Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

Category: Twitter (page 2 of 20)

Social media smoke blowers: How to stop them hurting your business

I recently wrote a post asking you what your main marketing challenges were, so I could cover them in future posts.

One of the most common questions, was to do with the ocean of information being offered online, by people claiming to be social media experts. Today’s post is all about how to tell those with genuinely useful information, from the fakes.

Social media smoke blowers

It’s extremely easy for someone with little social media skill, to pretend they are a social media expert. All they need is a blog, a photo of them in front of a screen (looking ‘dynamic’ and preferably wearing a headset) and a few social networking tricks.

Here is a selection of what I have personally experienced from some smoke blowers:

  • I was emailed by the author of a book on how to make money on Facebook, who didn’t know what to do as he’d sold fewer than 100 copies. This social media marketing expert had no idea how to market his book, via social media or anything else.
  • I was called by a social media trainer, who is well known on the speaking circuit. He wanted to know if I had any work I could give him. This guy specialises in telling people how to attract high quality sales leads.
  • I was emailed by a blogger, author and speaker, who wanted to know if I could get her a free version of my blog theme. I explained that it only cost $60 and she told me that times were tough. This same person is selling online courses and ebooks on how to grow a successful business. She offered to repay me, with retweets!

So, how do you tell the genuinely informed experts from the rest, when you are new to social media and seeking to use it effectively for your business?

Protecting yourself from smoke blowers

I believe the best way to protect yourself from taking bad advice is to do a little research first, then apply some common sense.

For example:

  • If the only testimonials they offer are from others, with similar Pinocchio business models, be very cautious. (A Pinocchio business is one, with no visible means of support.)
  • Always remember that the rules of business apply online, just as they do offline.
  • Don’t let their numbers fool you. 100,000 Twitter followers means nothing. You can buy followers. You can buy software to build massive follower numbers. You can just randomly follow thousands of people, get a subset to follow you back, unfollow them all – then repeat until you have a huge following. If someone seems to lack credibility or you think they are promising impossible results, don’t let their social numbers fool you into ignoring your instinct!
  • Someone claiming to be a social media author or radio host/personality, still needs to be checked out:
    • Thanks to self publishing, my 7 year old son can claim to be an author.
    • Oh, and thanks to free services like blogtalk radio, he can claim to be a radio ‘personality’ too.
    • In both cases he would be telling the truth, but it would have nothing to do with his ability to help you improve your social media results!
  • If it seems too good to be true, it almost always is (yes, even on the Internet).

Consider the source

Always check the source of information before you act on it. Never let easy to fake social media numbers or lofty titles fool you into taking damaging advice or get you to part with your money. Not every social media expert or social networking ‘superstar’ is a fake. Some offer useful information, which makes commercial sense and offers a logical return on your investment.

Just be extremely careful of those promising amazing results, with no logical business path.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Pete Page

How to get the wrong kind of attention!

I watched recently, as someone on Twitter asked his followers if they would recommend a blog for him to read. He specifically asked people not to send him a link to their own blog.

I asked him afterwards what feedback he received. He said all, except one person, tweeted a link to their own site.

There were 2 things there, which were of interest to me:

  1. I found it interesting that he would need to ask people not to self-promote.
  2. I also found it interesting that these people were prepared to make themselves look so desperate and needy.

What drives business owners to do that?

So, why does this happen? In my experience, business owners pester you when their marketing isn’t compelling enough to attract your attention. In other words, instead of fixing their marketing so that it’s attractive, they push broken marketing at you.

You see it all the time:

  • When no one is subscribing to their newsletter, they subscribe you to it without your consent, then spam you.
  • When no one is visiting their website or blog, they bombard you on social networks with links to themselves.
  • When no one is calling them, they interrupt you with unwanted cold calls.

Commanding attention works better than demanding it

A more effective approach, is to command attention rather than try and demand attention by being a pest. This means developing marketing, which people will embrace and share. It means having the courage to stand out.

