Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Must Read for Business Facebook Users

If you are using Facebook for Business, the article posted by Tech Crunch says it all.  Short, sweet, and powerful article.

A Must Read For Business Facebook Users

Facebook Ad Sales Chief: There Are 50 Million Likes Per Day For Brands

Today, TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld sat down with Moat’s Mike Walrath, Facebook’s ad chief Carolyn Everson, Medialets’ Eric Litman and RadiumOne’s Gurbaksh Chahal to address the disruptions in display advertising on social and mobile platforms. On the panel, Everson revealed some interesting information about where advertising on Facebook is heading, particularly with brands.
Everson, who joined Facebook from Microsoft in February, says that advertising can be brought to life digitally through peer to peer recommendations and friend to friend experiences on Facebook. The social network is trying to work with top brands to help capitalize on this experiences. As she tells the audience, the “holy grail for branding are recommendations.”
Likes of course are a huge opportunity for Facebook when it comes to advertising. Everson says that there are currently 50 million likes per day for brands on Facebook, which is out of a billion or more likes per day across the web.
Everson says that founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks advertising has to be as compelling as sharing a status update or sharing a photo. The social network recently launched sponsored stories, which turns status updates, Likes, checkins and application activity on Facebook into advertisement for a brand. Everson says that the more progressive brands are starting to adopt this ad format, but of course display ads still reign supreme on the network. “We’re one percent done on our ad products,” says Everson.
That’s an impressive outlook, considering that Facebook is minting money from advertising currently. It’s hard to imagine that a company making billions on advertising thinks that they have only touched a small percentage of a market. Clearly, there will be more to come from Facebook on the advertising front.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What's GaGa Got?

First Kiss, then Twisted Sister, now Lady GaGa.  What do they have that others do not?

They are master marketers.  Everything they do screams of marketing.  They are smart people, very, very smart people.  They understand the need for differentiation, they understand the need for promotion, they get that its not all about the music.

Another thing that they have in common is the ability to surround themselves with raving fans and great staff members.  Lady GaGa was on the Tonight Show a while back and she told Jay they she once changed an entire entrance scene just hours before it was to happen.  She said her staff looked at her like she was crazy, then went to work to make it happen.  And they succeeded.  They believe in her and they understand their job is to make her look good.

Lady GaGa gets it, she REALLY gets it.  She knows that the hype is part of her culture and she knows what her fans expect of her and she will NOT disappoint them.  She knows that marketing her persona is essential to her success.  She takes chances and she stands on her morals, and she does not care what anybody thinks, period.

On that same Tonight show, she was the highlight guest.  When the other guest (can't remember) who it was, was introduced and sat down, she was gracious and accepting.  In fact, unlike other Leno guests, she entered the conversation with both Jay and the guest, which is atypical of Jay's traditional line up.  Usually the first guest sits in silence...but not GaGa.  She participated in the conversation, contributed to a great discussion and it made for a good show.

She is smart, highly intelligent, so much so that as I listen to her I am in awe of her intelligence and depth of knowledge on various subjects.  She gets it.  Her actual singing is beautiful and the lyrics are incredible.  Listening to her is a huge experience in emotion and truth.   Her songs resonate her tender and caring personality.

Is it her talent for marketing or is it her singing and songwriting talent that impress you the most?  Or are they one in the same? Can they be separated and can she still be successful if she quits using her costuming talent?

What have you done to market your business like GaGa, or was she just Born This Way?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Does Facebook Have a Personality?

I like Facebook. Part of my business at Real Assist QC is creating business for my clients through Facebook.  But I have a small problem, question really, does Facebook have a personality?

Lately I have observed people becoming very ultra sensitive on Facebook, on their personal pages. I've observed arguments on Facebook.  Okay,  now I understand that we all have different personalities and we are all entitled to our opinions, after all it is part of our Constitution, but come on people, don't be so sensitive on Facebook.  If just one tiny comment gets someone's undies in a bunch, they let loose on the commenter.  They do this even when the writer was obviously kidding or joking around.  But then remember, someone else's joke is not necessarily someone elses' idea of a joke. 

Last week I read a discussion thread that was just outrageous.  It really cut pretty deeply to the person whose page it was on.  Finally the page owner intervened in the argument and put a stop to the ridiculous conversation.

