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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Staying on Brand In Your Social Media

While this is a post for people who attended Staying on Brand workshop in Randwick for BEC, it's also ideal for anyone wanting to cover the basics of branding and maximising your social media channels.

As promised, here are follow up tools for you to hone your online (and face to face) brand. We've also enrolled you into our newsletter. In case you haven't received the complementary gifts for subscribing you can simply download them here: 

On Brand: How Smart Business Owners Maximise their Brand Potential

First thirty pages of 'True Brand Toolkit.'

There are also more complementary resources here  
 

Presentation


Here's a link to the slides from the Staying on Brand workshop 


Social Media Sites


Twitter

Ideal for daily updates at 140 characters or less. If you keep your posts to 120 characters including links so that it’s easy for your followers to share with their own comments.
 
YouTube  

Great for Video testimonials and how-to videos that can be embedded into your website. Add your website into the beginning and end of your description for links back to your website as we've done here.
 
LinkedIn

The perfect B2B platform to expand your professional network that’s also a powerful search engine.
 
Facebook

Ideal for products and still one of the most popular social media sites despite naysayers. Images are very popular here too
 
Pinterest

Scrapbook site your (mainly) women customers will love
 
Hootsuite

Schedule posts to go out to multiple websites at once and save time by batching your updates weekly
 
Your Newsletter    
  
Your best relationship builder that you can also post to a blog and send out to social media. If you’re new to newsletters try free provider Mailchimp to keep your emails on brand.

More on Mailchimp here
   
Any questions or comments, simply leave them here on the blog.

Until next time...


 

 

     


MCME
A: Suite 47, 50 Roslyn Gardens, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011
E: info@mcme.com.au
P: 1300 399 592

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Email Marketing Versus Social Media

Recently I’ve read numerous articles on the increased return of email marketing,all saying how much more effective email is over social media for conversions (sales).

While there might be increasing debate of whether social media is more effective than email marketing, I believe that’s a somewhat defunct debate. Because you can have the best of both worlds; that is, you can easily integrate your email marketing with your social media strategy.

Why Email Still Works

By and large people give you permission to sign up to your newsletter. Therefore they’ve made a choice to gain more insights and information into your product, service, and brand.

They’ve said yes to your emails arriving in their inbox. That’s powerful in that you've gained a captive audience.

Make Your Newsletter Your Cornerstone

A regular newsletter is the foundation of a good email marketing strategy, as it also allows you to send regular updates, special offers or announcements, and even videos.

Create a Relationship

A regular newsletter gives you the opportunity to create a relationship with your readers. There are many ways you can create a relationship with your subscribers. You can:
  1. Showcase clients, case studies, and non-competing businesses
  2. Entertain them with well-told stories (that match your brand and interest your readers, of course).
  3. Give them useful information to help them in their business and life.
  4. Give insights into universal challenges and how you’ve personally worked through them.
  5. Inspire and motivate them.
  6. Give specific advice in your area of expertise (without giving everything away, and even subtly letting them know this is only the tip of the iceberg).
  7. Promote others as well as your business. If you’re just promoting yourself, people understandably switch off, If, however, you promote others AND give people outstanding value with your communication, then you earn the right to sell.

 

Give High Value Upfront

Give an eBook, redeemable vouchers or coupons, instructional videos on how to make the most of your product or service. Make sure they’re quality resources or offers that reflect you and your brand well, and will want your subscribers eagerly await your regular updates.


Spread the Word

Here’s a simple, effective path we use for our clients and our own newsletter to help integrate it with social media and grow databases.
  1. Publish the newsletter or video (linked from your email) to a blog.
  2. Invite people to comment on that blog.
  3. Send the newsletter out through a mail service (Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, or your own integrated mail service).
  4. Use Hootsuite to post to the relevant social media channels. In our case, that’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
Apart from being beneficial for your SEO this also leverages your work and helps grow your database. For a list of links to some of these tools and channels, click here.

Be Consistent

How often you send a newsletter out is up to you, however monthly is a minimum for most of us. If you have more to give more often, then by all means send them out more regularly.

