social marketing media

LinkedIn has made cold calling a thing of the past for many of us – at least it should have. Unfortunately I suspect many people build their connections and then… well, nothing. LinkedIn is about as useful as a chocolate teapot if you only connect with people you already know – OK, maybe not a chocolate teapot, but certainly one with a dribbly spout. There are other teapots out there that do the job better if you just want to chat to people you know!

The search functions on LinkedIn are great for pinpointing the kind of people you want to do business with. Here’s a how to for you…

1. First you need to log in – see, not so hard, is it?

2. Go to the search bar and type in the search you want. Maybe you represent a packaging company and you want to make contact with company buyers. So you type in buyer and hit enter.

3. On the next page, down the left hand side you’ll see a whole host of search criteria designed to narrow your search. Some of this is only accessible if you pay, but the basic version is certainly good enough. I would suggest you refine your search to 2nd connections, as you want to meet people that you don’t yet know. Other refinements are down to what makes sense for your business – location and industry I would suggest makes sense for our sales rep.

4. For me, this search comes up with 633 results. Now I can work my way through and decide who is my best match, in terms of their role, and our products. When I’ve found someone who I’d like to talk to I can click on our shared connection and request an introduction. I could do that, or I could make contact with our shared connection to find out all I can about my potential client – are they the decision maker, are they on the lookout for a new supplier, what interests do they have… the usual stuff, and of course, are they willing to introduce me. This then makes it more of a referral instead of a shot in the dark.

It’s this last part that turns a list of names into a rich source of potential clients, information and referrals. Much nicer than driving to an industrial estate and knocking on everyone’s door in the rain, to see if they buy packaging, yes, I was guilty of that many moons ago. I’ve also taken my local phone book, picked a page at random and started a (fruitless) exercise of offering financial services to whoever answered the phone. I guess these ways still work, but LinkedIn offers a much better way; far more in keeping with the digital age we live in, faster, sleeker and more efficient – go on, give it a go.

 

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On an aeroplane you’re told that if the oxygen masks come down, you should put your own on before your children’s. As a parent, I know I’d find that extremely difficult, but I can see why it’s the right thing to do. So why is it that I find it so hard to put my needs before anybody else’s?

It’s the same in my business. I look after my client’s social media come hell or high water, it’s always mine that suffers. It’s a bit like the builder whose house is falling down around him – although, thankfully, my natural self-discipline wouldn’t allow me to get that bad!

So when I hear businesses telling me they don’t have time to “do” social media, I really do understand, but I also know how powerful it can be and that EVERY business needs to be on the social media scene if they still want to be around and trading successfully in 5 years.

To find out how I can help with your social media give me a call on 01462 615821 or email me now.

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Picture for a moment that you’re hosting a fabulous party. You’re standing in a group of friends, chatting and swapping tales. You start to share the one about your good friend Steve (who’s across the room) who fell into the sea on a boating holiday.

You have a choice to make. Do you say, privately, “See that man over there? That’s Steve, and one time when we were on a boating holiday…” or do you announce as you’re waving him over, “Steve, come here. We’re talking about your incredible boating escapade…”?

In the virtual party of social networking, you encounter this particular decision every day. When you talk about another person, do you write their username, which acts as a tag and a link, or do you simply mention them by their name? Both have their place…

If you’ve previously used Twitter, you will know how to name-tag somebody making use of the “@” symbol before his or her username. Less of us are aware that Facebook has a similar element.

On Facebook, when keying in a status or comment, enter the “@” symbol before you begin typing the person’s name and you will notice a dropdown list of matching friends and pages from which to choose. You can delete their surname by back spacing to make your post more reader friendly.

There are a few reasons why you might want to tag someone…

  •  To notify that individual/page that their name has been mentioned, in the hope that they may reply or engage with the message.
  • To draw someone’s attention to a post – like an email “cc”.
  • To make it easy for followers to click on through to that person’s profile.
  • To make it obvious to your followers whom you’re referring to.

On the flip-side, if you don’t wish the person to know that his name has been mentioned, maybe to save them from numerous email notifications, then don’t tag them, just use their name.

 On the whole, though, it’s good to remember that social networks are about interacting. You’re there to connect with people, and to connect them with each other, so I’m all for tagging people and opening up opportunities for engagement.

If you’re wondering how this relates to your business, call me on 01462 615821 or email me for more information.

