Category — Communication
Without a doubt, one of the questions I am asked the most is, “How did you get so many Twitter followers?”. It’s almost like they think there was some magical trick I used to instantly add 23,000 followers. So, the last time someone asked me this I got off the phone and really gave it some thought.
So, how did I do it? I will definitely say that Twitter became my social media passion. One big truth many don’t share is that it takes time and effort. I put every minute I had available into building my Twitter following and reputation. And, I’m talking a LOT of minutes.
Here’s the top 9 truths I would offer you to help grow your community (I will leave tip number 10 to you, the Reader, to share in the comments section):
1. Your Bio Is Your Favorite Picture - Think of your bio as the one picture of yourself that you really like. The one that makes you do a double take to make sure it’s you…and yep, it is! Your bio should describe what you do, who you are and what you offer. Be specific where you can but also add your personality to your bio. If you’re dull and sound like a textbook you will attract dull and textbook. You want people that are active and talkative…you know…SOCIAL. (I have re-written my bio at least 20 times and probably about time I spruced it up again)
2. Keywords Are Your Seeds - You plant the “keyword seeds” in your bio and tweets by using industry related words and search terms that will bring your market to you. Tweets are indexed by both Google and Twitter’s trending engine. As in any SEO, you want to use the keywords naturally in a sentence.
3. Boring Backgrounds Are Bad – Get a custom background for your profile or at least a picture up as soon as possible. I won’t usually even follow someone that still has the Twitter bird as their profile image. You can find free Twitter backgrounds with a simple Google search…you don’t have to get fancy. But, if you’ve got the extra couple bucks or know how to create your own background, it’s a great way to create a recognizable brand.
4. Follow, Follow, Follow - I’ve found that not everyone will tell you this, but it is important to follow as many people as Twitter limits allow… especially in the beginning stages of building your following. Follow wisely, though. Do your research to find those that are both in your network niche, but also think about those outside your network that may benefit from your products or your expertise. Use Twitter directories, Twitter advanced search, and industry hashtags of events to promote yourself, find your market and gain followers.
5. Follow Industry Leaders and Get Them To Follow You – Follow people in your niche who have universally recommended expertise. Look for industry leaders who you can engage with and encourage them to follow you. Please don’t be annoying as hell and start spamming them with DM requests. Be engaging to be engaged with. When someone with a lot of followers follows you, the aggregate traffic can be huge.
6. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) - Make it obviously easy to find and follow you. If you have a blog or other site, be sure to let your visitors know how to find and follow you on Twitter. Make it easy for them by having Twitter “add me” buttons in strategic places on your site. Don’t be afraid to ask people to follow you in your content. If you talk about Twitter in an article, include a little “I love Twitter too! Follow me @MarketLikeAChik for more tips & some fun!” It’s simple and fast, and most people who like your site will follow you on Twitter if you make it easy for them.
7. I’m Here Too!- Wherever you have a social profile set up…Facebook, FriendFeed, LinkedIn… you should connect and cross promote your other profiles. Most are set up to easily link your Twitter profile. It not only saves you time, but boosts your overall member rate on both sites.
8. She’s Got Big Balls – I’m borrowing from AC/DC’s song, but the term just fits. Do not be a wall flower. Be the person that is first to give an opinion, break industry news, or take sides in a controversial conversation. Watch for what’s trending and ride the wave by tweeting articles or commenting about the subject. Put your own spin on it, don’t be a monkey. Be entertaining and informative, engage with people, ask for opinions on trending topics. If you don’t know what to talk about check this article out for some Twitter conversation starters.
9. Provide Useful, Relevant and Digestible Information – All of the other 8 tips listed above will only get you so far. People are busy. When you provide something that saves time or solves a problem you become valuable to them. They want to know what other tips you can give to help them in other areas. Have you ever done a search on how to do or fix something only to find page after page of confusing and contradicting answers? People are looking for quick answers and easy to follow instruction. Give that to your community on a consistent basis and talk to your followers…you will not only increase your following but you will build a loyal community of your own.
Ask me questions. I know there is more that you want to know and a lot I didn’t cover here, so go ahead and post your question in the comments below. Or, share a tip of your own that’s helped you grow your Twitter base.
To Your Success,
June 14, 2010 27 Comments
How many times have you let an opportunity fall off your radar, or worse, completely missed an opportunity because you didn’t take the time to ponder the possibilities with a contact?
Don’t write those off as lost opportunities so fast. Like the smoldering wood of a once burning fire, what appears to be a missed opportunity cold from neglect may just need a little attention to rekindle into your next hot business idea.
No one enjoys being forgotten or neglected, yet at one point, we’ve all either had it happen to us or we’ve been the one that has forgotten to follow up. While it is unfortunate circumstance, it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. Since we’ve all done it there’s no reason to be embarrassed or uncomfortable about reestablishing a business conversation that fell wayside.
Every business owner wants more business. So, don’t feel weird.