They key is to keep sending them.

Last Words

The debate isn't so much about whether you choose email over social media, as it is about how well you integrate them.

Don’t be discouraged if people occasionally drop off your list. Concentrate instead on growing your relationship with those who value what you offer.

By all means be personal, as long as you make your insights pertain to your audience, and their needs. Always strive to be relevant to your audience, and to help them.

Until next time.





P.S. To gain even more results with your marketing and social media campaigns click here. 

P.P.S. Like the Brand Stand? Please send this to a colleague or friend


    

Monday, July 8, 2013

Social Media 101: Choosing Your Channels

Giving a series of workshops to help business owners stay on brand recently, many asked about social media channels, and what each channel is best used for.

Here is a list of the fundamentals for those getting started on social:  

Twitter
Ideal for daily updates at 140 characters or less. If you keep your posts to 120 characters including links so that it’s easy for your followers to share with their own comments.

YouTube  
Great for Video testimonials and how-to videos that can be embedded into your website. Add your website into the beginning and end of your description for links back to your website as we've done here.

LinkedIn
The perfect B2B platform to expand your professional network that’s also a powerful search engine.

Facebook
Ideal for products and still one of the most popular social media sites despite naysayers. Images are very popular here too

Pinterest
Scrapbook site your (mainly) women customers will love

Hootsuite
Schedule posts to go out to multiple websites at once and save time by batching your updates weekly

Your Newsletter      
Your best relationship builder that you can also post to a blog and send out to social media. If you’re new to newsletters try free provider Mailchimp to keep your emails on brand.

More on Mailchimp here.

Does that help you if you're only just starting to use social media marketing? Let me know in the comments below.





     

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

5 Surefire Ways to Be Simply Social

Welcome to the latest edition of Brand Stand,

Working with businesses large and small on their social media and website strategy and content I've found many people have similar questions when it comes to their social media.

Questions such as 'How can we gain greater attention?' 'What should we be posting, and where?,'  and the one I hear most often 'How do we make more sales?'

So this is the first in a series of articles giving you some effective tips and tools to make more of your social media.



Before we do, here are some fundamentals:

1. Know your audience: Just as you need to know who your audience is with any piece of marketing or presentation, it’s vital to know who your market is online too. That way, you’ll know how to reach them, and which social media is your best avenue.

2. Choose your mediums wisely: We’ll cover this in more detail as we progress, however, if you identify your audience is mainly B2B (business 2 business), then LinkedIn is your primary channel. If you’re wanting to ride a new wave, also get onto Google +. If, however, you’re a florist or online retailer, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest will be better for you because they’re mainly visual mediums. Images abound here, and even if you have a story to tell, consider using images to relay the story.

3. Set clear goals and expectations. Is the main purpose to increase brand awareness or are you going to create a competition to capture contact details and build your database? Are you wanting to increase your circles of influence, or are you seeking to establish your credibility in a new market? Unless you have goals like these you won’t be able to measure the impact you’re aiming to have. As some sales might not be directly attributable in the early days (or if they are, you might not know how to measure them just yet), you’re much more likely to persist strategies, and hone them if you set benchmarks along the way.

4. Measure your impact: This has been the biggest lesson I’ve learned. Rather than keep activity up for its own sake, I now  measure:
a.    How many responses clients (and we) receive on particular campaigns
b.    Where those responses come from.

One of your main objectives with social media should be to gather data, and interpret it for cues on your future direction. For instance, if you’re getting increased attention through your social media, leading back to your website, but not getting enquiries leading to sales, then perhaps you need to revisit your web pages.

Check out your traffic sources in Google Analytics to find out more on those metrics.

5. Don’t sell too soon. Don’t get me wrong, I believe social media needs to lead to sales. but while that’s the overall goal, it usually fails with the initial introduction. It’s a little like dating. Let some flirting happen first. Show genuine interest in the other person. Allow your personality and values to shine through, put your best forward, but don’t aim for the sale too soon or your date will think you’re completely self interested and only after one thing.

