Archive | Personal Branding

Brand influence vs Consumer influence – Who will win the fight?

Brands network

The power of the consumers in social media can be deceiving. According to Taylor Ellwood’s recent post, only consumers with the large lists of followers can be actually influential. It is realy straight forward and natural assumption, but it presents quite and interesting opportunity for the brands working in social media. Why? Brands and people related to big brands (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Seth Godin) usually attract the biggest crowds of followers on social media properties. These social accounts has indisputably greater social influence than normal personal accounts. As a result they can be used as and opposition to consumer power (sometimes anarchy) on the social networks or other social media properties. .

Social Brands Network

Is it possible that brands will connect to networks in order to help each other to face growing consumers power on social networks? Yes, it is. I love the idea of the consumer empowerment by social media, actually this blog is all about that, but I think there has to be a balance in communication power between brand and consumer. The unintentional silly mistakes by brands (i.e Vodafone) can not be exaggerated by consumers to that level it sometimes is and should have an opportunity to be managed better. The appearance of strategic partnerships between brands could be one of the ways to solve this problem. Let me first define what I call the Social Brands Network: Read the full story

Posted in Consumer Behavior, Personal Branding, TrendsComments (0)

Are you here to make friends?

 

I’ve just read this brilliant quite personal story by Peter Bregman on Harvard Business Review “Why Friends Matter at Work and in Life“ . The author analyzes a few interesting researches how friendships affect your business and everyday life. I love the authors points taken out of the research:

  • If you’re looking for a job you’d better have friends. The number-one way people find new jobs is referrals by friends.
  • Once you’re on the job, having a best friend at work is a strong predictor of success.
  • Friendships in high school were a strong predictor of increased wages in adulthood — to the tune of 2% per person who considered you a close friend.
  • Want to stay in that job you have? Then you’d better have friends.

In my opinion the real friendships are of vital importance factor in Social Media and community building. I know that this topic of friendship has been discussed over and over again but there is a big difference in having “fans” and having at least a few very good “friends” in the community you are building, mainly because of there reasons indentified by Peter :

  • Friends can refer your business to their friends
  • Friends can  stand up for your business and brand values and send the right message to their friends
  • Friends can help to grow your business by heavily engaging in your social media activities (commenting, sharing and etc.)

So are you here to make friends?

Posted in Community Management, Consumer Behavior, Personal BrandingComments (0)

Why You Should Think Before You Type

Human nature is a very complicated thing and many times our emotions can rule our actions.  I’m sure everyone, at one time or another, has had an awful day and snapped at someone at the office, on the phone or even over the dinner table.

Now, these instances happen in real time, where the interaction is not documented (unless there is a hidden camera at the water cooler).  So if you make a mistake, you can apologize and smooth out the situation.  Many times you can even improve on a poor first impression.

But when it comes to online interactions, it isn’t as simple.  Your words last forever and can be seen by millions.

There have been many high profile stories in the news about everything from children finding out about their parents’ divorce by reading their mother’s Facebook profile (yes, real story) to job seekers losing their opportunity based on the negative things they “tweeted” about their interview on Twitter.  So the first points to consider are to not only think before you write, but also make sure that what you are writing you don’t mind everyone seeing.

When choosing to interact with others online, you are in a way “going public” with your profile and building your (online) reputation.  Yep, even if you are playing on Facebook your online footprint is being documented.  That being said,  when it comes to interacting and marketing online, your reputation is the most important thing in the world.  And this reputation goes further than your profile page or online resume/CV.  What your online reputation consists of is everything you write, every interaction, ever message you send, ever person you connect with.  Your reputation will fuel what people say and think about you, with many of these opinions never being shared with you.

As your reputation is built around interaction, let’s talk about something to be weary of – negativity.  Every person you interact with online is part of your virtual community.  So whether they are directly connected with you or not, you share common contacts and associations (many of which can be unbeknownst to you).  So it is important to be mindful of your words.

