I know first hand social media can be a valuable, income generating tool.
My social media efforts have landed me business (a million dollar contract in 2008), sold books and products, aided my international media presence and hooked me to important resources and new friends.
Social media can provide a garden of goods that are aligned to your goals, or it can make you feel like your endless efforts produce no more than a crop of crappy connections that suck time and don’t produce a worthy return on your investment.
Follow these tips and your odds of success will increase.
1.) Tend your efforts based on a plan with goals, strategies and tactics. I write 80% of my content in one scoop at the beginning of the month. I also update a content bank in Excel to store future ideas.
2.) Automate as much as you can. I use Hootsuite to manage scheduling and tracking.
3.) Carefully mix personal with professional content along with your strengths and your vulnerabilities. This strategy will keep you interesting and human.
4.) Promote others. It’s the best fertilizer around.
5.) Provoke. Progress doesn’t happen when everyone agrees with what you think.
6.) Have the big guns ready behind the seductive links, lines and comments. A click through means nothing without the real value you provide. Your website, blog, products and services must walk the social talk.
7.) Master the craft of being a concise, punchy, smart and entertaining word smith or hire someone who is.
The past few months I’ve really amped up my commitment to my tennis game. I play 4 or 5 times a week, take lessons and participate in cardio drills.
The results have been GREAT. I’ve lost 5 pounds and buffed up quite a bit. And I’ve had a surprising number of wins when I was really behind. I’m talking down by two sets, against a 26 year old or in a deep hole with scores like 5,0 and 5,1 and I’ve come back.
I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon, how it happens and how it applies to life and business too.
For me it’s about a few big emotions: frustration, annoyance, disappointment and how to manage them.
I know feeling frustrated is a big fat waste of energy. It keeps you in a spin, not moving anywhere. While I work on eliminating this emotion from my life, I’d be lying if I said I never feel it. I do, and many times it’s on the court, especially when I keep on losing the same points in the same way.
Lesson here. Do things differently. If you do things the way you’ve been doing them, you will likely get the same results.
Annoyance is another evil emotion. In my view it’s a weakness and it translates into letting the other person get to me over and over again. I often feel defeated even before the game is over. I get very annoyed when my opponent in tennis does something pesty, like continuous short drop shots, and return shots with an extreme spin that makes the ball go in totally weird places after it bounces.
Lesson here. Instead of using your energy to beat up yourself more, re-frame the emotion from annoyance to excitement, replace those annoying things your opponent is doing with actions to stop them and deliberate moves that activate excitement.
Some contend that disappointment is a legitimate feeling especially when expectations are set. I’m often torn with this concept, because I try very hard to practice an “in the moment” way of living. But I’m also very goal-focused and I believe one must have standards set to bench-mark stuff and know when to activate the delete button; when things just don’t meet your needs.
Lesson here. I acknowledge the state of disappointment like I do failure. Both are temporary events. Feel them in proportion to the big scheme of things, not for one second more.
Such as: minor disappointments like losing a non professional tennis match, or when some random person not even in your close world is being rude or mean or like when you buy a piece of fruit and it ends up bad and tart when you were craving a sweet plum. For me, I ask myself, does it really matter? Then I shake it off right away or in a few minutes.
Or a bigger disappointment like when a professional setback occurs that impacts many things, or a person I value who is not acting the way I want them to or when I make a bad investment that shows up as a big number on my balance sheet. For me- I try to find some good in the bad event, then I shake it off in a few hours or at the most a few days.
Hanging on to disappointments is no better than torching all your clothes, your car and yourself. Not only will it prevent future joy, it produces other negative effects like toxic pollution which touches others too.
The real key to this story is not the emotion, but the turning point. This is the point when the discomfort from frustration, annoyance and disappointment become unbearable. It’s the point that one must choose to change things because they’ve had enough. And when they are done right, theses changes result in a magical force called momentum.
Momentum is how I came back to win those games. Momentum can change your game too, in sports, business and in life. Whether you are vacillating in a bad relationship, in a stagnate career or struggling to hit a home run with start-up.
Momentum has the power of a big wind storm. Momentum can set you free and produce many amazing rewards.
Finding your momentum is about choice.