Here are my top 5 steps for rekindling missed opportunities into new business:
1. Search Your Calendar, Day Planner, or Journal
Spend some quality time looking back over the past few months. How far you go back depends on how long it’s been since you’ve done this exercise. If this is the first time you may want to look over the last 12 months, otherwise go back at least 3 months.
Take notice of where you spent your time and which appointments you had that did not produce results.
Try to remember the people you met and the conversations you had. Did you follow up as effectively as you might? Did you explore all the possibilities?
2. Clear Out The Clutter
Go through and clear out all the places you stick your miscellaneous papers and notes: Your Rolodex, business card file, smart phone, purse, wallet, briefcase, or car.
Don’t throw away or delete anything until you have thought about potential opportunities. Look particularly for people who’ve slipped off your radar. Which business relationships may benefit from some rekindling?
See that pile of business cards that you set on your desk when you came home all pumped up from your last networking event? Rekindle that great sense of achievement and gusto you had and go back through the cards now with a fresh outlook. What was it that was so interesting back then? Did you write any notes on the backs of the cards?
If you use a Poken to exchange social media contact info instantly at events, go back through and check out the profiles of those you spoke with. Has anything changed? New jobs? New products? Find a reason to reach out.
3. Clean Up Your Inbox
I am admittedly one of the worst at returning emails and am making a public apology right now to everyone that I have not gotten back to. I don’t mean to do this, but I am a confessed multi-tasker that has fallen off the wagon. Great intentions, lots of ideas (too many ideas…maybe that’s my problem), and joint venture opportunities lie dormant because of lost focus or dizzying distractions.
Regularly clearing your email inbox is a major accomplishment and quite a liberating experience. Sort, take action and get rid of the rest.
A bit of my own advice:
Don’t leave email sitting in your in box. Organize in folders, when you check your email take action immediately by scheduling to calendar, replying, or moving to your to-do list if it needs more thought.
4. Get Through Those Files
Ugh, the dreaded deed. Papers shoved inside slightly corresponding folders, folders sitting in piles on the desk waiting to be organized, mail and notes kept with some intention of follow up still staring at you with guilty eyes.
Picture the stack of money with eyeballs atop from the Geico commercial. “Hey, this is the money you could be making if you called this contact”
Chances are amongst that junky looking mess there are some golden opportunities waiting for you. After all, you kept some of that paperwork for a good reason. Now go find it, take it out of the file, and take action on it.
5. Make An Announcement
Post an article on your blog or and update to your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn profile inviting your friends, followers, and customers to point out missed opportunities. Write and send out an email or bulletin to contacts or staff asking them their thoughts on opportunities you may not have seen or inviting them to kick you in the pants for not following up on what they saw as a great business idea.
Male and female alike, we sometimes underestimate ourselves or fail to see a natural talent we have that could be our profitable passion. So often others see things in us that we cannot see ourselves. Ask for outside opinions, listen to suggestions, and be willing to accept a compliment.
Act on the suggestions and opportunities that feel right.
By taking these 5 steps and applying them on a quarterly basis you’ll have a system to keep you fanning the flames of still smoldering opportunities. You may never be the super follow-through genius that never misses a beat…but, you don’t ever have to miss an opportunity again.
What are your best tips for rekindling missed opportunities? Have you ever experienced a business success from sorting through old information or contacts? Share your thoughts and stories with us below.
To Your Success,
March 23, 2010 13 Comments
Live events are a great way to network with others in your business field. Human interaction builds strong relationships. Also, you get to practice those networking skills in person. But, what events are right for you?
Live events are going on all around you. The trick: knowing where to look.
Where To Find Events of Interest
- Visit your favorite blogs for information. If your bloggers are speaking or attending a conference they will want to let their readers know about it. Most of the time you will see a badge or a list in the sidebar or if they’re very busy speakers you may find a separate page with their engagements listed. Ask for more information if they don’t provide a link.
- Visit forums. Business forums usually have a place where they list upcoming events both online and offline. Check to see which are close to you and if they are on a topic that interests you.
- Visit social networking sites. These are great for business connections. If friends are hosting events or attending, they may post an invite to the event for their business contacts. Read the information and attend.
- See my events list. Since you’re here on my blog I figure you’re interested in some of the same events I am. You can see my wish list of events I’m looking to be SPONSORED for on my Sponsor Me page.
If you’re a business looking for a professional conference blogger that’s the page to find one! Whether it be me or another blogger, it’s important to know how to reach out to a blogger and find the best match. I wrote an article on Branding With Blogger Outreach that may be helpful in your approach.
If you’re a blogger that would like to be sponsored for an event, let me know and I’ll post a few of the tips I’ve learned.
JD Lasica put together an awesome Calendar for 2010 conferences and events that lists best social media, technology, media and marketing conferences for the upcoming year. It’s a great starting point for your research.