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When I speak to businesses who are considering entering the Social Media arena, they are often concerned that customers will use it for complaints which other existing customers and potentials will then see. Far from this being a negative, I see this as a great opportunity for companies to advertise how good they are, when problems occur.

I’ve been completely blown away by the service I received from Build-A-Bear workshop this week. Interestingly, it has nothing to do with the purchasing of their products, or even the quality of them, but in how they handled a problem that I encountered.

My daughter has been saving up for some accessories for her B-A-B Hello Kitty, so on Sunday we made the 1.5 hour round trip to our nearest store. We had a lovely time browsing, the staff were helpful and my daughter managed to stay within her budget, so all in all, a very positive experience. Did I tell anyone about it? No.

That evening, we realised the zip on her new poodle sleeping bag was faulty, so the next morning I called the store. They asked how far away we were and then suggested that their head office may be able to authorise the exchange by post. So I called them, and they also suggested the postal option. I was really hoping they wouldn’t ask me to return the item first, as my daughter wouldn’t have been happy, and they didn’t. They offered to UPS a replacement to me and to send a free returns note for “when we have a chance to post it back to them.”

Our replacement arrived the very next day. My daughter had no interruption in playing with her new purchase and I didn’t have to drive over there to exchange it, so all in all, two very happy customers! Did I tell anyone about it? Oh yes!

Build-A-Bear Workshop is on Facebook, so I posted an update telling everyone about my problem, but thanking them for their great customer service. It also tied in with a question that Michael Losier (Law of Attraction), had posed, so I also mentioned it there. Do you really think that will put anyone off buying from them? I don’t think so. In fact, B-A-B took the time to thank me for my comment and for being a fan, so I’m pretty sure they get my point. Every company will make mistakes. Either the product will be faulty, the service not up to their usual standard or maybe a part will be missing. If a company tells you that they never have complaints, don’t believe them.

I’m so much more impressed with Build-A-Bear after being on the receiving end of their great after sales service, than if the product had been OK. They’ve turned what could have been a negative into a huge positive, and what’s more, by the power of Social Media, it’s been amplified. On Facebook Michael Losier has nearly 10k fans and Build-A-Bear have over 1m fans. That’s a lot of people who could read about my experience and feel comfortable that should they have a problem, Build-A-Bear will respond similarly to them.

So you see, as long as your company handles complaints well, you really have nothing to fear from Social Media, but so much to gain. If you’d like to know how Social Media Marketing can help your own business, let’s have a chat…

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I’m a busy lady, two children, one of which isn’t in full time school yet, numerous clubs and activites to get the children to, my Social Media business and all the usual house workey things like keeping an available stock of clean clothes and cooking proper meals for the family (yes my children do eat fishfingers, but not every night!), so I struggle as much as anyone with finding time to get things done.

The trick that I’ve tried to perfect over the years is to decide what my most important jobs are and then allocate some time to them daily, or as frequently as is necessary. For example, if I have a blog post to write, I’ll give myself half an hour of focused time for it. During that time, I won’t answer the phone or check Facebook or my emails. If I’d been attempting to multi-task, I just wouldn’t get it finished in that time. I also allocate some time to each of my clients on a daily basis, and as long as I’m strict with myself, I achieve what I set out to do.

Maybe I’m just not very good at multi-tasking? For me, it often means lots of unfinished jobs around the house, or files on my computer littered with WIP, that quite often never get completed. Maybe this means I’m in touch with my “masculine side”?

So…imagine my delight when I found this nifty on-line stopwatch  the other day?  Now I don’t even have to keep an eye on my watch as a buzzer will tell me when my time is up and it’s on to the next task! Such a simple thing! If you’re struggling with too much to do in too little time, why not give my idea a try?

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I think it’s fair to say that industrial manufacturing companies haven’t yet jumped, en masse, into the social media arena. Some are using it and it’s working very nicely for them, but I think a lot of companies are still sceptical and are sitting on the side lines, watching, a bit like many did when the internet boom first started over 10 years ago.

As with the internet, it was the early adopters who had massive success, which leaves you in a unique position now. Get involved, set the standard and reap the rewards, or spend years wishing you’d got involved at the outset.

Google makes a fortune from its “pay per click” advertising, because most people who use the internet use Google to find what they want. I’m sure that’s no surprise to you. But did you know that Facebook gets more page views per month than Google, and Twitter isn’t far behind?