Let’s take Linkedin for example.  When you go into your favorite group, read through the latest discussions, you find one that peaks your interest.  You click through, read the article and when you are halfway through discover that you completely disagree with the points being shared.  They are totally wrong!  Why?  Because in your experience this is not true.  Great!  That’s what Linkedin discussions are all about, sharing different points-of-view, insights and experiences.  Who knows, your point could change the point-of-view of  the person posting the discussion.  Your information is pretty powerful.

But, how do you make your point?  Remember, Linkedin is a professional site.  Do you insult the person?  Speak in a condescending tone?  Send them a private message telling them that they are silly and way off point?

If this sounds like you, please be careful with what you write (and this goes for all of the other social sites as well)!

When you want to share your point-0f-view, do it in a productive professional manner.  Remembering that this is a public forum, watch your words.  If you don’t agree, don’t just say that.  Make a case, share your wisdom and experience.  By engaging with others (especially if the person you are interacting with has a large following) you have a prime opportunity to grow your own online visibility.  The point is that you want to build your reputation, not tarnish it.

Being consistently negative can result in word of your behavior spreading, people will discuss it, you may be ignored and more. The worst part?  Many times you won’t even know it is happening until its too late.

If someone irritates you, ignore them or remove them as a connection.  This constant refinement will also help you get the most out of your time online.  Sending them a message telling them you don’t like them is not the answer.  And guess what?  Sometimes these “hate mails” get forwarded, shared and discussed.   Again, this activity is something that you won’t know is occurring.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have your say.  Opinions are crucial in the social media space.  My point is to make your contributions online productive and aligned with your professional acumen.  This will help you build a strong, credible profile and help your business grow.  Being negative and antagonistic isn’t the answer.

With that said, many of the so-called social media rules are not new, groundbreaking or even shocking.  They are based on the fundamentals of communication and interaction.  So whether you are using the online media for personal or business reasons, treat others as you would like to be treated.

So what do you think?  Have you come up against this while online and how have you dealt with it?

Posted in Consumer Behavior, How To, Personal Branding, ToolsComments (0)

10 Suggestions to Making a Killer Facebook Page

So…do you need Facebook pages?  Here are some reasons why:
*Branding:  These pages are a wonderful way to develop your professional brand on Facebook without taking away from your own PERSONAL profile.  This allows you to have the best of both worlds without hurting your brand positioning.
*Target Market Communications:  You are able to connect and speak directly with your target consumers right on your page!
*Feedback:  It is a wonderful place to post items that you want to receive feedback on, survey or just have your audience kick around an idea to see if it would work.
*Newsfeed Visibility:  Again, this is a main reason why these are powerful.  Anyone who connects to (or “likes”) your page, when they log into Facebook on the main screen they will see your updates.  This is very powerful!
*Professional Promotions Hub:  This creates a main hub where you can direct people that are interested in your product/service.  It is also great to put on your email signature, email blast, suggest to friends and much more.

And that is just the beginning!  But instead of persuading you to jump in….how about I just give you some ideas of how to do it yourself.
Here is my list of the 10 things that you can do to launch your page effectively:
1.  When you are asked for a picture, make sure to use your logo or you logo incorporated with your product or service.  Make sure that your web address is visible!
2. Have videos?  Upload them and promote them DIRECTLY on your page.
3. Fill out the “Info” tab to the full extent, packing it with information, keywords and website links.
4. If you have a range of products, in the “Photo” tab, create photo albums around your product ranges and in the caption portion give links to click and purchase.
5. Make sure that your blog feed is connected to your page so that all new entries will be automatically sent there.  If you don’t want to automate that, everytime you update your blog, post a link on your Facebook Page wall.
6. Do not link it with Twitter!  Not all of your “tweets” will be suitable for your Facebook Page wall, and sometimes you will forget they are linked.  I suggest staying away from this.  Also, it can look lazy.
7. When you are posting to the page, don’t constantly “sell” or “push” things are your audience.  Make sure your posts contain something that is either educational, engaging or entertaining.
8. When you are happy with how the page looks (and all of the information is COMPLETELY filled out) suggest it to ALL of your Facebook connections.  Even ask your friends to suggest it to their network.
9. Consistently monitor and update the page.  A good solid page should have at least one update per day and all comments responded to.
10. Use the “Discussions” tab to create questions that you want your target consumer to answer.  This is good for customer feedback, development of new products and much more.
But remember…this is just the beginning.  There are lots of wonderful applications, custom Facebook Pages (created using FBML) and much more! Hopefully this will help you get started on your way to being a Facebook Page success story!
To see how I have used Facebook to brand my firm, “Like” our page here.