You’ve got to want it.
And then you’ve got to create it.
Here’s how it happens – How to create your momentum.
Tony Robbins first taught me these ways to make momentum when I attended his “Unleash the Power within Workshop” a few years ago. Since then I practice it often and added some steps to make the process work for me. And it has. When I make momentum big stuff happens, stuff that seemed impossible manifests.
1) Get in a peak state. It creates momentum.
This means get your head, your heart and the physiology body in extreme focused, high-performance state. It helps me to remember another event when I was in a peak state. Like for me in tennis, I imagine a past comeback victory. I visualize that place and how it made me feel higher than high, an adrenaline rush, total bliss!! I go there again. Or in business, I remember a big new business score, a standing ovation or a time a client raved about my work.
2) Find your passion. It creates momentum.
This means reminding yourself of your values. What do you love? I love to compete!! What do you really want? For me, in tennis, it’s adding another win to my scorecard.
3) Decide, commit and resolve. It creates momentum.
This means no waffling, no tentativeness and no doubts. When I’m on the court I recite positive mantras too, OK some are sprinkled with a little snarkiness too.
Go after everything.
Nadal, Federer, Post
Ms. Opponent, you think you like steak, try chewing on this tennis ball.
Finish the shot.
Yes, I can!!!
4) Take urgent, immediate, consistent and massive action. It creates momentum.
It means as Nike says: Just do it!! And I say: Do it now!!
A sense of urgency has to kick in. A “take no prisoners” mindset has to be center stage.
5) Be flexible and honest with yourself.
Ask yourself: Are the changes working? Do I need to modify some more? Maybe take on a new action?
Feel the emotion of your achievement, the big and small ones count. Remind yourself who led the movement, YOU! And remind yourself of the formula that was needed, so you can do it again.
In closing, the super cool thing about momentum is it’s a very present, powerful force, like a huge gust of wind. Your competitors will fear it, your team and peers will embrace it and it can serve as fuel in your tank for the next battle, on the courts, in the boardroom or in a life environment.
Go make some momentum!!
Results from a 25-point social media reach-out research project.
Last month, September 14th to be exact, I posted a blog about such a social media research project. With all the hype around social media marketing strategies and available tactics for businesses, I was curious if a full throttle social media approach would make a difference for a small business with my revenue model. I earn money from consulting, speaking and writing.
Objective: Determine if a 25-point social media effort is worth the investment and results.
TOP LINE FINDINGS FROM STUDY
Is a social media blitz on 25 different points of contact a good use of time and money that produces a meaningful return and results vs. the cost?
In my opinion, to date, from these efforts, NO. Could this change in 6 months, YES. It’s too early to track long-tail results such as if the Fox News report touches a book buyer, another media source or a future client from the visibility.
We invested over $3,800 in time, and that time could have been used for higher income generating activities. (As a side note, I realize my current business model has limited online revenue channels to convert, monetize and track.) But with our current model, the time and money resources we spent on social media, I believe this investment could have been better used and generated more of a return if we had spent that same amount on direct sales initiatives, ad words and media buys to produce better results.
Could these efforts payoff later?
Yes, the good thing about social media is, once it’s out there, it’s pretty permanent, so future clients could stumble upon our past efforts, articles and links. Additionally, the new visitors who come back to the site can buy products and services in the future now that they are aware of my site. And all of these social media efforts do aid in Search Engine Optimization. And for me SEO produced over $100,000 in fees this past year alone.
Was there one powerful means of social media that I believe is really worth it’s weight in gold from this test?
Our Mailchimp newsletter, (which is an aggregation of our blog feed) drives the most traffic to our site. Our Google analytics also shows that the top referral sources include: Twitter, TalentZoo newsletter and key media coverage.
If you decide to try monitoring your efforts and results from social media, you must first define what good results look like. For my companies, success from a marketing effort would look like: More value than investment.
