The Story Of The Little Black Business Card Holder

 

Day 21 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

As I write this article, I’ve been working for myself now for almost a decade.  The number one, big daddy key to my success these years has been, hands down, networking.

If you’re not self-employed or don’t work for a bank, you may never have been to a networking event.  If you’ve been to a networking event you will find what I just said about working for a bank funny.  If not, well… move along.

The focus of this article is not to teach you how to network.  Although if you’re a small business owner, you should be out there networking.  The goal here is to show you how these powerful principles will work exactly the same way in Social Media.  After all, Social Media is building a network.

I also want to set the table for what we’ll be discussing tomorrow.  When you have a strong network, you can accomplish anything.

When I ran the martial arts school, I joined what is called a closed networking group.  It’s made up of local small business owners and employees each representing only one category.  There can’t be two realtors in the group.  You join and lock in your business category.

Each week we get together and try to give referrals and leads to each other.  To get these, you need to educate the group on what it is you do and what kind of leads or referrals you want.

I also attend open networking events.  As the name implies, it is open to anyone.  Local Chamber of Commerce offer open events where I may be one of many social media managers vying for business.

Givers Gain

When you go to these types of events you can be one of many people.  My weekly closed groups have thirty plus members each.  Open events run by the Chamber can often have hundreds of people there.  And they’re all competing for the same thing: your attention.

The ones who are the most successful in networking share a common trait.  The same goes in social media.

This trait was coined by Dr. Ivan Misner founder of BNI (Business Networking International).  It is the theme of BNI: ‘Givers gain’.

That means that people who go into networking of any type with the goal of giving first will receive later.  Most people go into networking with the opposite mindset, unfortunately.  Their slogan is ‘Give Me NOW!’.

Will They Even
Remember You?

Imagine going into a room with 100 people all with that attitude.  Now first of all, you can’t possibly connect with that many people in a short window of time.  But even if you did, if they all just want you to give them your money, who will you even remember when you walk out the door?

I joined a local big town Chamber last year.  Went to an event and met a bunch of different people.  Couldn’t tell you who any of those people were a year later… except for one.

This Truly
Blew Me Away

Kevin O’Driscoll is a business coach who owns RIY Business Group in Oxford, Connecticut.  He came up to me at this event and introduced himself.  But he did something different.  He didn’t tell me what he did or what kind of things he could help my business with.  All he did was asked me about me.

I consider myself a pretty good networker.  I tried to turn it around and get him talking about himself.  If you’ve never read the book “How to Win Friends And Influence People”, you know that people love to talk about themselves.  Get them talking about them and you can build an instant bond.  Kevin wouldn’t let me talk about anything but my own needs.  (If you have not read it, I highly recommend you do).

Here’s What
Really Wow’d Me

I’ve had that happen to me at events on occasion.  But he took it a step further.  He listened to the words coming out of my mouth.  Sounds simple, I know.  But you can’t imagine how many people don’t do this one simple thing.

When I was done talking about myself and my business he opened a little black book with hundreds of business cards of business owners he knew and pulled one out.  He handed it to me and suggested I call them because they really could use what it is I do.

I was floored.  This guy asked me about me.  He listened.  And then he processed that information and came up with a way to give me business.  He then shook my hand and left me with his business card.  He never went into great detail about himself or his business.

Who do you think I remembered at the end of the night?  I didn’t just remember him, I kept his business card out on my desk for months.  One day I invited him as a guest to my BNI group.  We now see each other every week.  And I would trip over myself to help get him business.

He made a lasting impression on me because he is a superstar networker.  I now have a little black business card book and try my best to emulate him.

Networking Rules
I Live By;
Online and Offline

I try to live by some simple rules.  Whether I am networking in person, one to one, or on Facebook.  The rules are:

  • Actively listen – most people are to busy thinking of what they’re going to say to actively hear the person speaking to them.
  • Give until it hurts – You have to want to help people no matter what.
  • Be genuine and sincere – People see through the fake.  You’re probably bombarded with free offers all the time.  Winners focus not on just giving but the intention behind it.
  • Treat everyone with the same respect – Whether someone can help you back or not.

People will go out of the way to give back to a person who helped them.  It’s called the law of reciprocation.  But, the intent behind what you give has to be there for it to work.

Kevin’s intent was there.  He really wanted to help.  His entire network knows this and that’s why they adore him.

When you focus on helping others with true intent, you magnetize yourself to success.  Not to mention whether you get something in return for your efforts or not, it feels pretty darn good to give.  In many ways, givers really do gain.

Another Reason For The Thirty Day Social Media Challenge Revealed

 

Day 20 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

So you’re two thirds of the way through.  Today, I feel it’s time to reveal my ulterior motive that I’ve kept hidden.

I hate to keep secrets but there was a very good reason for it.  See, by now, if you’ve been doing the challenge with me, you’ve got momentum.  You’ve got a bunch of content.  And you have probably found the whole process to be much easier and even, dare I say it, more fun than you might have initially thought.

If I told you about this first you’d probably have had the same things occur for you that it did for me in the past.  You’d feel overwhelmed and never have even started.  Been there, done that.

