Category — Social Media Marketing
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
Social media marketing events are happening all around us and with every one there are new opportunities waiting to be had. However, without setting your intentions before attending, your mind doesn’t know what to be on the look out for and you will miss golden opportunities right in front of you.
When I say “intention”, I mean much more than just a casual “when I get there I’m hoping to meet so-and-so”. Intentions are when your thoughts, desires, and focus are all in harmony. Be clear (focus) on your business objectives (dreams) and your thoughts will line up to start noticing opportunities. They will be attracted to you. (Be sure to check out Hardwiring Your Brain for Marketing Success!)
Intentions are important in any area of your marketing success, but especially when attending live events because things are constantly moving and changing. Your chance to talk or network face to face with a top influencer can be a fleeting moment that you may never see again.
Below are 8 intentions to get you started, but take the time to put some thought into them and make them your own. Really dig in and you’ll be amazed at how opportunities just appear because your thoughts are focused on finding them.
1. Make a list of questions
Before you go to the event sit down and think about your business goals. You should already know what you intend to accomplish and have a plan on how to get there. If you’re really working towards your goals and you’re growing, chances are you will have hit a few forks in the road or may need a little advice from someone more experienced.
Write those questions down that you’ve been holding in the back of your head that’ve been keeping you from taking your business to the next level. Sometimes you don’t even know what it is that’s holding you back….thinking about it will bring to the surface what the real reason is. Once you know what it is, think about questions you might ask and who might be the most qualified to answer. Seek out those experts while you’re there.
2. Plan A Mini-Interview With Your Top Picks
These questions are different than the ones you prepared in step one. Those questions focused on you and your specific business ideas or roadblocks you’re experiencing. These are about the Speaker and their business success. You might even consider video taping and posting to your blog as a mini-interview.
Write down who you want to meet while you’re at the event and make a list of all the questions you want to ask them. If you know someone you admire or respect in your industry is going to be there write their name and some specific questions about their success like, “What are the thee most crucial things you did that got you to where you are today?” Or, “If you were starting all over again what advice would you give yourself?”
3. Research The Event Speakers
Many times you may attend an event that has well known Keynote Speakers, but you may not be familiar with some of the workshop Speakers or Presenters. Before you go to the event do your homework and find out everything you can about the Speakers: what their latest project is, what’s their specific niche in the industry, who do they associate with, what are some of the latest conversations they’ve been having?
The best place to start is their blog’s “About Me” page to get some background information, then browse the rest of their blog to see what kind of content they are putting out. Check their Twitter conversations and blog commenting. You can check Disqus or Backtype to see what comments they have left on other blogs. Get a feel for what they are all about and where their attention is right now so you have something pertinent to talk about.
Once you get to know each of the Speakers better you may find that, while it’s great to meet the big dogs, one of the other Presenters may be someone more in line with your business desires. Be prepared when you go….have set intentions.
4. Buddy Up
Find a live event buddy and hold each other accountable. You may not be able to attend all the workshops at the live event but if you have a buddy you can split up and agree to share notes after the event. How many times have you taken tons of notes and then gone home to set them on a shelf to never look at them again? Use the buddy strategy to hold each other accountable to actually do something with your notes.
When the event is over meet with your buddy before you part ways to debrief and set your intentions on what you’re each going to implement, Write down the action steps for when you get home. Set an appointment to meet with your event buddy no more than 3 days after the event. Don’t let the inspiration fade. Then agree to have accountability chats once a week to see if you you’re completing your action steps.
This may morph into a partnership or a joint venture. So make sure you find a good buddy!
5. Craft your brand
When you go to a live event you need to brand yourself just like you would online. Have your 3 minute elevator speech memorized so when you meet someone you can quickly share. Your intentions should shine through and your brand should be easily understood. Boil it down to three things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you are here
For example, if I was going to a live blogging event I may say something like, “My name is Coree Silvera from Market Like A Chick. I share principles behind marketing with social media and event community management. I’m here to stay on top of the latest trends in social media and to meet other people in the industry.”
I tell those I meet enough about me so that they can ask some specific questions, like what is event community management, or how did you get started. Then you can have a meaningful conversation instead of, “Where are you from?” Or, “Man, it’s hot/cold!”