Our value framework was defined as:
- An increase in unique visitors to site
- An increase in new opt-ins to our mailing list
- An increase in affiliate sales
- An increase in book and product sales
- An increase in speaking engagements
- An increase in consulting projects
- An increase in (a top-tier, media source calling me for an interview)
Our value achieved that we can quantify:
- We’ve had an increase in unique visitors to our site by 100%
- We had 20 opt-ins to our mailing list in last 30 days (value $10.00 each)
- We sold 7 affiliate items and earned $7.00
- New book sales (can’t track yet)
- Product sales via tools store (our store was not up at the time of this test)
- New speaking engagements from blog (0)
- New consulting projects from blog (0)
- Top-tier media source interview (1) – Live.Foxnews.com booked me for 10/25
Investment is defined as time and money:
I look at time invested as actually paid time, plus the cost of missed opportunity because our time was tied up on this social media project, other tasks were put to the side.
Time expense on this project was calculated at: 17 hours at $300 an hour = $3700
My time includes: writing of the initial blog that we were touting (Branding and the Beast – How to not get bullied.), the blog about our 25-point study, I planned and did analysis of this project, completed items 1-8 out of 25 on the list and wrote this follow up blog of our results.
My staff‘s time to do list items 9-25 and participate in planning and analysis of our project was equal to 10 hours at an average of $60.00. Billable rate = $600.00.
Total cost of project: $4,300.00
Results that you can take to the bank = 0
Soft results that possibly can translate in future earnings = $500.00
Bottom line: Loss of $3,800.00
The 25-point social media activities we did to promote the blog and gain meaningful results, see original post for list.
Bottom line – should businesses bank on this type of expense?
I believe strong brands are cumulative efforts and any business’ marketing should include a diverse mix of touch points including social media.
Do you think social media efforts should have the same pull as a sharply designed direct response campaign where the credibility helps and sometime just the right placement turns into a home run at the end of season?
Social media continues to get lots of media coverage and buzz. Some, very well deserved and some is just a whole bunch of empty shoeboxes. Not good, because I love shoes!
Many of my blog readers and friends know that in 2009, after reading one tweet on a Saturday night at 11PM – and following up on it – this social connection turned into a million dollar consulting contract for me. I will forever love little blue birds!
I’ve also connected with and discovered some amazing professional resources through LinkedIn too. I love to find competent people that I can count on to help me do my work!
That’s all good, but as entrepreneurs and small or big businesses, can one count on meaningful results from social media? Like a concentrated 25-point social media blitz without investing any money, just time.
I’m curious too. So I’m going to conduct a test. We’ll call it the “25- point social media project”. This week my staff and I will leverage a two-part blog post article in 25 different ways through social media. In 2 week days we will report back the results. We will also track our time so you we can weigh out the investment to the return.
Here’s the test.
Join me, if you want to try this too and then we can compare results and lessons learned.
My blitz was geared around my new book, Brand Turnaround. I started by writing an article, which included excerpts from the book. The article was about brands gone bad and how they return to glory. The two-part series was called Branding and the Beast. So beyond the text, I had the book art and an image I bought from istock.com.
My 25-point social media blitz/how to promote your blog:
- I tweeted about it, included a link to the blog post and a unique headline.
- Posted a discussion about it on LinkedIn in my Brandturnaround group.
- Found a popular LinkedIn discussion, made a comment and included the article link.
- Posted a discussion in blogengage.
- Posted on .docstoc with links to blog.
- Turned it into a PowerPoint and posted it on Slideshare.
- I utilized pinging services. By pinging the blog post I let search engines know I just updated my blog.
- I posted it on Facebook with a different headline (because the blog autofeeds to my Facebook author page).
- I bookmarked the post on Reddit.
- I bookmarked the post on StumbleUpon and grew my stumble followers.
- Bookmarked the post on Delicious.
- Created a saved search for Twitter based on the blog’s keywords, replied to those tweeting the keywords with a comment and a link to my blog.
- I bookmarked the post to Digg.
- I found a high traffic site, TalentZoo, where they invite guest bloggers to submit stories.
- I submitted it to technorati.
- I wrote another discussion about it and posted a question on another LinkedIn group.
- I bookmarked the post to Blinklist.
- I posted it on Bizsugar, so readers could vote on it.
- I added my blog to Ping-o-Matic – it updates different search engines that your blog has updated.
- I produced a 3 minute video on the book Brand Turnaround, posted it on YouTube, Vimeo and then promoted it in Twitter, Linkedin and on my Author Facebook page.
