Archive for January, 2009

Social Media – my “Christmas Project” run amok

Posted on January 29, 2009. Filed under: Social Media How-Tos, Where Work meets Life | Tags: , , , , , , , |

social media logos

social media logos

It started innocently enough – having written my way down to part-time status with my main client, I found myself with some time on my hands, and a burning desire to “get good at something specific” in marketing. And I’d learn it over Christmas.

Diving into the social media pool
I decided that something should be social media.  After all, here I am – a marketer that spends considerable time writing web copy.  Why not check what all the fuss is about concerning using Facebook for business, Twitter and LinkedIn?

Freshening my Facebook
Facebook was easy – sort of.  I’d been on for a year and a half, collected way too many silly applications and a whole bunch of friends (ok, a hundred or so) representing a lifetime of moving around and trying to keep in touch.   First thing I did was grab Facebook by the scruff of the neck, turn off all sorts of notifications, and get it to stop bossing me around… at least long enough to invite a few more friends and make a page for my business.

Blogging for branding
Next, I took a look at my baby blog – started so that I could muse about ADHD, but named for my business.  OK, so I was having an identity crisis.  ADHD is still an abiding interest, but I’d have to blog about it elsewhere.  I’m still too swamped in the social media learning curve to have started that blog up, but if you joined me then and are wondering when I’m going to get around to blogging about coming “out of the fog” again, well, bear with me.

So the blog has made a right turn, and now it’s my repository for social media thoughts, especially for people who are new to it.  Because really, most people are new to it!  (I mean, if I can become the top of the Twitter elite for Victoria BC in less than a month, then you know that we’re still in the infancy stages of this stuff!)

Taking on Twitter
Then I cranked up Twitter, attached it to Facebook and Facebook to my blog, and badda boom badda bing, we have social media visibility!  Except that still, nothing looks quite the way I want it to.   I’ve just found a theme that I like on my free WordPress blog, so the upgrades are coming.  Once that’s done, can embedded YouTube videos and Flickr photo galleries be far behind?  They’re all complementary ways to connect…

LinkedIn, too…
Oh, and I fired up my LinkedIn account too, because after all, I am a business woman, and this site has wonderful connecting functions for people in business.

Learning from the Pros
As all this was happening, I was finding interesting, savvy social media people to follow on Twitter, and they’ve been educating me every single day about the best ways to connect with mentors, with potential clients, and with people who are just worth knowing.  Checking on TwitterGrader, I went from a fair-to-middling-for-a-newbie score of 54 (out of 100) in mid-December to over 96 a couple of days ago.  And 435 people think I’m interesting and relevant enough to follow.  Imagine!

Racing up the learning curve!
The thing is, my head is still spinning from jumping onto this merry-go-round so quickly.  Clients are starting to ask how they can use social media effectively, and I’m putting together proposals that will help them take advantage of the relationship-marketing heart of social media… without causing them to lose sleep or productive working hours.  I’ll do that for them!

And to be sure, there are wonderful tools to help sort all the posts on all the sites – like, TweetLater, TwitterFeed, Tweetdeck, and so on.  As well, I’d like to thank some amazing social media professionals, pro bloggers and simply fine people I met on-line who are my role models, like Mari Smith, Nancy Marmolejo, Sherman Hu, Chris Brogan, Maria Reyes McDavis, and Michele Price.

Do I feel ready to pass along what I’ve learned to the 99 percent of Victoria business owners who know social media is “out there” but don’t know how to make it work for them?  As ready as I’ll ever be…

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3Rs of Social Media #3 – be Relevant

Posted on January 20, 2009. Filed under: Social Media How-Tos | Tags: , , , , , , |

OK, so in the big wide world of the Internet, where there is a following for everything under the sun, what can I possibily mean by “Be relevant”?

Well, when it comes to business, be relevant to the people you want to do business with.  Who are those people, and what do you want them to know about both you and your business?  It’s ok to take a big-picture view of this – the answer can be both personal and professional.  In fact, it’s best if it’s both.

Going back to our previous “received wisdom” that people do business with people they know, like and trust, social media like blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give you a platform for others to get to know you, your family, your hobbies and interests, even some of your daily activities.  Add to that some of your specialized information from your field of expertise, and you have a powerful combination that gives your potential customers an insight into you and how you do your work.

Does it matter what you had for breakfast?  Perhaps not.  Then again, if you are a fitness trainer, your morning menu might provide both ideas and information.  Your musical tastes could be important information if you run a nightclub.  The websites and blogs that you follow may also provide excellent info for your clients – feel free to quote and even to provide links to the places where you get your information.  This won’t make you any less of an expert – on the contrary, it shows your customers that you are actively staying current in your area of expertise.  And they will still be looking to you for excellent advice.  After all, it’s you they are building the relationship with!

Each time you post, use this simple question as a guide: “What am I telling the world about myself and my business?” If you can answer it with some simple, positive statement, go ahead and post it.

