Marketers LOVE messages. Avis had “We Try Harder”. Wendy’s had “Where’s the BEEF?”

But sometimes, in fact, more often than not . . . your ‘message’ isn’t some really well-crafted message that appears in the media.

Nope! It’s the ‘message’ communicated by what Jan Carlson, CEO of SAS Airlines called the “Moments of Truth” . . . moments where customers, clients, or patients come into contact with your business or practice.

Ivan Meisner, founder of BNI just posted about such a ‘Moment’ . . . and, truth be told, he didn’t get what you might call a ‘warm fuzzy’ from a recent contact with an insoucient front desk clerk at a Marriott Hotel.  I learned about Ivan’s horrific treatment through a post on Linkedin.  It was a repost of Ivan’s from his blog.  There were a lot of people retweeting and reposting his sad ‘experience’.

Think Marriott Hotels should be happy?  I don’t think so!

The messages customers get or, your staff gives out . . . can make you or break you — especially in this day and age of social media and twittering customers who believe in sharing their good (and, bad) experiences of your business with the rest of the world online!

The term, “Unique Selling Proposition” has been used way too much.  Especially so if you’re selling a service more than a product.

If you’re selling a tangible product, OK.  It has it’s place.  That’s where ‘New and Improved’ comes from!  But it’s more about the hard features of a tangible product than anything else.

If you’re a service provider, you want to be VALUE-able.  Being able to communicate — and deliver — the VALUE you offer is key.

Ironically, being able to communicate a meaningful value to a prospective client — is actually pretty ‘unique’.

As a service provider, where your greatest asset lies between your ears and above your shoulders, you must be able to do two important things:

  1. discern what your target market wants (and, values!), and
  2. communicate your ‘value’ clearly, concisely and effectively

Doing this will cause you be ‘stand out’ from a crowd of competitors who haven’t figured out:

  1. what their real VALUE to a client is, or
  2. how to convey it in an initial conversation so it becomes a RESPONSE-able conversation!

I have recently ‘discovered’ a most talented individual — Christian Mickelson.

He’s the founder of Coaches With Clients — a San Diego, CA based firm that helps coaches develop the skills and systems for growing their clientele.

In this video, Christian shares a lot of wisdom on the topic of “How To Respond” when someone asks, “What Do You Do?”

It’s always a challenge . . . until you learn the secret of saying the right words to help you become more attractive to prospective clients.

Check out his video . . . he’s a coach himself and, more important (to me) he’s successful because he practices what he preaches . . . he walks his own talk . . . rather remarkable.

You will a lot from Christian. I sincerely hope you do, too!

LinkedIn is a wonderful social network for business.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a ‘User Handbook’ full of ideas on how to get the most value you can from being a part of it.

Here are some quick and easy ways can get more out of being on LinkedIn.

Drop Your Title!

For example, I used to use my title “CCO”. Now, my profile ‘title’ reads: “Helping small business owners attract clients and grow revenues”.

This allows you to inform people how you can help them rather than what you are — which may be lost on them, anyway.

Key Idea

Show your tagline instead of your title

Integrate with Twitter

The new Twitter integration functionality allows you to tweet a message and have it display in your status . . . automatically!.

You can edit your settings to show “ALL” your Tweets or, selective Tweets which you can set up with the hashtag (#) function on Twitter. Very cool!

Key Idea

Use the Twitter integration function on your LinkedIn profile.

Leverage Your Group Memberships

I’ve been writing a monthly article for The National Networker for about two years helping others leverage their marketing and networking to build relationships and revenues. After an article is published, my publisher, Adam Kovitz suggested I post it as a “news article” to the various groups that I belong to on LinkedIn. You can do the same thing with any blog post you write just as easily.

This one simple activity can drive tons of traffic to your blog!

In time, getting people to know of you (brand awareness), like you (brand preference) and trust you (brand value) because they’ve come to appreciate the value in your advice is . . . priceless!

Key Idea

Join the LinkedIn groups where your blog posts or articles will be relevant and post your “news articles” whenever you can.

Join The Conversations

LinkedIn has ‘Discussions’. Are you starting them? Are you commenting on them? If not, you’re missing a huge opportunity to leverage your membership and the value LinkedIn holds for you.

Contributing to LinkedIn Discussions is a great way to position yourself as an authority and showcase your expertise.

Always provide a link to a relevant page on your blog or landing page on your website. For example, if you comment on how to ‘generate referrals’, you should create a landing page where a Special Report on ‘Referrals’ can be downloaded. Remember, you’re offering relevant information in a meaningful context. So don’t just say, “Hey, I’m here!”. Offer value and . . . an easy way to get it!

Key Idea

Participate in the discussions on any LinkedIn group where your ideal clients are likely to be found and post questions to stimulate some discussions of your own.

Respond To Questions

Questions allow you to demonstrate your expertise and build up the “know / Like / Trust” factor you know is so important to your marketing success.

Both the questions you answer for others (and, ask) will be seen by visitors to your profile. Often, what you have to say may be more interesting than anything else a visitor will notice on your profile page.

