Social Media Ideas from Tony Zayas, Marketer & Social Media Strategist for Proforma

Tony is really an amazing dude. I got a chance to meet him at the Proforma Convention last week in Grapevine, Texas. He says he’s spent loads of his own money learning best practices from Social Media gurus in various industries so he proves to be a wealth of knowledge and I had the great opportunity to listen to his presentation and talk to him personally. It was a huge value to take a lot of good notes on using social media strategically as a sales tool.

Here are some takeaways and highlights:


Point 1: Build a plan.

You need a strategy in order to be successful. Being “all over the place” is not a great way to be relevant on social media. Instead, it is crucial to focus your efforts on your pillars.

  • Pillars: You as a person have a personal brand. Those are the pillars. Each post should be an example demonstrating one of those pillars that you include in your “About Me” section. For example, each of these could be a pillar: You’re a parent, Your top 2 professional things you provide for others, and Your main interest or hobby.


  • Follow your customers on Twitter. This shows that you find them interesting. Reply back to them. “Favorite” a lot of their posts. They will see this and it will make them feel good.
  • After some time of building a base, it’s a good idea to follow them on Linkedin. Start by sending a personal message saying you follow them and think they are interesting, and want to start building a relationship.
  • Then once you become close, friend them on Facebook. At that point you find out about their family lives, find out what’s truly important to them, and what their hopes, dreams and aspirations are.

Let your personality shine

Point 2: Be personal.

People work with who they know and like as a person and that helps build trust. The key is to BE REAL. Let your personality shine though. Everything should be a post in the pillars of your brand or it’s not worthwhile.

Point 3: Don’t be paralyzed.

Sometimes we don’t post anything because we’re worried about someone seeing something we’ve said and then becoming offended. That’s OK, because you are being you, you are being real, and it will resonate with those who are close to you. Now, in the same token, it’s NOT okay to be offensive, or veer off your pillars. The key is to think with a good heart and use your best judgement.

Company Pages

Facebook has unfortunately made them irrelevant by charging money for posts to be seen. While their important to have still, the focus is on your personal profile as the sales person to build a real relationship. Only 10% of company page posts actually show up to your followers, unless you pay to have those posts seen. Tony informed us that you should never have to pay for Facebook; it’s just not worth the money.

Talking to people and being of service will go much further than just throwing offers out every week. These are some keys that I’m going to use to start bringing some A-game to my social media presence.

Thanks again Tony, I’ll be and sure to catch you a cold one next time I see you!

Marketing Calendar Planning Series: Step 2 – Bringing the Message to your Audience

When planning your marketing calendar, a constant item you’ll have to consider is how to get the message to your audience, or even more specifically, your target market. Many different products or services, depending on what you’re selling, have a different target market demographic. How to reach them requires using the channels that the particular demographic uses.

Picture you’re talking on a radio trying to reach your friend on the other line. If you’re not tuned into the same channel, you can’t communicate to each other. The same is the case when communicating to your target market.

So how do you find out what channel they’re on? Try asking them! It’s important to talk to your customers and find out these important details. Find a few of your best customers and find out what makes them “tick”.

Some may already know or are in tune with the market. This is good. Chances are you are just advertising to the masses. Mass media advertising is extremely expensive and very low ROI. An example of this would be television advertising. It’s easy to say that there are a wide variety of individuals watching TV (age, interests, gender, etc).  A much better approach is to narrow it down.

An example would be say you developed a product to help bicyclists connect with each other to go on rides together. Your app would probably make a great TV commercial, but not everyone rides a bicycle on a regular basis. Every viewer who sees this ad and doesn’t connect to it offer potential wasted marketing dollars. Instead, maybe targeting the local bicycle shops to place a poster in their shop. Or maybe a brochure with a QR code to download the app in a coffee shop if you regularly see a lot of bikes in front of it.

Now this may sound counter intuitive – “Why would I want to lessen the amount of people I am advertising to? After all, the more people that hear the message the better, right?” The truth is, probably not. With this type of marketing approach, chances are you’ll blow through your budget faster with nothing to show for it. When you focus your message to the finer the slice of individuals you’re trying to reach, it’s almost like you’re speaking directly to them and their values. You’ll build a much stronger brand faster and have much more customer loyalty.

From there, you can always expand. It’s always easier to start small and work up. It’s extremely hard to work backwards.

Marketing Calendar Planning Series: Step 1 – Getting Your Project Off the Ground

When taking the plunge into plugging your business into a marketing mentality, there are a few things to consider:

  1. How to get this project off the ground
  2. How do I bring the message to the audience (brand awareness)
  3. How do I get funding
  4. How do I keep focused on the goal
  5. Analyzing your results

The first four points are what I call the Marketing Fab Four – These are all very important things to consider. The fifth one could take on a life of it’s own. I will go into these as part of my Marketing Calendar Planning Series in the next few  posts.