How To Achieve
Instant Credibility,
Authority And Celebrity

My ulterior motive… I am writing a book.  In fact, this is the book.  When it’s completed, it will have 31 chapters.

Now, for the purpose of the blog, it was not always done in order.  And there may be more in the book than here.  But for the most part, once I’m done with this challenge; the book is 99% done.

This approach was, for me, designed specifically to create an expert book on how to create social media content.  But if I attacked it as writing a book, I never would have even started.  I know, I’ve tried.  I have started many a book.  Each one seemed so enormously over whelming that I just gave up either before I started or a few chapters in.

This Person Changed
My Perspective About
Writing A Book

I borrowed and followed the method taught to me by my copywriting teacher; John Carlton.  He is arguably the best or one of the best sales copywriters living on planet Earth.  And he’d even tell you so himself.  All joking aside, he really is.  And I’m only half joking.

I always remembered something he said.  It was simple and powerful.  Book equals expert.  I think he followed that up by saying ‘Write that down, Bucko!’

Even My Dog
Can Do This

Think about it, when you see that someone has written a book, don’t you give them just a little more credibility than the average Joe?  Maybe a lot more.  And if you’re the rare person who doesn’t, trust me, most people do.

The thing is, anyone can write a book.  My dog can write a book.  Well, he won’t write it himself.  He’d hire a ghost writer.  Or, if he’d stop getting into the garbage every time I turn my back, I’d even spring for the ghost writer myself.  That and self-publishing on Amazon or any one of the other services that do it for you mean my dog can be a published author.

All you need to publish a book these days is a bunch of words put together in a somewhat logical fashion.  Actually, it’s quite possible you don’t even need to do that.  See most people won’t even read it.  The effect is still the same, however.

Now I highly recommend you make sure that you have words in your book.  Lots of them.  The above was just to illustrate a point.

People just automatically assign expert status to someone who has written a book.  And if you want to be considered an expert in your business niche, then writing a book can be a tremendous boost.

You’ve Already
Written Most Of It

Now trying to write a book is going to seem daunting at best.  But when you tear it down into its basic chunks, what you have is a sequence of single pieces of content.  Like blog posts.  Hmm…

And now that you’re twenty days in, and you (hopefully) have been creating content daily, you have a future book.  You need to take a few more steps before you can publish like formatting, creating your table of contents, index, bibliography, cover art, graphics or any other book type things you want to include.

But the really hard part is done.  And that is creating the vision and content.  Pretty cool, eh?

How To Write A Book
With Audio Or Video

Now you may be saying, “But gosh darnit, Mike Brooks… you told us we didn’t have to create written content so we made an audio or video blog”.  Have no fear.  All you need to do is slide on over to Elance.com, Odesk.com or any other place you can hire a person and have it all transcribed.

There’s certainly more things you can do, but it really is just that easy.  You can even go get all your friends and family to buy it all at the same time and become an Amazon bestseller.  Albeit that will probably only last for a few minutes.  But now you can say you’re a best selling author… wink wink.  I’m only ha

So don’t stop now.  Keep going and finish this challenge up.  While you don’t have to publish this as a book, if you want to, you have the option.

Besides, if my dog can do it, so can you!

Things To Do To Build Your Social Media Presence

Day 19 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Today’s article is not really going to be an article in the classical sense of the word.  Instead, I thought, as we go through the 30 day challenge together, I want to simply give you a social media action list.

These are simple things you can do with your social media (some not so simple but most are).  You can do some or all of them.

And it is by no means an exhaustive list.  Feel free to add your own actions to it.  Make sure to leave a comment on this post with suggested actions to share with the rest of the community.

Some of these action items are simple and some are complex.  It assumes you’ve already got a good foundation of social media.   It also assumes you’ve read the other articles in the 30 day challenge and understand the strategy and vision.  If not, I’d suggest going back and start your 30 days off from the first article.

 

Preparation/Analysis

  • Create your own monthly report that documents what you’re going to do and what you’ve done.  Track likes, follows and any other things you feel will help you measure and track your ROI.
  • Create a list of resources you can use of influencers, blogs and websites that talk about your topic.
  • Create a posting calendar spreadsheet to plan out posts into the future.  You can always add as you go, but having this filled with things you can use will be a great asset.
  • Create posting guidelines for yourself and any other people who will be posting for you
  • Setup Google Analytics of other measurement tools so you can see where traffic is coming from.

Marketing Your Social Media

  • Make sure social media links are on your website and blogs.  Every channel you use-Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc- should have a link on every online entity you have.
  • Make sure the like, share and plus one buttons are on your website and blog posts.
  • SEO optimize your information pages on all social channels.  Create keyword rich descriptions with links back to your sites.
  • Give great content so people want to like.
  • Create welcome tab and sidebar images that brand your Facebook page and other social media that allow for this.  See Parent Match for a sample.  First time visitors see a welcome landing tab asking them to hit like.
  • Don’t keep it a secret.  Tell customers about it.

