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Social Business

Snapchat with Scott Gombar

Snapchat is About to go BOOM | Is Your Business Ready?

By | content marketing, snapchat, Social Apps, Social Business, Social Media | No Comments

Using Snapchat For Business Branding And Growth

snapchat for brandingSnapchat is a way of sending messages to followers using videos or photos as the ‘snaps’. Snaps can be manipulated by using a range of filters and they are only available to be viewed for a short period of time, usually twenty-four hours.

Snapchat was launched in 2011. Statistics show that it has over one hundred million active daily users, sending out four hundred million snaps per day. In the United States, it is estimated that eighteen per cent of all social media users are using Snapchat. This figure jumps to thirty percent when only ‘millennials’ are taken into account. But, while over two thirds of Snapchat users fall into the eighteen to thirty-four age group, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before it, Snapchat is starting to be picked up by a wider demographic

In other words, this is a booming social network and marketers are beginning to latch on to Snapchat’s potential.

However, most marketers do not believe that buying advertising space on Snapchat is the way to go, at least not yet. Snapchat’s one drawback is a big one; according to many marketers is that it is impossible to target users in the way that you can with other social media platforms. And in digital marketing the ability to target and track is now taken as a given.

However; lack of ability to target customers does not mean anyone is dismissing Snapchat as a marketing option. There are other big opportunities for marketers with Snapchat, the biggest being that it is a great way to build and spread brand awareness. Rather than spend big dollars on buying advertising space, many brands are creating fun and innovative content for their customers and followers.

Snapchat and brand awareness

Brand AwarenessBrands are beginning to look at Snapchat as part of their social media marketing mix. It offers a different kind of brand awareness through the use of clever, fun and innovative content marketing campaigns.

Content marketers have found that they can use Snapchat to create engaging stories in a fun and innovative way. As mentioned above there is a range of filters and features available including: emojis, music and text– all available from within the Snapchat platform.

Because of the immediacy and self-imposed time-constraints, Snapchat has started to take off as an authentic social media platform that can make a strong impact and spread brand awareness in real-time.

Here are five ways you can use Snapchat to surprise and delight your audience/customers, while at the same time building and growing awareness for your brand.

  1. Real time access to live events

Why not give your social media audience access to your own live events as they happen?  Events such as unveiling a new product or service, announcements and even activities that your company supports or partners with are all prime examples of sharing opportunities. This is great for your audience, it is not seen as direct selling, but rather it is seen as inviting your friends to celebrate good news with you.

For example, do your partner with a local sports team? Why not Snapchat your team’s successes?

  1. Offer unique content

What if you offered your customers a sneak peek of your product or service before it became available on any other social media platform, or anywhere else for that matter?

One great example is fashion brands that have begun to use Snapchat to show their collections to followers before they hit the runway. This way they make their customers feel included in what is a very exclusive, secretive, even protective industry. This means that by the time the runway shows start their precious customers already have the inside running, like making them feel they are part of the team.

  1. Offer free stuff and other great customer benefits

Everyone loves a giveaway. As you probably already know, when you include a competition, promotion or giveaway in your newsletter, your customers are more likely to open the newsletters and engage with the content. So why not invite your customers to follow your Snapchat stories with the incentive of something free at the end?  It could be a straight giveaway, a two for one deal, or even a discount code for their next purchase. This is a great way to get your customers coming back for more.

  1. Take your customers ‘behind the scenes

share your story on snapchatShow your followers what goes on at the office – this will make them feel part of the family. Company milestones, warehouse tours, staff outings or even just profiling individual staff and their achievements – there are a million and one ways to do this and have fun with it. And best of all, it really adds personality to your brand.

  1. Snapchat gives influencers another way to spread the word about your brand

In the world of social media, influencers are the big guns who can help spread awareness of your brand beyond your traditional demographic. You may not be able to count famous celebrities amongst your influencers, but what about your partners? They will all have their own networks that you can tap into. What about complimentary brands—ones that you can work with to build awareness of both offerings?

Maybe your partners don’t yet have a Snapchat account but they can suggest that followers of their other social media networks—e.g. Facebook and Twitter—take a look at your Snapchats.

Your partners/influencers may in turn have some great idea for content that you can create together.

In conclusion

By using Snapchat for business branding and growth you will show your customers, and prospective customers that you are agile, friendly, approachable and innovative. You are playing in their space, not simply expecting them to come to yours.

At this point in time many marketers believe that Snapchat’s key marketing asset is about brand building and awareness as opposed to direct selling. Create great content, have fun with your customers and partners and above all, use Snapchat to build and spread awareness of your brand.

 

10 Social Media Trends for 2016

By | Blab, Social Business, Social Listening, Social Media | No Comments

10 Social Trends for 2016

2016 is less than 2 weeks away so it’s time to discuss what trends to look for in social media for the new year.  I started to write the post, then decided I would get some help from the Blab Universe, and I surely did..thanks Samantha Kelly.   So here is the audio, video and blog post…10 Social Media Trends for 2016.

1. Be Personable-I have been saying this for years now. You audience wants to see more of the business owner(s) personality and personal life. Now, I’m not suggesting that you put everything out there for the world to see but give them a taste of what your life outside of work looks like.

We all know that business owners have very little time to themselves but there is a reason you started your own business. I find that most business owners went into business for themselves to improve the quality of life them and their families. Show your audience what that looks like.

