This is one of the best articles I’ve seen on blogging. Let me know what you think, and please share your blogging tips.
I found this informative article on 4 steps to integrate social media in your company. Let me know how you are currently using social media in your company.
The following post is featured in SocialMediaToday, written by Stanford Smith.
Smart psychology types have discovered that we are hardwired to pay attention to three things:
1. Stuff that gives us pleasure
2. Stuff that causes pain
3. Stuff that is new
And it works brilliantly.
As a matter of fact, just knowing this little bit of psychology can help you predict the success of your next blog post.
Let’s give it a whirl.
Before you publish your next blog post, ask yourself:
Am I showing my readers how to enjoy something in their lives? Am I bringing a smile to their face? Can I give them a Eureka moment? Will my reader say that the 10 minutes spent with my blog post was fun?
A loud “Yes” means that you are cooking.
On the other hand…
Does your post warn your readers away from something that will harm them? Are you preventing humiliation, heartbreak, emotional or physical trauma? Will your readers thank you for saving them years of hassle and aggravation?
Yes = Success. By the way, most people avoid pain like my son avoids cauliflower. So pain posts are diabolically effective.
Does your post shock or fascinate?
Can you make even the savviest guru stop and notice? Does your post bring down enlightenment chiseled into stone? Or does your prose at least induce a daydream of possibilities?
Don’t worry if you haven’t written one of these 1,000 retweet sizzlers.
These posts are incredibly hard to pull off. Some folks (looking at Seth Godin) can wake up and reinvent sunshine every morning. Mere mortals get a bolt out of the blue, crash the car, and tap out their post one key at a time on their CrackBerry. The tough part is that if you write this post, you are better off giving it away (but that’s another post).
How to Make These 3 Attention-Getters Work for Your Post
Your readers are on the prowl for your information. Make sure you let them know early and often that you know how to deliver it. Do this and your post will get read – guaranteed.
Some quick pointers for the hands-on bunch:
1. List your readers’ most common pain points. Moms have no time for themselves. Dads worry about sacrificing too much. Business owners worry about going bankrupt.
2. Make another list of the stuff that makes your reader smile. Moms love when their children listen. Dads enjoy time teaching their kids what they know. Business owners dream of not worrying about payroll.
3. Put the benefit – avoiding pain or getting pleasure – right in the headline. For example:
“Moms! Here’s a Proven Way to Stop Your Children from Crying at Bedtime”
4. Build your entire post around driving home your point. Be relentless – don’t let your reader off the mat until they have received their full dose of caution or pleasure.
5. When all else fails, just shock the living hell out of your readers with a statement or perspective that challenges their beliefs and up-ends their view of the world.
Make sense? Tell me how you plan to put this to work in your next post.
About Stanford SmithStanford teaches passionate people how to lead spectacular and influential tribes at http://www.PushingSocial.com – Follow him on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/pushingsocial
This is a guest blog post written by Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady. As host of #SmallBizChat, Melinda also publishes the resource blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com and is the author of the national bestseller, Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.
Social media has taken over the internet over the past few years. While it has given people a way to stay connected to friends and family members, it has also given small business owners the opportunity to network strategically and target their specific niche. In order to make the most of your social media marketing activities, it is crucial to make note of the three C’s of social media: content, community, and commerce.
The first C to implement in your social media marketing efforts is content. The currency in social media is value, and that value is created by producing and sharing valuable content. There are lots of ways to create content: You can write blog posts or ebooks, produce audio interviews or podcasts, or offer webinars or short videos, to name a few.
There is no point in using social media to drive traffic to your company’s website if you have nothing new to offer when they get there. Producing fresh content on a regular basis will keep people coming back for more.
Blogging can be a great way to maintain a regular flow of fresh content. If you’re just starting out, here are some useful tips when it comes to launching a blog.
Set up an editorial calendar for your blog to help manage your schedule.
Get into the habit of writing a few posts per week at least three months before your blog goes live. This will result in an archive of blog content you can use to start off with a bang.
Launch your blog with at least 10 articles already posted rather than one lonely post. This will give your readers a taste of your blog’s flavor and what it’s all about.