Remember when you are posting on Facebook, that Facebook does not have a personality, you do.

Your New Job Title, Disruptor

Are You a Disruptor? If Not, You'd Better Be.

FC Expert Blog

Your New Job: Disruptor

BY FC Expert Blogger Josh LinknerMon May 9, 2011
This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert's views alone.

The iPod disrupted the music industry. eBooks disrupted traditional publishing. The Internet disrupted just about everything. And more than likely, the disruptors in your company are the ones that are getting promoted and reaching their dreams while the rule-following automatons remain frustrated at their cubes.
In the past, your job was to do what you were told. Follow instructions, keep your head down, don't make waves. But today things are very different. Today, we live in a world where playing it safe is irresponsibly dangerous.
In today's hyper-competitive environment, working hard and doing a decent job are no longer enough. Competency, good service, and professionalism are now merely the ante to play. We now live in a world with exponential complexity and dizzying speed. A world where standing out is more important than fitting in.
We are taught to follow the rules, do what the boss says, and that mistakes must be avoided at all costs. Yet this traditional approach is a surefire path to mediocrity. Today, an entirely new set of skills are needed in order to win.
In addition the job title on your business card, you need to add the title of Disruptor.
Disruptors challenge assumptions. They shake the status quo. They are curious and creative. They adapt and improvise. Disruptors push the boundaries and shatter conventional wisdom. They'd rather forge new ground than blindly salute the flag of the past.
Disruptors squirm at phrases such as "we've always done it that way", "that's just the way things are done here", and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". They know that speed and innovation now trump rigidity and conformity. They know that discovering fresh solutions and unleashing new ideas are top priority for both success and sustainability.
Disruptors wonder. They dream, explore, harass, discover, challenge, vex, disturb, rattle, break, upset, imagine, push, shatter, drive, offend, risk, and poke. Disruptors also win, get promoted, earn more, make a bigger impact, reach their dreams and change the world.
In the words of Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, "If the rate of change on the outside is greater than the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."
The next time you're at an event and someone asks you what you do, try responding with: "I'm a disruptor." Besides better conversation, it will empower you to drive change and make a difference. Stop hoping and start pushing. Stop complaining and start doing. Your company and your career depend on it.
Disrupt or be disrupted. Simple as that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Growing Things

Here we are at the end of April, the weather is still a little chilly, but the Spring plants, trees and flowers are starting to bud and poke through the thawing ground.  I like this time of year. I like to see the plants that have spent the last few months in a frozen state, come to life.  I always wonder how they can survive in the frozen ground all winter.  I took a look at my plantings in my newest flower bed, and some were blooming and I did not even know it.  I planted that spot for year-round blooming and I had forgotten that the early plants would be blooming already.  I thought it was too cold, but I was wrong, there they were blooming as if they knew it was time to do so.  

The awaking of the Spring reminds me that like all living things, business, has to sometimes go through a frozen state.  It does, however, come back to life if you work really hard.  You have to embrace the hard times and work even harder to keep that business living.  You have to embrace new technology and new ways to do business. You have to be flexible enough to change your strategy if business conditions command it.  If you don't it will die.  It will not survive.  If you own your own business or even if you work for someone else, the collective efforts of human resources have to keep working together and making the business run.  Sometimes you feel like you are totally out of energy and can't keep moving, but you CAN, and you WILL.  Sometimes you feel like everything is going wrong, but you CAN and you WILL turn it around. 

As long as you believe in what you are doing, you CAN and you WILL be successful.  I promise, Spring is just around the corner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Three Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

The Ibis Network's Blog today pretty much sums up what it takes to be successful at this crazy world of Social Media.  Following the advice below will help you become a disciplined, successful and popular user of Social Media. 

