Engagement vs. Fooling Around 17


Social media superheros that stay in character understand a great deal.

A lot is said about ignoring metrics and just causing a big ruckus with social media personages, superheroes and the like on Twitter, Facebook and other relevant social media forums these days–mostly a lot of hooey. Don’t get me wrong, attention-getting is a large chunk of the pie, and as many have already demonstrated, it most definitely helps to sell products, rack up views and gain a following, but it’s not the whole marketing pie.

Truth is, a lot of Twitter personalities out there understand how to merge a character with their own personality. People like the amazing Miss Destructo (A.K.A. Amber Osborne), for instance, as noted by Mashable and other social media authorities, has been utilized by companies to help provide a focal point for anything from Bruce’s Yams to Busch Gardens, a local amusement park in Tampa, FL.

Miss Destructo on Twitter

Creating an engaging character can be a very smart thing to do, and you might get by without any business sense or marketing chops whatsoever for a while, but that’s the equivalent of saying that every garage band has a shot at a major contract and a good income and they don’t need to read their record label contracts. Most garage bands aren’t Nirvana. They’re more like Killdozer, at the very best–darn good for what they do, but not headlining amphitheaters or selling truckloads of records.

When someone like @BadBanana comes along on Twitter and makes folks swoon with a fascinating persona and deadpan comments, that’s a very clever ploy to demonstrate that the guy behind it–a marketing guy–can create awareness and attract eyeballs. It’s smart marketing from a marketer’s standpoint. It’s not a strategy in and of itself, however. You still need a real plan lined up for what happens afterward if it’s going to be anything more. I’d be willing to bet that few of his (Tim Siedell’s) clients dip into the pockets on the basis of that character alone. They want to see numbers, metrics, proof that he can direct traffic to social media sites.

Taking Action

So, how can that lightning rod persona translate into record sales, book sales, tickets sales, newsletter signups or whathaveyou? How can small and local business create stir and connect the dots to current events and what should be their most natural audiences? How can a big buzz turn into a big revenue and growth for your cause or startup? Wait a minute, there’s another way we can compact all these…

What goes into a solid “Now What?” plan?

The following would be a really good idea…

5 Ways to Maximize Value from Your Social Media Traffic


1) Create a business plan to make revenue

(Hopefully, you’ll have done this one in advance of your engagement experiment. It can still work after the fact, however, if you’re just fishing for things that catch on.) This can be anything from a product to a service to AdSense and sponsorship ad space. Whatever it is, if you’re not going to make money from it, it’s going to fold. YOu may as well take the Vaynerchuk’s advice and make your passion into an income that can support you back.

2) Employ metrics
“But the guy in the mask and cape said I don’t need them!”

Well, that guy doesn’t know about marketing because he isn’t a marketer. If he were, he’d know that metrics are the only hope of convincing any major investor to put serious money on the table. Metrics are why big companies even bother with social media in the first place. Don’t be a sap, understand that technical bumps like metrics are par for course in growing and navigating what’s worthwhile and what isn’t.

3) Designate tasks
If you’ve created a painting instruction site and you’re the expert on painting, don’t expect that you won’t need things like a PR company, a contract lawyer, an accountant, etc. YOu may not start out needing them, but sooner or later you need grown-up business accessories just like any other business, whether you started it on your PC in your spare time or not.

4) Reassess strategies regularly
This is crucial to staying on track. Hold fun meetings that interns and paid employees alike can sink their chops into. Don’t neglect to hand the mike to the new guy. Let everyone talk. This is an “open source” policy of input-culling that many companies officially support, but few do very well. THis leads to #5 on the list…

5) Build a great team
Maybe we should really do away with the term “Boss”. Doesn’t really say what we think of nowadays as a good superior in an organization, does it? “Team Leader” really sort of says it better, among others, because of all things you shouldn’t do, merely dictating tasks or bossing people around is probably at the top of the list.

Try to understand that with authority comes stress and with stress comes venting on subordinates (many of whom may be interns!). Understand that there is more than one way to keep the team on track and engaged with the project at hand. Be open enough to individual freedom of expression to hear everyone out. When you’ve had enough, have a mode of modulating the flow of communication that says “Thanks for the useful input. I think I’ve got the gist of it. We’ll put that to further thought.” NEVER ask people to stop communicating. Respect everyone while still keeping the flow of communications relatively functional.

