Not Using Social Media is Hard

not using social media

The other day I decided that I needed to try to put some of my social media use on hold for awhile.  The reason is I have several web projects I need to work on and it is quite time consuming to have to monitor social networks across many different platforms.  Not using social media at all though… well it's quite hard to do.

First I started with LinkedIn and wanted to see if I could deactivate my account for awhile.   Technically you can't deactivate an account but you can set your account so that nobody can see it.  This is basically the same thing as deactivating your account I guess since what good is a social media profile nobody can see?  Anyway after I did that I moved onto Twitter.

Weighing the options of temporarily deactivating my Twitter account I realized it probably wasn't possible for me to actually stop using Twitter.  I have auto posting setup for @AdamYamada and some other accounts which is kinda nice.  Besides like LinkedIn it seems the only way to deactivate an account is to just set your profile to private.  Of course the big difference here is that anyone that is following you can still see your Tweets and profile information.  Sooo for now my Twitter accounts are intact but at least I uninstalled TweetDeck from Google Chrome.  While TweetDeck is a great social media tool it can be hard to manage the Twitterverse.

Then I moved onto Facebook the biggest and baddest social networks around.  Facebook at least has the option to keep your information intact but deactivate your account temporarily.  It's nice keeping up with all your friends but let's be honest… Facebook is a blackhole.  It sucks away all your productive time and you can never really get that time back.

I thought deactivating my Facebook account would be easy… ahhh I was wrong.  I have several apps connected to my personal account and no other contributors.  You can't deactivate the account and keep the Apps active without switching having an Administrator for the Apps that has a verified account.   That means to deactivate the account I might need to get a prepaid phone to use with a dummy account or just ask someone to transfer use the apps.

Then came all the social bookmarking sites I have used.  Damn, I've used a lot and a lot of them I never really understood or generated much traffic for me.  This includes Reddit, Delicious, Tumblr, and more.  Is it even worth time to delete those accounts?

So my goal of not using social media was a bit harder than I imagined it would be.  It is all to easy to sign-up for these services but all too hard to truly leave.  It is not in the best interest of the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. if you stop using their services.

Even though all these social networks can be quite useful used in the right way a lot of people try to contact me through it instead of just sending me an email.  I am just not really a fan of that as it takes a whole lot of time for me to direct message rather than just use my email.  I guess that's old school but hey, I still get emails from Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Bottom line not using social media at all nowadays is damn hard these days.  I wish it was possible to click a few buttons to just take a break but that ain't possible my friends.

Have a similar story of trying to disconnect temporarily or permanently from social networking?  Please share your story in the comments below.  I'd be curios to hear stories and I know others would as well.

Are Forums better than Social Media?

All the hype and rage you hear from marketers nowadays is all about social media this and social media that.  However, could it be that social media doesn't provide much useful information?

I ran across an interesting article on Social Media Explorer the other day which should make some marketers and companies rethink their social media strategies.  The report examined where the conversations about banks and the banking industry takes place online.  The winner?  Forums.

In the report they found that 90% of information about banks being discussed online is found on online forums.  Social networks accounted for 1% of the real conversations about banking. While Jason Falls, the writer, would obviously like you to purchase his report on the banking industry, keep in mind that he runs a site about social media.  If they were smart they would have thrown out the report and declared social media is the best place to market for banks! 🙂

social media

The article really got me thinking about where I go to find useful information online.  If I wanted to know more about web hosting, I go to a hosting discussion forum.  I would not turn to my followers on Twitter or Facebook since they probably don't know the answer and couldn't help me out.  Most of the time when I need technical help or I am trying to learn something new with software I do the same thing.

Posting cat memes and pictures while fun… come one, that's not useful to anyone.  Of course we all know that Singing Dogs are quite useful for the internet.  (These are my dogs by the way.)  To a certain extent social media is really more ideal for being entertained and engaged.  Something marketers are keen to capitalize on.

For a second I would think about where you get useful information when doing a Google search.  Do you always find what you need on blogs? Probably not.  Does Facebook's search engine (Bing) even work well? No. Can you find technical help on Twitter? Some places sure, but for the most part I doubt you can get technical questions answered in 140 characters or less all the time.