Key Idea

Seek out questions posed by others on topics you can answer. Use an RSS feed coupled to your Google Reader to show you new questions as they appear and post your answers to your profile as well.

Want To Build Revenues With Social Media?

Check out our Social Media Pro Study Group!

For session #2 of Social Media Pro — our online coaching course for using social media in your business, we’re focusing on optimizing your brand assets.

One of the many ways to do that is to create quality content and post it on the internet.

Video content is increasingly popular. And, various video hosting services have sprung up to support you in making your video content readily available.

The best known site is Google’s YouTube service. But there are others. One, which I’ve personally experienced (and, none too pleasant an experience it was, I assure you!) is Vimeo.


In my ‘listening post’, I get an alert when certain terms are being cited on blogs. “Vimeo” is one of them. (I have my reasons!)

Why am I telling you all this? Simple. To share three (3) lessons that will ‘teach’ you how this social media stuff really works better than anything less ‘real world’ ever would.

Lesson #1: You Can’t Hide On The Internet

This is true if you’re good. But, it’s especially true if you’re bad. As in ‘bad customer experience’. Why? People talk. And the mechanisms available — online — to do their ‘talking’ is tremendous.

Check it out for yourself: and you’ll see an example of the kind of ‘chatter’ that is waiting for any firm — even yours and mine — if we give people a good reason to want to vent.


Lesson #2: Do NOT P ____ People Off!

In the upper left panel of the above blog, note the number of ‘RE-Tweets’ about this page. This post just went up and in less than a day there are already over 400 re-tweets!!

Now consider this . . . the average social media savvy person has a network online of their contacts. People who are facile with social media are probably pretty well connected. Some people have ‘followers’ that number into the 1,000’s of people.

In just ONE day, this rather toxic post has already been broadcast (retweeted) to a very, very significant number of people.  Probably a couple hundred thousand when you consider these socially connected types each have a network themselves! And, if the source is credible, they tend to retweet the content they receive over and over and over again. Scary, isn’t it?

Lesson #3: If You Listen, You’ll Find Stuff You Can Use

In my listening post, I spotted another related item . . .,2817,2357254,00.asp. Seems Vimeo has a little explaining to do about how it’s doing it’s own business –– in a courtroom!

Oh, it’s a little thing, really — copyright infringements being alleged by EMI — the music industry watchdog for this kind of questionable behavior!

Copyright infringement. Interesting. Because people are claiming Vimeo’s telling them what they can or can’t publish . . . and EMI claims Vimeo is just as culpable in the way Vimeo’s handling their own affairs. Think that’s going to engender ‘goodwill’ from the Vimeo user community?  I’d say the jury is still out on that one!


Let’s suppose . . . you are the chief counsel for EMI. Would knowing about the kind of comments being made online about the firm you’re trying to build a case against be helpful to you? Would it be hurtful to Vimeo? How would you use this kind of information in court? I don’t have the answers. But they’re certainly worth noting, aren’t they?

Look, Vimeo is not a villanous firm. Ok, maybe some appear to argue they’re eccentric and artsy and all. And, yes . . . they appear to be capricious and arbitrary in how they choose to recognize and respond to violations of their ‘terms and conditions’ clause.

But here’s the lesson I want YOU to get . . . social media has made the masses connected . . . in a way we’ve never seen before!

The media that connects all those minds is a superhighway of thoughts that can either build your brand up or . . . tear it down. I say, ‘either’ because, frankly, there’s really nothing in-between. It’s all or nothing.

Now, do you see why it is so important to be listening? And, once you are . . . to respond in a timely and effective manner!

Personally, I’d be giving “thanks” to Vimeo for providing you with a ‘real world’ example of the power of social media on a business. It’s not always a ‘good’ example that teaches us so well. But, what social media is doing to Vimeo is certainly a ‘powerful’ example, isn’t it?

And please remember this — to make social media work FOR you, you must know what people are saying ABOUT you (as well as putting out your own story).

Which is an excellent segue into what we’re going to be learning about in Session #3 . . . on BLOGGING!

Next session . . . session #3 . . . “Blogging” . . . is an excellent way to make sure _YOU_ control the story about you and what you deem to be important to the people — friends and foes alike — in 2010.

I predict

2010 will be the year of the search . . . the LOCAL search.

If your business isn’t leveraging the opportunities your prospects have access to on the internet, it’s a a safe bet they’re not likely to find you when they do. Tsk, Tsk.

Want to do something about that?

Try Google

Google’s “Local Business Center” to be specific.

It’s a free and easy way to help you claim some internet real estate so you can become noticed by people who are looking for what you do.

Learn more . . .


If you’re not putting yourself (and, your business!) ‘out there’ . . . you’re only helping your competition . . . at your expense.

So check out Google’s Local Business Center and get yourself an UNfair share of the market for your wonderful services!

One of the many principles — but a very essential one — for using social media is to ‘optimize your brand assets’.

What’s that mean? Good question.

It means using online social media sites to post content so people can find your content and, as a result, find you, too!

Here’s a great example of this:

Dan Zarrella, a noted expert on social media is the author of this extremely good book on social media.

But my point, for this post at least, is that he’s practicing the principle of getting ‘out there’ by posting his content (in this case, video on YouTube) so you can connect with him.