Tactics/On-Going Management

  • Create regular, high value content on your central content hub.
  • Regularly look through searching tools to listen for things happening online about your brand and your company.  Search Twitter regularly for real time conversations going on about your brand and company and then enter the conversation your prospect and customer is already having.  Same goes for Facebook and any other social channel that allows you to search (that’d be most of them if not all).
  • Find reasons to place links to news stories, blog posts written by others and yourself, information you find useful, how to videos, a joke (make sure it’s appropriate) or anything else you feel would be of value that you can share in your status updates.
  • Like comments people make on Facebook.  On your page or their own.
  • Use @tagging on Facebook and speak directly to your fans.  Thank them for commenting, answer them or anything that’s appropriate.
  • Thank people for re-tweets they make on your posts on Twitter.
  • Send direct messages to people who followed you on Twitter thanking them.  You can link to your website, blog or other social media you might want them to visit.
  • #FollowFriday, give #ShoutOuts and do other things to help people expand their network on Twitter.
  • Talk to people who comment on Facebook.  Treat all social media as a conversation.  Get back to them right away.
  • Re-tweet things by others – Do this with followers, people you follow and people you find. Great way to get on the radar of new influencers.  Do a search to find people talking about your brand and re-tweet away.
  • Make daily status updates
  • Ask questions to prompt comments
  • Share pictures – (The thing people click most on Facebook are pictures)
  • Don’t say anything that could get you in trouble – (but don’t fear being provocative)
  • Share things (hit the ‘Share’ button) influencers and other people have done on Facebook.  Make sure to place a comment about why and what you’re sharing.
  • Like and comment on other people’s and brand’s Facebook pages as your page
  • Use tools that can help you automate like Hootsuite.  But, do not over automate.  Be human.
  • Review your Facebook insights to see trends and metrics
  • Join and participate in groups on Linkedin
  • Answer and ask questions on Linkedin
  • Favorite, like and comment on Youtube videos about your brand – (You don’t need to ever upload one video to be able to do this.  But it’d be great if you did).
  • Use sponsored ads and PPC (if you have the budget)
  • Tweet with hashtags.  Make your own; #myhashtag.  But also tweet with trending hashtags that are congruent with your message and brand.
  • Hold a Twitter Chat.  You can organize your own or get in on one associated with your own brand.  Search Google for ‘Twitter Chat’ and your brand and see what you find.
  • Host teleseminars/webinars and teach something about your brand or company.  Keep it free and non-marketing.  Educate and entertain.  Then re-purpose the content as a freebie for people who like your page or join your mail list.
  • Run a contest – (Make sure to know the Facebook terms of service and how to do this with a 3rd party app before you attempt).
  • Study other successful social media campaigns to learn and see what is working that you can add to yours.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  And this is also meant for the average person who does not have thousands of dollars per month to plunk down on enterprise level social media tools.

The key is to take action and do things.  You certainly don’t have to do everything.  But everything you do will make your efforts that much more successful.

Make sure to leave a comment with your advice and anything you think should be on the list.  George Carlin’s ‘list’ started with only 7 words.  Over time it got much larger.  We can do the same here.

How To Keep Your Fans And Followers And Get New Ones

Day 18 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

On Day 15 I wrote an article about driving traffic to your social media channels.  Today I want to expand on this even deeper.

In the article I gave some ‘Must Do’ things for you to do.  These are designed to get traffic to your page.  But in short order you’re going to have fans and followers.

Once you do, you’ve got two goals you need to focus on when it comes to these folks.  The first is to keep them your fans and followers.  The second is to get more fans and followers through them.

Keep Your Fans…
Your Fans

It’s a dog eat dog world out there. There’s a ton of competition for our attention.  Combine that with our ever shortening attention spans and if you’re not careful, loyal fans will move on to the next thing that grabs their attention pretty darn quick.  Better to be the dog doing the eating than the one being eaten.

Make sure you employ a strategy for keeping your fans.  It’s hard enough to get a fan.  Keeping them is even harder.

And quite frankly it’s more important than even getting a fan.  Most people focus all their efforts on getting fans and then wonder why their base never seems to grow.

Back when I ran a martial arts school, we used something we called the Integrated Marketing Approach.  Ever hear the old saying: “It’s easier to get new business from a current customer than to get a new customer”?  It is so true!

New customers are just one profit center in any business.  Retaiuning that customer is also a profit center.  There’s other profit centers.  In the martial arts school they were: upgrades, special events and retail sales.  If we focused on just one, we were leaving a ton of money on the table.

Think of retention as closing the back door.  If you spend all your effort on getting people to come in the front door but your back door is wide open, you’re loosing customers and you’ll never grow no matter how many new ones you bring in.

When we focused on all those profit centers, the business quadrupled.  Same thing can happen with your social media channels.

Here’s an article from Sarah Goliger on Hubspot called “4 Ways To Keep Your Facebook Fans From ‘Unliking’ Your Page.  Sarah says you want to keep your posts interesting, publish relevant and valuable content, find a good balance for publishing frequency and keep them coming back for more.

Notice a lot of what Sarah talks about revolves around content.  You can never go wrong by giving your fans and followers great stuff.

Get New Fans Through
Your Current Fans 

The other side of this is leveraging your current fans and followers to get new ones.  This is the place social networking really shines.

If one person shares your content, it is possible that hundreds (the average Facebook user has 130 friends) of their friends will see it.  If they like what they see, maybe they’ll click through to learn more about you.

Engaging your fans and followers is vital.  Not only to keep them coming back for more, but to get them telling the world about you.

