The Most Basic and Powerful Steps to Launch Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

KnifeIf you are just beginning to invest in social media for your marketing efforts then you are in the due diligence phase of adoption. Although you may have had great reasons for not adopting earlier, the fact of the matter is your organization is playing a desperate game of catch up with the competition. Here are three tools you need to establish: a publishing platform for your marketing messages, a distribution network to spread the word, and a professional networking engine.

Blogging

The most important piece of your social media marketing plan is a publishing platform. Blogs provide the publishing mechanism that allows small, medium, and global firms to publish their story, vital statistics, and ongoing activities. The most successful companies understand that their blog provides consumers with a look inside the organization, a place to learn, and a place to communicate and interact with the firm. The benefits of search engine optimization and brand awareness are ancillary byproducts of the firm’s efforts to provide the most compelling content on their products, services, and people.

Twitter

Although there are many social networks available to individuals and companies, the most powerful distribution network that supports a firm’s ability to reach consumers on a massive scale with lightening speed is Twitter. With 200 million active users, Twitter is a ultra rich environment for many firm’s to find, listen to, and engage with their consumers and prospective customers.

Linkedin

Considered the business network for job seekers, Linkedin is an important solution for connecting. Whether your sales reps are looking for prospects, you are proving your expertise, networking, or distributing blog articles about your company’s offerings, Linkedin can play an important role in any organization.

In 2013 there are many new social networks and tools to support your organization’s marketing efforts. Before you begin, explore the new networks like Google+ and  Pinterest. Understand your goals and research what networks your customers are utilizing on a consistent basis.

Dean head shotDean Guadagni is Inner Architect’s chief communications strategist with 20+ years of business development, sales management, and national account management experience. Dean is the author of a nationally recognized self-help business guide whose articles have been published by Reuters.com, Nielsen.com, FoxBusiness.com, Ziff Davis Enterprise’s “Microsoft Watch”, Computer Shopper, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Prior to joining Inner Architect, Dean worked with management consulting firm Domus Consulting Group, whose mission was to help real estate brokerages and affiliates develop technology marketing strategies in real estate.

Dean is a frequent public speaker and workshop facilitator on social media strategies, blogging, and networking. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a BA degree in Speech Communications.

3 Steps To Foster Business Evangelists: Beat Your Competition Silly

Ali knockoutIt is one thing to understand the vitally important benefits of consumer evangelists for your business. It is quite another to understand how to give recognition and nourish these business assets. The biggest mistake being made by corporate America is simple: they are not listening or participating in social media. How do you recognize and nourish your consumer evangelists when you are not there (within social networks like blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) to hear them describe their positive experiences with your product? You don’t and as a result companies nationwide are missing an opportunity to grow their businesses and survive this economy

How Do You Recognize Your Evangelists?

Step 1: Show Up

Step 2: Go Where Your Evangelists Go

  • Join Groups on Linkedin and Facebook
  • Ask and Answer Questions on Linkedin
  • Participate in #FollowFriday and other hastag discussions on Twitter
  • Become Friends or Fans of your evangelists on Facebook

Step 3: Speak to Your Evangelists

  • Thank them personally, by using their name, and publicly
  • Showcase their own business by sharing a link to your evangelist’s blog, website, or profile
  • Offer them a perk for their constant support

Step 3

3 Linkedin “Recommendation” Strategies For Realtors: Are You Doing It Right?

Linkedin Add Connections button

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 5-29-09

Like entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large corporations, Realtors are beginning to leverage the power of Linkedin.com for their business. The growth of the site’s traffic and user base coupled with opportunities to join Groups, engage in Q&A’s, and broadcast information makes Linkedin an absolute necessity to any business of any size. The following are three strategies for Realtors in their quest to leverage the power of Linkedin Recommendations.

Recommendations

  1. Don’t Blatantly Ask: The worst approach to receiving  a recommendation is to ask for one. This approach puts undue pressure on your friend, leaves them with a decision, and it can make for awkward communications and weaken your connection to that person
  2. Write Recommendations: With a top down approach to clients and collaborators (start with the most relevant or important), begin writing recommendations for people. The benefits are goodwill with your network, top of mind reminder of your work, and status updates with your name attached
  3. Request: Write a well thought out and powerful recommendation. Before sending it, attach a message asking:
  • Does the recommendation meet their expectations and is it accurate?
  • Ask them for their feedback on the recommendation
  • Close by asking them if they would consider writing a recommendation for you if they feel they have benefited from your relationship together

VistaPrint Complaints: 5 Viral Strategies to Challenge a Bully

3 Stooges pic

Courtesy of threestooges.com

VistaPrint’s No Customer Service: Consumeraffairs.com Documents Complaints” outlined my poor experience with VistaPrint and my decision to never use their products or services again. This article, as of May 8, 2009, is indexed in the #6 position page 1 of a Google search for the phrase “VistaPrint complaints.”