Finding Events For Your Interests or Niche
The live events you choose may interest you in two ways:
Professionally, choose live events that are relevant to your business. You wouldn’t attend a crafting seminar if you sell gardening supplies. And, you probably would pass on a seminar that highlights how offline businesses can get into online markets if you already own an online business.
It can be hard to decide if you are new to online business. Because you aren’t sure what you need to know, you don’t know what live events will be best for you. Here are some pointers:
- Check geographic location – Your first time out, you might want to stay close to home to lower costs. Money is often tight when you just get up and running.
- Look at event registration costs – Now, money is not the only consideration. As the fees get more expensive, your attendees will reach a different caliber as well. And, some events are tax deductible as a business expense. What we are talking about here is to see if you can swing the cost for a highly rated event that will benefit your business in many ways. Or you could consider offering your promotion skills for a brand that can’t attend an event and be sponsored to go.
- Look at the speakers – Who is coming that you really feel you can learn from? Don’t go just because the speaker is well known…make sure their topic and speaking style is going to be something that you will be able to absorb and implement in your own business. If the speakers are some of your favorite bloggers or online business owners that you have been wanting to meet, don’t pass up the chance to have your questions answered and gain some insight.
Choosing a live event to attend doesn’t have to be a hard decision. Gather as much information as you can about upcoming events, their location and fees so you can map out your networking strategy. Be prepared with which sessions you want to attend, who you want to meet with, and what you will say when you do meet your mentors in person. (Perfect that elevator speech!)
What events are you planning on attending this year? Why did you choose those? Have you found any other sites that list upcoming events that you can share? Please leave your questions or tips below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!
To Your Success,
P.S. –> When you attend events your goal is to network and collect as many contacts as possible to follow up with later. Show your digital style, save precious time, and stay organized with a sweet little gadget called Poken. You can collect social network info with one touch of a button and it’s saved forever. Check out the post I wrote on How To Exchange Social Media Contact Info Instantly at Events for more info on Poken.
March 12, 2010 5 Comments
More businesses are beginning to realize the power of marketing with social media and the real time benefits of social CRM on sites like Twitter. However, along with the benefits come concerns regarding compliance, reputation management and employee productivity.
There will always be those times when someone hits that send button and immediately regrets it, but when it comes to a company’s reputation the regrets can be damaging to the brand. An uninformed employee in a highly regulated industry, such as financial services, may create a compliance issue in a Facebook conversation without realizing what she has done.
Can You Avoid The Social Media Journey?
A better question is “should” you. Brands are realizing that people are talking about them on social networks with or without their approval. Employers are realizing that they can turn their employees into brand ambassadors. Social media can strengthen your brand not only as an employer but as a company. Take a look at Dell Outlet who, in a recent article, reported that Twitter has made Dell $1 million in revenue over the past year and a half.
Social networking is quickly becoming as mainstream as email and will soon make it’s way into every communication tool we use. For those companies that have not begun using social networking in workplace communications, Microsoft will soon be assisting you whether you’re ready or not. The new 2010 release of its email application Outlook will integrate with LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace, allowing users to find profiles for people in their contacts as well as view and post updates directly through Outlook.
Those organizations that figure out how to leverage those social capabilities without incurring more risk will be ahead of the game. So, how do businesses govern the social networking wildfire?
Social Media Policies
Most companies have existing communication policies that spell out how they expect employees to communicate via phone or email but few address the recent move to online conversations. Recent surveys show that seven out of ten American companies have no formal policy in place to address how the company and its employees are to utilize social media.
Any company that has a social media presence these days can benefit from having some type of policy in place to protect the company legally and financially. How much you say and regulate is up to you. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, has a one liner for his policy: “Be real and use your best judgment.” to allow for creativity and informal communication. While Zappos may be able to maintain the laid back policy, it’s not in every brand’s best interests to follow his footsteps.
If you need a policy in place pronto there is an online policy generator to walk you through and have your policy in minutes. PolicyTool has created a streamlined process where you simply answer a brief questionnaire and it provides you with a complete Social Media Policy customized to your company.
If you’re not sure where to begin or what to include in your social media guidelines you may want to take a look at what other companies have done. Interactive Insights Group has just put together a social media policies superlist that has load of resources to help you through. They’ve organized them into a few sections – Advice and Resources, Nonprofits and Associations, and Examples of Social Media Policies.
Social Network Compliance Software
Companies in regulated industries are well aware of the rules governing electronic communications, from correspondence and email to sales materials and advertising. There is little room for compliance goofs and for those companies there are several software options that can be set in place. Two vendors focusing specifically on social media governance are FaceTime and Socialware.
FaceTime sells an appliance, Secure Web Gateway, which monitors, controls and records content posted through the corporate network to social networking sites. With it you can control social media by setting and banning specific keywords that users may try to post on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Users can also configure the product to prevent the post, notify the user it was against policy, record the incident and alert an administrator.
Socialware launched a cloud-based Social Middleware Platform last month which is an application that can filter, tag and archive every social post from the company network. Once live, posts can be monitored for compliance, routed for review if necessary, and archived to guarantee compliance with industry or corporate policies.
