Beyond The Buzz

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

– Ray Bradbury

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

Published April 6th, 2011 in Marketing, Our Blog | Comments Off on “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

Recently, I’ve had a spate of clients who have come to me after having not so pleasant experiences with other marketing companies or agencies.  The vast majority of these people have paid a fortune for products or services that didn’t benefit their company at all but they were part of a package that was sold to them by very prominent marketing companies. By the time these clients have gotten to me, they’re broke, their marketing needs a complete overhaul, and they’re gun shy.  

How can you avoid letting this happen to you?

Make sure you get what you pay for. One of my current clients was paying almost $2000 a month to a marketing company for Facebook and Twitter posts once a day that ended up being automated based on their own company blog. Do you get the significance of that? Someone in my client’s company was spending a good portion of their own time writing thought provoking business related blog posts and this marketing company just tweeted the title of the blog entry with a link back to my client’s blog. Oh and did I mention that every single tweet had the marketing company’s name in it somewhere? Seriously. That’s $2000 a month that my client was paying to have their own content tweeted by a company once a day while the marketing company was getting a shout out with each tweet. Social media marketing does not have to be an expensive venture.

  1. Check the numbers. Find out how many hours they plan to work on your social media marketing each month. Then ask how many posts/tweets that translates into and how much interaction they’ll provide with your fans/followers. Then do the math. You may find out you’re paying someone $100 an hour to make one tweet or post for you every day.  Is that worth the value to you?
  2. Ask for examples. You want to see current clients and what they’re doing for those clients. Then watch the Twitter/Facebook posts and see if they’re delivering.
  3. Find out who will provide the content. If you’re still required to provide the information, facts, etc. then you shouldn’t be paying a significant amount to someone else to package it into 140 characters or less.
  4. Watch closely.  Once you’ve hired someone to do your social media marketing, keep an eye on what they’re doing. It’s your company. Not theirs. Are they effectively sharing your message? Are they giving you everything they promised? And are your fans/followers responding to that message? If not, then you need to re-evaluate that relationship.
  5. Ask questions. Any company worth paying can answer the questions you have about social media marketing.

 

The last thing to remember is a big one. There are a lot of self proclaimed social media ‘experts’ out there. Listen, there is no school giving degrees in social media. There’s no one certifying social media specialists and there’s no list of social media experts you can trust that’s out there. Social media is something that’s recently cropped up with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and before that, Myspace. When people realized the value in these venues, they began utilizing them. As they should. This created the social media phenomenon. But it does not create social media experts.  Spending time online does not make an expert. Just because someone spends a vast amount of time on Facebook or Twitter does not mean that they are a social media expert. They need to understand your message inside and out and be able to effectively communicate that relationship to your audience. At the same time, they need to build a relationship between your company and that audience in a professional manner. Make sure that whoever you hire to carry your company message knows more than just Twitter and Facebook. Effective social media requires effective marketing and communication. Period. There are no shortcuts when it comes to your company’s message.

Next time: Good Reputation or Name Dropping?

Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing. She is also the Marketing Director for Christian Work at Home Moms and JV Media Design. In her spare time, Lori is co-owner of Radiant Lit and a professional book reviewer for Fiction Addict. Lori and her husband live in San Antonio, Texas with their three kids and two dogs.

Twitter – “I just don’t get the point…”

Published May 20th, 2010 in Marketing, Our Blog, Strategies | Comments Off on Twitter – “I just don’t get the point…”

“I just don’t get the point.”

That’s the biggest comment that I hear when I discuss Twitter with people. I’ve gotten into the whole microblogging definition and then the necessary explanation about social media and the benefits, but usually, none of these argument sway people in the least. They still don’t understand the point of Twitter or why it’s become so popular. This surprises me since Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media trends ever seen. According to Twitter’s own numbers, some 50 million tweets are sent every day. FIFTY. MILLION. In 2009, ‘tweeting’ grew 1400%. According to Alexa statistics, Twitter.com is the number twelve site in the world. Obviously someone out there understands it. So why this amazingly fast growing trend?

It’s very simple.Twitter provided the arena for instant connections and conversations with people you don’t know. Now wait. So do a plethora of other social media websites right? What’s so different about Twitter?

Safer Connections: Twitter created an online venue that allows for nearly instant conversations and connections with people who are interested in the same things. Twitter allows you to make connections with anyone about anything. And it does so more safely than Facebook or Myspace. Both Myspace and Facebook require you to be ‘friends’ with someone before you can make a connection with them. If you aren’t already friends, these sites require you to make that connection and call them ‘friends’. Giving someone the title of friend implies a much more intimate connection than what is comfortable for most people. It also gives them access to all of the details of your life that you put into the site. Twitter doesn’t require that. The only ‘bio’ on Twitter is a 140 character ‘micro’ sentence. You choose what you share. In fact, it’s more like real life conversations. Think about it. When you meet someone for the first time, you don’t pull out all of your family photos, your job pictures, your hometown, your spouse’s name and birthday, the names of all your relatives…the list goes on and on. With Twitter, you share only what you want, when you want.

Ice Breaker: At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced the discomfort of being in a room full of people that we don’t know but with whom we’re expected to make some connection. Then the person in charge of that room pulls out the dreaded ‘ice-breaker’ game, designed to help you make that connection. Twitter is the ultimate ice-breaker. Instead of being forced into uncomfortable conversations, you can choose what you talk about and with whom you connect.

