Category Archives: Social Media

5 Tips from Getting the Most from LinkedIn by Dr. Misner

I had the honor of meeting Dr. Misner a couple of years ago at a BNI Convention in St. Louis, MO.  Only minutes from going on stage  that day, I learned firsthand that Dr. Misner is the real deal.  Dr. Misner not only took the time to shake my hand and look me in the eye, 5 or 6 elevator speeches rolled off his tongue for use in my SendOutCards.com/loryfabian business as well. How awesome is that?

 Dr. Misner is called the “father of modern networking” by CNN.  He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization and a New York Times bestselling author.

Just as E.F. Hutton use to be the voice of the financial world, Dr. Misner is the voice of the networking world today. The article below was written back in 2011.  Dr. Misner’s tips were true in 2011 and still hold true today.

What I’ve learned from years of using this social media platform.

 If you had any lingering thoughts that social media was just a “fad,” you may want to let those go, particularly in light of LinkedIn’s recent IPO — with a valuation of $4.3 billion. (2011)

I’ve been following the development of online business networking for several years, particularly the inception of sites like Ecademy.com, Ryze.com, and of course LinkedIn. While there are many competitors to LinkedIn, for now it has risen to the top of sites devoted primarily to business networking.

I use a variety of social networks to interact with colleagues, associates, and friends, but LinkedIn has some features that set it apart from the rest. In fact, many BNI members have used it to stay in touch with each other. As a person in the “500+ connections” category, I use LinkedIn as a way to disseminate the many articles I write every month, as well as to promote books and publications. Here’s how I use it and what I recommend to others.

1. Connecting with More People

I’ve spoken to countless entrepreneurs who have doubled or tripled their business because of the relationships they are able to make on LinkedIn. With the ability to view detailed profiles, become connected to people via a shared acquaintance, and post updates about one’s business or career for these connections to share, a huge number of the barriers to connecting with people in different geographic locations simply don’t exist to members of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is also a well-known resource for both job seekers and recruiters. The site lets businesses pay to post jobs and sells enhanced profile and services to jobseekers. Successful recruiters rely heavily on networking and LinkedIn to find candidates for open positions.

2. Participating in Groups

LinkedIn Groups is a wonderful way to meet others who share an affinity, whether an industry, cause, or an employer, and to have an online arena for exchange. Being a member of a group removes the barrier that LinkedIn ordinarily imposes that you must personally know someone to send a message or invite him or her to connect.

LinkedIn Groups is most valuable when used effectively to build influential connections. Participating in a group — by asking questions, suggesting topics, answering questions, or recommending another member’s answers — is a way to build a more personal connection. For example, I mentor a large number of BNI members, entrepreneurs who want to better their business writing skills, meeting with them on a regular basis via telebridge. These “mentees” have also formed a group on LinkedIn, where they can share writing opportunities, and receive reviews of their work.

Participating in groups can take as much or as little time as you choose. For maximum impact, choose group discussions that are highly popular, judged from the number of responses.

3. Capitalizing on Search Engine Optimization

LinkedIn profiles show up very high on search engine results. The more links you add to your profile, the higher one’s ranking may be in search engine results. LinkedIn allows you to incorporate two very important links to a profile: web sites and a blog. Adding these to your profile not only builds your profile’s link count, but also lets you promote your site(s). I use this feature to highlight my own web site, BusinessNetworking.com.

4. Tying in a Twitter Connection

LinkedIn dovetails with Twitter. Indeed you can adeptly integrate Twitter with several social networks using Twitter’s application programming interfaces: I cross-promote content I have written across my various social networking accounts. Every article I write can be seamlessly shared via my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn status postings.

Tying your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile (achieved by clicking a box), allows you to promote your Twitter profile easily through LinkedIn.

5. Building and Enhancing Credibility

LinkedIn may well become the first place everyone will look to determine the business profile of an individual. LinkedIn allows a professional to showcase a collection of printed works or publications, recommendations from other LinkedIn users, company affiliations, and work history. When I want to know more about someone I’ve just met, I can learn quite a bit of information about them by reading their LinkedIn profile. I can see where they’ve worked, or what they’ve done in the business world, and I can see what others think of them by reading recommendations that others have written about them.

Since most professionals do not stay in the same job for a lifetime anymore, their LinkedIn profile can continue to capture their work history narrative.

LinkedIn also allows for profiles of companies and brands, which can be cross-connected with the profiles of the “humans” associated with those organizations – including executive management, the founders, and the employees.

These days, a professional’s worth is frequently judged by the quality of his or her network. So LinkedIn is particularly vital for today’s entrepreneur, demonstrating knowledge, expertise, experience, social capital, and the breadth of one’s network.

 

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5 Reasons To Stop Cold Calling And Start Networking | Written by Tim Tyrell-Smith

Are there really people that still cold-call?  Most states have a National No-Call Registry to get rid of those annoying time sucking pests.  Tim Tyrell-Smith’s article shares great information and also targets the last of the hold outs not using networking and social media to build their business.  Remember, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will eventually lose a percentage of your business, if you already haven’t by not changing what you are doing.

Tim writes:

Can you imagine what happens to people when you call them cold? Well, no surprise, they stiffen up. They get uncomfortable. And they wish they hadn’t answered the phone. So what options do you have. Uh . . . how about networking?

All across the world right now, people are dialing for dollars. Insurance salesmen, consultants, recruiters, packaging suppliers, SEO providers and hundreds of other types of folks looking for a new client.

Why? Because their boss told them to do it. “100 calls a day, please.” The numbers game.

But cold calls are bad for business. They are a bad use of time and aren’t a smart way to begin a new relationship. Oh, and nobody likes making these calls either.

And for those of you who want to disagree right away (maybe you’ve had some success blowing cold air on people), I don’t care. I’m sure there are exceptions to the “cold calls don’t work” argument I’m making. But I don’t care.