Here’s some rules for your fan engagement:

Know your audience:   Before you start speaking to them, you need a great understanding of what makes them tick.  What are their likes and interests?

Keep it real: Talk to them the way you would any person face to face.  Be congruent with your marketing message, but don’t be fake.  People see right through it.

Act naturally: Think about what you might do in real life to get a response from someone and just do the same thing in social media.  This isn’t rocket science.

Ask A Great Question
Get A Great Answer

If you were face to face with me and wanted me to respond to you, what would you form the words coming out of your mouth into?  A question!  If you want someone to respond to what you say, end the statement with a question mark.

Asking a great question in social media will result in a great answer.  Then everyone connected to the person answering has the opportunity to learn about you and your content.

My friend Jason Silverman, (whom I’ve mentioned in several other articles), called to ask for advice on something yesterday.  He is going to a New Year Eve costume party where guests are supposed to come as a TV or Hollywood couple.

My answer to that question was not suitable for this blog as it contains humor that some may not find very funny.  You can use your imagination but that’s beside the point.

What I did offer is that a question is perfect for fan engagement and that he should ask it on his social channels.  It has all the right elements of a question that gets great mileage in the socialverse.

  • It is interesting – Many people love going to costume parties and can relate.  It’s a fun topic.
  • It is personal – Builds rapport with his fans and followers
  • It asks for help – People love to feel like they’re helping out.  People will follow a random stranger into a dark alley if they were lost and needed directions.
  • It allows people to be clever – People will want to provide their funny and interested answers

Sure enough the post grabbed an immediate response.  So far after one day he has at least triple the response he would normally get.

There are a lot of tactics and techniques, (here is a great post from Social Media Examiner by Mari Smith on how to better engage your Facebook fans), that you can use to up your fan engagement.  Clever comments, great content from others, pictures, videos to name just a few.   If it follows the simple rules discussed above, there’s a great chance it will get shared and bring other people back to you.

Using Youtube And Other Social Media To Engineer Celebrity

Day 17 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Introduction: I have two reasons for writing this piece today.  First is to show you the power of social media to build celebrity, credibility and profits in your business.  The other reason is to build upon what we covered yesterday in the article about using the story lesson model.

I want you to use what we discussed yesterday to read between the lines and see how this article was constructed.  At the end of the article I will talk more about how I constructed this.

 How I Met Jason

This is also about a way to use social media to generate huge results, it’s not meant to be a do this, get this model.  In other words, what I am showing you here, while you can follow this model exactly to produce (or to try to) the same results, the goal here is to show you the possibilities and open your mind to other ways.

In day 6 of the social media challenge I told you about Jason Silverman’s method for avoiding failure that he made me adopt.  It’s really kept me focused.  I haven’t had to send a single check yet.

What Happens In Vegas
Didn’t Stay In Vegas

I first met Jason in Las Vegas at a convention for martial arts school owners put on by a relatively young industry association.  I was already a member of a brand new program he and his wife had created called Powerful Words.

Their program was a character education licensing program for martial arts school owners.  His wife, Dr. Robyn Silverman Phd., created the content as she was an expert in early child development.  Jason handled all the marketing.

They originally created the program for their own martial arts school which Jason, as a martial artist.  As an early adopter I can tell you it is a must have for any school.

Basically, they create a professional curriculum that school owners can adopt as their own that teaches character education.  This added a huge level of true value for a school.  Essentially it turns a school from a kick/punch sweat box into an educational institute over night.

What this means for the school is instant credibility and authority.  And with that, the school owner can charge a lot more because now they’re not just teaching fighting.  They’re now educating.

So I finally got to meet the folks who’s program I was using in my own school.  There’s was the first booth I actually stopped to talk to.

Shocking No One
Was Killed

They were way in the back on a far corner, hidden from everyone.  So there wasn’t much going on at their table.  Except the incessant ‘thwok’ sound of a throwing knife hitting a piece of wood that the vendor behind them hung from the cloth divider.  Me and Jason immediately bonded over the absurdity of that and my keen observation of what would happen if they missed the piece of wood and a knife came hurling through.  I am still surprised Jason is alive today.

Jason and I were two marketers of a kind.  We both followed the same methods and even had some of the same mentors.  As I grew my school and he grew his program; Powerful Words, we kept in close touch (and still do) over all these years.

The Idea That
Changed Everything

A real stroke of genius was to film Dr. Robyn each month, educating school owners and parents on the character word of the current month.  Each month they shot at least two videos introducing the word, talking about what would be taught and answering questions from parents.

These videos were syndicated to Youtube and some other video sites, social bookmarking sites, Facebook, Twitter and some other strategic places across the web like their blog.  The key thing; they did this consistently for years.  After a short time, there was a lot of great content out there on the internet.

But the power of social media, took it to even higher levels.  They placed it on their channels and then school owners like me would share the video with our social media audience.

As one school owner, I had hundreds of fans.  Imagine the reach with many school owners sharing all this content with their audiences?

And Then Along
Came Tyra Banks

One day, Jason answered a call from producers at the nationally syndicated Tyra Banks Show.   They wanted Robyn to come into the studio and be a guest expert.  They found her on Youtube.

