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Social Media

 

budget impact demand marketingAttention is scarce.

There’s so much stuff in cyberspace, it’s easy for people to overlook you and your business in your small corner of the world.

So, get out of your little pond and start swimming with the sharks.

Here’s how you can punch above your weight.

1. Go Newsjacking

Newsjacking is the art of shining a light on your brand by injecting your own angle into breaking news stories.

Why does it work? Because journalists are always looking for opinions to stir into their stories. If your opinions serve as good story thickeners, then you’ll make it into the news.

How can you newsjack? David Meerman Scott, who invented the art of Newsjacking, follows a three step formula:

A. Find News to Jack

Before you can jack the news, you need to know what the news is. To find hot stories you can:

  • Monitor keywords and phrases relevant to your niche using Google Alerts
  • Follow journalists who cover your industry on Twitter
  • Monitor relevant Twitter hashtags

B. Create Your Newsjacking Strategy

What will you do that’s newsworthy? Will you simply share your opinion? Or will you do something spectacular that adds to the story?

C. Make the News

Now you’ve decided what you’ll do to jack the news, do it, then tell everyone about it. Blog about it, tweet about it, or hold a live news conference on Google Hangouts.

2. Connect With Influencers

Have you developed a product you know people will love – if only you could get the word out?

We’ve looked at how you can jump on the bandwagon of the news. But the news is no longer the only trusted source of information.

Where else do people turn for insight?

They look to their network. Their friends and family. And the influencers they trust.

Get an influencer on board with your brand, and you instantly create a bond of trust with their audience.

What’s the best way to reach out to influencers? We recommend starting on Twitter. You can check our advice on hooking up with Twitter influencers here.

3. Create a Ton of EPIC Content

Content marketing is a brilliant strategy for getting attention. And you can get started for peanuts. All you need is around a hundred bucks to host a blog and a pocketful of ideas.

Easy peasy… before you know it you’ll be hitting the front page of Google, right?

Not so fast, cowboy.

Creating content will engage your audience. And some of it will go viral. But this will only happen if the content you create is epic.

There are oceans upon oceans of mediocre content out there, created by bots, or people paid $2 an article.

You can do better than that. And you must.

As Corbett Barr puts it:

Write things that make people think. Inspire people. Change lives. Create value. Blow people away with your usefulness.

Be EPIC!

4.Channel the Power of Images

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

According to urban legend, that phrase is a Chinese proverb. The truth? It was coined by a newspaper editor in the early 20th century.

Either way, it points to the deep truth that you can say a lot more with a single image than could ever be expressed in an article or blog post.

Images grab attention. They’re eye candy and brain candy. That’s why infographics are so damn popular. It’s also why photos and albums are two of the best types of Facebook post for creating engagement.

So, get trigger happy on your camera, or sign up for a stock photo service. We can promise you won’t regret it.

5. Learn to Think in Stories

Stories are what make us human. We’ve been sharing stories ever since we sat around the cave fire discussing the day’s hunt.

Everyone loves a good story. And everyone wants to be part of a great story. So if you can tell good stories about your brand, you’re onto a winner.

What makes for a good story?

First you need a villain. That’s a problem your customers face (note: it’s also the problem that you’re able help them solve). Without the problem, their lives would be a whole lot better.

Next, you need a hero. The hero’s the guy (or gal) who defeats the villain.

Are you ready to step into the breach? Stop right there!

You are NOT the hero. The customer is the hero.

So what’s your role? Maybe you’re a sidekick who works with your clients to help them defeat the villain. Maybe you’re a magic potion that gives them extra power. Maybe you’re their secret weapon.

You’ve got a key role to play in the story, but you’re not the hero. Remember that whenever you’re telling stories about your brand.

Need more storytelling oomph? Then check out our 72 questions to help you dig deep in telling your brand’s story/

6. Become a Thought Leader

There are two ways of getting attention. One is to push yourself out there. Shout loud and be proud. It works, but it can be exhausting. And if you shout too loud, people might just start to block their ears.

What’s the alternative to pushing? You got it: pull marketing. With pull marketing, people come to you. You’re the magnet.

How can you magnetize yourself? An easy way is by sharing your expertise, for free. Start a blog. Ask podcasters to interview you. Guest post around the web. Write an ebook.

As you establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, you’ll find that people start coming to you. When you’re a go-to source, people turn up on your doorstep.

Everyone’s an expert in something. You’re probably an expert in your business (or at least in running a business). So start sharing what you know.

LinkedIn Invitation

You can have a lot at stake when you’re writing an LinkedIn invitation. You could be trying to connect with your dream employer, network with your ideal clients, or hook up with people to invest in your business idea.

What can you do to boost the chances that they’ll accept your invitation?

If you’ve done any research on LinkedIn, you’ll know that you should personalize your invitations (even though few people actually do so). We’ll come to that in a moment, because it’s an important strategy.

But before you write your invitation, there are a couple of things you should set straight.

What To Do Before You Send a LinkedIn Invitation

You need to get two things straight before you send out any invitation.

First, check that the person you want to connect with actually uses LinkedIn. Just because someone has a LinkedIn account doesn’t mean they actually check it. Look out for the following:

  • Do they have a photo? If not, then it’s probably not worth connecting.
  • How many connections do they have? Anything under 20, and it’s probably a zombie account.
  • Have they completed their LinkedIn profile?

Just because a LinkedIn account seems dead doesn’t mean you should avoid it (your invitation might win them over to using LinkedIn). But it’s a good warning sign that your invitation is unlikely to be accepted.

Second, make sure you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. Don’t place all your hopes on one person. Instead, cast your net wide, and connect with lots of different people. That way, you’re bound to have some success, and you’ll discover a lot more opportunities.