Needs Based Guidelines
When it comes to your social media policies, every company is going to differ on what type of engagement is acceptable. Even when a company has a clear social media policy in place with specifications as to what employees aren’t allowed to post, there is no guarantee that everyone will represent the company exactly as you want.
Employees can and will make mistakes, whether it be on social media sites or in some other aspect of their job, but the goal is to prevent the same mistake twice. It’s likely that your social media policy will evolve with time and experience. It doesn’t have to be twenty pages long, just a few bullet points are really necessary. You do want it to be read, right?
Does your company have social networking guidelines in place? What has been your experience with social networking, brand reputation and employee productivity? Did I miss anything that you can share here? Please leave your comments below.
To Your Success,
March 8, 2010 7 Comments
Marketing your blog to pull in traffic is only half the quest, once you get a visitor to your blog you need to make them feel welcome and at home.
I can best relate this to entertaining guests in my home. Most women are fanatical about having their homes in perfect condition before inviting guests over. We clean, organize, cook, and even think about the aromas that make guests feel welcome. When we open our front door to greet our guests we are inviting them to see into who we really are.
Your Blog Is Your Home
When your visitors open your home page what are they greeted with? Do you take the same care to welcome your visitors that you would guests in your home?
Just as with your real home, there are several things to keep in mind to make your guests feel welcome. Do a walk through on your blog and see things through your visitors eyes.
Get Rid Of Clutter
When your page loads are your visitors overwhelmed with banners, highlighted links, advertisements or blinking lights? Both in your posts and on the site itself you should avoid going wild with too many links or advertisements.
It’s like taking hours to prepare a meal for your guests then having them walk into your home to see newspapers, socks and underwear all over your floor. They are immediately distracted and put off. If you’re that unorganized and messy, how can they trust what you are feeding them?
You want your blog to project an image of professionalism and order but still express your personality. Less is usually better and allows you to point the focus to your topic of choice rather than everything thrown at the wall.
Make The Little Repairs
How embarrassing is it to have a guest use your bathroom only to find the toilet won’t flush? You had been meaning to fix that and now the unthinkable has happened. It’s not only embarassing for you, but your guest now has to point out that it’s broken. Think of those things around your blog that you’ve been meaning to fix.
Do you have broken links, typos you found after publishing your posts, RSS issues unresolved? When posting links on your blog test them to be sure they work and that they direct your blog reader to the location you intended. An occasional ‘faulty’ link is acceptable but if it becomes a consistent pattern many readers will get frustrated and leave.
There is a great plugin I use called Broken Link Checker that automatically alerts you when a link is not working so you can fix it fast. Check out this post on Plugins for the Non-Techy for other ideas to help.
Offer Your Visitors Convenience
When your guests come to your home you try to make everything as convenient for them as possible. You may organize your drinks, glasses and cocktail napkins together, place fingertip towels next to your sink, or completely cater to your guests by serving them. They never have to ask you where something they need is because you’ve already thought of it.
Think about what your blog visitors may be looking for and make it obvious and convenient. Make a RSS button readily available You can have it in a prominent position towards the top of the page or at the bottom of each post, or both. Making visitors search for it will likely frustrate them resulting in their giving up and leaving the page.
You should also place an email sign-up form on your page. I use one of Aweber’s new web form templates that make the sign-up easy to find and handles my autoresponders. It’s never too early to start building an email list! This is my affiliate link for Aweber that you can use if you choose to: http://marketlikeachick.aweber.com
Tell A Story About Yourself
When your guests come to your home the chances are that they will see several pictures, family photos and home decor that all tell a story about who you are. Without realizing it, your guests are immediately registering different levels of energy from what you have displayed throughout your home. Pictures are worth a thousand words, remember?
What images do you have on your blog and what are they saying about you? Do you have an About Me page that tells a little story about you? I prefer to read an about me page that gives me a glimpse into the life of the Author more than I do a pasted copy of their resume. Yes, do your bragging but keep it conversational and welcoming as well. Allow your guests to identify with you.
Catering to your visitors (who hopefully will turn into subscribers) is just as important to attracting traffic to the blog itself. Blog building is an ongoing process that evolves as the site ages and the readers’ preferences change and this is something we need to recognize. Remember to do a walk-through on your blog regularly to remain in touch with your visitors.
What sort of hostess or host are you? Can you think of any other blog tips that are like entertaining guests in your home? Have you ever been embarrassed when guests had to point out something that was broken? Have I forgotten to make something convenient for you on my blog? Share your tips below in the comments.
To Your Success,
January 4, 2010 14 Comments
Some call us comment whores, others think we’re needy, and still others see the genius behind getting more blog comments. I’m here to tell you no matter what you think, if you want your blog to become or remain successful, you need your readers to engage with you ON YOUR BLOG.