6. Have Business Cards
Give yourself a few weeks ahead of time to order just in case. Make sure you have your contact information on the front and your brand’s tag line on the back. Or, if you’re an affiliate marketer, you can put the URL to your top three affiliate links. You might also print a special discount on product/services on the back of the card to encourage them to look further.
Be sure to include your social networking user names so it’s easy to find you. One of the most annoying things is to go to a social media marketing event and get a business card without the person’s social media info. At least include your Twitter name.
Remember the goal is not how many cards you give out but how many you get so YOU can follow up with them. If they don’t have a card write down their info so you can follow up with them. Or, if you are really smart, one of the best ways to exchange social media information instantly is with a Poken! They are neat little gadgets that just take a click of a button to sync each others info onto a USB stick and save to your computer.
7. Stay Organized
As you get those questions you wrote down answered, cross them off your list and make a note of where to find the answer in your notes. Many times the Speaker may answer your question in their presentation so cross it off & make a new question that is more in depth. Whatever questions are left over you can then seek out the proper people to answer them.
Find a system that works for you while taking your notes. Maybe you want to bring a divided notebook for each topic or each workshop. At the very least remember to write the date, name of event, name of workshop, Speaker and the Speaker’s Twitter handle. It only takes a second or two and will save you time later when you’re looking for that tip you heard while you were at the event.
8. Go Early, Stay Late
Some of the best time to network is before and after the event. I know several people that don’t even go to the workshops, but pay to be there just for the networking and hang out in the exhibitor area the whole time. Personally, I want to go to the workshops and learn something new to share with my readers or to enhance my service. So, I don’t have time to network in between workshops.
You’ve probably traveled far and paid a lot of money to come to the event so make the most out of it. Get to the event early and stay late if you can. By doing this you will have a better chance of catching a moment to chat with some of the Speakers. Your time there is valuable there so make the most of it!
Being clear about what your business intentions are and why you are going to the event will make it much more meaningful and you’ll come away with fresh ideas, contacts, and action steps. This is the difference between merely “attending” an event or “intending” to seize every opportunity at an event. Your time and money are valuable, go with purpose!
What’s your best tip to get the most out of a live social media event? Have you ever gone to an event without any clear purpose of what you wanted to get out of it? How can you line up your intentions with the next event you’re planning on attending? Share any stories of how you used an event to create a new joint venture, move past a roadblock, or how you may have missed an opportunity because you weren’t prepared.
To Your Success,
May 4, 2010 9 Comments
A common misconception of newcomers to social bookmarking is that all posts you bookmark receive a backlink to the original source. While the link used on a bookmarking site may provide traffic it does not necessarily mean that the link is a “DoFollow” link providing any SEO benefit to the source.
To receive the SEO benefit along with the traffic you must use social bookmarking sites that have a DoFollow policy.
If you’re not familiar with how social bookmarking works, check out the series I posted on Social Bookmarking 101: What Is It and How Does It Work. The basic idea behind social bookmarking is the ability to store, index and search all of your favorite articles you’ve found while searching the web.
Like any new skill you’re learning when marketing with social media, once you get the basics down you can begin learning learning new ways to use them to benefit yourself. If you are a blog owner one of your biggest tasks is building quality backlinks to your blog to improve your search engine ranking.
Most social bookmarking networks will require you to register, then once you have, you are able to submit links to those networks. If you are selective about using DoFollow bookmarking networks then those links will be DoFollow links back to your site.
Spend some time creating profiles on DoFollow social bookmarking sites. What I would suggest is creating a short template to save time. Since some of the networks will allow backlinks from your profile description, use your keywords as your anchor text. For instance, if you are aiming to have your site ranked for content marketing, in your profile description word it so you are hotlinking your keyword phrase “content marketing” and not just your blog title. I chose several of my most popular articles to link back to when writing my descriptions.
You might want to even create two templates…one html ready with your links and one without. Not all networks will allow links from your profile and some will require you to use your own html tags. (“a href”). So, be prepared and make it easier for yourself.
Once you have your profiles created remember to now use those sites to begin submitting your articles and reap the benefits of your work. Do keep in mind that some networks do not take kindly when you link ONLY to your own site, so be kind and remember to bookmark other interesting articles from other sites.