A concrete example is:
  • Write an article on your blog you know will add value to your audience
  • Ask them for response to see if and how you helped them, or how you could help some more
  • Let them know that’s just the tip of the iceberg, leaving clues for them within the article about the bigger better offerings you have in store. Using our dating analogy, we’re letting them get to know us first, and we’re getting to know them a little more too.  Linking social media once more to sales, one of the most memorable sales quotes I know of is ‘great salespeople leave clues.’  What clues are you leaving for your audience?
  • Lead them back to your website (ideally directly to a specific product, service, special offer or page). Now you’ve earned the right to sell.
The biggest takeaway here is that your audience are looking for quality content first, then some of them will be open to a sale. Not all, but some. Definitely more than if you hadn’t reached out in the first place. What most of us do is sell too soon. Some of us don’t sell at all, by failing to pick up on the cues we receive when people email, call or comment on an article, blog post, or update.

There are many more strategies, tips and tools to cover, such as:
  • Social media as a cost effective PR tool
  • Creating blog content
  • Aggregating your content
  • Automation tools
  • Using social media for prospect, job, or client research
  • Batching your content creation to save you time
  • Twitter tricks, Facebook facts, LinkedIn essentials
  • How to stay on brand with your social media channels
What I'd love to know are your burning questions, so feel free to ask me those here on the blog.

The keys to social media effectiveness are to choose channels that work for you, your industry, your audience, and your brand. Then keep honing those strategies to action them in the least time with the most consistency for the greatest impact.

Integrating your social media and digital strategy with your offline (face to face) brand and customer experience is vital. Leading your clients, prospects and visitors back to a well designed website, mobile or tablet interface is equally important. Because if you're spending time and effort in gaining social media interest you want to lead your followers back to places that make your business one that's easy to buy from.

In fact, in a recent report on the online customer experience by Forrester Research, improving that experience was the most common objective for most companies at 77% for the third year in a row.
Want to know more about social media strategies?

Join me for two upcoming workshops next week in conjunction with Clearly Business and the Enterprise Hub in Sydney.

Monday June 17. Secrets of Successful Marketing in Sydney's CBD.

Tuesday June 18. Stay on Brand With Your Social Media in Randwick.

Places are limited and I understand Stay on Brand has over 30 participants, so booking soon would secure your place.

Until next time...





      

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Resilience


The same day I published the last edition of Brand Stand, I received an email which read, ‘Sorry to tell you this in an email, but I don’t know how else to say it. Mark has passed away alone in his flat, cause unknown.’

Mark was my brother.

Still in shock when I made late night calls to the St Kilda police and the coroner, I hoped to have insights and answers for my family, who I knew would have as many questions as I did.

The phone calls weren’t all easy and many were long, but they had to be made. That’s often the reality of these situations; many conversations and much to be done, during a time of high emotion.

This also came at a busy business period. There were important client projects to complete, increasing coaching enquiries after the last newsletter, and Phil and I had a major pitch to give for Presentability.

I had also just that week set the wheels in motion to move apartments and office.

Getting Beyond Overwhelm

With increasing waves of feeling overwhelmed I told myself ‘there’s family to support, legalities to take care of,  a service for Mark in another city, businesses to keep running, clients I wanted to keep supporting, projects I'd committed to complete, proposals to write, meetings to attend, an association to run, an apartment to get ready for lease, another to move into.’

In a word; overwhelmed. Something had to shift, and it had to start with me. But where to begin?  

Reading an inspiring article about W Mitchell CSP CPAE, a speaker who has survived two debilitating accidents over five years, and whose key message is ‘it’s not about what happens to you, it’s how you respond,’ was a vital reminder this was definitely a time to respond... differently.

Give Yourself Options

When I see clients in overwhelm, I often ask them to draw up a page with two columns: one has the heading of what they need to STOP doing and the other is the things they can control; what they could be doing more of, to help themselves out of being stuck.