The current bank I have my money with I did research before opening an account with them.  Googling I found a bunch of threads, from genuine people (I hope), recommending their services and after reading these positive reviews on forums I decided to bank with them.  I have been using this bank's services for almost 2 years and couldn't be happier.  Their service and products are better than the local credit union's I was using and they have excellent customer support.

However, in all my research I didn't see anyone from the bank post on these forums or see bank reps taking part in any conversations.  Jason Falls hits the nail on the head when explaining why most marketers don't incorporate a forum into their overall marketing strategy.

marketers are petrified of them [forums]. Why? Because marketers typically aren’t welcome there. Most forum administrators are quick to thwart link droppers and promotional banner wavers. You can’t blame them. The users come there for … wait for it … conversations.

This is an excellent point!  I will get a lot of angry emails for saying this, but the reality is that marketers can't have real and meaningful conversations.  Participating in a forum means you need to really respond to what people say and not feed them what you want them to hear.

A common complaint I've heard about forum marketing is that it can be a lot of work with minimal results.  While it all depends on the niche, and what forums are available in the niche, again you need to provide real value and not just be trying to sell your products or get backlinks for you site.   Let's be fair, marketing on social media networks isn't easy and takes time, work, and a lot of money.

Having recently attended BlogPaws, a pet blogging conference, there was no discussion about forums, forum strategies, or how to get a community started.  The majority of the discussions regarding social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

Before going to the conference though I turned to the BlogPaws Newbie discussion group to get useful information regarding the conference for new attendees.  I got a lot out of the discussion group where I learned great tips and advice about attending BlogPaws I wouldn't have gotten unless I was part of the Newbie group.  If I had gone to the Twitter or Facebook pages I really wouldn't have gotten many answers to my questions or gained as much insight into BlogPaws before attending.

Since forums have been around since the dawn of the web I guess they really don't have the coolness and ‘new kid on the block' appeal of social networks.  I also rarely hear anyone say they want to start a forum since blogging or building a website product or service is what most people want to get into.

If Social Media Explorer's report is accurate, a lot of marketers should consider what having a good forum presence can offer them and their brand.  Forums are not going anywhere and will be around until the internet dies I bet.  So if the conversations for your audience is on forums, you either should get a forum strategy or start one.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

[Image Source – Social Media Explorer]

9 Tips for Running a SUCCESSFUL Kickstarter Campaign

successful kickstarter campaign

Everyone it seems is trying to raise money on Kickstarter nowadays.  It doesn't matter how wacky or crazy your idea is or well-connected you are, everyone is doing Kickstarter.

You probably have dreamed about running a successful Kickstarter campaign and getting tons of money to fund your next venture or project.   While it is quite easy to setup a Kickstarter campaign, it is very difficult to actually run a successful Kickstarter campaign.  These tips should help new or experienced entrepreneurs crowdfund their next project.

1. Start marketing BEFORE you launch

This is a simple, easy, and a key tactic to running a successful Kickstarter campaign and a lot of people do not do it.  If you can give your campaign momentum before it even starts, the chances of you getting funded are much higher.  Send your friends and family an email and just say, “Hey, I am launching this Kickstarter project and it would be really cool if you contributed when it launched.”  Obviously add some heartfelt messages and say what the project is and be genuine about it.  This way you already have a good idea of how well you are going to be funded before you put up the Kickstarter page.  You need momentum since most people won't donate to Kickstarter projects if there doesn't seem to be any chance of the project reaching the funding goal.

2. Use SOCIAL MEDIA as much as possible

If you are active on social networks use tip #1 and market the Kickstarter project before, during, and after the Kickstarter project goes live.  Social Media can be a great way to find people within your niche or field that might be interested in funding your project.  If you are not active on social networks, find someone who is and can help you.  If you know someone with a lot of (legit) followers, ask them to promote your Kickstarter project.  Don't waste time on a social networks you don't like or don't want to use though.  If you like Facebook, use Facbook.  If you have better results with Pinterest, use Pinterest.