Here’s an example drawing from my own life. I love baseball, and it really bothered me that I couldn’t be more involved in my oldest child’s softball career. Now that I am working for myself I have some flexibility with scheduling. This allowed me to coach my son’s t-ball team this past spring, and I loved every second of it. Pictures and moments were shared to my social media accounts.

I didn’t give away my whole life but I showed that I am human and have other passions in life. If you look around you’ll find pictures of my oldest daughter and me on the paintball field.

Social Media Trends for 20162. Become fans of your audience-This one will be the toughest for many business owners, and marketers. It’s also probably the most necessary one if you plan to grow socially as a business.

You probably network in real life if you’re a small business owner. There’s a good chance you see certain people all the time when networking. You ask them how’s business, you show an interest in their business and maybe even their personal life.

Why not do the same on social media? You have an audience (hopefully). Why not interact with what they’re sharing on social media? Like, comment, share…all of these things are noticed and often reciprocated.

I know this is a difficult task to manage. It can be very time consuming. There are several ways to do this. You can hire a digital marketer. You can bring on an intern. You can use a tool like Hootsuite to keep everything in one dashboard.

Whatever you decide to do stick with it. If you’re not a fan of your audience you will lose your audience.

3. Repurpose and Remarket-Such a powerful option in marketing yet so many fail to do this. On the day I am writing this blog post I shared a blog post that was written for a client of mine over a year ago..but it’s relevant today. This is called Evergreen content and you can do this with some of your own content, as long as it’s still relevant.

I also take my blabcasts (podcasts recorded on Blab.im) and upload the content to one of my websites, YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher and it will be on Google Play once Google launches their podcast platform. The link is then shared multiple times over several social media channels.

It’s great to blab or periscope live thus creating a community, but when you do this you’re only reaching a small audience. Not only can this be discouraging to some but it limits your reach. People lead busy lives so you cannot expect everyone to be available for a live show all the time. You can however reach those people later by remarketing and repurposing.

4. Content is still king, it’s just evolved-Yes, content is still king. You’re just seeing it evolve into formats that people can easily digest. Adopting video through live streaming allows you’re brand/business to stand out more because EVERYONE has a blog now. There are several ways to use video and audio to share content as mentioned in repurpose and remarket.

Content Evolved is KingToday I am moving towards a combination of video/audio and written blog. On many of my posts I will now include video and/or audio, plus a written post. Each member of your audience has a different style of absorbing content that is also sometimes determined by their current environment so meet your audience where they are..not where you are.

5. Advertising-I am working on another piece of content regarding the sales/marketing funnel. Certain aspects of the funnel are dead in my opinion. Not everyone will agree with this sentiment and that’s fine but we live in a society of instant gratification.

I don’t want you to think I am suggesting that you should return to the days of cold calling, or have every piece of content you share be a sales pitch. You should absolutely still have a digital marketing plan but like content marketing the funnel is evolving and your team needs to evolve with it.

Google and Facebook are making it incredible easy to market to your ideal client. Google has taken it a step further with Call Only ads. Call Only ads eliminate the need for landing pages, long forms to fill out and moving people through a funnel. By clicking on the ad the potential client is connected to you via a phone call. Just make sure that someone is there to answer.

This is one reason advertising is changing the face of the funnel. The playing field is level now because you can create ads on two of the largest networks in the world, and the ads only connect with who you determine to be your ideal client.

6. Video/Live Streaming-If you have been listening to anything I have been saying for the last few months then you know live streaming is my new favorite form of content delivery. It’s so easy to interact with your audience and create lasting relationships.

There’s a form of marketing..right? Relationship Marketing is exactly what it sounds like…building relationships to grow your brand/business.

digital marketing trends 20167. Listen-Any good salesperson will tell you to LISTEN. This is true on Social Media as well. Listen to what your audience wants and how you can deliver it to them. Social listening is the art of “Searching” for topics related to what you do and joining the conversation.

You do this in real life, well some of us do. Imagine you’re out and about and you overhear a conversation about your favorite sports team, or likely to chime in, even if you don’t know the people having the conversation.

It really is that simple on social media. The difference is it’s easier to find those conversations, and easier to interact. It’s almost expected that someone from outside the circle of the person creating the conversation will join in, especially if hashtags are used.

8. Assisting Others-You will hear me say often that I am always willing to help others, and I practice what I preach. Samantha Kelly suggested we add assisting others to the list. When she said this it made perfect sense, and I came to the realization that people are more willing to help people on social media than they are in real life.

It can be as simple as sharing someone else’s content or thoughts or as complex as connecting people for the greater good via social media. Crowd funding campaigns are often shared across social media and I have witnessed many donations and shares from complete strangers.

This is an easy trend for your brand or business to take part in but still takes an effort. Showing others your sincere compassion goes a long way to creating a trust worthy and honorable name for yourself.

9. Consistency-I had to be reminded of consistency as well. While it is something I always tell clients and others asking for my opinion it slipped my mind for this list. One of the members of the audience in the chat pointed out that consistency is important. This is a very valid point. If you create a Facebook page and post on it for a month but then abandon all efforts you are not being consistent with your social media efforts.

Here is an example of where this can backfire on your business. Lots of people created Twitter accounts only to eventually give up because they didn’t understand them, or they felt the effort wasn’t worth the reward. Along comes Periscope and Blab which both require a Twitter account. Suddenly everyone who wants to participate in one or both find themselves getting reacquainted with Twitter again. The only problem is you left your audience high and dry, and Twitter has made changes since you last were on. There is no level of consistency in your social media campaign.

