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Why Your Twitter Disclaimer Does More Harm Than Good

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bigstock-Disclaimer-the-Dictionary-Pro-18198233 If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times:

My tweets do not represent the opinion of my employer.

Is it just me, or is this the most ridiculous statement ever? Every time I see it, I get twitchy. Because it anything, you’re making things worse.

People think that this disclaimer justifies bad behavior on Twitter. Or rather, not bad per se, but behavior not in line with their employer’s brand. They curse, make lewd comments, start drama, or otherwise act in controversial ways, then they point to their disclaimer and say, “But it’s okay, because this is me and I’m not representing a brand right now.”

Why is this ridiculous?

Let’s say you see someone out at the bar, getting wasted, hitting on everything with a pulse, and yelling racial slurs in a drunken stupor. Then, the next day, you see that same person working at Disney World. You’d probably be pretty disgusted that a company like Disney would work with someone like that.

Would it make a difference if, the night before at the bar, the person was wearing a shirt with “Anything I’m doing right now doesn’t represent my employer, Disney!” printed on it? Absolutely not. If anything, it draws attention to the juxtaposition between the idiot behavior and the family-friendly employee.

Here’s the thing: anything you do or say online represents your employer, whether you post a disclaimer or not.

If you want to publicly post pictures of you doing shots at the bar, make sure that it isn’t going to hurt your employer’s brand. Some companies are more family-friendly than others. If your personality doesn’t fit well with your company’s brand, it is probably time to start looking for a new job.

It makes me wrinkle my nose when I hear about companies trying to control their employees’ social accounts, but remember: How you represent yourself online can affect whether or not you get a raise, whether or not you survive a round of layoffs, and whether or not you are promoted into a leadership position. It’s not about your employer controlling your social accounts. It’s about respect, and realizing that your actions online are as real as your actions in a face-to-face situation.

So stop it with the disclaimers. They don’t mean anything. Just act responsibly online, and don’t write anything on Twitter that you wouldn’t send to your boss directly.

Image Credit: Bigstock

How to Build Your Brand Using Quora

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SNAG_Program-0662

SNAG_Program-0662 Quora is a digital space for users to exchange knowledge. Unlike its competitors, Yahoo! Answers and ChaCha, Quora’s user base attracts experts. From the beginning, business CEOs, Hollywood producers, and notable journalists have been answering questions.

Quora’s top answers are ones that were voted on by the users. Thus the answers that gain the most exposure are the answers that are the most useful or interesting.

How do you craft a strong answer that will get promoted?

The following Quora response made me want to buy a political book despite a minimum interest in politics.

The original question was: “What is the single most illuminating question I can ask someone?” There were plenty of interesting answers like ‘If all jobs paid the same, what would you be doing?’ and ‘When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?’

But the most popular answer came from New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor. It was so popular that it was ‘upvoted’ by 2,166 Quora users. As a comparison, the next highest answer had only 291 votes.

In Jodi Kantor’s response she recommends avoiding overly general and philosophical questions if you really want to get to know someone. To get honest answers you have to do your homework. She illustrates her point with an example from her interviews with the First Family:

“The most illuminating questions are simple and specific. In the fall of 2009, I interviewed [the] President and First Lady … about their marriage. My goal was to get them to avoid sound bites, to give honest, unrehearsed answers. . . . So I summoned up my nerve and asked them, “How do you have an equal marriage when one person is president?”

Her full response captivated me. And then I was hooked with this final sentence:
“Oh, and if you’re interested in the Obamas’ behind the scenes adjustment to the White House, my book has much more on the topic.”

What Makes a Good Answer?

Credibility: Kantor’s answer was started with a statement about her professional interviewing experience with the NY Times. With credentials right up front, I knew the answer came from a reliable source.

Unique perspective: Instead of giving another predictable answer, she rejected the premise of the question altogether and offered a unique perspective.

Support with storytelling: To support her point, Kantor told an insider story about Mr. and Mrs. Obama that had famous intrigue but at the same time was relatable as she discussed the interworking of marriage.

The Elements of Good Storytelling

In Kantor’s answer, she uses some basic storytelling elements to prove her point:

1. The back story/setting: Kantor explains how she came up with the question.

“I had come to understand that equality was a serious issue in the Obama marriage, and that in the White House, the president and first lady are not treated in the same way… So I … asked them, ‘How do you have an equal marriage when one person is president?’”

2. The obstacle: Kantor shows how receiving an answer to an unorthodox interview question was difficult with step-by-step action and dialogue.

3. Step-by-step action: The action keeps us reading.
“Barack Obama is normally so eloquent, but he botched his reply three times, stopping and starting over . . .”