It’s not enough to just talk on Twitter or Facebook. Those are just tools to lure your friends to your blog and steal them away from the noise on the social networks.
Why Do We Want Comments On Our Blog Anyway?
Before I share my tips on how to get more comments, let’s take a second and think about why you really need them.
SEO Benefits - The longer a reader spends on your site the more it helps your ranking. The comments that are left add more content to the post, and quite possibly, more use of your keywords. Google loves to see time spent, pages visited, and content added daily. Your readers are helping you while also getting their name out there.
Community – Your goals may be different for starting a blog, but if you’re paying attention to the trends of social media you know that building trust is the number one way to also build more recognition and more sales. By engaging with readers on your blog you’re forming your own little social community of loyal friends (or haters, which aren’t bad either) that turn to you as a source. This leads to word of mouth advertising and back-scratching. I like to refer out my friends when I hear of an opportunity that would fit them, too.
Perception – When new readers come to your blog article and see a lot of comments, they assume the content is good and are more likely to read the article and enter the conversation through the comments as well. Lots of comments let everyone know that you you’re not just talking to air, but people are actually listening and talking WITH you.
How To Get More Blog Comments
Okay, so now you see why blog comments are important to the life of your blog, but how do you get people to actually participate?
1. The Obvious: Ask For Comments
If you’re just getting started with your blog and don’t have any followers, I would recommend that you email a link to your article to some of the people in your personal email contact list that may be interested.
Make sure you include the link and ASK your friends to forward it, comment on it (make sure they understand you need the comment ON the blog itself, not just in the email), post it on their favorite social site, and subscribe to the blog if they enjoyed it.
One side tip: Don’t do this very often or with every article, save it for your best because it can get annoying fast.
Have a call to action at the bottom of every blog post that should say something like “Please leave me your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.” If you don’t ask your readers to comment, they’re less likely to do so.
Encourage readers to leave comments that offer their opinions even if they don’t agree with you…these are usually the best comments as you’ll see in our next tip.
2. Piss People Off Enough That They HAVE To Comment
You may not want to do this so often that people are flocking to your site to say how much they despise you, but then again there are bloggers out there that bank on being rude and in-your-face controversial. Personally, I don’t like the tactic of bashing someone else’s name only to get attention but I can offer my opinion on an article I’ve read and disagree with.
If you find something controversial in your perusing of your Reader, rather than leaving a comment on the other blog, write your article around it and link back to the blog. I used this tactic with my article Ban Twitter: How To Kill Free Speech at Conferences.
One of my most commented articles was one where I was promoting my nomination for the Women’s Blogger Award that I was in the running for. I didn’t intend to piss anyone off, but one male reader got his panties in an uproar and decided to tell us how women were being discriminatory for even having awards like this.
Ahem…excuse me? Women have been discriminated against for ages and when we decide to bond together and promote ourselves in a male dominated marketplace we are now the ones guilty of gender discrimination? I don’t think so. I got me and a few others involved in a slightly heated debate and led to plenty of comments.
3. Use Your Sense Of Humor To Leave The Door Open For Comments
Have you ever set up a joke at a social gathering knowing that there would be someone out there that wouldn’t be able to resist chiming in with exactly what you were hoping for?
Or, have you ever said something and about halfway through you realized it was going to come out as something that could be taken promiscuously? But, you said it anyway, didn’t you? And chances are you got a response from someone else that led to some joking around and before you knew it everyone was coming up with their own line. Do the same thing with your writing!
A perfect example: My article on How To Instantly Exchange Social Media Contact Info at Events described a cool new gadget called Poken. Immediately, my mind goes in the gutter as I’m sure many of yours did. I wrote the article with tongue in cheek because I knew someone would not be able to resist commenting on the obvious. And sure enough, my buddy Dennis Eddell was quick to jump in with his comment: “Boy I can’t wait to be poken you at a live convention!” Gotta love Dennis!
I have to be careful here, because I can just see all these people starting to say lude things on their blogs because Coree said they should do it and it would be funny. Use common sense. Be funny, be yourself, and above all…don’t censor your sense of humor. It’s what makes you, YOU.
Everyone’s attracted to the people in the room that are smiling and laughing. So, be more of that person.
4. Comment On Other Blogs
What goes around comes around, Baby! Don’t be selfish, go spread your comment love around on the blogs that you read. You’ll also build incoming links to your blog. As a blogger you need to be engaged in the blogging community and get your name out in the blogosphere for others to see. I’ve had many subscribers come to me from after reading a relevant comment I’d left on other blogs.
Please remember to acknowledge the article and comment on it, rather that spam the blogger’s comments with self promo. You’ll get your promo by being relevant. Their readers will like what you say, want to know more about you, and figure your blog is probably worth reading too.
Leaving comments on other blogs shows your appreciation and respect for the time that author has put into writing that article for you. Most of the information you’re finding on blogs is given away for free, so wouldn’t it be fitting to say thank you and tell the author what you got out of their work?
