13 May 2013
A prospective client said to me last week, “I will pay your fee for social media management services on commission. You do all my posting and I will pay you a percentage of every sale I make from your efforts, deal?” Well, that takes chutzpah, I thought to myself. I actually tossed around his unusual offer for about four days before I said “no.” First, he wined and dined me and my husband. And told me what a terrific team we would make. Every time he closed a home loan, I’d get a nice chunk of change. However, the only loans he would count are the ones that resulted directly from my efforts on social media. Current customers and repeat customers were off limits. Referrals from networking groups also were not in the mix.
I explained to him that social media marketing, when done correctly, is part of the overall marketing plan. Even referrals frequently check out the business profile of a service provider. Quite often, the professional presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and other social media sites seals the deal. I did not see how he could differentiate which clients came from my work creating an engaging, educational, informative platform and who called him based on other avenues. Especially since he pulled all of his direct mail and email campaigns.
When I explained this to him, he insisted I was being short-sighted. I took to Facebook to ask my social media counterparts and business associates to get their opinions. One person out of about two dozen said they might do it. The rest were emphatic that this guy was crazy and I should walk away. I did end up walking away, rather surprised that someone in this day and age would truly think this was a good deal.
A couple of interesting facts to add. I see this man every week at one of my networking meetings. I met him nine months ago at a different meeting and his last words to me were, “Call me, we can make a ton of money together.” I did call and email several times with no response. The first time he talked to me (after the nine months of ignoring me) was two weeks ago. While we were in the negotiation phase, he gave me a stunning testimonial, before even hiring me. To this day, he has not responded to me.
What would you do? What are our thoughts of payment by commission only?
21 Apr 2013
Never one to want to waste time, I attended a 3 hour mastermind group this past week (not a day-long) on the subject of saving time and money, which, in my opinion, are pretty much the same thing these days. I was taking notes and decided this is fodder for a great blog. So, read on and see if any of these tips are realistic for your social media marketing efforts.
1) Set a timer! And not your phone or computer. Go out and buy a kitchen timer and set it for 35-45 minutes once or twice a day. Set it and get to work on your social media marketing, not visiting friends on Facebook or looking at Pinterest boards. It works, really it does.
2) If you can accomplish a task in 15 minutes, do it. For example, if it will take you fifteen minutes to create a new link for a webinar, make a phone call to arrange an appointment with a prospective client, or read a blog you have been trying to get to all morning – just commit the time and go for it!
3) Before you go to bed, list six things you want to do the next day. Bullet points. Make them realistic and doable – there is no use making a list of things you have absolutely no intention of doing. See how many you can get done the next day and before you go to bed again, cross off what you accomplished and add more to equal six. This keeps your list manageable and is not overwhelming.
4) Calendar “me” time. Running, taking a yoga class, meditating, getting a massage or a manicure. Write it in your calendar and keep the appointment with yourself. Take your needs seriously because they are. Don’t cancel it – taking care of you is even more important sometimes than getting work done. If you are not feeling relaxed and in the right place, you will not be productive.
5) Set your boundaries. In addition to the 35-45 minutes once or twice a day online, decide when it’s time to stop answering the phone. Do you need until 9:00 a.m. to get in work mode? Then set that rule for yourself and don’t be tempted to break it. If you honor your time, others will. The key here is to stick to your guns or, before you know it, you may be working ten hour days every day. And that is not healthy.
6) Turn off your email notifications for a chunk of the day. Nothing is more distracting than writing a blog, or working on an important Power Point presentation and seeing that preview of an email popping into your inbox. In this case, what you don’t know, can’t hurt you! Turn them off and focus on that project that will take less time to accomplish with NO temptations to click off the screen. Email can wait.
7) Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant. Check out Odesk or Elance. Turn over repetitive, non money-making duties to someone else. Your time is valuable and for as little as $3.00 an hour you can relieve yourself of mundane tasks. (My VA is from the Philipines and is excellent at scheduling social media posts for me and my clients).
