There are three ways to have me start working with you on your project. Retainer, Discovery, and Live Sessions.
A Discovery Meeting: Craft and Follow
A strategy session, with questions, answers, and ideas to help design your social media strategy.
This idea session is often a two-hour face-to-face conversation (though some have been shorter, some longer). Except for the ocassions when we can meet at a Panera, the best way to do this is either via Google+ Hangouts or Skype because we can share screens and documents.
We sketch out where your business is, where you want it to go,
We discover in detail who your intended audience is: what they’re about, what they’re looking for, and where they commune online.
We consider how much time you’ll be able to invest in social business & content marketing, how you’ll track progress, and how you’ll measure success,
We’ll find online examples of how others are doing things online.
And then, within 3-6 days after our initial session, you receive a detailed report with a suggested social plan, including editorial output, tools to put to use, and people or brands to connect with consistently.
The discovery meeting is crucial to the crafting of a social media strategy for your business. Because every industry, every business, every person – and even the goal – is different, there are no cookie-cutter solutions.
Call me (515.802.2273) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll find a tie to set up our discovery meeting.
Their stories paint them as heroes and while their stories are epic, isn’t it more what resides within them than the tools they held that made them heroic, that made their stories epic?
The social media tools available to you can help you craft your own epic. Knowing your mission (strategy), and smart use of the tools and powers (tactics), your business can explore and expand, bringing new relationships and revenues.
Here’s one way to look at EPIC on your hero’s journey with social media:
Engagement: Social media isn’t about standing on a soapbox and preaching your own gospel. Engagement in social media is a give and receive. Engagement by its definition is participation.
Presence: Having a presence where your customers and prospects are engaging online is important. If you aren’t and they are (your customers, your competition), your story is going to end prematurely.
Inventory: Every post, tweet, status update, and pin becomes part of your online inventory – and maybe even part of a printed work at some point. Consistently posting valuable, relevant content keeps you on a hero’s path.
Commerce: Cutting to the quick, if you’re in business this piece is important. All your work in social media – building relationships, becoming more findable on the web, creating and curating content – all should lead to revenue generation.
Once you master each of these pieces of the social media puzzle, as it all comes together, it becomes a simultaneous action on your path. Just remember, as our friend Po in Kung Fu Panda learned on his journey – there is no secret ingredient.
Mike’s Note: I’m exited to implement and share with clients the powerful resource that is nSphere‘s local search widget. I’ve started using it on my site (see below each post) and have begun coaching others the widget can benefit their customers and bring in new customers.
If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized. ~Oscar Wilde
Mr. Wilde, sardonic wit that he is, touched upon a communication opportunity that rings true to this day. We are a culture of communicators and consumers, but there is often a disconnect between the messenger, message, and the intended recipient. This is particularly true in the world of local businesses and their intended audiences.
In the past, a business would pay an arm and a leg to be listed in yellow pages, the newspaper, or some other wide reaching small return medium. Sure there were some results, but because targeting was in its infancy, businesses large and small would spend big bucks on CPM (cost per mille) advertising, a full page in a local newspaper, or throw money at penny ads on parked domains. After all, so long as you put your message out there and have an advertising budget to clobber the competition with you’ll win the largest market share….
Turns out, most folks don’t care how cool your new product is, because they’re not in a transactional mindset. There are two types of users in the internet consumer market: education seekers and local search users. There’s many more educational users out there (think people looking up cute pictures of kittens rather than someone looking for a vet to help them with their emergency at 11 PM), but every educational user has a corresponding local need. As a local business, it’s vital to get in front of the local search user, but as a publisher of educational content, you cease being relevant to the user once they’ve switched into the transactional mindset (often due to your awesome advice).
How do you take care of your users without diluting message/budget?
There’s a couple solutions out there for local businesses to get in front of local audiences. One such solution is the nSphere local platform, which uses a unique algorithm to map local businesses along with corresponding pieces of local information and contextual content in one spot so your new client can have everything at their fingertips to make an informed decision to contact you. You may also want to join an association or distribution network that focuses specifically on your industry.