Have a Reason to Connect

Next step is finding a reason to connect.

This could be that you just met someone at a conference, or have been chatting with them in a LinkedIn group. Both of these are good reasons to send an invitation. Remember to strike while the iron is hot!

Alternatively, you may have to find a reason to connect. The reason should never be about you, and always about the person you’re connecting with.

Good reasons for connecting include:

  • You share a connection in common (ask permission from the connection you share before you use this as a reason)
  • The person you’re connecting with – or their company – recently featured in the news

Hint: “I’m looking for a job at your company” is never a good reason to connect.

Write Your Invitation

You’ve done all the hard work already. Now it’s time to write your invitation.

The best personalized invitations are really simple and just 2 or 3 sentences long. Here’s a template:

Hi [First Name],

[How they know you, and a reason to connect].

Could we connect on LinkedIn?

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

In other words, the only part you have to fill out is the second paragraph. Here are some examples of what you could put there:

I really enjoyed meeting you at the workshop yesterday.

Daniel Jones mentioned that you’d be a really good person to get to know.

I appreciated the presentation you gave at the conference last week [Top tip: include your favorite line from the presentation].

I noticed that your company made record profits this year. Congratulations!

I really liked the blog post you wrote about [topic].

The key isn’t to write a lot. It’s to personalize what you do write.

Your Call

Do you personalize your LinkedIn invitations? If so, how? Let us know in the comments section, below.

unusual business social media

Social networks is a great tool for promoting your brand.

But you can do way more than that with social media.

Here are five ways to use social media you might be overlooking

1. Make a Splash in the Newspapers (Public Relations)

Want to make a splash in the media? Getting your business featured in a news story no longer means writing press releases and pushing them out to journalists.

Instead, you can just share your news on social media.

As PR expert Maggie Patterson explains:

Journalists rely on Facebook to source stories and Facebook itself actively promotes the platform as a “Rolodex” with 1 billion contacts for reporters.

Where your company may have relied on a press release in the past, you can now share your story on Facebook. It provides a low-friction way to report the facts in the case of breaking news or to provide comment on emerging issues that will help get your story to the media and your public faster.

To give the news you share extra oomph!, it’s worth building up relationships with journalists on social media. That way, you can point them to your story when you’ve got something you want them to see. Here’s our primer on finding journalists.

2. Find Out What Your Customers Think (Market Research)

To be effective in business, you need to know your customers. You need to know their likes and dislikes, their wants and needs, their pressing problems.

You also need to know how people view your brand, and get opinions on what you could do to improve your products and develop new products.

Getting this information requires market research. Just a decade ago market research was an expensive endeavor. You had to set up online surveys, or send out researchers to interview your target customers.

Social media completely changes that. As long as you know who your customers are, you can tap into their thoughts and feelings using social media.

You can use social media to:

  • Monitor what your customers are talking about, so you know their everyday concerns and passions.
  • Ask questions directly to your customers.
  • Listen to what people are saying about your brand.
  • Learn the language of your customers, so you can write better copy.

3. Keep Your Customers Happy (Customer Service)

Did you know that nearly three quarters (72%) of customers who make a complaint to a business on Twitter expect to receive a response in under 60 minutes? That’s according to research by Lithium Technologies.

If you’re not monitoring what people are saying about your brand on social media – and responding to complaints – then you’re contributing to the negative image of your brand.

As Anthony Leaper explains over on Forbes:

Irritated Customers have supportive Friends. They may have a few; they may have thousands. The dangerous fact, though, is this: it almost does not matter how many friends they really have. A single Facebook post that describes a jaw-dropping failure on the part of your company may, if stupefying enough or if told in a funny or snarky manner, be repeated, retweeted, “liked,” and “shared” innumerable times.

For an example of this, check out Ryanair’s middle gimp debacle. That’s exactly what Leaper is talking about.

By contrast, if you’re willing to help your customers online, they’ll respond in kind by recommending your brand to their friends and family.

Leaper again:

If you can discover and address an Irritated Customer’s concerns quickly and effectively, then you have a singular opportunity to convert an Irritated Customer into a Delighted Customer. Their delight, particularly if seen by many in the social media world, may move thousands of people into the column of potential customers who are now predisposed to consider your services—when they may have been on the fence before.

4. Uncover Your Business Persona (Brand Development)

Social media is all about building relationships with your customers.

That means you’ve got to be relatable.

Social media isn’t the place for corporate stuffiness. Act standoffish to your followers, and they’ll give you the cold shoulder in return.

Jeff Mancini, director of digital strategy at Interbrand, says people see brands they love in the same way they see friends.

In a Forbes interview, Mancini said:

We feel for brands similarly to the way we feel for friends. The reason we advocate brands in our lives are the reasons we advocate friends in our lives. That is, we genuinely like them.

Making friends with your customers means you must develop a brand persona. Social media is the perfect opportunity to do this. Don’t worry if you’ve not got it all sorted when you start out on social networks. You’ll discover your voice through talking with your customers.

If you need a bit of extra help developing your brand’s person, check out our 72 questions to help you uncover your brand’s persona.

5. Create a Vision Board (Strategic Planning)

Do you yawn when you hear the words “strategic planning” or “business plan”?

Developing a business strategy can be an incredibly dry process. But it doesn’t have to be.

Why not start out by creating a vision board of where you’d like to take your business?

Pinterest is the perfect tool for this. It gives you access to millions of stunning images, and allows you to group them into pinboards.

You can even create several vision pinboards, covering whatever aspects of your business you want them to. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • What you want to do for your customers
  • The types of products you want to sell
  • The mission and vision of your business
  • Your business’s ethos and values
  • The lifestyle you want to have while running your business

Over to You

What are some of the more unusual ways you use social media in your business?