Archive for social media
Last blog we talked about building your bottom-line by focusing on new business. Today I wanted to talk about the best, no, actually that should be the only, way to do that. Using the WIIFM principle.
For those as yet uninitiated, the basis of the WIIFM principle acronym is what’s in it for me. But rather than looking at something from your own perspective – look through the eyes of your customer’s. So how do you do that? Here are seven tips that will help you get very clear on what your customer’s WIIFM is.
1. Who does your business talk to?
Take a hard look at how you present organisation/product/service. Who does it really talk to – them or you?
Look at your touchpoints (presentations, brochures, website) – through the eyes of your customer. How many times do you use the word you and your vs the number of times you use I, we, our, my, etc. How does your receptionist greet your customers when they call or visit. Look t. Make sure the whole experience focusses on your customers’ needs – not yours.
2. Ask “So what?”
For every claim you make about your product/service (fast, cost-efficient, one of a kind) ask yourself “So what? Why is that important to my customer?”
3. Use emotions!!
Paint pictures using those emotions. Don’t kid yourself that B2B buyers don’t buy on emotion. They do – it’s just a different kind of emotion. They want to succeed, have a bigger staff, be the one who saved the company all that money, gets that promotion, or just has less stress or more time with their family, boat, doing the things they love, rather than stuffing around over a piece of equipment, technology, staff member who’s not performing as promised.
4. Use a 2nd set of eyes
Have someone not connected with your business (or industry) tell you what your product or service delivers and why that’s important to your customer. This is where external consultants can really help – but only if they really understand the WIIFM principle across all (and not all do).
5. Test drive your WIIFM message first
Once you know what you really deliver to your customers – try it on a couple of your best customers. Ask their thoughts and really listen – people love giving their opinion and they’ll love you even more for asking.
6. Have one message
Once you’re clear on your WIIFM message, use the same words and emotions in your brochures, sales calls, website, etc. Tailor it slightly for each customer – not everyone will have a boat (or a family). Find out what’s important to them and refer back to it from time to time.
7. Put your customer at the centre of all you do – central to the WIIFM principle
When you write or produce anything or plan or deliver a presentation, pitch or sales call, make sure your customer is at the heart of it – every time. All you really need to do is think about why your customer is talking to you, reading your materials or visiting your site. What are they hoping is in it for them?
And there you have it.
If we can help you better integrate WIIFM principles into your business, we’d be delighted to help.
My blogs have been a little few and far between recently because, well, I’ve been busy – writing other people’s blogs. And that’s made me a little blogged out. But that’s really no excuse.
Today I’m leading a workshop where I’m preaching the business benefits of regular blog writing. D’oh! And I’m writing this so that I can claim a fresh blog – talk about leaving it to the last minute. But really, my lack of regular blogging – is the marketing equivalent of ‘plumber’s drip’.
According to Hubspot, 57% of businesses that blog report that it’s responsible for new business. Anyone who has a blog, knows it drives both their position on google and traffic to their website. Yes, blogging is a great tool to add to your business’ marketing arsenal.
And so back to my recent lack lustre performance. What could I have done – nay, what will I do from this point forward, to ensure a more regular contribution to my community?
4 tips to ensure blogging success
- Set aside a regular hour once a week or fortnight to write. And do nothing for that hour except write until I’m done – then I can start polishing. Don’t polish as you go, it wastes lots of time and nothing’s ever perfect on the first draft – yes, really – even for those of us who write for a living.
- Schedule the time in your diary – with reminders – so that you can’t inadvertently do book yourself something else to do.
- Use my favourite writing tool Write or die (see note) - which pushes you to keep writing under pain of death – well not death exactly, but nasty consequences just the same. And no, editing your work doesn’t count. Set your time and your word limit that you’re trying to achieve (a good blog is around 500+ words, but not a book please) and go until you’re done. No thinking, just writing. Try it, you’ll soon learn how it works. Polish after.
- Keep my list of blogging topics near by at all times for frequent updates. Once you get your head into thinking you’re going to engage in blog writing, you’ll be inundated with ideas for the next one. Your task is to keep track of all of them somewhere useful and easily found, so that when it’s that time to write you have a huge source of ideas. actually I keep mine on the notes section of my ipad for handy reference – I just haven’t looked at them for a couple of weeks – hence the delay in getting to this blog.
