Small Business Marketing

Local marketing solutions for small businesses and entrepreneurs

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Klout Wants Its New Topic Pages to Replace Vanity Metrics

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Nice to see that Klout is growing up. Influence is after all, in the eye of the influenced. It’s my opinion that who is talking about you, has more value than how much you are talking.

This new measurement would be more difficult to game than the traditional Klout profile scores. It also adds an element of fairness, since Klout, as we know it, penalizes anyone who gets to involved in offline activities to tweet 20 times a day, not to mention those points lost when you’re sick or on a vacation from the digital world.

Nice work, Klout!

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How To Destroy A Brand and Piss Off Followers on Twitter

There is a company that actually promotes itself as the ultimate spam machine. They call themselves “The World’s most powerful Social Media Advertising System”. AtomicTweets® is a fully automated spamming system.
Social Media is about relationships and engagement. Evidently the folks at AtomicTweets® haven’t grasped that concept, nor have they explained it to consumers. According to the sales pitch, “you don’t have to be a Twitter expert, or even have ever used Twitter”, to use their product “to drive tens of thousands of highly targeted customers to your website and/or brick-and-mortar businesses, with EXPLOSIVE RESULTS!”

Anyone who has used Twitter or understands the culture of Twitter also know that this technology will piss off tens of thousands of “highly targeted customers”. I keep an eye on new followers and mentions from anyone I’m not following, Whenever I see my name being used in a spam mention, I blog the user. Just last week I sat at my desk blocking one user after another, sending the same spam. As fast as I would block, another account would mention me again. Today, I’ve decided to do my part in ridding Social Media of these intruders. 

AtomicTweets®  claims that it sends “HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TARGETED MESSAGES PER NIGHT TO A TARGETED AUDIENCE WITH YOUR URL! THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO JUST FINISHED ASKING FOR YOUR PRODUCT!” Well, that is just BS! The program is capturing my Twitter username and mentioning me in their Twit-spam. I never mentioned any products to prompt their auto-response.
Some companies are using auto-engagement technology that listen for keywords, then (supposedly) when appropriate, chime into the conversation with their marketing message. This can work when the auto-response is relevant to the conversation, but as I witnessed last week, the software had  better be accurate, and the message better be relevant, or more harm than good is done to the brand. Kraft Foods made a major blunder with it’s new auto-engagement (an oxymoron) software. Perhaps, luckily for Kraft this blunder quickly became a discussion topic in a Facebook Group (of which I am a member). John Cass, another member of the group wrote a blog about the incident and contacted Kraft about the intrusive messaging. The PR department said they had nothing to do with it, then shifted the ball to the Community Marketing Department who confirmed that the messages were automated, and the system was new and being tested. The final result was Kraft disabling the system.

What AtomicTweets® is doing goes well beyond the boundaries of the Kraft faux pas. The company actually says this on it’s website:
WORRIED ABOUT HAVING YOUR ACCOUNTS BANNED BY TWITTER? DON’T BE, IT MATTERS LESS THAN ZERO BECAUSE WITH OUR SYSTEM YOU AUTOMATICALLY BUILD NEW TWITTER ACCOUNTS AS FAST AS YOU LOSE ‘EM, NO KIDDING! BUT WE ALSO PROVIDE TOOLS TO MAKE YOUR ACCOUNTS ROCK SOLID IF YOU SO WISH, IT’S COMPLETELY IN YOUR CONTROL, AND IT’S ALL AUTOMATED SO THAT EVEN A 10 YEAR OLD COULD CREATE 50,000 TWITTER ACCOUNTS WITH NP!
Twitter prompting suspends accounts when they receive spam reports, but the folks at AtomicTweets® will just keep creating new accounts to spam us with. It comes as no surprise that this company doesn’t not have a Twitter account, at least not one associated with it’s business name. A Facebook page exists with a whopping 4 fans, probably all employees or partners.
AtomicTweets® Facebook Profile pic tells us something about it’s philosophy and tactics. 

If you don’t understand Twitter or Social Media marketing, don’t be stupid or lazy enough to hand this company any money. You can do all of the research you need to do just by searching Google. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do your own homework, hire a consult or agency who understands the medium, and how to do it the right way.

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Realtors Get Social

Real estate professionals are finding new ways to connect with buyers. Agents are getting more innovative and creative, and learning how to take their relationship building skills to to online marketing; particularly, Social Media. Maintaining relationships with buyers whichever buying stage they are in, is key to making sales or gaining referrals.
There are many real estate-friendly tools available to agents and brokers. The most common social platforms are Twitter, Facebook,  LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, and MeetUp. There are several Facebook apps developed for realtors. Rofo is a real estate app available in LinkedIn where listings can be promoted, and completed transactions can be announced.

Connecting With Clients 
The goal of every real estate pro is to connect with buyers and sellers. It no longer works to put up an ad somewhere, and expect it to attract buyers and sellers. Today’s  consumer expects interaction. They are also far more likely to do business with companies recommended by friends, or companies they have interacted with in a social media platform. It’s all about relationships!