4. Dialogue: The dialogue makes this story more relatable and personal.
“Finally on the fourth try, he half-joked that his staff was more concerned with satisfying the first lady than satisfying him.”

5. Details: The details help us feel like we’re in the room witnessing the interview.

Make Your Point Stick with Point Evidence Point (PEP)

An extremely effective way of getting your point across is the “Point, Evidence, Point” technique or PEP. To get your point to stick with your target audience you must make your point, and then give evidence to support, and then summarize your point at the end. For more on PEP, check out my previous podcast How to Make Your Point Stick.

Persuade with the “But You Are Free” Technique

The introduction must be earnest. Despite intentions, if products and services are discussed too directly, too often, or too early, your answer will feel like a sales pitch. However, if you don’t mention your products and services at all, it can be a lost opportunity. I saw a great Quora answer by a producer and blogger but because their products and services weren’t mentioned I had to Google the information.

Depending on users to go to Google is unreliable. Conclude answers with a brief line of products and services.

One effective technique for introducing your products or services is the “but you are free” method. With this technique the listener is told they are free to refuse the request being made. The idea is that you make it clear that the listener has a choice in the matter.

Jodi Kantor uses this technique in the last line of her response:

“Oh, and if you’re interested in the Obamas’ behind the scenes adjustment to the White House, my book has much more on the topic.”

Quora is different than other social media platforms because brands are built not with memorable images or one-liners but with thoughtful answers (and questions) that resonate with readers. By using the techniques in this article, you can develop Quora content that rises to the top!

20 Brilliant Bloggers Talk about Becoming an Authority

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Brilliant Bloggers is a bi-weekly series here at NMX where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every other week, we’ll feature a brilliant blogger, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Becoming an Authority

Your perceived authority on a topic can drastically effect your online business, and that might be the understatement of the year. Someone who is perceived as an expert will make more sales, find more readers, and be able to more easily grow. On the other hand, someone who is perceived as being a novice or – worse – a scammer will find it hard to continue to grow online.

So how do you brand yourself as an authority on a topic, especially when you’re blogging or building a business in a crowded niche? Check out what our Brilliant Bloggers have to say on this topi!

Brilliant Blogger of the Week:

bonnie andrews Become An Authority: 3 Ways to Take Blogging from Hobby to Hot in 30 Days or Less by Bonnie Andrews

“Becoming an authority is a choice, not an appointment. That is the real secret. No one is going to give it to you. No one can nominate you as an authority – at least not until you’ve positioned yourself as one. In order to become an authority, you need to initiate it. It’s that simple. You choose to give other people a reason to view you as an authority as you consciously step out, take risks and write what really matters.”

I love this post from Bonnie, who is part of The SITS Girls, because it cuts to the core of how to be seen as an expert in your field: you have to actually go for it. It doesn’t happy by accident. This post has some great tips as well, so it’s the perfect place to start if you’re hoping to begin building an authority brand online. Don’t forget to follow Bonnie on Twitter at @HobbytoHOT after you’ve read her post!

Even More Brilliant Advice:

  1. 5 Ways to Make Sure Your Blog Never Becomes an Authority Blog by James Junior
  2. 7 Steps to Become an Authority in Your Industry by Lewis Howes (@Lewis Howes)
  3. 10 Tactical Ways to Position Yourself as an Authority Online by Laura Roeder (@lkr)
  4. 10 Ways to Build Authority as an Online Writer by Demian Farnworth (@demianfarnworth)
  5. 11 Ways to Use Content to Build Online Authority by Corey Eridon (@Corey_bos)
  6. 100-Plus Tips and Resources to Become an Authority Site in Your Niche by Inside CRM
  7. Becoming a Trusted Authority with Content Marketing by Caeden MacGregor
  8. How Being an Authority can Boost Your Online Sales by Zach Bulygo (@zachcb1)
  9. How to Achieve Blogging Authority: How Content Can Make You King or Queen by David Boozer (@dboozeman)
  10. How to Become an Authority and Why It Will Soon Matter to Google and Your SEO by Amanda DiSilvestro (@ADiSilvestro)
  11. How to Become an Authority Blogger by Ryan Imel (@ryanimel)
  12. How to Become an Authority in Your Field by Leigh Peele (@leighpeele)
  13. How To Build Yourself As The Authority Figure In Your Industry by Travis Petelle
  14. How To Create An Authority Blog Using Case Studies by Sarah Chrisp (@SarahChrisp)
  15. Leverage Blogging to Build Business Identity, Authority and Credibility by Rebekah Radice (@rebekahradice)
  16. The “Answer” to Becoming an Authority Blogger in your Niche by Zac Johnson (@moneyreign)
  17. The Breaking Bad Guide to Becoming an Authority Blogger by Hector Cuevas (@HectorCuevas)
  18. The Surprising Key to Becoming an Authority by Jeff Goins (@JeffGoins)
  19. Two Very Different Ways to Create a Profitable Authority Blog by Tom Ewer (@tomewer)