For the publishers, partnering with a solution like nSphere’s local search widget will allow you keep users who would otherwise bounce to Google, while connecting your business to publications like Kiplinger.com, HealthCommunities.com, and CarandDriver.com.
With solutions like this, maybe we can finally start communicating effectively.
Michael Drew is a revolutionary in the publishing industry. In just 14 years, he’s put 72 books on National Bestseller lists, including books with Lisa Nichols, Marshall Goldsmith, and John Assaraf.
Michael’s secret? He’s invented a specific step-by-step process not just for quickly overcoming writer’s block – but for creating content so powerful, it makes an immediate impact when released.
He calls this process The Creation Method. It’s been silently circulating for years among top shelf writers, expert coaches, change agents and trailblazing companies.
And now, it’s a 60-minute workshop available to us on March 13th at 6PM PST
The Writer’s Hour is a once in a life event where you will get the opportunity to listen the best practices and secret tricks from expert Michael Drew. Michael became the #1 Best Seller Book Publisher and is the man responsible for getting 72 authors in The National Best Seller lists, The New York Times, USA Today, just to name a few.
This workshop will be a great resource for:
- Writers (fiction or non-fiction)
- Speakers or Presenters
- Advertising or PR Pros
- Anyone that creates content (and isn’t that all of us now?)
Thanks to Mindvalley, I’ve received permission to offer two folks to this workshop free, here’s how:
Choose your writing platform: A comment below, a tweet, a Google+ post, a Facebook message, a blog post of your own, an Instagram, whatever … (mention my name or link back to this post so I can find it).
Tell me about your content creation headaches: Is it time, words, too many thoughts, you don’t have a process (yet)…
To find out more about The Writer’s Hour, click the ticket:
The tools we use to conduct business are moving and changing faster than ever before. Its a wonder anyone can keep up. What used to take 12 years to gain critical mass use is now taking 12 weeks.
Sometimes, as a business owner warms up to the idea of finally implementing a “new” tactic or tool, that is already yesterday’s practice. Thankfully, the core elements of doing business have remained for centuries – even though the tools are changing faster than we cook microwave popcorn.
Horse and Buggy on the Highway
In the mid-90s, there seemed to be a gold-rush towards getting your own “dot com”. Yet, still more than 30% of small businesses don’t own their own website or domain. If they do have THEIRCOMPANY.COM, they often don’t “own it” or “operate it” because they’ve “outsourced it”
When you think about it, 30% is a large number considering the “dot.com” rush began just over a dozen years ago. That number isn’t talking about companies without blogs, social media, or mobile sites and apps – it’s businesses who don’t have their own web sites.
The number is probably much higher if we consider independent contractors and people who might work from home or don’t operate with a business license.
Last year, Google released two numbers that should’ve woke up the sleeping small business: 20% and 40%. Both have to do with searches for local business: 20% of all web-based searches are for local businesses and 40% of all mobile searches are for local businesses.
If a business does get found (“if”), what does the searcher find? Well, if it’s one of those businesses in that 30% that don’t own their website, it’s a 3rd party site. Who knows what the reviews say, if there is correct contact information, and are the descriptions and images accurate? That’s why it’s so important for a business to own their own site, the content that gets displayed, and their presence and applications on different platforms.
Does Your Company Operate, Supply, and Measure its Own Web Presence?
In recent posts, we looked at the importance of a company’s web presence. The call is to “Own it“, to “Stock it“, and to “Measure it“. Unless you’re a 100% web-based business, your web site is not a destination point – it’s an access portal. One that connects customers with you – and vice versa.
When your customers come in your front door (an access portal), there is a path to you – be it an aisle or a recognizable fixture like a desk or counter. When your customers call you on the phone (an access portal), they recognize you by how you answer the phone. When customers go to your web site … you do have one, yes? … the web becomes an access portal.
