Conversion Heroes is a series of 5-question interviews with experts in the field of conversion. Subjects for discussion include landing pages, copywriting, conversion optimization, social media conversion, email marketing, organic SEO for landing pages and A/B & multivariate testing.
Today’s Conversion Hero is Tamar Weinberg
Tamar Weinberg (@tamar) is a social media strategist specializing in high level strategy, blogger outreach, viral marketing, and general Internet Marketing. She is also the author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web (O’Reilly, July 2009), a primer to social media marketing. Additionally, Tamar is Mashable’s Community Support and Advertising Manager. She blogs about her thoughts on social media at her personal blog, Techipedia.
In my interview with Tamar Weinberg we discuss the life of a social media marketer, how to stay connected and get your brand noticed.
1. Social Media conversion goals
Oli: Conversions are essentially the completion of a desired action. What are some of the things you do to make your social media interactions successful and tied into your goals?
Tamar: For my personal goals, being the go-to person to get companies up to speed on social media is critical. I use my blog to provide great content on social media with the goal of ultimately being able to help companies become successful in the medium. Currently, I’m a new user and already a huge fan of Performable.com, which is a great analytics tool that lets me see all types of inbound actions on my website directly (and outside of it as well on social networks). I’ve already learned via Performable that I can optimize some of my actions to better improve upon my goals — and I’m really excited to see how some of my tweaks pan out! In fact, since I’ve made a small change just a few hours ago, I’ve seen some impressive results.
If you email me, I usually reply within 5 minutes since I always want to put the person in front of me first.
Of course, I further these goals by building up relationships with individuals through comments on my blog, in addition to social networks and services. I also connect face to face at events. If you email me, I usually reply within 5 minutes since I always want to put the person in front of me first. There’s so much opportunity to build upon friendships and get people interested in what I do, and I love the social space since it takes me down to my roots.
Oli: It’s an important ethical behaviour that is greatly amplified by social exposure (and I can definitely vouch for your quick email replies). There’s nothing worse than seeing a blog post with a ton of unanswered questions. Conversely, when you engage people and respond quickly it keeps the momentum going and spurs further interaction.
2. Social Media Never Sleeps
With ever simpler and more powerful access mechanisms (mobile apps etc.) – potential conversation and interaction opportunities extend far beyond traditional “office hours”.
Oli: How do you leverage this “always on” state to do more?
Tamar: There’s a pro and a con of being “always on.” I’m always thrilled by the prospect of reaching people any time of the day, but it also means that you need to be responsive all the time. Social media means your typical 9-5 day is now your waking hours. Still, I’m pretty responsive and always make sure the customer gets what he wants in a timely fashion; I don’t like to wait and I know nobody else does either. I do admit that I work from home and I’m usually connected from morning until night time. I’m not ashamed and I LOVE what I do, but I do feel committed to my work.
I’m always thrilled by the prospect of reaching people any time of the day, but it also means that you need to be responsive all the time.
I actually give myself goals and motivate myself with to-do lists via Remember the Milk. I feel great when there are no upcoming tasks for the day! Fortunately, I do usually stamp out any task quickly. I hate anything that I need to reply to in my inbox (I strive for Inbox Zero all the time) and I hate lingering tasks. :)
Oli: What tools and social media sites do you use to keep connected to your community as efficiently as possible?
Tamar: I’m a huge fan of HootSuite (aff) as it’s a great tool to view Facebook and Twitter accounts in one nice dashboard; plus, there’s a mobile client as well. I love how it has “streams,” so I can monitor different interactions — my home feed, replies to me, my incoming messages, and then a plethora of queries I run to monitor my brand and my clients’ brands — all in one interface.
Oli: Agreed, Hootsuite is my mobile Twitter app of choice and the multiple account feature is way nicer than logging in and out constantly on Twitter.com. They’re also from Vancouver so I’ll give them extra awesome points :) Using extra “streams” is a great technique and something I do with Twitter just using regular browser tabs to keep a live conversation pushed towards me while I’m online (without needing an extra tool).
Oli: You have a large network, how do you manage it?
