Using Social Validation as a Marketing Tool

December 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Online Marketing, Social Validation

When you’re looking to buy a product or service, do you ask people around you for their thoughts and opinions? Do you read product reviews before you click “buy” on a website?

Just how important are other people’s opinions in your life?

If you’re like most people, your answer to the question above is probably “very important.”

It only makes sense then that this issue is also important as you market your business. Knowing what others think of you, your product or service and what they say to others is paramount in not only saying the right things to elicit a favorable response (that they buy from you), but to also head off any unwanted and unwarranted “bad press.”

As humans, we look to others for social validation – that what we’re doing is the “right” thing. In his wildly successful book, “Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion,” author Robert Chialdini states, “When we are uncertain about what to do we automatically look to other people to guide us. And we do this automatically and unconsciously.”

So why do we need social validation for seemingly unimportant decisions such as a book purchase? It’s simple – we want to feel safe in our decision. Obviously, the higher the risk, the more we assess how what we want meshes with what others in our social circles think and want. “I learned a long time ago that I could waste a lot of time and in some cases money if I ignored recommendations by fellow consumers on sites such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes,” said Bakari Alil II, Ph.D.

Michael Britt, Ph.D., a noted psychologist who publishes the popular “Psych Files” podcast, concurs by mentioning how quickly we evaluate the worth of a book based on the reviews of other customers. This underscores the importance of product reviews and ratings. In terms of marketing your business, one bad review can send prospective clients and customers fleeing. How you respond to that negative feedback can bring them back. That topic, however, is for a different article.

Another less obvious way to convey social validation is to note which products or services tend to be the most popular. Since we unconsciously look for approval for our decisions, highlighting the most popular choice almost eliminates the need for prospective customers to read reviews. You’ve already informed them that they are (or aren’t) making the most popular choice. And, the most popular option isn’t always the most expensive.

For example, imagine you own a website that sells plastic zebras. You may have many different styles and colors of zebras as well as optional accessories to dress up a new plastic zebra. If you note on your site that, “90% of customers love the black-striped zebras with the pink bells added on,” you will likely see a spike in the purchasing of black-striped zebras and the optional pink bells. Is this manipulative? Not really, you’re simply providing purchasing information that a prospect is hoping to see. You make the buying decision easier for the 95 percent of people who need social validation before they make a decision.

Perhaps not surprisingly, only five percent of people don’t necessarily need social validation before they decide something. These people are considered “initiators.” Similar to early adopters, initiators are those people who make informed decisions without the need for any social validation. This rare group contains the leaders – the ones others look to when making a decision. In your group of friends, are you known as the “go to” person with information that can help someone make a choice? Or are you part of the “imitator” group – the 95 percent – who look toward others for advice? You may be wondering if you can switch between these two groups. Not really. We all have a preferred style, although that’s not to say we can’t step up and be an initiator at times. But we mostly work within our comfort zone, whichever style that is.

Given that social validation is so rampant, it only seems natural to talk about it in terms of business marketing. Certainly reviews and client/customer testimonials serve this purpose. However, social media is playing a larger role in social validation each day. If you’ve visited almost any website lately, you’ve probably seen the various buttons you can click on to “like,” “recommend,” “share” or “+1” the site. This is social validation at its most basic form. Something else you might see on that same site is the “Tweet This” button. Yes, if clicked on a message is sent to all that person’s followers on Twitter. But it also shows a count of how many people have tweeted the site/post/article, etc. Again, social validation. Seeing a number is a great motivator for the 95 percent who come after the five percent who’s been there first (and already Tweeted).

Blogging is another avenue for social validation. If your prospective customers are online, you can use a blog to demonstrate your expertise, ability to understand complex ideas, educate your readers and provide relevant information. For example, a real estate agent could blog about local buying trends, housing starts, things to consider when buying, how to find financing, etc. Demonstrating industry knowledge and a willingness to share it puts you ahead of your competitors who have yet to embrace blogging. This also provides another avenue for people to give social validation by clicking the social media options you’ve provided. Win-win for all.

Social validation isn’t going away and to ignore it, especially in this high tech age, could be a prescription for slow or no growth and even failure.