Just going to pause this article for dramatic effect.  They found her on Youtube.

She did a great job on the show so was asked back often.  Then one day a regional Fox News producer asked her to be a guest on their show.

Fast forward to today and Dr. Robyn has been on the Today Show, Anderson Cooper, Good Morning America and gets calls for others all the time.  It all started with a content driven social media campaign.

Me and Jason talk about every day.  And years after they shot their first video it’s still really exciting to hear what new door has opened for them thanks to their social content strategy.

Maybe this year you’ll have a similar story to tell.  All I know is if you create great content on a consistent basis, great things can happen.

 

Footnote: This turned out to be a pretty long article.  But the lesson is simple.  If you make great content (in this case, videos) that teach something, you’re well-spoken and you do it regularly, there is a good chance really important people will see it.

But it’s the story that paints the pleasing picture.  The story line here is about how me and Jason met.

There are a lot of things within the story that have nothing to do with what the lesson was about.  But these things move the story forward, build interest, bond reader and writer, and keep people reading.

The Story Lesson Content Generation Model

Day 16 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

I love a good story.  I love hearing someone tell a good story and I love telling a good story.

I think we’re all natural story tellers.  Since the dawn of time before people could even speak they’d sit around the cave acting out the days events.  Sharing how they didn’t get eaten by a giant predator today.

I think we’re so hard wired to tell and listen to stories that when someone is speaking and they don’t build it into story format, our brains start to shut down.  Have you ever listened to someone speak where they’re droning on and on about nothing?  You’re fighting to keep your eyes open when they start to get into a story and suddenly you perk back up with interest?

Marketers Are Story Tellers

The best marketing people I know of don’t sell.  They tell stories.

These stories are designed to build up the buying emotion in you.  Instead of telling you all the great things about that new car you’re looking at, they tell you a story about how the salesman’s first date was in a car just like this.  He took his beautiful girlfriend on an adventure in the mountains where they met a mysterious man…

Before you know it you’re caught up in his story.  You’re envisioning yourself in the story.  You feel the wind in your hair as you picture yourself in the driver’s seat.

It’s Not Underhanded
It’s What We Want

Some people might think it’s a little unethical to use story telling to market something.  It certainly can be.  But then anything can be unethical.

The way I see it, as long as you’re not lying or trying to outwardly trick the person into doing something they don’t want to, it’s all good.  A great story is a way to get the prospect to get emotionally involved.  And people buy on emotion and justify it later with logic.

Stories remind us that we’re human.  Stories allow us to see ourselves in the world.  The educate us, they give us different perspectives.  And of course, they just plain old entertain us.

As a social media marketer, stories are a powerful tool.  Look at how I write most of what I have written here.  Most every post has a story to move the narrative forward.

Get Good At Telling Stories

In an earlier post I told you about my friend who was Bobby Bonilla’s private chef.  Before Bobby came to the New York Mets in 1999 he was playing for the Dodgers in LA.

Matt got to go out and live on the road with Bobby.  Even though he was working, they became pretty close friends.

I have to tell you, I would count the minutes until I could speak to Matt again because his stories were amazing.  I got to live vicariously through him and lift myself up out of my boring and mundane life.

One day Matt called me and asked me a funny question.  He wanted to know the name of the guitarist in the band Kiss.

When I got to meet Bobby Bo through Matt, we immediately bonded over our love of Kiss.  I grew up with them and idolized them into my adult years as did Bobby.  Me and Bobby really connected over stories of listening to them as kids and seeing them live.

So Matt’s question peaked my interest.  I told him that Paul Stanley was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer.  Matt then said, “Yeah, that’s his name.  He lives in the apartment above us and is coming to dinner tonight.”

Did you ever see the old cartoons where a characters jaw will drop right onto the floor and his eyes pop five feet out of his head?  That’s what happened to me.

The stories Matt told after that chance encounter just got better and better.  The one that riddled me with jealousy was the time he got to go to a concert with the band… on their private jet.

Stories Don’t Have
To Be About Kiss

The story about my friend Matt meeting Kiss is an amazing one.  But stories don’t need to be like that.

They just need to be interesting.  They need to take the reader somewhere.  But it can be a very simple story.  We’ve all got them.

We also have stories that may seem mundane to us but to someone else, they may be the most interesting thing they’ve heard all day.  I’ve told stories that I thought would put people to sleep where they hung on every word.

By the way, that picture to the left is me with Gene Simmons backstage.  Matt was taking the picture and the rest of the band was heading for the stage.  Gene looks like he’s making a rock star gesture but Matt was having problems getting the camera to work.  Gene was telling him to hurry the hell up.  I look pretty happy, don’t I?


Building The Bridge
From Story To Lesson

When I write, whether it’s a piece of content such as this, or a short Facebook status update, I always try to follow this model.  Tell a story, teach a lesson.

The story is used to drive the narrative forward so you can, quite frankly, have permission to teach the lesson.  People don’t want to just sit and listen to you teach or preach.  You might think they want to and they might think they want to, but they really don’t.  They really want to be entertained.  And when they’re entertained, they’ll learn more and retain more.  So it is win/win.