The best list of DoFollow social bookmarking sites I have found was put together on DoFollow.Info where you can also find some other great resources on DoFollow techniques. This list give descriptions of the networks and where you will find the DoFollow linking. I suggest bookmarking this page because you may not make it through all of the sites in one sitting.
Good luck in your social bookmarking for backlinks strategy. If you have any other tips, comments or questions please share them below. All your feedback is appreciated and we learn from one another.
To Your Success,
April 26, 2010 10 Comments
Oh my, how we love Twitter. We love Twitter so much that we sit on our soft behinds in front of the computer for hours on end tweeting the latest articles, talking with our Twitter friends, and building our online relationships. In return we are rewarded with new business, new friends, and new junk in our trunk.
I’m not sayin this is you… but many of us are suffering with what I call Twitterbutt.
If you’re a Twitter addict like most of us social media people are, chances are that you can log in to Twitter at 8am to start your day and the next time you notice what time it is it’s past 1pm when you can no longer stand the grumbling in your stomach. You just sat there in one spot with your butt glued to the chair (or couch) for 5 hours.
So, what do we do? Well, we get up and feed our hungry bellies, right? While we’re snacking we sit back down in front of the computer to “just check in” on Twitter. We engage and talk and become engrossed in our Twittering until we suddenly realize we can’t see the keyboard anymore because it’s 7pm and it’s completely dark in the room.
Okay…this explains WHY we are rocking our new Twitterbutt handle, but how do we get rid of the extra poundage and still stay engaged?
I became fed up a few months ago and decided to change my sedentary lifestyle before I became a permanent fixture in front of my computer. Since I’ve begun practicing these few changes I’ve lost a little over 15 lbs. Not a huge amount, but I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I am going up the stairs and being able to play with my kids without crumbling to the ground in a massive lump of sweaty, hyperventilating, sad sight.
How to Conquer Your Twitterbutt
1. Set a schedule
Social media marketing doesn’t take all day in front of the computer. It really doesn’t. Start your morning by going through your RSS Reader for the best posts to Tweet and throw out a few links. Save a few and use Hootsuite or another program to schedule others at later times during the day. (Noon to 3pm is busiest). Spend 30 minutes engaging on Twitter, thanking your followers for retweets, asking questions, and paying it forward.
This whole process should take no longer than one hour. Do this twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In between those times, turn off your Twitter platform so you are not tempted.
2. Get Your Butt Up and Move
Don’t just say you’re going to do it. Do it. Schedule it in. Just get up and do it.
I started a MeetUp group to help me stay committed because I know I am a flake when it comes to exercise. If I tell myself I’m going to exercise my mind and body fight it all day. Rather, I tell myself it’s time to go on my walk with my new friends. We made this a regular habit at regular spots in our local parks and trails. We started at 1 mile and have worked up to a faster pace and walking 3 miles.
I also schedule other fun stuff like volleyball, Zumba, Badminton or just throwing the football or frisbee around for 30 min. Again, I schedule it. It may not be easy to break your Twitter habit, but it does get easier.
3. Take Breaks
Go ahead, do it….set the mouse down. Walk away. I know you can do it.
Go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Feel your energy start to return as you get your mind off the computer screen. These breaks will remind you that you love to be active outside of your Twitter world too. You need these little boosts not only for encouraging more activity but they are also great to find inspiration for new blog posts or those witty Tweets you are so famous for.
4. Track What You Eat
Are you a snacker? Or are you like me and just don’t eat at all until 8pm rolls around and then you splurge? Either way, start tracking what your eating habits are and the nutrition your giving your body.
There are several social networks such as SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal that will help you track meals, nutrition and exercise. I recently signed up for SparkPeople and have been using their online tools to enter my meals and track my goals. Some of my goals are to eat 30-40 grams of fiber and around 1400 calories per day. Yours may be different, but you can set those up and the sites are great at providing nutritional pointers.
5. Exercise At Your Desk
Right now are you sitting straight up with your belly muscles pulled in? Are you breathing deeply to expand your lungs or are you taking short breaths? Just become aware of these things and begin to notice when you are slouching.