The next C of social media is community. Social media only thrives because of the people involved. One major benefit of participating in social media is the opportunity to position yourself as key influencer, and a great way to do that is by engaging your audience and building a community.
Put aside the marketing mindset, and be real with people. Your followers and fans want to know and engage with who is behind the content you share in social media. You can’t afford to be one of those people on Twitter or Facebook who is constantly blasting out links to your blog without offering any human interaction. It’s important to instead create a two-way dialogue with your followers and fans and foster social experiences.
For example, I use Twitter to convene small business owners weekly. I host a tweetchat each Wednesday from 8 to 9 PM ET called #Smallbizchat, during which I provide a guest expert and my audience comes to learn and interact with each other. It works because I’m offering valuable content as well as discussion and engagement.
If you want to succeed in social media, you have to get out there and build a network. The more social and interactive you are, the better your chances at building a powerful social media brand will be. Social media is a great way to build relationships on and offline. The biggest form of flattery online is when others share your content. Therefore, I use a 4:1 ratio of sharing others’ content over my own.
Some other ideas for building community with others include:
Posting on forums, commenting on blogs, or connecting with new prospects across your social media footprint.
Connecting with contacts you have on LinkedIn on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, too.
Guest blogging for other blogs or offering opportunities for others to guest blog for you.
The world is yours to interact with and build community.
The final C of the puzzle is commerce, which is a bit trickier than you may think. In a nutshell, people do business with people they like, know, and trust. In person, it takes three interactions before you can make a strong enough impact that will allow you to cultivate a sale. On the internet, it takes seven interactions to build a relationship that will result in commerce.
Obviously, the ultimate goal of social media marketing is to generate web traffic, qualified leads, and sales. But what makes social media so appealing is the fact that it is laid back and “social.”
Be careful about not being too promotional; no one wants to be sold to. In order to succeed as your own boss, first you need to warm up the prospect by attracting them with high quality content. Then you need to engage them through direct interaction.
Ask and answer questions. As soon as you’ve gained their trust and respect, you can approach them about business, but you should only talk about business in terms of the solutions you provide and the results clients have had from working with your business.
Do you have any other tips on social media marketing?
This is a guest post written by Tammy Kahn Fennell, CEO and co-founder of MarketMeSuite. MarketMeSuite now has thousands of users and a fast-growing global customer base of small businesses and consultants.
As more and more users flock to social media, small businesses must find a way to use these channels to reach their target markets. It can often seem daunting to cut through the social media clutter; however with these 5 strategies, you’ll be well on your way to social media marketing success.
1. Narrow Your target
For small businesses, it’s important to connect with people in your geographic area, especially if you are a brick and mortar operation. Targeting your social media posts to a specific area or keyword set ensures that you are only interacting with viable leads.
There are hundreds of thousands of status updates getting published every minute, so cutting through the clutter has to be a top priority. Start small. Start out familiarizing yourself with tools like search.twitter.com, and you can eventually move on to using a more business-specific tool like CoTweet or Hootsuite.
2. Be Proactive
If you simply assume that “if you tweet, they will come,” you may be waiting for a long time. You need to find out who you should be interacting with and go after those people. Join Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, check out PeerIndex.net lists on your genre, and look at a person’s Twitter Grader score. There are so many tools out there whose sole mission is to make it easier to target your exact customer, so make use of them.
3. Some Automation Is Bad
When you’re having conversations with potential customers, you need to be real. Spam is one sure-fire way to turn people off. You want to start a conversation with qualified leads, and grow that conversation organically. You don’t need 500 people a day to respond to you. Instead, having 5 or 10 qualified leads will add much more to your bottom line.
Does this mean you can’t streamline the process? Of course not! Some automation is okay. For example, scheduling updates, pulling in from your RSS feed, these are all great time savers. It’s fine to even have a few templates ready to reply when you see people tweeting or posting on Facebook about something, but never automate the interaction because the results could be incredibly embarrassing.