But to be effective, you have to build a bridge from the story to the lesson.  They have to be connected.  The story has to  make sense in the context of the thing you’re teaching.

Look what I’ve done in this post.  How many times did I use story to drive my point home?  Heck, it’s a story about a story about using a story to teach a lesson.  Boy, that sounds confusing.  But I think you probably get the point.

You’re still reading so I have to assume it kept you interested.  And hopefully, you’re going to take away the ever important lesson of using story in your content.

It really works.  And now, like the Cheap Trick song, it’s time to go get my old Kiss records out! (Google it).

 

Building Your Social Media Following – Driving Traffic

 

Day 15 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

As we get to the mid-way point in the 30 Day Social Media Challenge, you should have a ton of content syndicated on your blog and social channels.  Your blog, if you’re like me, is your central content hub.  From there, you link back to it on Facebook, Twitter and your other Social Media.

Now that you’ve got almost half a month of activity, it’s time to start driving eyeballs to your channels.  Today we’re going to talk about some methods for building traffic and ultimately, your fan base.

I’m going to give you a couple of simple but powerful action steps that work really well.  But there are many ways to do it.  If you’ve got an idea, please make sure to share it with the community in the comments section.

People Will Stay
If Your Content Rocks

If you’ve got great content, people will want to stick around and like, follow, etc.  That’s why we’re so focused on content in this challenge.

As we’ve talked about in other posts, content is king.  People find you somehow on social media, but if you don’t give them a strong reason to stick around, they’re on to the next thing probably never to return again.

If we can create amazing, information rich, engaging content, people will want more.  This is the fly paper if you will.  People stop in to see what it’s all about and get stuck. Readers check in but they don’t check out… In a good way, that is.

Make Regular Status
Updates, Tweets And Shares

This report today will assume you’ve got your social media setup and ready to go.  If you’re brand new to social media or feel that you’d like some direction, make sure to enter your email in the box on the right of the page to get my social media quick-start video course.

Hopefully, you’re posting your content to your Facebook page, Twitter and every other social network of your choosing every day.  Or at least every day you have content.  If not, go do that first!

Avoid Things That Will
Provoke The Dreaded
Unlike Or Unfollow

There is a lot of hype out there about social media.  People get caught up in it and think the moment they turn on their Facebook page people are going to be knocking the doors down with cash in hand ready to buy their wares.

There is no magic button.  The reality is that It’s not easy getting someone of quality to hit the like button or follow you.  When I say quality I mean someone who is actually interested in what you have to say.  There are plenty of people out in the Socialverse who follow and like others for no other purpose than to get your attention.  They want you to like or follow them back.

It takes a lot of work.  It takes strategy and patience.

Things To Avoid At All Costs

Post no more than twice a day:  On Facebook you can post twice a day; once in the morning and again in the evening.  Many experts agree that having two status updates appear in your Facebook fan’s newsfeed from you at once will increase unlikes.

On Twitter it is much more frequent.  But most experts say no more than 8 in one day.  The best thing to do is watch your metrics.  If it looks like you’re getting unlikes, you will need to back off a little.

Controversy:  Don’t talk about religion, politics or any other lightning rod issues unless that’s what your business is.  If you’re a politician, feel free to pick on the other side all you want.

Controversial topics can draw a ton of attention.  So you can certainly bring it into your world.  Just don’t be controversial unless that is what your strategy is.

Spam:  The definition of what spam is and is not differs for many people.  The bottom line; spam is anything that is considered unwanted.  If you are pushing your own agenda a lot, you’re going to appear spammy.

Just ask yourself the honest question if this is something you would consider spam.  You want to engage, inspire, connect with, entertain, educate.  While you do need to ask people to take action, if all you ever do is sell, sell, sell… you will attract those unlikes and unfollows.

Things To Do At All Costs

Ask People To Like You:  Seems simple but it is something that’s overlooked… a lot.  And not just asking online.  Although if you’ve got an email list, send a request to them. Ask your current Facebook friends to help you out.

Then make sure to take it offline.  You should ask people to like and follow you whenever you have the chance.  When you ring them up at the register, when you’re at a networking event, put it on your print material.  It should be everywhere.

And make sure to tell them where to go.  Not just go to Facebook or the little Facebook logo.  Tell them exactly how to find you and what they get for doing it.

Remember above I said not to spam?  Just make sure you’re tuned to your prospects radio station: WIFM: What’s In It For Me (or them).   What do they get for liking your Facebook page?

Make Comments:  In the olden days if you wanted to get traffic to your website you could make comments on blogs.  Many blog owners will make your name clickable back to your website.  So if someone read your comment and liked it, they could go visit your site.

These days, that strategy is even more powerful with social media.  Making comments on other people’s Facebook pages makes it even easier for them to get to you.

Make sure to use Facebook as your page.  Find and like prospects and influencers in your target audience.  Find ways to put thoughtful comments on something they have posted.

You can also share their posts to your wall.  If they allow it, you can post right on their wall.  However, always add value.  If you make self-serving posts to their wall, they’ll block you.  If your comments are not specific to them and don’t add thoughtful value, people will see you as a spammer.

The same goes for re-tweeting, replying and even direct messaging people on Twitter.  You can get away with a lot more on Twitter because it’s so fast paced.  But having an add value strategy will always take you much farther.

