We get this question quite often, “How do I create a personal brand or be seen as a thought leader in my industry?” Usually I know the answer they are hoping for. They want to hear, “Just post a few things a week on any social media channel and you will get asked to speak for thousands and make millions selling the wonderful services you offer.” If you want to build authority and create a personal brand, it will not happen quickly… and it definitely won’t involve pushing an easy button!
Everyone wants to be a thought-leader (even if that phrase makes many want to throw up a little in their mouth) but few will actually do the work that it takes for people to think of them first when it comes to solutions in their industry. Who is the person that comes to mind when you think of wellness? Business growth? Sales? Leadership? Now the question is, what made you think of this person? Did they write a book on the topic? Several books? Have you heard them talk about this topic over and over again? Have they been sharing content on this topic over a period of time? You don’t have to be THE expert or authority on a topic to get in the conversation and keep showing up.
Becoming the go-to-person or authority on a subject doesn’t happen over night. It doesn’t happen in a couple of months. It takes repetition and time. It also takes sharing your original ideas and your opinions and unique take on what is happening in your industry. This can include what others are talking about but it is coming from your unique perspective. Here are 5 steps to create a personal brand and be seen as a thought leader in your industry:
Define your topic.
Did you notice I didn’t say TOPICS? There are so many who claim to be experts in 87 different topics. They are an expert in communication… and leadership… and customer service… and ethics. I get it, you have lots of interests. You may even be like me, owning two very different businesses– a digital marketing agency and a coworking space. But if I start telling you I am an expert in ethics and sales and wellness, you won’t believe me. There is no way I have the time to become the authority in all of those areas… no matter how great I think I am at multi-tasking!
If you are an expert in leadership, what type of groups have you led? Perhaps you create helpful content around leaders in the non-profit arena, or leaders in the hospitality industry. The more specific you can be, the easier it is for you to create lots of great content that people in that industry will seek out. This doesn’t mean that people outside of this niche won’t find it helpful as well. It just means you are the go-to-person for leadership in this specific area.
Choose your format.
Do you love to write? Are you comfortable in front of a camera? Maybe audio format is more your style. You should make a goal of creating one piece of unique content at least once a week. It could be a blog post, a video tip, or a podcast. This single piece of content is then shared across your social network and even converted into different formats. We often take a video that a client makes and get it transcribed to turn into a blog post and then pull the audio to load into a podcast.
This might be where you start saying, “I don’t have time to create weekly content,” and that’s ok. Just don’t also say you want to be seen as a leader in this area. Don’t be that person who longs to be seen as an expert or thought leader but doesn’t want to put in the work. You can carve out 1-2 hours a week to create thought-provoking content in the format that fits you best. You can hire an assistant or a marketing agency to then magnify that message in several ways, but that first piece has to come from your intellectual property… or inside your head.
Answer YOUR public.
There is a website called Answer the Public that we use to see what questions people are searching for online. This helps us determine what content to write about. This concept is where you start to create content. Answer YOUR public. What questions do clients and potential clients search for on Google? What do they ask you when you are speaking to them? If you can’t think of at least 10 frequently asked questions that your potential customers are searching for, you may need to spend more time learning about your true customer.
Make a list of these FAQs and then one by one, create content answering them. Don’t tell us what everyone else is telling us. Tell us what you think. Tell us why you agree with the masses or why you absolutely don’t. Give it to us straight and don’t use corporately jargon and pithy statements that sound like a brochure. I hate it when I read a blog post and the person is telling me such obvious information that I leave feeling as if I wasted my time. When a leadership blog tells us to focus on being more authentic but doesn’t give specific and unique ways to do it, we want to shout, “Where’s the Beef?”
Being an authority doesn’t mean you know it all. It means you are out in front, learning, consuming all you can about your topic, and sharing your knowledge along the way. Do you listen to podcasts in your industry niche? What do you read to ensure you are staying involved in the latest trends and happenings for your business? I am always surprised when I ask people what they listen to or read to stay up on the latest news or trends in their industry and they can’t think of anything. Whether or not you are working to be seen as a leader in your industry, you’d better be learning, or you will become extinct!