Of course, this requires a change in strategy and tactics, but the upside is huge.

You command attention.

You attract interest.

You capture people’s imagination and gain word of mouth referrals.

You generate opportunities.

Most importantly of all, it works.

Join me on the new Jim’s Marketing Blog Twitter account

If you would like to follow (and be followed) by Jim’s Marketing Blog on Twitter, there is a new, dedicated Twitter account for you. It’s here at @ThisIsJimsBlog.

As I receive so much feedback from Twitter regarding this blog, I wanted a dedicated account where I could not only get your feedback but also follow what you are doing too. Unlike my @JimConnolly Twitter account, which covers everything I do and all the sites I write for, @ThisIsJimsBlog focuses only on this blog, the people who read the blog and their conversations about the topics covered here.

To get involved, simply ‘follow’ @ThisIsJimsBlog and say hi. As soon as I see your message, I’ll follow you back.

I look forward to connecting with you and hopefully, getting to know you a little better too.

Defy reality. Own the planet.

The title of today’s post comes from a slogan, which was used to market an Xbox game called SSX. It makes a very bold statement, designed to appeal to the games target market and create an image, which they will find as irresistible as possible.

Image and marketing

Marketers know that if the image they create is compelling enough, it will result in increased sales. Conversely, when the image a brand creates is negative, sales and inquiries drop like a stone. As a result, it’s wise for us to stop and think about what kind of image we are building in the minds of our prospective clients. That’s what this post is all about.

What image are you creating?

Let’s think for a moment about the way you want prospective clients to feel about you and your business. Now, does your marketing support that image or damage it?

For example:

  • Does the contact page on your website give people a physical address and landline phone number, or do you expect people to trust a stranger, who chooses to hide where they are for ‘some’ reason?
  • Do your tweets and Facebook updates support the image you are trying to build or damage it? (there’s no neutral here.)
  • Does your marketing message build an image people can connect with and trust?
  • When prospective clients read the comments you leave on blogs or in forums, how will it impact the way they think about you?
  • Do you claim to offer a professional service, yet operate behind a dated or poorly designed website?

In short: Consider the image you want to build for your business, then bake that image into all of your marketing and business development activities.

Social Media: How to build a large, valuable network

This post is all about how to build a bigger, more valuable social network.

I recall reading a blog post once, where someone asked, ‘How can I get more followers on social networking sites?’

The blogger replied, ‘Do something worth following!’

This is where your story comes in!

That advice may sound a bit harsh, but it’s absolutely correct. As regular users of social networks already know, the Internet is filled with business owners, talking in an average way about average sounding businesses. As a result, they make very little progress with their social media marketing.

Their challenge is that they tend to focus on looking for strategies or software, which they can use in order to attract more followers – when they should be looking at the story they are expecting people to follow and share.

It’s their story that’s broken!

What’s the story?

Every business and business owner has a story. Your story is built around things like:

  • The product you provide.
  • The quality of your customer service.
  • The attitude of your team.
  • The unique value you bring to your marketplace.
  • My story looks like this.

When we look at the social networking accounts of 99% of businesses in the same niche, we find them saying the same things, to the same people about a service that sounds the same as their competitors. It’s dull. It’s an uninspiring, uninteresting story, which people will not want to embrace or share. People are attracted to (and share) the remarkable, not the bland.

[quote]No matter what social media marketing strategy we use, unless we have a compelling story we will be wasting our time. [/quote]If our social networking updates are just like most other small business owners, we blend into the background. We render ourselves invisible, by simply adding to all the noise on Twitter and Facebook, etc.

So, what’s the answer?

In my experience, the business owners who build the most valuable social networks are those who have something different to say. They have a story or message, which people want to share. They get people talking about them, because they’re worthy of people’s attention. They stand out, because they are not just like the others in their niche. They tell people about what matters to them, knowing it will resonate with the kind of people they want to connect with.

