Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Social media marketing (page 19 of 40)

Thousands of followers or engulfed in a massive flock?

If you have lots of followers on social networks and wonder why you get too few high quality business leads from them, this post is just for you!

When I was a child, I was constantly getting in trouble in class for staring out of the window and daydreaming.  Then, 10 years after leaving school, I discovered that most of Einstein’s breakthroughs came the same way; staring out of the window and daydreaming.

A habit the school worked hard to break, was in fact, an asset to me.  It’s how I stitch my thoughts together in order to create ideas.

You and your magic

We know that people think, create and work in different ways.  This uniqueness is something we need to embrace, if we want to achieve more of our potential.  You see, if we get 10 great people and hand them a manual on how to use social media, for example, and they all use it the same way, we end up with 10 clones.  We end up with 10 people doing it by the book.  The very uniqueness that would have allowed them to shine, would have been extinguished.

Yes, learn the basics, but then, go and make some magic happen.  Your magic.

Engulfed within a massive flock

Look around and you will see groups of business owners online, following the same approach as each other.  You can often tell in advance whose posts they will share, who they will name-check and which people they will recommend you follow.  Without knowing it, in an effort to build a bigger following, they simply end up part of a growing flock, doing the same predictable things as one another.

Paradoxically, as their follower numbers and site traffic increases from fellow members of the flock, their individual visibility decreases in direct proportion.  They become less and less relevant, as more people join their flock.  It’s hard to stand out and attract your prospective clients attention, when camouflaged like that.

You can’t influence or lead anyone, without a voice of your own and the courage to share what YOU think.

I get emails regularly, from people with social networks in the thousands and tens of thousands, who get very few business leads.  They see their follower numbers growing and assume they must be influencing people.  They have not yet learned that there is a chasm, between attracting social media followers and building a targeted audience for your unique message.  Anyone with the right software can get 100,000 social media followers.  It takes work that matters, to build a valuable, targeted community around you and your ideas.

Look out of your windows

An alternative approach to being in the middle of a flock, is to look out of the window a lot more and have the confidence to express yourself.

  • Tell us what you think.
  • Show us what you genuinely feel inspired by.
  • Let us know the people who truly inspire you.
  • Be yourself and give us the opportunity to get to know you.

Don’t ruin your chances of connecting with great people and future clients, by hiding the beautiful uniqueness, which makes you, you.

Photo: soham_pablo

Facebook: Changing for the better?

jim connolly facebook

What do you think about the recent changes at Facebook?

Over the past few weeks, Facebook has made some significant changes.  These range from the hook-up with Skype, to the addition of a subscribe feature, allowing you to “follow” people in a similar way to Twitter or Google Plus.  Today, Facebook has changed the way the news feed looks and works, to include both top news as well as the most recent items.

Many people have questioned whether these sudden changes have been made to improve the user experience, or as a reaction to Google+ and the attention it has gained recently.

The challenge with change

In my experience, people generally embrace progress but they dislike change.  They love to see things improve but they value the comfort of familiarity.  So, if a change is made to a product or service, it needs to offer a significant improvement to reward the discomfort of the change.

  • If Facebook has changed significantly with no real benefit, let alone a drop in user experience, it will lose market share.  As we saw with MySpace, no one is too big to fail if they get it wrong.  Additionally, Google Plus now offers an interesting alternative for disgruntled Facebook users.  Interestingly, Google+ today became open to all, with no invite required.
  • If Facebook has changed and improved significantly, it will retain most of it’s current users and attract new users too.  It will also increase user engagement; essential for their monetization model.

Personally, I have found Facebook’s changes to be useful.  Very useful.  Although I am an avid user of Google+ (since day 3 of it’s beta testing), I am connecting and sharing more on Facebook right now, than ever before.  You are very welcome to connect with me on my Facebook Page.

What can we learn from this?

All innovation should be driven by a desire to improve the customer experience or product.  When the marketplace believes that your intention is to make their experience better, they are massively more likely to be receptive.

However, if they think you are in a feature war, where the changes being made are driven by the need to be newsworthy, rather than the desire to improve, they may feel very different.

What leaves your kitchen?

One of the characteristics of the very best Permission Marketing, is that the message is so valuable to you that you would miss it, if it stopped.

I encountered a superb example of this yesterday, when I noticed myself checking a couple of my favourite a number of times, to see if a new post had been published yet.  For the 3rd day running there were no updates and that mattered to me.  I missed it.  My day was less, because their contribution was missing. 

THAT is the way you want people to feel about your blog posts, newsletters and social media updates.  Not as an intrusion, but as a welcomed experience.  BTW: It was an RSS issue and I grabbed all the missing posts, later.

What leaves your kitchen is what matters

A great chef knows that nothing should leave their kitchen, unless it is worthy of them.  In marketing, we need to apply a similar screening process before we press the send or publish button.  We need to think if what we are about to share is likely to add value to those who receive it or not.

If we get that balance right, when we offer our audience a business proposition, they will listen.  We will have earned their valuable attention.

This contribution focused approach is a world away from pestering people with sales pitches.  It’s all about engaging with your marketplace by being seen as a source of value.  Pestering people with sales messages, on the other hand, simply trains them to ignore you!

Photo: geishaboy500

Bloggers: How to write something interesting every day!

If you would like to learn the secret behind those amazing bloggers, who somehow manage to publish interesting content every day, here it is!

Drum roll please…

They have simply figured out that writing is a lot like talking and that talking is easy.  Everyone says something every day that is interesting, to people in their niche.  Prolific bloggers simply write those thoughts down and publish them.