There are podcasts and blogs on every topic under the sun, and if you find an area you cannot find one in your specific niche… you’d better be starting one ASAP! I start my day listening to shortcasts from my Alexa device while I make my coffee and feed the dogs, and then I listen to a few podcast episodes while I get ready and drive into work each morning. Do you pop in and join the conversations on Clubhouse or Twitter’s Spaces? These are all great ways to learn and to join in and start voicing your opinions. You don’t have to host the discussion to join in.
Keep showing up!
As I said in the beginning this will not happen over night, but when you are using today’s social media tools, it happens much faster than it used to. If you simply show up every day sharing tips, tools, resources, and your voice, people will start to listen…and follow you! The more you show up and focus your discussions around your topic, the more people will begin to associate you with that topic.
Can you think of other tips that you have used or that someone else has used to stay out front in your industry? We’d love for you to share here…and to give us your opinion! 🙂
We know, you’ve heard it over and over the past year: COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way that businesses and organizations interact with current, and future, customers. Businesses shifted their marketing strategies to digital means (in particular email marketing!) to reach out and stay connected with customers, and email and social media became the main channels to inform people about new business hours, virtual opportunities, virtual events, and more.
So, since COVID is showing no immediate signs of slowing down, how do the changes you pivoted to in 2020 shape the way you’ll go about email marketing in 2021? Here are some things that we think you should keep in mind as you plan out your email marketing strategy for the year.
#1: Email is by far the most effective online marketing tool
We all know that the algorithms that social media platforms use (we’re looking at you Facebook) are always changing and can be murky and hard to understand. Email marketing gets you directly into the inbox of your customer, so you don’t have to worry about some unknown algorithm affecting your ability to market to your potential customers. In fact, active email accounts surpassed 5.6 billion in 2019, and that number that is surely expected to grow into 2021 and beyond.
Additionally, social distancing forced customers to go online to view or purchase products and services, leading to an increase in sign-ups for email newsletters. Take advantage of this trend by setting up landing pages so your customers can easily sign up to join your email list.
#2: Make sure your content is engaging and authentic
Ok, so you’ve gotten those new email newsletter sign ups, now what do you include in your newsletter? The content in your email needs to be eye-catching and relate to the customer. You must be offering something valuable to the person reading it, but also creating a connection for that reader to your business. Think of it this way- you’re trading your email for your subscriber’s time. Someone took the time to open your email (because the title was SO CREATIVE!) so make sure you’re giving them the value they are looking for to “make it worth their while.”
Before you start creating your content for your email, stop and think about how you are helping your customers succeed- what does the product or service that you’re offering them DO? Does it help them save time? Help them feel connected to a community? What problem is your business helping them solve? Also be sure that your email content tone and personality accurately reflects your brand and will resonate with the email receiver.
#3: Personalize and automate your emails
Building on #2, the biggest advantage to email marketing is the ability to personalize AND automate. You can send targeted emails to each subscriber- making each one feel special. Take the time to think about the user experience from your customers side, and what they are looking for when they visit your website. Use any feedback from customers to consider how to target and create customized content more effectively. Knowing your customers’ journey and gaining insight on the customer by collecting data like demographic information, individual likes/dislikes, feedback on your company and it’s offerings can only strengthen your ability to send targeted and personalized emails that will encourage your customers to take action. Emailing your customer an offer that doesn’t resonate with who they are is a surefire way to get them to unsubscribe.
Automation of your emails, also known as drip campaigns, are also a great way to ensure the emails your customer is receiving are relevant and timely. The last thing people want to see in their inbox is a useless or uncalled for email. Drip emails usually perform better than regular emails since they are triggered by specific actions taken by the customer. Drip campaign emails create a “friendlier” vibe and aren’t overwhelming- all the emails come in “drips,” so the customer is getting the exact information they want.