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about becoming an authority? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Brilliant Blogger Topic: Email Newsletters

I’d love to include a link to your post in our next installment– and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Six Ways to Make Your Brand Shine in a Small Business Blog

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Ask a dozen marketers what “branding” means and you’ll get a dozen answers. Why? Because it’s a word with many meanings, depending on who’s doing the defining. This blog alone shows 30 unique definitions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What we do know is that branding is that it is the yin-yang of your business: You tell the world how you want to define your services or products, what differentiates you, and why people should trust and buy from you. Ultimately though, your brand ends up in the hands (and minds) of customers and prospects—they will be the ones collecting experiences and driving business to or away from you. Some even argue that companies have lost control of their brands altogether, unintentionally passing the baton to consumers, thanks to the power of social media. That’s why it’s even more important to exploit the brand equity you do have with the vast web connections, from your web site to social media presence to search, and anywhere else your business lives.

In the end, your blog can be one of your biggest brand assets, or do nothing to add value and attract business. Here are some top tactics to work it to your advantage:

#1 Mirror, Mirror On The Web

Starting from the outside in, your blog should walk the walk as a natural extension of  your company name, logo, color scheme, and all other tangible elements that make up your brand identity. The best way to stop that natural flow in its tracks is to publish a blog that lacks brand identity. A company blog should be a seamless transition from anywhere you’ve marked your (brand) territory: a real-world meeting where your business card was passed, a visit to your store, an eBook you wrote, or a transaction on your site. Make sure to give your blog a name—not just a “blog” section on your web site—one that reinforces who you are and what you do (My business name is LiveWire Communications and my blog name is Marketing Sparks. Get it?). And don’t forget about a tagline so readers know what your blog is about (Mine is “Insight about Advertising, Marketing, and Branding.”).

#2 No Blog-ots 

Of course your blog should not only walk like your business, it needs to talk the talk too. Speak in your brand voice at all times: Is it funny? Conversational? Whimsical? Even if you’re a number-crunching accountant, you can still let your personality come through (unless you’re crabby). The tone, style, and words that you use act as a conductor for your brand. Be true and authentic, whether you’re a storefront or a one-person shop. No one would question speaker and self-proclaimed “Unstuck-er” Erika Napoletano about this: Whether or not you like her cussin’, in-your-face style, her brand is illuminated in every word of her blog, even the four-letter ones. That also goes for your “About” page too. This is a great opportunity to showcase and reinforce your brand story.

#3 Stand Out From the Competition

It’s pretty easy to be a “Me Too” when it comes to blog topics for various industries. You can go outside the lines, but only so far. Your blog is a prime opportunity to bring out the uniqueness of your brand, no matter what the post is about. Marc Sheridan turned River Pools blog into what it calls itself  “…the most educational swimming pool blog in the country” through his efforts to educate and inform readers on the pool industry (which he turned into a successful content marketing/speaking career as The Sales Lion). Conversely, another tactic is to deliver contrasting point of views from industry bloggers. For instance, if all graphic designers are writing about the hottest trends in typography, write about the suckiest fonts instead—you’ll stand out for your knowledge in a different way.

#4 Dole Out Your Branding in Quick Hits

Another way to continue brand extension in your blog (and amp up your content promotion while you’re at it) is to leverage a thought-provoking quote, stat, or visual from a post and blast out to your social networks at various intervals. It will make a brand statement and also serves as a call- back to the blog while you’re at it. And don’t forget to make thoughtful, impactful comments on related blogs, this can be another great opportunity to put your branding stake in the ground.

#5 Hitch Your Wagon to a Like-Minded Star

Reinforcing your brand in your blog can be also be achieved by bringing someone else into the writing mix. Think interviews, quotes, or a guest posters. And I’m not talking about using a generic quote from Abraham Lincoln here; more like showing your affinity with a thought leader, industry luminary, or cheeky scofflaw who will draw attention. This will speak volumes about who you are (not to mention getting your blog some back links).

#6 Look Inside Yourself

Still stumped on how to bring out the essence of your brand? Conduct a brand audit to get more clarity. That may seem fancy pants if you’re a consultant or small business, but it can also lead to valuable insights. Do a free quickie one with a consultationdownload a tool, or ask yourself a few pointed questions. Doing these exercises can help reveal the true essence of your brand and point to any disconnects communicating to your audiences. If you’re strapped for time, try Wordle to visually capture brand descriptors and get a snapshot of who you are. After all this soul-searching, you may find that your brand is not reflecting what your small business is about, and it might be time to rebrand—but we’ll save that subject for a future post.

