Tag Archives: New Business

Why Does My Dog Win At Social Media?

Why Does My Dog Win At Social Media?

A couple of years ago I adopted my first dog and in no time my world recentered around a little Maltese/Poodle Mix named Daisy Mae.

I took her to our local PetSmart for basic training and that resulted in a Forbes.com column about how one great employee can make a brand: How Just One Great Employee Can Make The Brand

I also started her on Social Media: website, Twitter and Facebook but I ran her “campaign” somewhat haphazardly.

I was mildly interested in how she was doing online but never gave it enough thought to get into the analytics. This was just a hobby, after all, a labor of love, mostly because I just wanted my friends and family to know what we and Daisy Mae were up to.

But this morning, our Creative Director, Mike McCormick mentioned something that piqued my interest. He said “I think Daisy Mae’s Twitter numbers might be quite a bit higher than the norm. After a casual look at a few hundred Twitter accounts, I noticed that the middle ground of the Tweets-to-Followers ratio seems to be about 10 to 1.”

What?

If that’s the case, Daisy Mae should have 600 to 700 Twitter followers on but she has 2,083. On top of that, the last stat I saw said the average Twitter account worldwide has about 225 followers.

Daisy Mae has 440 or so Facebook friends, which strikes me as a pretty big number.  Her website, deardaisymae.com, languishes a bit because we haven’t refreshed it in a while.

I once thought we could do something with the website. We added a promotion, win an iPad, but the onset of the Fall business rush got in the way. Maybe, when we get a chance, we can change the focus and start making Daisy Mae a Social Media phenom who could do some good.

But first, we’d have to start doing things right. It’s baffling how Daisy Mae got this far when we haven’t actually focused on her Social Media efforts. In fact, we’ve done so many things that really should NOT work. Here are a few of the Social Media Must-Do things that our bad dog just doesn’t do yet.

  1. Be authentic. Authenticity’s important and it starts with being real. Daisy Mae doesn’t project real. For example, instead of a photo of the actual dog, Daisy Mae’s Twitter account has a cartoon version. It’s cute but it isn’t authentic, yet we sprinkle in photos of her at the park, sparring with her sister, THE Cat, etc.
  2. Goals? We didn’t really have any for Daisy Mae (but now we will.) In your planning, you need to have a pretty good idea of what you want to achieve: personal friendships, professional contacts, polishing your brand and giving it a personality, etc. In the case of my little dog, I vaguely thought that maybe people, especially dog people, would reach out and relate to her. Maybe they could be more personal with Daisy Mae than they would be with me because I’m usually spouting off about marketing.
  3. What’s in it for people who follow or engage with you? On Twitter, as her audience grew, Daisy Mae retweeted pleas for lost dogs, dogs waiting to be adopted, and ideas for dog food, vitamins, and even natural cures for recurring problems like ear inflammation.
  4. Build a community. Daisy Mae has a lot of friends in our local Dog Park: Honey, Chester, Maddox, Bear, Pierre, Spike, Roxie and Rosie, etc., and I’ve gotten to know most of their humans at least casually. Perhaps, I thought, we could build a much larger community online that would work in a different way with people chatting about their pets and their problems and delights. We sort of achieved that by accident and on a small scale. I get advice that I actually use, about handling Daisy Mae’s barking (defending me!), for example. There’s room for growth here, I think.

I guess I want Daisy Mae to be Leader of the Pack, the online pack. I want to engage with high level people about real issues concerning animals, and I want her friends to learn new things on her Twitter feed and create a whole new platform that is international, not local.

Does Daisy Mae care? Umm, not, so much.

 

What’s really crucial to the future of small business?

What’s really crucial to the future of small business?

Jim Blasingame knows. He talks about it every day on his radio show which is dedicated to Small Business.

And he knows what he’s talking about, partly because he interviews, or just chats with, all kinds of successful entrepreneurs. I know Jim quite well because I’ve enjoyed being a guest on his show many times.

That’s why I was excited to get his new book The Age of the Customer. The subhead Prepare for the moment of relevance is a great 6-word summary of the book. I plan on rereading it more slowly this weekend.


My first reading was a little hurried. When I got the book, first thing I did was scan the table of contents, flip to page 197 “Blasingame’s Laws” and read the laws.

Along the way to page 197, I noticed dozens and dozens of little shadow boxes embedded in the text. They all had the same headline: “THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST” followed by short gems of wisdom, such as The definition of home has changed, and One of the most effective sales behaviors is as old as selling: the Call Back.

The whole book is about something you already know. Selling has changed. The seller was once in charge of information, now the buyer is.

It’s The Age of the Customer.

So What?

That’s actually a normal reaction. I think Ron Johnson must have said something like that as he was driving J.C. Penney into the ground. So what?

Jim Blasingame tells you so what. He also tells you why and how. He might tell you things you don’t want to know, such as you need a mobile app. But once you read the why, you’ll get a mobile app.

Don’t understand why you need to be relevant? Oh, you will and you’ll catch up in a hurry.

The Age of the Customer is clearly a work in progress. Jim doesn’t have the final word here (nobody does) but he does have the latest word and, more important, he has the relevance (make sure you read that chapter twice). If you run a small business, he has the relevance you need right now. Trust me on this.

The shaded boxes made everything he wrote about come alive for me, because I’ve been in similar predicaments. There’s one case where a woman has checked into a hotel, and had forgotten to make a reservation at a restaurant for her to meet with her clients the following day. It was late at night and she took out her laptop, and found her favorite restaurant had a listing, but no website, the second restaurant had a website with a phone number, but it was after hours…so no good to her. The third one had a website and she could book a reservation for the next day, which she did.