5 Tips on how to have a “STICKY” website! Keep your readers engaged for longer!

November 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Copywriting, Online Marketing

Writing copy for your website should be really simple and easy. After all, you’re the expert in your business, right?

The trouble is, you’re the expert in your business, which means you know way more than the average potential customer is going to want to know. Many business owners make the mistake of giving away too much information…or not enough. Either way, the result is the same – website visitors come, read a bit and leave, never to be seen again.

So how do you write successful web copy? Below are some of the guidelines I use when I write for clients.

Unveil trade secrets to make readers stick to your website like glue?

  • The Headline is the critical factor that gets readers to pay attention to your page in the first place.  If you say something like “Welcome to my website,” it is the death knell of headlines and will have the readers fleeing from boredom.  Your headline needs to be benefit oriented and promote curiosity.  “When Doctors have headaches what do they do,” is an outstanding example of a headline that peaks curiosity.  It makes people get into a “dying-to-know” knee jerk reactionBrainstorm your headlines until you have come up with at least fifty and then narrow them down.
  • Next, you want your reader to stay on your website so you must have riveting writing.  How do you become different?  How can you be persuasive and compelling?  If your text is a train wreck it isn’t going to matter what your headline is.  Text is what sells.  Not pictures or graphics, but words in the right order.

The first rule of thumb is to write in benefits rich language and not focus on features.   So a feature sounds like this.  “A cell phone is small and fits in your pocket.”  A benefit statement however… “ a cell phone can find you in an emergency.”  There was a brilliant marketer named Theodore Levitt who was quoted as saying, “People don’t want a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.”  If you have a long list of features it will create a yawn fest and the reader will most likely move on.

Convince people you are who you say you are.  Add some vulnerability about yourself and let them identify with you.    On my About page at my website for an example, I relate how I struggled in the beginning.

Engage the customers by talking about them at least 50% of the time.  Do you know the acronym WIIFM– No I am not cursing!  It means “What’s In It for me?”  Customers don’t want to read about how great you are and how many awards you have won.  Instead of saying “I have blah blah blah,” change it to “Do you need blah, blah blah?”

  • Saying it so they can hear it – You can write all kinds of pretty words, but if it’s not in the language of your potential customers, they will never read them. Get to know your customers through the way they talk and express themselves. Play with wording so that it reflects that expression and you’ll have a much easier time of getting them to stay on your site. This also includes the keywords they might use to seek out someone who offers what you do. By using familiar language, you’ll have an immediate impact on your potential customers because they’ll feel as if you already know them.
  • Discover how to increase readership by 30%.  Have a picture of yourself on your About page.  Your About page should answer the 5 W’s.  Who, What, Where, When and Why.  Why did you start your business, Who are you, What is it about, Where is it, and When did you start it.  Your customers love to know more about the person and company they are doing business with.  It makes them feel close and will make them want to order from you or visit you.
  • Give a call to Action- You need to tell the customer what to do next.  Your action button needs to adhere to the proven 4 B’s- Bold, Brilliant, Big and Blatantly Obvious!  Recent studies have concluded the words “click” and “submit” underperform words like “Download Now” or “Register Now”.

These might seem like simple things, but combined, they create potent copy that converts. And that’s the whole point isn’t it?

 

Surrounded By Kindness

September 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Online Marketing

Have you been blessed with Kindness as an entrepreneur?  Do you ask for help?  Do entrepreneurs ever volunteer to help you?  Do you give back?

When I look back over the last nine months of my career, I have to confess I have been surrounded by kindness from other entrepreneurs and today, I would like to give them credit.  They have helped me to grow my business without asking for anything in return.  Kindness from others is out there, and all you have to do is ask.  That is the key.  Are you willing to go out on a limb and ask.

Let me give you some examples.  When I wrote my book, I needed testimonials.  I knew of some very popular coaches, but they didn’t know me.  I wondered if they would take the time to read my book and give me a testimonial, so I thought to myself, “No harm in asking.”  I asked Michele Shism, of www.decisiveminds.com, Sandra Martini of www.sandramartini.com, Tammi Metzler of www.writeassociates.com, Jan Marie Dore of www.JanMarieDore.com, Michele Pariza Wacek of www.writingusa.com, and in all of these cases, no one turned me down.  All of them generously gave of their time, made suggestions, and wrote me testimonials, which I have on my website today.  They didn’t know who I was from Eve.  There was nothing in it for them.  Their credentials have given my product more credibility.  I am ever so grateful.  You will be amazed at how willing successful entrepreneurs will be to help you.  I have been blessed.