Three Common Social Media Mistakes To Avoid

Doing something well requires practice. And practice requires patience. After all, it’s going to take a while to get good at whatever it is and, in the meantime, you’ll have to grow accustomed to the feeling of failure. The same goes for starting a social-media campaign. There’s no reason to expect you’ll have more fans than Oprah within a week of setting up your first account. Take your time and don’t get discouraged.
To help you get started, here are a few common mistakes to avoid …
Keeping Quiet: It’s easy to fall into the trap of only promoting your social network while you’re online. But driving traffic to your sites means getting the word out. Even offline. If you’re keeping a blog, talk about it as much as possible. Ask clients to visit. Ask your friends to visit. Mention it in meetings and at industry events and anywhere else you’re in contact with potential readers that fit your target audience.
Doing Too Much: Once you’ve got yourself registered on your social network of choice, it’s tempting to start following and friending every page, profile, and person you come across. And, while it is a good idea to connect with industry and community contacts, clients, and potential referral partners, building your network requires some focus. If you find yourself following 500 people on Twitter and the majority of them are your favorite actors, actresses, singers, and athletes, you’re likely not going to see any benefit to your business. You’re also never going to be able to locate your actual contacts through the mess of tweets filling your inbox.
Giving Up: There as many cliches about practice making perfect as there are reasons to keep with it. Sure, at first, it’s a struggle to find the time or the content or the purpose behind your social-media efforts. But with a bit of focus, and a commitment to engaging and interacting with your online network, the benefits will come. Don’t fill out your profile, let it sit for a month, and then proclaim the Internet a waste of your marketing efforts. If at first you don’t succeed …
More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
1 Votes

Three Common Social Media Mistakes to avoid

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Vigilance of Marketing

Vigilance, a word that you probably don't think applies to marketing.  When I think of vigilance my first thought was that it really has nothing to do with marketing.  Yet here I am blogging about it!
According to Webster here is the meaning and origin of vigilant:
vig·i·lant, adj \ˈvi-jə-lənt\
Definition of VIGILANT: alertly watchful especially to avoid danger   
Origin of VIGILANT
Middle English (Scots), from Latin vigilant-, vigilans, from present participle of vigilare to keep watch, stay awake, from vigil awake
Synonyms: Argus-eyed, attentive, awake, observant, open-eyed, tenty (also tentie) [Scottish], alert, watchful, wide-awake   Antonyms: asleep

Oh wow!  That is exactly what marketing is all about, being vigilant, keeping your eyes open, paying attention to what is going on, making sure you are watchful, observant to what is happening....exactly the things that you need to be when marketing. If you are not vigilant with your marketing plan, staying on top of current trends, making changes on the fly, being observant and open-eyed to what is going on in the marketing world, well...you are going to fall behind the crowd.  No, let me put it another way, if you are not completely on top of your marketing, the latest trends, social media marketing, e-mail marketing....you are, as they say...TOAST.   Forgetaboutit. 

Ok so you ask, what made me think about vigilance?  I confess, its the Eagle cam.  I'm hooked on watching the vigilance of mom and pop eagle who are getting ready to hatch 3 eggs in Decorah, Iowa. I've been observing their careful watch over the nest, keeping those eggs warm, keeping a vigilant watch over their nest.  Protecting their turf from predators.  It is absolutely amazing how they make sure that those eggs stay safe....get it?

Want to watch the Eagles?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Basketball and Marketing

I admit that I am not very knowledgeable on all the March madness hoopla.  It sounds like fun, but its just not something I've ever participated in.  I did get to thinking about basketball and marketing, I do this because I am constantly thinking about marketing! 

So back to the similarities between a talented basketball team and coach and marketing. 

Both are always anticipating the the opposing team's next move.  In marketing, like basketball, you have to keep your eye focused on the next play, the next twist, the next goal.

In marketing, like basketball, your strategy is key to your success.  A great game plan will take you far, and hopefully into the winning bracket.

In marketing, like basketball, you must be able to adjust your game plan on a moment's notice.  If your opponent pulls a fast one on you, you have to be ready to respond and out-maneuver them.

In marketing, like basketball, you need a great coach.  Your coach will lead you down the winning path.

In marketing, like basketball, you are not going to win them all.  You have to be able to bounce back, get up, dust yourself off, put a band-aide on the wound and keep playing.  Quitting is not an option.

In marketing, like basketball, using all the members of your team will help you win the game.  Trying to make all the points yourself will only wear you out, and your team mates will no longer be engaged in the game. 

In marketing, like basketball, you will commit a foul every now and then.  When you do you have to learn from your mistakes and try not to make it again.

In marketing, like basketball, the printed program or posters are good for promotion, but the real promotion will come with your following when you win games.

In marketing, like basketball, you have to play to your strengths.  Using all your resources is important, because resources that are unused are a waste of time and talent.