In 2021, it’s likely that this trend in an increase in e-commerce purchases and email signups will continue. Make sure you stay one-step ahead and take these few ideas into consideration, as well as think about emerging trends (such as paid-newsletters) that could help brighten up your email marketing.
Here at SocialKNX, once you have someone in your content universe, we can help you grow that budding relationship! Whether it’s setting up welcome emails, nurture sequences, or sending monthly love letters that continue to build that connection, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your email marketing in 2021.
When we grew up our parents worried if we stayed out past the streetlights or they feared us doing something stupid and the next-door neighbors finding out.
Today we have bigger things to worry about with our kids (and our businesses) online. Reputation and brand management starts very early! Instead of worrying about what the neighbors will think, we need to worry about what the world will think when Google finds out! What will job recruiters, future customers, and college admissions counselors think when they check out our social media channels? I have 4 kids, all grown thankfully, and as my kids were growing up in the new digital age, I was constantly teaching them how to keep a clean digital footprint. I taught them (and their friends) early about the importance of having positive content showing up when someone Google’s their name. If you have nothing out there on the web (hard to do these days) and then one negative thing is posted, it’s very hard to dilute that. When you have 20 positive articles or posts about the good things you are doing, the one negative thing get’s folded in and it’s less painful. I’ve had directors and heads of organizations who have no blog posts, media interviews, or any trace of their existence online and then someone writes a negative article about them… that stings.
Last month I got a call from a father asking if he could hire us to help his son who got into some social media trouble. I explained that we were neither a crisis management firm nor a group of attorneys but I’d be happy to offer any help I could. The entire family came in. The son and a few friends had created a mean-spirited (and plain STUPID) social media account that they thought was anonymous. They posted some mean posts about a few other students and then as if that wasn’t stupid enough, they each liked the posts from their personal accounts. This family wanted to know how they could take down all of the posts that people were spreading. Well, lesson one is, nothing is private…NOTHING! Someone told someone and screenshots were taken and spread around with their names with petitions to get all students to write to the college admissions offices that each of the boys was heading off to. The boy who sat in front of me had been awarded a full-ride scholarship for sports. Lesson two, once it’s out there… IT’S OUT THERE! I used to say, “Once you tweet, you can’t delete” but it really is “When meanness is spread, your reputation is DEAD… almost!”
I wanted to put them all on the “naughty bench” for a 5-year time out! First, what teen hasn’t been taught the lessons of online management by the time he or she is in high school? Second, what parent doesn’t stay involved in the tools of the day so they can advise and teach their children how to use them wisely. It really does have to start when kids are in grade school. Perhaps earlier. After I lectured that boy as if he were my own son, I told them the sad truth… you can’t remove it. The posts and retweets are out there. I advised him to stay out of trouble, spend the next 6 months doing community service, and find new friends.
Today’s youth have grown up social. They have their own YouTube channels and Facebook pages by the time they are 10 (or younger). Some have blogs and websites before junior high. They manage complex social circles and post photos of themselves and their friends EVERYWHERE. Their parents are also blogging about them, sharing embarrassing photos with others on Facebook, and posting videos of little Johnny playing the tuba in the school play on YOUTUBE (usually not in a channel or set to private because mom and dad haven’t figured out how to do that). One study commissioned by security company AVG found that 92% of infants have an online presence by the time they are TWO! Moms post sonograms and infant pics all over their networks.
In business, we want to know where our name and our company brand is being talked about, and we even have tools to find out and manage our brands. You can set up Google Alerts, and use services like Brand Mention to send you notices when your name (or keywords) are mentioned in blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other places. What about for your kids? Don’t be naive and assume they are not using any of these tools. If they are old enough to text message or type on a computer (approximately age 2 these days), they are creating Google tracks.
Remember a brand isn’t just about the information YOU put out there. It is what your customers and others say about you out there. When I say Walmart, what is the BRAND IMAGE you get? Low cost, cheap, yellow happy face-dude? When I say Comcast or any other cable company, what is the BRAND IMAGE you get? And that doesn’t come from what they are saying out there…it comes from what others are saying about them. When was the last time you Googled your name? Your company’s name? Your KIDS names? Do it…with them sitting right next to you…so you can have these conversations. Don’t only check web results, but check images, videos, etc.
