Posts

CURATION
Nick Unsworth, a local social media expert, speaks of content ‘curation’.  This means finding and sharing ‘refined’ information your desired audience wants to know about.

This could be as simple as creating a tweet on Twitter that references an article you know your people will find useful and . . . likely to share with their networks.  That’s just one way to grow your awareness and attraction factor considerably; there are many other options and that’s why being clear about your goals is so important to using social media effectively and efficiently.

CONVERSATION
Look, it’s called ‘social’ media for a reason!  Traditional marketing (i.e. advertising) was, necessarily, a one-way rather than a two-way conversation with prospects. Social media invites you to engage in a ‘dialog’ or ‘conversation’ with your prospects, clients and centers-of-influence.  And social media is perfect for that.

A blog not only invites people to engage in the conversation with you, it also provides the basis for helping interested people to find you in the first place!

KEY POINT:
Quality content invites and sustains an ongoing conversation!

INTENTIONS
Social media requires setting goals for using it to support your business objectives.

Because using social media is easy, it’s a two-edged sword.  Yes, it’s easy to open an account on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. and ‘get started’.  At the same time, the options of what you can do vs. what you must do to achieve your goals for using social media is not as easily discerned or taken. In general, social media can help you to build awareness of your business, attract traffic to your website, grow you followers and (lest we forget)

CONTENT
Unlike traditional marketing media that was a one-way communication, ‘social’ media is more of a two-way dialog.  And what makes you / your business attractive and interesting?  Relevant content — information that the people you seek to attract to you and keep with you will find useful enough to achieve your goals.

KEY POINT:
Effective use of social media requires GOALS for using it and attractive CONTENT whenever you do, too

Social Media is the topic of a business meeting we’re hosting tonight.  So I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned are some keys to using social media to build profitable relationships.

Actually, there are six of them . . .

  • Intention . . . means to have goals for doing ‘social media’ in the first place
  • Content . . . is ‘king’ in the digital world; the bait that attracts attention for you
  • Curation . . . is the ‘distillation’ of data into interesting and useful information
  • Conversation . . . means to engage with your visitors, fans and others who ‘like’ you
  • Conversion . . . not always a transaction, but a degree of deeper connection with you
  • Community . . . a following of people who ‘know, like and trust’ you . . . PRICELESS

In the coming days, we’ll take a closer look at each point.  Why?  To help you use social media to build profitable relationships for your business or practice.

KEY POINT:
Social media is a KEY media you want to use in your marketing 

Being crystal clear about WHAT your business does and WHO you serve is a key to attracting the interest and response of people who could do business with you.

A business is in one of 4 ‘Clarity Categories’ based on the mission and market it serves.

MERCENARY — this firm is focused entirely on providing its customers with anything they want but at the expense of what matters to the firm’s owners. Mercenary firms are ike the character whose coat reveals pens on one side while revealing watches on the other.  These firms do very well financially but they fail to fulfill the owners personal sense of purpose.

MARKETEER — this firm perfectly aligns both its mission and market.  It first finds and honors its mission and then finds the market that finds its mission attractive and affordable.  In the end, this is what we all aspire to be in our business . . . personally fulfilled in what we do and financially profitable for doing it, too.

KEY POINT:
Balancing your MISSION and MARKET . . . builds your business value

Many people don’t think of management as a marketing strategy or as a key to growing revenues  But it is.

I recently changed a banking relationship from one bank to another.  The new manager, Bill McDougall was a big factor in my switching.  But it wasn’t until today that I realized why I’m glad I’m now with Farmington Bank.

While in the bank I casually mentioned in front of a teller that my ‘transition’ to their bank was not as smooth as I had hoped or expected.  Not a deal-breaker.  I wasn’t a ‘flight risk’.  And I probably shouldn’t have said anything in front of the bank teller.  But I did.

Later that day, I got an email from Bill who said, “I heard you had some challenges.  Let’s talk.  We’re committed to making sure our customers are happy”.  No defensiveness.  Just regard for my experience and for the experience the bank could use to improve their performance with other customers.  WOW!

I reflected on this. The more I did, the better Bill and Farmington Bank looked.  Here’s why . . . Bill’s email reflected a sincere regard and CARING for me as his customer.  The fact that his tellers LISTENED to what I’d said (another form of caring!) and then SHARED that information with Bill (a reflection of TRUST in Bill and of their RESPONSE-ABILITY to act in a proactive manner on behalf of the customer and the bank) are all good signs.

OK, Farmington Bank isn’t perfect.  Neither am I.  Who is?  But a bank with a culture that:

  • has and honors a commitment to its customers,
  • recruits people who can demonstrate that commitment with their actions
  • encourages people to create a WOW! experience
  • has managers whose leadership encourages trust in their staff

Is pretty darned amazing!  You may not be near Farmington Bank.  But you can learn some great lessons in marketing by seeing how they manage their customer’s experience.  Now THAT . . . is a great basis for differentiating any business — including yours — from its competitors.