Because the world has changed so much. And the tools to meet people more effectively are plentiful. Here are 5 ways to connect with new people without them freezing up right away:

1. Start blogging

While establishing a blog takes significantly longer than making phone calls, it is a superior strategy for introducing you, your company and its products to others. You can learn about mistakes bloggers make and some tips for getting started with blogging. But once you get up and running, a blog makes your website more interesting to Google, more dynamic to get return visitors and (very important) helps you build relevant awareness and subject matter expertise. In other words, people get to know and trust you in advance of your first contact. (ALL TRUE)  Need help getting started, contact Ken Tucker at ken@changescapeweb.com.

2. Use LinkedIn

This one seems awfully simple. You need to meet Mike (purchasing manager at target company x). Bill (your old coworker) used to work with Mike at a prior company. You go on to LinkedIn and learn this news. That the person you need to know already knows someone you know. Now what? Well, you ask Bill to introduce you to Mike. Sounds simple. But so few people do it. So many people are lazy on LinkedIn and don’t personally create and nurture LinkedIn connections. They just collect them like postage stamps. Don’t do that. You are smarter than this. (TOTALLY AGREE MOST POWERFUL AND UNDERUSED TOOL)

3. Join groups and attend events

There are industry groups aplenty, local community networking groups, and meetup.com groups all over. So there’s no excuse. You can develop your personal brand right now in front of real people. They can see that you are a good person, that you are patient and have the needs of others on your mind as well. And if you are smart, you’ll find a group or two and sponsor them. Or get involved in their board. That’s good networking. (CHECK OUT THE BNI CHAPTERS IN YOUR AREA. BNI IS ONE OF THE LARGEST AND FASTEST GROWING INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING GROUPS THAT GIVE YOU THE TOOLS TO SUCCEED WITH LIKEMINDED & SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNERS. MEETUP.COM IS ANOTHER POWERFUL GROUP TO CONNECT WITH.

4. Use Twitter or Create a Facebook Page

Not everyone is comfortable on social media. And if you need help, ask me. Or hook up with a smart social media agency to help you establish a strategy and keep up a great, engaging relationship with new fans and followers. If you want to do it on your own, make sure to have a Facebook content calendar and learn the golden rules for new Twitter users. Oh, and if you are wondering whether it’s weird that sales people use Twitter, you’re wrong. Use these tools to create, establish and maintain a friendly and helpful relationship with current and potential customers. (DEFINITELY SOME OF THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED FROM VIRGINIA MUZQUIZ. GET YOUR BIG TOE WET, DIVE IN, AND DO IT. IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO DO SOMETHING, THAN NOTHING.)

5. Offer to speak or lead workshops

When you stand up in front of a group of people you get instant credibility. Until you screw up. But you probably won’t. Especially if you model your style after people like Thom Singer. He’s someone who can teach you how to speak with a purpose. You can learn how to engage an audience as a speaker. While its not a bed of roses (audience can be cold too), it is a great way to also build social credibility (credibility that lets people feel more comfortable with you). And the business will come in so much more quickly. (JOIN TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL; IT WILL CATAPULT YOUR BUSINESS OR CAREER FASTER AND FURTHER THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE.)

So try these ideas instead of cold calling.

Unlike a slow moving glacier, these “warming up” techniques will thaw the corporate ice cubes and create a fast moving stream of business to you and your company.

Shout out and hugs to Tim Tyrell-Smith.

P.S. Try sendoutcards.com/loryfabian to help build relationships & stay in touch with the customers you have.  Farming is always easier and less expensive than hunting.

5 Ways to Turn Twitter into Your Most Powerful Social Media Tool by Jeff Bullas

What do you use as your daily Social Media dashboard every day?

Most likely not Twitter.com I am guessing.

Yet, in recent months, there were a great number of browser extensions released, specifically for Twitter.com. They help you create a much greater experience right inside Twitter.com.

What I like best about this is that you are in charge regarding how many bells and whistles you are adding. You can basically fully customize your own Social Media dashboard.

 

So here are my top 5 finds you can use to make Twitter.com a truly powerful Social Media tool for you:

Tool #1. Klout for Chrome

Function: Find top users more easily

There has been a lot of discussion around Klout in the last few months. One aspect, where it helps me greatly to make my daily Social Media life more efficient, is deciding how to best interact.

When I only have a few minutes at hand every morning, being able to glance through my Twitter stream with everyone’s Klout score next to their Tweets is a great filter. It helps me make better decisions and at the same time deepen my most important connections:

Tool #2. Buffer

Functions: Optimal timing, multiple accounts posting and old school retweets

Another extension I am using every day is Buffer’s Chrome extension. It puts a brand new Buffer button right into Twitter.com next to your Tweet button. If you click it, you can conveniently add any new Tweet to your Buffer to be posted later on at a better time:

The extension also allows you to Buffer your retweets, either posting them now in old school retweet style or later on, when more of your followers will be online.

There is plenty of more places you can now Buffer from on Twitter.com. Personally, I love going through my Twitter lists of top Social Media experts, Buffering everything that’s handy, without flooding my followers.

Tool #3. Pocket

Function: Save your best article finds to be read later

How often does it happen to you, that you come across a terrific article, but can’t read it right now because you are just too busy? From now on, instead of letting it go into Twitter’s limbo, just save it to be read later on with Pocket’s browser extension:

This way, you can save any article you are finding on Twitter to a reading list available any time later on for you. Personally, I found this to be a terrific way to just spend a few minutes browsing, and “pocketing” everything worth exploring later on:

Tool #4. Tweet Filter

Function: Unclutter your Twitter stream from the noise

One problem I have on Twitter is that it often takes lots of Tweets to glance through, until I spot one that is worth reading. And a lot of the time, it’s not even the people, it’s just that I am looking for certain things throughout the day.