My suggestion to business owners who are trying to handle their own social media campaign is this. Try one channel first. Figure out where your audience is and use that channel for marketing but remain consistent. Once you feel you have mastered that channel then move on to another channel. This will require a lot of research and learning to get going but if you are not in a position to hire a marketing expert then this is the best approach. Without consistency your efforts are for naught.

10. Build Relationships-If you’re doing 1-9 then this is easy for you. In the face to face world you know you have to build relationships to succeed. If you’re in the business of burning bridges it won’t be long before there are no bridges to burn. You know what you have to do.

It’s no different on social media. You have to take the time to cultivate relationships. Yes live streaming can speed that process up a little through Blab, Persicope and soon Facebook Live. You have to build up the relationships and it probably will take a little longer and a little more effort on social media.

There you have it.  Nothing earth shattering or really that new, but all of them are trending as we head into 2016.  Really all you need is to apply what you already know from interacting with people in the real world and apply it to the social world.  Do you think you are able to do that as a business owner or entrepreneur?

Did we leave anything off of the list?  Let me know!

Episode 1 of Become a Social Business

Episode One Blab And Scope

By | Blab, Small Business, Social Business, Social Media | No Comments

Episode 1 of Becoming a Social Business by Scott Gombar.  It really was an open forum.  I spoke with numerous people regarding how to make their business a more social business by using Blab, Periscope, Facebook, LinkedIn and a relative unknown in the Social Media world, Alignable.  We had several experts in the field chime in and let us know their thoughts and opinions.

The focus was definitely on Blab and Periscope.  Let’s just say the future looks bright.  We discussed how politicians might be able to leverage Blab and how it’s already been used for webinars, training and even a realtor showing a house.

I also briefly discusses a new platform called Alignable.  This is a newer Social Media channel focused on local business growth.  Sign up and add Scott Gombar!

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Knowledge helps set yourself up as an expert

Give Everything Away Now

By | Small Business, Social Business | No Comments

Give Everything Away Now

Yes, you read it right.  I said give everything away right now.  Uh-oh, Scott’s gone mad.  That’s probably what you’re thinking, isn’t it?  Well good news, I haven’t gone mad.  I’m just telling you something that my marketing agency does as a general rule of thumb but I bring it up because not everyone seems to agree with this methodology. 

Give Away Knowledge to Show Your ExpertiseHow Digital Marketing is done seems to be a big giant secret for many business people.  I constantly see businesses create social media accounts only to never use them, or to post sales pitch after sales pitch.  I often stumble upon websites with outdated copyright notices (thanks for all the free content..just kidding).  Those same websites often are not mobile ready or lack simple things such as a favicon, and not so simple for some..a blog.

Digital Marketing Methods are not really a secret, and if you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media you’d know I share everything I do.  There are no secrets here.  I will tell you exactly how I do it and have done so numerous times.  Just look at my last blog post, 5 Simple Steps to Blabbing Your Way to Success, and you will see what I mean.  I give everything away just about every day, and guess what.  I’ve experienced business growth despite telling everyone my so called secrets.  In fact, I always give potential clients a review of what I would do before they become a client.  They don’t all come running and maybe they give that review to a competitor but that’s OK..they can use it.

I am not the only one who believes in doing this.  I manage a marketing campaign for a local wildlife control company and routinely share tips on how to get squirrels out of the attic, or prevent raccoons and skunks from coming around.  I have been working with them for over a year now and they have experienced month over month growth both in traffic and sales.  Their site receives about 9 times the amount of traffic today versus a year ago.

I know several attorneys (Yay, watch out for me!) that routinely share ideas, tips and thoughts on their respective areas of practice.  They post blogs, videos and participate in podcasts giving the same information that they had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to receive.  They give everything away for FREE!  Why?  Because it works.  They are seeing growth in their business and increased traffic to their sites.  On the day an email blast goes out their traffic spikes.  On the days they share their own information on social media their traffic spikes.

On a recently podcast with one of those attorneys shared some of his methods to business growth and legal advice..for free.  Why?  Because he understood that you have to give before you receive.

On the contrary, I know another business owner who thinks that he should keep all his ideas and projects a secret.  He has been in business for over 40 years and did quite well for some time.  Today he is struggling as the competitive field has changed and his competitors are more than willing to share their “Secrets” and ideas.  He doesn’t want to budge on his thought process and I believe this is one of the reasons for his decline in traffic and business.  He doesn’t want to blog because he doesn’t want to share…he’s losing.

Give away the farm as part of your content marketing planThe moral of the story is essentially you have to give to receive.   But don’t give expecting to receive because it doesn’t work that way.  Some will take, take and take some more for a long time.  I was told of a business that had a client who participated in free webinars and received all types of free information for over a year but did eventually become a client.  It might take time, some people take longer to commit but being a source of information and knowledge will help you build an audience and eventually clients.

Giving away knowledge, information and expertise is not only a good marketing plan, it’s recommended by some of the industry’s top marketers..including me.  I hope you enjoyed this bit of free advice.

So get out there and give the farm away.

