10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out About What Teenagers Are Doing On Social Media

When we hear that teens are leaving Facebook for Snapchat and Instagram, we tend to jump to conclusions.

We know that children are the future.

We are the world…

But, does that mean that ALL of their habits will become NORMS later on?

Is everyone going to leave Facebook?!

Will middle aged people try to act like teenagers?

Or will teens grow up one day and act more like adults?

Maybe some of both…

Well, here are the facts: recently, Facebook had dominated the social media landscape among America’s youth – but it is no longer the most popular online platform among teens, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Today, roughly half (51%) of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

As online marketers, what does that mean for us?

Should we be freaking out??

Should we all leave Facebook in a mad rush to stay hip with the teenage trends?


And here’s why:

10 Reasons Not To Freak Out About What Teenagers Do On Social Media

1. Email survived millennials.

Remember when everyone thought millennials would stop using email?

Well, they didn’t. 

As soon as teens entered college or the workforce, they inevitably began using email.

Same theory may be applied to social media.

The online behavior of today’s teens will change as they adapt to:

– other generations
– the workforce
– mainstream society

Teens become adults in 5-10 years, so don’t stress about the current youth’s habits too much.

(via 99Designs)

2. There are still more teenagers on Facebook than Instagram.

Our data below comes from Facebook Audience Insights and Facebook Ad Manager.

This is freely available, live data on 230 million monthly American users. At should be noted that this data comes from actual online activity, not from a survey with all the usual flaws of market research.

The Facebook Ad Manager data also includes Instagram data, since Facebook owns Instagram and the ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram.

If we look at ages 13-21, there are:

– 22 million users on Facebook
– 20 million users on Instagram

And ages 18-24:

– 35 million users on Facebook
– 29 million users on Instagram.

This gap continues to widen with age.

Young people may be using Instagram and Snapchat more, but there are still a huge number of teens on Facebook.

If you market to youth segments, you should market and advertise on all three of these platforms.

3. Instagram is awesome!

The younger people are, the more likely they are to be on BOTH Facebook and Instagram, and this is definitely the case with teens.

According to PEW, 72% of teens say they use Instagram, which is great.

If teenagers go to Instagram, as a marketer, it’s no problem. We can still market to them on Instagram itself and via Facebook Ad Manager.

4. Snapchat could become a great place to market in the future.

Snapchat’s disappearing messages have become a primary means of communication for teens.

It was built on the appeal that photos and messages expire and disappear. 

Are these viable places to market? Yes.

Currently, marketing on Snapchat is more expensive than Facebook or Instagram, but it may become a great place to advertise in the future.

(via Business insider)

5. Teens also love online gaming.

A large majority of teens – both boys and girls – play video games.

This creates loads of potential online marketing opportunities.

There’s a whole world of online gaming out there.

It may also become a great place to advertise in the future!

6 Stay in the present. Market now.

Everyone knows the future is imminent and inevitable.

What we know to be true today may not be the case tomorrow because our world is constantly changing.

Instead of worrying every day about the landscape of online behavior, (“What’s going to happen?!”) just be aware of trends.

Stay in the now.

7. Remember, 13-17 year olds don’t live in the real world.

Spend less time worrying about the affairs of teens.

They’re in high school.

They live in a bubble at their parents’ house.

Their lives haven’t been overtaken by jobs, paying bills and responsibilities just yet.

Their habits will change as they begin to interact with other generations.

8. Teens are online all the time.

When did you get your first smartphone? Probably not when you were 13.

According to a the Pew Research Center survey, fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’.

That percentage has nearly doubled in just a few years! In 2014-2015, only 24% of teens said the same.

Kind of scary, but times are changing.

Are teens part of your target audience?

If so, they’re always connected.

9. Are you even marketing to teenagers?

Are teens a major part of your target audience?

If not, then you REALLY shouldn’t be freaking out.

Give them a decade and they’ll become part of your audience.

Both sides will have adjusted to trends, new technologies, other generations, and best/new marketing practices by then.

Which leads me to my final reason not to freak out…

10. We’ll adapt!

As marketers and humans, we’ll adapt. That’s what we do.

Through print, radio, TV, and now online, we’ve adapted.

So stop stressing! We’ll figure it out together. :)

It’s going to be okay!

Why Do Social Media & Community Building Actually Work?

The Ecommerce Times was recently writing an article on social media community building and reached out to 15-year digital marketing expert and 10-year social marketing expert Brian Carter for an interview. ECT published some of his responses in this article, “5 Ways to Build Community Around Your Brand.”

If you liked that, here are Brian’s complete responses!

Q1. Why is it important to build social or community around a brand?

When we do social for clients, part of that is building engagement and awareness around a brand and its offerings.

In a time where a lot of digital experts have gravitated toward conversion optimization only, I understand that because I grew up doing that with SEO focused on conversions, Google AdWords focused on revenue and ROI, Google Analytics, Omniture and split-testing.

I’m a data guy, a test-discover-learn guy… basically a geek!

So it took me a long time to believe that engagement really had a hard quantitative value beyond all the soft feel-good stuff people seemed to like about it.

When Facebook ads came on the scene, we ran fan growth and engagement ads for companies along with Facebook and Google ads for lead gen, ecommerce and other conversion-oriented campaigns, though I often was skeptical about whether the fans or likes were really helping them grow their customer base, drive sales, or improve profits.

We’d counsel that this was the quickest way to get customer or profits, but customers often wanted to grow fans and get engagement, so we took the challenge…discovered how to drive low cost fans and get high engagement rates for pennies on the dollar.

But I was still skeptical about the business value of fans and social media engagement.

And it’s hard to overcome that skepticism, a skepticism many people have, because:

a. Multi-touchpoint analytics are spotty (not every company has them)
b. The analytics for multi-touchpoint seems complicated or out of the way (not every company wants to dive into this just to examine whether their bias is correct), and
c. Finding out the truth about your social media’s conversion value sometimes requires spending money or even third party studies of your analytics.