In marketing, like basketball, you need to expect the unexpected.  Things are going to happen that you never wee able to anticipate, no matter how wild the game gets, adapt and roll with it.

I could probably go on like this all day...but then if I do, I won't win today's game!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Facebook Marketing Done Right!

I have taken my Real Assist QC business to the next level, and it happened almost by accident.  I started to study the psychology of Facebook.  I put up my own personal Facebook page, then my Business page.  I started to observe, participate, comment and understand the psyche of Facebook.  I saw the Social Network, I understand how the social and business aspects of Facebook tick.  I'm not an expert.  In fact to be an expert at Facebook, you would need to spend 24/7 on the site.  Why?  Because they are changing things practically hourly.  To keep up you need to spend a considerable amount of time in the help center and on the developers area. 

I find lots of Facebook pages that are violating the Facebook terms of service by posting commercial content on their personal page.  That is a big no-no and can get you bounced from Facebook altogether.  These are things that someone who specializes in Facebook can help with.  It's like someone trying to perform a do-it-yourself project that is way over their head.  It wastes time and can get you in trouble.

So I am finding a niche for Real Assist QC in helping people grow their business using Facebook Business pages.  I've invested in special software to enable me to create custom pages for clients, very custom pages.  In fact if you want to see some awesome custom fan pages look here, Stunning Fan Pages.  Its amazing what can be done.

If you don't have a Business Facebook page yet, you need to get it done NOW.  If you have one that you created yourself, you should have someone look it over for Facebook and advertising compliance, NOW.

Save yourself, act NOW!


Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day

I've seen a lot of chatter on Facebook today about President's Day.  Some wanted to know why they had to work while others got the day off, some wanted to know my favorite President and some just chatted about Presidents in general. Congress takes an entire week off to celebrate our Presidents.  So here is my take on President's Day. 

You are the President of yourself.  You have total control over you.   I know it may not seem like that at times.  It may seem like everyone else is in control BUT you.  But the truth is you are the only one who has say over how you run your life.   Your choices, happy, grumpy, honest, evil, sad, excited, productive, critical, encouraging, nurturing and on...are your choices alone.  As President of yourself you need to take a look at your day and make some decisions.  Plan a head a little and those decisions will be easier to make.  Just like great Presidents, surrounding yourself with a great support team, will make you an effective President.  Presidents know that they don't act in a bubble, that then need a strong following to make an impact and to do their jobs well. 

Author Hugh MacLeod in his new book, Evil Plans, "You don't need permission...you need to act." 

So if you are the President of YOU, inc. how do you want to act?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just Go With It

Today I saw the new movie "Just Go With It".  It was a witty and entertaining movie with a great moral, never, never lie.  Lies just lead to more lies and the more lies there are the harder it is to cover them up, and the harder it is to cover them up the more complicated the original lie gets.  So a small untruth may become a huge debacle in the end.  Now I am the parent of a 17 year old son, so I know a thing or two about lies.  The thing is, you don't have to know everything or even pretend to know it.  Your customers will respect you more if you just come clean and tell them that you need to do some research to be sure that you have the exact right answer to their questions.  Honesty, its the only way. 

I let my customers know if I don't know the answer to their question, I just think it only makes good sense.  For example, this past week I put up some new Business Facebook pages for clients.  Well in the middle of doing that, Facebook applied their newest profile application to Business pages and everything that I did with the clients and the entire look of the pages changed.  I had to fess up that I worked with the changes on personal pages, but the Business pages have some new features that I knew were coming but I just did not have them all memorized just yet.  I don't candy-coat, I usually tell it like it is.  So while I could have pretended to know what I was doing, to me that would have been deceiving to my clients, instead I just confessed that I needed to look up some of the changes and get back to them as to how the new functionality was going to effect them.

Honesty and respect go hand-in-hand.  Integrity is the result of honesty + respect, and let's face it we all want to be considered as a person of Integrity.  

My teenager, now that's a different story.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book List Recommendations

I am often asked, "What books would you recommend?  Or have you read any good business building books lately"?  Well here is a couple that come to my mind that have really influenced and impressed me lately.  I will pst some additional ones in the next couple of days.