What tip do you think you could use in your business that would save you the most time? Do you have any to add to the list?
17 Feb 2013
When I first started coaching social media, I remember very clearly one client who adamantly refused to blog. I mean she wouldn’t even try. I was shocked because this particular woman always had a lot to say about herself and her business when I would see her at networking meetings. So, I had to dig a bit deeper to find out why blogging was out of the question for her. It turns out she never graduated college because she could not pass the required classes needed in English and Composition. She was ashamed and felt her writing was so poor that no one would ever want to read anything she tried to write.
After working with her for several sessions, I convinced her to send me a sample of her writing so I could judge for myself. Imagine my surprise when her first attempt at a blog brought tears to my eyes. She was a beautiful writer and has since moved on to have a successful blog and a large following.
Blogging is something every savvy business owner should be doing to expand their reach and share their message. There are entire websites and businesses devoted to lending support to bloggers to help them to monetize their message and gain fabulous media coverage. My guest this week on The Social Networking NewsHour was Melanie Gorman, the Senior VP of YourTango.com, a website that helps brands to use the internet to draw in a more attractive, interested, and successful client base.
According to Melanie, there are two types of blogs – branded content blogs and trending blogs. A branded blog provides content that is relevant to the audience you serve, your business philosophy and opinions related to what you offer your target market. An example might be a massage therapist writing about their different types of massages, services, and product lines.
A trending blog incorporates your industry’s current events and hot topics, positioning you as a business owner that is current and on top of relevant and timely issues in your field. The massage therapist who writes about new controversial regulations as they relate to healing professionals, siting a case study that analyzes the regulations, positioning themselves as the expert would be an example. Trending blogs put you in front of your audience as a professional who is in the know about what is affecting your industry as a whole.
Being able to curate your content and have a stockpile of educational-based marketing tips, techniques, information and expertise and being able to write about them regularly in your blog is imperative for success in the social media universe.
Which kind of blog do you usually write; branded or trending? How often do you blog? Please share!
Laurie Hurley is the founder of The Social Networking Navigator and blogs every Monday. She is a social media consultant and mentor.
10 Feb 2013
Early last summer I paid someone I met on Twitter to find me more targeted followers. She was a mutual friend of a colleague so it’s not like she was just some random total stranger. I actually called her prior to paying my money to assure myself that I was not getting scammed. She emphatically stated that I could easily buy Twitter followers and she could attract literally thousands of like-minded, business people to my Twitter account. Why not? I paid and sat back and waited.
Sure enough, the followers starting coming in droves. More than 100 in an hour. Cool! Wait, not so much. I looked at the profiles and the majority did not have profile pictures, had no bio and few followers. Hmmm… I emailed the lady and inquired. She said to be patient, that “always happens” in the first few hours. I waited. Things got worse. My next 250 followers were nubile teenagers in compromising poses. This was not good. I called and told her I wanted my money back and I wanted all of these new “targeted” followers gone. Her response was one of surprise, stating, “this kind of thing has never happened.” Well, it was happening now and she did refund my money, but I had to unfollow all of these less than desireable creatures. Lesson learned, never buy followers, ever.
Twitter is a great way to make connections, but it does take effort and patience. This week on The Social Networking NewsHour my guest was Michelle McCullough, of The Start Up Princess. Michelle enjoys a Twitter following of over 200,000 people. She has been onTwitter since 2008, so this number did not happen overnight, and, she worked hard at growing her following. On the show she shared her four-point strategy.
1) Follow at least ten to fifteen new people a day. People who are movers and shakers who have more followers than you.
2) Reach out and start conversations with industry leaders and people who are experts in their field.
3) Ask questions. And answer them when people respond. Keep the engagement high.
4) Research hashtags and use them correctly. See what hashtags are trending and, if appropriate, use them in your Tweets for more eyes on your message.
All of these tips are excellent. Twitter is like a cocktail party, a fast-moving conversation. Michelle implements her strategy and it works for her. She also sets aside a couple of hours a week to plan her social media marketing activities.
