"The Burger and Fries Test" - it better taste as good as it looks!
While marketing strategies have evolved, some companies still rely on misleading images and unrealistic promises to lure prospects into their web.
There are much better ways to go about building a business. Here are 3 ways to guide your marketing so that it speaks honestly and directly to your client and prospect.
1. TRANSPARENCY BUILDS TRUST
One of the most glaring areas where there is distrust is around price. Consumers have come to expect that the "true cost" lives somewhere in the shadows and that there will be any number of add-on items magically appearing that bumps up the final price. Let the rest of the business world continue with this draconian practice if they must - for us it is time to do better.
Price: Stop hiding it. Whether it is in your marketing or during the sales process - get it out in the open. Talk about it. Get comfortable explaining how much you are charging and why. Your prospects will know intuitively how you feel about your pricing so you better believe in it. One of the reasons buyers negotiate so doggedly and why trust issues arise late in the sales process is because prospects are accustomed to being mislead. Don't do it. Be part of the solution.
Detailed Conversations: Have them! It amazes me when I'm out there talking with a company about their product or service and I get the sense that time is running out on our conversation! Sure, there may come a time with some prospects when you have to cut the cord - but, in my experience, it is much better to give too much time than not enough. If you give more all you lost was a little time - if you don't give enough you could lose a client. People have come to expect to be treated like cattle and, to me, that his a horrible way to run a business. Get deep into conversation with your client - enjoy the relationship - enjoy them as a person. If you do this one thing you're effectiveness as a communicator and marketer will skyrocket. Your prospects want a relationship with you - even if they don't know it yet. Help them understand what they need to enjoy the full benefit of your product or service - tell them upfront - and keep telling them over and over for as long as they are a client. By diving into the full details about who you are - what you can do for your client - and how you will help their business grow you will secure more long term, higher paying clients and you will enjoy your client relationships more than ever.
2. DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF A PROSPECT'S PROBLEM BUILDS TRUST
How are we going to truly help a prospect solve their problem if we only have a superficial understanding of their situation? Many businesses rush into the solutions part of their presentations (for fear of losing a prospect) without taking enough time listening to a prospect's needs.
Seems reasonable that a customer - client - consumer should be listened to and understood BEFORE being sold something however that doesn't mean that it's common practice. I would say that as consumers we have grown so accustomed to not being listened to that we have come to expect it. Most businesses say that their service or product is the best thing around - that their medicine is a "cure all" - but we know from our own experience as consumers that this isn't the truth.
As we market and grow our business, part of job is to demonstrate how our services or products will work well for our clients and prospects. But we know this isn't always the case.
So, this means that also part of understanding a prospect's situation is to know when we're NOT the best person for the job. However, when was the last time after fully explaining your situation to a sales person have we heard, "I fully understand what you need. Unfortunately our company might not be the best fit. I would recommend that you talk to who could really help you out." Generally, this doesn't happen.
Fearless honesty is the only way to run your business and stay in integrity at the same time. This is what Kaårv is committed to and these are the companies we want to work with.
If a business doesn't take the time to thoroughly understand the prospect's problem - and share their understanding back to the prospect - before educating the prospect on a solution there is the risk of running up against two critical barriers:
3. SHARING THE BUYER'S JOURNEY BUILDS TRUST
Clear definition of your Buyer's Journey means that you will be creating marketing that educates your prospect whether your client is just learning about you business - educating themselves on your services - or building up to their final decision to work with you. No matter where they are in this series, your consistent marketing can create clarity for your prospect - it will help them know they are talking to people who understand and who can help. To establish your buying stages begin to identify a prospect potential problems and then create messaging that:
a) Educates the prospect about the full scope of their problem
b) Outlines potential strategies - pitfalls - and solutions
c) Explains how you can deliver solutions that solve their problems
If you align your marketing to your Buyer's Journey - come from a place of integrity and transparency - and get committed to putting the needs of your clients first, you'll have distinguished yourself and your company among the ocean of other businesses. Then it's time to put in work - more work - and grow your business through honesty and service.