What tactics do you use in your blog to bring out your brand?

Influencer Driven Content Marketing: Lee Odden Explains this Powerful Tool for Businesses

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lee odden Last year, you couldn’t walk ten steps down the hall of any business conference without hearing the words content marketing. Bloggers have been doing it for years, but the idea of content marketing and how it can help your business has been thrust into the spotlight.

More recently, however, the mummers I hear center around a different buzz word: influencers. Influencers aren’t the people in your industry who start trends or break new ground. They’re the people in your industry who spread the trends and report the news. They turn a kernel of an idea into something everyone is talking about. So, business owners are starting to realize the advantages of connecting with influencers and turning them into brand advocates.

But what happens when the worlds of content marketing and influencer marketing meet? As Lee Odden suggests, the result is something even more powerful. In a post on his TopRank blog, Lee writes,

“Influencer driven content marketing is one of the best examples of how digital marketing and public relations are converging. The integration of messaging, content, social media and engagement right along with performance measurement and business outcomes should be the focus of any business that wants to differentiate and grow.”

Working with influencers not separately, but as part of your content strategy, means doing more than just connecting with the right people so they talk about your business. It means integrating them into your plan for spreading educational, inspirational, and entertaining content. Influencers don’t even need to mention your brand to have a serious effect on your bottom line.

Let’s go over three steps to get started with influencer drive content marketing:

  • Step One: Identify the influencers.

These are NOT necessarily the people with the most social followers. Quality is more important. How likely are those followers to do what the influencer says? I know people on Twitter with millions of followers who don’t have the influence that someone with ten thousand has.

In addition, someone who has a ton of influence may not be right for your specific needs. How likely is the audience to be looking for the kind of content you have to share? The more targeted the audience, the better.

  • Step Two: Determine the type of content you can create.

Every influencer will be different, and your budget also plays a factor here. One of the best options is to have an influencer create content for you in the form of blog posts and videos, but the bigger the influencer, the bigger your budget needs to be (unless you have something else to trade, like free service/products, a large audience, etc.).

You can also look at ways to create content that puts more of the work on YOU. Interviews, for example, are an awesome way to have an influencer create content for your brand without you needing a huge budget. You can also quote them in your blog posts (like I’m doing in this post for example) or do case studies. Most influencers will share content where they are featured.

Lastly, you can also create content that answers questions an influencer poses online. In this case, you’re targeting that influencer, but in an indirect way. This is the easiest option, but also has the lowest potential of an influencer sharing your content.

  • Step Three: Reach out to the influencer and begin building that relationship.

When you publish a post that features someone or answers a question, let the influencer know. One of the biggest mistakes I see people making (and a mistake I’ve made in the past) is creating awesome content, but being too humble or shy to reach out to the people who should be spreading this content. Don’t spam people with links, but let them know when you’ve published something of value to their audience, especially when it features them.

Also important: if you’re paying for an influencer to create content for you, make sure you discuss promotion as well. If a large parenting blogger writes about your brand of cereal but doesn’t tweet the link or pin an enticing image, that post might go unnoticed. Always set clear expectations not just for the content creation, but also for the promotion of the content.

Don’t Forget About Our Giveaway!

I’m featuring Lee today not only because his advice is super smart, but also because we recently announced that he’ll be presenting a keynote at NMX 2014 in Las Vegas this coming January. If you missed the keynoter announcement, check it out for more information about all five of the keynote speakers we announced.

To celebrate, we’re giving away previous sessions from all of our keynoters. Yes, they are completely free! Get access here before time runs out!

“Own the Good You Do”: Scott Stratten’s Advice for Businesses on Twitter

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scott stratten Every time a business joins Twitter, an angel gets its wings. It means they’re going to at least try the social media thing. Getting businesses to realize the power of social media is half the battle.

Whether or not they use this platform well is another story. Recently, I like the advice Scott Stratten wrote on his blog, UnMarketing, about the art of engaging with your fans, not just responding to customer complaints. Writes Scott,

Own the good you do. Value the positive voice.  It’s too easy only to focus on the negative.  You need to make time to thank customers who love what you do.  Be proud and say thank you. […]

Don’t leave all those high-fives hanging.  Take time away from fighting fires, and seeking out new customers, to thank the ones you have. This is the where the opportunity for brand endearment begins.  Don’t value your customers based only on purchases already made.  A happy customer is your best marketer.  Grow those relationships.”

