Build A Quality Network of Connections

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networkingIn today’s world of building follower count numbers, achieving more likes and stars, it is imperative to not lose sight of working directly with people.

Over my lifetime, I have been fortunate to meet a lot of people through family, work, school, organizations and church. I really value these type of
relationships and for the most part I try to keep in touch with many of them.

In the last 10 years, I have been fortunate to develop acquaintances with other people online. Some great people and others not so great. There is a wide range of opinions on this topic and a case can be made for each of these groups:

  • Some people would say these are superficial contacts.
  • Others, would say they are just contacts with no strings attached.
  • Still others would say these contacts are a bunch of fluff and stuff and no substance.
  • Some others would say these are the people I engage with
  • Some other people would say that anyone who is willing to connect with me, I will connect back with them.

The best part about these groups is “you” are in control.  (Please stop debating this topic! It really is a matter of choice!)

Some tips I have learned over the past few years

On Linkedin, I try to get my name in front of  connections I want to work with, and learn from. The only way to connect with other people is to get your name and company in front of others. Too many people only connect with the people they truly know. This is fine, but if you want more influence or exposure you need to take more action like sharing updates, writing content for a blog or joining a group. Linkedin is much more than a job search site. Spend time on the home update screen. TREND: People are sharing more valuable company information each day. 

On Facebook, I use this site to connect with my closest friends, family and relatives. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing your pictures with people outside of this group, why are you connected to them. That is the philosophy I use.TREND: Some people share way too much. Too many strong opinions, political statements, judgements, etc. Be wary of who you are connected to. Lockdown your security settings.

On Twitter, I respond to people who may have read some of my content or send me a note. I use lists to sort out the people I want to lean more from and follow. The tools are there to organize the people that you come in contact with.  Some people really like twitter chats. To me, short phrases have too many interpretations. A lot of work for very little learning. Look for people who share quality information. Stay away from people who post information every hour. More news is being shared here. TREND: People like reading good news information from reputable sources. 

Pinterest, GooglePlus, Instagram, Vine, FourSquare and other sites – These sites are more like dashboards. It is good to spend some time on these sites, but don’t overdo it. This is my opinion and I know other people have great experiences on these sites. TREND: Watch your time, be aware of other sites, but cut back if you are not seeing return. Pinterest in my opinion is the best site out of this group for business.

Here are the “Real Takeaways” of this Article

Connect Locally – Make note of those people you have met online who live close in your community. Invite these type of people to connect. In the last year, I have really met some great people who have contributed to my knowledge in a number of ways.

Have a Presence – Get on Linkedin and share an update or comment on a blog or write one for that matter.

Share Quality Material – I have actually cut down on the material I share over the past year. I take a few days and really think about information that has made a difference in my life and could help someone at their location.

Take Social Media to Another Level with an Analytics Program– This year, I have been working with HubSpot. I had no idea that so many people were coming to our site on different occasions, but never wanted to open an account until I talked to them directly through email or phone. Don’t rely on system-generated emails either. Get Personal!

Learn More From Others Outside Your Industry – Connect with business people who work with a different set of clients or use completely different processes to produce results. If you always go back to the same people in your industry, you may be missing out. One of my favorite contacts works with furniture.

Identify a Group of Innovative Leaders – Going Digital is huge. Companies are going to need to address this topic today. Start looking for great leaders of companies who are making real advances in the way they do business.

Start Building a Network of Younger Leaders – There are lots of great young leaders with great ideas for the future. Stay young and connect more with those rising leaders. Learn about new technologies on the horizon. Make sure you have an understanding of what values the next generation brings to the table.

Summary

If you want to get ahead today, you can try to implement new technology, but if you want to make huge advances, look to connecting with the right people and connecting deeper with them. Show people that you offer something of value to them and start getting your name in front of people. At the same time, be a recruiting agent and look for people who make a difference in their workplace and community. Get to know these people in a deeper way and continue to grow personally and professionally. Remember, you are the person in control!