Bosses are busy - no kidding, right? But some employers are so focused on the day to day tasks of running a company that they can forget to spend the time necessary to create an environment that supports their entire team.
Some companies have drifted so far that the 9 to 5 has become something of a a survival-based work experience. The team may be hitting the numbers, but it can come with a heavy price tag.
On the other hand, there are business owners - we all know a few - who understand why their best employees care deeply about doing a great job. It is amazing to watch these bosses create a team environment where every employee feels that they are part of the winning strategy. The day to day "vibe" around an office like that is, actually, enjoyable. The business is successful and employees are having fun. Ever wondered how they do it?
Here we discuss 5 core beliefs that many excellent bosses have in common.
1. Great business owners feel that they are serving their employees.
Excellent bosses set clear goals and gather any necessary resources that will allow their employees to complete the tasks at hand and grow the company. They believe in the decisions made by their trusted employees and will use their valuable time to pitch in to clarify ambiguous situations. They do whatever they can to empower their employees and improve their work-life. They know that happy employees make for happy bosses.
Other employers want their subordinates to follow instructions to the letter or they set up power structures that discourages employees from taking initiative. Typically, they are horrible delegators who are unable to have their employees make any but the smallest and most non-essential decisions. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
2. They motivate through vision and purpose.
Excellent managers are able to share the passion they feel for their company. They are skilled at getting the team excited about what can happen when everyone pulls together to achieve company-wide goals. They are committed to creating the expectation that everyone will benefit when the company wins. This kind of motivation never gets old - as long as you have the right employees.
Amazingly, other managers continue to use criticism and public scorn to motivate their beleaguered workforce. The public white board touting individual sales figures still plays a central role for many sales managers. With this kind of environment, both employee and manager stay locked in a power struggle of distrust and push back.
3. They see a company as an ecosystem.
Excellent owners embrace interdependence in business. They believe that cross-training and diversity can be a company’s best strategy to out perform the competition. They empower their team members to smoothly adapt to the needs of a changing market which at times can lead to creating partnerships with different groups - competitors included.
In other companies, because business is all about survival they can only see conflicts among companies and organizations. They view competitors as foes and acquire new clients as if they’re on a conquest.
4. They treat their workers as colleagues.
Extraordinary bosses see the importance of every team member. They inspire excellence in their team by entrusting key employees with the power to make decisions and take true responsibility. They also are able to map out the process where newer team members understand how they can grow within the company.
The very average manager sees himself as the father to oversee his children and, in doing so, creates a team of robotic, order-takers who do just enough to get by.
5. The very best owners see their company as a community.
Outstanding owners see their company as a community unto itself and they look for ways to include their employees in this experience. Certainly, the company has to be on solid financial ground for the ownership and employees to feel that there is a future to look forward to. But assuming business success, creating a company culture that embraces each person will attract the very employees who will strive to ensure that this community culture lives for another day.
At the end of the day it is the beliefs an owner has about his company that creates the work environment. The best employers look for ways to make work enjoyable and fun. They encourage their employees to risk having transparent conversations. They empower their employees to make work personal. The reward for all this effort comes when you realize that you are surrounded by a group of loyal employees who care as much for the team success as their own.
It seems only yesterday that newspaper and Yellow Page advertising were solid advertising choices. Talk about yesterday's news.
Content marketing is the process of writing articles, ebooks, guides, etc. that addresses the most important questions and concerns a prospect may have before you ever have a chance to talk with them.
In terms of outreach, it is, quite possibly, the most effective way to communicate with a prospect because you are able to answer a prospect's questions before they are even asked.
When I spoke with Rich McElaney about the content marketing training program he and Marcus Sheridan have at The Sales Lion, we noted that one hurdle businesses face before starting a content marketing program is the thought they won't know what to write about.