With Tweet Filter, you can easily customize this for your own Twitter stream, getting rid of those Tweets that don’t add any value for you at that moment. Filter out words like “4sq, twitpic or award”. Whatever happens to add little value to you:

Tool #5. Embedly

Function: Get full media previews right inside Twitter.com

The last goodie I have for you to really make Twitter.com as powerful as it gets is a neat extension called Embedly. It allows you to expand any Tweet to show you the full article or video view right inside Twitter.com:

I find this to be a huge time saver. You don’t have to click through and see if the headline is really what you expected, but you can just read the first few paragraphs right where you discover that content:

 5 Quick Workflow Tips To Optimize Your Day On Twitter

Adding those 5 lightweight solutions to your Chrome browser have saved me hours of time every day. In case this helps you at all with your personal workflow, here is how I approach every morning on Twitter with just 20 minutes per day:

1.Glance through Tweets spotting the best ones using the Klout extension.

2.Previewing the articles I like best with Embedly right on Twitter.com

3.Saving those I want to go into more detail with Pocket to read later on

4.Adding the best Tweets straight to my Buffer as old school retweets.

5.Filter out any words that annoy me with Tweet Filter (this is something I don’t do daily though)

Hugs and Peace to Jeff.. Jeff Bullas is one of my Fav Tweeters.  If you’re looking for a short cut to growing your business, be sure to follow Jeff  Bullas on Twitter! 

How to Grow a Smart SMB Team by Lisa Barone

Small business owners have a lot on their plates – it’s become cliché because it’s true! Between marketing, running, and growing their business, there are always more tasks than hours in the day. However, among the most important and difficult of tasks is trying to build your team. It can be hard to find people who you can trust to come in and help you get the job done. It’s even harder to find people who share your values and your commitment to your customers. But it’s doable. More than that, if you want to grow a successful business, it’s a must. You can’t work in and on your business at the same time.

Whether you’re in the process right now of trying to build your team or you simply aspire to one day being bigger than yourself, below are some tips to help you grow a smarter SMB team.

1. Assess Your Skills

Knowing the skills you’ll need to hire for means first understanding the skills that you (and possibly your existing team) already bring to the table. For example, maybe you’re great at customer service but you’re terrible at marketing. Or maybe you’re awesome at using social media tools to connect with people, but you can’t keep your books straight for the life of your business. Start creating lists of skills – skills you have, skills you can acquire, and skills you’d need to hire for. Once you know what skill sets you’re looking for, prioritize them to help you identify what is most important to your business.

2. Seek Out Referrals

Once you know what roles you’re looking to hire for, put it out to the universe. Talk to the people in your community and your local network about the types of people you’re looking for. Post the required skills on LinkedIn or Twitter and see if anyone in your network can help. Talk about in the online groups that you’re part of. I’m always surprised by how easy it is to find the perfect person as soon as you let people know you’re looking for them. The world is smaller than you think.

3. Go Online Talent Shopping

If your local referrer network wasn’t able to come up with a match, it’s time to go online talent shopping yourself. One of my favorite tools for this is LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.

With LinkedIn’s Advanced Search you can hunt for potential employees by experience, industry, salary, job title, current company, previous company, etc. Better yet, you can then narrow it down to employees living within 50 miles of your storefront, helping you focus on the people who could actually come and work for you. Once you have a list of people you’d like to get an introduction to, see who in your network is already connected to these people or what groups/ associations they’re a part of. This is a really great way to get your foot in the door with an applicant who could bring a lot of value to your business.

4. Find Shared Values

But finding a great new team member for your SMB isn’t just about the skills they may have on paper. It’s about finding someone who thinks like you do and who values the same things that you’re trying to instill in your business. Getting that “culture fit” right is invaluable in helping to avoid potential pitfalls later on. If a person doesn’t match what the rest of the company believes, then they’re not a good fit for your business. No matter how impressive their resume may be. Use your gut and look for people who show a history of action, being a team player, and who appears receptive to challenges.

5. Trust them

Once you find that person who compliments your team’s skill set, get out of their way and trust them. Sure, put procedures and policies in place to help make them accountable, but avoid your instinct to hover over them to make sure they’re doing things “your way”. Delegating does not mean hiring Mini-Yous. It means creating a more diverse team. Get comfortable with that.

Even the most-skilled CEOs will eventually need to invest in growing his or her team. You can’t do everything. By carefully and deliberately putting together a team of complimentary skill sets, you help set yourself (and your business) up for success.

Hugs and Peace to Lisa Barone @ Smallbiztrends.com

Do you agree that business is still driven by people and relationships? by Lory Fabian

Little things make big things happen. ~John Wooden

Ed Wallace, author of Business Relationships That Last, shares ny passionate belief that creating business relationships that last is the secret to success.  Ed Wallace explains that even in the midst of technological advances, the one remarkable simple constant: business is still driven by people and relationships.

One story in Ed’s book, he writes about how the little extras can turn customers into friends.  He talks about mastering the art of taking so-called simple business from a merely transactional level to the level of high-value personal relationships, to creating a memorable experience between human beings.

Ed writes that too many of us lose sight of the fact that we are dealing and selling to real people.  A real person is on the other end of a call or an email.  We may miss an opportunity to enrich business endeavors and life with the growth and learning that comes from true interaction with others. I totally agree, do you?

Ed Wallace’s The Principle of Worthy Intent is the inherent promise you make to keep the other person’s best interests at the core of your business relationship.  At BNI, we call Ed’s principle, a Giver’s Gain philosophy.

Ed Wallace’s Relational Capital which he defines as “the distinctive value created by people in a business relationship” or simply put “the little extras.”  Keeping the client’s best interest as your focus is the gold rule for client-facing professionals. This realization stood the test of time as Ed advanced through his career from inside sales rep to an executive and now a business owner.  The little extras transform transactional activities into the relational attributes. 

I highly recommend reading Ed Wallace’s book, Business Relationships That Last to help understand  the most undervalued, least understood, most ignored, yet most important asset in your company.

If you do, however, recognize the value of Relational Capital, think about signing up for a proven low cost system that will help you start building personal relationships immediately with your customers. SendOutCards.com is an online marketing tool that will give you an added edge above your competition.

SendOutCards.com/loryfabian has both IPHONE and ANDOID apps available  that allow you to send a note of thanks before you leave the parking lot of one appointment to head out to your next meeting.