So, unless people tend to fall asleep when you speak with them about your subject, you already have all the content you need.

Some wonderful ideas never become blog posts

A common example of this can be seen when you look at the great comments on social networks, blogs and forums, from people who seldom update their own blogs.  I get comments here often, where the commenter shares an idea or insight, which is as good (sometimes better) than my original post.  I then check their blog out and find it’s had nothing added to it in weeks or months.  They clearly don’t lack ideas for content, they simply choose not to share them as blog posts.

If people listen with interest when you speak, they will read with interest when you write; especially if you just be yourself.

But first, you need to get your ideas out there and in my experience, blogging is the finest possible way to do that.

So, what’s holding you back?

 

Photo: Smile my day

Your blog and doing it your way!

When it comes to developing this blog, I don’t do a lot.

  • I don’t do guest blogging.  I’ve written just 1 guest blog post; when approached by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, to help with American Small Business Week.
  • I don’t write a newsletter.  A growing list of thousands of people, already read this blog via email each day.
  • I don’t attend blog conferences.
  • I don’t use auto-responders.
  • I don’t use SEO software.
  • I don’t use landing page software, either.
  • I don’t use special commenting software.  I object to you having to give your details to some Internet start-up, in order for you to leave a comment here.

However, I do a few things too.

  • I show up here regularly and write.
  • I make my own rules.
  • I reply to every comment, where someone directs their comment to me or mentions me.
  • I write useful posts, rather than great posts.  I’d rather be useful, than a smartass!
  • I write independently.
  • I continuously strive to be of as much service to you as possible.

I am not saying that this is the way to develop a successful blog, because IT ISN’T!  It’s just an insight into my approach.

That’s my point!

Be cautious of anyone telling you that their way is the way or that you need to buy their stuff in order to succeed.  Both are factually incorrect.

Here’s a great place to start: Produce useful content and put it where people will see it.

Are you training people to ignore you?

Do you want your marketing to get noticed?  If you just answered yes, this quick tip may help you.

Did you know that if you send too many marketing messages to your prospective clients, you actually become LESS visible to them?  Being too noisy with your marketing, simply trains people to ignore you.  They switch off.

How to be ignored

Some common ways to train people to ignore you, include:

  • Emailing people with your special offers, too often.
  • Pestering people on Facebook with invites, etc.
  • Sending too many self promoting tweets out on Twitter.
  • Hassling people at networking events.

Just as you ignore pushy people like that, so do your prospective clients.  They learn to filter it out.  In short, the moment your marketing is seen as an intrusion, you’ve lost them!

The same is true if you send messages less frequently, but with repetitive content.  People switch off.  If they think they can guess the content of your message, they have no need to click on, read or open it.  Through kindness, they may still follow you on a social network or stay subscribed to your list, but they’re not listening any more.

A balanced approach

The balance is to send valuable information, with appropriate regularity, to people who want to receive it.

Tip: A great guide to follow if you want to gain or retain the attention of your marketplace, is to only send messages that are of such value, that people would miss them if you stopped.

Photo: eofstr

Attract the attention and respect of your marketplace, with this 1 simple idea!

Every time you follow the flock, you become a little more invisible.  Now, if you are trying to avoid being noticed, that’s a very useful tactic.  However, if you are a business owner seeking to attract the attention of your marketplace, it’s not such a wise move.

Fear as your compass

The more of your original self, which you incorporate into your marketing, the more visible you become.  The challenge here, is that it takes a lot of courage to be yourself and express your own opinions.  It’s far easier to do what the sheep do, by saying nothing original and adopting the beliefs and opinions of the rest of the flock.

In my experience, those who express themselves honestly and those who are too fearful to express what they believe, both use fear as their compass.  Where the difference comes, is in the way they navigate with that compass.

  • Those who feel the need to; join the tribes, use the buzz words, offer “me too” opinions, follow the gurus and express only what they believe will not be challenged, use the fear as a control to stop them expressing their unique opinions.
  • Those who lead the tribes, are copied and respected by the gurus and who express our true opinions, use the fear as confirmation to proceed and do work that matters.

In every case, my greatest victories came when I felt the fear and did it anyway:

  • Setting up my business.
  • Resetting my Twitter account to zero in February 2009, when I was one of the top 50 most followed people in the world on Twitter.
  • Deciding to leave London and move to a beautiful village in the countryside, leaving a great, 6 figure marketing business behind me.
  • … You get the picture.

Your compass.  Your choice

If you believe something you want to do or say is right, yet you are worried that people may disagree with you or question you, you have 2 options.  You can either pull back and get in line with the sheep or you can use that fear as a compass, to guide you into your own unique position in the marketplace.

If you lack visibility right now, I strongly suggest you consider the second of those options.  It might just be that turning point you have been searching for!

More engagement and more fun too!

How do you invest your time, when connecting with people online or publishing content?

I ask this, as over the past week, I made a few minor adjustments to the way I spend my time, which I would like to share with you.  The end result has been extremely valuable and a lot of fun too!

Over the past 7 days, I have probably connected with more people, than in any 1 week period since I started using the ‘net back in 1994.

Here’s what I have been doing

What I did, was to adjust the way I invest my time, so that rather than using it primarily to develop content for this site, I spread it more evenly across a few other activities.

So, as well as writing here, I have really enjoyed blogging for my other site; Internet Marketing Jam.   I also connected with more and more great people over on Google+.  In addition, I have been commenting on other people’s blogs a lot more too; something I love to do, but have not had time for in ages.

I will work on improving my spread of activities again next week…. and the week after.

Photo: zoutedrop

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