Take a look at nearly every website and you'll find a page brimming with content possibilities - the FAQ. Anytime - day or night - the FAQ allows prospects and clients to answer many of their most important questions. Well, just think of content marketing as an FAQ on steroids. Content marketing can become something to address the deeper and more exact questions a prospect has about what your business offers.
What content marketers understand.
Instead of relying on a prospect finding your website and your FAQ - content marketers are focused writing entertaining and informative articles (about 450-600 words) that connect with their readers and leave them wanting more. And as long as they continue to stay engaged with your content - your prospects will begin to convince themselves on your services and your product?
And here's the best part. The net result of prospects reading your content articles is that - they will be taking themselves through the process of self-qualifying. That has a nice ring to it! That's the power of content marketing.
What a new wave of owners and marketers have realized is that within this vein of internet marketing - business owners have a better opportunity than ever to address the most important questions and concerns of their future customers. People are motivated by the truth - they want answers to their questions so they can make up their own mind about what they want. Our job is to deliver it on a silver platter.
We covered a lot of ground in Top 20 Best Practices for LinkedIn - Part 1 now get ready for the rest of our Top 20 which you could use greatly to your advantage.
11 - Get interactive! Place a video on your Company Page
Make your Company Page even more interesting and complete by adding a video, which could show key players on your team, products, services as well as bonus info on your company. Currently LinkedIn only supports YouTube and in order to do this, just click on the ‘Products’ tab in your Company Page and choose ‘Add a product or service’ from the ‘Edit’s’ drop-down menu.
12 - Keep your Company Page fresh with regular status updates
Much like how it works on Facebook, make sure to post regular status updates to your Company Page to make it interesting. This will help you in catching the attention of other users that can lead to expanding your network. You can also take it up a notch by harnessing the uses of LinkedIn’s targeting options, which would allow you to direct your updates to the feeds of specific users.
13 - Utilize the advanced search options
You can discover your connections to certain groups and companies by doing a thorough search with LinkedIn’s Advance Search feature. This is doable by sorting all the results into categories and verifying your connection to any employee. This is a very handy tool when you need to research companies and their key members such as ownership or management.
14 - Generate more leads with LinkedIn
Place and promote your marketing offers within the status updates as well as the ‘Products & Services’ of your Company Page, Groups, and related LinkedIn Answers. It may not be a surprise that many LinkedIn users feel that they are able to generate higher quality leads compared to Facebook and Twitter.
15 - Maximize the benefits of LinkedIn Answers
There is a variety of ways LinkedIn Answers can help you get the knowledge you seek and also significant industry relationships:
Take charge by creating your LinkedIn Group—and even subgroups—that will cater to a specific industry-related topic of your interest. You can be the administrator and hone all the content that goes into the group discussions and updates. With patience and hard work you can grow a community of thought leaders and influencers.
17 - Interact within that LinkedIn Group
As part of your management duties within the LinkedIn group you created, you can interact and update your members by sending a weekly e-mail. This could contain updates, thoughts, ideas, or projects that are up for discussion. You can also attract more members and increase foot traffic by conducting polls, which could help you in getting ideas, aiding your research, and so on.
18 - Access your LinkedIn Group Statistics and use it to your advantage
To add to your market research, you can access a certain group’s statistics—even those you aren’t a member of—by clicking ‘More’ in the top navigation and choosing ‘Group Statistics’ from the drop-down menu. The information you can gain by doing so includes other important group data such as industry, function, locations, and seniority.
19 - Insert the Company ‘Follow’ & LinkedIn ‘Share’ icons to your website
Besides placing a link to your profile, also consider adding the Company Follow button to your website to increase foot traffic. Also consider adding more LinkedIn plugins such as share buttons to your blog posts and other landing pages, which would help you further your reach.
20 - Recommendations, recommendations, and more recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations work like testimonials and reviews. And besides doing your part in leaving recommendations for other users, you can also receive them in your ‘Products & Services’ tab within your Company Page as well. Once you have collected enough user-generated reviews, you can then place them on your portfolio or company website as testimonials.