Just contracting your stomach muscles, releasing and contracting again while sitting at your desk is a modified crunch. There are other exercises you can do while at your desk as well. This blurb was taken from WebMD.com and has some great ideas to get more exercise in when you work at your desk all day:
“We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day,” says Joan Price, author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book. “As ergonomic as your desk or chair may be, sitting produces back pains, headaches, and listlessness. You become less productive.”
Twitter rocks but with summer nearly here, don’t you want your glutumus maximus to rock even more?? Get rid of the Twitterbutt and get your groove on with all of us!
What tips do you have for getting rid of Twitterbutt? How have you fit exercise into your social media filled day? Share them in the comments below for all to learn.
To Your Success,
April 20, 2010 26 Comments
Whether you decide to engage in social networking as a marketing strategy or not, Twitter has become a powerful tool to search and monitor your brand, your competitors, and for lead generation. Beyond the basic search on the Twitter home page you can use advanced search techniques to produce targeted information not easily found in a normal Google search.
Want to know who’s talking about buying a new TV in Seattle? How about people discussing the terrible customer service they received from one of your competitors? Are you a journalist that needs case studies to report on? Whatever you’re looking for, chances are you can find the answer in real time and target that information for whatever area you like.
Below I’ve put together some of the best resources on using Twitter as a powerful tool to build and monitor your business:
Twitter Tools To Have On Hand
- 1. Mozilla Firefox Plugin for Twitter
- 2. Greasemonkey Script for Twitter Search in Sidebar
- 3. Twitter Search Operators
Articles for Improving Twitter Search Skills
- 4. 7 “Secret” Ways to Use Twitter Search – Twitip
- 5. HOW TO: Use Twitter’s Advanced Search Features – Mashable
- 6. Using Twitter Search for Business – Chris Brogan
- 7. 15 Fascinating Ways to Track Twitter Trends – Mashable
- 8. Generating Quality Marketing Leads With Google Alerts and Twitter – Adam Green, “Mr. Google Alerts”
- 9. How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business – Copyblogger
- 10. Using Twitter Search to Boost Local Business – Mediafunnel
- 11. Twitter Tips: How to Search Twitter Smarter – CIO.com
- 12. Take Advantage of Twitter Search Operators – Web Worker Daily
- 13. It’s Time to Start Thinking of Twitter as a Search Engine – TechCrunch
- 14. How To Use Twitter for Customer Service - Sitepoint
Twitter Research and Monitoring Tools
- 15. TwitterGradr – Hubspot’s tool for finding “elite” Tweeters based on location and influence.
- 16. Monitter – Lets you “monitter” the Twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are saying in a grid layout.
- 17. TweetStats – Graphs out Twitter habits based on how often, what time of day, and @ replies for you or any user.
- 18. TweetBeep – Great for online reputation management, catching all your @replies and @mentions, finding job/networking opportunities.
- 19. Twitscoop – Full feature Twitter web client with search, trends, and real time buzz.
- 2. What The Hashtag -The user-editable encyclopedia for hashtags found on Twitter, allows print outs of hashtag transcriptions, Greasemonkey script adds, and Firefox add on. Track popular and trending hashtags.
- 21. Hashtag.org – Tracks the frequency that a hashtag is used on Twitter and provides details about the hashtag
- 22. WeFollow
- 23. Twellow
- 24. TwitterCounter
- 25. TwitterHolic
- 26. Twibs – Directory of businesses on Twitter
- 27. Just Tweet It
- 28. Tracking Twitter – A real-time listing of the top media, entertainment, and consumer product feeds on Twitter.
Geolocation Twitter Tools
- 29. GeoFollow – Large location based Twitter Directory, find and follow by city, state, zip or tags.
- 30. Trendsmap – Real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world.
- 31. LocaFollow – Search by location & follow (allows bulk follow) LocaFollowis powered by Google so results are shown in the same order that Google shows it. Those Twitter pages that are better SEO optimized will appear on the top.
- 32. TPS – the Tweet Positioning System, is a geo-location filter for conversations and mentions on Twitter.
- 33. GeoTwitTrends – Shows real-time trending topics happening in specific places.