 

 

 

 

 

Time to back up your talk!

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Online MarketingIt is becoming increasingly apparent that it is easy for people to write about marketing, social media and content marketing, but it is another thing to actually back up your work with specific examples.

Many experts talk high level about how great social media is and why you should be online. (Same old stuff). What if these same people had to provide specific examples? A lot of time and energy is lost reading these type of articles and at the end of the day, most of us are confused and frustrated.

How can you stop wasting time?

If you, are like me and you like to follow great marketing blog sites, start following people who are in the game.  These type of people give great advice about tools, “the way they think”, “their successes”, “their failures”. These people are real and they really understand what they are doing.

As we get closer to 2015, keep these things in mind. When you read someone’s predictions or accomplishments, please look for the following:

  • Does this person work with marketing social media on a daily basis at a company?
  • Does this person write from his/her own experience or does he/she regergetate other people’s findings?
  • Is this person active on Linkedin, Twitter, GooglePlus?
  • Does this person write content on a blog site? How often?

Here are some of my biggest online marketing learning points in 2014

Content Marketing – Write each week, but don’t think you have to write something everyday. Take some time and really write something that people will want to read. Keywords are still valid, but good content will trump more words and sentences. Make sure you always have an image with your content and write for a specific audience.

Blog – Continue maintaining a blog site for yourself and your company. It really helps with SEO and I am seeing more traction with each and every Google Change. Yes, the first change, Panda hit all of us pretty hard, but those people who did not give up their blogs are seeing bigger returns with each future change. Content from reliable sources/sites is becoming more valuable each day.

Linkedin – You should be on the Linkedin Publishing Tool. This platform will help you with your personal brand presence and you will connect with a higher quality of followers.  This site will let you know if your content resonates with others or does not resonate at all. Also, ask a question at the end to encourage more discussion.

Twitter –  The custom retweet is the best way to engage on Twitter. Everytime your name is mentioned or you retweet someone else’s work, put your comments at the  BEGINNING OF THE TWEET!  This simple change gets noticed because 1) it is so different than anything else out there and 2) you actually show someone you care by adding your comments and 3) the tweet is sent to everyone on twitter for more exposure.

What type of learning have you experienced with respect to marketing online?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you confusing Google?

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Google UpdatesAre you frustrated with your Google Search Rankings? Are you resisting the changes which Google is proposing? Maybe it’s time to take a close look at your own sites and see why your current actions may be confusing to Google.  (Just a Thought)

If you take a hard look at your sites, you will be faced with the facts that Google is pushing you to change the way your sites are viewed on Google and it may be time for some chagnes. These changes are difficult and time-consuming, but I hope others can benefit from the information I am shairng in this post.

Here are some of the changes I have made in 2014.

  • Deleted a number of complimentary websites that link to our company site.
    • From 2007 – 2012, it was cool to have domain names that were associated with keyword search terms and Google used to recognize these sites.
    • Today, these sites were getting few hits if any and most had dropped down from their previous first page positions.
    • Google wants your company site and trusted content authors. Make sure your content is recognized on main sites and leave the rest behind unless most of your traffic comes from Bing or Yahoo.
  • Deleted curreent Google+ Company Page and installed new Google+ Company Page
    • This was a tough change for me. I lost a number of subscribers. I introduced a company page when they were first available, the problem in the last few months is that Google wanted to integrate Google Places, Google+ Company Page and YouTube together. I initially fought this move, but decided it would be in my best interest to follow Google and make sure I did not have duplicate content.
    • Google wants companies to be a part of Google My Business
  • Deleted Company YouTube Account
    • Another tough change. Google wants to integrate YouTube with Google+.
    • Build your YouTube Channel through your Google+ Company Page so the two are integrated.
  • Google Authorship – Very important  part of this whole process
    • Make sure your sites are associated with a specific person who is in charge of content for the site.
    • If you are a content marketer, consider writing for your company and for yourself. (Google will recognize you)
    • Google+ is gaining traction.  Do you have the new mobile app, “My Business” – rich with analytics – ties Google Analytics and Google+ together.
  • Google Webmaster Tools  – Invest some time and resolve issues with your site.
    • I wasn’t aware of how important this step was. Clean up your site and make sure your sites are mobile friendly. (Can’t ignore this any longer.