Even if you don’t agree with the blogger’s article, by leaving a comment stating your thoughts you are opening the door for more conversation. And that, after all, is what a community is all about.
I know my blog this year will be much more about who I am and speaking my own voice than just talking at people. I think we’ll all enjoy it more, and hopefully I’ll make some new friends here in my own little blogging community. Will you be one?
Please leave your thoughts below in the comments section. I love hearing from you!
To Your Success,
December 31, 2009 43 Comments
For any business, there simply is no better form of advertising than word-of-mouth—whether it be a friend on Twitter or a co-worker at the office. A personal referral from someone whose opinions others trust and respect goes a long way. If you’re a small business owner with a small or non-existent advertising and marketing budget, word-of-mouth referrals are your best friend.
There’s many ways to start and keep a positive buzz going around your business, but you can’t always control how and when the referrals will come about. Here’s my chick’s guide to show you how to attract high-value, low-cost word-of-mouth referrals.
Yes, we all either loved them or hated them in high school, but we’re past that now and we need a little Rah! Rah! in our business lives. So, work on building a team of supporters for your business—friends, family members and colleagues who are known to talk up your business to their friends and connections. Make sure that they know enough about your qualifications and capabilities to make an accurate and convincing case to others.
If you’re not sure your mom can explain your online business to a friend, just have her say you are very well known or that she knows you can help, then have her direct them to your website or blog to do the convincing.
Network, Network, Network
C’mon ladies, we are KNOWN for getting social and should be dominating the networking scene. Start getting involved with professional associations in or related to your niche. You’ll get to know experts and colleagues in your specific market. And, they may know of immediate or potential opportunities for your business. Other good networking opportunities include local or regional business associations, Chambers of Commerce and non-profits aligned with your field.
Capitalize on Your Current Clients and Customers
At the end of every successful project you should be thanking your customers for their support and making it clear that you would love to work and collaborate with them again in the future. Encourage them to pass along your name to others. You might even consider offering a discount to anyone they refer if your operating budget can handle it. Women love referring other women owned businesses, and we should!
Become the Source
This may not be what you want to hear if you’re struggling to make ends meet with your business right now, but do take advantage of opportunities by offering free presentations or articles to show your experience and capabilities. Start by contacting businesses, professional and community organizations and publications. Make sure that your presentation/article is relevant to listeners’ interests and not just a way to be a walking commercial. How many times have you sat through a “presentation” that was just plug after plug for someone’s coaching or other business? Don’t be that guy…errr, “chick”.
Communication Is Key
Everyone wants to believe that we are truly forming friendships and not just business partnerships. Show you care about your customers, don’t wait for them to call you. A nice email or call from time to time to see how things are going in both their professional and personal life goes a long way to show what type of person you are.
If you have a hard time remembering issues or trends they were dealing with, then make it a habit to take some quick notes on your phone or planner when you see them. That way the next time you call you can bring up some of the things you talked about. You can contact them to alert them to an event, article or Web site that they may be interested in. Also consider issuing a newsletter to current and prospective clients with relevant news, tips and other information that can help their business, or simply brighten their day. (Something I’ve been busy on these last few weeks to prepare for the next year. Be on the lookout!)
You Reap What You Sow
Don’t forget to be the one on the giving end whenever you can. This is what networking really is and truly what a “source” is all about. Every chick should have a network of colleagues and contacts that you can call on to give a little of the workload to. You may not have the experience or be able to provide the service someone is looking for, so always be ready and willing to refer one of your contacts. You’ll find this will almost always result in “reciprocal referrals” to you.
Do Your Best
When you find a nail salon that can get you in and out in 30 minutes or less, shape your nails perfectly, never once nick you with those nasty power files, and leave your fingers looking beautiful…what’s the first thing you want to do? I want to tell someone that I just found the best nail salon in town! There is no better source for a positive referral than a happy customer.
The quality of your service says as much about you as the quality of your product. Responsiveness, helping out with tight deadlines, and a willingness to do those all-important “little things” (working in small jobs for no charge) builds goodwill and a good reputation for your business.
That’s my chick’s guide to word of mouth referrals. Don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment with your best tips or just your feelings about what I shared here. If you run your own blog and would like me to do a reciprocal comment, I have to know you were here.
To Your Success,
December 17, 2009 16 Comments
Where is the trend headed for blog conversations and engagement? I’ve noticed a change in the amount of actual blog comments uploaded here on Market Like A Chick compared to how many times a post is Tweeted. I performed a quick Twitter poll to discover the commenting habits of other blog readers. My goal was to find out if Tweeting or Retweeting a post is not more widely done than actually commenting on the blog itself, and if so, why.
In my recent Twitter mini-poll, I asked:
When you find a blog post worth sharing, do you comment on it? Before or after tweeting? Do you ever RT without reading post?
Of those that responded, it seems that when a reader comes across a blog post they think would provide value for their followers they will first read the blog then tweet the link to share with their followers. There were two or three readers that said they have Retweeted a post without reading it themselves, based upon the source of the original link and headline.