Tamar: In terms of networking, it’s definitely hard to keep up with every single development. I’m extremely approachable, though, and make myself available whenever someone reaches out directly.
3. Social Media Metrics
Oli: As social media grows up as a marketing tool, there’s a lot of discussion and new tools based on “social media metrics”. How important do you think measurability is for SM in general and for how you use it (does it matter to you)?
Tamar: Social media produces results if done right. Metrics matter but I’m not necessarily always quantifying every single interaction. It’s hard to measure those types of results to see exactly how many dollars or cents were added to the company’s bottom line because of something conveyed in the social channels.
Most clients I work with see social media as building the brand, making people passionate about the brand, improving sentiment, being a great customer service channel, and overall making the brand available to the customer. I know for others it’s really about direct sales, but it’s hard to really quantify buzz, and that’s what social media achieves for most brands I’ve worked with.
The more available a brand is, the more likely you are to know the brand and product. It is said that a consumer needs to hear things three to five times before you may see a behavior change. Through social, you can make your message heard.
4. Helping people succeed as social media marketers
Oli: As a social media marketing (SMM) consultant (amongst many other things), what are some of the things you advise people to do when they are stepping into SMM for the first time?
Tamar: It depends on their goals. However, I do think that in general there are some golden rules I’d suggest:
- It’s no longer a one-way communication. It goes two ways, and making your customer feel empowered is the best way to have them retroactively empower you.
- Social media is “always on,” like you said. You need to be available or make someone available to handle crises that may occur outside regular business hours.
- Know your audience. Spend time where your customers are. To know your audience best in social channels, watch before you engage. Are people self-promoting? If not, you shouldn’t do it either. Everyone self-promotes once in awhile, but don’t overtly sell yourself since you will rub people the wrong way.
5. Social Style
There are many different styles of communication on Twitter. Creator, curator, commenter. Some people create content and share it, some become a curator of other’s content and some engage mainly in conversation.
Oli: How do these styles compare? And how do you succeed at them?
Tamar: I think it depends on what you have to bring to the table. If you’re creating content or even curating content, you can be perceived as more of a thought leader than one who comments exclusively. If you think of @shitmydadsays, that was a creator account that turned into a TV sitcom. You could do some pretty amazing things with creative 140 character tweets!
If you think of @shitmydadsays, that was a creator account that turned into a TV sitcom. You could do some pretty amazing things with creative 140 character tweets!
Oli: I had no idea of the back story on that one. It’s a funny show. Shatner was a great casting choice, and I love how clever they got with disguising the word $#*! for primetime, while making it look exactly like the real word – pretty smart.
Tamar: Curators know where to find the best stuff. They are looked up to because they know how to amass great content to repackage them for their audience. Their audience knows to look to them to share content that’s already being distributed publicly — but they may be known as finding the cream of the crop. They can help find the signal from the noise. I’d like to argue that I’m offering the same for Internet Marketing related content via my new monthly newsletter.
Commenters are building relationships. They’re learning about the creators, curators, and commenters around them and still adding value by putting those other people forward. They may have answers to questions or just simply want to network.
Oli: Which one describes you best?
Tamar: The funny thing is that I think I do a combination of all three. When I first started using Twitter, I *never* commented publicly. I would always DM people who tweeted at me. I figured it was nicer than to intrude on everyone else’s feed with a tweet for one specific person. Over time, I combined the comments with my creations and curations.
If I could point to a dominating feature, I’d say I’m a curator.
Thanks to Tamar for being our latest Conversion Hero and sharing the social goods with our blog readers.
More Conversion Heroes
Part 1: Roberta Rosenberg on Copywriting for Landing Pages
Part 2: Dan Martell on Social Media Conversion
Part 3: Paras Chopra on Split Testing
Part 4: John Hossack on PPC
Part 5: Chris Goward on Conversion Rate Optimization
Part 6: Cindy Alvarez on Point-of-Conversion Feedback
Part 7: Tim Ash on Landing Page Optimization
Part 8: Amy Ellis on Email Marketing
Part 9: Tamar Weinberg on Social Media Marketing