Get Dan’s book. It’s awesome.

More important, get the power of this practice . . . optimizing brand assets on the internet.

It’s good for your brand awareness and . . . your bank account.


Here’s one of the ‘related videos’ you’ll be able to view after Dan’s video.

Notice that it’s not likely to be confused with a ‘Hollywood’ production in any way.  But it’s acceptable.  It’s also effective.

Can you see yourself doing something similar to this video or Dan’s?  Really!  And what would that do for you?  ‘-)

What’s happening with social media? How does it compare with traditional media?

Check out this insightful (and, brief!) video from Marcel Lebrun, CEO of Radian6 — a cutting edge social media company:

Social media is changing the very foundations on which business is conducted.

The way you communicate and interact is changing how you and your world interact. As a result, social media is arguably the biggest change in business communication since the introduction of mass media when ‘Mad Men’ become the leaders. Now, those leaders are you and me. How cool is that!

I have a friend, Fred Wergeles who is a talented, educated and highly successful individual. Fred once worked at the CIA. His expertise? Intelligence Gathering.


Knowing what’s happening in the world is key to either avoiding problems or preventing them from happening.

It’s the same with your business.

You want ‘intelligence’ about your industry, competitors, clients, your own business.

And the Internet . . . the social media that use it (not just social networks) . . . is where you’ll find that intelligence.


There’s a lot of data on the web. Too much. That’s why it’s called ‘noise’. I call it the ‘sea of sewage’. In fact, there’s so much data that you can drown in it (how’s that for an image, eh?) before you get something useful out of it.


Filter the noise out. Focus it into something that has meaning for you and your business.

Today, making business decisions with limited information is dangerous and likely to cost you dearly. But, having ‘intelligence’ so you can make better informed decisions . . . is smart. Very smart! For example:

An executive engaged in negotiation uncovers an obscure blog post about a competitors plant closing, giving him leverage in the negotiation process to seal a deal with the most favorable terms.

A salesperson discovers that a prospect she has been trying to crack tweets about a problem her company can address. She reaches out and puts one more qualified receptive lead into her pipeline.

A brand manager sees a comment left by a disgruntled customer blasting his customer relations experience. The brand manager responds to the post within a few minutes, engages the customer in constructive conversation and recovers the goodwill that might have been devastating to have lost forever.

An investor is evaluating an opportunity and the entrepreneurs tell a compelling story. When the investor probes further into the competition, it is clear that the entrepreneurs are unaware of several large and dangerous competitors. No Deal.

What do these events have in common?

They are making better, more informed decisions using readily available ‘intelligence’ on the Internet.


Knowing the information is ‘Out There’ is one thing. Making sense of the mounds of data and transforming it into useful information . . . i.e. ‘intelligence’ you can use is quite another!

The days of reading the same publications and hoping you come across the information you need are as relevant as getting a ‘TripTik’ at the AAA before going on a vacation. It’s OLD SCHOOL!

Social Media is both an opportunity and a challenge

The opportunity is the quantity of information it offers, the challenge is finding the quality of information you want and can process efficiently.

In Duct Tape Marketing University’s Social Media PRO — an online / offline coaching program for using social media to drive traffic to your site and put revenues in your bank . . . one of the many tools we use to do this is . . .


This is just one of several very cool tools for monitoring selective data streams across various social media on the internet. Using it you can ‘listen’ for what you need-to-know . . . and only what you need . . . information . . . intelligence . . . that makes your business decision-making better . . . and THAT . . . makes you money!

FiltrBox helps you search millions of sources, qualify results, remove duplication and delivers a ranked report to you . . . every day . . . in a very clean, ‘dashboard’ interface:


The old way of gathering intelligence is evolving and its time to embrace the change

Check out FiltrBox . . . it’s a new ‘cool tool’ that is making the task of managing the mounds of data the net offers . . . a realistic and, dare I say it, a fun event!

And, if you liked learning about this topic . . . you’ll LOVE our new online course from Duct Tape Marketing University: Social Media PRO.

Check it out here: Social Media PRO

Social networks are everywhere.  And it seems everyone is on at least one.

At last count, you have hundreds of them to choose from.

The biggies are, of course:

  1. Facebook
  2. Myspace
  3. Twitter
  4. LinkedIn

After these, your choices become practically ridiculous.

Regardless of which one (or, ones!) you choose, how much value you’ll realize from any social network reflects three factors:


This reflects the value of the content you get from the SN website.  It’s perhaps why you first visited a social networking website.  It’s definitely why you’ll return, too.


This reflects the degree to which the social network website ‘screens and cleans’ the information it makes available to you.  If a social network has millions of members (and all the above sites do!) you may find that the sheer volume of information it offers you is, well . . . overwhelming.  That’s not good.  If a site offers ways to make the information meaningful and manageable, that’s what you want!


This is probably the most essential factor in whether you’re a one-time visitor or an ongoing member.  Participation means you don’t just observe others comments, posts, etc. but that you become an active member of the social network site.


Whatever social network you choose . . . use these three factors to help you find the most productive and valuable one (or, ones!) for you and your business objectives.