The fear of having one’s kids show up in ANY Google search can send chills of fear down the spine of most parents and cause many to pull internet cables out of the house altogether, but we can’t cripple our children by not allowing them to build a positive brand for themselves online either (after all your child just might become a gazillionaire for creating the next Facebook or Shopify). NOW is the time to teach them about reputation management and a safe online presence. Now is the time for YOU to learn about the importance of online brand management and reputation building.
If nothing shows up when you search your name or your company’s name (aside from the website that you hopefully have with the same domain), what can you do to change that so positive posts and threads of your brilliance show up in searches? If you have a common name, what can you do to capitalize on your product or service brand? Perhaps starting that blog you’ve been talking about would give you enough regular Google tracks that you can rise to the top of your name search! Offer to write articles or blog posts (pretty much the same thing these days depending on where it is shared) on other people’s websites or magazines. Creating content in any form (video, audio, written) on a regular basis and sharing it, will help you begin to build and influence the brand you’d like to have.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and any tips on how you keep your kids safe, while still allowing them to utilize the tools of their generation. If you don’t have young children in this digital age category…LUCKY YOU! What advice would you give those who do (it is usually the child-free who give the best advice to parents 🙂
With so many tools available to leave Google tracks around town or around the globe, we must be intentional to build positive reputations and avoid any negative press. After all…what would your neighbor’s think?
As always, let me know if I or the team here at SocialKNX can help you and your organization use today’s technology tools to build your business and manage YOUR brand!
What Will Happen To Your Social Media Accounts When You Die?
We never want to talk about death or dying but we know it could happen at any moment, and today we need to plan more than just who will get our eclectic collection of birdhouses, and treasured lasagna recipes when we are gone. While I have always joked that I will keep tweeting and posting on Facebook from heaven when I am gone, this is a serious matter. Many of us have known someone who passed away and their Facebook profile became a memorial page, or after someone dies, Facebook keeps wanting you to invite the deceased to LIKE your business page or LinkedIn continues to suggest them as a connection to those in their network. This doesn’t have to happen.
When my two daughters were younger, we had made a pact about knowing how to get into each others’ social media accounts should anything tragic happen to either one of us. My daughters now work for me here at SocialKNX and we still talk about this. They know my password formula and I know theirs. When they were younger we took iit one step further and wrote our passwords to each account on an index card and placed it in an envelope—I told the girls, they could seal theirs and sign their name across the back so they would be assured that I wouldn’t use it for evil should I snap one day and turn all Mommy-Dearest on them. That was almost 10 years ago, and while we still know each other’s passwords, our social channels have gotten more complex and I have now given it a lot more thought, even thinking of my other family members who use social media even occasionally.
Social media is an integral part of many of our lives and we have information on multiple channels—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Google, WordPress, About.me, Rebel Mouse, MySpace, and the list goes on and on. IF something were to happen to you or a loved one, your personal information could be exposed to identity thieves or just creepy spammers and people that start leaving random or hurtful messages on an abandoned profile. You can decide how long you want a person’s profiles to remain open to allow friends to post thoughts and comments, but there will come a time when you might want to shut them down or memorialize the account. Facebook allows us (while we are living) to go into our SETTINGS in the GENERAL tab and choose to allow a friend or family member to MEMORIALIZE our account after we are gone. So, as you plan for your physical assets, take some time to make a social media plan, or as many are calling it today, a social media or digital will. We found a few templates that you can use if you are a do-it-yourselfer. Here is one from RocketLawyer.com.
Here are 6 things to do while you are still alive and posting:
Make a list of all of your social media accounts. You may need to Google your name and dig a bit to find them all, if you’re like me and sign up for lots of services and social profiles, you’ve got a bit of work to do. Encourage your entire family to do the same. Include those old accounts that you may have already abandoned. You should close accounts you are not using and add all accounts to a master list. It is better to get your digital afterlife in order now rather than burden your family with this task later. This is a good opportunity to do a bit of clean up that needs to be done anyway.