This exercise is deceptively simple, but well worth doing to help you gain clarity for yourself. Not only does it clear your head, it also allows you to see you have many more options than you often think you do. If you keep looking deep enough at the answers you also get to see where you might be getting in your own way. So often, that’s the hardest thing of all to see clearly.

Taking my own advice I started saying no to things I knew I needed to stop doing to deal with what was most important right now and right in front of me. 

Let People Know

Looking at all the options in front of me, I realised I couldn’t do everything on my own. So I did two things I wouldn’t normally do.
  1. I told people; not to dump on them and not to shirk responsibility, but because I thought it was only fair they knew, and so they didn't think anything out of the ordinary wasn’t about them.
  2. I asked people I wouldn’t normally ask to either step up or step in. Not one person said no, and I’ve been both buoyed and deeply appreciative of the support. It's also enabled me to concentrate on what I do best for clients, colleagues, and family, rather than try and take it all on myself. This is something I've done a lot in the past and its the one thing I encourage most small businesses to let go of, fast. Play to your strengths and have others support you with theirs. 
In the meantime, if you find overwhelm is getting the better of you, start with a notepad and look at what you can control and what you can’t.

Then take the next step...

Ask Who Can Help You

Once you know what you can control you have much more chance of getting important things done than thinking you have to do it all on your own.

Seek advice, or get support, get coaching, ask others to share the load or gain clarity by simply writing down the pros and cons of your next critical decision. You might even find you need others to make some decisions with you or for you for a while.

Be Open to Inspiration

One of the most life affirming things in the past few weeks was to find out how well Mark was regarded and cared about in the last years of his relatively short life. Mark has estranged himself from the family, and while we didn’t completely understand it, we’d come to accept this was his choice that was his right to make. We did have fears about where and how he might have lived though. 

The biggest inspiration in the last weeks has been to discover Mark wasn’t alone.

Through speaking with the people at Uniting Care we’ve discovered he was valued in the community he’d come to call home. I have no doubt he valued them equally as much.

The point is, his world was in fact much better than the one we’d feared.

The same can be said for many fears. As client Paul Mitchell says in this video we shot and produced 'pessimists are often right, but optimists are usually more successful.'  

You’re Not Alone

Whether we’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or working in someone else’s business, it’s easy to feel isolated in a silo, thinking no one ‘gets’ us, or think that flying solo means going it alone.

Regardless of what comes our way in business or life there are always factors we can control and we often have more options than we think.

The next steps are to prioritise your options so you can deal with what’s most important and what’s in front of you. Then you can refine and reflect upon those options. But they’re for the next newsletter, or else this one will never get out.

Thank You

Many thanks to all the people who wrote emails after the last article, letting me know it resonated with them. Someone even said they’d bought The Big Issue that same day. 

That's part of the purpose of these articles. They're not for sympathy or to purge. Nor are they about charity per se. They’re here to remind us to be human in business; to have courage, pursue clarity, to support our peers and the community, and to keep building resilience.

The more business becomes a virtual reality, the more we work online and with rapidly shifting technology, the more we need to remind ourselves to adapt, learn and work smarter, to have mental, emotional and physical stamina; and most of all, to be human in business. It works.

If you’d like to let me know how this has resonated with you, or have stories of courage or resilience of your own, I invite you to be courageous and share them here on this blog.

I’ll understand if you don’t, however I’ll answer if you do.    

Until next time... keep giving your brand experience






P.S. For a limited time I'm offering a personalised coaching program to help you build even more resilience and business results.



     

MCME
A: Suite 47, 50 Roslyn Gardens, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011
E: info@mcme.com.au
P: 1300 399 592

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Courage In Our Conversations


You’ve no doubt heard the expression, ‘the courage of your convictions.’ How much credence are you giving to the courage in your conversations?

Recently Phil Preston and I were at a coffee shop in the city and a woman asked us for money. Phil seemed impressed by the way I answered ‘no.’ For many reasons, including not supporting habits or destroying people's spirit, I don’t give people on the street money unless they’re selling The Big Issue

I thought twice about telling Phil this story, just as I thought twice about telling you. But if I didn’t, I wouldn't be living up to the title of this post, and I certainly wouldn't be having an authentic or courageous conversation with you.  


