I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jeff Bullas, a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer and author of Blogging The Smart Way: A Complete Guide To Creating & Marketing A Killer Blog With Social Media, to discuss the state of social media marketing and the techniques that are helping businesses turn a profit in 2012 and beyond.
Jeff Bullas is a consultant, coach, mentor, and speaker that works with companies and executives to optimize their online presence through branding with digital marketing and social media. His extremely popular blog at www.jeffbullas.com has over 250,000 regular readers and is ranked #46 in the AdAge Power 150, a ranking of the Internet’s best marketing blogs.
Like many, Jeff believes content is the core of social media marketing and it’s obvious by the articles he puts out on a regular basis. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will notice me sharing Jeff’s articles consistently due to the high volume of quality content he puts out.
The struggle for most business owners trying to get into social media is understanding what is important, what’s a waste of time and how much time and effort needs to be dedicated for success. Most businesses would be thrilled to have a fraction of the loyal following Jeff has on his blog so I aimed to figure out what goes on in his head to make up the processes that have made him so successful.
Interview With Jeff Bullas: Social Media Marketing Expert
Melonie Dodaro: Do you think that it’s necessary to keep up with every social site out there or do you just focus on a few key networks?
Jeff Bullas: No, if you try to follow every passing car, you’d go crazy.
Melonie Dodaro: So do you feel that there’s room for all these different social networks or do you see a tipping point where they either integrate with each other or some just really start to drop off into obscurity like MySpace?
Jeff Bullas: I think some are just going to become irrelevant, they don’t have a large enough audience and maintaining a social network is a lot of hard work. Some will just disappear into obscurity; some are obviously going to be bought if they fit the particular ecosystem of another social network and integrate it in. Facebook does that but some of them just acquire the technology. I think there certainly is going to be consolidation that happens in every industry.
Melonie Dodaro: Do you have a process or a certain purpose when blogging or do you just kind of write about whatever strikes you on a particular day?
Jeff Bullas: I do write about what interests me. I also write about what I want to learn about because perhaps someone has asked a question or left a comment. The process is very much educational and “how to” – so it’s about helping people solve problems.
I usually get up about 4:30 everyday and then start the process. I might have an idea the day before or have a few ideas that are sitting in my draft for my WordPress blog and then I start the writing process. Usually what I’ve done throughout the last 6 to 12 months is actually using much more strong visual elements in my blogs because I find that people really love infographics and strong visuals.
After writing the blog post the next thing is that you’ve got to optimize it for search engines and then publish it, distribute it, and promote it out on your social networks.
I use Google Reader a lot to actually give me some ideas based on content that’s resonating around the world in the social media sector but you have to be very focused in terms of your topic and make sure that you’re communicating on the topics that interest your particular industry or sector.
Melonie Dodaro: Right. You were talking about optimizing your blog. How much do the roles of blogging and SEO overlap now in you opinion?
Jeff Bullas: The socialization search is enormous. I’ve heard even Google say that Google+ is at its core to the whole environment they’re in now. If you do a search on anyone’s name, the first results that will come up will be the social networks.
Obviously Google has realized that social is a big part of the web but I think the other thing is that search engine really like blogs because its fresh content. Of course content needs to be recent because information changes so quickly.
Jeff Bullas: I think good consistent content is what brings people back. You need to be keeping up with industry so there are some types of content that you really need to be using. People love facts, figures and statistics but they need to be interesting. You also need to make it entertaining, so don’t take yourself too seriously.
Make sure that you are using email as well. I think getting subscriber emails so that you can communicate through their email inbox is very, very important. Social media is great but building an email subscriber base that you can distribute your content to everyday is so important. What’s great about email is you own it and you can send out information whenever you want to.
Melonie Dodaro: That is a really great point. Do you think that a lot of businesses are neglecting email and not seeing the kind of results that they could be because they’ve put email marketing on the backburner?
Jeff Bullas: Yes, I think the shiny new tools provided by social media distract businesses and they shouldn’t forget the fundamentals of marketing; they go hand in hand. Social media marketing is a light, sexy thing to use but in the meantime you really need to be integrating tools into your market that still work such as email.
Melonie Dodaro: How do you personally define and measure success with social media?
Jeff Bullas: I suppose it’s the quality of the inquiries that come in. Whether it’s for speaking or a new business client. You need to be attracting traffic through to your blog but there are other measures of success such as retweets, in terms of influence.
If your goal is to build a subscriber list on email, then that becomes a measure of success as well. You really have to be clear on what goals you’re trying to achieve and they should all be measurable.
Melonie Dodaro: Yes that’s good advice. So what do you do to stay ahead of the curve, especially with all the changes that are happening constantly in social media marketing?
Jeff Bullas: My main source is actually Google Reader which is where I subscribe to blogs in a range of industry sectors (such as PR, SEO, social media, marketing, digital marketing) and I put them into my Google Reader and that pushes the latest content from those blogs in over time.
I’ve subscribed to about 120-150 different blogs around the world and I’ve scanned them because it puts them into an easy-to-read headline format and you can click through to see if they are interesting.
Melonie Dodaro: How do you manage your time effectively with social media and what advice do you have for business owners who get stuck in the social media black hole of time wasting?
Jeff Bullas: I can be accused of being stuck in that hole myself from time to time so I think sometimes you just have to turn Twitter & Facebook off so you can focus on the task at hand. I typically allocate a certain time to write and then to optimize and then publish and promote it. After that, I work on different project for the day. I suppose allocating certain blocks of time and turning some of the noise off is necessary.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Jeff Bullas as part of my expert interview series. Let me know in the comments below other experts you would like me to interview for upcoming posts.