To maximize the benefits of LinkedIn for your career you may want to consider upgrading to a pro account. There are a number of advantages such as InMail, job search data, additional usage statistics, and more. We'll get to all those features in another post.
LinkedIn is an exceptional tool for connecting with great business people, but it is not automatic "set and forget". You have to interact. LinkedIn, like other social networks, is about getting in action and connecting with people who share a common interest or goal. Start small. Join a community. Build a network. And enjoy the process of connecting with some amazing business people.
LinkedIn caters to over 175 million professionals worldwide and because it sometimes takes a backseat to Facebook and Twitter, its benefits are often left overlooked and unused.
For starters, here are 10 of the top 20 tricks you can do in order to optimizing your presence in LinkedIn and making the most out of its features:
1 - Customize your LinkedIn URL and own it (Do this now!)
Do away with those wacky usernames needed for other social media accounts. With LinkedIn, the most important aspect is to look professional, so make your URL as simple as a combination of your first and last name. Better be quick on this one! Once someone gets your exact name it will be gone for good!
2 - Add more character to your blog & website link titles
It’s all about customization and injecting a personal touch to your website by changing your links and making it more attention-grabbing. For example, if you have a link to your professional website in your LinkedIn profile, don’t just simply use the default “My Website” anchor text. You can use “Professional Portfolio Blog” instead.
3 - Maximize use of helpful applications
Don’t let your profile look boring and bland and instead, turn it into an interactive site by using certain applications that you can find from the Applications Directory. An example of which is the SlideShare app, which you can use to showcase your portfolio within your profile.
4 - Have a personalized profile badge for your website
Improve your LinkedIn presence and connections by placing a LinkedIn profile badge in your other personal websites or blogs, which visitors can simply click to be directed to your LinkedIn profile.
5 - Use OpenLink to expand your network
There’s no use creating an awesome resume if you don’t’ have enough connections that can help in landing you a job. Using OpenLink can help you get in touch with people who you’re not initially connected with on the first degree. In the spirit of making it easy for people to know you this can be a great option.
6 - Extend the life of your questions
If you were using the LinkedIn Answers feature to gain more information on industry-related topics, maximize its use and the chance for more users to answer your questions by following these easy steps:
The first and foremost use of LinkedIn is to find jobs and the best way to utilize this platform is to transform your profile into a working and current resume by using the Resume Builder tool.
8 - Search for a job using LinkedIn’s Job Board
The next step after creating your resume is to actually start on the job-seeking task using LinkedIn’s Job Board. It’s an easy tool to use because you can find jobs based on the industry or location, and even suggests jobs related to your profile.
9 - Make the most out of LinkedIn Groups
Being a part of more groups allow you to connect to more people, even if you’re not on a first-degree connection with them. Joining more groups will definitely help you in expanding your network.
10 - View and get viewed
You can track those who have viewed your profile by choosing the option to allow others to know that you have viewed their page as well. You can do this by clicking “See what others see when youve viewed their profile.”
These are just some of the tips and tricks that are crucial in helping you land all the advantages of using LinkedIn for your professional career. Want more? Just click through to the 11-20 of the 20 Best Practices for LinkedIn.
Many of us have worked in companies where pep-talks would go something like this - "Pick up the pace and put a smile on it!" While these sort of bosses can actually create profits they were also quite skilled at hiring new employees to replace the ones that fled this abusive work environment.
Most owners understand the challenges of keeping their team focused, engaged, and motivated. More and more it is obvious that a motivated team is one where they feel encouraged, recognized and empowered. But then here is the question - how exactly do you keep your workers motivated? The answer might just surprise you.
Research on Motivation in the Workplace
When we think of ways to motivate employees, probably among the first things that come to mind include the following:
And even more surprising with this study is the fact that owners and managers ranked the "the sense of making progress " last on the list of options, which included:
- Making Progress
- Organizational Support
- Interpersonal Work
- Doing Important Work
Quite the eye-opener for both those management and those in rank and file, isn't it?
