social media marketing

One of the things that I still don’t like about Facebook Timelines for Business is the way posts by others are grouped in a box, instead of featuring as your own post would.

There is a way of overcoming this, although Facebook has hidden it well! It’s a manual solution, but at least you get to choose which comments to feature in your Facebook Timeline.

Go to your “recent posts by others” box. Hover over a message and a cross will appear in the top right corner. Click on it (go on, be brave – you won’t delete it!) and then click on “allowed on page”.

When you refresh your Page, this update will have magically moved to the left so that any visitors to your page will be able to see it, just as they would one of your own posts.

Go on, try it as soon as you get a new comment!

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People often ask me this, and the answer is simple. Yes, you want to broadcast some messages relevant to your product or service, as this will increase your search engine rankings, but you need to mix it in with some run of the mill chitter chatter too. It’s called social media, so it’s important we keep it social.

Join in with other people’s conversations, answer questions and re-tweet others who have posted something of interest. Make general day to day comments; the kind of mundane conversations you’d have with the person standing next to you in the supermarket queue.

Don’t over-think Twitter – it’s just a conversation. For most people you can just tweet what pops into your head. People will forgive your spelling mistakes and bad grammar – as long as that isn’t a part of your service, e.g. if you’re a copy writer your tweets need to show your talent. If you manufacture widgets, the fact that you’ve missed a comma or mis-spelt a word really isn’t the end of the World.

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Twitter icon
I’ve just been doing some research for a talk I’m giving in a couple of weeks time, and I came accross a blog post dating back to 2008 from Chris Brogan. I was surprised at how relevant it still is, so, bar a few points that I think we’ve moved on from now, I’m going to share it with you…

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  2. Add a picture. We want to see you.
  3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to neat things in your community.
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead.
  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories.
  9. Throw in a few humans to interact with.
  10. Talk about non-business too.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy”
  7. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  8. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  9. Don’t toot your own horn too much.
  10. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  1. You don’t have to read every tweet.
  2. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  3. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation.
  4. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  5. 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  6. If you tweet all day while your co-workers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  7. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  8. Use the URL shortening tool that Hootsuite offers, or one like bit.ly. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  9. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  10. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  1. Twitter takes up time.
  2. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. Twitter doesn’t replace customer service, but it can complement it.
  6. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  7. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  8. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  1. Twitter works well as an opinion poll. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  2. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  3. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  4. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  5. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  6. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online.
  7. Twitter can augment customer service.

 

You can check out the original article here.

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I’m talking about closing the sale of course. No smut on my blog!

If you have then well done you, but I imagine on most occasions it’s taken some to-ing and fro-ing. In fact there’s a generally accepted rule in marketing that says it takes seven points of contact before someone will buy from you.

What that means is your potential customer needs to see or hear your name seven times before they’ll be comfortable doing business with you. Sounds like hard work right? Or maybe not …

  •          Start  blogging
  •          Set your company up on appropriate social networking sites, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+
  •          Build a targeted, relevant following
  •          Drive potential customers to your blog
  •          Make sure your blog advertises all your social media pages

Bounce potential customers from Twitter to your blog, onto Facebook, then to your website, back to your blog – you get the idea? Before you know it a handful or more of your seven points of contact are covered, so when you do speak to them, they are a much warmer lead, and may already be well on the way to having decided to do business with you.

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Happy New YearIt’s that time of year when I really feel the need to plan. Are you the same? I love making new year resolutions and I’m world class at failing to achieve most of them. But just that act of attempting them, brings you closer to your goal. What’s that saying “If you aim for the moon, even if you fail, you may land among the stars.” Well, reaching the stars would be pretty cool, so I’ll continue making new year resolutions, knowing that they’ll bring me closer to my goal, if not all the way there. So, just in case you haven’t yet made yours, I’ve planned for you too – social media style, naturally :-)

1.  Claim your usernames. Your brand is your identity in business. Even if you don’t plan on using all of them, you may change your mind in the future. By claiming them now, you’re saving yourself a lot of potential trouble in the future.

2.  Pick two or three social media sites where you know your audience is and focus on them. There are too many social media platforms to be everywhere, so schedule some time each and every day to be effective in your chosen arenas. Once you get the hang of these, you might choose to spread your wings and try some others. By the way, I do mean “schedule” some time. It’s important, so slot it in your diary just as you do other important tasks. If you leave to to chance and plan to slot it in when you have some spare time, it just won’t happen..

3.  Commit to Blogging more. It’s often hard to find the time, or indeed the motivation to blog, but really it’s just a habit that you need to form. Create a blogging callender – jot down subjects to co-incide with special days over the year ie National Day of the “whatever”, if the start of summer means that people need to stock up on one of your products, then schedule a blog around that, would your customers be interested in how to make the perfect pancake for Shrove Tuesday? You know your business, just be creative and (apologies for the phrase!) think outside the box. When you have your “special days” completed, fill in the blanks by brainstorming with your colleagues. Callender created? Now you need to schedule blogging time in your diary.

4.  Most Facebook Fans expect special offers or discounts for “liking” a brand on Facebook. What exclusive deals can you offer your fans? Again, be creative and leave them in no doubt as to why they “like” you.

