Managing Your Brand in Social Media

brandingThere are multiple ways for your small business to use the internet; multiple ways for you to express, lure, sell, and otherwise profit from online interactions. In the process, how careful are you to preserve branding?

Seen from this angle, online selling and online branding may appear to be opposites. To sell, you address the wants and needs of your market. To brand, you adhere closely to your own choices and convictions. What your customers want (relief from problems or needs) and what you want (profits) are not always the same thing, right?

Well, keeping these wants separate from one another keeps you at a certain less-than-optimal level of commercial success. Lots of people profit to some extent from courting market desires that are in no way related to their own desires and values.

But we do well to remember the teaching that the best success lies in the intersection of the world’s great longing with the individual’s great passion.

So be holistic in your small business online branding. Always start from the firm foundation of your convictions, your passions, your sincere offering to world. Connect on that basis. [Read more…]

Does Social Media Need You? You Bet!

Welcome back, Kate Edgar of SupportingYourSuccess.com! Here’s Kate’s take on why You matter to the world of social media. This post reminds me of that famous Martha Graham quote:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”

 Social media sharply heightens this truth!

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.BalaYou say, ‘Who, ME? Does social media need me? I thought it was the other way around: I need social media, right?’

That too.

You need social media to boost your brand. The effort you expend to get yourself and your brand out there will repay you handsomely, done right. Done right involves your interchange on the social channels, sharing the best to educate, entertain and wow your audience with the great stuff they want to hear, see, and interact with. This ultimately deems you an authority, your brand as a go-to for all things to do with your expertise, your product, your service. [Read more…]

Real Time Social Media Engagement

a guest post by Kate Edgar

open-houseWho’s engaged? When’s the last time you took the time to comment and connect on social media? Today? Yesterday? Recently at least?

Many are quick to speak their minds commenting on blog posts, but in the social circles on your platforms, are you engaged? If you can answer a wholehearted yes, then you win the Champion Social Engagement Award (would go on your wall if there was such an award, but alas…), and you might want to pass on the rest of this article. But for those who are shaking heads no, listen up.

What’s in a name? Social Media’s the name. Savvy engagement’s the game.

Begin with this visual: Say you decide to co-host an open house or two (social media platforms) with  some friends (connections, followers, customers, potential customers, etc.). You meet up in one place, or another (you’re found on several platforms)  and the loose hours at the open houses make it easy to get there kind of whenever you want to (hopping on to catch up, etc.). You and these friends decorate a bit (post something interesting or entertaining to the specific audience you’re addressing) to add ambience that enables a free flow of conversation, benefit, and enjoyment (comments, interaction) for those working the crowd.

Important to getting that flow going though is first, to go to the party with people who share your interests, ideas, and concerns; and second, who will have something to contribute to the conversations you bring. New topics get peppered in now and then and the open house gets buzzing as time goes on. People are engaged (they comment, like, follow, RT, share, +1, interact) in real time, while they’re there.

How much time do you have? No excuses here! Scheduling social media reply or comment time into each day or every other day or maybe just once a week, works for most. (You can sync and manage all of your social and email accounts to a single dashboard. Check out Social Media Examiner’s article here on some nifty apps for this.). The point of course is to find consistency and stick to it, just like posting your blog at regular intervals. Read, listen, pin, or watch the postings that reach you and then reach out in a conversational way, replying to the sender. Spark and keep healthy conversations going as best you can. Not everyone will reciprocate, but stay with it; persistence pays.

Your fans are waiting! Don’t disappoint them.

Please share. Also comment on this post with how you use creative strategies to engage on social media.

For another perspective please enjoy this article by Chris Abraham, so beautifully written.

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Kate Edgar owns  SupportingYourSuccess.com, a virtual administrative partner to small business owners and entrepreneurs, helping them realize better balance to grow their business. Paths to greater productivity and goals are opened, and the business owner finds valuable support they’ve been missing all along.  Great minds dream alike! Join Kate on Facebook!