- Publicly commit to how often you’re going to do it. Tell someone how often you’re committing to blog. Then have that person be your ‘slient’ partner in crime so that you can let them know you’ve lived up to your commitment to yourself. Their job isn’t to make you feel guilty, it’s just to be there silently in the background. You can send them a simple SMS, Facebook message or email with the word “done”, when you’ve finished. Try it, it works.
So there you are, I’m now publicly committing to writing my own blog posts at least weekly for the next 2 months. Blogging really is a great tool, when used properly. So go ahead, get started – be you on the page. If you’re not sure what to write, you might want to read one of my previous blogs on blogging. Or sign up on the site to my up coming blog idea of the day (drop me a note or sign-up on the right of the screen).
If you want me to be your silent blogging partner, I’d be more than happy to oblige.
Write or die note: if you set it for kamikaze and stop typing, it will delete words. So maybe until you get used to using it, try one of the more forgiving settings!!
Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She loves creating content and campaigns that drive engagement (using WIIFM) and capturing customers for her clients. She can be found hanging out in social media-land – for her clients’ benefit of course when she’s not working on client campaigns, strategy or writing them content. You can follow her @glitteratichic or connect on LinkedIn. If you’re not on social media and still want to connect - she’s happy to talk marketing and business boosting over coffee.
- Tell me & I’ll forget (or worse lose interest or disengage completely)
- Show me & I might remember (but I’m highly likely to get lost me along the way)
- Involve me & I’ll be inspired (then I can inspire others & help make real change happen)
So often we hear people talking about the importance of engagement either of their community or their employees. Yet, so often the programs that are put in place are strictly one-way communication. Someone stands up in a room of people and presents at them. Or there’s an email, newsletter or an event – essentially telling you what will be happening to you. Sometimes there’s even a survey as box ticker.
Management think their job is done until the next time and everyone goes on their merry way patting themselves on the back for doing a good job. Any wonder current research shows physical communities and employees are at their most disengaged ever. Some organisations think social media is the way to engage. Don’t get me wrong, it can be – but only when it’s done well and most organisations don’t engage very well at all. They want to talk at their community rather than engage with it.
I’ve seen this happen rather a lot, particularly in government both with staff and more disturbingly the communities they were elected by. Lots of money was spent on surveys and roadshows, only to tell the communities how it would be, which by the way had been decided long before the surveys were ever undertaken. Why bother you might ask? Well in one particular case, the federal government offered funding for it, so the dollars were there to be spent and they were. Yep, your tax dollars were working hard that day. And it ‘looked’ proactive.
However, if you dared disagreed with the direction the ‘men in the know’ had chosen for you, you were shot down and discredited, often publicly as someone who knew nothing. I’ve heard similar sentiments about the heads of chambers of commerce, patient advocate groups and staff members.
The recent Goldman Sachs’ ‘muppet’ debacle got me thinking that it’s not just the investment community that are guilty of this name calling although the descriptive terms of those served might be different.
So how can we move away from treating communities with distain and really get them to engage?
- If you’re conducting any kind of engagement campaign, seek first to understand. That means first start by listening – really listening. Don’t tell, don’t show, just listen.
- If you’re asking questions, sure test your hypotheses, but don’t go out with your mind already made up or your plan already formulated. That just engenders contempt for you and your organisation when it’s clear later that you were just using people to tick boxes along the way. Be prepared to change your plan based on the information you’ve gained
- If you serve any kind of community at all, ask them how they’d like to be involved in whatever the plan is. Make it their plan. Ask for their help – and really allow them to contribute. Help them get their plan off the ground. Make it all about them. Sure it might take longer, but it will work better and best of all, they’ll love you for it.
- Have your communications team heavily involved in the process. Their main skill set is engagement and they should understand how to get the best from stakeholder groups as well as any discussion materials you create (surveys included). I’ve seen surveys created by non-comms people come back with odd answers because the questions weren’t asked correctly and people didn’t understand what they were really being asked. Most importantly they’ve got the skills to keep whatever campaign you start going and that’s where you and your organisation will get the most return.