My Promise to VistaPrint:

As I promised in my intial article, I have become “a consumer affairs advocate fighting hard to highlight the no customer service” treatment I received. My plan was simple: write a blog post about what happened and tell all of my friends in my assorted social networks of my experience.

My Blog:

  1. Article: I wrote the article describing my experience
  2. Google Search: I performed a due diligence search on VistaPrint utilizing the keywords “VistaPrint complaints”
  3. Links: I provided a list of 5 respected media sites, consumer advocacy sites with information on a variety of complaints lodged against VistaPrint. WordPress provided me my own category

Activerain.com:

Activerain is an important social network, with 145,000 registered users, where I have many real estate friends. I wrote a second article detailing my experience and that article now sits on page 2 of a Google search for “VistaPrint complaints” “VistaPrint: How Not to Run Your Company a Cautionary Tale

Twitter.com:

This is one of my favorite social networks with an estimated 8-9 million registered users. I have over 1,300 followers on Twitter and counting

  1. Tweet: I tweeted my experience with a link to my deansguide article
  2. @VistaPrint: In my tweet I used the @VistaPrint to notify them of my article

Linkedin.com:

Because I utilize the Typepad application on my Linkedin profile, my social network content from Twitter ends up streamed to my Linkedin profile. In addition my WordPress.com application streamed my article on VistaPrint making it accessible to my 398 1st level connections and their networks as well

Friendfeed.com

Friendfeed.com aggregates all of your content that you place online. Recently it has become the hot new mover with many Twitter advocates moving to ramp up their networks on Friendfeed. My article, my tweets, and my conversations about my VistaPrint experience has streamed on my Friendfeed account

Entrepreneurs & Job Seekers’ Tip #1: Utilize Box.net Linkedin Application

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 2-18-09

The focus of every entrepreneur and job seeker should begin and end with the concept that in today’s world you must become a go-to source of information for your target audience. If you provide valuable information, provide it continuously, and provide that information without asking for anything in return you will be very successful. The first step to becoming a go to source of information? Utilize Linkedin.com to it’s fullest capabilities.

Tip #1 Utilizing Box.net Application

Box.net is a free application that you can load onto your Linkedin profile. The application allows you to upload pdf files, videos, articles, or links into one neat storage area. Your files are then made available to anyone interested in accessing them.

box-net-application-for-linkedin002

Strategy of a Go-To Source of Information

The idea is for entrepreneurs and job seekers to give valuable information while they build their network. By creating your mini resource library on Linkedin, utilizing Box.net application, you will do the following for your career:

  • Establish your networking presence online
  • Attract new networking partners due to the fresh information you provide
  • Help others with challenges in their business
  • Create a reason for people to view your profile by giving value first
  • Utilize “What are you doing now” message to alert your network of new content you will share
  • Create opportunities for exposure, stay top of mind, with Linkedin updates every time you add to your application(s)
  • Drop the url to your profile in comment sections on  blogs inviting people to download the free valuable information in your Box.net library
  • Increase traffic to your profile

These are just a handful of the benefits that the Box.net application will provide you and your network in your strategy to become a go-to source of information. Linkedin is the key vehicle to drive your message. It is up to you to find the resources of value and deliver.

Job Seeker’s List of Top 25 Social Media Networks

The Chicago Sun-Times published this deansguide article 2-10-09

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 2-10-09

In the first article in this series aimed at helping job seekers and entrepreneurs, I chronicled how not to organize your work day. I then provided a template for how to organize your day in the world of social media. The response has been overwhelming. People are demanding a list of the best social media sites aka social media networks available today.

The following is a list of the top 25 social media “networks” as ranked by traffic (visits per month) in a great retrospective article by Andy Kazeniac of Compete.com “Social Networks: Facebook Takes Over the Top Spot, Twitter Climbs.” This is a retro look at Andy’s original ranking of the Top 25 last year.  Note: Twitter came in at #22 on that list–look at them today.

