Image via CrunchBase The short answer is no. People want to do business with people. The whole point of entering the social networking realm is to make personal connections and build your business. While brand recognition is important, it is not as important as connecting with your customers and prospective customers. When I look at a Facebook profile and see a business name, I feel like the person behind the page is hiding behind their logo. It does not convey that trusting feeling that would make me jump to do business with you. My advice is to create a personal profile and then create a page or a group around your business or products and services. You are not your business. You have other interests that you can share with your customers. You can tell by my profile that I like snowmobiling, own a motorcycle, have kids, etc… That makes me “human” to the people who will approach me for web consulting. If I solely focused on NewWard then many of the connections I have made would have never come to fruition. Be you first – sell second and always be genuine. Who are you online?
Image via CrunchBase Take a good look at your profile and at the profile of some of your friends. Does your profile give your visitors a real sense for who you are, how you run your business, you philosophy or is it nothing more then a resume? Quick peruse my LinkedIn Profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/newward. As you can see I blather on not just about what we do but we include the how and why. The WHY is the critical aspect. The why is what makes you different from your competition. The why is what makes you stand out in a crowd. Let’s face it, you can throw a rock out your front door and hit a web developer, but I believe that NewWard operates differently then the rest. So our philosophy, our “why” is what I focus on. What’s your why and how do you convey it to your connections?
During yesterday’s seminar one theme that kept cropping up is “How is this going to benefit my business?” The key to online networking lies in being subtle. When you are there to offer your information for the benefit of the community, people start paying attention. The “in your face”, let’s make money, “I made $30,000 in a month” sales tactic does not work. Today’s consumer is too suspicious and extremely cautious about how their dollar is spent. Don’t get bogged down in the plethora of details on how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like – they are only tools. The mechanics will come with practice. The real question is: What is your intent? If you are here to build relationships, make real connections and share your expertise, then you will succeed. There is a lot of “noise” online – and most users of social networks filter out the noise to find the real pearls of wisdom. Those are the people you want to make authentic connections with. I know I sound like a broken record… but I can not stress the point enough. People want to do business with real people, people want to donate to not-for-profits they see making a difference. So, share your stories, offer up your knowledge and let your prospects come to you. Don’t you want to attract the people into your business that already see the value? It is so much easier to sell to a person who already perceives your product / service as a valuable asset then it is trying to convince someone they need you. It’s easier then it sounds and I know it’s also risky. You are putting yourself out there for better or [...]
Regardless as to the product or service you think you are selling, the reality is you are selling trust. Yup... trust. If people like you they'll listen to you, but if they trust you they'll do business with you. Zig Ziglar When you are building your online Social Networking profiles, keep in mind your purpose and your message. You will likely be connecting with friends and family (social friends), but you will mostly be trying to connect with people who you want to engage and educate in an effort to eventually gain their trust and thus, their business. The business of selling trust entails putting yourself out there, in some instances, a little more then you may comfortable with. People are cautious about how they spend their dollars - regardless of the status of the economy. If I am going to make a purchase, particularly for a service, I am going to be sure that it is with someone I have had several interactions, know (at least virtually) and trust as an expert in their field. How is this done? SHARE! Yes, it really is as simple as sharing. Share your knowledge Share your passion Share your interests Share your thoughts Share your perspective Pay attention to what is going on in your industry and fill your friends and followers in on it. Offer insights on how one can best take advantage of the newest gadgets, the latest trends, and how your services / products help them to do that. I am not suggesting that you create a blog post with the idea of blatantly advertising - but when people see that you are entrenched in what you do, when they know that you LOVE [...]
I have been tagged by Alex T. Silverstein @AlexSilverstein of http://www.unifieddigital.com/ to display my New Years Resolutions for the people I tag to read. If I have tagged you - feel free to keep the line going along. (You can see his post here http://www.unifieddigital.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38:new-years-resolutions&catid=1:latest-posts In 2009 - I will Provide more people with beneficial information Communicate effectively in all areas of my life Roll out my new product ideas Set up and implement a solid marketing program for Renttropolis Stick to the budget Get more speaking gigs Create an enviornement that helps me focus more Build up our solid support team Play more Remember to laugh more :) I have tagged @MotoSuperstore @prosperitygal @marykw :) (add your post links in the comments here)
Tis the season of tradition and change! The girls were all excited this morning, opening presents, giving me mine – playing with new toys, cd’s, gizmos and gadgets. Now, I sit here in a very quiet house as they left to visit their dad. I used to hate the few hours of silence on Christmas day, but I’ve now come to look forward to it. It’s a break in the action, a moment to breathe and just enjoy the spirit of the day. The tree is glowing, the fire is lit, coffee is fresh and the Baileys is chilled to perfection. Plus, I get my turn to play with the new toys without anyone yelling at me! Thinking back to the Christmas’s of my past; I grew up with the traditional massive Italian Christmas Eve gathering. My mother would prep for weeks to put on a spread for the 50 some odd people that made their way through our house on the night before Christmas. Christmas day was much quieter spent either at home or at my grandmother’s house. Those traditions ended about 18 years ago. I moved, my cousins moved, and new traditions were started. Then those traditions changed as more family moved, passed away, or dynamics changed. Change seems to be the tradition now. Everything shifts in some way or another and it is up to us to adapt, keep the joy and the spirit of season alive regardless of the circumstances. I have become amazingly good at adaptation. This is the first year that Christmas was left up to me and I expect that this will be the new tradition. The planning, cooking, connecting with my cousin’s to make sure we all [...]