I am a true believer in quality over quantity. If I wasn’t, I would probably still have hundreds of half-naked women following me and never contributing anything worthwhile on my Twitter stream.
Listen to our entire podcast and hear more about Michelle and how Twitter has brought her press coverage, speaking engagements and more. And whatever you do, stay away from people who want to take your money to get you a big number. So not worth it.
Laurie Hurley is a social media consultant, mentor, and coach. She is a sought-after speaker and enjoys helping entrepreneurs build their following in legitimate ways!
06 Jan 2013
I debated for weeks about whether to invite three of my Social Networking Made Simple members on my radio show last Wednesday. Because I subscribe to the 80/20 or 90/10 rule on social media. Eighty or ninety percent of the time I should be giving great tips, tricks, techniques and content to my audience and the remaining time can be spent promoting an offer, a class, teleseries, webinar, and just plain tooting my own horn.
If you follow me on Twitter or my Facebook pages or even Pinterest, you will quickly discover that I rarely self-promote. Sure, I share lots of information, give great advice and freely share my knowledge about all things social media, but it is rare that I come right out and say, “I am really good at what I do, so buy from me.”
Truth is too many people do that, or, they inundate you with emails, squeeze pages, a new class or whatever they happen to be promoting. I hate that kind of approach. To me it seems sleazy, pushy, invasive. If enough people get to know me, either in person, or online, they will naturally gravitate to me, right? WRONG!
Late last year, my business coach and I sat down and mapped out my marketing strategies for my newly created membership group which included using my radio show, The Social Networking NewsHour to invite three members on- air live to share their experiences learning from me. I squirmed in my chair and felt uncomfortable devoting an entire hour to hearing people sing my praises. My coach said it was nothing more than a testimonial from three happy members. I mulled it over and decided to do it.
The podcast is here, you can listen for yourself to what they said. After the show was done and I begin tweeting about it and sharing the link, I realized it was not a bad thing to do. Maybe I’ll do this once a quarter. I listened to the show and was happy I did it.
How do you self-promote? Are you uncomfortable, or is it a natural thing for you to do on a regular basis? What social media venues do you use for promoting your services? Please share!
30 Dec 2012
I am a lover of acronyms. Ones that I make up. I use them frequently when I speak about social media marketing and I try to put a humorous twist on them. I do this because many people remember acronyms. So, to begin the New Year, I am going to share my acronym for the word resolve.
I am choosing resolve because, as a social media consultant and mentor, I probably should be writing a very thought-provoking blog about New Years resolutions. Except there is one problem; I don’t make resolutions because I never keep them. I prefer to have a to-do list every day and cross off the tasks I complete. Maybe I’m more short-sighted than most, but I like to think I am more realistic. So, here goes -
R – really?
E – expect
S – superficial
O – outrageous
L – lies
V – vicarious
E – entertaining
Probably not what you were expecting, right? Well, as with any acronym, you have to put it all together in a sentence like this, “Do you really expect me to believe your superficial, outrageous lies about your vicarious life that you think is entertaining (so you post this stuff everywhere?)
Yes, the cynic in me is bearing its ugly head. Mostly because I get tired and weary when I am online reading some of the garbage that is posted. These kind of nonsensical posts give us social media coaches a bad name.
So, here is my other version:
L – listen
Followed by my sentence, “Be real online, educate your audience, solve their problems, for they are ordinary people who need you to listen and be versatile in your effort to relate to them.” Better, huh?
My message for the New Year is simple. If you are using social media to market your business and gain fans, followers, referrals, and boost your bottom line, share tips and techniques that have value. Invite your audience to engage with you. While it is true that people buy you, they will only pay attention if you are truly tuned in to their needs and wants. Deliver consistent content.
If you do make resolutions, commit to being present online with juicy tidbits of information. Add your personality and a creative twist. You will be noticed and you will gain a loyal following.