Back in the day when these sorts of apps were allowed by Twitter, I tried an app for my antiques business that would automate replies without human interaction. I set it to look for a rare German figurine, and asked it to send them a specific tweet if they found it. Since I was not manually reviewing the matches, I had no idea that the same name of this German figurine was also a well-known Pokemon character. I had a lot of confused people @replying me. Templates are fine (there’s only so many ways you can answer a certain question) but make sure you’re reviewing who you are replying to!
4. Don’t Miss the Giant Gorilla
As a SME owner, you are expected to wear a lot of hats. When your social media hat comes off for a little while, you don’t want to leave your followers with nothing. Schedule some helpful posts for your followers, fans, and group members to read while you’re busy doing other things, but never leave them hanging for too long.
Social media is a great way to field a lot of customer requests, support, and even research. Set up searches for keywords related to your brand and put in the time to handle requests daily. Just make sure you set up enough ‘nets’ so you never miss the ‘giant gorilla’ in your business.
Because social media conversations happen in real time, you can usually put out a spark before it becomes a full fledged fire, often in 140 characters or less!
5. Give Others Credit
There are so many collaboration opportunities in social media. Retweeting is a great way to show your followers you have your finger on the pulse of your industry, but a big mistake is just posting a load of unattributed feeds as your own. You should always give credit to the original author of what you’re tweeting. First, it shows your users you’re monitoring the field and curating some great content for them. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a great way to get the attention of the person whose content you are pushing. You can start a lot of great strategic partnerships with a simple “RT.”
Key Marketing Takeaway:
Social media sites are exploding with users. As a savvy business, you can focus your efforts and concentrate on creating interactions that will help turn the social media noise into traffic which converts.
For a business without a lot of time or a very large marketing budget, social media is a great place for a targeted interaction to become a viable lead.
In the 1990s, the internet was a bunch of banners and brochures. Now we have social networks, which allow for much richer two-way interactions. Instead of just signposts on the web, we have the opportunity to build outposts where people can be seen and heard. Here’s my advice on how to use both tools effectively.
Your main site is your home base
There are two things your website should do well: execute a solid call to action and give people a way to connect with you further. Stop reading this article for a moment and bring up your own site. If you squint at it–or if I squint at it–will either of us know what you want me to do next? If not, fix it. That’s your first opportunity to do business with me. No matter how complex your business, your site should give visitors a really clear and obvious action to take.
Second, how easy have you made it for me to contact you? That’s your second chance to get my business. Rethink your contact options.
The purpose of a great home base is that people who talk with you on the various social networks will feel warm and comfortable about taking the next steps with you. Most people’s websites are cluttered, making it unclear what users are supposed to do next. Yours will be different once you have the top two items in hand.
Top social media accomplishments reported by small businesses in 2010
59 percent Identifying and attracting new customers
61 percent Developing a higher awareness of the business in a market
63 percent Staying engaged with customers
Social networks are outposts
If you think of social networks as places where things other than your business happen, then you’re starting to get how this all works. People aren’t there to find you. They’re there for their own purposes. Your job is to have an outpost there and to listen, so that when someone expresses a need you can address, you’ll have the ability to start a relationship. This is what I mean by talking signs. Your outpost shouldn’t just contain a bunch of witty advertising. Your Facebook page should consist of more than well-crafted offers.
The real win is in making relationships that stick. At the outposts, the goal is not to talk about yourself and your offers. It’s about engaging with others, making relationships and being accessible, should the need arise. Some tips:
- Set up Google Alerts to search on not just your company and product name, but also to pinpoint ways people might identify a problem that your product or service can solve.
- Use Twitter Search to do the same using Twitter.
- Talk with others about their interests long before you talk about your company.
- When you take on new customers, ask if you can follow them on Twitter and suggest they “like” your Facebook page. Invite them to communicate with you through these outposts.
- Spend 30 minutes a day for two weeks working on these spaces. Eventually, 30 minutes won’t be enough time, but for now it’s a good way to start.
In last month’s column, I talked about bridging your company’s on- and offline presence. These talking signs are my way of helping you bridge social networks to your main website of preference. With all this connectivity, your efforts to communicate and build relationships will translate to business faster. It’s how I do what I do, and it can work for you.