Image via CrunchBase As a member of LinkedIn you have the opportunity to connect with business associates, post a “resume”, solicit testimonials from clients and co-workers and position yourself as an expert by answering questions posted by other users. I covered these basic topics in Getting the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile. Take a look through one of your connection’s list. Is there anyone there that you believe can benefit your business? Better yet, is there anyone there who’s business your services or product can benefit? Ask your connection for an introduction. Once that introduction is forwarded, you have the opportunity to directly connect with that prospect and communicate one on one. Think about LinkedIn as a virtual networking mixer. People are gathered around with the purpose of making real connections; they interact, shake hands, ask questions and get answers. Those that you connect with best are added to your list of contacts to follow up with at a later date. LinkedIn has recently added some social networking applications to increase the connectivity of its members. My favorite so far is the Wordpress application. This allows me to put my blog posts on my LinkedIn Profile. This gives my connections the opportunity to see what I write about and am an expert on. It also drives more traffic to my web site. I installed the events application as well, giving my connections the opportunity to see where I am holding a seminar or what events I am attending in case they’d like to join in the fun. Other applications allow you to create a virtual workspace, share presentations, see who’s traveling where, add polls and keep track of the buzz about your company. LinkedIn had to [...]
Your profile page is the first page anyone sees to get to know you. Your photo, what is listed in your river and the boxes you have listed there all give out bits of information on the person you are and your business. Use these tiny pieces of real estate to your advantage. There is a small section of text under your profile photo that is editable. Click on the little pencil and your cursor will flash inside the text box. While it is tempting to put in a nice quote or something sentimental - fill that space up with what you do and who you do it for. Let people know how you can best serve them right off the bat. Always feed a potential customers 'What's in it for me" mind set by providing them with the answer. Never leave room for unanswered questions or worse, confusion. If a prospect feels confused by your message, they will not stick around long enough to ask you twice. Related articles by Zemanta It Was Only a Matter of Time: The Facebook Phone Cometh Putting Privacy Settings in the Context of Use (in Facebook and elsewhere) 9 Facebook Applications To Make You Money
Social Networking feels like a time consuming task to most of my clients. I find myself spending a lot of time talking with people (clients or not) who just want some answers or at least an inkling as to the benefits of the time invested in the tools. Through my activity on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I answer a lot of questions. I figure if I have something worth sharing that is of value to others, then I am more then happy to do just that. Almost everyone says "Thank You" but on a rare occasion someone goes above and beyond the standard Thank You and completely surprises me. Today I had such a moment. Gary Jamerson the renown watch designer and principle of After 8 Media and said Thank You in an extraordinary way.... I am honored by the write up... Gary, thank YOU! There is nothing more satisfying then knowing that I was of help to you and your business! For Gary's write up - visit here http://after8media.com/2008/11/internet-marketing/ and here http://after8media.com/melissa-ward/. What a GREAT way to start the day! What surprises have you gotten as a result of helping someone or sharing your knowledge? How have you said Thank You to someone who has helped you? Please comment and let me know. Related articles by Zemanta Twitter For Business 9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Social Media 1.4 Billion People Want to be Loved and Linked
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about new products, services and web sites. Last night, I grabbed my laptop and sat in front of the fire with Seth Godin’s Tribes playing in the background and just brainstormed. I have seven ideas and I like them all. I decided to pick three and really work on them. The problem that I kept running into is that they are essentially the same business model, just with different names. That is not necessarily bad, but it feels too much like putting all of my eggs into one basket. So, I laid back, listened and thought about what I really want and what I believe I excel at. At NewWard Development, LLC, our core business is in web development. I do the design and marketing work and my business partner, Bob, does all the back end application and database development. We use a select group of outside contractors to outsource what ever overflow there is in certain areas. Our recurring business comes from hosting and maintenance contracts. I do seminar work, speaking, mostly local, to various business groups about internet marketing – well, really relationship building, as it applies to social networking. That is my favorite part of my “ j o b ” and I am good at it, but it doesn’t scale online. Or does it? I talk, IM, twitter, and just generally connect with people all day. If I am not standing in front of a client, I am on a panel or in the front of a room or on a teleconference or typing away about how to do stuff online. People ask me questions all the time and I hear a [...]