- I posted my blog on blokube – a social voting site dedicated to professionals in blogging.
- I added 5 linkbacks within my blog to other blogs in my niche.
- I commented on 5 other blogs in my niche, with links back to my blog.
- Started a discussion on Google Groups.
- I posted an article on EzineArticles.com with a byline link to my blog.
and be sure to use a URL tracking system for every single URL you create, which tracks the effectiveness of your links.
We are off to the research laboratory and we’ll let you know our results.
For more on social media tips, view:
If you are going to tweet, why not make it really sweet.
Twitter is a great tool for business, but if you don’t have meaningful followers and manage them, then you are just blue bird flying by yourself.
FREE Twitter contact management and directory services
The follow tools allow for businesses to easily manage their twitter accounts:
- A powerful tool for seeing which people you follow are following you back is FriendOrFollow. This tool also allows you to see which people are following you, but you have yet to follow them back.
- You may have a lot of followers, but how many of those are active? Twitoria allows you to see which of your followers are active on Twitter over the last week, two weeks, month, two months, however long you would like to see.
- WeFollow is a user-powered Twitter directory. Simply enter the tags or keywords that you want to be known for (such as #socialmedia, #marketing, #entrepreneur) and viola! you’re finished.
- Twellow, also known as the Yellow Pages of Twitter, allows you to search for users by a wide range of many categories. You can also add yourself to this directory group so people can find you easier.
- A directory service that will notify you of new additions to people in your particular industry who is just like you is Just Tweet It.
For more FREE Twitter tips, click here. Also, stay tuned for Twitter marketing tools. Know someone who is clueless when it comes to social media? Maybe you? For under 10 bucks, you can change that. We’ve put together a simple and powerful Ta-Do list for social media.
Save time. Get more followers. Earn more impact.
For those of you who are always tweeting, the following management tools may make your life seem easier and will aid in growing your community and channel significance:
1. TweetDeck is a free desktop widget that allows a business to tweet with the ability to sort tweets into direct messages, topics and keywords. TweetDeck is an Adobe Air desktop application that lets users send and receive tweets and view account profiles. You can also set up a specific column to view mentions of your company or industry, and another column for all of your competitors. This application is also capable of integrating your Facebook, Linkedin, Google Buzz, Foursquare and Myspace accounts.
2. Hootsuite is a free fast-growing web service and is designed for businesses needing to manage more than one Twitter profile with multiple users. It allows a business to easily schedule tweets and easily switch back and forth between different accounts. Hootsuite also includes a URL-shortening service that lets you see how many times your links are clicked.
3. CoTweet is a free tool that allows multiple individuals from the same company communicate through a single Twitter account. People maintain their own profile and the account activity is recorded as the program focuses on a two-way communication that engages other accounts.
The next blog post will discuss different contact management tools.
Unless you are new to social media, you should already know about Twitter and should know that it is an easy way for businesses to get closer to their customers for free. Twitter is a cost effective way to build a community and brand awareness. I highly recommend creating a Twitter account for your business if you have not yet done so. But if you already have, and are interested in improving the use of your Twitter account, here are 5 free tips to follow:
1. Things to consider tweeting about
When you tweet, don’t forget to mention your Facebook and Linkedin accounts. Followers may want to be apart of your other social portals and vice versa. Doing this will easily grow your audience. Tweeting, or giving shout outs, about the your colleagues will more than likely result in your followers following them as well, thus in turn, your business will have more prime tweets towards your target market. It’s a social spiral that you shouldn’t pass up and consider implementing.
2. Twitter directories
Getting your Twitter account listed on directories is an easy way to get your name out to Twitter land. These directories are also a useful way to find followers that you are interested in following. Mashable is one of my favorite directories to use, but there are tons to choose from.
3. Tweet often, but not too often
Try not to tweet about your business more than 10 times a day. Leave time for reaction or people may unfollow you, especially if followers see that you are not retweeting the good stuff from other followers or if you’re acting like a robot and not tweeting towards your audience in a friendly, personable way. Tweeting at certain times of the day, morning and night, will increase your chances of gaining more followers, but it also depends on the hours of whom you are trying to reach.