It’s not even about receiving praises for doing a fantastic job, although that kind of merit does play in encouraging workers and uplifting their spirits. But what is really motivating and meaningful to the employee is having that hard-earned sense of accomplishment as it pertains to forward progress within the work setting.
Possible Applications in the Workplace
So, the question for ownership and management becomes this: how do you apply this understanding in your own work environment? Here are some possible plans of action you could take on:
Goal Consistency and Clarity of Tasks
Foremost, when handing out tasks to an employee make sure that you’re clear and concise with what you want to be achieved. This lessens the chances of misunderstandings which could lead to frustration and slowing the work flow. Provide clear-cut goals and the necessary resources before leaving them to the work at hand.
Plotting Daily To-Dos
- Implement a “Progress Journal” that serves as a master list of To-Dos and what has already been accomplished. As the list of accomplishments grows longer a sense of real pride can begin to surface.
- This checklist can contain all types of tasks, regardless of its level of enormity or urgency. In fact, having a series of small items that are checked off one by one can provide a real boost of morale and sense of fulfillment for your staff - and for you!
- Having a clear record of who is responsible for making progress will keep your team accountable and focused on the goal.
Daily or Weekly Alignment Meetings
- In order to continue making progress, you can hold short (as in 10 minutes) alignment meetings (daily or weekly) with individuals or the entire team.
- During these Alignment Meetings, discuss what are the important tasks and goals at hand, and what area of work should each team member focus on. This will help your team keep their priorities in check. In-depth discussion for any project do not happen during these shorter meetings, but these short meeting would be a good time to determine whether a longer, full length meeting is required to get into the details.
Wins Come In Every Size
Let's just assume that you have a great team. That you love (or at least really like) everyone who works for you. Let's assume also that everyone on your team wants to do a good job and wants to be motivated. Then do your people a good turn by helping them see that they are valued, needed, and are contributing to their company's success.
Big or small, urgent or routine - any accomplishment can be recognized in a way that will make an employee feel that rush of excitement which only comes from a job well done - and being noticed for it.
Ultimately, yes, there will be more than 3 steps to building an enduring team, but this is a great place to start the conversation. And while it can be daunting to examine how well our team is performing, the fate of our company depends on it. So, let’s jump on in.
1. Building a culture of awesome.
And culture begins with you. If you are an owner, Founder, CEO, or President don't look anywhere else. Culture = you. Like a parent to a child, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. So, if your culture is already awesome then congratulations. However, if your culture is lacking then take a look in the mirror.
But isn't awesome stretching it a bit? Nope. For starters, you deserve awesome. But quite practically, you will need an awesome environment for your team to enjoy competing in this business world. The problem is that culture, unless approached very consciously, is the by-product of our unconscious attitudes about life, wealth, communication, future, etc.
Company culture does not happen randomly although it can happen accidentally. Culture is created by attitude, communication, perceived future, believed past, compensation opportunities and more. There has to be an ongoing commitment to coach and develop in all these areas (and more) to make openness, passion, excellence, and exploration a daily experience.
As an owner, your most important objective is to create a culture where people love to work. It will be the only way to attract and keep the key employees you need to succeed.
2. Know your vision. Help others find theirs.
It goes without saying that we are in businesses to succeed. Financial success is obvious. But is that all? We can, and we must, do better than that. What is your vision and mission? What is your "Why"? Let people know how you and your product will change the world for the better.
Simon Sinek does an excellent job talking about this in a short TED Talk presentation. The Power of Why: How great leaders inspire action.
And it goes further than inspiring just the top-level leaders. Great companies are full of great people who know how to lead from any seat. So, building a great team also means you are going to help your people find their "Why" too. Helping your employees discover their deeper reason and motivation for their career and life will inspire them to be the best employee possible and you will earn their real respect in the process.