Stuck at the Crossroads  


When I first arrived in Sydney in my late teens I was in the QVB Cafe late New Year’s Day, having just seen the movie, Fatal Attraction. A friend, Dean, and I were dissecting the movie, when a woman scuttled in from the summer rain, wearing a wide straw hat,plonked down her wet plastic shopping bags filled with books and bric-a-brac

The woman let out a big sigh before she asked the waitress, ‘Just a long black please dear. Thanks dear, thank you so much.’

As soon as I heard the words I knew the voice. By the look on Dean’s face it must have shown on mine. ‘You look like you’ve just seen a ghost,’ he said.

‘See that woman.’

‘The bag lady?’ he said.

‘My mother.’

My eyes stared straight ahead the whole time. It wasn’t out of shame that I didn't want to look at her. There was a multitude of emotions bubbling up, including a fear of rejection or Mum not recognising me (all illogical in hindsight). But not shame.

I was, however, stuck; immobilised.

As extreme as the experience was, we all have moments like this; in our businesses, in our careers, in our lives. Sometimes there’s a reality we need to face, yet it simply seems so overwhelming, we don’t know how to. I often have clients come to us stuck, trying to get a marketing strategy in action, reinvest in their website, create more video content, increase their sales, or start using social media.

I’ve experienced being stuck in my own businesses too. I understand the feeling of inertia, of not knowing what to do or where to go next; afraid, as James C. Collins says in the book, Good to Great,to ‘face the facts and move forward with faith.’  

There comes a point where you need to take action.

So, back at that cafe, after what felt like a lifetime of being immobilised I took a deep breath, got up, moved over, and not knowing what else to say, said, ‘Mum?’

Mum looked up, paused, and said, ‘Well, well, well, the people you meet.’

I laughed with relief. Here was this momentous moment in our lives (Mum had been missing for over three years at this stage and despite our best efforts, my brothers and I had not been able to find her, the police saying, ‘You can’t find someone if they don’t want to be found.’)

Mum smiled. I invited her over to sit at our table, and she did. That was also a relief.


Taking Risks To Get Out of Stuck


I’m not one for taking unnecessary or uncalculated risks, especially in your business, but so often we fail to make the leaps we’re looking for because we’re afraid to make decisions or take actions that move us from being immobilised into transforming our businesses, and our circumstances.

Then, when we finally do, we can’t believe how much easier it is than what we thought it would be.

That meeting with Mum taught me it was better to risk rejection than it was to not take any action at all.

It’s the same risk that has helped me get over a fear of cold calling, speaking publicly, and taking the leap of leaving a national sales and marketing role to start a business and support other businesses with their brand, marketing and sales.  

The conversation that night moved from awkward introductions to bouts of nervous laughter and moments of disbelief and stories I wouldn’t do justice to here (they’ll be in the new book this will be a part of).

When it was closing time for the cafe I was again at a loss of what to say or do. I gave Mum some money (one of the last times I’ve given money to a homeless person), gave her my number, and let her know she could call me when she wanted to. It didn't feel enough, but there was no way Mum was going to get any closer at the time. 

Persistence Pays Off 


It took another three and a half years for that phone call to happen. In the end it was me that called Mum after her finding my brother through the army. But with that call came the opportunity to help Mum get her own place and rebuild our relationship.

Those are two things we often need to recognise in our businesses, and indeed, our lives.
1. People buy from you when they’re ready to.
2. Persistence, more often than not, pays off.

To make your brand easier to buy keep making your message heard and make sure it continues to resonate with your market. That way, when they're ready to buy, you're top of mind as their first choice. 
Until next time... keep giving your brand experience






P.S. Want to move from immobilised to gaining more momentum in your business?

Click here for the new SMB Advisory programs: Sales, marketing and brand programs dedicated to helping SMB's achieve more income in less time.


     

MCME
A: Suite 47, 50 Roslyn Gardens, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011
E: info@mcme.com.au
P: +61 2 9331 8135