Designate someone as your digital beneficiary. Now it’s time to have “the talk” with your kids, a spouse or a close friend. Let them know that you would like them to be in charge of your digital afterlife. This might mean simply going into your Facebook Settings and designating that person as your “Legacy Contact” as they call it. Unfortunately, your LinkedIn account does not have this setting and it remains active until you choose to Inactivate it or someone reports to LinkedIn that you died. LinkedIn does not delete inactive accounts so you may be requesting connections long into the afterlife! This is always disturbing to the connections and suggested connections who continue to see your profile. Tell your digital beneficiary what you would like done with each of your accounts and where they can find your password document after you are gone.
Create a central password document. Write your passwords to each account you are keeping open and be sure to update this if you change them along the way. Whether this is kept in a secured folder on your computer, or printed and kept in a lockbox, just be sure you have directions on where to find this and how to gain access should you not be here to tell someone where to look.If you have random social accounts that you don’t remember the passwords to, this is the time to try and recover them. It’s a pain, but better now that cause hurt to loved ones who find something posted after you are gone or get a notification. Our family has always kept a file with sealed envelopes containing our passwords. And if you or your kids are really concerned about someone in your home getting into it, do like we did and sign your name across the envelope so you can see if it has been jeopardized, or better yet, place them all in a lockbox or safety deposit box. It may seem silly now, but these are important issues when you are gone.
If you have a blog, decide what you want to do with your content. If you leave the blog, perhaps you have someone who will take over or you may want to turn off the ability to comment to prevent spammers from running wild. Some say they have created a “Last Post” that they want to be loaded after they are gone. Just give thought to how you want to say goodbye to the fans and followers of your blog.
Set up an INACTIVE ACCOUNT PLAN with Google. This covers your Gmail, Blogger accounts, YouTube, Google My Business, and more. If your account is inactive for 3 months (or a time period that you determine), a designated person will be notified with information on how they can access your content. You can also set it to simply DELETE all of your accounts if you are abducted by aliens and your accounts become inactive!
Let your family members know about this plan. Just like becoming an organ and tissue donor, just because you want something done, doesn’t mean it will happen this way if you haven’t talked to your loved ones about how to carry out these wishes. If you have a written will or advanced directives, be sure to add in a “social media” clause to take all of this into consideration.
The bottom line is, we have created digital footprints all over the place and when we are gone, we want to make sure we leave things as tidy and manageable as possible for our loved ones.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you done anything to plan what you want done with your social channels after you are gone, and tweeting in heaven? We’d love for you to share your thoughts with us.
If you need help managing all of this while you are ALIVE, we can certainly help you with that as well. Contact us today.
When we hear the word BRAND, images may pop into your head of the Starbucks mermaid, that Smiling “A” that means Amazon or the little Apple with a bite out of it. These are such recognizable brands, that there is no question what they are “known for.” How did they do it? How do we become “known” for something?
The first thing to realize is your brand is not necessarily what you say about yourself or your company–although you can absolutely help shape it. Just because you put something on your website or social media bio, doesn’t mean that others will believe you. You have to prove it… and have others share that same proof for you.
Your brand is what others say or feel about you. You may say you are an expert in the real estate arena, the animal photography industry or in Italian women’s shoes (in which case you and I should be best friends), but if you aren’t putting out some sort of content or product that people talk about, share or otherwise come in contact with, your desired brand will have a tough time becoming known.
WHO ARE YOU?
To begin crafting and influencing your personal or professional brand you have to start by identifying what you want to be known for. Notice I didn’t say what you are good at. Many of us have talents or skills that we don’t even want people to know about. My ability to train dogs to roll over and do the moonwalk is not a skill I am ever going to want to be “known for.”
Perhaps we don’t enjoy doing something, or we have “squiggled” or pivoted on to a new career track. We have to start by creating a list of skills and attributes that you want people to associate with you and your brand. When people are talking to their friends or co-workers and one of these topics come up, you want them to say, “I know who’s an expert at this” or “I know who you need to talk to.”