Top 25 Social Media Networks:

Courtesy of Compete.com:

Analysis:

If you are a job seeker you should be concentrating your efforts on establishing a strong presence on #5 Linkedin.com and #3 Twitter.com. Although Facebook.com is #1, it has more cache for entrepreneurs looking to capture audience for a product or service.

A Job Seeker’s Day In The World of Social Media

Chicago Sun-Times published this deansguide article 2-08-09

In my post “Job Seekers How Do You Organize Your Day?” I ask the reader to identify whether they were making 10 mistakes  in their job search. As a follow up to this article I want to outline a day in the life of a job seeker who utilizes social media for their job search efforts. No resumes are sent in the making of this day-just value.

Daily Structure for Job Seekers Utilizing Social Media

1. 8:00am Check email:

2. 8:30am Check Google Reader:  Job Seekers should have their feed reader filled with the following resources:

a.) Blogs authored by companies that are on your company target list
b.) Linkedin Q&A, where you can follow relevant information to your targeted niche
c.) Blogs authored by associations or networking blogs within your field of interest
d.) Twitter feeds from recruiters, career strategists, and your local job market news agencies

3. 9:30am Linkedin: Create a new message in the “What are you working on” tool on your home page. This tool provides exposure of your activities to your entire network:

deans-linkedin-twitter-box

4.  9:45am Linkedin: Ask or Answer a Question to demonstrate your expertise

5.  10:30am Blog:  Check your blog stats, answer any comments, monitor traffic for each blog article within the last week, check keyword and Referrers sections

6.  11:00am Write Article: Choose a subject from the research you performed in your Google Reader and email check.

7.  11:45am Lunch-Twitter: Broadcast your new article & mine for article resources

8.  12:45pm Social Media Networking: Deliver your value by leaving link(s) to your article(s) on your targeted company’s blog(s), mass media blogs, industry association sites, and influential blogs comment sections. Ex below Ryan Phillipenko left a link (in red) to his blog .

deans-comment-ex

9.  2:00pm Check Email-Twitter: Return all messages and reach out to one new contact

10. 2:30pm Research Networking: Look for offline networking meetings, events, meetups, tweetups, and charity events

11.  3:30pm Cold Calls: Call your network and offer your value. Offer to volunteer, provide free services, or offer any breaking news or resources that will help your networking partners

12.  4:00pm Twitter: Tweet your latest article, leave at least 5 new messages with valuable resource links, connect via conversation with at least 3 new people

13. 4:45pm Review Monster.com & Careerbuilder.com: stay connected to these sites

14. 5:15pm  Linkedin Answer Follow up: Look for follow up to questions that are niche specific to your job search.

15. 5:45pm  Read One Social Media Blog: Read at least one current article from social media experts Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Peter Kim, Pat Kitano, or InnerArchitect

Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs: Deliver Your Value First Through Social Media Revolution

Susan and I presented our workshop “Web 2.0’s Impact on Job Seekers: The Changing Roles of the Resume, Job Search, and Job Seeker” at CSIX this past Tuesday to a packed house of over 110 hopeful job seekers. As we settled into facilitating this workshop, we realized that for the first time we were about to present our complete thesis and theme.

Step 1

The most important step for job seekers and entrepreneurs is the understanding that you must deliver your value first, deliver it often, and deliver it to your strategically targeted audience.

“Hiring managers are using the Internet to get a more well-rounded view of job candidates in terms of their skills, accomplishments, and overall fit within the company”Rosemary Haefner Vice President of Human Resource Careerbuilder.com

We have been supporting blogging as a more powerful and proactive “living” resume since June of 2008. Yet Tuesday was our first opportunity to evangelize the emergence of a paradigm shift, where social media tools and Web 2.0 strategies replaced the resume, as a job seeker’s main marketing tool.

Web 2.0 Paradigm Shift in Communications

The decades of mass media dominance and stranglehold over the control and flow of information is waning. Today is the greatest time in human history for communication, connectivity, collaboration, networking, and delivering your message of value, expertise, and experience to your strategicially targeted hiring managers and companies.

There is a global conversation going on between bloggers, people networking and finding opportunities on Linkedin, resources and messages being broadcast on Twitter, and companies searching for human capital talent throughout the social media stratosphere.

