDLY under their entry.  This is telling you that since you are on a mobile device, that these sites will give you an optimal viewing experience.  So the odds are that you will click a mobile-friendly result moreso than one that isn’t.  Additionally, Google has said that starting on 4-21-2015, it will begin using whether a site is mobile-friendly or not as one of its ‘ranking signals’.  Meaning that Google will start to consider if a site is mobile-friendly or not as one of the criteria when it ranks sites for results.  Will this only apply for search results on mobile devices, or all devices?  I’m not sure, maybe someone could chime in?

What are your options if your blog is NOT mobile-friendly?

If your blog is NOT mobile-friendly and you want to make it so, then you will want to either switch to a responsive theme, or make some alteration to your existing theme/site to make it responsive.

The first thing I would do is go to your Google Analytics and see how much of your blog’s traffic is currently coming from mobile devices.  For my blog, about 33% of my site’s traffic is from mobile.  That number is too big to ignore, so over the weekend I made some tweaks to my theme (Thesis) to make it responsive, and mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes.  If your blog is only getting 5% of its traffic from mobile devices, then you might decide to wait and see how your traffic changes on 4-21-2015 (if it does at all) before you make any changes.

Before changing themes, I would check to see if there are any options for making your existing theme responsive.  For example, I am running Thesis 1.8.6 here, and I found out there IS a way to make this theme responsive.  I did so by adding this responsive skin (so if you have Thesis 1.8.x, you can use it to make your blog responsive).  I would google your theme and see if there are any options for making it responsive.

If you do decide to change themes (and your blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog), keep in mind that WordPress 4.0 came with the Twenty-Fifteen theme, which is a responsive theme.  It’s a very simple and no-frills theme, but switching to it should make your blog mobile-friendly and ready for Google’s upcoming changes.

Also, Copyblogger has a nice write-up on what this change could mean for your blog.

So join us tonight at 8pm Central at #blogchat to discuss these changes and how to get your blog ready!  If you haven’t joined #blogchat before, here’s what it’s all about.

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The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show Episode 21: From Rants to Raving Fans

April 8, 2015
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Hey y’all! Welcome to the 21st episode of #Fandamnshow! Today I talk to you about how to respond to complaints from customers online and turn them into raving fans of your brand! This topic is SO misunderstood by brands, so I wanted to spend an episode walking you through the process for not only responding […]

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BMW Pulls ‘Reverse April Fool’s Prank’, Teaches You About Digital Marketing

April 7, 2015
TOTAL SHARES 48

On April 1st, a BMW dealership in New Zealand ran a newspaper ad.  At the bottom, it added an ‘April Fool’s Day Special’ coupon.  The coupon said that the first person to bring the coupon in and ask for ‘Tom’, would be able to trade their old car in for a new BMW. Here’s what […]

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My Blog Traffic and Podcast Audience Results For March

April 2, 2015
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For every month in 2015, I’ve set specific goals for growing my blog readership, and podcast audience.  The end goal is that by December this blog will have at least 100,000 visitors for that month, and the podcast will be downloaded at least 10,000 times for December.  Every month I am going to write a […]

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The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show Episode 20: Earning the Trust of Your Customers

April 1, 2015
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Hey y’all! Welcome to the 20th episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show! In this episode I discuss the value of appreciating the point-of-view of your customer and how it helps your brand win your customer’s trust. Show Notes: 1:20 – History lesson: How James Baker secured a key agreement with Russia by focusing on what […]

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It’s Not About the Tools, It’s About the People Using the Tools

March 31, 2015
TOTAL SHARES 49

“Sometimes the world is cruel to shiny things.” – Lucky, King of the Hill So you’ve heard of Meerkat, right?  If you read more than 2 social media blogs a month, you have.  If you don’t, you think the mammal, not the app.  Meerkat is an app that lets you stream live video.  And it […]

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Why Are Brands Trying to Publicly Shame Their Customers?

March 26, 2015
TOTAL SHARES 176

Seriously, what are brands thinking today?  And I’m not even talking about the ones that throw a pool party for their customers that involves knockout-gassing them.  Specifically, I want to talk about two brands that recently launched campaigns to engage with their customers at the point of sale, and why both efforts immediately fell flat. […]

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The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show Episode 19: Learning From Your Unhappy Customers

March 25, 2015
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Hey y’all! Welcome to the 19th episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show! In this episode I talk about the value of your unhappy customers (don’t you love that quote?).  Unhappy customers are such an amazing source of vital business feedback that is often overlooked.  We’ll talk about harnessing that value in this episode of #fandamnshow. […]

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A Very Simple Template to Decide What Content to Create For Your Business Blog

March 24, 2015
TOTAL SHARES 168

The other night during #Blogchat, Josh left these tweets about his business: So Josh is in a situation where he is shifting from providing dog training services, to focusing on manufacturing products for dog owners and likely dog trainers.  He wants to know how to create content that promotes the products he’s manufacturing, but one […]

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