Marketing

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The Rules of Engagement

As we close the door on 2010 and open to 2011, I have a thought I'd like to share... There are still a lot of people doing it wrong. Image by fredcavazza via Flickr They are using social media as a platform to yell, blast and spam out their goods and services.  At no time do they explain what they are about, who they help or how they work.  While the goal of using social media is awareness, the best way to get there is by encouraging people to talk, write, converse online and off. We live is a world where there are so may people / businesses / things screaming for our attention.  Sometimes the noise level is painful. Encouraging people to get into the conversation, by sharing things that are of interest, peek curiosity and by simply being nice is a far better use of Social Media tools. For example: Real estate agents typically post about an open house or a new listing in their Facebook status or Twitter stream.   Does this spark interest or encourage conversation?  No.  It's flat out boring.   Talk to me about the trek in the snow you made while showing the property, share tips on making the house show ready, talk about the goings on in the neighborhood, upload a photo of something cool you saw on the property... these things create curiosity and encourage interaction. Quick ideas: Post up on other people's pages Ask questions Be interesting Take an interest in others Be informative Be helpful It's never been about the tools, it's always been about the outreach.  Get the methods of outreach down and you can succeed in any platform you chose to use. Make a promise to yourself and your connections in 2011 to do social [...]

Social Networking Rotary Style, Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships?

As a Rotarian, I try live my life by the cornerstone of Rotary: The 4 Way Test Rotarians Connecting Of the things we think, say or do Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? That is why I belive in Social Networking, Rotary Style. As an active social networker the third principle speaks the loudest to me.  It is my goal to share my expertise, knowledge and information (mine or not) with the hundreds, if not thousands of people I touch on a daily basis.  I do this to build goodwill and strengthen the connections I've made along the way.  I often talk about adding value to the conversation., which is, pulling people into your circle of influence to benefit them - not you.  I also work very hard not to be seen as the  "snake-oil salesman" persona that seems to befall many other online marketers.  I am not that... nor do I ever want to be. Participation in the conversation is not only about sharing information, but it is about listening as well.  Listening enables you to offer what your connections and friends want.  Listening also enables you to take action - for example, to protect your reputation.  As regular readers know, several months ago I was accused of plagiarism.  It is only through listening to the conversation that I was made aware of it and was able to take action in regard to it.  The entire situation was cleared up in a matter of hours and it all took place in front of some 3000 participants in the conversation.  While I certainly could have lashed out [...]

The Creation of Community

It’s easy to talk about the mechanics of marketing yourself online.  The “how to’s” in setting up profile pages, twitter accounts, fan pages and the like.  What is more difficult is explaining the how you should go about marketing yourself.  On one hand, the concept is simple, be yourself, share your knowledge and hang out.  Let people come to you.  Being aggressive in today’s market place will result in people recoiling away from you.  On the other, it’s such a different mind set from old “push” marketing principles, that few people really get it. It amazes me how many so called marketers do nothing but post links to content, theirs or other peoples, without revealing a single thing about who they are or why they are there.  What makes them think that this method would create a desire to do business with them?  When I look on my Facebook home page and see the same face over and over again with a series of links – no insights, no sharing – I get a knot in my stomach.  They just don’t get it.  However, I do not disconnect from them.  They serve as a reminder of what I do not want to become.  I always encourage clients to be proud of who they are, what they do and why they do it.  The reality is that their “who” is not going to resonate with every person they come across.  What most have a hard time understanding is:  THAT’S GREAT!  I would rather have a handful of people that are truly interested in me and my work then a throng of thousands who simply tolerate me.  That handful of people will be the ones who engage [...]

How to Create a Custom Facebook Fan Page

You've seen one fan page, you've seen them all - right?  Wrong. Facebook Fan pages can be customized to give your fans (and not yet fans) an experience that is unique to your business and style. First step is to give fans and not yet fans two seperate landing pages on your Fan Page.   Go to your page, click on settings (just under the "What's on your mind?" box) Set your default view to "Posts by Page and Fans" - this lets people see who you are conversing with. Then select a page that will be informative for your "Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else:" drop down.  I used the "Static FBML" application to create a Welcome Page for people who are not yet fans and direct newcomers to this page.  I ask them to join in the conversation by becoming a fan.  Soon - I will be using the same application for Fan Only offerings.   I also use the Events app to announce seminars and trainings, the video application to show recorded seminars, the photo application for the portfolio, and the Discussion Board to encourage conversation.  I also use the Profile HTML for my Opt in List (see How to use Profile HTML). Facebook offers the opportunity to customize your visitors experience - take advantage of that by branding yourself and encouraging new people to join in on the fun! What applications have you found useful on your fan page?   Related articles by Zemanta Facebook Pages Get More Business Friendly (socialmediatoday.com) Facebook Apps Get Custom Tags for Copy-Paste Feature Building (mashable.com) Facebook Extends FBML with Custom Tags, Enabling a New Class of FBML Widgets (insidefacebook.com)

A Social Media Experiment – Your Thoughts?