Companies Adopting Web 2.0 and Blogs: Tools to Promote Business

Our friend and blogger Ray Schiel, of globalsocialmedianetwork.com, has produced a massive resource page that outlines the participation of 105 major corporations in blogging, 64 on Facebook pages, 12 podcasting, 12 crowdsourcing sites, and 100’s of companies microblogging on Twitter.

Job Seekers’ Tip: These social media tools are being used by major corporations to promote their products, services, and business practices. If you want to connect with your target company, and they utilize social media tools, then this is a major opportunity to connect as well as demonstrate your understanding of their efforts.

Companies Monitoring Web 2.0 and Social Media: Screening and Hiring Practices

Not only are major corporations utilizing these tools for their own business practices, they are using them to find new talent and perform due diligence on potential applicants. Computer World’s “One in Five Employers Uses Social Networks in Hiring Process” outlines a Careerbuilder.com survey of 31,000 employers. The results are very compelling:

1.  24% of hiring managers “found content on social networks that helped convince them to hire a candidate.” In addition hiring managers said that “profiles showing a professional image and solid references can boost a candidates chances for a job.”

2.  22% of the 31,000 employers said they “peruse social networks to screen candidates.”

3.  9% more of the 31,000 employers said they are planning to do so

4.  A total of 9,600 employers are going to search for candidates and perform due diligence rather than rely on resumes to tell a job seekers story

Deliver Your Value First

The conclusion is that job seekers must deliver their value first before attempting to deliver their resume. Social media and Web 2.0 are changing job search. The resume is no longer a job seeker’s marketing tool. It is up to job seekers, in this very rough job market, to utilize these tools in order to stand apart and become memorable.

Job Seeker’s Guide to Making the Hiring Manager Happy

Careerbuilder.com ran a survey of 31,000 employers about their use of social media in screening and finding job applicants. The results include:

  • More than 1 in 5 employers use social media sites to screen job applicants
  • 22% of the 31,000 employers said they use social media to find human capital
  • 9% more said they would begin utilizing social media sites in 2009
  • 31% or nearly 10,000 employers will focus on social media as a recruiting and screening tool in 2009

The writing, pardon the pun, is on the wall. If you want to make a hiring manager happy, and help yourself, you will adopt all of the steps outlined below to help you–stand apart from the competition.

Silicon Valley star Guy Kawasaki did not intend for his chapter “The Art of Driving Your Competition Crazy” in Reality Check to be job seeker’s advice; yet the main theme is vital for any job seeker’s success. The chapter outlines 8 steps to drive your competition crazy aimed at helping entrepreneurs and corporations understand how to win at the art of business.The most valuable theme and step is “Focus on the customer.” Guy outlines the irony that entrepreneurs and businesses should not take action against the competition–don’t do anything to them but everything for the customer.

Theme: Make the Hiring Manager Happy

The idea and theme here is to ignore your competition and focus completely on a hiring manager’s happiness. Ignore the millions who are out of work and competing for the same jobs, ignore the pundits who continue to fuel the panic, ignore the negative naysayers who continue to bring your spirit down.

Instead think about what makes hiring managers happy? How about taking the task of reading resumes off their plate. What about saving them time, energy, and focus by removing the screening process that entails resumes and cover letters. Why not remove the gray areas and guess work for a hiring manager by delivering a better more revealing resource than a resume which is simply a job seeker’s listing of their value? How about removing the issue of back checking aka background checks to validate claims on a resume? Why not attempt to reduce their time wasted recruiting and looking for the right candidate for the job when you are available?

Most Hiring Managers Dislike:

  • Deluge of resumes create huge time crunch
  • Lost productivity in their own jobs due to resume review process
  • Tasking other people from their jobs to help in the review of resumes
  • Guess work involved in hoping they choose the right candidate
  • Decisions about new hires ultimately reflect upon the hiring manager’s own judgment
  • Lack of information or verifiable proof that job seeker can deliver their listed values in their resume

Make a Hiring Manager Happy:

  • Craft your value message of expertise, accomplishments, and experience
  • Establish your “employment campaign” blog that delivers your value message
  • Research how you can provide value to targeted hiring managers then deliver your value message
  • Write a keyword rich, descriptive, and opportunity message Linkedin profile
  • Utilize Twitter to broadcast and deliver your value message
  • Research your target companies for their participation in Web 2.0 blogging, social media networking, and engage them through these channel