Lis Tanz, a well known copy writer from www.yourwordsyourvoice.com offers to review my e-zines before they go out as a courtesy and as a friend.  Why?  She knew I was struggling and perhaps is spreading around good karma. There is generosity of spirit out there. Have you experienced this yourself?  If not, I am here to tell you it is time for you to go out and try.  It is yours for the asking.

I give tele-seminars as a way of providing information but also as a way of growing my list.  I always ask entrepreneurs who have larger lists to share their lists with me, and they agree to do so.  I don’t have as large a list to reciprocate.  How lucky can I be?   In most cases, I will have done something kind for the person beforehand.  This has occurred with Shannon Cherry with www.shannoncherry.com, and Lisa Marie Platske with www.upsidethinking.com

I also like to provide random acts of kindness and will blog about upcoming events for outstanding entrepreneurs whom I respect.  We will do a cross promotion sometimes.

These are great ways in which to publicize yourself.  Are you taking advantage of them?  Simply ask. The worst thing that can happen is to be rejected. How can that hurt?

You could offer a 20 minute coaching session to a famous entrepreneur in exchange for a testimonial, for instance.

You can ask to appear in her blog if you write about her upcoming event and post it all over Face Book and Twitter.  She will be so appreciative. I have done this with Lisa Marie Platske, http://www.evolvingadvisors.com/visibility-and-leadership   and Caterina Rando, http://www.evolvingadvisors.com/sought-after-speaker

Just because someone is established doesn’t mean they don’t have the time for you.  Everything doesn’t have to be quid pro quo in this world.

On top of this, I have developed deep meaningful relationships with some of these people.  They have further extended guidance to me and introduced me to other thought leaders they thought I would gain knowledge from.   There is a feeling of mutual respect and friendship. Lisa Marie Platske and Lis Tanz have more than extended their warmth to me.

You can pepper your website with testimonials from popular entrepreneurs with frames of their pictures with their wonderful words.  It will give you the “know, like and trust” factors to attach these testimonials on your website.

You could say something along these lines, “Name, I am a little new or I have been struggling, and I am sure when you were in that place at some point, someone gave you your first break, all I am asking for is a break myself.  Would you be willing to help me?”

You will be amazed at the generosity of spirit that comes back to you if you are genuine.   Everything isn’t about money.  However, as I said, I have usually done an act of kindness beforehand.  Go out and find someone who you can write a blog post about, and write about their upcoming event.  Ask them for an interview to get some background information about them to make your article fascinating.  Have links in your article to their website and event.  Next, post their event on Face Book and Twitter several times.  In exchange, ask to be a guest blogger.

Have you been under the assumption you cannot approach famous coaches?  It just isn’t true. Take my word for it.  If I can do it, so can you. They remember when they were starting out and how hard it was-maybe someone gave them a break and they want to pass it along…. I can 90% guarantee you they won’t turn you down. They respect people who stand up for themselves and ask.  So go on out and start asking and doing.

Is your copyright up to date?

July 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Copywriting, Online Marketing

I have a quick tip for you today, and it might be something you haven’t considered in a while.

Is your copyright up to date?

While it may not be fancy, or new, checking that the copyright date on your website, articles and marketing
materials is up to date and says 2012 is a quick and easy way to:

1. Show visitors that your site is current. You don’t want people to find your great site, only to see an old copyright date and wonder if the material is current or not.

2. Even more importantly, it helps protect you from having your material stolen and used without your consent.

Take a few minutes right now to check that your copyright is up to date on all your materials.

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 

Sarah Wood, also known as the “Magic Pen,” and author of “How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes” and producer of “Magnetic Phrases,” is a copy enhancer/ writer who transforms copy on your website into sexy and sizzling from boring and blah. For a list of testimonials go to her website and check out her long list of happy customers at www.evolvingadvisors.com . She is also a marketing strategist at overcoming objections for coaches, mentors, real estate agents and entrepreneurs. In her spare time, she spoils her three cats and one dog and she is an avid belly dancer in the ancient folkloric genre, you would be most familiar with.