WHO or WHAT ARE YOU BECOMING?
Now, what are the skills you’d like to be known for but haven’t yet mastered? Is there an area you’re developing? This is important when you’re starting over, re-entering the workforce, or making a pivot in your career. Don’t minimize these skills and don’t wait until you have that proverbial 10,000 hours of expertise before you start to weave it into your branding plan. Finish this sentence:
I am becoming ___________.
Starbucks started out as a coffee roaster and BECAME the “third place” for people to come and hang out. Lululemon started out as a maker of surf and skateboard shorts and BECAME synonymous with yoga-pants. The Knot started by writing articles for unique and counter-culture wedding ideas and then BECAME the go-to planning site for all things “wedding!” What are you becoming?
START BEFORE YOU’VE ARRIVED
When you are working in a new area and BECOMING the expert or resource, you want to share this journey with the world. Jump into the conversation. Share what you are learning and doing. If you are launching a product, bring us along on your journey to involve us in your process. We love to come along when someone is learning, growing, and going somewhere we want to go as well. If I am on that same journey or wanting to begin, your content will inspire and educate me, even if you have not “arrived.”
I know you can’t get great until you get started, so the longer you wait to begin, the longer it will take for you to get great. Start. Learn all you can, and share the nuggets of learning along the way.
WHO WILL YOUR BRAND REACH?
The next step is to understand who your brand wants to reach. Who is that ideal person that will connect and “get you?” This is important because it will shape HOW you share your expertise and brand attributes. Go beyond the “what gender, age, and income level define my ideal client.” Dive into the psychographics as well. What is your ideal customer interested in? What do they hate? What are the things your ideal customer would be doing during the day? How about on weekends? What does he or she read or watch on television? Where do you think she shops? How about online? What problems does she have that you can help her with? What are her pain and frustration points?
This may seem unnecessary, but it is so important to get this right. If you try and create content for everyone, you will create content for no one. The more targeted you can be with your products, services, or content, the easier it is to attract the right audience and the greater loyalty someone will have for you.
WHAT WILL YOU CREATE AND SHARE?
Content comes in so many forms. Written articles, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, webinars. What will you create to solve a problem for that ideal person you identified earlier? If you need a starting point, simply write down the top FAQs your ideal customer would be asking Google, SIRI, or Alexa. Now take each of those questions and answer them in different formats—blog posts, articles on other websites, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, etc.
Be sure to stay focused on your overall goal for your brand. This doesn’t mean you can’t share any other content on your social sites or that you can’t be involved in other side projects, but if someone you don’t know, looks at your body of work, can they tell what your area of expertise is? If you suddenly post political rants or lots of information on other topics, it begins to dilute or pollute your brand. Do a self-audit. Scan down a page of your social media channels. What would someone say you were known for if they looked at it? Would YOU follow YOU?
WHERE WILL YOU SHARE IT?
Today there are so many channels to share your content. You can share your content on websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and Podcast channels and so many more. The question is often, “Do I need to be on all of them?” Absolutely not. I like to say, “Choose one and NAIL IT, before you decide to SCALE IT!” Select the social channels that you believe your audience is most active on. If you’re not sure, there are ways to do a bit of research first.
Look across the different social channels and search for your peers, competitors, and customers. Where do you find them hanging out? Are there groups they are participating in? Search industry and conference hashtags on each channel. This can pull up content that can help you discover where you might want to be found as well.
Start with one or two social channels and be consistent. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you can’t keep up with it. Sharing and participating on social media channels is more than just blasting your content out to the world. It requires you to participate in the community as well. Comment on the content of others. Ask questions in groups or share your expertise there when others ask questions. It’s the “social” part of social media.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO HAVE CONTENT OUT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?
This is another common question. There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but there is a direct correlation between frequency and the number of people who will be drawn to your content. Obviously, if the content is not good, people won’t share it or want to consume it, but even good content produced once ever 3-6 months is not going to do you much good if you are trying to establish a brand.