Now if we could just get those old govt and corporate dogs refusing to learn new tricks to realise that the days of command and control are long gone (except in the defence forces where it actually can save lives).
Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She can be found hanging out in social media land – for her clients’ benefit of course when she’s not working on client programs, strategy or writing them content. You can follow her @glitteratichic or click on the LinkedIn icon on the right handside to connect there. If you’re not on social media and still want to connect - she’s happy to talk marketing and business boosting over coffee.
In a world of immediacy, there is nothing like social media. But let’s be clear here, as much as I might love using it as one of the tools to build my business and that of some of my clients, it is just a tool or a channel. And just one of many at that.
Social media is very far from being ‘the answer’ to every business’ marketing or customer acquisition problem.
I would even go so far as to say, if anyone tells you social media is ‘the’ way to go - RUN! Why? Because there is no ‘the’ tool, channel or answer when it comes to marketing.
To say one way is the best way is incredibily limiting at best and potentially dangerous advice at worst.
Every businesses needs the right tools and unless you know your market (ie: your customer) intimately and the channels they consume (ie: media/mediums) are not completely fragmented like most are, you’re going to need a host of ways to connect with your customers across several touch points.
You might consider the following marketing touch points in your campaign (not in any particular order and the list isn’t exhaustive);
- Direct marketing
- Email marketing
- Events & expos
- In-situ, instore, on-pack or on-shelf promotions
- Actual sales calls (yep, remember those)
- Phone calls
- A smile from your receptionist & a reception area that’s not dark, dank or reminiscent of an ’80s gentlemen’s club
- Media/analyst/stakeholder relations
- Thank you cards
- Branded items like umbrellas, squooshy toys, etc even yacht sail branding if you can make a business case for it
- Training or speaking programs
- Advertising (TV, radio, outdoor, location- based , online)
- Your website (and on others via links, comments and
- Brochures, flyers or any other printed materials
- Sampling programs
- and social media
What’s most important for marketing success is that you understand who your customer is, what they’re really after – ie – what’s in it (ie: your product or service) for them (WIIFM) and reaching them where the are.
There’s an old saying “fish where the fish are” – true then, true now. There’s no point being on social media if none of your clients (or potential clients) are there. Of course there are many, many people jumping on the social media bandwagon, but if it’s not a key audience for your business, put your energy into something that’s going to build your business. Start with the list above and go from there.
In terms of finding out how to reach those customers? Ask! Especially if your business has been operating for a while, ask your customers where they hang out.
Recently, as part of a rebranding exercise for an accounting firm, we asked their clients if they used social media and what platforms they used. Now, given these clients were business owners, I would have sworn blind that they would all have been on linkedin. But no, they’re all on FaceBook. So that’s where the client set up camp (in addition to a range of other marketing activities) - and their ‘friends’ came to play. Go figure – actually, the partners run an amazing business and their core brand value (as told to us by their customers in research) is friendliness – so being ‘friended’ on FB suits them perfectly. (Just as an aside, they also ranked very highly on professional advice too).
What it really comes down to, is find what works, for your customers, your business and your budget and do that. Map it, measure it and make it better each time. If we can help, we’d love to talk to you.
Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She can be found hanging out in social media land – for her clients’ benefit of course. You can follow her @glitteratichic or click on the LinkedIn icon on the right handside to connect there. If you’re not on social media and still want to connect - she’s happy to talk marketing and business boosting over coffee.
Why are you doing it?
Before you start writing, figure out what you’re doing it for. Is it for marketing purposes? Do you want to prove your business smarts and connect with potential clients? Maybe, you’re just a little crazy and want to do it for fun. Or perhaps, you want to change careers to a hobby you’re passionate about - mine’s marketing, social media and training (sad, I know, but I’m passionate about it nevertheless).
Next think about the audience you’re trying to attract – what do you think they’ll be interested in reading about? What are the hot topics of the day, week, month?
Then start blogging – yes, right now.
- Head to www.wordpress.org (my preference, but there a lot of others).
- Pick a design free theme – don’t waste too much time at this point – go with something simple (you can always pretty it up later).
- Pick a topic and write 500 or so words.