Not every company can or will do all of that. But the 20% or so of clients we’ve had who did both engagement and conversions AND looked at their metrics, always saw big benefits to running engagement ads in addition to conversion campaigns:

  1. Engagement ads usually spike organic search traffic and sales: Increased brand awareness from social engagement ads increases search engine searches for your brand name (people notice you more and think, “Oh what was that thing? Oh yeah that company… Let me search for that now…”), which gets you additional organic traffic and sales. When you see an organic traffic and sales spike after starting a new social ad campaign and not changing anything else, you have to be honest: it might have been that social awareness. Sometimes you can track that, if the social ads led to traffic, but if they didn’t, your website analytics can’t even track that, unfortunately.
  2. Engagement ads can pay for themselves: Often you can look at the social engagement ads data and see specific revenue driven from that same ad spend- and often it pays for itself. It may not be a positive ROI, but its breakeven. That means you have to run other ads, of course, to drive profits, but the engagement ads aren’t necessarily a cost- they may pay for themselves. Now, to make that happen, there must be links in your posts… if you aren’t putting links and calls to action in your posts, that’s a whole nother topic- how to create effective engagement ads that also drive traffic…
  3. Engagement ads can improve conversion rates and profits: The brand familiarity you get from this (look up the “mere exposure” effect if you haven’t heard of it) lowers people’s resistance to buying from you, which increases conversion rates, which in turn lowers cost per sale and cost per customer, which of course, increases profits.

Q2. What are some of the most effective ways that e-commerce businesses can build this kind of social media or community? Why do these strategies work?

You have to run Facebook and Instagram ads, create a lot of posts and ads, and see how your customers respond to them.

It’s just like learning how to get along with a real person- you have to get to know them- and online the only way to get to know people is to either look at their data first, or put stuff out there and see how they respond.

Listen to the data- what do they like? What do they share? What do they click on? What don’t they respond to?

You need a repeatable process for constant improvement- we call ours F.I.T. First you find the Facts- that’s data about who are they- then you Invent things, and Test them (discover what works by looking at everything!).

Then look at the Facts again- how did they respond to what you Invented? By Inventing more stuff like what they liked, you create a better and better fit of your marketing materials with their likes. If your marketing fits your customers, they love you more, likability increases, and you know what excites them.

The RARE company’s research on loyalty showed that 86% of customers are loyal because they like the company. So how likable is your brand, and how likable is your marketing? What are you doing to increase that? What process do you use to ensure you win at likability?

This is critical to your survival, and to thriving, because when companies disrupt others, or entire industries, its always because they suddenly make your customers a lot happier than they have been. You can’t afford to just be good enough and maintain, because that’s what companies like Blockbuster and Borders and the Yellow Pages and Yellow Cab did before they got disrupted by Netflix, Amazon, Google and Uber.

Continually strive to become greater and make your customers happier. Make sure you have a process for that. We use F.I.T.

Q3. What are common mistakes that are made by e-commerce companies when trying to build social engagement, and how can these mistakes be avoided?

The biggest mistake marketers make when it comes to engagement is that they approach it as a sales opportunity or by thinking mostly about their brand messaging. They wouldn’t walk into a mixer and talk about themselves for 15 minutes straight. Hopefully… They’re smart enough to know that people like people who focus on them. Not on themselves. They ask others about their lives and family and hobbies, and they make a friend.

But somehow they have a blind spot when it comes to marketing their brand. They show their products a lot…even their “lifestyle” images are about their products, not truly about the customer’s lifestyle.

They don’t think about who the customer is- what their daily life is like, their pains, fears, worries, dreams, goals and obstacles. And when they do it’s only in terms of their products.

You have to go a level beyond your product into the customer’s life and emotions and live with them and talk about other things and have faith that this creates a relationship that makes them love you so much that of course they want to buy your products.

You can’t be afraid to NOT talk about the product for a while. You can’t be so afraid that if you go off topic, you’re wasting time.

Because the truth is: so much of friendship and relationship is about wasting time because you are together.

You have to just be with them- without selling- sometimes, or you’re not building a relationship… you’re just an annoying salesperson… and that’s not a likable approach.

Academic References for My Keynotes

I love talking to audience members who come up to me after my keynotes :-)

Typically, they’re business owners, execs or marketers who want to learn more, or are excited about one ideas or another, or perhaps they really enjoyed the entertainment portion of it, or they want to hire my agency or have me speak somewhere else.

More rarely, someone comes up who is a very smart peer or industry consultant or vendor who wants to get into depth on the details.

I recently had one of those at my ARN 2018 talk to airport operators and concessionaires.

She was very complimentary and enthusiastic about the talk, but she courteously suggested that I be more clear about where my research and stats came from.

I completely agreed- in principle- because my education was very academic, and I am a scientist at heart, so it’s very important to me to get the facts right and not just make things up or bend research or stats to serve my points.

But when it comes to a keynote performance, which is a very specific and demanding sort of gig, speaking like a college professor isn’t the most effective approach.

Imagine 1,000 people (who are sometimes tired from several days of meetings or perhaps even hung-over from excessive networking) sitting and listening to an intellectual, scholarly dissertation… there’s a lot of eye-rolling and sighing and coughing and seat-shifting and phone-typing and suddenly-necessary trips to “stretch my legs.”

A lot of the success I’ve had so far at keynote speaking is because I can combine ideas with our real-world client experience and stand-up-comedy-style entertainment.

Unfortunately, at the keynote level, which is very different from a training or a how-to class, I sacrifice some of the academic requirements to deliver a powerful, punchy, fun, yet transformative talk with big business impact. That doesn’t mean making up stats- it might mean not listing every source if that would be tiresome. Some of my slides combine 4 or 5 sources into one quickly understandable chart.

The whole point is to make it quickly clear, and going through all that would undo the work I’ve done to make it digestible.

She understood all that.