The role of internet marketers is to increase traffic to their client’s website. So if several of the world’s most visited websites are already allowing people to use their sites freely to guide people to specific websites, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

Google now recognise Tweets in their organic results – and high up, too. There are hundreds of thousands of Twitter profiles showing on page 1 of Google for valuable keyword terms. Google also allows Facebook profiles and commercial “pages” to rank as well.

In short, these social media sites are SEO friendly, they love fresh content and allow you to post virtually anything you want at any time. Social media and SEO work well together, like strawberries and cream. Either are fine on their own, but put them together and something magical happens!

I recently read a report from Global Spec entitled “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” which stated that industrial customers are generally passive in social media. They’re reading, but not getting into conversations, nonetheless they’re involved, and perhaps, you should be too. Click through for GLOBALSPEC’s full report

 

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People often ask me why anyone would hire a Social Media Manager, when they could do it themselves. Running a good, effective, interesting social media campaign isn’t rocket science, but there is more to it than setting up a profile and putting out the odd advertisement tweet. To do it properly takes time, imagination, research and a love of the whole social media scene. Do it half heartedly and you may as well not bother.

I believe that everyone in business has their own talents, and that’s what they should concentrate on. If you’re a really effective financial advisor, then spend your time advising people and making money for your clients and your business. If you’re a creative type, spend your time creating, because you probably hate doing your accounts!

As consumers, we’re quite used to contracting out work. Every time you pick up that takeaway coffee, you’ve outsourced some work. With every pack of pre-washed salad leaves that you buy, you’ve paid someone to do the growing, harvesting, washing, packing, distribution and a lot of other things besides…

Hiring a Social Media Manager is no different to this. A lot of large companies will have a full time social media manager strategising and implementing their social media marketing plan, and ensuring their on-line presence is positive. They recognise that they will be talked about on-line, but if they aren’t a part of this on-line social experience, they don’t have a chance to manage their reputation. Luckily for businesses who don’t want to do this in-house, there are a number of Social Media Managers that you can contract out to.

This expertise doesn’t have to cost the earth. The way I work is to find out about your business and really understand the way your company operates. Although I don’t work in your company, I need to understand in order to be your “voice” on the social media stage. I establish what your business goals are and then work out a plan in order to help you achieve them, within any budget constraints that you have.

If you want to find out more about me to see if we could work together, do have a look around my web-site and get in touch.

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I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. When I was 14, my brother bought a hand held CB radio and I was instantly hooked! I quickly progressed to a more powerful radio and spent hours and hours chatting to my friends and making new ones. On several occasions I remember chatting to people late at night, only to wake several hours later with just a crackling radio for company – the person I’d been talking too, had given up on me long ago.

But how much better is social media? Instead of being limited to within my hometown (I think rose tinted glasses may be at play here – my signal probably didn’t reach further than a few hundred metres, despite the enormous aerial in my parents back garden!) now the world is your oyster…

We can build relationships with people on the other side of the world, find people that we lost touch with years ago, and link up with people that we don’t yet know, but who have the same interests as us. This is far removed from the random chats with random people that I had on my CB. Some business’s have embraced social media fully, and are reaping the rewards. Others have dipped a toe in and would like to do more, but don’t have the knowledge or the resources. There are of course some who still don’t even have a web-site!

As I’m writing this, it’s occurred to me that some of my old CB friends are also my facebook friends. Who would have thought that friendships forged on the CB would still be going strong some 25 years later!

I wonder what social networking will be like in another 25 years. It quite obviously has a greater mainstream longevity than CB radio. I believe we’re still in the early stages, with many companies yet to engage fully and exploit it to the maximum. The next few years are going to see massive growth, and personally, I’m ready and waiting to ride this roller coaster called Social Media.

One of the questions I get asked all the time is, does social media really work? Can it bring me new customers and more business?

The answer, for the majority of businesses in the UK (there will always be a few exceptions!) is undoubtedly YES!

However, I heard a great story just the other day which really highlights the potential and power of social media. This particular anecdote concerns Twitter.

There’s a very successful UK entrepreneur called Nigel Botterill. Nigel has built five separate million pound plus businesses in the last five years so, he knows a lot about what it takes to build businesses fast. He was one of the first business people to properly understand the potential and power of social media and he has driven literally hundreds of thousands of people to his websites and generated tens of thousands of pounds of revenue directly through social media over the last few months.