4. Make conversation
Asking questions on your Twitter timeline is a good way to get feed back. Also, try participating and retweeting tweets from others; they will more than likely retweet the favor. Direct messaging your followers after they begin following you is common courtesy in Twitter land, although it may be hard to keep track of whom to thank when sending out your direct messages if you gain a lot of followers in one day. Socialoomph is a free tool that automatically sends out DMs to your followers and keeps statistics of how many are sent out in a day.
5. Tweet things that are valuable
Besides tweeting about your business, your followers want to read something interesting, worth their while or something that they’ll learn from. For example, tweeting: “Find out how much your twitter is worth – http://tweetervalue.com/ I’m worth $476, how about you?” allows followers to interact with you, is interesting and fun. Real life relationships are about give and take, you can’t let everything be about yourself or it just won’t work! And in this case, you’ll lose followers.
Need more help on social media? Our Social Media Ta-Do list is packed full of all the steps to get going and social.
And these new Twitter books have some sweet, tweet, ideas too.
Stay tuned for ways to manage your Twitter account.
If your business is having a hard time getting customers through the door, check out Google Places, Yahoo Listings and, if you are in Florida, WOMbeat. These may be the answers you need to help grow your business.
Previously known as the Local Business Center, Google Places is a way to better connect Internet search users to local businesses and to give them more informed decisions about where to go and what business or product they should be using. Google Place Pages allows people to connect to information from the best sources across the Internet, giving reviews and essential facts, as well as real-time updates and offers from business owners. These Places also allow businesses to share their information such as hours of operation, phone number, links, description, tag line and much more. This provides business owners with effective, yet easy to use, tools.
Yahoo! Local Listings is an online Advertising tool for business owners. It gives owners the ability to provide details about their business to potential and existing customers. Yahoo! Local allows owners to upload any information about their business from their computer and is very easy to manage. When setting up your listing, you won’t have to worry about using specific key words for your business nor will you have to manage bids.
WOMbeat! is a simple way to collect all of your biggest customers in one place online. WOMbeat! uses word of month effectively and efficiently by using customer incentives and metrics. It is an easy way for your customers to recommend you to their friends and allows you to build more customer loyalty. Click here to get started with your free business listing.
Download my PDF outline for step-by-step instructions on how to set up your Google Places and Yahoo Listings.
Need more ways to grow your business? Visit the Oddpodz book store and see our SEO and social media Ta-Do lists. These under $10.00 ebooks provide proven and valuable insight on two hot marketing topics.
Facebook TabSite is a free online mini webpage for your business. Creating this mini webpage in Facebook is simple by using an application tab. You can create this tab within your Facebook page without having to know anything about Facebook Markup Language, also known as FBML. It is an easier option for those who don’t want to spend money on a developer. Facebook TabSite looks more professional then an original fan page and is a wonderful marketing tool for any business serious about expanding their presence. You can easily add content, images and links to your documents like .pdf and .docx so fans can have easy access to forms that are capable of viewing and downloading. With the free personal profile you get two TabSite subpages, 5MB of storage, you will be able to track how many fans view your TabSite and you’ll be able to publish updates to your wall instantly all while combining your blog or other social media pages. The choices are endless.
I know you don’t all make king’s ransoms. I don’t. And I know that you probably eat some crappy food. But holy %&$##, when there is free food in the kitchen do you all have to stampede in there like a herd of starved elephants? Because it’s embarrassing.
And look, yes, I know the food in there is as joyously free as soda fill-ups at an Olive Garden or as plentiful as a Seth Godin library. But you needn’t tell me; when I see ten of you get up at the same time with those dumb smiles on your faces and waddle in there on the double-quick I know that there is nothing else possibly driving you but something free that you can put into your mouth. Do you tell me because you think that you’re doing me a favor? Because you think I look emaciated? Do you tell me because having more people rushing in there somehow validates your third meal of the day before 1:30 pm? I don’t know why you tell me; because I have no doubt that were I to come face to face with you before the last Cosi pressed sandwich, even if it were one of the mozzarella and eggplant ones, you would cut my Achilles tendon with a plastic fork.
So, seriously people, get a hold of yourself. It’s pitiful.