But her point was still good- and I kept thinking about it-

So I decided I needed to create a resource for my keynotes- a sort of back-of-the-book reference section…

And hence… thus… ergo… this blog post!

The following are the data, facts, research, stats I mention in my keynote and their sources. Hopefully that will satisfy the occasional person who thinks, “Where does all this come from?”

How many users are on each platform (Facebook, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter)?

This depends on whether we’re looking at U.S. or I’m speaking internationally.

These numbers changes all the time, and so do the sources for this info. I update it at least every 3 months, and sometimes more frequently than that.

Basically, I Google it every time and look at the sources… but here are some of the usual suspects (some are direct sources, and some are meta-sources that collect data from multiple sources):

Customer Loyalty

  • Gallup customer engagement research

Digital and Social Marketer Salary Info

  • Salary search:
  • PPC Specialist Salary
  • Facebook Ads Manager Salary
  • Marketing Analyst

Comparing Amazon and the Other Top 500 Internet Retailers

Business Case Studies

  • A number of these are from our agency clients, so the data comes from their advertising and analytics accounts.
  • The PayPal case study came directly from the marketer responsible for the results at the time, Dave Peck,  delivered in a panel I moderated for Social Media Marketing World.

Facebook Advertising Facts & Statistics

How Americans Spend Their Leisure Time (Including Social Media)

There you go- Enjoy!

Of course, the stats change a lot, so from time to time I have to Google things again and find new sources- but that’s par for the course in a constantly changing industry…

REPLAY: How to Go Viral and Sell More with Memes [Facebook Live Show]

Episode CINCO of Live Online Learning (LOL):

To be sure not to miss future live shows, opt in here to join the email list so we can keep you notified!

Here’s what we talked about, in addition to attendee live questions we answered:

  • What are MEMES?
    • “An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.”
    • “A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.”
    • Not unlike cover songs or music sampling by hip hop and EDM artists
    • By nature there is some conflict with copyright and intellectual property, but the law supports music sample and hip hop- memes are very similar.
  • Why use MEMES?
    • Results
      • Big engagement
      • Free shares (viral)
      • Traffic, leads and sales
    • People love them, tap into what they already like
    • Quickly recognizable
    • Fun
    • Easy to create
  • How do you use MEMES?
    • Use a site that makes making them easy
    • Choose ones everyone knows or will make sense even if they don’t know a lot about memes
    • Learn more about them from KnowYourMeme
    • Avoid memes that could be considered offensive or racist!
    • Put the text all at top or bottom so it doesn’t violate FB ad 20% rule
    • Fit your sales message into the formula
    • Put a link in your post so they can take action on your website or landing page

The Problem With Free Content Marketing

What’s the point of content marketing? What’s the goal? Why do we do it?

Some would say it’s to grow an audience. Some say it’s for search engine optimization. Some do it for lead generation. Some only care if it ultimately increases sales.

My problem with focusing entirely on freemiums and growing an audience with free content is that it can almost become “guilt-trip content marketing”…

“Hey, if we give them a whole bunch of free content, they’ll feel like they owe us and they’ll have to buy from us!”

Whether that’s consciously or subconsciously manipulative (no more manipulative than trying to sell people something), I’ll table for now…

Even if the freemium approach is “get-to-know-like-trust-us” and we’ll build-an-audience, it only works sort of well.

  1. So you’ve grown a list of 10,000 or 100,000 emails…
  2. And 20-30% of those people open your email- are you emailing daily or every other day or twice a week or weekly?
  3. About 8% of them click to the site and read more free content-
  4. How many of them are actually buying something? Are you tracking that?

Freemium, high quality content marketing is only PART of the answer because… we human beings are all a bunch of freeloaders!

We’ve Created a Bunch of Information Freeloaders

As content consumers, we’ve been trained now to expect a lot of free helpful content.

Marketers have been taught over the last decade to create free content that is as good as content people should have to pay for, but the companies that are creating this free content aren’t getting paid for it…

  • How many newsletters have you joined and then never paid that company a penny?
  • How many podcasters have you listened do and never given them a dime?
  • How many bloggers have you read and you’ve never bought their course?
  • How many blog posts have you read and you don’t even remember them or who wrote them?
  • How many whitepapers and ebooks have you downloaded and you didn’t fully read and you don’t remember where they are on your computer?

This freemium deal with the devil strategy only makes sense if you can monetize that audience- but are you monetizing that audience? How? Are you tracking it well enough to know it’s profiting you?

Sure SOME of this audience of freeloaders converts without you trying that hard. But how many more people would have converted, how much higher would your ROI be if you’d thought about converting them? If you were better at direct marketing?

So content and lead gen are just one piece of the puzzle and if you do them the wrong way you make it hard on the salespeople. Or if you’re an entrepreneur you make it hard on yourself to get sales.

You haven’t done all the work, just part of it…

Why Do People Buy?

Because we as people only buy when we are really excited or in really big pain we can’t stand one second longer or when marketers make us feel special or we think it’s a really good deal on a really valuable thing that’s going away forever (there has to be value and trust there for that to work, of course)…

  • Why should the potential buyer take action with you right now?
  • Why not procrastinate?
  • Why not ignore you?
  • Why not choose your competitor?

You have to sell. How?

  • Urgency
  • Scarcity
  • Pain relief
  • Gigantic opportunity now
  • Limited-time only

The difference between rich and poor people, billionaire and middle class, successful sales organizations and unsuccessful ones is understanding:

  • Pain
  • Value (which includes relevance)
  • Urgency and
  • Tribes

“Join our tribe now and we’ll relieve your pain and you’ll be special and have super powers like us but if you want in, you have to join now, for a limited time only!”

This is the difference in getting 2% of your webinar attendees to buy and 16% to buy.

It’s the difference between 1% of people interacting with your Facebook post and 21% interacting with it.

The difference is measurable and huge.