There is absolutely positively no better marketing tool than word of mouth, and that’s not something you can buy. Think about it: when you’re going to make a large purchase, what’s more important: what the company says about themselves or what others are saying about the company? I will spend more money based on a friend’s recommendation, and I’m not alone. A 2010 study by Opinion Research Corp revealed that 59% of consumers consult friends and family members to get their opinions before making a purchase.

All it takes, sometimes, is a little recognition. A simple thank you on Twitter is the equivalent of a smile and a “come again” when someone is leaving your brick-and-mortar store.

Check out the rest of Scott’s post and his entire UnMarketing blog for more advice on using Twitter for your business.

Did you see our recent announcement?

We’re proud to announce that Scott is presenting a keynote at NMX 2014 in January. He’s always one of our highest-rated speakers, and we loved his keynote in 2010. See more information about Scott and the rest of our recently-announced keynoters here!

Want a free recording of one of Scott’s previous sessions? Check out this giveaway!

Small Town Business Values in an Online World: Yes, It is Possible!

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small town business values

Growing up in a small town of fewer than 100 people (yes, you read that right…fewer than 100!) was not always the easiest, but one thing I will always treasure is the values I learned growing up and working in a small, family-owned business. We worked hard and we played hard. We helped our neighbors. We knew our customers by name.

A lot of people will tell you that these things are not scalable as your business grows, especially if you take your business online. But you know what? Those lessons I learned during my high school years at the corner of Main Street and the cow pasture have stuck with me, and they shape how I choose to do business to this day. I attribute my greatest successes to the fact that I bring small town values to a world-wide scale.

People are People are People…and We Want Others to Care

I have friends and colleagues from around the world and guess what? People are people, no matter what color or gender or nationality or education level or worldview. There might be cultural differences, but the fact of the matter is that we all want others to care about us. When I worked at my neighborhood deli as a teen, I would pride myself in knowing the regulars. As I was preparing their order, I would ask them about their families, suggest items I knew they’d like from our shop, and call them by name.

There’s no reason you can’t do this online as well. As your business grows, get to know your “regulars” – they people who always retweet you or comment on your Facebook posts. Thank people by name. When someone has a complaint, address it personally instead of sending a form letter.
You hate it when you feel like a number. Others do as well. This is true whether you have one customer or one million customers.

The advantage is that when you get to know your customers on a more personal basis, especially those who are your biggest fans, selling to them is much easier. You can make personal recommendations based on what you know they’d like and you can ask for their feedback on new products. This isn’t just about getting cozy with customers to make them feel good. It actually helps your business.

Putting a Face to the Brand

No one wants to do business with a logo. On a small-town level, you as the owner might be regularly available or even working at your store. You probably have employees that are “faces” to your brand as well – those who are naturally customer favorites. When my dad has a doctor’s appointment, for example, he will go out of his way to see his favorite nurse, Brittany, even if it means walking to another wing changing his schedule so he can make an appointment when she’s working.

Online, the same is true. People want to interact with other people, especially employees they enjoy. Get your face out there as much as possible online and make real connections. Encourage your employees to do the same by interacting with people via social media. If you’re worried about how an employee will represent you online, that’s probably a good indication that he or she shouldn’t be working for you. Hire people who can be the faces of your brand, whether it’s in person or online. Give them training, create a social media policy, and then give them the freedom to get out there and talk to people.

Love Your “Competitors”

It’s important to love your “competitors” online…and I put that word in quotes because in actuality, you don’t have competitors as much as you have colleagues.

Let’s say you own a seafood restaurant, for example. There are probably several other places in town where people can get a meal, plus you’re competing with local grocery stores since many people will also eat at home. But does that mean you put up big signs that say “Eat Here! Joe’s Pizza Place Sucks!”? No way. You all have to live in the same town together. Joe’s Pizza Place might be a competitor, but it’s in both of your best interests if the relationship is friendly.

After all, you might both be serving food, but you offer different products for different tastes. There’s no reason you can’t agree to refer people to one another. Maybe Joe’s Pizza Place recommends your more upscale establishment for an upcoming wedding reception. Maybe you recommend their restaurant for the Little League team’s post-game dinner. Maybe you even partner to offer coupons to one another’s patrons.

Online, the same small town rules apply on a world-wide scale. Rather than hating on your competitors, think about how you can work together. At the very least, you can learn from one another. What cool Facebook promotions is that seafood place from three states over doing to bring in new customers? How are they using their blog to reach would-be diners? What can you learn from their failures? Know your colleagues and work together to build both of your businesses.