3. Take actions to influence today. Build your team for tomorrow.
It is our job to take our company into the future, but what should our next steps be? There are a lot of choices: grow the team; create a better sales process, team training, promote someone into more responsibility, delegate, upgrade marketing material, redouble compliance or quality control? There are generally many good options. And they all need attention, but in what order?
It can be overwhelming getting our company where we want it to be. You must make sure you have people on your team who share the responsibility of moving items like these forward. Yes, you have your hand on the rudder, but you must delegate much of the action and responsibility to them. By trusting key members of your team to follow through, make suggestions, and take leadership you are naturally leading them to greater levels of commitment to the company.
As they take ownership and leadership, they invest more of themselves personally - and this is EXACTLY what you are looking for - you want your team to make it personal. Because when they make it personal - they are going to do whatever it takes to make it great.
We all experience ups and downs. It is natural for our outlook, energy, and enthusiasm to change from day to day or even from appointment to appointment. So, while our perspective can ebb and flow - there are a number of things that we can do to help ourselves meet the challenges of the day.
None of these ideas will be new. But it is not enough to know it - we must do it. We have to take the actions to get the results we want. So take a moment to actually DO one of these approaches because your day will get better - if even only by a little.
1. It Starts With Attitude
We can influence the events of our day by the feelings we carry and the attitudes we foster. If you find yourself stuck on one conversation gone bad or if you are looking forward to a meeting that you are unsure about, those "less than serene" moments can pile up and dramatically affect how your day is going . So when you find your day turning into something overwhelming stop and use whatever strategy you need to get you back on track. Among many others, here are some methods I've use:
Even as I write this I sat up a little straighter in my chair. Am I feeling up? Down? How did that last sales call go? My body is going to reflect whatever my mind and heart is experiencing. But it goes beyond this - study after study shows that how we hold our body also affects our mind. Kinda weird, yes. But totally true.
In fact, there is a wave of apps and cloud-synced devices that will help you keep you shoulders back and your back straight. Check out the Lumo Lift if this appeals to you. Honestly, I'm not sure if I want that many reminders - but it would probably be good for me.
For a less techie approach let's take a page from Mark Rashid's book. Mark is a gifted horse whisperer and motivational speaker who recommends focusing on the solar plexus, situated just below the rib cage. When you breathe deeply and concentrate on this area, you will notice immediate confidence and peace of mind. This one technique can help you center yourself even when faced with challenging work situations or while being stuck in traffic.
3. Enjoy the Small Pleasures of life
We can all take for granted life’s potential pleasures. It is easy to do. Take, for example, something that happens every day - sleep. At some point I'm sure that we have all looked at sleep as an inconvenient necessity rather than something to be deeply enjoyed. In fact, how many of us brag about how little sleep we need? While some act as if they don't care about sleep others are tormented because they can't get enough.
I've worked with many people troubled by insomnia and general poor sleep. They are up for an hour or more - staring at the clock. Worried they won't be able to go back to sleep. While missing sleep can be a cause of great unhappiness, our attitude, again, can shape our actual experience.
For example, I have a friend who insists that the times that he wakes in the middle of the night are some of the most peaceful and serene moments of his life. Listening to the quiet house. Taking time to pay attention to what he is grateful for. Listening to the (sometimes) funny sounds of his wife breathing as she sleeps. It is all about perspective and my friend has figured this one out.
4. For Better or For Worse - Review Your Attitude
The next time you are having a bad day at work don't try to avoid the feelings - dig into them a little bit. Take a moment and look around at what is actually going on. Chances are that there is no fully apparent reason why you are feeling unhappy. Whatever is going on, often, is a jumbled mess of future worries and past experiences in collision with your in-the-moment common sense. Just remember you are the conductor of your life. You determine the way you see others and the world. So review your approach to the moment - clear your mind - and get yourself back on track.
5. Be a Positive Influence to Others Around You
If you are into experimenting and want to have a bit of fun try this one on for size. The next time you are meeting with co-workers or even clients simply bounce into the room happily with a big smile on your face and see how the room reacts! Likely some will be unamused - let them stay in their misery. Others will embrace you like a breath of fresh air.