  • Why is your thing a new, big, limited-time opportunity?
  • Why NOW?
  • Why do you think Microsoft puts out new versions of Offce and Windows all the time?
  • Why are there always new iPhones?
  • Why are there new models of the same cars each year?
  • Why does the McRib keep going away and coming back?

If you’re too free and too available, you’re not that interesting. When they see your content there’s a lot of hmm and huh and meh. You can’t compete.

So- the biggest pitfall of the marketer is being too soft, not wanting to sell.

Don’t be soft.

Sell Something and Track It

Freemium is not bad. I do all kinds of lead magnets. They’re great. But you have to sell something too.

  • You need to track which of your leads become sales.
  • You need to track which of your customer targets are not just great lead sources, but which ones are great buyers.
  • Which of your lead magnets create customers, not just leads?

Use AdWords and Facebook pixels and conversion tracking. Make sure you have a way to trigger a conversion for the purchase not just the lead. Then you can track all of that back to the content.

If you can’t do that, your content marketing and freemium work will always be off target, and you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.

In 5 Words: Your Favorite Thing About Social Media [VIDEO]

I asked social media experts and aficionados, “In 5 words, what’s your favorite thing about social media?” They answered via selfie-video and I put them together with Bensounds’ awesome music ( Here it is. Watch it. And if you like it, share it with your friends!

Here are all their answers! Click on any quote to tweet it.

  1. “You can build genuine relationships online.”Jessika Phillips
  2. “Circle of friends expanded dramatically.”Joel Comm
  3. “The best people hang there.”Viveka Von Rosen
  4. “It flattens out the world.”Gini Dietrich
  5. “It makes my audience bigger.”Garrison Wynn
  6. “There are profound cat photos!” – Andy Livengood
  7. “Deeper connection with your customers.” – Andrea Vahl
  8. “Meaningful relationships and passionate communities.”Ekaterina Walter
  9. “Connecting people and ideas.”Kate Buck, Jr.
  10. “Videos, infographics, podcasts, humor and bacon.”Phil Mershon
  11. “Getting to know you better.” – Adryenn Ashley
  12. “No pants required!”Aaron Higgins 
  13. “Connecting with other curious people.”Courtney Smith-Kramer
  14. “On demand engagement with fans.”Jon D. Harrison
  15. “Building human connections before meeting.”Kathy Klotz-Guest
  16. Extending boundaries in a human way.Mark Schaefer
  17. “Connecting with humans online globally.”Bryan Kramer
  18. “Create, connect, promote, interact and transact.”Lee Odden
  19. “Connecting you to your people.”Martin Shervington

(And yes, GASP! I know: some of them didn’t do exactly 5 words. It’s like herding cats in here!)

8 Social Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Waste Your Time On

LAST UPDATED 3/28/2017: Biggest changes since last year are that I’m now enjoying Instagram, we do ads on Instagram for clients, and we are testing Pinterest ads.

Getting the best possible marketing results is not only about doing the most effective things.

It’s also about not wasting time on the least effective things.

You can’t get great digital marketing results if you’re always try to do EVERYTHING.
To be effective in digital marketing you have to BE PICKY about which things you do.

Digital marketing and social media is full of blog posts like…

  • “52 More Ways To Market On Pinterest!”
  • “37 New Social Marketing Tools!”
  • “10 Reasons Snapchat Is Awesome!”

What would happen if you did all the things that all these posts recommended? You’d be stretched thin on a mix of things. Some would work, some wouldn’t.

As a result, your overall marketing results would be mediocre.

Maybe one of them worked for somebody- but is it transferable to most companies? Will it work if it’s a corporate, not a person-to-person strategy? Is it scalable?

Yes, I get sucked into those blog posts just like you do. Yes, I have FEAR OF MISSING OUT, too. But I’ve read enough blog posts that…

  • Don’t deliver on the promise of their headline. “Wow, these ideas are pretty lame.”
  • Promise great results but when you implement their suggestion, you find the real results don’t measure up to their claims. “They were lying… or they didn’t really test this… or they didn’t give away their secret.”

Ironic: I tried, “The 17 Coolest Chrome Productivity Plugins” and found only one plugin was worth it. The other 16 decreased my productivity while I was trying them out. Some secretly required me to pay a monthly fee after I installed them.

What just happened?

Somebody had to write a list-post to try to get more traffic to their blog, and they wasted my time. Irresponsible. You’re supposed to help me and save me time with your content. Not used up my time and attention in blind pursuit of “time on site” and pageviews.

Bad blog post writers should be blindfolded, given a cigarette and shot.

Too far?

Sorry, it’s frustrating. I have limited time on Earth here, buddy.

The social marketer must protect their time. There are dozens of things we COULD do, but only a few things we SHOULD do. [click to tweet]

I’m ruthless in my exclusion of strategies tactics that I don’t judge to be worth my time.

Time is our most precious commodity. You can’t get more of it.

Yes, there are exceptions to my list below. Any of the tactics below might be important because of your niche or goal. And I’m also always open to being wrong on these. I bet I’ll hear something at Social Media Marketing World this year that makes me look at one of these tactics again.

But for the most part, it would be worth your while to consider avoiding some of the below.

8 Social Media Strategies I Don’t Waste Time With

I rarely do LinkedIn ads. They are not prominent enough for people to see and click. I can’t waste time on ads that no one will click. My goal is to get leads and sales.

If I can’t even get clicks… well, LinkedIn, let me know when your ads graduate from elementary school. We sometimes manage LinkedIn Ad campaigns for companies that are already using them. But I’ve yet to be surprised by an effective one.

(They are a good way to jumpstart a new LinkedIn Group, though. And Groups are one of the most effective marketing activities on LinkedIn.)

I rarely do Twitter ads. They have shown promise as they’ve developed. But Google and Facebook ads are so much more effective. What do Twitter ads add to what I get from Facebook ads? I’ve tested Twitter ads occasionally, particularly when people start to buzz about something like Twitter lead cards. But they do not perform as well as Facebook ads.