- 34. GeoChirp – Set the location and then search for tweets based on keywords. All results from that location would be displayed.
- 35. Twittori – Allows you to follow places in a similar way than you are used to following users on Twitter as well as attach your tweets to a specific location.
- 36. TweetMondo - Shows Twitter users that have either registered in Tweetmondo.com or were crawled by their crawler and filtered by location.
Twitter’s advanced search is a business owner’s best friend if you just take the time to use it. Be sure to bookmark this post for future reference to come back to!
What did I miss? Do you have a Twitter search tip or resource to add to the list? Share below in the comments.
To Your Success,
April 5, 2010 53 Comments
One of the most suggested means of getting traffic to a site is to get involved in forum discussions (or bulletin boards as they are also called) on your topic of choice. You can find highly targeted forums that are organized and structured around just about any niche or industry you can think of, such as Internet marketing, web design, and search engine optimization. You’ll also find that forum users are generally pretty Internet savvy and are open to making online purchases.
Forums are places where people with similar interests can meet, exchange information and chat online. To become a member of an Internet forum you usually have to sign up on a membership site. This doesn’t involve any money. Sites want to keep up how many members they have.
According to Harvey Segal (Mr SuperTips), author of Forum Marketing SuperTips, there are 4 major reasons why people use forums:
- They can get advice: for example − troubleshooting products, hardware or software; to get their site reviewed; to ask for opinions about a product before purchasing; or about a business opportunity or affiliate program they plan to join.
- They can discover new products, ideas, tips, tools
- They can make contact with others, and possibly set up joint ventures
- Site promotion
Once you join and become a forum member, you can access the forum by creating a username and password. When you log in, you have access to all the different topics and threads (each conversation started by forum members).
The sites include other perks and ways to join in but the forum is where most people go to congregate and talk. You can use these forums to not only promote your website but also get a little extra traffic that can add up to big benefits for your business.
Not just any forum will do. You want to find forums that pertain to your target market. For instance, if you sell lighting fixtures, you’ll want to look for DIY (do-it-yourself) forums for a start. Also, look into forums for contractors and builders. They certainly use lighting fixtures in their line of work.
In these forums, half of the work is done for you. You are already accessing your target market, but the rest is up to you. That is why conducting yourself well on these forums is important and makes this type of website promotion one of the most profitable. Forum marketing is a type of “self promotion” as well as site promotion.
Your goal should be to be seen as an expert in your field, not to get traffic to your site. If your reason is purely to drive traffic to your site, you probably won’t be terribly successful and people will definitely know what you are up to.
Using the Forum
Participating in forums can provide valuable insight to business owners. Not only for sales, but for some good perspectives from others in your industry as well as potential clients. Before you jump into talking about your business, think about what would build your trust and what would break it down. It’s pretty obvious to say that spammers would tick you off, but people who participate and also help others, would inspire your trust.
The same social media rules of engagement apply to forums and forum marketing. Interact with people in the forum. There is a wealth of knowledge there. You can offer expert advice and get help yourself. Their advice to you can help you implement changes that benefit your business.
Use your signature line to promote your website. Include a link here along with your name. The more you post in existing threads and your own, people whose trust you gain will begin to click on that link and check out your website. Even if you don’t include a signature with your posts, you can still make a name for yourself and, in the long term, this will prove to be a far more profitable approach.
Internet forums that cater to your target market have a two-fold benefit. First, they help you get in touch with the type of person you seek for your business and second, you can establish yourself as an expert and use your signature line to promote your website.
I just came across an ebook that I’ve found to be very helpful and expect you will too. Every day across countless thousands of forums on the Net, people are asking questions. Those who can answer them have a great opportunity to build their authority and their business.
Forum Marketing SuperTips, by Harvey Segal (Mr SuperTips) is neatly set out, easy to follow, written without the hype that drives me insane, and not littered with annoying links. In his book you’ll find out:
- how to find exactly what forum visitors are looking for
- how to quickly create a resource that will answer their questions
- how to make superior postings to get people to visit your resource – with no hype and no ads and no affiliate links
- how you will profit handsomely from these visits
It’s packed with solid tips on “How to Post at Forums – for Profit” And the cost of this collection of gems ?