The Take-Aways

No matter what the scale of your business, I hope you never lose your small town values. Here’s what I hope you take away from this post:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to people online the same way you would in a face-to-face situation. Get to know your customers, especially your biggest and most devoted fans.
  • Train your employees and then let them represent you online the same way they would at your brick-and-mortar store. Don’t be a logo online. Be real people.
  • Get to know other business owners and learn from one another instead of ignoring your competitors or creating a bad relationship.

No matter how big your business grows, these things are possible. At NMX 2013, Dana White, who is president of UFC and now has millions of fans and followers was saying the same thing: this is all scalable if you really want it to be! Connecting with people individually takes more time the bigger you are, but bringing the small town values to a world-wide audience will set you apart and ultimately help your business grow.

Does Your Business Facebook Page Really Matter?

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facebook page Online marketers often put a lot of emphasis on Facebook pages for small businesses. More and more often, I see restaurants, bars, retailers, and other businesses posting signs alerting customers of their Facebook page. And some of these Facebook pages are really good; they’re filled with interesting updates, announcements, pictures, coupons, and more.

So what?

You can’t take your Facebook likes to the bank. So, I have to wonder: Do business Facebook pages really matter? Or are they just taking up time that could be spent on actually building your business?

Like Conversion

I see people boasting about how much engagement they get on their Facebook pages. Engagement is great, because it means that your customers are interested in what you’re saying and they enjoy your brand. But if those likes are directly correlating to sales, does it really matter?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How many people found out about my product/service because Facebook?
  • How many of my fans are actually buying from me?
  • How many of my fans are repeat customers?

More importantly, you should ask yourself: How many of my customers are ONLY customers because of your actions on Facebook? If people would have purchased from you anyway, Facebook doesn’t really matter, even if they are engaged with what you’re posting.

Determining this is the tricky part, since often Facebook fans are people who were already customers or thinking about becoming customers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Poll your customers. One restaurant in my community, Dishes of India, includes a short survey card with every single bill so they can learn about their customers and find out how much you enjoyed your meal (they also ask you to give your email address for their mailing list, which is really smart). You could easily ask “How did you hear about us” on this kind of survey card.
  • Do a promotion with a coupon that you distribute across all your channels (email, print flyers, social media) including Facebook. Later, do a similar promotion where you don’t offer the coupon Facebook, but still distribute across your other channels. Of course, there are other variables here as well, but this can at least give you an idea of how much Facebook helps you make sales.
  • If you’re a local business (i.e. people buy in person, not online), measure your local fans. Are people liking you because they like your products or service? Or are they liking you because you post funny pictures and interesting quotes? If you’re a restaurant owner in Idaho, it doesn’t do you a lot of good if half of your fan base live outside of the United States.

Brand Advocacy

Understanding the benefits of Facebook for your business is tricky, because sometimes it isn’t just about sales. It’s also about letting your fans work for you as a “street team” of sorts.

Street teams began as a way for record labels to promote music in a really inexpensive way. Often in return for little more than a t-shirt and tickets to the next show, street teams distribute flyers and serve as brand advocates for the band in question, doing all they can to promote their music. They do this not for the money, but because they love the music.

On Facebook, that fan who never makes a single purchase can still be extremely valuable if they introduce your brand to 50 people who do make purchases. Or, depending on what you’re selling, even if they introduce your brand to one person, a single purchase could mean a lot of money in your pocket.

The benefits of brand advocacy are really hard to measure. Again, polling can help you determine how people found out about you, but it isn’t an exact science.

Updates that Matter

If you’re going to be on Facebook, the key is to post updates that really matter. That way, you know that likes and shares from your audience are really benefiting your brand. What kind of updates matter?

  • Announcements about Your Company
  • Event information
  • Success stories
  • Pictures Showcasing Your Products and Services
  • Testimonials
  • Blog Posts
  • Fan Photos
  • Coupons and Sales Information

Essentially, the type of updates that matter are about your company. Funny pictures, cartoons, quotes, etc. don’t matter as much because they don’t really relate to your business.

That doesn’t mean that you should never share that hilarious meme photo you came across. It just means that you shouldn’t measure your success by how many people share or like this image. When people share a coupon or a picture from your latest event, it matters a lot more.

So Does Your Business Really Need Facebook?

Yes. Probably.

It really depends on your business. Sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense. But if your target audience uses Facebook, you should at least give it a try. Measure your results and remember that raw like and share numbers don’t matter as much as conversion matters.

At the very least, be there so you can listen. If someone talks about your business online, you want to be there to answer them, whether that means responding to a complaint or thanking them for praises. Sometimes, social media is less about finding new customers and more about taking care of the ones you already have.

Do you think Facebook really matters for small businesses? Should all businesses be active there? Leave a comment below!

