Posts Tagged ‘positioning’

What should you do with social media?

July 22nd, 2010 No comments

Last week 4 companies contacted me about writing/setting up blogs, FaceBook, and Twitter. This topic is hot, and it’s definitely hit mainstream. Here’s my take on everything you need to know about social media.

Be cool

First off,  a few things to keep in mind.

Social media is cheap, but it demands a lot of time to do it right. Have a plan, approach it with discipline, and be sure the time you spend is worthwhile. Some of your efforts will never get you anywhere. Know who you’re trying to reach, and be sure to entertain and enlighten them or they’ll stop following you.

Twitter’s not so big with the up-and-coming generation, the Millennials.

I happen to know a bit about this, because for the past tow years I’ve been working with a client who is all about marketing to Millennials.  Early last year we co-authored a white paper on social media, which involved interviewing people in their late teens and early twenties–some of them hadn’t even heard of Twitter yet, many of them didn’t like it for some very specific reasons.

Twitter, I think, has the most potential with very close communities. The businesses that use it successfully are the ones with super-eager customers–they want to know the location of a lunchwagon, they’re eager to hear the latest news or research, the company CEO has celebrity status or the product is inherently interesting.

In other words, if your business is full of frequent news that your clients sincerely want to know about, you should Twitter. But if you’re just going to Tweet about what you had for lunch, you won’t get much business from your efforts.

Marketing your face on FaceBook

FaceBook seems to be the best keep-in-touch option for social media. The only people who see your FaceBook are the ones you choose who also choose you. The biggest challenge with FaceBook is that there’s not really a way to separate clients and prospects from friends and family. Here’s what I suggest.

First, get a fan page for your business. This will let you truly devote the page to business, but the downside is a lack of easy visibility. Unless you’re selling something cool that people like to talk about, your fan page won’t get a lot of traffic on its own. But you can fix that.

Post lots of good, interesting, valuable content and then cross promote it via Twitter, blogs, and your regular FaceBook page.

The second strategy is more “soft” but it’s a lot of fun, and ultimately more productive. Use FaceBook and all your other social media to promote yourself, and build your brand. As prospects get to know your personality, they’ll be more inclined to do business with you. As friends and family get to know your business, they’ll be better sources of referrals.

Business becomes pleasure, and pleasure becomes business

This “personal branding” is probably the best part of social media. Whatever business you’re in now, you won’t be doing it for the rest of your life.  But once you’ve build a strong network of friends, family, fellow skydivers and homeschoolers–your network goes with you.

One of the best resources on this is the book Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck.

You’re not just a salesman/consultant/CPA/coach. You’re a multidimensional person with many talents and passions, and so are all your prospective clients. Social media lets you put all of your personality into your marketing.

Use social media to make friends, build relationships, find markets and invest time in future clients–maybe the distant future. Today’s posts are like a bond that matures in 10 years (well, maybe not that long). You never know who might be listening, who might be useful.


It only takes 10,000 hours

August 25th, 2009 1 comment

Here’s a question you should ask yourself: If you could be really, really good at one thing, what would it be?

Over the years I keep hearing a little factoid cited by a lot of different people–you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something before you get really good at it.

This used to leave me dismayed. If you spend 3 hours a day, say, studying a language or playing a guitar, you’ll need close to a decade to master it. But there’s a bright side to this.

You probably spend way more than 3 hours a day on some things. You probably spend 6-8 hours or more selling, strategizing, tinkering and inventing, counseling, chiropracting or whatever else you do to earn an income.

When I lived in Italy, I lived with Italian roommates, and dated an Italian woman who didn’t (or wouldn’t) speak English. I read books and magazines during the 45-minute commute to work each day, and usually managed to squeeze in another hour or so of studying Italian. Around my 3rd year there, I was practically bilingual, I had dreams in Italian, and all kinds of opportunities were open to me in teaching, tourism, and sales.

Now take it to the next level. Your clients pay you because you spend hours doing something that they’ve only dabbled in, at best.

You can become a master by deliberately ramping up your hours on one particular skill. There are lots of realtors, but suppose you spend a few extra hours a day studying old buildings or a historical district. If you’re managing an IT company, you could become a master at a specific type of programming.

Likewise, 10,000 hours of selling is an investment that will pay you back ten thousand times in almost any industry or career.

And there’s one more aspect to this. Most people actually don’t reach the 10,000 hour level until late in their career, if at all. You could play a decent golf game after just 2,000 hours, but 10,000 hours is the Tiger Woods level. If you had to spend 10,000 hours mastering something, what would you want it to be?

Outside of your career, progress is slow, but not impossible. I put in about half an hour a day drawing and cutting with the katana. I’m not going to become a great swordsman anytime soon. But when most people are getting old and crackly, I’ll be like Gandalf.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep writing for 8-9 hours a day, and maybe I’ll be able to retire a little sooner and have more time to practice.


Marketing With Class

December 3rd, 2007 No comments

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People pay for quality. They’ll pay more for your products and services if you can build extra perceived value. I say “perceived” because you really don’t have to make a lot of big changes to become a high-end company.

Think of how much more you’ll pay for the same food in a restaurant that uses cloth napkins instead of paper. Or a hotel room with internet access and a tray of gourmet chocolates on the dresser.

“Quality” can have many meanings. Consider the differences between Mazda, Toyota, and Ferrari. You can choose how to position your company. Small changes in the way you do business can allow big increases in your perceived quality—and your income.

For example, I know a real estate agent who gives her clients helpful books on managing their personal finances. A dentist in Santa Monica promises business people that they’ll never have to wait. I get higher fees by offering lots of free advice and suggestions, both before and after I write the copy.

The change you make doesn’t have to involve your core business. Think of the baby grand piano in Nordstroms. Nobody goes to Nordstroms to listen or play the piano, but it add a touch of class.

As a result they sell their shirts for twice as much as the Gap across the street.

You can pick almost anything good you want your business to stand for, and find easy ways to promote it.

A few common examples:
• Honesty and reliability
• A product that lasts a long time
• Helpfulness and guidance
• Speed and/or convenience
• Luxury

Keep up the outstanding work you already do, add something to create a perception of quality, and you’ll jump over your competitors, even if they’ve been in business twice as long as you.

To get ahead in business, you have to stand out from the competition. You have to do something different. You have to be bold.

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