KEY POINT:
Caring is the unconditional regard for your customers that manifests in action on their behalf

Key 2 of 3:  Get Ready BEFORE They Arrive. Expect that your promotion will work.  Probably very, very well.  Social media and a ‘killer’ offer’ is a perfect storm for generating response.  But, if you’re not ready for it, it may be a storm disaster!  And be sure your staff know what you’re doing and how to handle all the new opportunities.  If they’re in-the-dark about what you’re doing and how to make the most of it . . . they probably won’t!

Key 3 of 3:  Up-Sell, Cross-Sell and (please God!) RE-Sell. The new inquiries and customers you generate are only worth the effort if you get them to return after their initial promotion redemption and buy . . . AGAIN.

The purpose of most daily deal promotions is to generate new opportunities that you can develop into long-term relationships and revenues.  This won’t happen by accident.  You must plan to make this happen or  . . . it almost certainly won’t.  Can you afford that?

KEY POINT:
Involve Your Staff . . . Plan to Up / Cross and REEEEE-Sell

It’s distressing to learn that almost 60% of companies that used Groupon once would NOT use it again. It suggests these companies were hoping Groupon would be the ‘magic bullet’ for marketing malaise.  It also suggests, to me, that some people in business are either more indolent or ignorant than I’d like to think.

How To Make Money with Groupon or Living Social or . . . Yes, It IS Possible!

Key 1 of 3:  Don’t Give Away More Than You Can Afford. The beauty of any ‘deal’ is that you’re moving your ‘cost of sales’ to your ‘point of sale’.  Instead of the ‘pay now / pray later’ (for results) you only pay when you actually generate business.  That’s HUGE!!

But you still must know what you need to make to cover your hard costs.  Even if you only ‘break-even’ on a promotion but you increase traffic, you will make money sooner or later on these new people who come into contact with your business.

KEY POINT:
Know Your Margins . . . Cover Your (Hard) Costs

MAN ON PHONE

Ever wonder about the frequency of your posts and the potency of your blog?

Technorati, the search engine and directory has indexed over 1,000,000 blogs and is a recognized authority on the subject of blogs and blogging.

The More Often You Post, The Better
Technorati found that the more frequently you post on your blog and the longer you’ve been blogging the greater the ‘authority’ or potency you have.

Authority means you’re more likely to be picked up in searches and Google will be your friend in the organic search world.

KEY POINT:
Frequency of posts and longevity of your blog is a potent combination that builds your authority as a blogger

Sooner or later, it’s going to happen.  A disaster.  You didn’t plan on it (DUH!).  You certainly didn’t want it.  But you have to deal with it or your business is in serious doo-doo.

Experience and commonsense suggest that quickly and openly acknowledging an experience your customer or client or patient found compromising and then doing something positive in response is not only likely to retain their business but make yours even more attractive.  It’s called response-ability — your ability to respond to the need of your client for a ‘warm fuzzy’ about your business or practice is . . . huge.

Airbnb . . . screwed up but . . . recovered nicely!
Airbnb is an online service that allows people to offer their home to others, for a fee.  It’s a cool idea, actually.  Say you’re traveling to Paris, France.  You check available accommodations and Voila! you have a not-so-commercial way to be ‘in country’ that most travelers will never know.

Unfortunately, risking a great experience exposes you to a not-so-good one, too.  That happened to a lady in San Francisco, CA who used the online service and had her home trashed by her ‘guests’.  Not good.  Airbnb’s initial response was to blame the client and protect itself.  Evenutally, due to public outcry, it owned the problem and went to great lengths to remedy the lady’s situation.  As a result, Airbnb turned ‘lemons into lemonade’.

KEY POINT:
______ happens.  When it does, learn to recover quickly, decisively and effectively!

Planning is a good thing.  Action is, too.  Together they are . . . great!

The moment you begin taking actions to achieve your goals you’re no longer planning.  You’re DO-ing!  And that’s a whole new ballgame.

Lesson: The Apollo Spaceflights
Before lift-off, before ever leaving earth’s orbit, the Apollo astronauts had a ‘plan’ for their mission to the Moon.  It indicated where and when the astronauts would be from lift-off to touch-down.  But their flight plan could never anticipate all the things that could happen.  That’s why they made ‘minor corrections’ — a 2 second engine ‘burn’ here, a 5 second ‘burn’ there — throughout the mission.

Historically, the astronauts were on their ‘flight plan’ only about 2% of each flight!  But, by regularly evaluating their position and taking corrective actions as needed, they always achieved, in the end, a successful flight.

Evaluation is Diagnosis . . . Done After ‘Lift-Off’
You begin your planning process by assessing where you are, now.  As you implement your plan, you want to assess how you are doing ‘now’ at regular intervals over time.  You want to compare your ‘actual vs. planned’ results.  As you find discrepancies (trust me, you will!), you can use a problem-solving process to help you take actions to correct the situation.  Eventually, you will achieve your larger goal because you’re making corrections ‘in-flight’.

KEY POINT:
Periodic evaluations and corrective actions . . . lead to SUCCESS!