I might get better results if I invested more time and testing, but I don’t have that time right now. This is something I can afford to procrastinate, since Twitter has 1/5th of the users that Facebook does.

And, you know, there might be a reason why conferences can’t find any Twitter ad experts… that reason would be: it’s not worth your time because you can get so much more out of Facebook and Google.

I mostly ignore social networks that don’t have an ad platform. If you don’t have ads, I can’t scale what works on demand. I don’t have enough time to do everything by clever labor. Yes we sometimes fail, but I can fail and succeed on a grander scale.

Social networks with ads can become sales machines.

Without ads, ugh. That means:

I do Snapchat but only for fun and I actually save my snaps to my iPhone then post them on Instagram!

I don’t spend much time on LinkedIn Company Pages. If less than 1% of people go back to actual Facebook business pages, why would we think it would be any different with the LI Company Page? An exception would be the Human Resources department of a huge company- the company page has to look good and may be quite valuable for them in terms of new hires.

I don’t go out of my way to post to the LinkedIn (“home”) stream. I’m not sure people are really looking at their LinkedIn content streams. Most of your LinkedIn posts won’t be seen by most of your connections.

I do use Buffer and include LinkedIn, so my content does get posted there. But it doesn’t cost me any extra time or effort.

I don’t create Twitter Lists. I find that my actual networking is more effective on LinkedIn and Facebook. I confess, I use Twitter to broadcast blog posts. It’s not very 2.0 of me, is it? But it works.

But I would recommend Twitter Lists to heavy online networkers or salespeople. But people have begun to complain that people don’t engage on Twitter anymore. They certainly were most engaged up until 2010, and then it began to drop. Twitter has been almost completely marginalized by Facebook and has slowly added more and more Facebook-like features in a – perhaps unintentional – admission that their platform isn’t as successful as Facebook.

I don’t add apps to Facebook pages, because no one goes to FB pages. I have to advertise to get them to the app? Then why wouldn’t I just send them to a squeeze page (which I can split-test for optimal conversion rates) to obtain their email, instead? I have to pay for visibility to both fans and non-fans, so why would I advertise to just fans.

Emails are more valuable than fans.

I don’t spend time recklessly on new social networks like Ello. Remember Ello? It was supposed to kill Facebook. Scores of social media gurus (of which there are about 12 million) spent hours posting and buzzing about the promise of Ello. “More transparent than Facebook!”

Checking back in on the Ello buzz a month or two later, no one was using it. Surprise: it wasn’t sticky.

Flash in the pan.

Waste of time.

Shiny object.

Let other people waste their time on new social networks while you use the proven ones to get results. What if that new social network becomes powerful enough to rival Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn a year from now? Ok, jump on it then. You will be able read how-to blog posts by people who spent their time figuring out how to use it, and you’ll suddenly be as good at it as they are. That will save you a ton of time and money. In the meantime you can use the most effective networks. Stick with best practices as far as platforms and strategies go, and innovate with your content and tactics.

I recommend not early-adopting but reasonably early adoption. Wait until there is a significant amount of your target market using it. And there’s an ad platform.

I don’t use SlideShare. I used to, but I noticed no matter how many views I got, it didn’t turn into hardly any website visits for me. Good for slideshare, not good for me. I asked a peer who was using their lead gen offering and he said it didn’t work well. Ok.

Plus, as a paid speaker, do I really want to make it easier for the other 12 million social media experts to put my slides in their presentations? Nope.

I don’t try to motivate or manipulate influencers. Still waiting on any proof that it does more than raise awareness. There are easier more affordable ways to get awareness like Facebook ads. Big-time (slappa da bass mon) influencers are hard to influence. And maybe disgustingly egotistical.

Yes, I have tons of influencer friends. And yes, networking is super valuable. But should the average company try to coral a stable of influencers and get them to influence on their behalf? I haven’t seen case studies to convince me it does more than raise awareness- which you can do much more affordably with TV or Facebook ads.

I’m sure there are more time wasters I’ve forgotten about! Thank goodness. They aren’t cluttering my brain. I can focus.

This month, try cutting out some of the less effective things you do. It’ll increase your results and profits.

How I Beat the Internet Marketing Odds and You Can Too

I want to tell you a short story about how I beat impossible odds and ended up a thought leader with a fair amount of brand fame… and how you and your company can do that too.

Back in 2004, I was like a lot of people: just an untrained guy who wanted to have his own business doing something he was good at that would help other people. I wanted to get enough consulting clients to get paid and do my part bringing home the bacon.

But I struggled because there were so many blogs and competitors out there. I just couldn’t get enough attention or leads or clients to make it. It was hard. I was frustrated! Have you felt like that?

Now, I’ve always believed in and been grateful for freedom, for the American dream of being in control of my own business, and for the opportunities we have with capitalism and to decide on our own career. I didn’t want to work for somebody else. I wanted to be “the man”, not work for the man!

I just wanted to build something special that helped other people, something they appreciated. Isn’t that what we all want?

And then I saw opportunity: the Internet. This was it. A huge phenomenon that suddenly gave us all the opportunity to easily do business with people all over the country- even the world!

I was excited because it seemed like the Internet would change everything in business- and I wanted to get in on that! Wouldn’t you?

But the odds were stacked against me because I had no schooling in internet marketing, I had no savings to bank on, and there was no reason for people to come to my website or business instead of anyone else’s.

I had done a lot of different types of work in my life, but I wanted to focus and get good at one thing. I was married and my wife had been the bigger breadwinner and I wanted to make more money to help her out and feel better about myself.

The internet was growing and people were making lots of money, but not me. Ever felt left out like that?

I was going up against much bigger companies, like training companies that had dozens of bloggers, and internet marketing teachers with a 3-4 year head start on me. I didn’t know anybody who had succeeded at this. I had no connections at all.

I had to get trained. So I got on the Internet and took some online courses. I went and had coffee with the marketing guy in my local San Diego networking group. I read tons and tons of blogs.