Posted in How To, Personal Branding, StrategiesComments (0)

10 Ways to Tweet Locally

So you’re tweeting away on Twitter about your latest blog…posting links to industry related articles…engaging with people, and so forth. You’ve followed some of your favorite folks, tweeted about your favorite place to eat sushi, and others are now following you. Like the dentist in Calgary and the life coach in Scotland.

What about the users in your own backyard? How do you find geographically closer prospects who may be interested in your offer?

Top Ten Local Tweeting’ Tips:

1. Twitter Search. Type in your city’s name to access a list of Twitter users in your region. The advanced search feature finds peeps up to a 15 mile radius.

2. Do a simple Twitter search for people tweeting about your area using the # (hashtag). Simply type– #your city name– or abbreviation in the search box.

3. Twellow – (Twitter + yellow pages) is exactly what it sounds like — a listing of Twitter users. Access your region by clicking on Twellowhood, then your location on the map…or type in your city and state.

4. Follow Twitter trending topics. On the right side of your Twitter page, choose the closest city to yours, then watch for topics of interest to follow.

5. NearbyTweets and GeoFollow offer constant listings of your local Twitter pals and their tweets. GeoFollow lets you bulk follow.

6. Why not Tweetup? A meet-up (offline) of nearby Twitter friends arranged – you guessed it –via Twitter. How to find these elusive group blind dates? Try Meetup (an event site with a special section for Tweetups), Twtvite (a site like Evite but for Twitter) and by searching tweetup geographically, on Twitter Search.

7. Localtweeps – started as a localizing site utilizing the hashtag, this one allows you to register and allows others to follow you or click on your website. You can search by zip code as well.

8. Look for apps- there are tons out there and more fresh apps are created every day to help you to find people in your area. TwitterLocal, Twinkle and more.

9. Twitaholic (formerly Twitterholic) –Not affiliated with Twitter, but the top twitter users in the country are listed here…and so are those hot shot Tweeters in your town. Just type in your Twitter ID under “your Twitaholic ranking.” Once it comes back, click on the name of your city, next to your stats.

10. Search the lists of your local followers and those that you follow in town. This search is bound to yield some like-minded locals.

Do you have other Twitter search tips to share?

Posted in How To, Personal Branding, StrategiesComments (0)

What Are You Doing Wrong on LinkedIn?

So you’re ready to get started networking on LinkedIn and converting those contacts to leads and partnerships. But what’s the best way to go about it?

Think of LinkedIn as your online resume. It’s a spot for potential employers/clients to find out more about you. Make sure to completely fill out your profile (including an appropriate photo) and keep it updated. (The more complete the better – LinkedIn profiles adds to your overall SEO power.) Don’t forget to ‘tag’ your profile with the appropriate keywords, as it will help others find you.

Get the custom URL by clicking the “Public Profile” link in your edit tab.

Add LinkedIn to your email signature. This encourages everyone you come in contact with to link to your profile.

Import your existing contacts.  This couldn’t be easier. Just let LinkedIn import your contacts. Once it does, you can customize a list of connections.

Get connected with anyone you meet professionally. This is a cornerstone of relationship building. That company might not look like a client today, but could be a perfect fit tomorrow. And they have lots of connections you don’t.

Use the LinkedIn Browser or Outlook toolbars. These toolbars make it easy to see LinkedIn summaries of other members and allows you to invite new connections straight from your Outlook or Gmail.

Don’t invite people you don’t know or have never met or corresponded with. LinkedIn keeps an eye on how many people mark you as “don’t know” after a request. Remember, by connecting you are associating yourself with this person and their reputation – be sure you want to. (Same goes for accepting folks on your page.)