Of course, you know there are going to be opportunities intertwined to sell you paid ebooks or programs, but whether you partake in any of those or not, you should have this ebook in your arsenal of Internet marketing strategies.
What success have you had with forum marketing? LinkedIn and Yahoo! have their q&a discussions, too. Have you looked into offering your smarts on those groups? What other discussions or forums have you used? Leave your comments below.
To Your Success,
March 19, 2010 10 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
Today’s Woman To Watch article features the very busy and very talented female entrepreneur, Rebecca Orlov, Co-Founder of Blog Out Loud. Rebecca understands social media and has helped brands build their communities online and off by teaching how to engage with blogging and events
Her success has taken her beyond Blog Out Loud and has now inspired her to launch another new venture which she will tell you about. One thing’s for sure…Rebecca stays busy! Check out her fantastic interview below.
I feature one woman entrepreneur every Wednesday for my Women To Watch series. If you would like to be featured on Market Like A Chick, just check out the details on my Be Featured page and get back to me. We want to hear from you!
To start off, Rebecca, could you please describe what you do and how you earn your living?
Sure, I am digital consultant, writer and producer. I had a 10-year career in advertising, producing broadcast campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and transitioned a year ago to full-time design blogging and digital consulting with lifestyle brands. I contribute to popular home network Apartment Therapy; edit my shelter blog: loving. living. small; co-founded Blog Out Loud and am writing for a soon-to-be design website for Williams – Sonoma Inc. that is launching in March.
And I am excited to announce my brand new company, Sweetline Agency, that is getting ready to open it’s digital doors in just a few days. Sweetline is an online brand project management company that helps lifestyle brands and companies define, concept and build their full online presences. This includes the editorial voice, adopting social media and designing and building the website and social media communities.
What most influenced you to launch your business?
I am passionate about creativity and I’m inspired every day by design, color, texture and style. I have always connected with creative people and noticed early last year that many small business owners weren’t utilizing the web to build and market their biggest brand – their own company! And I can understand why – many small business owners don’t know where to begin, who to work with or think it’s super expensive to get their online presence up and running. I am here to help.
The inspiration for launching Sweetline was initially ignited by Blog Out Loud, the community I co-founded last June that encourages creative people to engage in social media, to connect to community and enhance their businesses through offline events, webisodes and a blog. The amazing response from Blog Out Loud combined with the my years of branding/production/marketing at a large firm inspired me to start Sweetline, a creative, affordable and collaborative company that any small business owner can enjoy and benefit from.
Why do you think the female factor is so important in today’s economy and business world?
Most women inherently possess traits that lend themselves to nurturing and guidance and – when connected to other like-minded women – a momentum and buzz seems to happen. Having a trusted community of like-minded women provides a sense of security, strength and motivation. To me, this is why social media networks are so inspiring and relevant. I personally follow many female entrepreneurs and creative innovators (like Coree, that’s how I e-met her!) because of their strength, clear message and unspoken nurturing.
Have you used the marketing concept of tribes in your business? Do you feel this concept can help other female entrepreneurs in their business pursuits?
I love the idea of having a place for like-minded people to connect. My success with tribes was forming one – Blog Out Loud. I saw that there wasn’t something like it and that people were looking for it. So, yes, I have used this idea of creating a tribe and definitely feel that this concept can help other female entrepreneurs. If you are passionate about your business, niche, industry, products, clients – and want to expand further on this – create a place for yourself and other people that are just as interested.
The 3rd Blog Out Loud presents “Belong: Building The Advertising Blog Community” from Blog Out Loud on Vimeo.
How do you use social media for your business?
I use social media 2 ways:
1) I have set up my own social media communities for my design blogs and Sweetline. I enjoy chatting to followers and sharing my thoughts about design, social media and web presence.
2) I engage in like-minded communities. I love following brands, companies and people that are appealing and interesting and, of course, that I relate to.
For my own networks, I use social media by blogging and using Twitter, in particular, Twitter lists. I have set up an editorial schedule for the Sweetline blog (that’s just getting started!) and I tweet once a day for all of them. I carve out about 30 minutes each morning to do all of this work since, yes, it does take time!! But it’s worth it!
What aspect of social media have you found to be the most help and/or most hindrance to your business?