Contribute Content To Other Blogs: You’re probably getting darn good at creating content by now.  Find other blogs within your community to guest blog on.

There are a ton of great blogs out there looking for people to contribute.  All you need to do is ask (and of course be able to create quality content).

Pay For It:  Each of the big social networks have sponsored ads you can pay for.  Facebook ads can be very effective because you can laser target your offer to their likes and interests.

Just make sure you educate yourself on how to do it.  People have wasted a lot of money on paid ads by not knowing the ins and outs.

What Are You Waiting For?

These are just a few ways to get started with driving traffic to your social media.  They can be really powerful when done right and done regularly.

Building A Bond With Your Reader

Day 14 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I got it in just under the wire.  But what you might not realize is even though it seemed like I didn’t really have anything to write about, there was still a strategy behind the post.

Now, keep in mind, everything I wrote yesterday was 100% true.  I really did scrap the piece I was working on and started over at the 11th hour.

But I could have muddled through the original post and got it done.  If I really forced the issue and sat myself down to concentrate, it would have come out just fine.

You’re Well Served
To Have This Quality

I had two reasons for doing what I did with yesterday’s post. First was, of course, that I had nothing else.  Second was I had a golden opportunity to be completely, unashamedly and brutally honest with you.

Nothing bonds a reader to a writer more than being completely honest.  People respect honesty as much or more than any other quality I can think of.  People can really feel it when you have the guts to be open and honest.  On the other hand, being dishonest can kill you.

The golden rule of business is this: People do business with others that they know, like and trust.  Honesty is the glue that holds all that together.

Honesty With
Common Sense

I believe honesty is always important.  But when it comes to marketing and brand building, sometimes honesty can kill you too.  In the world of social media, for some strange reason that truly escapes me, people feel they can do and say things they might otherwise have the good sense not to do.

Things move at lightning speed in the Socialverse.  The moment you hit that button, the entire world knows about it.  And once it’s done it cannot be undone.

Honesty forces us to take a stand.  It forces us to pick sides.  These are so important to creating great content that will connect.

Yet, honesty can certainly be taken too far.  Businesses must maintain a professional demeanor.  Last thing you want see on Facebook is pictures of your doctor drunk at a wild party the night before he’s going to do open heart surgery on you.

We’ve seen some bone headed feats of honesty in social media recently.  Honesty ended Anthony Weiners career pretty quick.  Common sense can go a long way.

In his blog, Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image said “Brands and popular individuals have done a great job of mucking up their reputation via social media.”  If you say something too honest and it gets you in trouble, you should probably check out his blog post: How to Recover From Social Media Blunders.

Imagine That?

Honesty can also be misunderstood.  John Lennon was honest once with his audience that people seemed to care more about The Beatles than they did about Jesus.

The result was a backlash against the band.  People thought he meant that The Beatles were better than Jesus.  People burned Beatles records or what would be today known as, extremely valuable collector’s items.

 

 

If you want to build a lasting relationship with your audience, come out from behind the company image and be honest.  Write with an honest voice.  But always think it through.  If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmther, you probably should think once or twice whether you should say it at all.

Once something is out there, it can’t be made un-out there.  Handle with care but don’t be afraid to be you.

Footnote: My good friend whom I’ve already written about, Jason Silverman, talked me into scrapping today’s post to talk about yesterday’s post.  He felt talking about honesty in content was an important lesson.  So here I am again writing content to be published on a tight deadline.  I’ve got another networking event tonight for a Chamber of Commerce and you can bet I’m going to get this done before I head out for that.

What Do You Do When You Are Facing Certain Failure

Day 13 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

I have a confession to make.  I have nothing to publish today.  And worst of all, I have a $100 check made out to the last person on Earth I want to send a check to in my hand that I may be mailing soon.  See Day 6 for an explanation.

It’s Tuesday night and we’re closing in on the holidays.  I was at yet another local networking party this evening spreading cheer and talking business.

Never Drink And Write
Unless Writing About Drinking

Of course I left my publishing for after that which was incredibly undisciplined of me.  Had a few drinks at dinner.  Stayed later than I expected.  Had a few more drinks. And before you know it, it’s 10:00 pm and the clock is ticking.  If I don’t publish by midnight, I’ve failed.

Now, in my defense, I have three pieces of content poised and ready to go.  So I got a little cocky figuring I’d just go home and push the button.

But then I started to re-read it and realized it needed a little help.  So I started to tweak it.  Before you know it, the piece had completely changed.  Now I had even more editing to do.

I couldn’t take any of the other pieces to publish tonight because they were building upon the previous post.  Starting to freak out a little.  Haven’t even made it half way through the challenge yet.

Don’t Wait Until
The Last Minute

This really illustrates the importance of having a backlog of content which I talked about in an earlier post.  I do have a backlog, but because they were all related I had to push the entire sequence out an extra day.  Here I am facing failure dead square in the eyes.

So what do you do when you know you’re going to be stuck holding a bunch of lemons as the clock winds down?  Do you make lemonade?  Easy enough but what if you hate lemonade?

The Snowball Effect

When things start going wrong I get stressed.  When I get stressed, things just get worse.