I know that with myself, I have the hardest time on #4 – staying focused. Actually I find it easiest to launch something or get something off the ground. That’s easy. All you need is the look and a great message and voila – You have a program. But it’s really more than that. A lot more; in fact it can get quite complex. It’s kind of like “Transformers! More than meets the eye!” Oh yes… take me back to the 80′s. Happy times. Good stuff. But … what were we talking about? Oh yeah, the focusing part…

But we’ll start with #1 for today – like I said, we’ll cover these others in the next few posts as part of the Marketing Calendar Planning Series.

1. How to get a Marketing project off of the ground

This is the most fun part about marketing for me. It is the opportunity to really run wild. But let’s take a look at culture. Culture is a fascinating thing. I probably could write an entire blog post on culture itself. For building a campaign, we can take elements as part of our culture and use them in a way for people to relate to.

Sometime around the turn of the century, manufacturers saw benefits of placing names and slogans on products to differentiate theirs from other manufacturers. They began to recognize the way in which consumers were developing relationships with their brands in a social/psychological/anthropological sense. Campbell’s soup was one of the first companies to take advantage of branding.


Let’s take a look at a real-life example. Seasons are a popular theme. They are common, always changing, and something everyone can relate to. Now we can use this and just run with it by calling it a “Summer Sale” but we’re more creative than that. Let’s try to make this a little more dynamic.

Say you’re an ice cream vendor going to an outdoor film festival at a park. Your event promotions would could look something like this:

ice cream marketing promo

Now this isn’t what the promotion was originally used for. But admit it – it could’ve been cool!

The key is to play up on those familiarities and associations that people can relate to. Combine that with intriguing imagery and illustration from a talented graphic designer and you have yourself something memorable and timeless.

Now that you have your look and theme, it’s time to move on to #2 getting your message to your audience… stay tuned!

Hunting & Landing the Perfect Marketing Campaign

When I started out in marketing, I knew there would be a day that I could capture this elusive beast. I lay awake at night dreaming of me sneaking up on it, rifle in hand, crawling prone through the mud in deep bush wearing camouflage… topped with my jungle hat bearing artificial leaves attached making me invisible except to malicious army of mosquitoes…. only to see her frolicking freely near the stream seemingly without a care in the world.


“There it is,” I whisper under my breath, careful not to make a sound as I know how fleeing the creature is. “It’s beautiful,” I go on, almost getting lost in the moment watching its pure and graceful beauty.

I take a slow, deep breath and hold it with my cheek pressed firmly on the stock of the rifle. My finger finds the trigger guard as the sight tracks the beast, to the left and to the right, far down the barrel of  my Winchester Widowmaker.

“Bah!” I startledly blurted out, while trying to remain quietly as I can, as a mosquito digs into my skin. Even as the sharp pain registers, I try with all my might to not move an inch and rustle any leaves, as doing so would be enough to startle the beast and never see her again.

“You’re mine now,” my confidence builds as my finger once again finds the trigger. The beast bends it’s neck down to the stream, still as it’s ever been. This is it. Now or never. Here we go.


As the dust settles, I don’t see a monster laying on the ground. The only sound I hear besides the ringing in my ear was the sound of a trampling beauty darting away before I could catch another glimpse. Gone.


While this story seems more appropriate in the pages of Field & Stream, the metaphor remains true. Trying to hunt for that perfect marketing campaign that will create the impact you want is often sought after but never achieved.

Why is this?

Part of the problem I usually run into is the follow-through. A lot of times we get started on this wonderful idea, try it for a while, invest virtually nothing besides a bit of time, and move on to the next thing. This is where we may go wrong. A great campaign takes an investment – of time, determination, and a budget. Now, I didn’t say a MASSIVE budget, but a budget is usually needed. Don’t get me wrong – there are some great things out there that are free (advertising-wise). But because they are free, everyone does them,  and because of that, there isn’t much impact.


Marketing involves using channels to convey your message. What channels are YOU using? A big part of which is Social Media. Another channel is your sales team and the products they are using – catalogs, flyers, sell sheets, etc. The best campaign uses ALL of these channels in a clear concise matter, using the proper voice to speak to the corresponding audience.

Marketing Channels

Go where your customers are

This point seems obvious. But lets look at again. Say for instance your demographic are steel buyers, with ages from 45-60. While Facebook seems attractive because it’s where “all the kids are hanging out”, investing in a marketing campaign may not be the best channel to speak to your demographic.

This can hopefully get you started on thinking about your next marketing campaign to generate some more sales activity. So go out there and make it happen!

Print Marketing Boosts Brands by Bringing the Cool Factor

How many times have you saw a post on social media for an advertisement or product launch and have been less than impressed by the time you’ve been giving it? Me – too many times. The nice thing about social media is that it makes updates really fast and easy, but that much more difficult to leave an impact.

Louis Vitton PackagingRestaurant  Branding / Identity System

When creating a campaign, I prefer doing a multi-channel release – This way it gives many different types of prospects the opportunity to sense the cool factor you’re trying to convey. For me, I’m a very tactile person. I like the touch and the feel of something real in my hands. More and more we’re seeing trends of product packaging and marketing kits with great use of design, color and textures.  Marketing Kits

If the budget allows it, it almost always leaves a longer lasting marketing impact – sure to add to the bottom line.