Would you remain in business if you closed other access portals off from customers? Likewise, you should keep access open with a web presence and a mobile presence. This is part of being in business these days.
It’s Not About the Technology – Think Talk-nology
Stop thinking “technology” and start thinking “talk-nology” – You probably didn’t build that front door to your store, but you use it. You probably didn’t wire the telephone system, but you use it. And you don’t have to design your website or blog or mobile app – but learn how to use it.
It’s simpler than you think – and you’ve probably been doing the same thing (with different tools) for years. One way to do that (at your own pace with a community of business owners) is The Dialing 8 Project:
Companies that are engaging and employing social business are reaping the benefits. That’s because they plan on staying in business.
When I was in the retail business, I had a regional manager once ask me how my sales of “blank wall space” and rental of the “vacant carpet squares” were going?
I raised my eyebrows and waited for the lesson to be delivered. I didn’t have to wait long:
“I love white space as much as the next person,” he said. “But we’re not in advertising. This is retail. Floor space and Wall space? That’s for our inventory. Keep ‘em full, clean, and looking good. Move a few things around once in awhile. We can do quantity and quality at the same time.”
He wanted customers who visited to always be thinking:
A lifetime ago I operated a boutique shoe store in Pacific Grove. Lots of tourist foot traffic. Lots of window shoppers.
And I did my best to gather as many numbers as I could between sales and shoppers:
How many stopped to look at a window display and kept walking
How many walked in and didn’t buy
How many shoes were tried on/how many pairs sold
How many times I brought out a “hunch” pair was it tried on/purchased
What day-part hours affected these numbers
I wasn’t just measuring the bottom line, but the top line and everything in between. I wasn’t better than anyone because of it – but I was obsessed … to get better because of what is learned from measuring the data.
When the question of measuring data comes up with small business, I try to start with what they’re measuring offline as it gives a good starting point to what we’ll measure online.
Sadly, too many business owners don’t track much more than their sales totals and some of the main expenses. Sadder still – many don’t measure their traffic on their website (if they have a website). Sometimes they’ll get weekly reports from their “web” guy who tells them how many “hits” they have – but that’s about it. And that’s bad practice.
It’s going to be hard to determine Social ROI if you’re not counting much of anything else. Which is why it’s so important for a small business to own their own website, use Google Analytics to track data … and get better because of what is learned from measuring the data.
Last year, I found these numbers catching my attention
30% of small businesses do not have their own website
20% of all searches are for local businesses
40% of all mobile searches are local
That first number is surprising. For many readers here, it’s probably surprisingly high. From my perspective, it’s low.
30% of small businesses do not have their own website
When I meet with a small town Chamber of Commerce and ask how many members have a website of their own, many estimate 60-70% — right in line with the number above. However, not all businesses are members of their local Chamber of Commerce. And those that aren’t Chamber members often to not have their own website.
In today (and tomorrow’s) marketplace, to not have a website is perilously close to not existing at all.
20% of all searches are for local businesses
40% of all mobile searches are local
These two numbers should motivate the small business owner, especially those in non-metro areas. It’s about “findability” – if a business not findable in a search on the web (or via a mobile device), well, it’s easy to see why some business don’t last long. Search engines are the new yellow pages and the new 411 combined.
Thankfully, there are sites like MerchantCircle and Manta who, in many cases, already have a business listed. An owner can simply sign up, claim and verify themselves as owner, and start making updates to the page. While these sites help with findability and web presence, it’s rented real estate on the web.
How many of you have a camera on your phone, raise your hand …
Whether you have a smart phone or not, the opportunities for taking your own stock images are plentiful. Additionally, improvements and growth of mobile apps such as Photoshop Express and Instagram make capturing, editing, and sorting images a breeze.
I’ve seen a lot of folks invest 20 minutes writing a blog post, then spend another 20 minutes looking for the right image. Better to take a few minutes here and there to be prepared.
Create some stock images of your own. Have a library ready to help tell your story. Just as you should Listen to Your Day in writing your blog, Watch Your Day for capturing great storytelling images.