Writing successful web copy that sells

June 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Copywriting, Online Marketing

Writing copy for your website should be really simple and easy. After all, you’re the expert in your business, right?

The trouble is, you’re the expert in your business, which means you know way more than the average potential customer is going to want to know. Many business owners make the mistake of giving away too much information…or not enough. Either way, the result is the same – website visitors come, read a bit and leave, never to be seen again.

So how do you write successful web copy? Below are some of the guidelines I use when I write for clients.

Copy that doesn’t describe immediately – the death knell for websites is the line “Welcome to our website.” Really, thanks, but I was here for X and you don’t seem to offer that. <Cue the click away> Website copy must be scannable and offer value in the content. You have only seconds to make an impression, so hit them with your best stuff early and often.

WIIFM – No, I’m not cursing. That’s the acronym for “What’s in it for me?” the question your site visitors are asking as they scan your web pages. If you can’t answer that fundamental question quickly, your visitors will be gone just as fast. So be sure to highlight the value your business brings to customers and how it helps them (read:  solves their problems). Real life examples are good bets. If you’re still not sure, see my post on features and benefits.

Saying it so they can hear it – You can write all kinds of pretty words, but if it’s not in the language of your potential customers, they will never read them. Get to know your customers through the way they talk and express themselves. Play with wording so that it reflects that expression and you’ll have a much easier time of getting them to stay on your site. This also includes the keywords they might use to seek out someone who offers what you do. By using familiar language, you’ll have an immediate impact on your potential customers because they’ll feel as if you already know them.

Action! – Website visitors aren’t stupid, but they might not know what to do once they get to your site. So, after you’ve explained yourself, tell them what to do next. They won’t get mad at you for giving them a bit of direction. If you present a call to action, your potential customers are more likely to get what they want – and so are you. Don’t forget this critical step or you’ll lose people. And you rarely get a second chance to give them what they want.

These might seem like simple things, but combined, they create potent copy that converts. And that’s the whole point isn’t it?

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 

Sarah Wood, also known as the “Magic Pen,” and author of “How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes” and producer of “Magnetic Phrases,” is a copy enhancer/ writer who transforms copy on your website into sexy and sizzling from boring and blah. For a list of testimonials go to her website and check out her long list of happy customers at www.evolvingadvisors.com . She is also a marketing strategist at overcoming objections for coaches, mentors, real estate agents and entrepreneurs. In her spare time, she spoils her three cats and one dog and she is an avid belly dancer in the ancient folkloric genre, you would be most familiar with.

Selling prospects with your copy

May 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Copywriting, Online Marketing

Websites are great business tools. They never call in sick; get a bad attitude or show up for work late. Available 24/7, your website sells for you when you’re off dreaming about your next vacation or that new car you want to buy. Your website is your sales partner. And a well-written one is worth its weight in the traffic it brings to you that will hopefully turn into more sales for your business.

Want to know how to craft a well-written website? Keep reading!

Be relatable

Demonstrate that you understand their pain and needs. Empathize without sounding preachy, condescending or too mushy. Your prospects need to see that you understand them and that you have the solution to their problem. Telling stories, providing testimonials and even sharing your own story can help readers relate to you. Once they feel they know who you are, you become more of a trusted advisor than simply a business.

Show your cards

Be upfront and honest – no one wants to feel as if they’re dealing with a less-than-stellar character. This doesn’t mean give away trade secrets, but it does speak to being transparent in your business dealings. Nobody likes to feel uncomfortable, so use words and descriptions that will ease their minds and bring them in closer.

It’s all about the benefits

This is the “what’s in it for me?” question. If you can’t answer this, you will lose potential customers. Focus on them and the benefits they will derive by working with you and less on the features of what you offer. If you answer their need and solve their problem, they won’t likely be as interested in the minutiae of your offering.

Address those inevitable objections

You probably have heard a multitude of objections if you’ve been in business for a while. Be proactive and address them before your prospect brings one or more of them up. This does two things – it reduces their concern about buying from you and it supports the “Show your cards” point above.

Introduce the “Buy” sooner than later

If you’re writing a sales letter, don’t put the “buy” button only at the end. Intersperse it so a quick-decision person can buy faster and not feel as if he must read all the way through your long copy in order to find the buy button. He could doze off in the process or worse, leave your page out of boredom or frustration.