And at first, I made A LOT of mistakes. I was super-excited to make some money with Google AdSense, putting their ads on my alternative medicine site, but then the Google search algorithm changed and I lost most of my traffic. That was depressing. Don’t you wish Google was easier?

I started an AdWords consulting business but I couldn’t get enough clients.

Feeling a bit beaten, I took a job as an eCommerce manager for an outdoor store and spent a year building their online store, only for them to tell me, “Brian, we just don’t want to invest in buying enough inventory for the online store to succeed.”

Back to square one, dang it.

Again I went into solo consulting but I wasn’t getting enough clients, and my wife said, more or less, “Get a job or else maybe we should separate for a while.” Wow, that hurt!

So I took a risk on a job where I would build the internet marketing part of a regional agency in South Carolina. I had to move and be away from my wife for a couple years, which was tough, but I worked super hard.

I was initially not very smooth with clients, but my coworkers taught me a lot about account management and successful business relationships.

I was getting better at the Internet business:

  • I got results for our clients.
  • I started blogging and got attention.
  • I got to speak at a conference, then two more conferences.
  • I got a column writing for a big search engine blog.
  • We built the internet marketing part of the agency from $100k revenue to $650k revenue in less than two years.
  • I brought them in new clients from other parts of the country.

Then, to my surprise, the company laid me off!

It turns out I had TOO good a compensation deal with them. I was making too much money. And they didn’t want to expand beyond their region, so they didn’t much value my national networking and speaking.

But by now, I had become an industry thought-leader. I was known and read as a blogger on search marketing and social media. People enjoyed the talks I gave. By traveling and networking, I had made solid friends in the industry. And I had found a professional speaking mentor.

Wouldn’t you love to have a successful mentor in what you’re pursuing?

Because of all that I was able to write a Facebook marketing book, which quickly turned into two published books, and I started getting paid to keynote speak for companies. I and my small new agency got to work with great companies like Carl’s Jr, Universal Studios and The World Health Organization.

Next thing I knew I was on Bloomberg TV in New York City, and getting to work with companies like Microsoft, NBC, Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Dramamine, PrideStaff and others.

Wouldn’t you love to have more opportunities and clients?

It felt amazing to be an author, to be a respected authority, to be someone companies would pay thousands of dollars to come and speak or give consulting opinions. It’s flattering to repeatedly show up on lists like “The Top 50 Marketing Experts in the World”.

Oh and by the way, now I bring home ALL the bacon and my wife works for me, and she’s a brilliant Facebook advertiser. :-)

During that journey I learned a ton about what does and doesn’t work for building brand fame and awareness.

All the best,
Brian Carter

Why Was This FB Post Shared 14,539 Times?

Facebook old-timers [I’m looking at you Dennis, Barry and Jeremy!] remember when we got Facebook page likes for less than one cent apiece. Of course, that was before we all got cynical about the value of Facebook fans. Are they worthless? That’s another debate for another day- and my short opinion on that is that they are still valuable, but shouldn’t be your #1 priority.

Don’t worry- the post we’re going to talk about is below, but first…

See that chart of ads below? Cost per post engagement ZERO. That’s not an error. It says zero because it’s less than $0.01.


Now, I’m pretty excited about the Facebook posts I have that are getting three or four interactions per penny. And no, you don’t have to target a third world country to make that to happen. Not even the whole U.S. I’ve seen similar results targeting one U.S. city, and even one interest within one U.S. city.

The real upshot is that you absolutely must care what people like… you have to be ruthless in testing your Facebook posts. If you don’t know what that means, you probably aren’t even using the right paradigm for your digital marketing. Some people are just throwing darts randomly and not even looking where they hit.

When you find a highly engaging post- that means somewhere between 6-12% of people like it… now hold on a second… you are keeping track of what percentage of post viewers are liking your posts, aren’t you? Those who aren’t are still in Facebook posting kindergarten. Here’s another shocker- Facebook isn’t calculating that “engagement rate” percentage for you. You have to do it. It’s interactions divided by reach. The simple shorthand is likes divided by reach. Do it!

Anyway, when you find a highly engaging post, and it stays highly engaging when tens of thousand of people see it, then what? You’ve hacked your audience’s brain. You’ve plugged into pure affinity. You’ve found their limbic system buttons and you’re pressing them. 

Sounds pretty cool, right?

Here’s an example of such a post…


First, everybody I show that post to laughs. Then I worry they’ve missed the point. It’s like when I’m trying to learn screenwriting by watching a great movie, and I forget and just experience the movie. That definitely was a good movie, because it made me forget to learn anything! The post above might make you forget to learn about Facebook marketing. So, keep your brain engaged.

In 65 days, I reached over 424,832 people and got 50,807 interactions for about $225, an average of $0.004 per interaction.

Do you think shares are awesome? Me too. And they only cost an average of 3 cents per share with this promoted post.

Now, my ads and posts aren’t all huge successes. That’s why I say you have to be ruthless about testing. You’re testing in search of the outlier, and that outlier is one post in 50… one ad in 10. Are you creating a lot of them? Are you testing enough different approaches? Are those tests informed by your understanding of your audience? If you’re not sure, check out Facebookize.

Another tip- I am opposed to creating editorial Facebook post calendars a month or two ahead of time. I think you should create one post per day. Why? Because in my experience, I only have a finite amount of creativity and insight at one time. If I create 30 posts right now, they won’t be as good as the 30 I create if I create one per day. If you’re watching your engagement rate every day from yesterday’s post, you’re smarter halfway through the month than you were at the beginning of them month, because you’re learning every day. Not to mention, you see a lot of things… you watch TV, see tons of social media, have conversations, dream at night, and your subconscious has more stuff to work with. Your day 15 post is smarter (and has a better chance of engaging more people) than the day 15 post by someone who created them all two weeks ago. Especially if they only spent a few hours making them, total. Stop doing Facebook editorial calendars.