Many people want to be known like Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Marie Forleo, or Adam Grant, but they don’t want to do the work those people do when it comes to creating and sharing content. The people who are considered thought leaders in their industries are sharing video content, blog posts, writing books, newsletter content, podcasts, and everything in between.
Start with a goal to write or create one piece of good content per week. This can be you answering a question or giving your opinion on a topic that has come up at work or in the news. Work to create a habit to write or record something every day, even if it doesn’t get published or used. By doing this daily, you will begin to get better and you will end up sharing more content more often, and in turn, you will become known for this.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME?
I get it. We’re all busy and our time is more limited than ever. This is why it’s hard to become a “thought leader” or well-known brand. If it were easy, everyone would do it. To stand out requires sacrifice somewhere. You can hire someone to do the writing and sharing for you (hint hint…that’s what we do at SocialKNX), or you can put in an extra hour each morning or each evening to do what others won’t do.
You can sacrifice evening television time for writing time. You can trade a couple hours of sleeping in on the weekends and get up to work on your personal or professional brand. When someone asks, where they should spend their time, my answer is, “it depends.” I can tell you where NOT to spend your time. Don’t waste it watching television. Don’t waste it attending meetings you don’t have to be in (don’t even get me started on this one).
Become a high productivity content creator. While you are waiting in lines, at appointments, at soccer practice, pull out your phone or notebook and jot down ideas. I love using Evernote for this. I have notebooks in there for podcast guest ideas, blog post ideas, Alexa and Google Briefing tips to create. When I sit down to create I don’t have to waste time thinking of ideas.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Now it’s your turn. What will you create to begin crafting that brand? What are you BECOMING? I’d love to hear in the comments below or on any social channel. Connect with me –> @GinaSchreck on any social channel and tell me what you are becoming. I can’t wait to hear!
I have a friend who would never allow people to pop in or come over if her house was not perfectly clean and orderly. She had two small children and she said she didn’t want people to see the mess. I always laughed and told her, if that were true for me, I would never have a visitor, announced or not.
There are some businesses that can’t allow people to pop in on them for fear they may see something less than perfect as well. They want everything well scripted and professionally produced before they will allow the world to stop by on their social media channels. They don’t like live-streaming for fear of being imperfect and some don’t even like allowing comments from fans on social media channels for fear of what they might post.
The problem with social media is it should be more… SOCIAL! It is “in-the-moment,” spontaneous, and yes…sometimes MESSY. If your team is waiting for approvals and meetings to take place before a response or post can go up, and you can’t share or ReTweet something from someone else’s profile because it was not screened ahead of time, your brand will struggle to be “social.” Social media is the place to let your audience peek behind the curtain and see how your products are made, your books are written, your team learns together, and how you play.
Some still think social media marketing is best for B2C businesses, but the reality is whether you are a B2B or a B2C, we are all in P2P relationships. Person to Person. We want to connect as one person sharing and providing value to another person. People like to see who they are dealing with at another business. They also want to connect with real people.
Like inviting a new friend over for coffee, social media in a B2B or B2C environment allows you to get closer and begin building the trust needed to establish a relationship. While people may not want to become “besties” with their cell phone provider, they do like to know they have someone there that cares and can help answer questions when they have one.
When I started researching for this post, I found a few B2B companies that were doing an amazing job with their ability to be social and show a human side to a rather technical industry, and of course I found a few that should close their social windows, draw the shades & sit quietly until people pass by.
Let’s take a look at a few good and bad examples of businesses on social media:
AGCO offers a full line of tractors, combines, and other agriculture equipment. They sell to distributors who sell to the end-user (farmer or rancher). You may think an equipment company would have no place on social media sites, but you’d be wrong. This company and their 5 brands are connecting and having real conversations with their distributors, fans and those seeking answers about the equipment.
What they share:
Lots of informational and helpful tips mixed with fun and more playful or personal photo posts. One that I found showed the spontaneity and fun. (Rainbows don’t wait for a committee to approve them.).