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3Rs of Social Media #2: be Respectful!

Posted on January 16, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

When I first decided that I was going to get serious in mastering the tools and tricks of social media, I took the advice of a real expert, Nancy Marmolejo, and joined up two applications: Twitter and Facebook.  This was an important move for productivity (now I can post once and appear multiple times), but as it turns out, it was even more important for another reason.

You see, I’ve had my Facebook account for a year and a half, and have gathered friends – real friends – from just about every period and every aspect of my life.  Do I want to risk alienating my real-life friends by yammering on about my business with every status update?  I don’t think so!  Turns out that my Twitter friends are no different.  Of course I can talk about my work, just as I would in real life.  And if I’m excited about a turn of events or something new I’m trying out, I’ll post it on Twitter (and by extension, myFacebook status).  But if I’m making my post all about me me me, and what I have to sell… my friends devolve into my customers, and my customers never become friends. 

No thank you.

It is possible, though, to post about what I’m up to in my business if it’s just one ingredient in a thoughtful, respectful and positive stream of tweets/status updates.  The other ingredients include actually being interested in what other people are saying, responding to the posts of others, passing on great information… but more about this in my next post, which is on being Reciprocal.

Oh, and guess what?  The 3Rs have now become the 4Rs because when I planned the outline for this series, I actually hadn’t factored today’s post in.  It just flew out of my head and onto the screen.  Call it the wonder of blogs…

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The 3 Rs of Social Media #1: Relationships

Posted on January 13, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Creating a successful presence on the Web involves looking at your posts from three different perspectives.  If you master the “3 Rs” as I lay them out here, you’ll build your Web following and your business.

The first R is for Relationships.  As in, building them online.  It’s an old adage that people do business with people that they know, like and trust… building relationships is all about that.  Offline, you have to build relationships one at a time, or perhaps pay for advertising or have some excellent PR strategy to get the word out to a wider audience.  With social media, you can really extend your reach.

Twitter, my online social medium of choice, as been compared to a very big meet and greet.  At traditional face-to-face gatherings, even in a room of 200, you can only talk to a couple of people at a time, unless you are the guest speaker.  Your voice won’t carry further, and you can only carry so many business cards.  With social media applications such as Twitter, the playing field is leveled.  Everyone can hear everyone else in the room.  It’s important, therefore, to secure your advantage by being a great relationship builder.

Let’s go back to those relationship-forming conditions – where people know, like, and trust you.  Looking at the “know” factor, how can others get to know you from your Facebook status or from your tweets?  It’s key to show your true self.  Let others know about your interests, your community activities, your committments, your family – even how you cope with the weather at your place can help people know more about the kind of person you are. 

From knowledge, others can determine whether or not they like you.  You can make that likeability factor a lot easier by putting forth a positive online personality.  140 characters or less is usually not enough to show off your witty sarcasm.  Unless you are Oscar Wilde, it probably won’t come across very well.  Instead, be positive.  Offer answers where people have questions.  Congratulate others on their victories and commiserate with their setbacks.  It’s here, in the “likeability” section, where givers really gain.

Finally, there’s the “trust” quotient.  This builds on the first two factors, and is a good reason why it’s important to build up personal rapport before you start cajoling people to buy your stuff.  Facebook friends, Twitter pals, even LinkedIn connections want to see that you are a person of integrity before they deal with you on anything more than a surface level.  Let the trust build up over time, just as you would if you were the new kid at the playground.  Because in fact, the rules online are very similar to the rules we all learned at school, even if the pace seems faster for being online.

Tomorrow, the second R – relevance!

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Twitter for Business? 5 Ways to Tweet

Posted on January 8, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

So you want to use Twitter in your business?  It’s easier than you think!  Here are five ways to use just a sentence or two to generate interest and add value to your followers:

  1. Let your followers see a bit about your life.  What is important to you? What are you reading?  Who inspires you?
  2. Share a quick fact about the work that you do.  Did your longest-standing customer just give you a phone call for another order?  Did you make a new relationship?  Let your people know.
  3. If you don’t have something personal, you can always give an industry statistic that will be useful to your followers.  eg: The number of Twitter users grew an amazing 26% last month.
  4. Along that same line, if someone you follow tweets about a good business-related news item, or an event that they are involved in that could be useful to your target market, “retweet” them by forwarding the message on to your followers. Good news travels fast, and spreads good karma too.
  5. Feel free to dish out your daily “trivia”, but make it meaningful. If you are going to share what you had for breakfast, see that you have a good reason to share it – for instance, you may be an athlete sharing what powers you through the day.  Or maybe that breakfast contained your first home-grown grapefruit, which lets people know that you have a green thumb and healthy habits. 

Here’s the bottom line:

Before pressing send, ask, “Is this going to help people know, like and trust me?”  Remember that Twitter is a very interactive, fast-paced medium.  People want to feel that they know you, and you want to put forth an attractive but authentic version of yourself.

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