I really do love Twitter and use it in many ways. Sure, I tweet, RT and DM but I also use Twitter as a search engine. It’s such a cool way to hear what people are talking about – right now! Whether it’s a broad topic like “interior design” or a specific item like “social media e-Books”, I can read right away what’s going on, how people are talking about these things and, most likely, find a new interesting person to follow and connect with.
Have you had a mentor and if so, how has that helped you?
Yes, I have a mentor and I have mentored. I absolutely love the experience of both! I definitely recommend embracing a mentor. For me, I really just enjoy the experience and opportunity to connect with a trusted person that supports and encourages me AND tells me like it is! We all need a little of that!
What would you say is the single biggest reason for your success?
Positive attitude is definitely the foundation for my success. I’ve always been someone that goes for it and keeps it real. My parents taught me this at an early age and I live by the idea to just do it! If it doesn’t work out, hey, at least you know that you gave it a shot and you were true to yourself. And, usually during this time, another interesting door will open. Trust me!
If you could step back in time to when you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?
This is a great question! If I could go back in time, I would encourage (ok, actually push, force, wrangle) myself to leave my last career sooner and get going on my current one. I was in the advertising world for over ten years and, although I loved many parts of it, I had wanted to move on for quite a long time. I love what I am doing now so much that I wish I had transitioned into working with great people on their online presences sooner. But I am here now and that’s what counts!
Can you share with us any plans or lifetime goals (personal or business) that we can look forward to from you?
My current business plans are to give Sweetline the love, focus and attention it deserves and enjoy doing it! This work is also very much an experience and I am excited to collaborate with amazing brands and companies. I am hoping to establish Sweetline as a real gem and go-to place for small lifestyle brands and I hope that my clients really enjoy the online presence experience.
My current life plan is to continue to be positive and always to embrace new things. In the last year, I had some unexpected life changes that I chose to embrace rather than regard as defeat. Wow, did this shape where I am today – for the better!
What is the best way for our readers to learn more about you or contact you for more information?
I have a few different ways to connect and I hope to meet many of you!!
Sweetline Agency :: Online Brand Project Management
- · firstname.lastname@example.org
- · http://sweetlineagency.com
- · http://blog.sweetlineagency.com
- · @sweetlineagency
Blog Out Loud :: Blog Community
- · email@example.com
- · http://blogoutloudevent.com
- · http://blogoutloudevent.blogspot.com
- · @blogoutloud
loving. living. small :: Small Space Blog
- · firstname.lastname@example.org
- · http://lovinglivingsmall.com
- · @lovelivesmall
Thanks so much for sharing all your successes and creative genius with us, Rebecca! I’m looking forward to checking out Sweetline Agency when you go live, so be sure to let us know!
To Your Success,
P.S. ~~> If you would like to be featured on Market Like A Chick, just check out the details on my Be Featured page. You can choose to write a guest article of your own or be featured in an interview like this. We want to hear from you!
February 17, 2010 1 Comment
A marketing or PR employee may ask, “why blogs?”, when I have an armory of tools like press releases, social media, and email, why do I need to add blogs to my arsenal? And, if they do add blogs, what cost factors are in involved and will it be worthwhile?
Even with social media becoming more widely accepted as a viable marketing tool there are still those that are skeptical of the results a blog can bring.
Creating Marketing Cycles With Blogs
Marketing plans generally go in cycles. One marketing strategy is attached to another and if done right the next steps fall into place to automtically create that cycle. Blogs work in conjunction with all the other efforts like your press releases and social media to turbo boost your cycle. For instance:
- The press release a company sends out may, in fact, be the pitch that results in a blog review.
- The review can then be promoted on social media sites like Twitter – A good review from a respected blogger can create hundreds or even thousands of shares or retweets
- The blogger review can be emailed to brand loyalists via email with a copy or link to the review. This is press, just as any other type of media mention. Having your company’s product reviewed and posted to a blog should be added to your media kit and promoted to your email lists.
- More bloggers may pick up the conversation happening on social media sites and post their own blog article with their own opinion, they promote that and the cycle begins again.