Imagine sending out a “Nice to Meet You” card before leaving a trade show and include a photo of yourself?  Do you think the person you send a personalized note to will take your call?  I do.

Check out my website at www.SendOutCards.com/biz/128092 and start building your own Relational Capitol today.

Peace and Hugs to Ed Wallace

The Anatomy Of A Social Marketing Campaign: 5 Steps To Success By Scott Lake

With so many social media platforms, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Keep a clear head by following these five steps.

A social marketing campaign is a pretty simple concept:

Use social media to promote an offer and encourage people to perform a certain action. Yet while simple in concept, it’s easy for marketers to get mired in the details and lose track of what matters as they jump from Pinterest to Facebook to SlideShare and Twitter.

At its core, any social marketing campaign boils down to five key elements. Follow these steps to tackle your next social marketing campaign with more confidence and success.

1. Set your goals

Any successful campaign begins with a goal. Before you even think about diving in, focus on what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to increase sales, generate sales leads, or get feedback on a new product? Understanding the goals for your campaign will help you make the right offers, capture useful metrics, and determine how your campaign performed.

It helps a lot if the goal has a quantifiable business objective that you can track. Number of generated qualified leads is a great metric because they can later be tied to sales.

 

2. Develop a valuable offer

Most people don’t like to give up their email addresses or “Like” a brand of Facebook without good reason. That means for any campaign to be successful, you’ll need to provide real incentive. Your offer doesn’t always have to be free, but it does need to useful, valuable, engaging, and/or entertaining. Some common offers include:

•Information about something your audience is interested in

•Sneak peak at a new product or product video

•Exclusive discounts

•Social media contest

 

A key to developing worthwhile offers is having a tieback to your product or service, either directly or indirectly. You might get a lot of social love for providing a link to a free movie pass, but if it’s not related to the software product you sell then what’s the point? In and of itself, the movie pass does nothing for brand loyalty or generating targeted sales leads.

 

Make the offer valuable to people who would also be interested in your products or services. For example, if you sell social marketing software, consider offering a downloadable guide to social marketing. The people who will convert will be much higher qualified leads.

 

3. Create a landing page

A landing page, where people arrive after clicking on a campaign link, is arguably one of the most important, and frequently neglected, parts of a social marketing campaign. A landing page is where you encourage people to sign up, register, download, or make a purchase. The landing page lets you capture a visitor’s information, while the visitor downloads your campaign offer (downloads coupon, free trial, etc.). A social marketing campaign can drive traffic to your landing page, but it’s up to the landing page to convert those visitors into qualified leads for your business.

There are two common options for creating a landing page: Make it yourself on the web or use Facebook. Creating a web-based landing page offers more control over the page and its analytics–making it easier to test page variations and optimize the content.

Whatever method you choose, your landing page needs to have a clear call to action, a form to collect information to qualify a lead, and an explanation about what someone will receive after submitting their information. Before launching a landing page, you may want to create at least two versions with different headlines, graphics, or text. This lets you run A/B or multivariate tests to determine which one converts the best.

You may also want to create specific landing pages for each of the social communities that you are marketing. For example, a landing page that converts well for Twitter may not be optimal for your Facebook or blog audiences. The point is that you should always be sure to optimize the landing page for the highest number of conversions.

 

4. Launch the campaign

With a nice looking landing page (or two) created and an offer tied to your campaign goals, your social marketing campaign is ready to be launched. Decide how the campaign will be promoted. Just because it’s designed for social media, doesn’t mean it can’t be promoted using other channels such as email lists or offline. Work the hype machine.

Often, social marketing campaigns will be spread across several networks. In most cases, it’ll be Facebook and Twitter, but there are dozens of other social networks that can be embraced. For example, use Foursquare for location-based offers (i.e., coupon for a restaurant chain), or LinkedIn to promote an enterprise white paper.

If you run your campaign on multiple networks, repackage the message for each network to avoid being annoying or repetitive. Mix it up, and test out different posting styles and times. By creating more variations, you can get insight into what worked and what didn’t.

Don’t forget to use your email lists to promote your social media marketing campaigns. Many companies have nice email lists but only want to use them to put out a boring newsletter. Try to remember that email is one of the most useful social networks you’ll ever use. Don’t believe me? Put a shortened link to your website in your signature and see how much traffic it drives. You’ll be surprised.

5. Use shortened links

Since links are what send visitors to your campaign landing page, they can give you essential information on how various elements of your campaign are performing. Shortened links should be able to tell you what campaign the person interacted with, and which social property was used to promote the link. This info is usually hidden in the form of a browser cookie, which is activated when the link is clicked on. Once the cookie is in place, tracking code on the landing page will tell you if someone took advantage of your offer.

Use generated shortened links that let you track activity in real time and make changes on the fly. For example:

•Scheduling posts: Which post times drove the most conversions?

•Message creation: What combination of words and graphics attracted the most attention?

•The Medium: Which social networks are converting? Is anyone coming to the campaign from your non-social promotions?

Shortened links also solve the problem of “first touch” versus “last touch” attribution. Since social marketing offers often get cross-posted onto different social properties, the cookie generated in the shortened link will always be able to tell you what the true origin of your leads are and from which campaign and on which social properties they have responded to.

Next steps

After your social marketing campaign is a success, the obvious question is: What do all these signups really mean? Now that you’ve brought leads to the door, you have to offer more value, in addition to what attracted prospects in the first place. Don’t just carpet-bomb them with information. These leads are the most valuable data your brand will encounter: You need to treat them with the utmost respect and strategically lead them through your sales cycle.

To get more savvy about social media, sign up for Fast Company’s daily newsletters.

Peace and Love to Scott Lake.

He is the founder and CEO of Source Metrics, a social marketing optimization platform focused on ROI. He is the cofounder and former CEO of Shopify. You can find him on Twitter.

7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid by Todd Pillars

This is an updated post from 2009 which started me on a path of discovery that took my business from a 1-trick pony to the national stage in 2 short years!

Funny how it’s STILL all about relationships – and it ALWAYS will be.