- Be interesting, have something useful to say, even be provocative.
- Pay attention to your key word tags. Make sure you tag all your posts to your key words
- Spell check – particularly if this is for business or career change purposes. People will think more highly of you if you get the basics right.
- Add the occasional pic (people like the visual stimlation of a good pic or video or poll for that matter)
- Make sure that you publicise your posts on twitter, linkedin and facebook and anywhere else you use. There are plug ins that you can use that will automate that process, but if you’re new – just start with the writing and use social media the ’old fashioned’ way.
If you’re in the writing mood, write a couple of posts and schedule them to be published over a couple of weeks. I usually suggest to clients that they start slow – as their readership will be low and there’s no point wasting good content. But if you’ve already got a good following on social media – you’ll have traffic from the first post. So write away.
The key thing with a blog is consistency. Write one, write another and write one every week or so. Anyone who writes for a living will tell you, it’s 1% inspiration and 99% just getting it done.
9. Keep a list of the random ideas you’ll have (I promise) about great things to write about. It makes sitting down to write so much easier than having to think of your topic AND write at the same time.
Before long, you’ll have generated a raft of great content.
10. Once you’ve got a good body of work, go back and see if you can create links between the pieces – google likes that.
11. Finally, make sure you’ve filled in your ‘about’ page, so people can learn more about you and include some kind of contact details too (just in case that new business, new dream job or hollywood to knock on your door).
Of course, if it all gets too hard, you can outsource.
Happy blogging. My thanks to Drew Barrett who inspired this post with his LinkedIn question.
Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She can be found hanging out in social media land – for her clients’ benefit of course. You can follow her @glitteratichic or click on the LinkedIn icon on the right handside to connect there.
Two nights ago I had the great priviledge of being invited to speak to a bunch of small business owners in Sydney about building a better social media presence for their businesses. Rather than being all theory, we dissected the better things each of them could do on their pages and profiles to encourage people to connect – after all, it’s called social media for a reason and social = building a connection.
But this post isn’t about social media per se. Rather last night got me thinking about what constitutes a good presentation. One that people engage in as opposed to sitting there bored to tears (we’ve all been there!). So here are some of the rules that I play by when doing a preso whether that’s to a single business prospect, in a formal business pitch or to a room full of people.
- Understand what your audience is expecting. Are they expecting information, how-tos, pricing, practice? Deliver that and add some value just for good measure.
- Make it all about them. Even if it’s a pitch, it’s still all about them. That means starting with their problem (or if you don’t know their exact problem, start with common problems). From there you can talk about how you’d go about fixing it if you were them. Talk about research, your own or industry research – that’s how you prove your smarts. If you start with you, what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, some case studies, how smart you are, etc – you’ve pretty well bored them right up front (and you’ve got fidget central).
- Ask them questions. And be quiet. Let them know that this is a conversation, not a speech and you expect them to come along for the ride and participate.
- Use the names of those in the room. If you’ve got lots of people in the room for an event, talk to a few people beforehand, remember a handful of names and talk to those people and about their industries).
- Ignore powerpoint if you can. And if you must use it,
- Please DON’T READ off the screen. People in your audience can do that for themselves (and they’re done before you’re even half way through – more fidgeting).
- If you’re using powerpoint or keynote or whatever technology – have pictures up and talk to those. Pictures say 1000 words
- Don’t be tempted to put up more than 6 lines of text And shrinking your text to less than a font size of 28 to squish it all in isn’t on either. 4-6 words a line is ample
- If you must use words, use them as punctuation
And above all, have fun. People engage more with the people they can see are enjoying themselves and are clearly engaged by what they’re doing.
Kristin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She can be found hanging out in social media land – for her clients’ benefit of course. You can follow her @glitteratichic or click on the LinkedIn icon on the right handside to connect there.
Just came across a very intriguing marketing campaign – a blogging competition called Vitamin ME for Queensland Tourism – where they asked people to lazily dream about what they’d do with a prize of $5000 to spend on a Queensland holiday – because after all Vitamin ME is one of those essential vitamins for human health (especially those of us that run businesses and have families).
