Win More Business: Tap Into Conversational Search Using Twitter

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Courtesy Albert Einstein Wikiquote King of Observation

Chris Brogan’s latest post “How Hotels Can Win More Business Travel” is a look at how all social media marketers, social media consultants, entrepreneurs, and large companies should be looking at applying social media networks to their challenges. Implementing new processes in order to meet a business challenge is often a matter of observing and re-engineering. In Chris’s post, search is the main tool with an open mind to possibilities. Let’s take a look at 3 of Chris’s steps.

While Chris addresses hotels, I will plug in his first 3 Steps for restaurants:

1. Get Aggressive with Search: Chris utilized a Twitter search that found conversations surrounding lodging in Austin, Texas for the SXSW conference. He found folks who were having a problem finding accommodations.  Chris’s idea: “If I were an Austin, TX hotel property with open beds, I’d go after each and every one of them with a rate quote and an easy link to make the reservation.

Restaurant’s Strategy: (dg) If I were a Austin area restaurant, I would also tap into these travel conversations on Twitter. Here is how I would engage:

A.) Welcome each traveler to Austin

B.) Promote Hotel(s) that you wish to partner with by tweeting their facilities with a link to reservations with contact information

C.) Welcome them to my restaurant with an added incentive, give away, or special that makes them feel compelled to investigate

2. Improve Your Concierge Service: Chris’s idea here is simple yet few are doing it. He talks about chronicling and then databasing a travelers tendancies, wants, and needs. “How hard would it be to database your guests a little bit, and start to understand their recurring business travel needs? How difficult would it be to share them across properties?

Restaurant’s Strategy: (dg) Like inventory control when chef’s order their supplies, a customer’s preferences for dishes would be a database that could be very impressive to both local and business travelers.  With these tendencies, a restaurant could Tweet specials, special nights, or offers with confidence. Create a database of your customers.

Real Strategy to Connect: At the restaurant location, offer them the opportunity to actually login and sign up to be your fan on Facebook and connect on Twitter. This is the next generation version of those stale paper “How Did We Do” evaluation forms so many restaurants use.

3. Get Aggressive with Offers: CB “Right now, there’s no reason why not to build incentives into property loyalty. Hotels.com has a book 10 nights through them, get 1 night free (without any loyalty required to any particular chain). It’s a really clever offer. It could be countered easily and retain chain loyalty fairly easily.”

Restaurant’s Strategy: Due to the economic crisis we all face, eating out today is often a luxury for most people. Restaurant’s should consider leveraging their food as a commodity by offering special value items, menus, or incentives. Granted many restaurants offer value but do they do this strategically? Often the value offer is something that is seen as less value and more fluff. The free dessert, apertif, or side dish just isn’t going to get it in today’s world.

Restaurants must give something their customers actually want and give it to them with the idea that they can make up the costs in return visits, alcohol sales, and viral marketing word of mouth.

Twitter Transparency: Inner Architect’s Strategy

For the sake of being transparent, honest, and forthright, I feel it is necessary, as the Business Director for Inner Architect, to state our Twitter.com strategy on Twitter. Over the course of the last month I have reviewed the Twitter strategies, or lack of strategy depending upon how you utilize Twitter, of the National Association of Realtors and Wachovia bank. Let’s take a look at what we are accomplishing here on Twitter:

Two Account Strategy: deansguide

deansguide-twitter-page

My Twitter.com deansguide has the following functions:

  1. Engage: Spend time investing in my Twitter relationships, my selected communities, conversations, individuals, and companies by following nearly everyone who follows me
  2. Communicate: Direct contact with people or companies
  3. Research: Gather content ideas, valuable links, and industry information for repurposing
  4. Go-To-Source: Try to be a go-to source and resource of valuable information by providing the best tweets as often as possible
  5. Recognize: Recognize great content, ideas, attitudes, and kindness by ReTweeting or writing about any person or company that is creating and giving value on a continuous basis
  6. Network: meet and network with people in Silicon Valley (near my home) and around the country

My goal here is to contribute to the twitter community as much as possible.