Read on…

Today’s business is all about relationships. Social Media is here to stay; you have to be seen on Facebook, you must tweet and retweet on Twitter, your LinkedIn profile has to be top-notch, and now we have Google+, however the more we connect in the virtual world to more we have to tend our roots on Terra Firma. Routinely overlooked, the original social networking – face-to-face, is a crucial high-touch strategy to build critical local business relationships that are crucial to your success.

In my observations coaching business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals, and attending numerous networking events over the years, I have recognized consistent networking mistakes that can kill anyone’s chances of developing any new business contacts. Avoid these seven deadly mistakes and you should quickly build your referral business in any economic conditions.

Mistake #1 – No plan, no goals… no results

Without a networking plan, you waste valuable resources; time, energy and money. You should know, before you enter an event, what you want to accomplish. Practice Bob Burg’s 10 Feel-Good Questions and The One “Key” Question That Will Set You Apart From Everyone Else so you are prepared to chose three or four to engage others that you meet at the event. These questions will show your new contact that you truly care about them. Do set time limits on what you discuss – don’t go through all 10 – or you may appear nosy. Just as you would role-play and practice these questions, picture positive results in your mind even as you enter the room.

The BIGGEST edit: Mistake #2 – Bad (or worse, no) elevator pitch

The first seven words that you speak when meeting a potential client, a.k.a. a prospect, may be the only chance you have with that person. An elevator pitch or 30-second commercial is meant to cause the prospect to say “tell me more”. Many networking novices try to cram as much company information as possible into their pitch. Keep it simple and you’ll strike more interest.

Mistake #2 – Ditch the (elevator) pitch

This is more of do than a don’t but it’s vitally important that you leave the commercial in the car. You see, elevator pitches gained popularity during the Internet Boom of the late 90′s – early 2000′s as a way to “pitch”, or spark the interest of, venture capital investors in the time it took for them to ride up on an elevator to the gilded top floor office. (Makes for a compelling visual reason to do it, doesn’t it?) Well, if the first seven words that you speak when meeting a potential client, a.k.a. a prospect, are only about what you want you’ll probably get the door slammed in your face during what may be the only chance you have with that person. There is a time and place for a 30-second commercial – and it’s not during a networking event.

Try something like the anti-mercial; You know how (whatever pain your prospects may have)? Well, what I do is (how you solve that challenge for your clients). Simple, concise, and easy on the ears. The goal here is get your new contact to say “How do you do that?”. If they do the door is now open for a deeper conversation about your solution, preferably at a later time. Don’t be afraid to set an appointment then and there.

Mistake #3 – TMI or Too busy telling

As an old mentor said “If you’re too busy telling, you ain’t selling.” The primary goal of the networking event is to make a connection – start a conversation – not to make a sale. Ask questions (see #1 above) and don’t “throw up” all over the place, regardless of how wonderful your product or service is. If it really is that good it will keep until you can sit down one-to-one. If you make a friend you can present your solution later, however, if you get the deer in the headlight look then you’ve lost the chance.

Mistake #4 – Talking to “Knowns”

Probably the most common mistake. Networking events present an opportunity to meet new people in a relatively receptive environment. Generally new sales people and business owners are challenged by meeting new people, they tend to end up talking to “known” friends instead of seeking “unknowns”. Make it a point to limit polite conversation with current referral partners to less than a minute. Better yet, adopt this new do; become an unofficial greeter. Scan the room for the people that look lost and ask them if you can help them find someone and see what happens.

Mistake #5 – Poor etiquette

Understanding how or when to join a group of individuals talking with each other is very important. Probably the biggest networking faux pas is barging in on a conversation. An introduction from a well respected business person is always the surest way. Sans that, look for groups of three or more that are standing in semi-circle – never a closed circle – and approach them in an up-beat manner and making eye contact. Always shake hands firmly, speak confidently when you introduce yourself, and practice your table manners when seated for lunch or dinner. If you are polite, respectful, and ask engaging questions – and then intently listening to the answers – you’ll be one of the most remembered people from the event.

Mistake #6 – Not being present

Be interested instead of trying to be interesting. I’ve been guilty of this more than once myself. Most times networking attendees believe the goal, at best, is to get your message into the ears of as many people as possible. At worst, to hand out as many business cards as possible. In their haste to meet that next prospect, they are not present with their current contact. Instead of thinking of what witty or sage thing you’re going to say next, listen for the subtle meanings in the answers to question you just asked. The timing of your next question will always come from listening to the full answer and being engaged and you will look like a pro.

Mistake #7 – Lack of (correct) follow-up

Attending networking event after event without correctly following up with your new contacts is literally worthless. And follow up, just like networking, is not a one-time event. The point of following up is to stand out in the prospect’s memory forever. Again, it’s not a moment of selling but of reminding them that you’re interested in them and care about their success. If you want to stand head and shoulders above your competition don’t resort to the ubiquitous email. Cement your place in your new found business contact by sending them a sincere handwritten “Nice to meet you” or “Thank you” greeting card telling them how much you appreciate them for taking the time to talk about their business. Then keep in regular personal touch with them by sending them cards on a consistent basis. Turn the most missed opportunity in networking into a way to differentiate you from your competition.

Conspicuously absent is the iconic Business Card. My opinion is that the only reason to have your Business Card is to have something to exchange for their Business Card. If your main purpose is to attend Networking Events with the intention of passing out cards and saying “Call me and I’ll give you a great deal” then you need more of an intervention than this blog post can provide.

Put others interests first, practice appreciation, and avoid these seven deadly business networking mistakes like the plague.

Peace and Love to Todd |Excellent Advice!

I recommend trying www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian and start today cementing your business relationships today!

 

13 Ways to Create a Cringeworthy Social Media Presence by Corey Eridon

In May 2012, a new free social media tool called Klouchebag hit the web. If you haven’t played around with it already, it’s a tool that tells you how … uh … annoying you are on Twitter. Yeah, we’ll just go with “annoying” for the sake of this blog post. But it got me thinking: social media can be chock full of valuable content, but it’s often buried among the mundane and useless social media updates, or hidden behind poorly constructed social media profiles. And this makes a marketer’s job mighty hard.