Some final thoughts:

Reciprocate recommendations. If someone takes the time to write one for you, do the same for them. It’s just plain smart and good etiquette.

Request introductions. Don’t hesitate to ask a connection to introduce you to a new connection. All they can say is no. And they hardly ever do.

What else would you add?

Posted in Community Management, How To, Personal Branding, Strategies, ToolsComments (0)

Converting Your LinkedIn Connections to Customers

Last time you checked your LinkedIn stats, you had a good number of connections, and it seems to be growing every day. But what does it all mean? How can you take those numbers and turn your connections into business?

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Create a strong profile

Don’t even think of beginning a growth campaign without a strong profile. It’s the first place people go to learn more about you! Make sure your profile is not only complete, but thorough and engaging.

Give and request recommendations

Ask colleagues, former employers, clients and subordinates to rate your work by writing a recommendation. Reciprocate by recommending others as well. Those who visit your profile definitely read these recommendations, and they can be a strong motivator in getting prospects to contact you.

Join or create groups

Look for groups that fit your target or industry, those with lively discussions and invested members. Do you see a niche that needs to be filled? Create your own group. Either way, you have to add value by joining in or initiating discussions that showcase your expertise. LinkedIn groups are all about sharing your experiences, advice and tips to make a connection. This is valuable to group members because it provides a forum to be heard, an environment of camaraderie, and insights into new tools and advances. But don’t just join groups serving your own industry! Think globally- join groups that may serve your future clients.

Take the time to answer questions and help others solve their most pressing problems. Once you’ve established yourself as knowledgeable and willing to contribute, people will look to you for help.

Be careful about selling

LI is about sharing, not selling. Some LI members break this rule, but you shouldn’t. This will only alienate the very people you hope to attract. Once you’ve established a relationship with another member, it’s ok to talk about your services.

Now what is your story?  How has LinkedIn worked for you?

Posted in Community Management, How To, Personal Branding, Strategies, ToolsComments (0)

5 LinkedIn “Must Haves”

With everyone going on about the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, our poor friend LinkedIn sometimes gets left out in the cold.  While not one of the most visible sites, it is definitely one of the most powerful.  With millions of people from all over the globe taking part in the conversation on LinkedIn, it is definitely a place online where your audience thrives.

What I usually hear when I speak to prospective clients about LinkedIn is that “I’m not B2B, I’m B2C.  LinkedIn will never work for me.”  Aside from that statement oddly rhyming, that statement can’t be more false.  Whether you are B2B or B2C, you can carve out your own audience on LinkedIn.  I’ve said this quite a bit, and lately people have been asking me to put my money where my mouth is asking “Can you prove that there is ROI in LinkedIn?”  My answer, “Absolutely!”

About 60% of my business comes from LinkedIn.  True.

While my firm may be unique, we handle accounts for a wide array of clientele that get results on LinkedIn.  Not only sales and referrals, but speaking engagements, sharing of content to a wide audience, hits to their website, media appointments and much more.  I’m not saying that 60% of your business WILL come from LinkedIn, but it is definitely a spot where you need to be.

But my purpose here isn’t to sell you on the wonders of LinkedIn.  It is targeted to those of you out there who are registered with LinkedIn (for a week, a year, 10 years, whatever) and don’t have your completed and are just waiting for the magic to happen.  Generally those like this complain that they don’t see any results from LinkedIn.  Here’s why: you’re not doing anything.

So let’s get moving and create some stellar results!  Here are my 5 LinkedIn “Must Haves” when you are trying to market yourself using this massively useful site:

1.  You MUST Fill Out Your Profile:  A name and title is not enough.  LinkedIn gives you ample opportunity to showcase yourself and your brand.  Instead of leaving half of the profile blank (the percentage of which LinkedIn will show you on the right hand side of your profile), why not take an hour or two and really fill it in properly.  Want people to call you?  Add a phone number.  Want people to look at your website?  Mention it with hyperlink at the drop of a hat.  Don’t skimp here…this is where people are going to find you credible or not credible.  Oh, and one final thing.  Have a professional profile picture, nothing wild and off brand.  No picture = no credibility in my book. Read the full story