The general feeling behind blind tweeting was a matter of trust. Was the source a trusted friend or expert? If so, then it seems acceptable to retweet a link blindly without reading it themselves.
A few of the responses are below:
“I try to always comment on any Blog post I RT. I figure if I was moved enough to comment others might enjoy it too.” @reigniteromance
“Always read first, RT, then Comment My twitter peeps deserve my discretion in RT’s before recommending. IMO” – @UnKit
“Read first, retweet, and comment. In that order.” - @newkicks
“I NEVER RT w/o reading. But I do comment & usually mention the tweet or linkback in the comment” – @TexInTheCity
” I comment first, then tweet. I always at least skim b4 sharing titles don’t always tell if the post is truly worth sharing.” – @starrstudded
With my next question I asked the readers what mattered to them the most. It wasn’t meant to be a trick question, but the choice was not so easy. I asked:
As a blog owner, if you could only choose one, would you rather have your post TWEETED or COMMENTED on?
10 out of 13 people that responded said they would choose an actual comment posted to their blog over having the blog post tweeted. The reasoning behind the majority were SEO benefits and more engagement. For those that chose Tweets over comments, their reasoning was to gain more exposure.
Some of the responses are below:
“Commented! It’s sad when they go uncommented ” – @JessicaSieghart
“As a blog owner, I’d rather have my posts commented on than tweeted. More interactive & personal (but don’t stop RTing!)” – @QuipsAndTips
“Commented on. I prefer engagement over exposure” – @mattstratton
“Excellent question – different reasons – but for exposure? Tweeted definitely!” - @LinkedInExpert
“Comments are better than RTs. Encourages more dialog and can boost up google/seo rankings” - @TrishSkram
“Tweeted… people can always comment on Tweet!” @SoulfulParent
“I would rather RT’s… RT’s generate spread, spread = reading, reading equals awesomeness.. So RT’s” – @dustinhinton
Jack Humphrey of the Friday Traffic Report wrote up an article titled Blog Commenting Evolution: People would rather Twitter about your posts! which had already got me pondering the subject Tweets vs Comments. At that time I had already started to notice a difference in the trend and left my COMMENT on his blog saying so. It’s an interesting post, especially the comment section. Check it out for more feedback on the subject.
If you have to choose only one to really pursue, I would recommend actual blog comments for the exact reasons that were stated:
1. SEO Benefits: Google loves when your readers spend time on your site. A reader would need to read the post, comprehend it, think of a reply, then post the comment…all take time. The comment itself adds content to your page. If the readers are leaving RELEVANT comments, then they are probably using some of the same keywords you have used in your content. That additional content is there for Google to pick up when your site is crawled.
2. Engagement: Your blog should be used as your hub where everything about you can be found in one easily searchable spot. The community you build around you and who you are as a brand would be best kept on your blog as well. This shows anyone who comes to your site that people value your opinions and are engaging with you which in turn adds to your credibility. No need for the visitor to go searching Twitter, Facebook and where ever to find your community. It’s right there.
As for exposure, I must admit that I receive around 60-70% of my traffic from social networks and especially Twitter. Without Twitter I would have never been discovered or at least not nearly as quickly or as widely accepted. So, I agree the exposure is excellent. It’s a good thing we don’t have to choose between one or the other!
What are some of your thoughts on the subject? How would you have answered either of the poll questions? Do you comment on blogs, and if not…why not? Please engage here with us and leave your comments below. Oh…then be sure to TWEET and bookmark!
To Your Success,
December 4, 2009 15 Comments
When you begin shopping or pricing out a new product or service how do you go about it? The first answer is probably going to be online comparisons, right? We live in a digital era and expect instant answers. The Internet gives us those. At least it should.
But, what if you start your search and find that this new product or service you’re learning about is packaged in many shapes, sizes, options, and descriptions? Your search becomes more in depth now. You need answers. Clear answers.
This is where the company with the simple and easy to understand marketing message wins.
Play with me for a minute and ask yourself if your customers experience anything similar.
Marketing Discovery - (How easy are you to find?)
Sam owns a small micro-brewery business. He has established himself well in the local market with the help of a smaller liquor distributor. Sam’s Micro Brew is now in several local liquor stores and small grocery stores. Sam is excited his business is taking off, but realizes that the product is not moving as fast as he had hoped. With so many selections, how does he get his brand to stand out?
One day Sam is at the shopping mall and sees an LCD monitor displaying digital advertising spots. He thinks, “Hey that’s what I need! If I could advertise my micro brew on a LCD display set up in the liquor stores where my bottles are shelved, I could gain the attention of the buyer and make my brand stand out at the moment of decision.”
This type of advertising is called Digital Signage.
Information Gathering – (How easy is it to get the details about about your product or service?)
Sam sets out on a mission to find the digital signage company that can handle his request. He Googles “digital signage rates” and up pop the results.