The other thing is- those results are engagement only. You might also get a few page likes or website clicks. You can alter this some to get website clicks out of it. I find that they still only go as low as $0.30 or so. But at the same time, you’re getting those same supercheap likes, comments and shares. You have to play with the text and call to action in the post to find the ones that will get website clicks, because often, even when you’re trying, you get a BIG FAT ZERO website clicks.


You have to find a needle in the haystack, and you have to create the haystack. Maybe the needle too. I’m not sure I understand my own metaphor. My point is you have to come up with these amazing post ideas. And write the copy. And do the ad tests of format and targeting.

So the sponsored post above did get clicks too, at $0.29 cost per website click- but also at only $0.007 per engagement. So in one day of just a $2 spend, it got 7 website clicks, 141 likes, and 45 shares… this part, getting the website clicks at the same time, is new for me, so stay tuned for more test results later.

The 5 Most Dangerous Mistakes You’re Making With "Free Marketing" – And What To Do About Them

Here Are The Top Five Reasons People Fail To Get Free Internet Marketing Results — And How To Make Sure YOU Avoid Every One Of These Deadly Common Mistakes

We all want big Internet marketing results without paying for them. Don’t you want…

  • Facebook likes, comments and shares– without buying Facebook Ads?
  • Google traffic– without buying Google Ads?
  • Twitter replies and retweets– without buying Twitter Ads?
  • Quality leads and actual sales– from free traffic?

The good news is there are proven ways to get free marketing results and you can start today.

What follows are the five biggest mistakes I’ve made trying to get free marketing results, and how you can avoid each and every one of them.

What’s in this post?

  • You can read the whole blog post… and that’s where the links to other resources are.
  • There’s a summary chart at the bottom of the blog post.
  • I made a video going through the chart if you’d rather listen than read, and that’s right here:



Ever had to wait on someone for something so you could finish your work? It sucks. It’s so much easier when you can do it all yourself.

We can get a lot done SOLO. That works for a while, and will take you a ways.

But there’s a limit to how far we can go by ourselves.

No one is an island. And no company is either.

Partner up.

  • Write guest posts for free. This gets you traffic and lends you credibility that begins to create trust.
  • Write ebooks for pay. Propose an ebook idea to someone at a company that outsources some of their content marketing. More and more companies do that, every day.
  • Interview people for your podcast or blog post or your own lead gen ebook.

Those activities will grow your business in ways you’ll never predict.

It’s not just freelancers who make the DOING IT ALONE mistake…

I also made this mistake when I was a marketer in a bigger company. We were focused only on OUR website or blog. We interacted only with people in OUR company. We weren’t looking for partnerships or peers or mentors. As a result, we were an ISLAND that people didn’t KNOW or CARE about.

Marketers at larger companies can neglect partnership and miss out on new exposure and opportunities because we think we don’t need it, or it will be too complicated to get approval for it. True, it’s easier to get approval if it’s the kind of thing you already do, or other companies already do.

So, encourage employees to apply to speak at conferences. Put on webinars. You just need to partner with event planners and subject matter experts to make that happen. These may not be 100% free, but they’re close to it, and relative to advertising costs for large companies, might as well be free.

Non-profits and charities have raise money with Twitter and Kickstarter campaigns. In 2008, along with a number of other influencers, I helped Epic Change promote their first Tweetsgiving (which raised $10,000 to build a school in Africa).

Amanda Palmer raised $1.1 million and did a cool TED talk about asking with vulnerability. Check it out.

Asking for stuff will get you shares, retweets and MONEY.

Do it.



AllFacebook-Expo-2013My accountant recently reviewed where our business came from over the last three years. It was mostly from networking and conferences. A handful of key people have each referred us more than $10,000 of business. One person, in 2013, indirectly got us more than $100,000 in business.

When I met these people, I didn’t know which ones were going to be so valuable to our business.

Meeting people and getting to know them has turned into speaking gigs, working on big brands like Dramamine and Chloraseptic, writing ebooks for Marketo and Microsoft and others. Those came directly or indirectly from meeting with real people in real life– not just blogging or emailing people.

For example:

I met Derrick Wheeler at Pubcon, a conference I was speaking at (but not being paid). We both had a weird Zoolander sense of humor, so at the techno club event, we had a dance-off. He thinks he won. I think I won. But that doesn’t matter. We became friends, and a few years later, Derrick asked me to keynote the social media day at a Microsoft SEO Conference. It was a real speaking gig where I got paid and they paid for airfare, hotel and expenses. It led to connecting with another guy in their Partner Hosting Network, which led to a ton of other work, more connections and more companies to work for. That whole string of connections and work, already worth nearly $50,000 still hasn’t ended. All from just being a goofball at an event.

In email marketing they say the money is in your list. That’s true. And on a larger scale, the money is in your network.

Who do you know? Who knows you?

Reach out and connect, and it will pay off for you.

I phone with interesting people to see if we can help each other. I trade consulting with a PR expert. Recently, I got into my first mastermind group (these are groups that get together to share and help each other move forward). It’s already helped me (and in fact led to me writing this post). All of these have helped me improve my business and marketing, and some have led to paid work.

Grow your network and nurture it weekly. It can take years, but it pays off big.

MISTAKE #3. Self-Centered Posting


dumbpeople everyehereIt can take us years to understand that…

What our AUDIENCE AND CUSTOMERS like and share with other people is often NOT THE SAME as what WE want to write and post about.

“My audience is dumb,” we sometimes think. Oh really? Then how come we aren’t getting bigger results?

Or “This thing we’re posting is really important!” Oh really? Then why aren’t more people interacting with it?

“The boss said we had to post this. But no one interacts with it, so it hurts our Facebook visibility and our relationships with our prospects.” I hear you. I’ve been there.

Everybody at times thinks, “My boss doesn’t get it.” How can we overcome that? Make sure when you report on which social posts and blog posts and videos WORKED that the boss understands what the success METRIC is, and how those “important posts” performed compared to the others.