So this post is going to outline all of the worst offenders we’ve seen in social media. If none of these apply to you, congratulations! Use these as entertainment over your lunch break. Otherwise, consider these cautionary tales to help protect your own social media strategy.

13 Ways to Make People Hate Your Social Media Presence

  • Launching a Private Social Media Account

Social media is about talking with and meeting new people. It’s right there in the name — social media. So why on earth would you set up a social media account and then set it to, gulp, private? That’s exactly what CVS did when they launched its CVS_Cares Twitter account. If you had tried to follow them around launch time, this is what you would have seen:

Seriously? Well, luckily they learned their lesson and now have a fantastic, active, public account! Remember, the benefits of using social media for your business are virtually wiped out when your social media accounts aren’t public — it prevents you from growing your reach, getting visibility for the content you publish, and growing referral traffic and leads back to your website.

  • 2) Having a Disproportionate Follower:Following Ratio

Have you ever seen an interesting tweet or gotten an alert that someone new is following you on Twitter, open up their profile to learn more about them and see if they’re someone you’re interested in following, and see one of the following screens?

Let’s break down each scenario, starting with that first set of data. This particular tweeter is following 825 people, but only 21 people have decided to follow him/her back. Why might that be? Well, the account only has 8 tweets. That’s not enough content to convince people you’re a worthy account to follow. Instead of maniacally following hundreds of people with the hope that one follows you back, spend time writing interesting tweets, linking to great content that you and others have created, and retweeting others’ tweets to build relationships and earn your followers.

Now let’s take a look at the second set of data. 4,044 people are following this person, and he/she has only returned the favor for 5 people. What gives? We just got done talking about how social media is a social platform … and that doesn’t sound like a two-way conversation to me. In this particular scenario, there are enough tweets to back up the large followership, but a lack of reciprocation such as this can rub many people the wrong way and prevent you from growing your social media reach at the highest rate possible.

  • 3) Writing Updates That Are Too Long

Did you know that Facebook lets you post an update that is 63,206 characters long? Nokia did. In fact, when Facebook expanded the character limit this past February, they took it as an opportunity to test the limits with this expansive status update on their Facebook page. If you’re counting, I cut it off a little less than halfway through.

Obviously, this was a joke (and a great marketing move!) by Nokia, but it certainly proves a point. Is anyone going to read so much text? If your updates are even approaching the length of the update in the screenshot above, get yourself an editor stat. In fact, data from Buddy Media shows that the ideal length for a Facebook update is less than 4 or 5 lines — posts under 80 characters receive 27% more engagement.

  • 4) The Airing of Grievances

You know what no one cares about? This.

Late last year, a Boloco employee tweeted about disliking her job at Boloco. Bad move, but pretty common. What ensued was a dramatic Twitter firestorm from the Boloco CEO, a truncated version of which is pictured above. It all started when he took to firing the employee over Twitter, and then tweets shot back and forth about the situation, attracting horrified onlookers.

The lesson? Keep your personal business to yourself and off of social media — whether you’re an employee, or an employer. If your brand, or employees representing your brand, go on a rant like this, you look petty, unprofessional, and offer nothing of value to your audience. There’s not much else to say on this one except if you’re thinking about using your social media presence as a soapbox to rant and rave, step away from the keyboard and walk away. Your PR team will thank you for it!

  • 5) Talking Smack About Competitors

It’s not just public rants that make you look petty. Attacking your competitors on social media makes you look just as unprofessional, and gives your more sensitive customers another place to send their business. Does anyone remember the Whole Foods case from the early to mid 2000s? For 7 years, Whole Foods CEO assumed an online identity completely unaffiliated with Whole Foods, visited forums and blogs, and posted complimentary comments about Whole Foods while smack talking a smaller direct competitor — who they then ventured to purchase. Aside from an SEC investigation when this was all uncovered, this type of behavior makes your organization look extremely unprofessional. Even if you’re tempted to draft a snarky Facebook update or pointed tweet, hold your tongue and rise above!

  • 6) Making Off-Color Comments

Finally, the last in the series of reputation management disasters. You’d think it would go without saying that joking about or commenting and capitalizing on sensitive news is the wrong way to go about newsjacking. You’d think. But for some reason, every few months we hear about some brand or spokesperson making off-color comments to propel their Twitter following or make a few extra bucks. Remember this tweet from Kenneth Cole?

When considering popular topics in the news to discuss in your social media updates, remember that everyone has a different sensitivity level. Sure, pushing the boundaries is alright, but defer to your common sense; if you’re on the fence about whether you should post something, you probably shouldn’t.

  • 7) Publicly Solving Customer Service Issues

Whether you like it or not, people will take to social media for customer support. Which is why more and more brands are being proactive by maintaining a social media presence (some have set up accounts dedicated solely to customer service, in fact) so they can handle questions and complaints expeditiously. Where some brands fall short, however, is failing to direct customers to an offline or private channel to actually solve their problems. Take a look at how KLM handles a customer service issue correctly on its Facebook page.

See how they sent Ali a private message to handle the details? That’s the right method — nobody wants to see how Ali is going to get a replacement card through a series of back-and-forth comments. The value is in seeing that KLM can handle all manner of customer service issues on its Facebook page, not how they solve them. Don’t clog up your fans’ and followers’ feeds with customer support, and show them that you’ll handle their problems quickly and professionally over email, the phone, direct message, Facebook message, etc.

  • 8) Hijacking Hashtags

What’s hashtag hijacking, you ask? Here’s an example from HabitatUK, courtesy of Social Media Today.

Notice all those hashtags called out in red? At the time, they were very popular hashtags (some still are) that indicate lots of people on Twitter are talking about that particular subject. So if your tweet includes the hashtag, it will appear in that popular conversation. Great! More visibility for your content, right? Well, yes, but it’s not good visibility, because those hashtags have absolutely nothing to do with what

HabitatUK does — sell home furnishings. When you hashtag hijack, you’re putting irrelevant content out to the masses and frankly, spamming. That’s not the reputation you want to have in the social sphere.