Create urgency around your offer

If you want to sell a lot of anything, creating urgency is the way to do it. But don’t go crazy with it. Everyone seems to be creating urgency these days, so don’t be too over-the-top with what you say. A simple way to create urgency is to offer a limited number at a lower price. Or put a deadline in place. Some personality types will never respond to an urgent offer. However, the majority of people will be swayed by a call to action with an urgent tone.

Make your copy easy to read

Long paragraphs and big words will scare people away. This isn’t saying they’re dumb, but easy-to-skim and easily digestible copy is the best way to get and keep someone’s attention. Utilizing short paragraphs with bolding and infrequent use of colorful text creates visual breaks. Images also help to tell the story and give the eyes a rest from the written word.

A copy enhancer can make your website sing!

If the thought of writing doesn’t scare you, but you’re not sure you write well enough for your audience, consider hiring a copy enhancer to take your copy from off-key to in tune with your readers. As a copy enhancer, I use your words to make sure you’re conveying your message clearly, concisely and in a way that resonates with your audience. Your copy sounds like you because you wrote it. All I do is spruce it up so it has the impact you want it to make.

Contact me to learn more about copy enhancement and how it can take your words from weak to wow!

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 

Sarah Wood, also known as the “Magic Pen,” and author of “How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes” and producer of “Magnetic Phrases,” is a copy enhancer/ writer who transforms copy on your website into sexy and sizzling from boring and blah. For a list of testimonials go to her website and check out her long list of happy customers at www.evolvingadvisors.com . She is also a marketing strategist at overcoming objections for coaches, mentors, real estate agents and entrepreneurs.


The Secrets to Writing Great Copy for your Business Today

April 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Copywriting, Online Marketing

If you don’t think you’re a good writer, then you might prefer having a root canal to writing for your business. But never fear – there are ways to get around your writing demons.

What’s in it for me?

The first and probably most important thing to keep in mind is that your potential customers want to know “what’s in it for me?” Any copy that focuses everything on you, your business, what you do, how you do it, isn’t going to answer that question. Filling a prospect’s head with all the features you offer, with no benefits for them, will have them clicking away to find someone who “gets” them.

Here’s how you tap into the “What’s in it for me?” question:

  • Think about the questions customers ask you most often about your business. Answer them.
  • Ask the customers who love you why they love you (and your business, presumably).
  • What problems do you solve?

Simply by focusing on these three areas, you can generate several article, web copy and, perhaps, even whitepaper ideas. Remember, the focus is on Them, not You.

Natural keyword use

We’ve all heard that to show up in search engines we must use keywords and phrases. But when you force keywords into paragraphs, called keyword stuffing, the result can be stilted, hard-to-read copy. This is not what you’re going for – and you can be penalized by search engines for appearing to pander to them. Instead, think of your ideal client and write for him or her. After finishing your copy, go back and decide where keywords can be inserted logically and smoothly. This usually involves simple word replacement.

Simpler is better

Newer writers tend to expand their copy by adding adjectives and adverbs that increase word count but often do little to improve the text. This doesn’t mean all adjectives and adverbs are bad, it means that writers use them as filler to plump copy. Don’t do this. Write what you’re thinking in the least flowery way possible. You can always go back through your text and insert things to spice it up.

This is especially important when writing web copy. Visitors to your site won’t take the time to read a long treatise. They want to skim and learn the gist of your piece quickly. If they can’t do that, they will move on. The use of paragraph breaks, bullet points and short sentences also contribute to keeping readers engaged.

Misteps, misteaks and misspelings

Yes, I know that the three words above are spelled incorrectly. But I often read articles, blog posts and websites where there are glaring errors. I can’t help but wonder if the owner didn’t think that spellchecking was important. Don’t publish with errors in your copy! It reflects badly on you and your business.

Consider hiring a copy enhancer

Copywriters can be expensive because they write from scratch. If you’re inclined to write for your business, but unsure that you can produce quality copy, then consider hiring a copy enhancer and skip the copywriter. I don’t write your copy for you, but I do read it thoroughly to determine areas that need attention – and then I give it. I use your words, only better.