Are You Targeting the Wrong Social Influencers? 3 Mistakes Brands are Making

Author:

Working with major influencers might be able to help your brand reach new audiences, but are you reaching out to the wrong people online? How you measure the value of an influencer can drastically affect the success of your campaigns. Let’s take a look at three mistakes brands are making when it comes to working with social influencers.

Mistake #1: Working with Influencers Long-Term without Monitoring

Most companies monitor the the ROI of working with individuals or groups of influencers, but this isn’t the only thing you should be monitoring. In a post for Social Media Examiner, Russ Henneberry from Content Measures notes that one of the most important things for you to follow is what else a person is saying online. Why? You might not want to endorse what they are doing.

Remember, when you’re working with an influencer to promote your brand, they are a low-level spokesperson for your company. Someone who has a large, engaged network isn’t always a good choice if they are also saying things that aren’t in line with your brand’s mission statement. For example, someone who curses or talks about adult topics often might not be great for promoting a family brand, even if they are followed by a lot of parents.

Mistake #2: Working with Influencers who Promote Anything for a Buck

We all need to make a living, but if you’re working with social influencers who are willing to promote nearly anything, you might be missing the mark a bit. Someone promoting several things throughout the day is doing little more than broadcasting. Even if they have a large, engaged audience, few people will read the message about your company simply because the stream is moving too fast.

Instead, look for influencers who are a little more selective about what they promote. These influencers, because they work with a smaller number of brands, are more useful to you, since their audience doesn’t have as much content fatigue as influencers who are constantly promoting something or other.

Mistake #3: Neglecting Social Influencers who Already Like Your Brand

Before you start making a list of social influencers with high Klout scores or large Twitter followings, look at who is already talking about your brand or at least using your product. It’s important to reward influencers who are already loyal to your brand before you go outside of your community to find more influencers willing to talk about your brand.

Keep your community, especially the top influencers, engaged, offer sneak previews, coupons, and other offers. Retweet your fans and republish their content (with permission). Above all, listen. Don’t just respond to complaints. Show your appreciation for positive comments as well.

Building Your Business with Twitter: Dino Dogan Interviews UFC’s Dana White

Author:

At NMX 2013, Dino Dogan from Triberr sat down to talk with UFC President Dana White about Twitter, the possibility of the UFC going public, and more. Dino is a true fight fan with a passion for new media, so he was the perfect person to interview Dana! Check out the video here:

Thanks, Dino, for a great interview with Dana! Dana also sat down with NMX’s Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin to talk more about how the UFC is using social media, so if you missed that interview, you can see it now here.

Dino was one of our NMX 2013 speakers, and his session was packed. You know things are good when it’s still standing room only at the end of the presentation! For this week only, Dino’s session is 100% free on NMX University, the home of our 2013 virtual ticket. Don’t miss out; check out Dino speak about Insane Loyalty today!

Building Your Business with Twitter Transcript

Dino Dogan (0:08):  Hello everybody, my name is Dino, founder of Triberr, and I’m sitting here with Dana White.  We’re broadcasting this from Vegas for BlogRoll.com.  And, it’s an absolute pleasure for me to sit here with the president and the face of the UFC.  And the way UFC has been using social media is absolutely bleeding edge and very fascinating.  And we’re going to talk to Dana to get some insights into how he uses social media.

(0:41)So, Dana, thank you for being here.  Excellent keynote earlier.  I want you to make a business case for Twitter.  How do you use Twitter to actually lead your business?

Dana White (0:55):  The way that I personally use Twitter is I speak directly to the fans.  I talk to the fans one on one.  You know, I’m not speaking for the company, as the company, it’s me.  You’re talking to me personally.  And that’s the way that I like to do it, but what Twitter does for me, as far as the night of a fight, right, which is different from anything we’ve ever done in the history of the company is, you always have problems.  Things are always going to go wrong.  You know, I’ve had situations where people’s seats were blocked by a camera or pay-per-view goes down in Indiana, a laundry list of things that I wouldn’t have known until Monday.  But because of Twitter, I can handle it that night, get everything taken care of, make sure that everybody has a good experience.  That’s my job that night, is to make sure that everybody that bought a ticket or stayed home to buy the pay-per-view or watch it on free TV is having the best experience they can possibly have.  So, I love that.  That’s one of the million aspects I love about Twitter and social media.

Dino (1:58):  Yeah.  And you can respond to situations, to the crisis in real time.

Dana (2:01):   Yep.

Dino (2:02): Yeah, that’s amazing.  You’re out there.  You’re doing it yourself.  You almost take pride in saying that you’re bypassing the PR department; the filter that’s created between you the person and the audience.  And there’s certain inherent danger in that.  And, clearly, you embrace the danger.  And the benefit of it outweighs the danger.  But, you’re out there, you have 400 fighters doing what you do, representing the brand.  And just tell us a little bit about the crises that you’ve encountered.  How many of them have you encountered?  How exaggerated is the danger of getting out there?