Build Your Small Business List with Know-Like-Trust

pizzaSocial media is so fun and distracting that much of the time we forget that we’re using it for a purpose. But if you’re using social media for business, you want to base your activity on expected outcomes. If you’re doing it right, you’ve defined those outcomes in advance of your first social interactions.

So if you own a pizza delivery restaurant, you know what to do. Instead of vaguely wishing for more business, you set a number on it: increase sales by 10% next month. Instead of haphazardly posting whatever tickles your fancy, you devise a contest to increase your followers, post a sequence of pizza-making tips, show a string of images of gorgeous Italian villages and ask people to post their own, plan a special night or two when some exotic pizza or amazing discount will be offered, et cetera.

Social media is based on first attracting a large following of people who are willing to opt-in, Like, follow, comment, share or otherwise voluntarily interact with you. While some may be drawn in by your charisma, the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) factor is really what wins most fans. Meeting that demand is no small challenge for many of us!

The process of winning friendships digitally is the same as any social media process: listen, plan, (listen more), respond, share, (listen some more), offer, slowly and organically build. As on any kids’ playground, as in any group of people, once we know someone, we may then come to like them, and after time and experience build our confidence, we may even begin to trust them.

Once trust is established, the bond matures from tentative to super-powerful. If I trust that your pizza tips are awesome, not only am I likely to become a long term customer, but I’m also going to opt-in with you, interact with your social media updates, and recommend your pizza to all my friends.

Notice that it’s not enough to get people to like you; it’s when they trust you that you’re finally doing business. However, all three parts of the formula are essential.

  1. Post the kind of content in your social channels that communicates your passions, so people can get to know you.
  2. Be extremely attentive to others, responding helpfully and consistently, making it easy for people to like you.
  3. Work every day to do the best job possible in service to your market, providing relevant and sensitive content, so people will trust you.

It’s a slow process but one that can be highly enjoyable. If you haven’t started yet, there’s no time like the present!

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Need help with setting up your social profiles or maintaining a strong social media presence? SBOB can help!

The Importance of Social in Media and Small Business

social media managementWhat’s your definition of social media? Is it Facebook, or a bunch of channels that you use, or do you assume you’re doing social media whenever you post anything online?

You can Google the term and find a host of definitions. Our company roughly thinks of social media as anything that builds bridges between things. Twitter might be a bridge between your followers and your blog content. Facebook might provide a bridge between your leads and conversion opportunties. LinkedIn might bridge your skills with people who are seeking them.

Yet this post is about something even more broad than social media, and that is the application of Social approaches to all communications and other aspects of your business.

[Gasp. Yes, I’m talking about nothing less than complete renovation of business structure so that it is a much more tribal than hierarchical affair. It’s building organizations in ways that make much better use of everyone’s talents. It’s a natural consequence of positing faith in the idea that Small is Beautiful.]

But we’ll take things one step at a time. Let’s consider Social in media, which is to say, in communications.

“Push” marketing, outbound tactics, or what we recognize as traditional broadcast methods of getting the word out about anything does not need to consider the Social aspects of the communication because any individual response to the message will not be heard.

The “Pull” nature of inbound marketing evolves in response to the fact that the internet gives every individual a voice. One that can be heard. In such an environment, there’s little profit from preaching: a far more successful strategy is to quietly and generously share and then keep sharing.

Think of it like this: who is more compelling at a party or other social event – the loudmouth braggart or the well-spoken, serenely attractive person? Make no mistake – the web is a party.

And what about small business and Social? As the title of this post suggests, Social as a modus operadi is much bigger than just your company’s communications. It can inform all aspects of operations, from planning to revenue. A Social approach in leadership, management, systems, procedures, and evaluations can lead to epic renovations and exploded profits. When you apply Social to anything you’re doing, you increase the exchange of information, allow input from all available resources, and maximize your company’s potential.

Social is the great frontier, despite our five or six millenia of “civilization” on Earth. Right now, Social is turning marketing on its ear, but implications ripple infinitely farther into all departments. Future posts will look at specific cases of Social at work in small businesses and make suggestions about how you can develop your Social influence.

In the meantime, I’m curious: What is your definition of Social, media or otherwise? Comment please?

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