The reality is that in our overly serious business culture there are companies that actually discourage and do everything within their power to squash happiness and friendship. If you happen to be at one of those places, seriously, my heart goes out to you. It may be time to realize that not all companies are run this way. And if you happen to be the owner of a company with poor morale and dissatisfaction just remember that this didn't happen overnight - but it can be changed for the better.
6. Love Your Work - Love Your Life
It is important beyond measure to pay attention to what is going right in our lives. As we do we'll find the list of things we are grateful continue to grow. We can find daily happiness in our work and in our life. When you embrace the small pleasures in life you not only appreciate them in the moment, but you also pave the way for being ready for still more good fortune.
Every situation we're presented with can be an opportunity for personal growth and professional development. Difficult times call on us to dig in to our inner resources and push through. Good times are a reminder that the hard work we have put in is paying off. The thing to remember is that there is a lot of power in patience and determination. Put your mind at ease and get ready for the next hill to climb. Life can be energetic, joyful and wonderful or it can be bumpy, busy and hectic - it’s your call.
If you feel like sharing, it would be great to hear what you do to pump up the levity, happiness, and brightness in your life. Have a great day!
Previously, in 14 Social Media Strategies NOT to follow in 2014 - Part 1 we examined a few of the myths surrounding how to use social networks for business. Part 2 continues the conversation - let's listen in...
Every social media expert has his or her own best practices and insights. They know how to make social media sing and dance! But the experts today were not experts in 2007 - no matter what they try to tell you. Here are seven more social media myths to watch for.
1. Be on every network, and post as much as possible. "I will smother them with me!"
One of the oldest myths, this serves mainly to irritate your audience. Don't do it. Posting a remarkable piece of content weekly is much more valuable than in-your-face daily fodder. Offer content that has value to your prospects and you will find your clients. If you don't know what they want to see, do a poll and ask them. Polls can be fun.
2. You must post X amount of updates daily. "Think I should tweet exactly 3 times a day - or is it 23?"
There is no set amount of posts or updates that works for every business. Like everyone else, you will have to test the frequency and timing of your posts on your audience to see what resonates. A quality post that appears when most of your audience is online, will usually deliver the best results. Check your insights to find out what type of post works the best on your audience.
3. Engagement is all that matters. "I have 5000 Likes on Facebook. Time to pop the bubbly!"
While it's nice to have as many followers or fans as possible, you only get paid when they buy. Don't let high levels of engagement fool you into forgetting about your end goal, which might be to make more sales, reduce support calls, or increase customer satisfaction.
4. You can't ask people to engage. "I, uh...will you, uh. Oh, boy. Ummmm..."
Some people feel that it is too forward to ask people to take action on social media platforms, but research has shown that a simple "please share" delivers up to four times more shares or re-tweets. The person is already reading your content, so there's nothing wrong with asking them to share it if they like it.
5. Don't be too personal. "Just the facts, Jack. And no smiling neither."
A social media account gives prospects a glimpse into the personality of a business owner. That is what people often notice and fall in love with about a brand. It is what makes your brand more approachable and easier to connect to. Feel free to offer unique perspectives, opinions or insights, and you will notice that people will engage more. Most importantly, if they are looking for someone who offers your services or products, you will be foremost in their minds.
6. Social media can't be measured. "It is sure weird that profits increased as our social media ramped up over the last 4 years. Coincidence - nothing more."
What do you wish to achieve with your social media strategy? Do you need a certain amount of leads? Do you want to reduce support calls? Tailor your social media strategy with those goals in mind, and assess your results monthly. Every 3 months, re-assess and implement changes. Just like a sales pipeline - social media can lead your prospects through the educational stages to a point where they are ready to buy.