However, the story I heard last week is very powerful. Nigel was running a Boot Camp to train potential franchisors, i.e. people that wanted to franchise their business, over two days at his head offices in Solihull. Tickets cost over £2,000 and the event was fully booked.

On the Sunday evening before the event, Nigel put a Tweet out on Twitter that said, “Really looking forward to my Franchisors Boot Camp tomorrow – off for an early night to make sure I’m on top form (hopefully)”.

Now, this is not one of the most insightful Tweets you will ever see(!) but, what happened next is fascinating and illustrates really well the power of Twitter. One “follower” of Nigel is a guy called Jat Mann who runs a business called PC Pal. Jat has recently franchised his business out and when he saw this Tweet from Nigel (at 9.00pm on a Sunday evening don’t forget) it was the first he knew about Nigel’s Boot Camp. He was very keen to get a place so he tweeted back to Nigel asking for more information. Unfortunately, Nigel had gone offline so Jat jumped on the internet and started filling in every email form he could find on all of Nigel’s websites. One of those emails got picked up by one of Nigel’s colleagues who called Nigel at home at 10.15pm on a Sunday evening to ask whether he would accept another person on his Franchisors Boot Camp.

Long story short, Jat turned up at Nigel’s offices on the Monday morning at 8.30am, paid his £2k plus on credit card and joined the Boot Camp.

The point of this story is to illustrate the ability that Twitter has to generate business and, what’s great about this particular anecdote is that it is completely ring fenced, nothing else was at play here – just Twitter.

Now, it would be easy to dismiss this story as an isolated incident – “Oh, Nigel got lucky!” However, that would be to overlook the platform that had been built over the previous months. Nigel has a large number of followers on Twitter and Jat was one of those people. Nigel engages with his audience on Twitter all the time. Consequently, he is seen as being interesting and interested and, so relationships are forged.

When Nigel launches new products or has new initiatives he is able to let his followers know about these things in the right way, at the right time and a heck of a lot of business gets done as a result.

This kind of platform and access to this community is available to you too – IF you use social media properly.

If you need any help in this regard…..then you know where to come!

For sixty years after the Second World War if you were a local business there were only really three things you had to do to market yourself effectively. Life was very straightforward. You took the biggest ad you could afford in Yellow Pages, relied a lot on word of mouth and, if you were very ambitious or a little bit flash(!), then you took an ad out in the local newspaper.

That was pretty much all you had to worry about as far as marketing was concerned.

Oh how times have changed.

Yellow Pages are dying now. They are getting thinner every year, fewer and fewer people are using them and, within the next five to ten years the old printed yellow books will have disappeared altogether.

Right across the country local newspapers are seeing circulation fall and, each month, different titles are shutting down the presses and going out of business.

And, of course, society has become much more transient and mobile than it ever was in the ‘good old days’. Neighbourhood communities are now a real rarity for most people.

For businesses right across the country this has forced a seismic shift in the way they market and promote themselves. New, all encompassing, marketing services like thebestof have come from nowhere to provide a myriad of different services to businesses. The internet is now an integral part of the fabric of modern life and, within that, social media has emerged to fulfil the role of 21st Century word of mouth.

If you think about it, that’s all social media is, word of mouth.

People sharing with other people (some whom they know and others who they don’t know) what they think about things and places, what they’re doing right now and what they are planning to do.

The fact is, that wherever you live in the country, within a few miles of where you are right now there will be thousands of people online, right this minute, on social media sites. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or Linked-In, the reality is that these people, in your area, are using social media today. It’s where the people are. And that’s why, if you are a business then you have to be in this space as well and you can’t do it just by buying an ad or writing a cheque.

You have to engage and get involved.

You have to continually update and input.

It’s not difficult and, when you do it right, it can be even more powerful than word of mouth was in the old days because social media allows everybody to communicate with everybody else – and people do.

You don’t really have a choice as to whether you get involved with social media or not – only when. It’s beginning to transform the way people do business in the UK and the opportunities for those businesses sharp enough to see that and adapt to it is immense.

If you would like help with your social media strategy then we’d be delighted to oblige. We understand this stuff, we’re good at it and we love to make it happen. Happy to have a chat – call us on 01462 615821.