The Age of the Customer drives home the importance of all the things you need to make the customer happy in today’s marketplace.

There are just over 200 pages in The Age of the Customer and 26 chapters plus 8 other sections such as laws, index, and an interesting foreword from Steve Forbes, Chairman of Forbes Media.

I’m already waiting for the next edition. Most of the chapters will grow over time.

This is a book for the ages, and hopefully it will give you some great pointers on how to bring your business into today’s world!

Good luck and let me know how it’s working for you.

 

Fie on FOMO

Fie on FOMO

I was having coffee with a new acquaintance down the street last week and realized our conversation was a little disjointed. Then I saw she was texting under the table while she was telling me about her job hunting adventures. Idly, I wondered what couldn’t wait.

You see things like that a lot these days. And it’s not just rude stuff. It’s dangerous, too, like texting while driving. Has the electronic revolution turned on us?

Not too long ago, electronic messaging of various kinds was a valuable tool. Now it seems to be more of a demanding taskmaster. So many of us are just too busy with our iPads, iPhones, messages and email to stay connected to real life. Or even common sense. Last week I was posting on Facebook and I realized I was responding to a man I don’t even know.

Why?

Maybe there’s another branch to the problem. Chatting, in person, with a friend the other day, I was startled when she told me she’d gone to a dinner for the Humane Society. I know she doesn’t really like animals, so I asked why she went. “Well, I might meet a new man, a new business prospect … and maybe I was supposed to be there”.

Maybe we think we have to be everywhere these days, in touch with all the latest news, grasping at every straw of an opportunity, meeting everyone we need to meet and all it has to happen right away. It might make us feel very productive, but what we’re really doing is disconnecting from the people and things we really value.

Last week I was so busy tweeting, posting, and writing articles that I forgot a good friend’s birthday, and that never happened before.

The condition even has an acronym – FOMO – and I don’t know if it can be cured. FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out.  We frantically attend events we don’t care about, send out dozens of happy birthday messages on Facebook, and respond to hundreds of tweets from people we barely know.

Maybe you can give it a try with me? Lets try Paring On Down. Here are some ways to do it.

  1. Slim down your calendar. See what you’re doing that can be eliminated. Do you want to attend another association lunch? If not, cancel it. If you have ten telephone meetings, maybe half can be done by email.
  2. Spend less time on Social Media. If you are on Facebook on Twitter, decide to allot certain hours each day to them. Maybe after work for an hour, or before work, but not checking them all day long.
  3. Develop a strategy to receive fewer emails. I unsubscribe to newsletters, promotions and LinkedIn groups each week. Figure out a way to delete emails from all your electronic devices.
  4. Don’t use texting like email. Texting, for me, is almost an immediate response mechanism for a timely meeting. I feel compelled to answer texts, and they draw my attention away from work.

I figure if you take the Challenge with me, we might free up a few hours a day. Imagine what we can do with that time. I can finish the book I’m writing. I can clean out my closet. Take the art course I’ve been considering, and probably write more blog posts here and on Forbes.com.

What will you do with the extra time? Please let me know and comment below. We can do this together. We’ll be the POD People.

 

 

How to get business in this economy(and cheer yourself up)

How to get business in this economy(and cheer yourself up)

CheerUp

This was the topic of my speech at the FDMA last week.

When AJ Morales called and asked if I’d speak—I said “No”!

Why? Because, every time I do we get every supplier in our area calling for business. We’re a small group, and spending that time and preparing the speech—usually makes new friends for my agency and that’s good—but it eats up a lot of time.

AJ Morales called back a few weeks later and said I’d help members if I taught them the right way to engage people and get business.

So I relented and did!

Then he changed the venue from the Westin hotel to Johnson & Wales University. I told him attendance would drop like a rock (because people including me)—don’t know where it is.

He said 80 people would show up or he’d eat his hat. I told him I’d bring the hat. Here’s AJ eating his new Yankees hat.

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And the group was great! The bonus was there were many students from the University who are taking the Direct Marketing course there. The great professor,
Mr. Mark Neckes is shown here with me.

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Hope his students intern with us this summer!

This was my leave-behind from the speech,
the ten steps to getting new business:

10steps-FDMA

Twitter Shmitter…does it help my business?

Twitter Shmitter…does it help my business?

A while ago “Second Life” was a big deal, and everyone was talking about the virtual world and how it would change everything. It didn’t. Now, we are all excited about Twitter. I’ve become addicted to it.

I have HootSuite, and Twitter my comments on a timely basis, and answer everyone…and maybe it is doing something for my agency…but I’m not sure yet. I spent a lot of time on it over the weekend, and then looked at my results.

twitterbird

It was amazing for me to see that the one tweet that got the highest response was one I wrote about direct mail, sending people to Michael McCormick’s blog, http://gutsofaburglar.com

The funny thing about that is …our agency still gets most of our new business from targeted direct mail programs.  We weave a great story into a letter, include an offer and a time limit…and Voila! People call us.

Of course, I know that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr will all eventually work for us too. It is just a matter of testing different strategies. The important thing is to build relationships and the best way to begin that is to work on a “knowledge level”,
understanding who your prospect is, and something about him/her. These social media sites help us that way, because when you read someone’s tweets …you get to know them better.

So, keep on Twittering, and Facebooking, and emailing…and always remember to continue to test the “tried and true” direct mail program. It will work even better now, because our mailboxes at home and at work…are really quite empty.

Meanwhile, visit me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/loisgeller

Business travelers put thrift on itinerary

Business travelers put thrift on itinerary

I was recently interviewed by Steve Garmhausen for Crain’s New York Small Business about ways to save on business travel.  I think the article came out great. Here’s the link… you might get helpful ideas for your own travel.