A savvy realtor creates a presence across all social media platforms, and is more likely to be found by interested buyers and sellers. Relationships are built on content that is informative and/or entertaining. Inbound marketing pulls consumers in, often in indirect ways. A realtor’s profile page that only lists house and prices isn’t likely to get much attention, but a page that focuses on neighborhood events, tips to make relocating easier, or local business news for a commercial property broker, will attract fans who will keep you top-of-mind in the buying/selling process. Social Media can connect realtors with thousands of potential clients, that would not be reached offline. 
Below is an example of an agency doing it right on Facebook. Individual agents should have their own pages where they can develop a fan base, and express their own expertise. Establish multiple platforms and link them together. 

If you are a Do-It-Yourselfer, be sure to create a Facebook Page for your business. Don’t use your personal profile. For a clear explanation about profiles vs. pages click here

Don’t overlook the power of video when marketing online. Keller Williams Realty International has had nearly 400,000 views of their YouTube videos. Do it yourself or hire a pro, but be sure to utilize video.

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What Do Steve Jobs and Picasso Have In Common?

Picaso said, “good artists copy, great artist steal”. Steve Jobs admits to shamelessly stealing great ideas and building upon them. Picaso and Jobs are icons of originality and creativity. They both caused us to think differently (excuse the pun). Was their work truly original, or were they simply able to recognize patterns, and reorganize those patterns in creative ways?

What is originality? I tried to answer that question in a paper while working on a BFA. I came to the same conclusions as Nina Paley, who agrees that creative work is a re-blending of what came before. Originality, seems to lie in the mechanisms (and thoughts) that tie together existing elements. Looking at centuries of art, I wasn’t able to find anything that hadn’t already existed elsewhere. What I did find was that artists where able to find new, and thought provoking ways of combing color, shape, texture, and materials.
This concept of creative work also applies to business. Try to think of a product that wasn’t derived from another product. It’s no wonder that intellectual property attorneys have plenty of work. Unless a product or idea is blatant plagiarism, how do we find the line that separates one line of text, work of art, or sneaker design from another? One of my favorite exercises in a ceramics class was spending 15 minutes working a piece of clay, then passing it on to another student who spent 15 minutes working the clay, then passing it on. How might things look if we took the same approach with our work?

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How To Not Suck At Offline Networking

Except for seasoned social butterflies, everyone’s first networking event can be unsettling. You may be the type to dive right in and start talking to the first person with whom you make eye contact. Or, you may be the the type who needs to take their time observing what other’s are doing, and ease into the flow. Either way, once you are ready to connect with another human being, don’t make these mistakes.

1) Walk up to someone with your business card in your hand and begin telling them the name of your company, how great your company is, and why they need to be a client. If you handled dates this way, you wouldn’t have many of them!

2) Talk about your position and your products/services incessantly. It would be more efficient to hand out flyers and move on to the event in the next town.

3) Give the same sales pitch to the same person for the 5th time, just because they’re willing to listen. If they’ve heard your pitch enough times to recite it back to you, they  probably aren’t interested. If they ever are interested in your product, they probably won’t buy it from you!

3 Better Ways To Network


1) Identify a person or group you feel you can relate to. Introduce yourself and ask the other person about themselves. Initiate a conversation that isn’t a sales pitch. Look for some common ground that may or may not be business related. Build a relationship that doesn’t depend on gaining a lead right then and there. Don’t monopolize the other person’s time. If you hit it off and want to have an in depth conversation, ask for their card and permission to call or email to arrange a meeting.

2) Spend more time listening than talking. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn about the other person and their needs. People appreciate someone listening to them, and are more likely to listen to you when you tell stories about your kids, or tell them about the new widget your company has developed that would solve that problem they mentioned earlier.

3) A certain amount of persistence is part of sales. How many times to approach a potential client can vary depending on the sales cycle of a product or service. Develop a sense of timing that matches that cycle. If a client has just purchased a widget with a 2 year sales cycle, it won’t do you any good to give them a sales pitch every month at the local networking event. Use that time to build a relationship. Send them an occasional newsletter, and keep them posted on new products and developments at your company. Provide expert advice with no pressure. It’ll pay off in the future.

Posted via email from JoAnn Lefebvre | Comment »

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How To Not Suck At Offline Networking

Except for seasoned social butterflies, everyone’s first networking event can be unsettling. You may be the type to dive right in and start talking to the first person with whom you make eye contact. Or, you may be the the type who needs to take their time observing what other’s are doing, and ease into the flow. Either way, once you are ready to connect with another human being, don’t make these mistakes.

1) Walk up to someone with your business card in your hand and begin telling them the name of your company, how great your company is, and why they need to be a client. If you handled dates this way, you wouldn’t have many of them!

2) Talk about your position and your products/services incessantly. It would be more efficient to hand out flyers and move on to the event in the next town.

3) Give the same sales pitch to the same person for the 5th time, just because they’re willing to listen. If they’ve heard your pitch enough times to recite it back to you, they  probably aren’t interested. If they ever are interested in your product, they probably won’t buy it from you!