 

Tweets on Google Search Results

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

By | Internet Marketing, Social Business, Social Media, Twitter | No Comments

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

Tweets on Google Search ResultsGoogle is now indexing Tweets from Twitter.  You remember Twitter right?  That social media site that you chose to ignore..the one only kids are using..the one you just could not understand.  Yes, that one.  Well you spent all of your time avoiding it like the plague and now Google is indexing tweets.

What does that mean to you?

Hypothetically a tweet might just out rank your website for the same search term. Imagine this scenario.  You are the owner of a pizza restaurant in Smallville, USA.  You work hard for years ensuring that your site is found by Google because Google is where people go to search for things. Then one day someone posts how Tony’s Pizza Shop in Smallville, USA is the greatest pizza.  Because of the relevance (time and date, locale and keyword) it now ranks above your website on a Google search.

Most Twitter users are also mobile and I am sure you have been hearing a lot about Mobilegeddon.  Not to beat a dead horse but you can no longer afford to ignore the mobile population.  Mobile search has surpassed desktop search for the first time in history.

Of course I am over simplifying this for the sake of argument but I think you get the point.  You spent years making excuses why you are not on Twitter and now it could come back to bite you in the ass.  What else are you ignoring?  Facebook?  LinkedIn?  Google+? Instagram or Pinterest?

A pizza restaurant would do well on Instagram, and you can cross post to Twitter and Facebook from Instagram allowing you to become more efficient with your social Pizza Restaurants Should Market on Instagram and Twittermedia efforts.  In fact I follow a pizza restaurant or two on Instagram.  They typically get a lot of likes for every picture they post.  Comments often include “What Are Your Hours?”  or “We’re Coming for Lunch Tomorrow” or “@joeschmoe when are we going?”.

What’s the Point?

Really, the point is this. You have only yourself to blame if you ignore any of the larger social media platforms.  If you feel you just can’t keep up, or you don’t have time to learn something new, or you simply don’t have time to manage another social media platform there are plenty of qualified individuals and companies that can manage it for you.

Social Media is a critical part of any marketing plan for a business.  It’s not an optional part of your marketing efforts, it’s almost mandatory.  If you can’t be found on the internet then you may as well not exist as a business.  Just look at some of the things you can do on Social Media.

  • Create a community of people who are in the buying process and educate them on your expertise.
  • Listen for questions, not just from your followers but from anyone…and answer the questions to build trust and good will.
  • Share blog posts from yourself and other relevant bloggers.
  • Share quick video tips (Video has the best reach of all forms of content).
  • Create Good Will by sharing other businesses you have worked with and their expertise.
  • Target and retarget those who meet your desired demographics
  • Attract people to your website or landing page with the intent of getting them into your sales funnel.
  • Much, Much more

Google Runs Things..Sort Of

Search Wars featuring Google, Facebook and TwitterAs the search and content wars continue to heat up you can bet more changes are coming.  In fact Twitter and Facebook are working on search in efforts to rival Google.  Facebook and Google want to be your gateway to the internet, and for some they already are.  If you’re not making an consistent effort to broadcast across the popular social media sites then you need to be.  If you aren’t able to for whatever reason (time, knowledge, otherwise) then it might be time to reallocate your marketing budget to a professional with the tools and know how to get it done.

As a side note..most professions also have social media sites specifically for their professions.  You should also join these site as it will allow you to get advice and share ideas with others in your profession.

Not sure how your marketing efforts are doing?  Find out in 60 seconds for free!

Twitter for Business

Twitter Generates New Business | A True Story

By | Social Business, Twitter | No Comments

Twitter Should Always be a Consideration for Business

This will be a shorter blog post…maybe!

Follow Scott Gombar on TwitterI hear it all the time..Twitter is pointless.  Twitter is for kids.  Twitter is not going to help me generate any business.  What can I do with 140 characters? And I find myself constantly defending Twitter almost as if I owned stock in it.  Well two quick pieces of advice.

First, Twitter can help your business generate clients and leads.  I will elaborate on that with a couple of recent interactions that occurred on my Twitter account.

Second, I would almost never recommend purchasing stock in a social media platform unless you plan to purchase at the initial offering and quickly sell for a profit.  I am also not by any stretch of the imagination an expert so I would also seek the advice of a financial expert.  I happen to know a few so if you are in the market let me know.

How Can Twitter Help My Business?

I am going to argue for Twitter with some very recent examples.  I was recently nominated for a Shorty Award for my Business Blog.  Because the Shorty Awards require votes come via Twitter I focused primarily on Twitter for the campaign.  I only had about 10 days to campaign but if you know me you know that I will take it to the wire even if it looks like there’s no hope.

Here’s what the campaigning on Twitter did for me..and for others.  About 2 days after launching a consistent but not overly aggressive campaign I received 2 inquiries on helping with other marketing campaigns.  You’re probably thinking well why weren’t you marketing on Twitter already.  I was, and I have had some mild success in the past.  ItTwitter Conversationsseems that being nominated for an award also helps establish some credibility with your audience.  I say that as if you and I didn’t already know that.

I am still actively discussing options with those two potential clients and hope to have them aboard as business partners within the next couple of days.  Just the opportunity to further explain what I do and display my level of professionalism and commitment to timeliness will undoubtedly earn their respect, and hopefully their business.  Plus there’s always retargeting!

Scott, you mentioned that it helped others.  What do you mean?