What social sites they are active on:
They have a WordPress Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and my favorite was their YouTube channel. They have an incredible collection of educational and informative videos (thousands of videos!) from their own team as well as from their community members.
What we can learn from them:
Provide as much information and helpful content as possible and be where your customers are to answer their questions. Be casual and conversational. Allow your community to be involved in teaching others about your products or services.
The Funeral Industry
This industry is one that you might shudder to think of on social media, but when you consider the fact that at least most of us, will need to secure the services of a funeral home sooner or later (hopefully much later), some make it a very “lively” social experience on their pages and profiles. Most funeral homes are very active in their communities and one, that shares great information as well as these fun community event photos, is Bartolomeo & Perotto in New York.
What they share:
Tips for caregivers and families dealing with aging parents or loved ones. Resources such as Meals on Wheels, hospice care contact information, local blood drives and fun charity walks and runs. You can find information on creative memorial services and explanations on cremation versus burial services. You will also find information on events they are involved in, such as their annual butterfly release (photo below), the 9/11 memorial parade, and their very popular “Stockings for Soldiers” campaign. The community shares the posts, shows up at their events and supports the causes that are close to their hearts.
What social sites funeral homes are active on:
While we found Pinterest boards filled with cemetery statues, memorial ideas, songs for memorial services, floral arrangements, urns and more there were only a few funeral homes who had created boards. Most of the content was user-generated. We found many funeral homes on Facebook and Twitter, and a few savvy enough to answer the many questions consumers have about funerals on YouTube.
And of course there are businesses that try to fit into a typical social mold but their target audiences don’t want to talk there. While I believe any business can learn to be social, the platforms each chooses may need to be very different. A Blog can be a safer place to learn about bipolar disorder than on Facebook, where I wouldn’t want anyone to see that I liked a page let alone that I asked a question or commented there. YouTube videos, and perhaps even Instagram are a better place for someone to learn how to treat acne than for me to follow and engage with @ZitBeGone on Twitter.
Medical and dental offices can be very social if they share helpful, fun and interesting information for their audiences. However, if you take out the fun and interesting posts, it leaves only content about veneers and crowns. There are only so many posts one can take showing the inside of people’s mouths combined with information on root canals. We did find several who know how to be social and are sharing fun community events along with helpful information. Love to Dr. Jim and his Tooth Fairies at Southwest Pediatric Dentistry. (We spent 6 years visiting these fun folks with 3 out 4 of our kids in braces!)
We can see the personality of a business on social media sites.
Download our FREE assessment to see HOW SOCIAL IS YOUR BUSINESS and get tips and tools to improve starting today!
So before hanging your social shingle out letting people know you are on social media, you might want to ask a few questions first:
Is our potential audience active on social media sites?
Which sites and platforms?
Do any of our competitors have active communities on these sites?
Can we write content, regularly, that is more casual in nature and “social” than what is found on our website? (You cannot simply regurgitate your web content over and over and call it social marketing.)
(Here are 30 ideas of things to post on your social media accounts when you don’t know what to say.)
Are we okay with sharing photos, videos, and stories of our team and the daily activities behind the curtain?
Are we okay with allowing our community to share their stories, videos, and photos on our pages and profiles or their own?
Are we okay with people posting feedback about our company, our products and services and even our team members on our pages?
What is the personality of our brand? Not what do we WISH it was, but what IS IT currently? Write the words that describe your brand and your team. Don’t portray one personality online and shock people when they come in to do business with you and your team members.
Are we prepared to let our social marketing team (or person) have some freedom to engage with people and respond in the moment without needing to micromanage?
Being successfully social means being a little vulnerable, and a little more honest about who we really are when the staged photos of fake team members are taken down and the perfect web copy fades away. Being successfully social means having a sense of humor and a more playful spirit. It means letting people pop in without worrying about them seeing a few toys and crumbs on the floor.
How do you feel about letting people see behind the curtain of your business? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on your favorite social media channel… I’m everywhere YOU want to be! @GinaSchreck