Share your acronyms or resolutions, if you make them, with me here. And HNY.
08 Jul 2012
I finally dove in and joined the thousands of people who claim Pinterest is the best thing since – well – Twitter. To be perfectly honest, I did not get what all the hoopla was about. And, I am a very visual person, so one would think I would so love this new social media platform. What I saw, though, was hundreds of colorful pictures – sure they looked great, like a slick magazine on my Mac. Do I really need another social media tool to not only learn and use but to incorporate into my position as a social media manager for small businesses?
The answer is a resounding yes. With ten million unique visitors on Pinterest, driving more and more traffic to the hub we call our websites, it is worth it to learn the art of pinning for these five reasons:
1) With You Tube being the number two search engine in the world, Pinterest was smart and makes it easy to bring over all of your videos to a board, meaning more traffic on You Tube and more visibility for your product or service.
2) For all of us into the “how to” do something, that is teaching someone technique or visually demonstrating products, pinning a photo with a text overlay is genius. Call it a teaser ad, but call it effective! I use Pixlr or PicMonkey - check out those two resources.
3) We all love our customers’ testimonials and raves about us. Pinterest is the perfect place to display those – you see it’s not all about the picture, but what resides under it and think of all the fun you can have posting a picture of a smiling customer with their glowing words about you just a link away.
4) Nothing is more attractive than a simple infographic about your industry. Infographics provide value, credibility and an easy visual way for your audience to compare and contrast, evaluate and basically see that you are creative as well as credible.
5) Finally, the actual images. To stand out, stand up – that is use images that are tall versus wide to attract the eye and tell a story.
From a strictly strategic point of view, Pinterest is so much more than meets the eye – literally! A good rule of thumb if you are using Pinterest for business – for every pin, add a link to somewhere – hopefully your website or blog or even You Tube videos as discussed above.
Are you using Pinterest yet? What have your results been? If you are not, what are your reservations?
04 Jun 2012
This past Memorial Day, I spent three days doing nothing. I had a lot of time to reflect on my business and the direction I want it to take. My teenage daughters were busy, my husband was playing tennis and I was being introspective about my social media coaching practice. I believe social media should be easy. There is so much out there, that no wonder my clients come to me with tons of limiting beliefs and misperceptions about even being online. I get it, because I was once like them. Thinking I had to be everywhere, all the time. Staying up until midnight to get my real work done and then going online to post something about it – basically doing my social media marketing. That was back when I owned three educational businesses.
Times have changed for me. I limit myself to 30-45 minutes twice a day working on my business efforts. Mostly because, like my clients, I have a business to operate; people to coach, networking meetings to attend, seminars to prepare for and my radio show that airs once a week. My educational businesses were sold and all of my time is spent helping others to understand social media.
My very first business coach would always say to me, “you have to step out of your comfort zone to be successful.” And I actually bought into that. I did things online that were not natural or authentic. As time went on, I moved away from that coach because if one cannot be authentic, what is the point? Most people can read right through a facade that is not real. A put-on, a fake. And I am none of those things.
So I found myself another coach and did something different. I stepped into my comfort zone rather than outside of it. That feels better, don’t you think? Do what you are good at! Work and practice on the things you need to improve, but only if you truly want to, not because some coach is pushing you. It has to come from within.
So, back to my Memorial Day hiatus. I love doing video and I love giving snippets of information to people about social media. So, I came up with Ninety Seven Days of Social Media Summer Strategy – yep, 97 tips, one a day to end on Labor Day.
People laugh at me, thinking I can’t do it. Let them laugh, but I hope they subscribe to my You Tube channel and learn something. This is in my comfort zone. Yes, it’s a stretch, but I like challenges. What have you done lately that is within your comfort zone. That is, what do you do well and often when it comes to your business? Please share!
Laurie Hurley is a Social Media coach and consultant and believes in making Social Media Easy! Watch for her radio debut on http://www.toginet.com and the Woo-Hoo Radio network on June 20, 2pm, PST.