These changes are tought ones to make, but in the end, what is your goal. If your goal is to be in organic search, you need to make these changes. Google has made a number of things confusing by issuing new applications over the past few years, but now, Google is reeling back and integrating its applications together. I am not agreeing with all of these changes, but ultimately I want our company to be easily found on Google and by making this critical decision to follow the Google Roadmap, I believe I will be able to have our site readily indexed and in the end, it will be a win-win for our company.

I welcome your comments and let me know of other steps you have taken with respect to this topic

photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz via photopin cc

Get Interested in Other People’s Work

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Be interested in othersCan you relate to this?

Do you ever go through times of writing where you just can’t find good, quality words or content that you think your readers will be interested in? It happens to all good writers. If you have been blogging for an extended period of time, (more than 2 years) you will find times where the words are just not coming to you or you can’t get excited about your own articles and topics.

It is during these times, that I take a break and read more about what other people are writing. It also helps me discover some areas that I want to write more about and areas I definitely want to stay away from because there is so much information on that particular topic.

Here is the process I go through in looking at other people’s work.

I start with Twitter – I follow some great people here and I like to dig deeper and read more of their tweets and better yet, more of their original posts on their websites. In addition, I will check and see if any of these people can be found giving a similar presentation on YouTube.

From here, I look at some of the major marketing, content marketing and social media conferences and I check out the speakers who are presenting and I dig deeper into the content they post on social media and better yet on their own websites.

The next part of the process is to increase engagement.

Basically, I try to acknowledge people on Linkedin, Twitter and Google+ by commenting on some of the articles and information they have posted. This helps me develop rapport with people and keeps my name fresh with people I come in contact with.

Finally, I put together my list of trending topics and better yet topics that people are not addressing.

This type of information is what really drives me. I don’t want to talk about topics that everyone else is talking about. I want to write about information that few people read about.

Summary

To be an interesting person, means getting outside of yourself and always learning. The best way to do this is to be interested in other people’s work. No one person has all the answers, and frankly too many people do not take the time to stop and discover other people’s content. So when people take note of the content you provide, you should really considerate this quite an accomplishment in today’s world and make sure you thank people for taking the time to read your information and stay connected to you.  In order to be an interesting person, you need to reciprocate and be interested in their work as well.

Image courtesy of ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Marketing Strategy – Social Media Example

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Marketing StrategyCheck out this video about marketing strategy. It gives a great overview of how you should think with respect to your marketing initiatives. If you break it down, the process is really quite simple.

Where to Play and How to Win

Building on this video and applying it to Social Media I will tell you how I think:

Where to Play
Our company has limited the platforms to Linkedin, Twitter, GooglePlus and a little Facebook.

How to Win
We use a content strategy as indicated in a prior post, Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time. In addition, it really helps to start with content on a blog page or company website.

Finding ways to be different than your competitors is the key. What I am finding is if your company posts content on a regular basis, you are already providing a service that most of your competition is not doing.

Producing the right content is a huge advantage. This means sharing quality information for our company and wrtiing about topics that only a few people might be interested in. There is too much general information out there.

Being transparent. Many companies do not list names of their employees or their phone or address information on their website. Also, listing price information is also a differential factor. Many people purchase items like cars for example by comparing features and prices online. From here, they take that information with them to the auto showrooms because they have done their homework first.

Client Service. – I can’t stress how important servicing clients is, but it can make all the difference.

This is a short list, what other items would you add?

photo credit: SalFalko via photopin cc