7. Prediction for 2014 - Social Media Collapses! "It's not here to stay. Is it?"
Yes, fortunately, social media - at least in some form - is here for good. And, for those of us who love to connect with like-minded, client-focused business people, that is great news.
Back before the 'net there were the "big guys" then everyone else. Stalwarts like IBM and Goodyear dominated the scene, but now - with social everything - it doesn't matter if you are a company of 1 or 100,000. You can build a following. But success on social networks won't happen overnight. While lots of content and back links will put you in front of many eye balls, it's not going to deliver the results you want unless the content you deliver is of value. Don't worry about remarkable - that is too lofty a goal. Go for useful. That's what your audience really wants.
The Internet is flush with hype and that can be fun - but not when you need to create a social media strategy that works. In this case you don't need buzz - you just want straight forward guidance.
Of course, once your strategy is in place and your Contests, Tweets, Posts and interactions start flowing, social media can turn into an all-hands-on-deck-wild-lamp-shade-wearing-door-blowing-extravaganza. That is when the buzz starts. But, let us not get carried away, just yet. In this 2-part series, we share 14 Social Media Myths to help steer your efforts in the right direction.
1. You don't need a social media strategy - "I'm a genius. I'll just wing it!"
Without a strategy in mind, you are simply flailing from one hopeful notion to the next. However, working with your goals in mind, following a clear plan of action, you will succeed. Consider your funnel and the goals of each stage, and tailor your social media strategy accordingly.
2. You only need social media accounts - "I got my Facebook - where's the party?"
While you need the accounts, the real work only starts once you have set up your profiles. You then need to connect with people in order to gain value and start seeing results from your social marketing efforts. Consider your target audience and set up your strategy so that your messages will appeal to your market.
3. Social media can be outsourced - "I will clone myself and become a Social Media King!"
Social media allows you, the entrepreneur to connect and communicate with your audience. It must be your voice and it must showcase your authority in the industry. A social media freelancer cannot speak to your audience with the same level of authority that you can, based on your direct involvement. It is best to handle your own social media to ensure a consistent message goes out to your audience.
4. You don't need social media, because your prospects aren't on there - "A billion Facebook users? Whatever. It's overrated."
Let's face it - EVERYONE is using social media. Research has shown that nearly 70% of adults use social media. Social networks offer targeted advertising platforms to place your solutions in front of your prospects, allowing you to connect with influencers. Check out social media platforms and their advertising options to see how you can target your audience directly.
5. You can hire an intern - "Interns are cheap and I can mold them into a mini-me!"
An intern with no real-world work experience may know how to set up social accounts and post as often as you direct her to - but doesn't yet have the industry experience to speak in the voice your business needs.
It's important to understand the value of your social media marketing campaign and its goals. Your company social media profile is the public face of the business and you should consider whether the intern can successfully portray your business persona and handle critical, direct communication with your prospects and clients.
6. Choose only one social network - "I will dominate Twitter like no one before!"
Different social media platforms attract different people, but that doesn't mean you must use only one networking site. It is best to experiment with a few different sites to find out where your audience is found. In addition, you need to appeal to your audience's needs based on the characteristics of the network. While Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are highly visual, Twitter is meant for short highlights and Youtube for enticing videos.
7. Be on every social network - "I have 50 social accounts and I do not sleep."
Unless you have a lot of time to waste, don't spread your efforts thing by trying to be actively present on every single social networking platform. It's best to experiment and use your analytics as a key to see whether it brings the desired results. Go where your audience is.
Bonus Strategy!! Ban your employees from social media? - "No fun for you!"
You can do what you like, but trying to ban them from using social media will only damage your relationship with your employees. Rather use it to your advantage by providing best practices, helping them portray your business in a good light to their extended networks.
Social media marketing can be a fantastic way to boost your company's brand image and help you capture more leads. However, it is important to use it correctly in order to zone in on your prospects and to use your funnel effectively beyond conclusion of the deal to after-sales service.
Look out for our next amazing post, 14 Social Media Strategies to NOT follow in 2014: Part 2.