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#SocialMedia #Shawsocial #Media

I’m the first person to admit I am not a fan of marketing, if a salesperson is pushy then I won’t buy on principle, unless I REALLY want that item. I’ve worked in retail, a call centre (never ever again – I lasted two weeks), and of course I have to market my books. Time and again there’s guidance on how to sell, what to do and not to do, and a lot of it is contradictory.

I actually find the marketing far more of a challenge than actually writing the books – as I am not especially confident and don’t like to be pushy. So, you ask, where is she going with this?

A good friend of mine recently put me onto Living Social – which is basically a coupon site for discount products. I was looking for an Excel course, I use it in my day job and I know the basics but that’s it. The chance of my work actually providing useful training is pretty low so I decided to look for a course myself, to do in my own time. Whilst wandering around the site I found the Online Social Media Marketing course – for £15 instead of £150 (or close to that). At that price I thought what the hell – it may help and if it doesn’t then I haven’t lost much.

The course itself is run by SHAW ACADEMY, who is one of the biggest online training providers. This is part one of their marketing training, the foundation diploma, and it’s worth doing. Run over 10 weeks there are two hour-long webinars, plus an ‘on-demand’ lecture a week, quizzes to test knowledge and a two hour assignment at the end. They have a You-Tube site, which has extra videos and interaction, plus an active Twitter feed.

http://www.shawacademy.com

The course covers a number of topics: Facebook pages and advertising, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, ORM (Online Reputation Management), You-Tube, Instagram, and a good deal about analytics. It goes without saying that the course is predominantly sales focused but there is a lot of excellent advice.

The tutor – Daniel Gilligan is informed, engaging and has a wicked Irish sense of humour.

Although due to the volume of students the webinars do not allow verbal participation student are encouraged to ask questions, and Daniel and his team are happy to answer emails and phone calls regarding the course. There were incentives to log in to the webinars live (prizes etc.) and as they were at 7pm UK time, that was useful. For a small fee one could buy the slides, notes and extra vids – although everyone got the basic pack. There is a certificate at the end (assuming one does the final assignment) and it is an accredited course.

Not all the aspects are useful for me – I still dislike Linkedin, and although I joined Instagram I’m yet to do much with it. The most useful aspects for me covered analytics, ORM and the discussion on target audience. Times of day are important too. I forget sometimes that my audience are not all in the same time zone, so scheduling a Tweet at 7 pm  my time might not be helpful as it could be 2am in the US, or 2pm when people are at work.

I find Pintrest more of a distraction than a useful marketing tool – that said I have set up a board for my own books (ADD LINK), and many people do like the very visual aspect. But I have, as a reader, looked at books based on the cover there.

I’m working on a companion website for the blog, and have quite a number of ideas, plus I am contemplating a Facebook ad, re-jigging the blog and it has given me the confidence to try some more approaches.

What I learned:

Keep it short and snappy, relevant and regular, new and nice is important. Don’t behave like an asshat – it will ruin your online reputation, and it’s hard to come back from that. We were shown examples of some unfortunate and ill-considered posts and Tweets. For example a particular company tweeting a brand and then #RIPPRINCE on the sad day the singer Prince died. Not only totally inappropriate to the brand this got hold of a twitter outpouring of grief at the death of an icon. Trending hashtags need to be used with care – is it relevant to the post, or is it just latching on to a trend? Think through what you post, keep it clean, and make sure it’s not filled with errors.

Don’t overload the sites with the same message.

Also it’s worth considering what’s working and what isn’t and why? Wrong target audience? Badly written promotion? Misunderstood promotion?

Be consistent.

Tailor content – what is appropriate for one platform/audience might not be for another

Engage.

This is the FOUNDATION diploma – and there is a second part – which currently I am not looking at (due to time, money and other commitments) but I would consider it in the future.

Oh and by the way I got a Merit 🙂

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