Alright, I was getting to that.  As part of my campaign I also spoke to previous clients.  One of them was for web design only.  Well she was introduced to a world she didn’t knew existed.  She did have a Twitter and she was a fairly regular user but never really used Twitter to its full potential.  I saw her a few days after her nomination and her comment regarding Twitter was “You opened up a whole new world for me”.

You see Twitter can be used for much more than marketing your business or post status updates about what you had for dinner.  You can also communicate with your favorite brands (positive or negative).  You can campaign for awards or crowd funding.  You can spy on your children (did I say that?).  You can communicate with celebrities.  Sometimes you are alerted to an event quicker via Twitter than you are by any news outlet.  Twitter also connects with other social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine making it easier to share media (you can do this within Twitter natively).  You can share blog posts as I will with this entry.

Twitter for BusinessTwitter is not just 140 characters.  It is so much more than that.  Even the 140 character limit is not 100% true.  There are ways to expand on that as well.

If you’re not on Twitter, it is still one of the best tools/platforms for businesses to market themselves.  You can target your audience, listen to conversations (and participate), advertise, share photos and videos and so much more.  You just might win an award.


 

If you want to learn more about how Twitter can help your business just fill out the form to the right of this post.

7 Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

By | Face to Face Marketing, Personal Branding, Social Business, Social Listening, Social Media | No Comments

7 Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

My Personal BrandMaybe you own a business.  Possibly you’re a sales rep or an insurance agent.  You could also be a student, or an executive in corporate America.  The truth is no matter where you are in life you have to be concerned with your personal brand.

I am an Inbound (Digital) Marketer by profession which means that I use the internet to market businesses and individuals.  While this is a part of developing a personal brand I am going to focus on the not so technical aspect of improving your personal brand.

7 Simple Steps to Brand Bliss

 

  1. Be Unique-this cannot be over-stated. The cookie cutter method just will not work here.  To stand out, to be memorable you have to be unique.  That does not mean you have to be over the top outrageous, it just means you cannot imitate someone else.People have a keen sense and ability to be able to sniff out someone who is being phony.  Overstating facts or exaggerating stories are almost always easily identified.  A quick turn off; for me at least is someone who is obviously telling tall tales.
  1. Be Yourself-there is nothing worse than someone who tries to portray something they’re not. This kind of segues nicely from Being Unique.  The easiest way to be identified as a fraud is to be someone you’re not.  It’s nice to have people you look up to, maybe even carry a quote or 2 from them but ultimately you have to be yourself.Being Yourself is hard for some people.  I am an introvert.  That means I am not exactly a social butterfly, at least until I get comfortable around people.  To counter that I have what I am told is a very dry sense of humor and sarcasm (I get it from my mother).  Most people identify me with a quick wit, almost always wearing a tie, always talking about my kids and always willing to help another small business owner.  These qualities describe who I have been pretty much my entire adult life.What qualities have you had your entire adult life?  What personality traits can you translate into your brand?

personal branding

  1. Be Personable-if people can’t approach you your brand is going to suffer. I often catch myself folding my arms.  Folded arms sends a signal to others that you don’t want to be approached.  In my case nothing could be further from the truth, it’s just comfortable for me but I am very conscious of the image I portray and correct it.Another way to be viewed as unapproachable is by burying your face in your smart phone or some reading material.Learn people’s names.  There are lots of tips out there on how to remember people’s names.  This is probably one of the best tips I can give you regarding being personable.  I am very good at remembering names but many people are not.  Use Google and research how to remember people’s names.

    When you see someone you met before say Hi (Insert Name Here), how are you?   How’s business?  Even more impressive is remembering specific information relevant to that person.

    For example….I received an email last week from someone who wanted to schedule a meeting with me.  I have seen this person several times before at other networking events.  I remembered that he worked a 9-5 but was also running a business after work hours.  I also remembered what that business was and approximately where he lived.  I responded with some times mentioning that I knew he worked during the day and we could meet near his home to make it more convenient for him.  He replied back with how impressed he was with my memory.

    I also would recommend not being negative in any way.  Don’t put your competition down, or another person down.  The first thing people will think is what is he/she saying about me when I am not around?

    One of the most important tools in your arsenal will be a CRM.  If you don’t already have one in use, get one.  This will fill in the gaps with your leads/clients and fellow networkers.

  1. Be Honest-honesty is the best policy. It’s really that simple.  If you’re not ready to commit to something just be up front.  If you cannot do something for someone due to ability or prior commitments just tell the truth.  If you’re not an expert on a topic, don’t make yourself out to be.
  2. Be the Expert-answering questions and offering quick solutions will quickly establish you as an expert in your arena. Everyone wants to work with an expert and everyone will go to the expert.Some of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert include podcasting, speaking engagements and awards/recognition.  It will be difficult at first to get yourself recognized as an expert on something but with time and persistence you will get there.Networking will definitely help.  So will the use of social media to join in on conversations regarding a topic that you want to be recognized as the expert in.
  1. Be Aware-people will talk but what are they saying. Monitor conversations to get an idea of how your brand is trending in your space.  There are numerous ways to monitor conversations online, especially Twitter, and to a lesser degree Facebook.Google yourself occasionally to see if there has been any feedback that maybe you’re not aware of.  Nothing can set a business back quicker than a negative comment, especially one that goes unanswered.Check some of the more popular directories such as Yelp, Bing and Yellow Pages to see if there are any reviews.

personal branding and social mediaThere are several local directory managers that can help you monitor these sites.