It started out where I was staring at a document.  Before long I felt like I was wearing chain maile armor trying to slay a three headed monster.  It keeps growing and growing until finally it’s out of control.  And the more out of control it gets the more out of control it gets.

Let It Go

Have you ever been so angry you can’t control anything that comes out of your mouth?  Of you get so depressed that you can’t get out of be?  When you get into a certain state of mind, it can be crippling.  The only thing to do at that point is jar yourself out of it.

So I just turned everything off.  Shut down the document I was working on to save for tomorrow when I’ve got my sea legs back.

The first thing to do when facing failure… get real.  I admited my defeat.  And what better way to admit defeat than writing about it.  And low and behold in no time, I’ve got a piece of content.

Well now the excitement is flowing.  The blood is pumping.  Before long I’m in a new emotional state.  One where I’m excited about doing what it is I was trying to do in the first place.

Failure Is Just An
Opportunity For Success

Ok, so this is just one piece of content and wasn’t like I was about to botch brain surgery.  But sometimes little failures can lead to bigger ones.  Before you know it, you give up all together.

If I gave up and didn’t write today, then tomorrow I would be more likely to give up even faster.  Last thing I want to do is condition myself to give in when the going gets tough.

It’s going to get tougher still.  When you’re faced with the inevitable writers block day, what will you do?  How will you react?

I think this is a great question to ask when faced with any kind of failure.  Forcing myself to think about my own failure today enabled me to do the very thing I was about to fail at.

The challenge isn’t over yet.  Many more bumps in the road to come.  But for today, I can go to bed knowing I turned a failure into a success.

The Lost Art Of Letter Writing – Blog Writing Secret Tip

Day 12 Of The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

When’s the last time you wrote a hand written letter?  If you can remember, congratulations on being one of a few.  And if you’ve done it recently, you’re a rare breed.  If you do it all the time, you’re on the endangered species list.

It is something we as a culture used to do all the time.  Today, when we want to communicate with another person, we email them.  If they’re really in our inner circle and we want true intimacy in communication, we whip out our Iphone and text them.  LOL!

Think about it; when is the last time you pulled a hand written card or letter out of your mail box?  Maybe during the holidays?

And I’m no saint here.  I love modern technology.

Even when you receive something that looks like it was handwritten, it might not be.  I have an online system that allows me to send real greeting cards through this companies system that uses my personal handwriting font.  When I hit send, the card prints at this company and they mail it for me.  Here is a blatant affiliate link for it… it is pretty cool though.

Very convenient
But hardly personal

Technology has turned us into this.  It’s no wonder the postal office is struggling along like a wounded Brontosaurus.

I think that writing by hand always brings out the best.  It’s raw, visceral and real.  You cannot get any closer with your writing than writing in this way.  Hand writing a personal letter is by far the best way to become intimate with it.  And aren’t these emotions what we want for our social media audience to experience through our writing?

What Can World War II
And Clint Eastwood
Teach Us About Writing?

Did you see the movie “Letters From Iwo Jima”?  What a great movie by one of my favorite actor/directors of all time, Clint Eastwood.  (I feel macho just saying the man’s name.)

The story is about the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II. It is told from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers both through their actions and letters they wrote home to their families.  Of course these letters would not find their way to their loved ones until they were either captured or dead.

The men who defended Iwo Jima knew that they were probably going to die there on that island.  The emotion that went into those letters they wrote was gripping.

Spoiler Alert

I am about to give away the ending.  You might want to skip this if you haven’t seen it.  (This is the part where I’d be saying “I know how World War II ends!”).

The movie opened with a team of Japanese excavators digging in a cave on Iwo Jima in present day.  At the very end of the movie, the team finds something buried.  They carefully lift a bag from the cave floor.

As the bag is raised, it opens from the bottom and hundreds of letters fall out onto the ground.  As they collect there on the cave floor you hear the voices of the men who wrote them.  It was very powerful.

End Of Spoiler

You just don’t get the same emotion from writing on a computer.  The act of writing and even reading a hand written letter is just different.

If you’re in direct response marketing and want to guarantee your mail piece gets opened; hand write the envelope.  Most people sort their mail over their garbage cans.  They toss everything that looks like a sales letter.

But a hand written letter, that goes into the must open pile.  And if the letter inside is hand written, you can bet your bottom dollar it is read too.  Up until they realized they’re reading a sales letter, that is.  LOL! (Woops, went back into texting mode).

Now You’re Really
Making A Connection!

Think about the process of writing a letter to someone close to you.  A parent, a child, a best friend.

In your letter you would tell them in a direct way what was happening in your life.  It likely will not be literature.  It might be conversational; the way you speak.

This is one of the best ways, in my humble opinion, to write.  When we speak, telling a story, we generally follow with a certain natural structure.  This is the way I like to write.

Use This Concept To
Create Your Content

So think of your audience as your parent, child, best friend.  You’re simply writing a letter to them every day.  Sharing with them things you think they should know about your business, brand or company.

If you’re struggling to unearth new things to write about each day, imagine yourself in a cave in a far off land about to give your life for your country.  All you have is a pad, a pencil and your raw emotions.  I bet you can create something to write home about.

GBFN! That’s text slang for Goodbye For now.