3 Better Ways To Network[[posterous-content:pid___0]]

1) Identify a person or group you feel you can relate to. Introduce yourself and ask the other person about themselves. Initiate a conversation that isn’t a sales pitch. Look for some common ground that may or may not be business related. Build a relationship that doesn’t depend on gaining a lead right then and there. Don’t monopolize the other person’s time. If you hit it off and want to have an in depth conversation, ask for their card and permission to call or email to arrange a meeting.

2) Spend more time listening than talking. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn about the other person and their needs. People appreciate someone listening to them, and are more likely to listen to you when you tell stories about your kids, or tell them about the new widget your company has developed that would solve that problem they mentioned earlier.

3) A certain amount of persistence is part of sales. How many times to approach a potential client can vary depending on the sales cycle of a product or service. Develop a sense of timing that matches that cycle. If a client has just purchased a widget with a 2 year sales cycle, it won’t do you any good to give them a sales pitch every month at the local networking event. Use that time to build a relationship. Send them an occasional newsletter, and keep them posted on new products and developments at your company. Provide expert advice with no pressure. It’ll pay off in the future.

Posted via email from JoAnn Lefebvre | Comment »

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0 Notes

How To Not Suck At Offline Networking

Except for seasoned social butterflies, everyone’s first networking event can be unsettling. You may be the type to dive right in and start talking to the first person with whom you make eye contact. Or, you may be the the type who needs to take their time observing what other’s are doing, and ease into the flow. Either way, once you are ready to connect with another human being, don’t make these mistakes.

1) Walk up to someone with your business card in your hand and begin telling them the name of your company, how great your company is, and why they need to be a client. If you handled dates this way, you wouldn’t have many of them!

2) Talk about your position and your products/services incessantly. It would be more efficient to hand out flyers and move on to the event in the next town.

3) Give the same sales pitch to the same person for the 5th time, just because they’re willing to listen. If they’ve heard your pitch enough times to recite it back to you, they  probably aren’t interested. If they ever are interested in your product, they probably won’t buy it from you!

3 Better Ways To Network[[posterous-content:pid___0]]

1) Identify a person or group you feel you can relate to. Introduce yourself and ask the other person about themselves. Initiate a conversation that isn’t a sales pitch. Look for some common ground that may or may not be business related. Build a relationship that doesn’t depend on gaining a lead right then and there. Don’t monopolize the other person’s time. If you hit it off and want to have an in depth conversation, ask for their card and permission to call or email to arrange a meeting.

2) Spend more time listening than talking. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn about the other person and their needs. People appreciate someone listening to them, and are more likely to listen to you when you tell stories about your kids, or tell them about the new widget your company has developed that would solve that problem they mentioned earlier.

3) A certain amount of persistence is part of sales. How many times to approach a potential client can vary depending on the sales cycle of a product or service. Develop a sense of timing that matches that cycle. If a client has just purchased a widget with a 2 year sales cycle, it won’t do you any good to give them a sales pitch every month at the local networking event. Use that time to build a relationship. Send them an occasional newsletter, and keep them posted on new products and developments at your company. Provide expert advice with no pressure. It’ll pay off in the future.

Posted via email from JoAnn Lefebvre | Comment »

Bookmark and Share

0 Notes

How To Not Suck At Offline Networking

Except for seasoned social butterflies, everyone’s first networking event can be unsettling. You may be the type to dive right in and start talking to the first person with whom you make eye contact. Or, you may the the type who needs to take their time observing what other’s are doing, and ease into the flow. Either way, once you are ready to connect with another human being, don’t make these mistakes.

1) Walk up to someone with your business card in your hand and begin telling them the name of your company, how great your company is, and why they need to be a client. If you handled dates this way, you wouldn’t have many of them!

2) Talk about your position and your products/services incessantly. It would be more efficient to hand out flyers and move on to the event in the next town.

3) Give the same sales pitch to the same person for the 5th time, just because they’re willing to listen. If they’ve heard your pitch enough times to recite it back to you, they  probably aren’t interested. If they ever are interested in your product, they probably won’t buy it from you!

3 Better Ways To Network

1) Identify a person or group you feel you can relate to. Introduce yourself and ask the other person about themselves. Initiate a conversation that isn’t a sales pitch. Look for some common ground that may or may not be business related. Build a relationship that doesn’t depend on gaining a lead right then and there. Don’t monopolize the other person’s time. If you hit it off and want to have an in depth conversation, ask for their card and permission to call or email to arrange a meeting.

2) Spend more time listening than talking. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn about the other person and their needs. People appreciate someone listening to them, and are more likely to listen to you when you tell stories about your kids, or tell them about the new widget your company has developed that would solve that problem they mentioned earlier.

3) A certain amount of persistence is part of sales. How many times to approach a potential client can vary depending on the sales cycle of a product or service. Develop a sense of timing that matches that cycle. If a client has just purchased a widget with a 2 year sales cycle, it won’t do you any good to give them a sales pitch every month at the local networking event. Use that time to build a relationship. Send them an occasional newsletter, and keep them posted on new products and developments at your company. Provide expert advice with no pressure. It’ll pay off in the future.

Posted via email from JoAnn Lefebvre | Comment »

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