Contact me to learn more about copy enhancement and how it can take your words from weak to wow!

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 
Sarah Jo Wood is founder of Evolving Advisors Inc., author of ‘How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes!” , and producer of “Magnetic Phrases.” Her forte is in copy enhancment, a gift allowing her to enhance already written copy thereby keeping the owner’s original voice, while magnetizing and making the copy sizzle with persuasion at a fraction of the cost of a copywriter. She can be found at www.evolvingadvisors.com

Don’t Leave Your Web Copy Writing to Amateurs

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Copywriting, Online Marketing

We’ve all seen them. Those websites that might have a snazzy design, navigate well and seem so put together. They might even elicit an audible, “Wow!” at first glance.

And then you start reading the home page. Suddenly, none of the other stuff matters. Nothing – no snappy java script, no fun graphics, no interesting topics can overcome a poorly written website. Nothing.

If you’re not able to convey your ideas in a concise, clear and understandable way, your website visitors won’t be able to understand what you’re offering. And that’s not a good thing because the point of your website is to gain visitors and potential customers.

Copywriting for the webMost of the time when I visit poorly written websites, it’s because the business owner either wrote the copy him or herself, had a family member or friend write it or made the mistake of hiring a bargain basement writer for the task. The words in your website are at least as (and I’d say more) important than anything else a site visitor can see.

You can get away with a less-than-stellar design. You can get away with a bare-bones website. But you can’t get away with misspellings, sentences that don’t make sense and choppy, disjointed paragraphs. People simply won’t stay.

Another issue I see frequently is not that copy is bad, but that it doesn’t compel action. Business websites typically exist to do more than be an online brochure. You want your visitors to be interested in what you’re doing so much so that they willingly sign up for your email list. They willingly visit interior pages on your site. They willingly pick up the phone and call you or ask for information another way. Well-written web copy weaves a story and leads visitors down a path toward…something.

Think of it this way. If you invite a guest over to your home, you probably wouldn’t leave them to fend for themselves – to figure out where the kitchen or bathroom is and where the party’s happening. You’d welcome them happily, explain or show them your home and lead them to the event location. The same is true for your website. Don’t let your visitors fend for themselves. Lead them to where you want them to go. This reduces the chance of having visitors come, see a bit and leave without leaving a trace of themselves behind. How do you do this? With well-written web content.

Even if you’re a good writer, you’ll want to at least hire a competent editor to review your copy. It helps if they have a copy editing background or, at the very least, a sales background. Editors tend to be less expensive than copywriters or even content writers, so if you enjoy writing (and are fairly good at it), you can avoid their higher fees.

The point is this. You wouldn’t want to take your car to an amateur mechanic who doesn’t know what he’s doing. So why leave your website in the hands of an amateur writer? Your website visitors deserve to be treated as the gems they are – and we all know you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 
Sarah Jo Wood is founder of Evolving Advisors Inc. and author of ‘How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes!”  And producer of “Magnetic Phrases.” Her forte is in copy enhancment, a gift allowing her to enhance already written copy thereby keeping the owner’s original voice, while magnetizing and making the copy sizzle with persuasion at a fraction of the cost of a copywriter. She can be found atwww.evolvingadvisors.com

Making Time for Social Media When You have 1000 Other Things to Do

April 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Online Marketing

There are two common complaints I hear from business owners about social media:

  1. It’s confusing
  2. It takes too much time

I couldn’t agree more. As a business owner (and solopreneur), I’m responsible for marketing my company including participating in social media. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, video and social bookmarking sites, it’s enough to make your head spin. And then comes Pinterest. Oh dear.

So how do you keep up with social media and still run your business?

The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (from Social Media Examiner) released last April sought to address that and other questions. The study was conducted among 3,300 marketers across industry sectors and included people from the self-employed crowd through to people in major corporations. The study looked at a variety of issues facing social media users today, many of which have been tracked since 2009.

According to the study…

– 90 percent of marketers see social media as very important for their business.
– 88 percent believe the number one benefit of social media marketing is business exposure
– Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging were the top four social media tools
– 58 percent of marketers spend 6 or more hours on social media tasks per week and 34 percent invest 11 or more hours per week (That’s a lot of time!)