Lastly, survey your customers once in a while.  Ask for feedback on how well you provide services or how they are enjoying your product.  Even an occasional phone call, note or email just to see how things are going will go a long way with building trust and repeat business.

  1. Be Consistent-If you show up for one networking event wearing a 3 piece suit and the next event (of similar type) wearing shorts and a t-shirt you are not delivering a consistent personal brand.If you tell everyone you sell luxury cars one month, and then next month you’re selling computers..you’re not delivering a consistent message.  Worse your audience is not going to remember what you do, or recognize you as the expert on a topic.  A jack of all trades does not usually do well in business.Also be consistent with attendance.  Not showing up for a monthly event for 6 months does not allow you to build a level of trust with other people.

In Conclusion

Personal Brand Equals SuccessChances are whatever you’re in business for you have competition.  While you can specialize in a niche of a particular product or service you will still likely have competition.  At the end of the day you’re not selling your product or service, you’re selling yourself.

People want to do business with someone they know, like and trust.  Gone are the days of picking a name out of the Yellow Pages.  Just ask yourself how many times you have read posts on Facebook asking for recommendations on a plumber?  How often do you take to Google to research before committing to making a purchase?  Do you read the reviews?  Guess what, others are reading reviews too!  People usually post positive reviews about business and owners they know, like and trust.

If you’re trying to move up at work, or looking for a job out of school, it is still critical to build your brand.  How many times have you heard of people getting promoted, or getting a job because of who they knew?  How many times have you heard people ask how did John get that position when I know more than them?  Get out there and network with industry professionals.  Check out Meetup or Facebook for groups that get together and network with them.  Stop watching TV!

Happy Personal Branding

 

Edit 3/20/15: I have added a Slide Share presentation based on thisblog post.

Why Businesses Need to Use GeoSocial Networking

By | GeoSocial, Social Apps, Social Business, Social Media | 2 Comments

GeoSocial Networking For Business

Geosocial NetworkingWith the continuous rapid advancement in communication technologies and the rate at which new techniques are introduced, geosocial networking is not in any way new. In fact, its popularity has been growing just as fast as the social media giants such as Facebook & Twitter. Many people actively use such networking feature remaining adamant about the positive results that the networks help them achieve.

There are many advantages of this type of social networking which is the reason many people use them. However, there are also some areas of concern which seem to get more attention from the news media.

As part of this blog post I will offer a potential use case, similar to what many who have adopted Geosocial Networking (including myself) have used it for.
Here is a detailed description of geosocial networking and everything it involves including benefits and risks.

What is GeoSocial networking?

This is basically an improved feature that compliments social networking by adding aspects of exact physical/geographical location. Geo-coding and geo-tagging are used to integrate various social networking dynamics and geographic services. It is facilitated by technologies that enable user-submitted data to be automatically included in updates, messages and even by mere online presence. Geo-networking can be achieved for social networks which are IP-based or hotspot trilateral and mobile networks in form of texted location information. In simple terms, this Local SEOtype of networking enables interaction of people within a given geographical location and connects service seekers with providers within the same region. The social networking allows location-based information to be sent or made public in chat platforms and accompanying messages and/or status updates. This type of networking relies on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and many other social media platforms.

There are a growing number of Geosocial specific apps/sites.  Some of them have experienced rapid growth (and negative media) recently.  Services such as YikYak, Tinder and Waze have become increasingly popular, and have also faced increasing levels of scrutiny.

The benefits of geosocial networking

Geosocial Networking for Local BusinessesThe advantages of this type of networking are quite straightforward and easy to identify. With geosocial networking, monitoring, tracking, information dissemination and control are all simplified. The benefits can be better defined in the use as follows:
• Linking people to places – With geosocial networking, web location mapping services are used in integration with geo-coding (for streets and buildings) and geo-tag details (concerts, events, meetings and hangouts) to link people to places. The information enables matching people to local social groups and places. Information from restaurant and nightclub reviews or any other description that includes specific geographical location can be used in this linking.

• Disaster scenario and control – Geosocial networking enable collaborative coordination of geo-tag information in social networks. This can help in creating situational awareness and informing other people about disasters, riots, fires and any other pandemic. As a result, the feature enables sorting of information and sharing ideas to quickly determine the closest and best aid, assistance and control measures. The current technology allows automatic tracking and detection of potential and frequent disasters. One good thing about this networking is that it filters the number of contributors from a specific location from other locations allowing easy identification of message credibility.

• Event planning – This type of social networking can be used to quickly organize and arrange events, meetings and even protests. Users in a geo-specific location can share event details and plan meetings using social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Usually, such events can be planned very swiftly.

There are many other benefits of this type of networking. The main advantages stem from ability to share information pertaining to those in a specific geographic location. Buyers can procure services and business such as gas stations, restaurants, clubs, salons and pharmacies can profit greatly from location-based networking. According to SEO experts, businesses that incorporate more location-specific tags are likely to enjoy higher rating in organic search results within that area.

Concerns of GeoSocial Networking

While geosocial networking has a huge upside for businesses and service providers, it also has a few areas of concern that users must be aware of. Exposure of location-specific data may not appeal to everybody. Some people’s job roles would require their locations not be revealed.  Waze has recently received some criticism regarding the location of speed traps.  Law enforcement is concerned that their safety may be jeopardized as a result. Relationships should Become a more social businessalso expect a certain level of privacy. Employees may not want their colleagues of employers to view location-specific details and track their movements. This type of networking makes it easy to track people provided they stay online and/or make comments, posts, updates and likes on social platforms. Even after shifting locations, the feature can still track. The main concern with geosocial networking often revolves around confidentiality and privacy. Fortunately, most features that allow geo-locating can be turned off.