As you know, most business owners on social networks do the opposite. They try to build a large, valuable network by pushing more and more messages out there. They focus on volume not value. They hope that by being busy, their predictable story will spread. Many of them schedule uninspiring messages to go out whilst they are asleep – as if it’s the number of tweets and updates, which is causing the problem.

If you are not seeing the social media marketing results you want, check how compelling your story is. Is it attractive enough to get people talking about you and telling their friends? Are you mirroring what others are doing or are you standing out?

In short: Give your business a story, which people will connect with, embrace and share with their friends.

Do we know you? I mean, the REAL you?

Isn’t technology wonderful?

  • You can automate your Tweets and Facebook updates, so they send your friends messages whenever certain people publish new blog posts.
  • You can use SEO software, which alters the way your blog posts are written, so they are more Google friendly.
  • You can Photo-shop your profile photos, so you look 20 years younger and 20 pounds lighter.
  • You can buy Facebook ‘likes’ and social networking followers, so people think you have more influence than you really have.

In fact, you can do all those things and more, but how much of the real you is left, for people to connect with?

Automation and airbrushes

In the social networking age, the people who capture our attention are those who stand out by being human. The masses camouflage themselves into the background. They are the streams of people you see every day online, yet ignore, because they offer nothing that engages you.

They have made themselves invisible, thanks to automation and airbrushes.

Photo: David DeHetre

9 Posts – 5 of which you probably missed!

I received an email earlier, from a reader who wanted to know why I had only published a handful of posts over the past week.

The reason I found her email interesting, is that over the past 7 days, I have actually published a total of 7 blog posts and 2 articles.

As well as the 4 blog posts published here this week, I have also:

  • Published 3 new blog posts, over on JimConnolly.com.  I call that site a thunky and it’s very different to the material I share with you here on Jim’s Marketing Blog.
  • I published 2 articles on my Creative Thinking site. One is all about so-called ‘idea people’ and the other is about Raising the Bar on your potential. There are dozens of other articles on that site, written exclusively for those of you who are interested in developing your creativity.

So, I thought I’d put this brief post together, for anyone else who isn’t aware of my work on those other sites, in case you’d like to check them out.  I hope you find something useful.

Photo: Katerha

What does your social media activity say about you?

The world is full of mixed messages, and the world of business is no exception.

Photo: Jim Connolly

When someone spam emails us selling their SEO services, it sends us a mixed message. We wonder why they need to send us spam, if their SEO is supposed to be able to generate stacks of sales leads.

When a small business owner claims to offer a professional service, yet they operate behind an amateur or cheap looking website, it sends us a mixed message. We’re left wondering why they either can’t afford a professional site or why they believe quality doesn’t matter.

Mixed messages and confusion

Mixed messages cause confusion and as one of the oldest sayings in marketing assures us, a confused mind always says, ‘No!’ In other words, if a prospective client is confused about making a purchase, they opt for the status quo. Rather than risk making a mistake, they do nothing. This is why it’s vital for your marketing to be free of these toxic, mixed messages.

Thanks to the Internet, it has never been easier for us to show the congruency between what we claim and what we do.

For example:

  • Blogging allows us to share what we know, however, it also provides a way for us to demonstrate our ability to show up regularly, over a long period of time. It provides visible proof that we are knowledgeable, reliable and durable.
  • Then there are our social networking accounts. Facebook and Twitter etc, allow people to gain an insight into what we find useful or valuable. It’s hard to maintain a false front, when people can look back over months or years worth of your updates, as they can with your blog or Facebook.

What does your digital footprint look like?

I’d like you to think for a moment about your website, blog (you are blogging I hope) and your social networking accounts. Now consider the following questions:

  • How do they make you look, through the eyes of a prospective client?
  • If your marketing message is based around offering a professional, high quality service, is that how you look when a prospective client checks you out?
  • Is the general picture created by your online image, congruent with your marketing message or out of sync?

In short: Make sure that your marketing and online image avoids mixed messages, so you create the kind of positive impact your prospective clients need.

Older posts Newer posts