With Twitter’s 6 million users, (Compete.com Feb. 2009), and Facebook with more than 65 million active users, (Facebook.com Oct. 2009), it makes sense to include a blogger’s network and social media community into your marketing cycle.
Narrowcasting With Niche Specific Blogs
There’s no denying that media and the whole model of customer engagement is changing from a broadcast model to a narrowcast or niche model and incorporating a tighter feedback cycle. Those companies that can adapt to this new shift of brand equity to sweat equity are the ones that will find greater successes and more loyal brand evangelists. Those that refuse to bend will be left in the dust.
Your target market is out there reading blogs. Find the ones they are reading and become a presence where your market is hanging out. Whether that’s women’s interests, technology, travel, B2b, or pets…there is a blog out there that your market is loyal to.
With bloggers rapidly overtaking the Internet, they are quickly becoming part of our media landscape. With more and more newspapers shutting their doors, blogs have become the default for many consumers to learn about news, opinions and products. Bloggers share their opinions with their readers, and readers listen.
If a blogger recommends a brand, you can be sure that their readers will visit the company website if not buy the product. The power bloggers hold in this regard is worth far more than traditional advertising methods.
A banner ad on a website just says, “We are “xyz” and we want you to buy our products”. A blog review says, “I doesn’t make a difference to me if you buy it or not, but I thought this product was great.” Customers react MORE to referrals than advertising. The power of word of mouth referrals has always been the key to a successful and long lasting company.
Cost Effectiveness of Blogger Outreach
Blogger outreach as a marketing tool is more cost effective in general than traditional methods. A marketing budget of $100,000 will cover perhaps a television commercial, billboard ad for several months, and a year’s prominent placement in the Yellow Pages if you’re lucky. Or, that same $100k will more than cover the blogger outreach and a detailed internet marketing and social media marketing strategy in your target market.
Bloggers have readers. This can vary from 100 readers a month to 200k+ per month. Readers follow a particular blogger because they find her a reasonable source of news and opinion. When a blogger writes about a particular brand, her readers pay attention. When readers pay attention, brands win by getting more traffic to their websites and an increase in sales.
Blogger outreach and using their social media influence will result in:
- More net new customers
- More depth – Helping your customers buy deeper
- Frequency – Your customers will hear about your brand more often, return more often, and inevitably purchase more often
Adding Blogs to Your Arsenal
No matter what your product or service, you want more customers, right? Blogs provide a greater reach for your products when you add blogger outreach to your overall marketing mix, and nothing beats a well-respected blogger’s endorsement.
But how to you begin reaching out to bloggers and adding blogs to your arsenal? You should approach a blogger with the same respect you would any other press contact. Get to know them first, who they are, their style of writing, what their niche is, who their readers are, etc…BEFORE you pitch them.
A good blogger pitch should:
- Show that you’ve read the blog and find your news and product a good fit. This should be mutually beneficial and a blogger will not want to promote something out in left field that has nothing to do with what their community is there for.
- Be customized to each blogger. Mention a post they’ve written that relates. By all means, do not SPAM multiple bloggers in a broadcast effort and call it blogger outreach. I delete those, and will generally voice my opinion of such efforts publicly.
- Not offer an interview with your CEO on the numbers for the company. <- B-O-R-I-N-G. Bloggers want info on your product or service, not your latest financials or canned sales pitch.
- Keep it sweet and simple. Provide info but don’t overload. Make it easy to understand the features and benefits.
- Provide multiple ways to contact you. Email, phone, Twitter, Skype.
- Be interesting. Be cute. Funny. Outrageous. Be anything besides boring.
What To Sponsor
There are several ways to sponsor a blogger. You can sponsor their blog for a period of time, sponsor their newsletter, podcast, or my favorite…sponsor the blogger to be your representative at an event in combination with blog reviews and advertisement.
I have a special page dedicated to both sponsored advertising and sponsored events. Sponsoring a blogger at an event is really the best way to get all your bases covered and provides a full spectrum of promotion to their readers, social network communities, and live interaction with those communities and other bloggers at the conventions.
See my Sponsor Me page for full details on what event sponsoring includes. I also list many of the upcoming social media and Web 2.0 events for 2010. It really is the best bang for your buck!
To Your Success,
February 12, 2010 21 Comments