Use Case Study

For this scenario I will use a very popular GeoSocial Network.  Foursquare has been around for a while now, and is easily one of the more popular apps of this type.  Foursquare is not just about checking in to your favorite gym or restaurant.  Businesses can also offer rewards for checking in at their location.  Coupons at restaurants or no initiation fee at a gym can go a long way to driving sales.

Swarm & FoursquareI get my oil changed at a Valvoline not too far from my home.  On more than one occasion I have used Swarm to check in only to be surprised with $7 off my oil change, or something along those lines.

The car wash I use offers similar deals from time to time.  Who doesn’t love an unexpected few dollars off a service you are going to use anyway?  Now what if people knew that the deal existed already?  That would definitely drive traffic to your location if a nearby check in triggered an offer at your business.

Conclusion

Social networking is evolving and features new technologies. Geo-locating is one of the available features that allow delivery of location specific services and dynamics. This type of communication is becoming very popular and the feature now comes as part of most networking tools and chat platforms. It is wise to take advantage of the many possibilities it presents while ensuring appropriate precautions to achieve privacy.

Want to get started marketing your business using GeoSocial Networking..tell me all about it.

6 Reasons CEOs Should Use Social Media

By | Facebook, Facebook Pages, Social Business, Social Media, Twitter | No Comments

CEO Using Social Media6 Reasons Why CEOs Should Use Social Media

In today’s world of gadgets, mobility and instant information CEOs should embrace the use of the social media. With billions of people around the world connected to social media, and numerous customers, employees, investors and suppliers connected to the same networks, the easiest and most convenient way for CEOs to connect and interact with these key people would be through the social media. Here are the top six benefits to a CEO using these networks:

STRENGTHENS THE BRAND:

Essentially, a CEO who is connected to social media acts as an opinion leader. Whenever someone wishes to gather more information, a standard practice before making a purchase these days, they will undoubtedly search out the CEOs social media profiles. As a result, a CEO’s presence on these networks can help potential clients build a degree of trust for the company they wish to interact; in doing so the company would strengthen its overall performance.

ENHANCES CREDIBILITY:

When a CEO of a company joins social media, followers, clients and subscribers of that company are able to put a face to the person behind the brand. Humanizing the company by putting a face on it helps to build confidence amongst its audience of customers, vendors and other people tied to the company. Once this has been established, the CEO can create better and more concrete relationships with the company’s investors, employees, customers and etc.

HELPS WITH CRISIS MANAGEMENT:

Social media is the ultimate tool to use in crisis management. This is because so many investors, customers and employees rely on social media as their main source of timely company news. For instance, in case of a crisis, long before a meeting is called, or a print publication is made, the CEO can take to social media and issue a statement to answer questions, clarify statements and speak directly to his/her audience, and not through the media. In doing so, both the CEO and brand demonstrate a high level of transparency, honesty and caring – something that everyone affiliated with the brand desires.

Speaking directly to an audience, rather than allowing the media to act as a gateway gives the CEO the appearance of transparency. Additionally the media often puts their own spin on press releases and interviews, often convoluting the intended message.

CEO Benefits from Social Media

SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE IDEAL CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION:

Unlike a typical corporate environment where the flow of communication is downward (from the CEO to the subordinates), in social media, the CEO also gets a chance to listen to what everyone else has to say. As a result the flow of information is balanced and open dialogue is established. To a CEO, and to a brand, this information is priceless. If well implemented the communication and community built on social media can enable the brand to grow exponentially over time.

CEOs CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO GIVE CUSTOMERS INSIGHT INTO THE BRAND:

As a CEO, you need to be knowledgeable about who your customers and employees are, and the best ways of connecting with them. As such, if they are within the ages of 20 to 45 as is the case with most brands, then, you ought to adopt the same channels or models of communications that they use. This will enable you have direct contact with them as well as seamlessly sharing with them the brand’s insight.

That’s not to say the Baby Boomers are not also taking to Social Media. In fact on Facebook and Twitter, two of the largest social media platforms in the world, the fastest growing demographics are Baby Boomers.

SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE:

For some reason, a great number of CEO avoid the use of the social medial. In fact a recent study revealed that 68% of CEOs are not on Social Media at all.  Common excuses include “it wastes time” and “it’s for kids”. If a CEO joined social media and followed through delivery, used it to connect with others & learn from them and share important information with them the brand/company would CEOs have no time for social mediagain the trust of its audience. Trust is a critical part of any business growth in today’s tech driven business environment. Keep in mind the message that a CEO delivers is believed to be the same message that a brands ambassadors, sales people, administrative and other professionals deliver.

Additionally a CEO using Social Media helps them expose their brand to the general public, boost their website traffic, and increase their sales and their revenue. Unfortunately, most companies don’t experience these benefits. This is because only a very small number of CEOs have social media accounts. While the benefits of having Social Media accounts are evident CEOs also use the age old excuse of not having time to use Social Media. A CEO doesn’t really have to be involved actively.  Instead, s/he can hire a social media manager to manage their accounts.