Conversations: Finally, the best part of Twitter is that it feels more like a real conversation. When you’re sitting at lunch with a group of people, think about how the conversation sounds. Everyone interjects their comments, opinions or ideas on the topic being discussed. Sometimes you have a longer ‘rant’ or diatribe, but the meaningful connections happen when there’s a back and forth to the conversation. These virtual connections allow people to easily inject their opinions into a relevant conversation and then create an ongoing dialogue.

Push/Pull Marketing with Twitter: Marketing can always be defined in two ways. Either it’s ‘push’ or ‘pull’. Push marketing entails ‘shoving’ a message to the audience, whether they want it or not. Some examples of this are television advertising (you don’t get to choose which commercials air) or spam email. You are pushing your message to the consumer. Pull marketing involves bringing the audience to you. Whenever someone visits a website or signs up for a mailing list, they are expressing their interest in hearing your message and finding out more. A good push/pull campaign could be a television commercial (push) that intrigues someone enough for them to visit a website (pull).

Twitter is the first fully effective instant use of push/pull marketing. Prior to Twitter, most social media involved push marketing. Blogging revolves around the assumption that an audience wants to read or see what you have to say. Messageboards or bulletin boards are conversations, but they are definitely not instant. Sometimes it can take weeks or months to have a complete conversation.

In short, Twitter changed the face of social media and gave us a new platform for marketing. Last year Twitter had over seventy-five million visitors and statistics show it’s still growing. Maybe now’s the time for you to give it a chance.

Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing and the Marketing Director for both JV Media Design and Christian Work at Home Moms. She is also a creative managing partner at Radiant Lit and a reviewer at Fiction Addict.

Ten Twitter Tips For Work-at-Home Moms by Jill Hart

Published May 14th, 2010 in Guest Blogger, Marketing, Our Blog | Comments Off on Ten Twitter Tips For Work-at-Home Moms by Jill Hart

We’re happy to have a blog written by a fantastic guest blogger, Jill Hart. You can find out more about Jill at her website, Christian Work At Home Moms.

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Social Media is quickly growing into one of the most-used marketing tools for work-at-home moms. One of the largest social media websites, Twitter.com, can be an effective way to spread the word about your business and learn from other top representatives in your business niche. However, it can take a lot of time to determine the best ways to use Twitter effectively for business. Below are ten tips to help shorten that learning curve.

1. Choose a Meaningful User name
If possible, grab your business name as well as your own name for use on Twitter. Having an easy-to-find and easy-to-remember username is essential.

2. Brand your Twitter page
Don’t leave your Twitter page boring and plain – spice it up. Make sure you add your logo, contact information and any other information that will be helpful for customers and visitors to your page. You can use a website such as TwitBacks.com to create a free or very low-cost background to bring life to your page.

3. Learn the Lingo
Twitter can be very useful, but it can also be very frustrating … especially if you have no idea what all those little symbols mean that fly across the screen. Take the time to research the meanings of the tags most often used on Twitter. One great place to do so is right on Twitter itself: http://help.twitter.com/portal

4. Follow industry leaders
Veteran entrepreneur Diana Ennen shares this tip: “I love to follow industry experts on Twitter and gain all their business insight. It’s almost like being right there in their office and getting in on their trade secrets. Not only do they post tips and how to information, but often share their business successes and mistakes and that allows me to learn from them. It’s so worth it!“

5. Interact
Don’t be shy! Take a few minutes each day to comments on what others are discussing or to throw out a question or idea. You never know when a topic is going to spark a response and help you build relationships with customers and your fellow Twitter users.

6. Don’t make it all business news – be YOU
It’s great to share about the things going on in your business and you certainly will want to share specials, discounts and other items of interest to your customers. However, as a small business owner you have the unique ability to put a personal face on your business. Let your customers and readers get to know a little about you as well as your business.

7. Run Contests
Twitter is a great fast-paced way to a run a contest. By having a great prize you can create a viral network of “tweets” about your company and the giveaway you’re holding. Sit down beforehand and plan out some great 140 character tweets that you can use throughout the giveaway time – whether that be minutes, hours or even days.

8. Share
Make your Twitter feed a worthwhile read for your customers. Share tips that apply to your target market, links to articles and other informational tidbits. Create a #hashtag for your business or topic (see #3 above) so that you can track re-tweets and mentions of your posts.

9. Be Thankful
A great way to make friends and build contacts is to thank others who re-tweet (RT) your posts. Send a shout-out saying thanks or feature them at special times like FriendFriday (#FF). They’ll know that you’re grateful and you’ll build a community that supports you – and each other.

10. Promote Others
Contrary to popular belief it IS in your best interest to work together with other entrepreneurs and to help spread the word about great things that they may be doing. Not only will people be drawn to your Twitter feed for great information, but they will see that you’re willing to share about more than your own interests. Another great benefit is that those you help promote will one day be there to help promote you as well.

Twitter is a great marketing tool for work-at-home moms. It can help drive traffic to your website as well as aid you in building relationships with your target market. Use the tips above to help guide you in how to best use social media to benefit your business and your customers.

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Jill Hart’s entrepreneurial career began in her teens when she spent a summer working with her father who ran his own business. When he put her in charge of a Coke machine and allowed her to keep the profits, she saw the benefits of being her own boss. She is the founder of the popular Christian work-at-home website CWAHM.com and mentors business owners at http://SuccessfulChristianWomen.com. Jill is also the co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom (Beacon Hill Press, 2009).

You can find her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/cwahm