  • 9) Piling Your Tweets With Too Many Hashtags

Speaking of hashtags … Twitter has forced a certain kind of social media shorthand on us all. People r used 2 writing n reading updates in a dif way to fit everything into 140 characters. We’ve also all gotten used to reading through tweets interrupted by a hashtag — an annoyance, yes, but one that lets us piggyback on trending topics and find content related to our field more easily. But there’s such a thing as hashtag overload, as evidenced in this tweet:

I’m thrilled that this user shared my content! But including four hashtags — pretty generic ones, at that — make this tweet hard to read, give it a spammy feel, and doesn’t really contribute to the conversation around the subjects of social media, marketing, Google+, or Pinterest. Instead, choose one or two hashtags to include in your tweets that will really contribute to the conversation happening around those topics.

  • 10) Insulting Your Customer Base

Seems obvious, right? It wasn’t to online pawn show Pawngo. After the 2012 Super Bowl, Pawngo dumped a huge pile of Butterfinger candy bars in the middle of Boston’s Copley Square a day after New England’s heartbreaking loss. The reference was to New England Patriot’s receiver Wes Welker dropping the catch that sealed the team’s Super Bowl loss. Take a look at one of the tweets Pawngo sent out leading up to the PR stunt:

Pawngo ✔@Pawngo We’re giving Boston a late morning snack to get over Sunday’s loss #butterfingers

7 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Seem like a low blow? Customers certainly took it that way — and they took to social media to let them know. Quite a different hashtag than the one above, eh?

PROPER @plymptonproper 8 Feb 12 @Pawngo You’re venture capital group shouldn’t be impressed by PR stunt. Good business is a game of addition, not subtraction. #Customerlost

Pawngo ✔@Pawngo @plymptonproper Sorry we lost you as a customer. If you live chat w/one of our reps on the site, u might realize that we’re not that bad :-/

8 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Thing is, Pawngo really meant it to make Boston fans feel better; but it didn’t feel that way to Boston residents. Make sure you know your customers well enough to joke around with them before getting so familiar like Pawngo did.

  • 11) “Targeting” Poorly With Automation

Otherwise known as spamming people. That’s what happened to AT&T back in March when they were trying to capitalize on the March Madness hoopla for which they had set up a promotion. The goal was to get the word out about their contest to those who would be interested, but what actually happened was poor targeting. Take former HubSpot employee Brian Whalley, for example, who was the recipient of one of AT&T’s tweet. Brian doesn’t follow AT&T, he has never been their customer, he doesn’t tweet about basketball, and there is no indication he is even a sports fan, according to his biIn fact, the only thing Brian had in his profile to indicate he might be interested in the March Madness promotion was the fact that he lives in one of the many cities in which the promotion was happening. And it wasn’t just Brian Whalley who noticed this problem, either. Thousands of spammy tweets had gone out to unsuspecting tweeters that had little or no interest in such a promotion. Which brings us to our next cringeworthy social media activity …

  • 12) Posting WAY Too Frequently

Another result of AT&T’s social media automation snafu was a barrage of tweets that clogged up people’s news feeds. Take a look at this posting frequency:

That’s multiple tweets a minute. And nobody has that much remarkable, relevant content to share. Every social media network has a different optimal posting frequency. In fact, Twitter lets brands get away with the highest frequency of all the social networks because content is buried so quickly. But tweeting more than once an hour has shown to decrease the click-through rate of your links by over 200%, according to HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella. And if you’re using Facebook or Google+ for your brand’s social media presence, shoot for 3-5 updates per day.

  • 13) Retweeting Instead of Generating Original Content

Okay, so I did a little photo editing of my own Twitter account to prove a point for this one, but it did come from a particularly RT-heavy week for me. See those green arrows in the top right corner of every tweet? Those indicate the tweet was written by another user, and retweeted by me to my followers.

Retweeting is a way to share someone else’s content — a good thing! But doing it to this extent is going too far. That’s because people have followed you to hear what you have to say. That means they want to hear your original ideas, see links to your content, and get access to the content others have published that you find valuable. If your balance tips too heavy on that last part, back off the RT button and start creating more of your own content that you can publish to your fans and followers.

Shout out to Corey Eridon @ HubSpot

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process by Ellie Mirman

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process

by Ellie Mirman.

In an effort to break through the clutter and get the attention of more potential customers, are marketers going too far? A recent article from Forbes reported that decision simplicity was the number one driver of likelihood to buy, and the impact of simplifying purchase decisions for consumers is 4x stronger than the favored marketing strategy of engagement.

In fact, research company Corporate Executive Board (CEB) also found that a 20% increase in decision simplicity results in a:

96% increase in customer loyalty;

86% increase in likelihood to purchase and;

115% increase in likelihood to recommend.

CEB is not the first organization to tout simplicity as a key driver in increasing conversions and sales. MarketingExperiments also advocates for limiting “unsupervised thinking” among your prospects in order to effectively guide more people to conversion. As it relates to landing pages, many marketers have adopted a lot of best practices based on this principle — removing navigation and distracting calls-to-action, keeping forms short, and clearly advertising the value of the offer. But this principle is applicable to all areas of our marketing — by simplifying our marketing, we can illuminate the path to conversion to drive better results.

**Below are 16 ways you can simplify your marketing to make your prospects’ decision-making process easier.*

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process

1) Add Calls-to-Action

The first place to start is to add a call-to-action (CTA) to your website. On any given web page, you should be able to answer, “What do I want people to do here?” Then, make it clear to your visitor that exact path. Do you want them to call you? Download an ebook and become a lead? Follow you in social media? Tell people exactly what you want, and it’s more likely they’ll end up doing it. Effective calls-to-action use actionable language (e.g. “Download Now”), numbers, a sense of urgency, and stand out among the rest of the page.

