Thursday, August 6, 2015

5 Crucial Steps for an Online Marketing Plan: Problem Solving (Part 4)

So anytime you're online, you're going to hit a few snags. That's okay. It's normal. Plan for them and try to handle them with finesse. Then just held your head up and keep going. Once again, I'll be using my TWD fan account for examples.

Preemptive Strike: I can guarantee you that a lot of potential problems will be avoided if you just know what your account is about and stick to that. Most of us are in writing, so your account might be about book reviews, advice for writing, publishing, or pop culture. Whatever you're focusing on, be really up front about it with your audience and then stick to it. If you claim to be an account about one thing and then suddenly start posting about something else, you're going to lose followers. And maybe that sucks, but it's just the way it is, so you have to be prepared to deal with it.

Example: My TWD account is a fan account for The Walking Dead. People who follow me follow because they are also fans of the show. If I suddenly started posting about writing on that account...or even a different show, chances are I would lose some followers because they aren't interested in those other subjects. They followed me specifically for my TWD theories. Keep this in mind.

Of course even if you are really awesome at sticking to your professed subject matter, other snags will still crop up.

1. Be flexible and look for opportunities. I talked on Tuesday about how you should have a detailed plan and, if possible, a cache of posts to draw on so you aren't stressed about what you're posting from day to day. I stand by that. It will cut your stress level down to nil.

Of course you should stick by that plan and that schedule as closely as possible. Especially if you've laid your posts out in a logical manner (I always try to do that). You don't want to interrupt or rearrange that without cause.

But what about when you haven't planned for happens? Let's say you have your posts planned and written for two weeks out. But TODAY a news story breaks, pictures are released, or something else relating to your subject matter is being talked about online. Should you just ignore it if you have something to say on the subject?

Of course not! This in-the-moment things are a golden opportunity to weigh in on what people are talking about, get your voice hear, and establish your authority on the matter. 


"But wait! What about my schedule?!?"

Well, you can do one of two things. There's nothing wrong with messing with your schedule a little bit to accommodate things like this. Just because something unexpected comes up doesn't mean you have to throw your entire schedule out the window. (Please don't do that. You worked so hard on it!) So, you can either:

a) Push everything you have planned back by one day and then adjust once you get through all your currently planned posts.

b) If that just won't work for you because you have certain posts you want to go up on certain days, just do an extra post. As I've said over the past two days, post more, not less. I've actually noticed better interaction, extra follows, and more positive feedback when I do extra posts. DO THIS IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!

Example: For my TWD account, if something comes up and I want to post about it, I usually just push things back and do an extra post, because I find it's much more advantageous than waiting. People are talking about the new information right now and when I have something to say and chime in on the conversation, people are excited to hear what I have to say and respond to it. I get tons of interaction, which makes it worth sacrificing something else I had planned to do. 

Now, if for some reason I can't do this because I have something else pressing that I can't skip, then I just do the post as soon as I can and maybe do it as an extra post the next day or something. This isn't as successful as doing it in the moment, but it's still better than skipping the opportunity all together. 

2) Use your judgement of what is worth posting. Of course, there's more than just your posting schedule to consider. If you do your posts in advance and only schedule an hour to play on your social networks before you have to hop off the internet and do other things, then what happens if something like the above example comes up. Should you mess up your schedule for the day? Sacrifice something else you were going to do so you can write that extra post and get it up while the subject matter is trending.

The answer is: It depends. It really depends on what it is, and you have to decide whether it's something you want to interrupt your plan for or whether you can let it go by the wayside. 

My rule of thumb is this:

If it's something you have something new to say about, and it's trending now, then pounce on that. If you don't have anything to say about it that would contribute to the conversation going on now, then let it go. 

Example: For my TWD account, I specifically do theories. So I do post pictures and edits as well that are TWD related, and my followers are used to that, but every day I post at least one theory about what will happen in the coming season, complete with evidence from past precedent, symbols, foreshadowing, etc.

So let's say I have my entire week of posts planned, but then some new season 6 pictures are released. Now, chances are EVERY fan account that I follow is going to post those pictures. I'll see them in my feed about a hundred different times before the end of the day. So this is an example of when I would probably not take the time to do an extra post. I don't have anything additional to say. I could save the new pics to my computer and store them up against a time that I need something quick to post, but it's not worth a whole bunch of extra time, sacrificing other things, etc.

Now, on the other hand, if a picture of some new information is released that backs up one of my theories or changes them in some way or gives me some insight into what might happen next season, that's something I specialize in. I've even had times when things like this happened and I didn't put a post up right away and I had dozens of followers asking me what I saw, what I thought it went, and just generally wanting my thoughts on the newly released photos, trailer, info, etc. So you can see that that's definitely worth my time because people are not only willing to listen to my opinion, but are actually seeking it out. 


3. As a final point, let's talk about haters. If you take nothing else away from these posts, please take this. Ignore hate and ignore the haters. 

There is always going to be someone who wants to spread hate and negativity on your account. Especially for my TWD account, I'm doing theories and predictions for the new season, and there are always people who vehemently disagree with me. I do lots of disclaimers like, "This is just my opinion." "I could be wrong..." etc., but despite that there always seems to be someone who wants to tell me how wrong I am, how stupid my theories are, etc. And that's just the nature of the internet. You're going to get that somewhere, on some platform.

Of course it's always a bit disheartening, but take some advice from Taylor Swift. Haters gonna hate...shake it off. And keep going. Most platforms allow you to delete comments if you want to and report spam. Now, let me advise you to be very careful with this. If you delete every comment that in any way disagrees with you, you'll get a reputation for narrow mindedness, which could lose you followers and actually attracts more haters.

I generally don't delete negative comments. I always say that I believe people have a right to express their opinions, even if they're contrary to mine. (And again, especially as I do theories which kind of invites dissent and discussion.) But that's not to say that I never have. There was really only one comment I remember deleting because it was disrespectful in a very deep, personal, inappropriate way. That same hater left other comments that were more general disagreement and I left those. I informed the hater of what I was doing and why, and told them they were welcome to disagree with me but they needed to do it respectfully. I actually got an apology out of that one.

Bottom line: you're bound to get haters, but don't let it bother you. Ninety percent of the time, it's best not to engage them at all. I'll admit I do talk to them sometimes, but only when I'm in a really good mood. Never return hate for hate or negativity for negativity. That only makes it build. 

Most haters I've encountered, because I handle them with positivity and politeness, either simply leave me alone after awhile because I won't fight with them and they want me to, or they actually come around. Not that they suddenly agree with my opinions, but they respect me for not being mean to them, and going forward will disagree with me in a much more polite, respectful manner, even engaging in civil discussions, which I like. 

(I always tell people that if they have a specific argument against my theory, I'd love to discuss it with them. Most haters have nothing like a 'valid argument.' They just want to fight with you which is why it's better not to engage. You aren't going to win and it'll just blow up bigger and bigger in the worst sort of way. Avoid this at all costs. It will hurt you, your account, and your general reputation.)

So these are my general thoughts on problem-solving as you move forward with your online marketing campaign. Use these guidelines to deal with any problems that crop up and you'll sail through your potential stress. 

Any other problem solving tips you can think of?


  1. Yes, ignore the haters and they will go away.
    My blog can be a hodge-podge, but I do stick to a general theme.

  2. It's true that you can't just follow any trend that comes up and we've tried to be careful not to just post "I agree" when something happens. The funny thing is that being positive can be just as controversial as being negative. Saying the casting of a Black actor for Fantastic Four is a good thing has been the most hotly debated topic on the blog for the last few months.