Show the boss (in private where you’re not making their ideas look dumb to everyone) what the top performers and bottom performers look like. What do the BEST performers have in common? What do the WORST ones have in common? Write it down. Keep track.

In most cases, this will decrease how often they ask you to do posts. It might even help your boss come up with better post ideas!

Study the titles of posts that get a lot of shares with BuzzSumo, a search engine for super-shared content. I did that for this post- looking to see how many mistakes are in the most shared “mistakes” posts. It looked like five was best. I originally had three, but as I wrote I found one more and realized the first two needed to be divided anyway, so I had five!

Doing the ebook on Contagious Content for Marketo helped me discover the six things you should do for more Facebook and the four things you should never do– and those lessons work for tweets and blog post and video ideas too.

If you haven’t used graph search to see what your fans (or fans of the biggest page in your niche) like, do that. You’ll get a much better idea who they are than you have right now.

MISTAKE #4. Website Neglect


email pop up testsThere were years where I wrote my best blog posts on other people’s sites.

That’s ok (and I recommend some of that), but it doesn’t make the cash register ring as fast as a really amazing post on your own site.

I was almost exclusively contributing to building authority for OTHER people’s sites instead of my own!

I wrote hundreds of posts for years on Blogger blogs. That was smart when it gave me the #1 Google ranking for “AdWords Consultant”. But it also kept me from getting the amazing results people get from installing WordPress on their own domain.

I’ve had probably four main websites in the last 15 years- but I neglected them.

  • I didn’t blog regularly.
  • I didn’t improve my branding enough.
  • I didn’t hire a real designing or branding person to take it to the next level.
  • I didn’t install really good WordPress plugins to more quickly ramp up my email lists and social shares.

I finally really changed that about two months ago.

Here’s what I’ve done to ramp up my free traffic, social interaction, leads and business opportunities:

  • I merged my two websites into one (and did all that good 301 redirect stuff to keep my search engine authority).
  • I moved to a better WordPress theme and redid my graphics.
  • I hired a branding person (doesn’t really fit into this article- but the point is I am investing in my own brand).
  • I added plugins like Pippity, vCita Contact and KingSumo headlines to boost my emails, my leads and the virality of my blog post titles. These aren’t free but there are free alternatives.
    • Pippity allows me to split-test email pop-ups; and that has helped me get 300% more email sign ups than I would have with the worst design. My worst email pop-up only got 1.9% of visitors to opt in. My best one gets 8.6% of people to opt in. you only get a certain amount of traffic every week- get as many email addresses as you can out of that. Pippity isn’t free- so if you want a free one, check out opt-in revolution or pop-up alley.
    • vCita Contact is good for freelancers who want people to be able to contact them or schedule appointments. Many WordPress themes have a contact page template you can use. If yours doesn’t, then for a free alternative, check out Contact Form 7.
    • KingSumo’s Headlines allows me to write 3-5 headlines for each blog post, and it tests which ones people click on the most, then it settles on the best one for the long-term. Since titles are the biggest determining factor in whether people click, share or retweet, you should be investing good time into headline writing and testing. This will multiply all of your traffic, leads and sales. There don’t appear to be any up-to-date free headline testing WordPress plugins, but you can change your blog post title weekly and manually check to see which worked best.

MISTAKE #5. Shy Posting


Do you ever worry that you’re posting too much?

Turns out, we could post a heck of a lot more than most of us think. And more posting means more traffic, leads, sales… so posting too little is a big missed opportunity.

The fact is, most people aren’t seeing most of our social posts.

Here are the FACTS:

  • The research shows that most Facebook posts get most of their interaction within 30 minutes.
  • Facebook admits that only 16% of your fans see your posts.
  • Few people have studied what percentage of their Twitter followers are looking at their streams when you tweet any one tweet- but it’s likely less than 11%, because that’s roughly the MOST of your followers who are active on Twitter during any one hour.
  • The most interacted with Twitter profiles tweet 20-25 times a day.

So we shouldn’t be afraid of overwhelming our friends and fans and followers. They aren’t seeing most of our stuff!

One of the first Facebook pages I studied, before writing The Like Economy, was They were getting real ecommerce profits from Facebook in 2011. And at that time everyone recommended posting once a day, max. Superherostuff was posting eight times a day. Four interaction posts and four sales posts. And they doubled their revenue just from their first year going onto Facebook. I always hold them up as an example of being willing to break the rules and see what works. It’s hard to argue with profits, especially when such a small percentage of Facebook pages are profitable.

The facts above mean:

  • We could Facebook post every hour. And if people around the world are your audience, that could be 24 hours a day. That’s 24 Facebook posts a day.
  • We can tweet at least 20-25 times a day.
  • Let’s say you post the same things to Facebook and Twitter- that’s roughly 20 times seven days = 140 pieces of content.

Now that’s a lot of content. Most of us can only create a few new original pieces of blog content a week, if that! And creating a GOOD post once a day on Facebook is hard enough, right?

So how could we possibly post 140 times a week???

Curation, my friend.

Curating means using tools like BuzzsumoBufferPostPlanner and Rignite to find and post other people’s content.

But won’t that send traffic to other websites, not ours? Yes- but there are ways to get something out of it. With PostPlanner, you can set up a sharebar that shows your info at the top of the page, above whatever you’ve shared.

Even if you’re not curating- you have great content on your site or blog- are you continuing to tweet and Facebook about it, or did you only do that once? If the content is still good, keep posting about it so more people can see it! Every good blog post needs a social post campaign scheduled ahead. Rignite is great for this- here are some of my results.


If I had only posted about those once, I would have missed at least 95% of those clicks you see above.

The free option for FINDING posts is Buzzsumo. For SCHEDULING posts it’s HootSuite. Once you find all the content you want to share, you can manually schedule it all ahead of time. But this is time consuming. I think there’s a real trade off here- $10 a month to Buffer is worth it, in my opinion, for the extra exposure, clicks and time savings on what I’d have to do to find all that content and set it up to post repeatedly.

Here’s a summary graphic!