5.   I’ve left this one to last, but it’s by no means the least important. Promote your social media accounts. It takes time and effort to get them working for you, so it makes sense to do the easy stuff and allow your clients and potential clients to find you. Put your social media links on all printed and digital media, including your website, customer receipts, newsletters, email signatures, business cards, headed paper, compliment slips etc as well as putting a sign up in your reception area. Social Media isn’t supposed to be a secret, so shout it from the rooftops (metaphorically speaking, says she anticipating lawsuits for broken bones!)

There you are, five, powerful, New Year Resolutions for your business. What do you think? Can you commit to Social Media to move your business forward, or does it all sound like too much effort?

Over the years I’ve learned that in order for a goal to be achieved, you have to want it, which is significantly different to knowing you “should” do it. I think most businesses are aware that they should be embracing social media, but many haven’t yet found the motivation to make it reality.

If you’re in the “want to do it” bracket, then great – good luck and give me a shout on Facebook or Twitter if I can be of any help.

If you’re in the “should do it” bracket, then can I suggest that we have a chat. I offer a fully managed service, which means that you get the benefits without having to make time to work out what to do and how to find time in your already busy day. Just pick up the phone and dial 01462 615821, for a no obligation chat to see if we could work together on your business.

 

 

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Social Media Marketing is a very hot topic, and marketing professionals believe it’s here to stay. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube, amongst others, are utilised by hundreds of millions of people every day and numbers are growing continually, making this a potential online marketing paradise. But for many business owners, this very hot Social Media Marketing is an online marketing nightmare.

Many organizations and their owners, or marketing people, don numerous hats and they are so busy trying to keep the business running smoothly as well as profitably that they simply don’t have the time to develop an effective online marketing strategy, maintain it on a daily basis and keep up with the rapid changes that seem to keep being foisted upon us.

So, what’s the solution?

The cavalry is on its way! In order to satisfy this very real need, the age of Social Media Management was born.  At present, Social Media Marketing Managers are in extremely high demand, in the job market, with the demand far out weighing the supply of skilled Social Media Marketing Professionals. A Social Media Marketing Manager partners with individuals and organisations to develop and maintain the company’s online business presence thus enabling the overloaded business person to focus on their other daily responsibilities, safe  in the knowledge that their on-line presence is being managed in accordance with their agreed strategy.

The development of this sensible solution will allow Social Media Marketing to get significantly hotter, therefore enabling a company’s online business and marketing presence to grow unabated.

Needless to say… I’d love the opportunity to discuss how we could help take the load from your shoulders, and look after your Social Media Marketing. Call on 01462 615821 or email me

 

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LinkedIn logoFollowing on from my previous LinkedIn Blog, I wanted to add a very simple strategy for making the most of every opportunity.

I often get people requesting to add me to their network, even though I don’t know them from Adam. In the interest of building my network, I usually agree. I have to admit that, for a while, this is as far as it went until I began to realise that this was a missed opportunity.

 Assuming these people weren’t randomly linking with anyone, then there had to be a reason for contacting me. It could be because several years ago I worked for a packaging company and they like packaging, but I think not. It’s more likely they’re interested in what I do now. So wouldn’t it be rude of me not to make contact and have a chat about Social Media, their needs and how we could help them? I think so!

Maybe you could adopt this strategy? I’m sure it would work for many people – how about you and your business? I’d love to know how you get on with it…

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Melting chocolate teapotLinkedIn 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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As I spend time on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve found so many business profiles with a flurry of activity for about a week or two (if that) and then nothing…Over and over again I hear the same story from businesses. We tried Social Media (SM), but it didn’t work for us. What they mean is, they decided they needed to be on Facebook and Twitter, so they got the youngest member of staff to set up their profile and they duly tweeted and updated for a couple of weeks. The boss noticed that only 3 or 4 people were following them (and 2 of those worked for the company!), so what’s the point in continuing? Their foray into SM then abruptly ended.

So where did they go wrong? Social Media Marketing is different from traditional marketing – you need to interact with people – hence the word Social. You need to actively find people or businesses that may be interested in what you have to offer. Talk to them about the things they’re talking about. It isn’t just about advertising your business; you need to be much more subtle than that. Show people that you care about them and they’ll care about you too, but the trick here is that you need to genuinely care. If you’re false, people will realise and it won’t work.

So, if you’ve dabbled with SM for your business, or you’ve realised you need to, then maybe some tips on how to build your following would help?

  1. Put your SM buttons and links on your website.
  2. Add your SM links to your email signature and all other electronic media such as newsletters – invite people to follow you or become a fan.
  3. Add your SM links to all printed media – headed paper, compliment slips, business cards etc.
  4. Invite your Facebook followers to follow you on Twitter and vice versa. If you’re on Linked In, make sure all of your SM links are on your profile page, and make sure your profile is complete.
  5. Add a blog page to your website, or set up a separate blog and link them. Update it regularly with interesting and engaging content. Search engines love fresh content!
  6. Search out people who may be interested in your product and follow them.
  7. Communicate with your followers – retweet often as this validates them and warms them to you. 

The main problem is that it takes time. I’ve heard it said that Social Media is like the grout between tiles, where the tiles represent all your other business activities. Throughout your day you need to be checking in to see what’s going on and finding opportunities to engage with your customers and potentials. This doesn’t need to take long, but a consistent and persistent approach is key.

If you don’t think you have the time to do justice to Social Media, give us a call to find out how we can help you – 01462 615821, or you can connect with us on Social media through one of the links above or email us.

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