Posted in How To, Personal Branding, Strategies, TrendsComments (1)

6 Social Media Mistakes….and How to Avoid Them

With all of the information out there about social media, it is tough to know what to pay attention to and what to take with a grain of salt.  Yet even with all of this information, we all still make our fair share of mistakes when executing our social media marketing campaigns.
As an owner of a social media marketing firm, everyday I speak with people who are trying to make the most out of their Facebook and LinkedIn profile, or making their “tweets” count on Twitter.  The following are a few of the most common mistakes that I have seen companies make on social media and what we can do to combat them in the future.
Mistake #1: Lack of Research on the Platform

This is a very important one.  With all of the hype around social media (and also due to the fact that creating accounts is free and easy), many of us are eager to just jump in head first.  Keep in mind that social media is a branding and visibilty platform and thus needs to carry the right messaging and voice.  Before you go full speed ahead, first see what you are getting yourself into.

I suggest creating a sparse profile and taking the time to look through each site.  Where is your target market?  What is your competition doing right (which can really help you come up with a strategy)?  What applications can be useful?  How are people communicating?  What tools to I have to communicate with my market?  While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can work to everyone’s advantage, if you only have time to manage one or two presences, it is best to be able to pinpoint the right ones and save yourself time and effort.

Top tip: a great way of seeing what sites suit your business is by asking your existing audience via polling.

Mistake #2: Lack of Focus

When you execute an advertising campaign, you know who you are targeting.  When you do a public relations campaign, you know what market you are trying to reach out to.  When you do an email marketing campaign….well, you get the point.  Social media is no different.

Social media allows us to target with laser focus, you just need to identify who you are trying to reach.  Once identified, the key is to connect with “meaningful people” not just random people to get “the numbers.”  Come on, why connect with 10,000 people who don’t care about you?  What good does that do?  Find connect and engage with people that matter.  Focus!

Mistake #3: Lack of Consistency

If you are going to do social media, make sure to do it on a consistent basis – not whenever you can grab a free second.  By consistent I mean daily, weekly, bi-weekly…on some sort of schedule.  Since you are growing your audience, you need to be in front of them gaining that visibility and credibility consistently.  My tip?  Create a schedule of when you will be executing social media and what messages you will be highlighting.  It takes a few minutes, but can save hours of weekly work.

No time to even make a plan?  Outsource!  It’s not a dirty word anymore.

Mistake #4: Using a 100% Push Marketing Approach

Push marketing is used all of the time in traditional marketing.  While it is a perfect fit in many instances, it is not the foundation of an engaging social media strategy.  Push marketing literally “pushes” what you want from your audience directly on top of them, while “pull” marketing using social media is about starting a conversation, engaging, enchanting and much more.  My suggestion is to use a 90% pull and a 10% push marketing equation.  This is something that I have used and it works a treat.  This way you can grow your audience and create value before offering up a special discount.  If they believe you to be credible through your pull approach, when you incorporate the push elements you will have higher levels of success.

Mistake #5: Wrong Goals

Truly look at what you are trying to achieve, and “more sales” is not enough.  Social media has many outcomes, so it is smart to have a broader scope.  Think in terms of hits to your website, newsletter signups, ebook/book sales/downloads….this is the way to go!

Mistake #6: Lack of Planning

Again, I am going back to the importance of a  plan:  without a plan, you plan to fail.  Although we know this cliche all too well, there is definitely truth to it.  Why?  Because a strategic plan saves you time and money – two things that we all can use, right?

Sit down and figure out your marketing strategy and then layer your social media strategy on-top.  Social media can support and enhance everything you do, you just have to keep the two connected.  Without the connection, you are wasting the power of cross marketing and branding.  Flying blindly in a new marketing medium could not only be risky for your reputation, but also cause you more trouble than you can handle.

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I hope that these mistakes are ones that you have not made and if you have, you will no longer make.  It is important for us to all to take a close look at our plans and strategies in order to see how strong and effective they can be.  Without strategy or planning, a social media marketing campaign takes a lot more time and a lot more effort to execute.

Posted in How To, News, Personal Branding, StrategiesComments (0)


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