3. Find People to WRITE about your Kickstarter project

Again I would use tip #1 and try to see if you can find a blogger in your niche that would be interested in the Kickstarter campaign before it launches.  (Good places to check are Examiner.com and Dmoz.org if you don't know of any bloggers.) Getting articles written about your campaign makes it seem serious and give you more exposure.  Chances are if a few people write about you, other writers and bloggers will pick-up the story as well.  Additionally this helps get traffic to your Kickstarter page which can be difficult when you consider how many projects and campaigns are on the site and go up everyday.

4. Make it CLEAR why you need money, and what you will use it for

People need to understand what you are doing and why they should give you their hard earned money.  Successful Kickstarter campaigns describe what they need money for in detail and clearly.  If you just put up a paragraph and think that's enough, it isn't!  If you are not the best with words, that's fine.  Find someone who can help you truly describe why you need money and awesome things you are going to do with it.  The most important thing when writing the description is to sound genuine and real.

5. Use keywords for SEO impact

Since Kickstarter has high authority and Pagerank (7), using the proper keywords can really help give your page a boost in visitors.  Having a well-written description that is SEO friendly will make Google love it, which is important.  You can use the Google Keyword Tool to find what words you should and should not include in your description.  (When using the Google Keyword Tool remember to select “Exact” since it defaults to “Broad” searches which won't be as helpful.)  Also remember to put a link to your website (if you have one) in the description.   That will help your website's traffic and link juice.  Also chances are people are going to check your website before contributing.

UPDATE: Google has shutdown the Google Keyword Tool and moved to a new more comprehensive tool, the Google Keyword Planner.

6. Use beautiful PICTURES, a lot

Using beautiful and eye-catching pictures will help keep people on your Kickstarter page.  If they are on the page longer, they are more likely to contribute money.  Remember that the cover image for the Kickstarter project is important to draw people to the page as well.  It should be distinctive and stand out from the crowd.  If you don't take good pictures find someone who is good with cameras help you.

7. VIDEOS sell, so use Vimeo

Videos are a great way to tell the world your story of why you need money.  For instance, a lot of indie film projects put-up trailers so you can get an idea of what the movie will be like.   If you are going to put up a video, make sure to use Vimeo and not Youtbe.  It makes me crazy when I am watching a Youtube video and it freezes!  (This happens even on fast internet connections since Youtube's bandwidth and servers seems to get overloaded during certain times of the day.)  That should definitely not happen on your Kickstarter page since people are impatient.  Vimeo has better video quality and rarely freezes.  That's why lots of startups use Vimeo nowadays instead of Youtube.  Remember you are not focusing on Youtube views, you need to focus on quality and getting people to give you money.  Vimeo even has a nice Video School so you can learn about good techniques for making videos.  By the way, don't feel like you need expensive cameras or equipment.  My Sony HD Handycam, which cost $500, shoots in full 1080 high definition and is great for making short internet videos.

8. GIVEAWAY stuff or something

Successful Kickstarter campaigns giveaway stuff or something.  For instance if you are a band and need money to rent a studio, then mailing the album once it is completed to someone who contributed $50 is a logical thing to do.  If you don't have stuff to giveaway, you could just post the person's name on a Donor List or something like that.  You don't need to offer the world but offering something is important.  People are much more likely to contribute to a Kickstarter project if they feel they got their money's worth.

9. DON'T use Kickstarter!

What? How does that make sense?  While Kickstarter is quite popular and has a ton of traffic, that is double-edged sword.  Your Kickstarter campaign could get a lot of traffic but more likely it will get drowned out by the all the other campaigns vying for people's attention.  It is estimated that only 32% of Kickstarter projects get funded.  You might want to try IndieGoGo which is another popular crowdfunding platform and came before Kickstarter.  The nice thing about IndieGoGo is it has flexible funding option, which means if you don't reach your funding goal, you still get some money.  IndieGoGo is also catered more toward non-profits.  Crowdrise, GiveForward, etc are good options if you are a non-profit.  There are also other crowdfunding alternatives which cater to specific needs or groups.  These might be a better fit depending on your project and fundraising goals.

Successful Kickstarter Campaign

I hope these tips help make a successful Kickstarter campaign or IndieGoGo, Crowdrise, etc for whatever you want to raise funds for.  If you have any tips that you would like to add, please let me know and leave a comment below.

Know someone who wants to crowdfund their next project or big idea?  Please share this article with them before they start it so they have a successfully funded project.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!