So why is it intriguing as a marketing campaign? Because time and again, research into marketing techniques tells us that if you can get people to imagine themselves using your product (preferably with a smile on their face), you’ve installed a mini-memory in their brains – with as much WIIFM or what’s in it for me, as their brain can imagine.
Yes, a mini-memory (okay that’s my term – but it’s spot on). The mini-memory acts as a positive brand experience and means the next time I think about going on holidays, somewhere warm, my brain is likely to pull said ‘memory’ from the recesses of my brain and suggest that in fact, I liked it (ie: the thought of it) so much last time, I should go again (this time for real). Clever, huh!! It’s even more clever that they make you write it down (further strengthening the memory) and post it for the world to see – the joys of getting friends of friends to feel an emotional connection to for your product/service.
You can use this concept in your marketing too. It would work equally well as an email campaign, facebook, video, etc.
As for me – hmmmm. Dreaming about $5,000 holiday in Queensland ….
Warm breeze, lapping ocean, clinking of icecube melting slowly in my MaiTai – I look up to watch the birds play in the sky from my perch under the shade of a whispering palm tree, swaying gently in said breeze. I listen more closely…nope, no kids – seriously, I’m in heaven – actually on a far northern Queensland island just for couples.
Work – care factor of nill – wow did I really think that? There must be something in the water here – yes, it’s Vitamin ME – the little piece of me, that lying here without a care in the world, is giving back to myself.
Who would I take – my husband of course. He’d be thrilled to have me all to himself for a couple of days with no expense spared – just the two of us . Well, make that the three of us…now you’re wondering aren’t you…the massuer at the bottom of my deckchair who’s giving me the most wonderful foot rub. Ahhhhhhh blisss (now have drool all over the computer). Ooops but I digress – there are no phone/iPad/laptops in this memory.
All I have to do (listen to me – have to do – bah!), is relax, swim, dive if I’m feeling adventurous, eat magnificent food, drink beautiful wine and smile indulgently at Sven at the bottom of my deckchair. Oh, and order another drink. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Must look into booking a holiday in Queensland – bring on the Vitamin ME.
See told you it was clever….
Thanks for the gorgeous shot © Karen Struthers | Dreamstime.com – http://www.dreamstime.com/looking-up-into-a-palm-tree-imagefree339436
There are a myriad of people out there offering their services as marketers, content writers, web designers, social media gurus, etc. How do you know who’s the real deal and who’s not? Here are 7 ways to tell.
- The first giveaway is they call themselves a guru – or it might be an expert or a rockstar, superstar or something similar that shows you they have no idea. Because if they did, they’d know their business isn’t all about them, it’s all about you (their customer). Real marketers know the value of WIIFM or ‘what’s in it for me?’ from their customers’ perspective.
- You can check them out on linked in. If they don’t have 10 years of experience doing what it is that you’re hiring them for – be alert, not alarmed and find someone else.
- If you’re hiring someone to do your marketing or PR or content or social media – they must have a website and a blog and some serious social media stuff going on, preferably with some good testimonials to go with. They can still be bad and have some of this stuff, but they’re not going to be great without it. You might also want to check how they treat their staffers. Happy staffers are productive staffers. And really, you don’t want some poor intern’s blood on your hands, um I mean, project.
- Check their level of real expertise – real expertise is rounded. People with solid experience haven’t only ever worked in the social media arena. Or video (unless they’re film-maker) or websites (unless they’re a developer – in which case good luck because true web developers are creatures unto themselves and aren’t very people friendly – big kisses to all webdevs). Good marketers have created integrated campaigns using all the tools available to them. Not just one or two. They understand the core concepts of marketing, not just the tools.
- You’re told social media (or insert whatever technology is currently sexy) is all you need. Nope – that’s rather like one of those diets where they only let you eat meat or one type of fruit for weeks on end. Marketing, just like bodies, functions a whole lot better when there’s a variety of opportunities to get what you need. If someone spins this to you, run – in the other direction.
- If the term strategy means ‘doing stuff’ and they reel off a long list of actions they’re going to take – it shows a serious lack of understanding around strategic thinking. A good marketer seeks first to understand and goes from there – not seeks to figure it out as they go along. A good marketer has a tried and trusted process they’ll lead you through.