Instagram Achieves Results For Businesses

By | Instagram, Social Business, Social Listening, Social Media | No Comments

Instagram for Business

Instagram for BusinessIt’s not just for teens anymore.   Instagram was originally believed to be targeted at teenagers and young adults but businesses have also joined Instagram in an attempt to market their products or services.

It makes sense if you think about it.  Instagram is owned by Facebook.  In the end the business not only wants to make money, but needs to make money to sustain itself.

It is true that a very high percentage of users on Instagram are younger and as such make less money but many of them also have less expenditures.

Brands like Levi’s, Ben & Jerrys and GE have already run successful campaigns on Instagram.  If these large companies can do it then why can’t your small business?

Stats Don’t Lie

Here are usage statistics from Instagram

There are 200 million active users, 35% of those are in the United States.  Over 20 billion photos have been shared, that’s 60 million a day, and there are 1.6 billion likes daily.   While Instagram is clearly not one of the top dogs in Social Media it is rapidly Instagram for Businessgrowing and should not be ignored especially if your business is one that can benefit greatly from photos and short video clips.  Here are just a few examples of businesses I have personally worked with and marketed on Instagram:

  • Shoe Store
  • Groupon Type Site, mostly restaurant deals
  • A Small Business who’s offering is mainly B2B.
  • Restaurants
  • Realtors

As you can see there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses to market on Instagram, and I only named a few types.  Let your brain do some work and you will probably come up with dozens that can market successfully on Instagram.

6 Tips for Businesses on Instagram

1.  Complete Profile with URL

I cannot stress this enough, and this holds true for all social media platforms.  If your profile is incomplete people will not be able to find you as easily.  Your profile should include what you do, your profile image and your web address.

2.  Use Video

Instagram allows you to record 15 second videos.  Videos can be anything, and ARE often anything but I have seen videos used very well to show off products and services.  15 seconds may not seem like a long time but it is definitely long enough to get your message across and tease your audience a little.  You can leave more info in the description part of your post.

Today I saw a video from a peer in Australia who was promoting an Instagram for Business Class.  That was part of my motivation to write this post.  Simply done, it was her standing on the shore telling everyone about the training.  I kept waiting for her message to cut off because of the 15 second limit but she was successful in delivering the full message.

3.  Hashtags

Hashtag

Hashtag

We’ve seen them on Twitter, Facebook and most likely on Google+.  Some of us like them, some of us hate them but if you’re in business you need them.  Hashtags serve two purposes really.  The first is people who are not following you may still find your post when they search for a hashtag you used.  For example, if I am marketing a restaurant in Connecticut I would use #Connecticut #ItalianFood #Restaurant or other related hashtags.  Instagram users often search for hashtags of interest to them, and you will find that you get likes from people not following you if done right.  As I advocated in previous posts, and on my Twitter Ask the Expert Call, the hashtag should be conversational.

Secondly, you will want to use the search option to find potential clients.  Using the same scenario, if I was that Italian Restaurant in Connecticut I would search for users who use those same hashtags and start following them.  They will likely follow you back and now they will see what you post every-time if they are active.

One of the nice things about Instagram is it does not filter out posts like Facebook does.  You will see everything that was posted for the public.

4.  Search

As I mentioned earlier you can search for users based on hashtags and/or user info.  When you first start your Instagram account you will be asked to import people from Facebook and other resources but you are already interacting with these people most likely.  You ultimate goal is likely to reach a new audience.  This is going to require a bit of effort on your part (or your inbound marketer).  Searching through relevant hashtags and users is a little time consuming but well worth the effort if you can gain new clients.  Once you start building a following you will find more and more users are following you because someone they know follows you.

Another method is to find similar profiles, businesses or brands and follow their followers.  While some may not like this idea keep in mind marketing is the act of attaining new clients.  It’s up to the business to retain those clients after the marketing efforts.

5.  Apps

Without naming apps there are tons of apps out there that can help with your Instagram account.  I personally have apps that help me develop my clients followings, help me edit photos to fit Instagram’s platform, and help me create quotes as images and share them….just to name a few.

There are also apps that help with your marketing and management of Instagram.  I can’t say for sure but I do believe that Instagram may have more apps than most of the social media platforms in existence today.  Ask around to see what apps work best for what you need.  I may create another blog post for that purpose later but in the interest of keeping this blog post some what short it won’t be here.

6.  Share on other social media platforms

Cross posting from Instagram to Facebook & Twitter (and others) is very easy.  In fact you have probably seen other people post something to Facebook from Instagram.  This is encouraged as part of your social media marketing plan.   I recently posted a family picture that generated more engagement from Facebook than it did from Instagram.  Without cross posting I may not have interacted with all the extra people.  Even though it was a family picture it still drew interest back to my Instagram account, and hopefully to my website.

In Conclusion-Beyond the 6 Tips for Business on Instagram

As evidenced from tip 6 I do believe in sharing some personal stuff as part of a small business’ marketing plan.  People don’t want to work with big evil corporations anymore.  They want to work with a personality, a face, someone they can trust.  I tell all my clients it’s OK to blend some of your personality with your business, after all that’s what you do when you network face to face, isn’t it?

When you’re using Instagram mix in some humor, a few personal photos, motivational quotes and posts that require engagement.  I do post trivia from time to time; or thought provoking quotes.  It’s important to have fun.

 Or better yet..hire me to do it!

Some of the information provided as part of this post is from http://business.instagram.com/

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