A Social Media Experiment. On all of the social media sites I can be found on I have a photo of me.  It is my “avatar”, my face, my “brand”.  I will tweak them once in a while, make a change, update it usually with little or no reaction - as they are essentially the same.  Me, usually from the shoulders up, an outfit, typically red or blue (need to add my purple :) ) smiling nicely.  They photos convey my professionalism, hopefully my confidence in what I do, a sense of approachability, and make me recognizable.  All the things I wish to be perceived as. Then one day, I decided I’d like to change it up a little.  I broke the golden rule – Never, ever mess with your brand.   I took an old avatar and put it up on Facebook.  The cartoon is representative of an old idea I had, something out of my ordinary marketing message and a little rough around the edges.  She is a “persona” of me, in somewhat questionable attire – but one that conveys the concept of “Web Mistress” in a very tongue in cheek sort of way.  I did this as I am considering an “off-shoot” brand and wanted to see what would happen. Then I sat back and watched.  It was interesting for me to see who continued to interact with me and who did not.  Trust me, I took note.  I expected the comments from people who know me personally and “in real life” to be positive, I was not disappointed.  Those who truly know me are more then aware of how off-center I can be.  But I was intrigued by those who did not engage [...]

Facebook Fan Pages News Feed

Did you know that at the bottom of the page of your newsfeed (Home Page) was this: Click on "See Hidden Friends" - these friends are the fan pages you are a fan of.  Once you click on the link a window will pop up allowing you to select which pages' updates will show in your newsfeed.  Select the ones you want to keep track of and then click close. More importantly notify your fans so that your business page's newsfeed appears on their home page newsfeed.  That is the best way for them to get value out of the information you provide to them on a regular basis and it keeps your name in front of them everytime you update your page. What value to you give your Facebook fans? Have a Facebook tip to share?  Have a Facebook question?  Leave it in the comments below. If you find this content of value - please subscribe to the blog.

Marketing across the Generations

My father loves telling stories about when he was a kid.  The whole family would gather in the living room and listen to the radio.  Back then (he was born in 1927) radio wasn’t about music, it was about stories.  Everyone in the room would be silent during the radio show listening to a story which ended in a cliff hanger and continued the following week. When movie theatres were becoming popular, they used the same tactic as radio.  Movies were the equivalent to our television series.  They ended in a cliff hanger so the viewers would return the following week, fork up a quarter and see how Image by mugley via Flickr the story turned out.   Then movies matured.  They became a single story that began, was told in detail and ended all in the same 2 hour time frame (leaving room for sequels of course).  The point is, my father’s generation grew up listening.  To this day, my father hears everything.  Not just what is being said directly to him, but what is not being said as well.  He is excellent at reading between the lines, absorbing information, and hearing (now with hearing aides) and is very sensitive to background noise. My generation and the ones after it have grown up with a lot of noise.  We have learned to tune out much of it.  We have grown up in an era where so much information is being thrown at us at such a high speed we can not assimilate all of it in one shot.  For us to hear the message we have to listen to it more then once.  As a result, repetition has become a cornerstone in advertising and public [...]

You think you are selling what? Think again!

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 [...]

Why Giants Fall

    The news is littered with the potential demise of the icons of corporate America.  Citigroup, GM, and the like have fallen pray to the financial markets, economic uncertainty, the “recession”…. or have they?  Here is the question I pose… Where is the accountability?   These institutions have been around for decades getting fat, bloated and lazy.  They have a sense of entitlement that no other businesses in the world embrace.  Stock prices fall, liquidity is at a minimum and they fret that they will have to sell off a piece of their over sized pot of possessions to remain afloat.  (Hang on, let me get out my violin…) If I went to the government and asked to be saved because I made bad decisions, failed to take advantage of new markets and forgot to listen to my customers, I’d be laughed off the steps of the capitol!   OK – so I don’t employ thousands of workers, nor do I have a billion dollar budget, but in the big scheme of things, should really that matter? I say let the giants fall!  If the directors of these corporations haven’t “gotten it” by now, my guess is, they never will.  Let the shift in the markets take place – isn’t that what free, open commerce is about?  What we are witnessing is nothing more then the natural attrition of business.  Those that maintain top place do so deservingly, by maintaining a standard of excellence to the public and behind closed doors.  Businesses that shut down, get bought out, eaten up or simply vanish are victims of their own short sightedness and by all rights should get out of the way so something or someone bigger and [...]

How do you say Thank You?

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