Two Account Strategy: Innerarchitect:

innerarchitect-twitter-page

Our Twitter.com Innerarchitect account has the following functions:

  1. Research: Find content that matches our business goals, provides fresh perspective, and helps us build our library of value
  2. Follow: The main focus of this account is to find content, research our industry. Consequently we are less active in following. We try to follow people specific to our industry, read, and listen more on this account.
  3. Recognition: We will not follow everyone that follows us as that is not the focus of this account. What we will do is recognize people and companies that inspire us and provide value on a ongoing basis
  4. Activity: We will produce less content (Tweets) on this account because our focus will be to listen to conversations and gather information

Conclusion

If you are a company or individual concerned with ratio of followers to those you follow, then consider deansguide as the place to be on Twitter. On deansguide, I provide value and follow most everyone to build their network numbers.

If you are interested in our company mission, information, and writing consider following or checking in with Innerarchitect. We will focus on companies interested in social media and

2 Jeffrey Gitomer Resources for Jobs Seekers & Entrepreneurs

Jeffrey Gitomer is a best selling author, world class keynote speaker, and one of the most important resources available for job seekers and entrepreneurs today. Gitomer specializes in many important facets of business including business development, sales strategies, and networking. Yet it is one very simple concept, that remains one of the greatest takeaways I have learned in my business career. Jeffrey’s mantra “Give value before you receive value.” When you network with people he instructs people to give value, give it continously, and give value without asking for anything in return. Here are too very valuable resources that help people understand networking and the sales process:

1. Newsletter: Sales Caffeine

This is a fantastic resource. Jeffrey asks a weekly question that is both thought provoking and instructive.

Q: What is the most significant long-term benefit of successful networking?

A. You will not have to cold call to get new business

B. You will build business friendships and relationships

C. You will be able to use your contacts for sales and referrals

D. You can call people later and they will already know you

Answer is here

2. Books: “The Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets to Network Your Way to Rich Relationships

Gitomer has authored 12 books from customer loyatly and sales principles to persuasion and success. The most influential book I have ever read that changed my mind set and results is Jeffrey’s “The Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets to Network Your Way to Rich Relationships.” Here are some of the concepts that changed my business life:

  • How to give value constantly without asking for anything in return
  • How to become a go-to resource of value
  • How to research before networking
  • What to give first in order to create value for my networking partners
  • Why your network building is the most important concept that must be a continuous process throughout your business career
  • Understanding networking etiquette for different networking groups
  • What networking is NOT
  • Where to find the best resources to network
  • How to assess your networking efforts
  • How to stay connected and relevant in today’s networking environment

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.

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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.

Realtor’s Twitter Strategy: 4 Mistakes to Avoid By Communicating

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

Reuters.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

ComputerShopper.com published this deansguide article 11-16-08

Free Twitter Strategy Chart courtesy of Paul Gram’s Websitesuccessdoctor.com

Twitter.com is quickly becoming one of the most useful, fastest growing social media tools available today. Anyone from entrepreneurs to large corporations can utilize twitter to gain exposure, push out their message of value, research, learn, and network. Yet a large number of twitter advocates are making the most basic mistake in social media which is costing them valuable opportunities and slowing their desired results.

#1 Mistake to Avoid: Collecting Numbers

Stop collecting and start connecting! Too many people view twitter as a place to collect followers or create impressive numbers. This syndrome is not exclusive to twitter as many people make the same mistake on Linkedin. The collection of connections has no depth, no meaning, and no value unless you create communication leading to relationships.

#2 Mistake to Avoid: Staying within Your Own “Tribe”

Many Realtors, from my observations on twitter, are guilty of staying within the “tribe.” Simply put many Realtors fail to communicate or investigate outside the sphere of real estate. Instead they tend to limit the majority (if not all) their communications to other brokers or Realtors.