- They fling designs and colours at you without explaining why they’ve chosen that colour or picture – as it relates to your business’ brand essence (sounds wanky, but there’s method in the madness).
I’m sure there are lots of other ways you can tell – feel free to share below. And if we can help with your marketing efforts, call us (after checking linkedin of course)
Now that social media is definitely not going away any time soon, all businesses (not just large consumer brands) must start to engage with it.
But before you become a statistic of social media failure you might want to think about the 8 business rules of social media.
- Engage – don’t just post stuff mindlessly, actually start and engage in conversations. Get to know your audience and build a relationship with them.
- Have a plan – understand who you’re talking to, what they’re interested in, when and how they engage, what they currently think of your business/brand and offer content that fits within those parameters. You can then create an editorial calendar of sorts (and that makes it much easier when you’re facing the blank white page on the computer screen).
- Ignore the plan at your own peril – a large well-known airline experience a campaign failure of epic proportions in 2011 when they thought it would be fun to run a cheap and cheerful twitter campaign (after grounding their entire fleet that left thousands of travellers in the lurch). Not unsurprisingly, anyone who was on twitter vented loudly and frequently and the vitriol spread like wildfire. In fact, it’s probably one of the most successful hashtags in twitter history. It just didn’t work the way the airline intended.
- Understand the expectations that go along with the technology. Think of social media as a business opportunity to provide some real time customer service. If someone complains something’s gone wrong, they expect that you’re going to get back to them reasonably quickly – today, preferably in the next few minutes – not next week or next month, when you remember to check your twitter feed. Likewise, if someone says something nice – be gracious. If you can’t engage daily, outsource your social media to someone who can.
- If things turn bad – as said airline found out – there is no off switch. There are ways to tame the wrath of an angry mob, but the response must be swift, heartfelt and come from the top (not the marketing juniors) – just like any other crisis management response.
- Use tools that will help you manage your social media so you don’t miss anything that’s critical to your success. Sure you can have stuff sent to your inbox, but if your inbox is anything like most business owners, that’s the last thing you need. Instead set up one of the myriad of tools like hootsuite, tweetdeck, tweetypop, that will help you manage your social media in one place.
- Be real. Don’t just put up stuff that just flogs your business wares. Likewise, don’t just burble on about ‘serious business stuff’. Be interesting and have a personality.
- Respond to people who engage with you. Social media is a conversation. If all you’re doing is babbling on about yourself, people will think you’re a bore. Take a breath, listen to someone else and then show them you’ve listened. On social media, just like everywhere else, people like people who are interested in them. And most importantly, they’re interested in their favourite question What’s in it for me?
Still not convinced about your business taking part in social media? You’ll want to watch this 4 minute video.
Once upon a time there was etiquette. With the advent of the internet came the new rules of netiquette. Now with social media exploding exponentially, the rules of social engagement are changing at almost the speed of light – so it can be a little hard to keep track of what the ‘new’ new rules are.
- Thou shalt engage – social media is no longer a passing fad. It’s safe to say that it’s here to stay at least for the next decade or so and therefore, if you’re serious about your business or career, you need to take part.
- Thou shalt provide interesting and meaningful content – tailored to your customers, your followers and your connections’ needs. Funny works well, but not too often lest you’re seen as class clown. Serious is good, but can be boring and pictures, well they’re still saying a thousand words, but video speaks volumes.
- Thou shalt be consistent – it’s no good just jumping on every six months
- Thou shalt be careful what thou posteth – especially on a Friday night after a few, but really the need to be a bit careful applies at any time. The rules of defamation still apply and whilst few transgressions are likely to lead you down the legal route, posting pics of yourself in precarious (or naked) situations or posting to twitter or facebook about the big haul of office stationery you’ve misappropriated is probably going to lead to negative outcome (if not tomorrow, once you post, it’s around on people’s caches for a loooooong time).
- Thou shalt not ignore thy other useful tools – thy phone (to actually talk to people) and ye feet (old technology previously used to walk towards others for face to face meetings, business deals, coffees, drinks, etc). Whilst social media provides wonderful and interesting technologies – as people begin to experience social media fatigue – the phone and face-to-face contact will count more than ever – particularly for B2B owners and their sales people).