Sam makes the first call & he reaches the operator. No one is available & leaves a message. Next. He calls, gets a voice mail box that has no company name. He leaves a message, wondering if he just called Aunt Sue, but hoping someone knowing something about digital signage calls him back. Next call…he gets a live person. Yes! Only now he finds out that he has reached a hardware distributor, and they don’t actually offer the advertising… they just make the boxes that go with the displays. Next call he reaches a software maker for the boxes. Does anyone actually handle the advertising on these displays?
For days the search goes on with Sam leaving messages with several well meaning but ignorant switchboard operators. Several days later the calls start to come in. Sam finally reaches someone who can tell him the names of several digital signage aggregators. (Hmm…now there’s a word he didn’t Google) Sam is releived that his search will soon be done.
He calls several aggregators for their digital signage rates to do some comparison shopping. He has done a bit of web advertising, so he knows to ask about CPM & demographics. But, he also needs know how many displays in each network, how many times his ad will run, how many people will see it…what is the ROI?
Compare Rates – (How simple is it to find your rates?)
Sam collects rates and proposals from several companies but realizes that each company quotes their rates a little differently than the other, using their own terminology, method of pricing and how they came up with their demographics. Sam, not being the most analytical by nature, just expected to be able to pick up the phone or look online and find a simple rate sheet easily comparable to the next.
After several days of mind torture, Sam decides he still has no idea who offers the lowest CPM with the best demographics, or even how demographics were determined. Sam takes a deep breath picks up all his paperwork and dumps it in the trash.
Marketing That Doesn’t Work - (Did you answer all your customers questions in easy to understand & simple terminology?)
Because, quite simply, his questions were not answered. You will not find many customers that will go through a lengthy and confusing process of information gathering and then still buy from you. My red flags start flying when I don’t get clear answers or when sales mumbo jumbo fogs the perception of ROI. I want SIMPLE and EASY…and so does the buying population.
Put yourself in your customers shoes and look at your website or selling process from the first time buyers point of view. When you’ve been selling your product or service for a while, you tend to forget that not everyone you come in contact with is on the same page with you. Just as a blog needs “evergreen content”, a business needs evergreen information about your product or service.
Marketing That Works (Give your customers what they want)
Here’s what would have sold Sam: A digital signage company that came in and said,
- You can choose one of three options. 15, 25 or 50 locations with “x” amount of displays per location
- From your chosen option, your ad will be displayed “x” amount of times to “x” amount of people
- Depending on your option, the demographics would be “x”, which were derived from using “x” and “x”
- It will cost you “$ per location” which ends up at “$ per week/month” and a CPM of “$”
Simple? Easy? Yes!
Moral of the Story
Don’t confuse the hell out of your buyers. They will become someone else’s buyers instead.
What other marketing blunders did you catch in Sam’s story? What would you have done differently in your marketing? Leave your comments and share your thoughts. I love hearing from you!
To Your Success,
November 5, 2009 13 Comments
I love talking to people who call it like they see it. The ones that shock you with their brutally honest responses to questions you already knew the answer to but didn’t want to admit it. Boldness is sexy, and everyone knows sex sells.
Why are women attracted to the bad boys? Why do guys like the chick that is outspoken & sassy? It’s not that these type of people are really “bad” per say, but they have a certain confidence that comes through in their demeanor. They don’t really care what you think about them because there are 20 more behind you that love their attitude and are kicking down doors to be part of their clan.
How are you doing with your conversion rates? Is your blog getting the traffic you want and need? If you’re not happy with either of those answers then you need to shake things up a bit. Communication is not about saying exactly what everyone wants to hear. The most successful sales and marketing professionals know that the era of authenticity has arrived, and that means no more BS, no more sticky sweet, fake smile, lame compliments that everyone knows are ridiculous, hyped up sales pitch. These are all definite don’ts when selling if you’re to use today’s communication skills.
I ran across a great guest post by Pace Smith on Copyblogger titled “Why You’re Too Qualified and Respectful to Produce Great Content” that struck a chord with me. Pace makes some excellent points that goes not only for writing great content but, if you are so bold, will change the way you look at marketing yourself and your business. Example:
The only way to write powerfully is to be bold, and to write boldly you must stop qualifying yourself and being overly respectful.
No, this is not giving you permission to be a total jerk and piss everyone off. This is about confidence, boldness, personality and fun! It’s fun to say what you really think and people appreciate it. Not only will they respect you for being honest but you will build that trust so that when it does come down to asking for the sale they know that you aren’t going to mislead them.
This may not be perfect algebra (ask my kids, I don’t do math) but this is a good formula to remember for your Marketing:
(Confidence + Boldness = Sex Appeal) + (Authenticity + Rapport = Trust) = SALES CONVERSION
So, what’s your thoughts? Share a great story of yours where you were bold and it paid off! We want to hear from you…
To Your Success,
August 19, 2009 12 Comments