I recommend the following books:

Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling


If you would like a review of these book just click on the titles and you will be re-directed to Amazon.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Great Expectations

When it comes to marketing and the customer experience there are a few 'unwritten' expectations 

The customer does not expect to be bugged to death to make a decision.  You expect your customer to buy the first or second time you approach them with your proposition. Customers expect you to be an expert in your field. You expect a little time to answer a question if you are not positive of the answer.  Customers expect answers to their questions, yesterday.  You expect customers to be patient and 'wait for it'.  Customers expect you to call them back immediately.   You expect to call them when you have something to report.  Customers expect you to reduce your fees and play a few pricing games with you.  You expect the customer to pay the price.   Customers expect 5-Star service.  You hope you and your staff can deliver it.

Here are some ways you can manage those expectations.

You should control the amount of communication to the customer.  Make sure if you are calling the customer, that members of the team are not calling them with the same or similar information.  Make notes in the file or on the computer whenever you speak to the customer and make sure your team does the same thing.  Multiple calls to your client will just annoy them.

Make sure you ARE an expert in your field.  Your customer's decision to buy or use your services is going to hinge on your knowledge of your product or service.  If you need to keep up with industry standards, make sure you make time for seminars or educational opportunities that will keep you on top of your game.  If you are not, someone else will be.

The first thing you can do is to solidify your team,  Make sure every member of the team is clear of their role in managing the clients expectations.  Have a written document that everyone signs that makes it clear as glass who does what and when.  Make an internal contract of sorts with them.  Only when everyone understands the internal expectations will you be able to deliver them to your clients.  An example might be, if you promise your client an answer in a week, be sure everyone knows if that is 5 or 7 days.

After your team is on the same customer experience track, make sure you set the proper expectations with your client.  Many, many times the customer will 'hear' something entirely different than what you actually say.  Sort of like that game of telephone we played as children, everyone hears the story a little bit differently,  You might try to remedy this situation by having a written document that outlines the process for the client and the projected time-line for them.  If they have this in writing from you, chances are there will be less misunderstanding and more accountability to meet the timeline.

Make sure that when you have pricing conversations with your customers that you document those fully.  That way you and your team will be fully confident as to what was quoted to the client.  Coach your team on how to answer pricing questions, and if the client has questions that your team cannot answer, make sure they refer the customer to you and you speak to them immediately. Be sure you know your competitors pricing.  It is essential to keep customer's pricing current and written down so you can be  prepared to address any pricing differences with your customer.  Customers will try to use the pricing game against you, be prepared.  You don't have to defend your price, because you are worth your price, what is important is that your customer can deliver value for that price.

Great expectations can be managed, it just takes a commitment on your part to ensure your client have a great experience every time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get fit Marketing

Good marketing is not one exercise its a complete fitness program.  You cannot do one exercise and expect to get fit, you have to complete and entire fitness program that is geared toward your overall fitness.  The same thing applies to your marketing program.  You cannot just do one thing and expect to gain clients and referrals, its just not going to happen.  Be sure your plan is a complete plan.  Be sure you have in place a program for incoming marketing, outgoing marketing, organic marketing and social media marketing.  It all fits together, just like a great fitness program.  When you work with a personal trainer they show you how to workout to get the best result, when you work with a professional marketer, you will get the best return result for your marketing efforts and dollars.   Let me know your comments.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Viral!

It's viral.  What exactly does that mean?  Well Webster says that viral means:
1.: of, relating to, or caused by a virus <a viral infection>
2.: quickly and widely spread or popularized especially by person-to-person electronic communication <a viral video
We've all had a virus at some time in our lives.  We caught it from someone one else and we usually blamed them for feeling rotten!  So what does Viral marketing mean?  Again with the Webster definition:

Viral Marketing 

noun: marketing designed to disseminate information (as about a new product) very rapidly by making it likely to be passed from person to person especially via electronic means 

Now the important part...if you want your material to be seen, it must be viral.  If you keep your circles small, your marketing won't be effective nor will it be see or heard by enough people to make your effort worth it.  So if you are going to make the effort, make sure it pays off.

Create a blog, link it to your Facebook personal page, link it to your Facebook Business page, link it to your website, link it to your Twitter, link it to you LinkedIn, and link them all back together.  Creating a network within your marketing is essential for viral success, after all we want to infect as many people as possible!

Let us know how your Viral Marketing plan is working.