Dana (2:46):  Yeah, it’s very exaggerated.  I mean, yes, we’ve had a couple…I have 400 plus guys tweeting every day.  I tweet every day.  You know, you’re going to have some problems here and there.  The biggest problem that we’ve ever had is guys trying to be funny.  Telling jokes and, basically, I tell these guys, use common sense when tweeting.  You’re not a comedian.  Leave the jokes to your friends, in your inner circle.  Don’t tweet jokes.  But, really, we’ve really had no problems.  There’s going to be some stupid stuff here and there but, at the end of the day, people need to relax.

Dino (3:22): Right.  It’s a tweet.

Dana (3:23): It’s a tweet.  It’s a tweet, relax.

Dino (3:27): Get over it.  That’s terrific.  A lot of people want to know.  UFC is a giant franchise.  You guys are just going gangbusters.  You’re on this incredible upslide.  Are you going to go IPO?

 

Dana (3:43): I never say “never”, but I’d have to say never.  I don’t think we…I don’t think so.  I don’t think we’d do it.  I haven’t seen too many great experiences with going public.  And I just don’t think this is one of those businesses that we could really run the way that we wanted to if we’re not…The thing that I’ve always said since day one, too, about going public is, nobody believed in this thing.  When we first bought it, started to build it, nobody believed in it.

Dino (4:13):  I just want to say that I did.

Dana (4:14):  Well, I’m talking about the business world, right?  Now, all of a sudden, I’m going to take advice from these guys, you know, on Wall Street who never believed in it in the first place?

Dino (4:23):  Right

Dana (4:24): I don’t see it.  Not while I’m here, anyway.

Dino (4:25):  Gotcha. Terrific.  Anderson Silva/Georges St. Pierre fight.  I know you’re working on it.  This year?  Could it happen this year?

Dana (4:34):  Yeah, it could.  You know, obviously, everybody knows that GSP wants to fight Diaz right now.  That fight’s going to happen.  And after that fight, should Georges St. Pierre beat Diaz…yeah.  I want to make the fight.  I mean, everybody thought it was going to happen after Georges’ fight with Condit.  The kid had, you know, almost two years off with a knee injury, rehabilitating.  And he wants another fight first, so, we’ll see what happens.

Dino (4:58): Fair enough.  You have your employees actively engaged in social media.  And, I know this is not a fair stereotype, but if a general population was to imagine the worst type of person to represent your brand, that would be a fighter.  Because they’re perceived as brutes, which they’re not.

Dana (5:23):  Right.

Dino (5:23):  I know this.  But, there’s…you have a lot of your employees actively engaged, getting out there, representing your brand and there’s a certain amount of training that they have to go through in order to…just to know what tools to use, how to use them and how to represent themselves.  Like you said, don’t try to be funny, you’re not a comedian, right.  So, tell us a little bit about the training that these guys go through for social media.

Dana (5:50):  Yeah.  It’s not as hard as you would think.  Not only do I have, you know, 400 plus fighters.  But when you say my employees, my actual employees inside the company are all on Twitter too.  And, you know, obviously you’ve got to educate them on how to use Twitter, how to do this, how to do that as far as using social media goes.  And then is all about using common sense.  And I’m very lucky in that I’m not dealing with stupid people here.  Yes, we have 400 plus fighters.  Most of these guys are college educated.  You know, very smart guys.  Guys who, not only are the representing the UFC and the sport, but they represent themselves and their own brands and their own business.  For instance, like Anderson Silva.  Anderson Silva has 3 million followers on Twitter.    When he’s done fighting and he moves on to the next chapter of his life, those 3 million fans are going to go with him into the next chapter.  So, he’s not just representing us and the sport, he’s representing himself, you know, and his family and whatever he decides to do when fighting is over.

Dino (6:51): Right, yeah.  I have a theory about Anderson Silva.  Is he really a robot?

Dana (6:56):  I think he might be.  I’ve wondered that myself too.  He’s an amazing, incredible athlete.

Dino (7:03):  Mind blowing.

Dana (7:04):  Yeah, he really is.  Doesn’t get the credit he deserves, in my opinion.

Dino (7:07):  Yeah, he is just incredible.  Dana, this was a dream come true.  Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

Dana (7:15):  My pleasure.

Dino (7:16):  And it’s great to see you here in Vegas at BlogWorld.

Dana (7:18):  Thanks, brother.

Dino (7:19):  NMX!  Thank you, guys.

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