While this information is helpful and interesting, it still doesn’t answer the question as to how you can manage to communicate through social media, run a business and have a life. Here are some suggestions:

Know Where your Clients are Hanging Out
You wouldn’t go to a business party if you knew your current or prospective clients weren’t going to be there – it would be a waste of time. So why utilize social media sites if you know your clients aren’t there? The first step is understanding what they use and are interested in regarding social media. If you run a business that caters to other businesses, you might think twice about using Facebook (which is trying to be more business focused but isn’t there yet) as much as LinkedIn, which has a purely business objective. There is no point in wasting time in one part of the social media universe if no one will see what you’re doing.

Utilize Tools that make your Job Easier
If you still go to each site individually, you are taking more time than you need to update your social media sites. That being said, you don’t want to automate everything you do on these different sites. Twitter has different needs than Facebook or LinkedIn – and that doesn’t just mean the character count. Twitter users know they must be quick, punchy and almost headline-like in their delivery. Facebook and LinkedIn allow for much longer-form writing that can express an idea more fully. Another reason to not automate everything is the loss of social interaction. After all, social media is about being social.

Tools to investigate include: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seismic and Ping. These aren’t the only ones, just the ones that have gotten more press and been used frequently by social media marketers.

Make Time for Social Media
Easier said than done, right? If you look at social media as a big, hairy monster, it will seem overwhelming. But you can do a lot in 10-15 minutes each day, if you have a plan. How do you get a plan? Well, truthfully, it means carving out specific time to consider topics to write about whether that’s for a blog or social media. Consider making a list of different topics that cover the gamut of your expertise. For example, look through old blog posts (if you have them) for ideas or lines you can use in posts. Create a Google reader to compile blogs you read regularly in one place. This saves you time and gives you one area in which to gather new ideas.

Enlist the Help of Someone Else
If you can afford to hire someone to run your social media, then this might be the best option if you just can’t seem to get to it. You don’t want to ignore social media or do it in a haphazard way – your potential and current clients may see that. Plus, it’s highly likely that your competition is on social media. Nothing could be worse than being left in their Twitter dust.

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 
Sarah Jo Wood is founder of Evolving Advisors Inc. and author of ‘How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes!”  And producer of “Magnetic Phrases.” Her forte is in copy enhancment, a gift allowing her to enhance already written copy thereby keeping the owner’s original voice, while magnetizing and making the copy sizzle with persuasion at a fraction of the cost of a copywriter. She can be found at www.evolvingadvisors.com

Joy Bing Fleming

February 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Online Marketing, Social Validation

I can’t remember who reached out to whom first when it came to my relationship on Face Book with Joy Bing Fleming but it immediately evolved into a wonderful correspondence and over time into a deep friendship of trust and mutual cooperation and admiration.

I can honestly say that she has gone out of her way for me in helping me out as I navigate the ins and outs of the social media. She is a social media maven and has been cited for her numerous connections on Twitter. How she finds the time to link up with me and make me feel so special astounds me.

She has shared me with her list on more than one occasion and tried to help me enhance my business. So it is my turn to do something in return for Joy.
She is going to share her enthusiastic knowledge in lifepassion.net/increase-your-sales on March 1, 2012. This isn’t just like any other course. Have you ever been to a course where you get way more than you paid for? That is how Joy is as a person.

She goes way overboard in terms of her delivery. She brings you knowledge simplistically so you can understand social media in everyday language and really “get it” to incorporate it on your own pages. She gives you examples that you can immediately relate to. She also gives you great ideas for posting to make you sound creative and get you responses.

She teaches you the fundamental steps of engagement so you automatically acquire friends and fans and begin a social network. She takes all of the guesswork out of it for you. This is what you want! To be building a social community.

She also teaches you what NOT to do. Blunders that beginners and even practiced users are making.

Find out how to persuade your network how to opt-in to your free-giveaway page and become part of your list. How to build the trust. How to develop quality followers on Twitter… How to get retweeted… How to follow influencers and be popular. Learn all about the symbols and what they connote. Learn why you should relate far more than you should promote and Joy will explain how you could lose your followers by not adhering to her special secrets. She has a proven formula for you http://lifepassion.net/increase-your-sales

Haven’t you always said to yourself that you would like to become an EXPERT at Social Media? http://lifepassion.net/increase-your-sales

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