Photo Credit

Mark BrimmMark Brimm is Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Marcana.com and is author of AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords and other previous related books on search marketing. He is currently working on a forthcoming book on social media strategy.

Mark consults on SEO & SEM, general web marketing and social media at Interface Communications Group where he is Partner and Director of Digital Marketing. Some of his agency’s specialties include SEO (search engine optimization), social media optimization (SMO), as well as PR campaign concepts, marketing plans and general web marketing planning and execution.


About Mark Brimm

Mark Brimm is President of 123interface.com, the Founder of Marcana.com, and runs a personal blog on social media, marketing and entrepreneurship at MarkBrimm.com. He also runs a blog on SEO & SEM at SEMinsider.com.

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  • http://will.crosscutcommunications.com William Reichard

    Very well said, Mark! Ideas are cheap–execution is rare. That’s why VCs generally grant you the idea in a pitch.

    Nice stuff!

  • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

    Thanks Will!

    It’s very tough to do something with traffic just as it appears. Planning far ahead is important.

  • Klydesdale

    Great! We needed this in our current campaign. Nice!

  • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

    Thanks Will!

    It’s very tough to do something with traffic just as it appears. Planning far ahead is important.

  • http://twitter.com/jckhewitt JC Hewitt

    So, I’ve been reading The Man Who Sold America (http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Sold-America-Advertising/dp/1591393086), about advertising pioneers at the beginning of the 20th century.

    Creating a character to facilitate business communications like this is one of their old strategies. I think corporate leaders easing into social media can soothe some of their anxiety by noting that this is a very time-tested technique for driving business.

    As long as proper metrics are used, of course!

    Chicago startup SproutSocial (http://sproutsocial.com/) just came out of beta, specializing in SM metrics with an attractive UI… I’d like to hear of other services out there.

  • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

    There are already a dozen or so commercial tools gaining ground for metrics among medium and large companies. The tools have been in place for a while now and in general are basically the same as before. Omniture’s SiteCatalyst is still the most widely adopted measurement tool in use by Fortune 5000′s with a claim to online purchases, but social media’s explosion in recent years has strained that dominance considerably allowing many new tools to emerge as social proves to be, not a fad, but not a new paradigm in itself, either.

    In the end, however, I think the most holistic tools (like SiteCatalyst) that do the most and can win the branding wars are going to ultimately win out. Big companies hate to have to scramble to assimilate new tools when existing ones are scrambling to keep up with social-specific ones. In some cases, known agency consultants form companies that have customized dashboards and the like, but that isn’t really the best way to serve the client, normally.

  • http://twitter.com/dianadriscoll Diana Driscoll

    This is SO spot on, Mark! Because our businesses often rely heavily on social media and technology, it can be easy to forget that it IS a business first! It is easy and fun to end up just “fooling around”. We all need to stay focused, develop our metrics and have a plan. It is great that technology allows us to keep our overhead lower now, so well executed start-ups have a chance to get off the ground before needing to go to the V.C.’s.
    Another great post, Mark, thank you!

  • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

    Agreed. Recession = “How can I save money on this?” Developing firm principles can do just that for any business. Experts estimate that solopreneurs on on the rise in this recession. We have to expect that the way to give value is to be able to address that need of smaller average marketing overhead, esp on short-term campaigns. Long term value and future long term value are more important than ever as everyone is planning ahead to spend less and smarter. But hey, I guess I don’t have to tell you that, Miss Green Hotels! :)

  • http://www.marcana.com Mark Brimm

    There are already a dozen or so commercial tools gaining ground for metrics among medium and large companies. The tools have been in place for a while now and in general are basically the same as before. Omniture’s SiteCatalyst is still the most widely adopted measurement tool in use by Fortune 5000′s with a claim to online purchases, but social media’s explosion in recent years has strained that dominance considerably allowing many new tools to emerge as social proves to be, not a fad, but not a new paradigm in itself, either.

    In the end, however, I think the most holistic tools (like SiteCatalyst) that do the most and can win the branding wars are going to ultimately win out. Big companies hate to have to scramble to assimilate new tools when existing ones are scrambling to keep up with social-specific ones. In some cases, known agency consultants form companies that have customized dashboards and the like, but that isn’t really the best way to serve the client, normally.

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