#3 Mistake to Avoid: Stop Hard Selling

Realtors have been trained, and ingrained, to push features and benefits with an ongoing hard sell sales strategy that has worked for decades–up to now. In today’s information rich, Web 2.0 savvy world, the hard sell is dead. Today’s most influential and successful Realtors understand that they must provide valuable information on an ongoing basis without a sales pitch attached. Instead of A-B-C tactics of “Always Be Closing” fame, today it is all about giving value.

What does this mean to Realtors on Twitter? A: If you only provide listing links and links about you, people will quickly begin to stop paying attention to your messages. Which brings us to the next challenge.

#4 Mistake to Avoid: Narrow Focus

This dovetails into #3 mistake to avoid because delivering the same narrow focussed message over and over is not compelling. If you are a Realtor and the only subject and strategy you employ is to leave links to your listings or to your website-blog people will begin to tune out.

Then What is the Strategy?

Like any social media community, twitter is most valuable when you engage other members in meaningful communication, provide valuable information to the community, and then collaborate when given the opportunity. Antidote to the 4 Mistakes:

1. Stop collecting numbers by communicating with people, show you care, and get involved.

2. Go outside your real estate community and make new connections with people from other career paths. Also consider people with similar hobbies and interests as viable networking partners.

3. Stop Hard Selling and become a provider of valuable information. By doing this people will perceive you as a valuable resource and somebody to be read and respected.

4. Widen your subject matter for a more well rounded approach to your messages. Personalize and humanize by providing information about things other than your business. Create value for your business connections as well as your networking partners who have no business ties to you.

Organize Your Job Search To Remain Motivated

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 10-29-08

The most difficult job during our careers is not the first job out of college, the relocation across the country, or the start up position that pays stock options and nothing else. The job of creating and maintaining an employment campaign in order to find a new position is by far the toughest job people face during their careers. Why? Let’s count the reasons:

  1. Procrastination: People tend to take a “I’ll get to that soon” that leads them to get to things later.
  2. Organization: Many folks do not organize their day, structured like a business work day, in order to perform their job search like a job.
  3. Fear: When the procrastination habit takes hold, a person’s “plans” to organize fall apart. The guilt associated with a lack of progress manifests itself into fear as their funds dwindle and their actions remain at a stand still.

How do you overcome these challenges in your everyday “job” to find a job? Here are some tips to help you get the results you desire:

  1. Organization: Schedule your day just like you would in a paid job. Rise in the morning as if you are commuting to work, consider your time spent on “the job” an investment in your future, and organize the tasks you must complete in your job campaign.
  2. Time Management: create a schedule and place time limits for each project. Multi task, be productive, and measure your results aka ROTI (return on time investment).
  3. Lists: Help yourself get organized by making lists. The most prominent list should be your Top 10 companies to work for and your Top Industries to work within.
  4. Network: Research and identify real world networking events. Attend the events that give you the best chance to meet hiring managers, employed professionals, or industry specific mixers.
  5. Network Online: Create and maintain a blog. Write about your knowledge, experience, and expertise. Register with blog directories, comment on other blogs, and spend time monitoring your traffic levels
  6. Social Media Systems: Register and create profiles and a presence on business niche sites like Linkedin and Plaxo, Social sites like Facebook, Bookmark sites like delicious and Stumbleupon, and aggregator sites like Friendfeed. Create a twitter account for your free broadcasting system
  7. Employment Campaign: This is a concerted effort to manage the first 6 tips in this list in an ongoing, everyday plan to give your best in finding a new job.

There are no short cuts, no magic pills, and no excuses. Either you are performing this type of everyday plan or you are not. Do yourself a favor and ask yourself: “Am I working as hard as I can to find a job?” If this question is too difficult to ask or it raises doubts in your level of motivation, take stock in the fact you just took the first step in the right direction!