2) Limit Distracting Calls-to-Action

On the flip side, you don’t want to overwhelm your prospects with too many calls-to-action. From the visitors’ perspective, suddenly they’re in Times Square with ads all around, and they don’t know where to look or what to do. Rather, you want to create a one-way street — not a 10-way intersection that paralyzes your prospects or helps them tune out your calls-to-action. If you do have multiple CTAs on a page or in a piece of content, make one primary by featuring it more prominently, and when your prospect clicks through to its actual landing page, remove any additional navigation links or CTAs on that page to focus their attention on completing the conversion you want them to.

3) Deliver What’s Advertised

Some sneaky marketers used to do a bait and switch — advertise a raffle for a free iPad, but when someone clicked through, they’d display an ad to buy a car. Any time you deliver on something different from what’s advertised, you not only confuse your leads, but you also generate unqualified leads. If someone’s signing up because they’re interested in iPads, it’s very possible they’re not going to be interested in whatever you deliver that is not an iPad.

4) Tell People What They’re Getting

Any time you’re offering something to your prospects, be clear about exactly what it is. The point of the offer is to give your prospects a reason to engage with you — if they don’t know what it is, why would they bother? Is it an ebook, a webinar, a slide deck? What is the topic covered in your offer?

5) Tell People WIIFM?

Not only do you need to tell people what they’re getting, but you also need to explain why they should care — the value of your offer. In other words, ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WIIFM?). Any transaction should be an equal (or better) exchange between you and your prospect; for example, they give you their email address in exchange for a free ebook.

6) Don’t Hide Your Pricing Information

Any time I come across a website with no pricing information, I start to think that something is fishy. Either they customize their pricing for every deal individually (in which case, I worry I’m going to get tricked into a worse deal), or the price will be so high it’s out of my range. Either way, I’m not interested in engaging with your company. Don’t withhold your pricing information. Instead, make it easy to navigate to within the products section of your website.

7) Provide Product Guides (About Your Product and Your Industry)

I (as a prospect) have a decision to make: whether or not to buy your product, or possibly opt for another competing product. I’ll take any information you or anyone else can provide to help me with that decision. Providing product guides — either about your own product or an analysis of the industry and the competing products available — is a great help in supporting your prospects’ evaluation process.

8) Share Recommendations/Testimonials From Customers and Experts

While it’s great to provide your own take on your product and the industry, you are of course biased, so providing any third-party recommendations — from users or experts — is a great way to ease a prospects’ decision to go with your company. At HubSpot, for example, we curate social media threads, blog articles, and case studies from customers and experts and feature them on our website — even on our homepage.

9) Let People Know How They Can Get in Touch

How can prospects get in touch with you? By phone, through email, via online chat? Make it clear on your website how people can get in touch with you, so those hottest prospects can reach out when they most want to talk with you. At HubSpot, this was a big piece of feedback we heard from our prospects — a lot of people wanted to talk with someone and didn’t know how. As a result, we added our phone number and a way to contact sales in the footer of every web page on our site.

10) Align Navigation With What Your Buyers Are Looking For

As marketers, we can sometimes get lost in our own work and how we discuss things internally, and if this translates into our marketing, it can cause a lot of confusion for your website visitors and prospects. For the content on your website, think about how your buyers speak, think, and what they might be looking for — and align your content and navigation around those revelations.

11) Surface Top-Searched or Top-Visited Content

Aside from surfacing the key sections of your website that your prospects want to navigate to, take a look at the most popular content on your site, and surface that as well. By looking at your most popular content (top-searched, top-visited, etc.) you can understand more about what your prospects are looking for and make it even easier for new prospects to find it. Two great ways to do this is to feature your top-performing offer on your homepage, and list the most popular articles on the homepage of your blog.

12) Don’t Ignore Questions or Feedback

Sometimes we marketers get tough questions and critical feedback — especially considering prospects’ ease of commenting on blog articles or speaking up in social media. Oftentimes, ignoring these comments can worsen the situation, leaving a prospect unhappy or inciting them to post even more critical comments. Every time a prospect asks a question or provides feedback, you’re given a great opportunity to engage with them and address any questions or issues they have. Be sure to monitor and respond to any blog or social media comments to catch these opportunities to lead more prospects to conversion. There are plenty of free and paid tools available to help you monitor conversations in social media. And if you’re both a HootSuite and HubSpot customer, you can use our closed-loop social integration to directly monitor your leads on Twitter!

13) Categorize Your Content by Skill Level, Role, Etc.

It’s very likely that you’re already targeting different types of potential customers — various roles, backgrounds, and needs among your buyer personas. Help these personas to self-identify what content and which products are best suited for their particular needs by categorizing and labeling your content. At HubSpot, they label their content by skill level (introductory, intermediate, and advanced — just check out the top of this very article!) and by industry and role (small business vs. marketing teams, non-profit vs. ecommerce, etc.). This helps your prospects find the best content for them more quickly, rather than giving up, getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content we provide, or getting lost on your website.

14) Assign a DRI/Owner for Each Channel/Asset

A DRI is a Directly Responsible Person — an owner for a particular asset. Having an owner for each marketing channel or asset allows you to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. You’ll be more able to evaluate the potential conversion paths, respond to questions from prospects stuck at different stages of the conversion path, and make sure you’re getting the best results from each channel and asset. Here are a few more ideas for structuring an effective marketing team.

15) Pick a Campaign, and Focus All Channels on It

It can be overwhelming to juggle a lot of different offers, channels, and campaigns all at once — both for you as a marketer, and for your prospect as someone following your company. Look for opportunities to combine marketing efforts and focus multiple channels on a single campaign. Not only will you rest a little easier, but you’ll also get better (compounding) results and help focus your prospects on your top campaign.

16) Focus on the 1-3 Metrics That Are Most Important to Your Business

Not only do you want to simplify your prospects’ experience with your company, but you also want to simplify your marketing efforts. This helps you focus your efforts for better results. A key part of that is focusing on a few metrics that are most important to your business, as this will influence your strategy and where you focus your time, your calls-to-action, and other efforts mentioned above. To determine which metrics should drive your strategy, spend some time determining your marketing team’s specific goals, and then identify the top metrics that will indicate success or failure to achieve those goals.

Shout out to HubSpot