SOBCon09 Day 2, Session 4 with Geoff Livingston #SOBCon

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I’m at SOBCon09 in Chicago with @lizstrauss and @starbucker. I’m taking notes as people talk, so there will be typos; deal with it. I totally checked out for session 3 on e-commerce. I heard that the tension in the room was palpable. Best to check out the Twitter stream for #SOBCon for the dirt. Anyway, this session is on integrating online and offline customer outreach, with Geoff Livingston (@geoffliving).

Integrating social media into the larger communications mix. Using any type of communication to achieve our target result; it just comes down to which set of tools we’re going to use. SM is great for getting people to talk, but not great for getting people to do anything else unless you have a really great integrated campaign. Does a shiny object necessarily help us achieve a result? A lot of people are suffering from shiny object syndrome.

But social media can’t stand alone. Most people handle marketing in silos. 1.0 website, check. Ads, check. Press releases / PR, check. Social media, check. Blog, check. You need to get companies to adapt to both the cultural and linguistic change that goes with integrating marketing. Silos are industrial-era corporate structures. We’re not there anymore. Single-track silos don’t conform to the way people consume media. They are absorbing communications and messaging sent to us left and right all over the place and SM just happens to be one form of that.

We want to engage stakeholders, we want to do it for free, and then we want to get them to do something. We need a call to action. Calls to action get people to have a relationship with you.

Outbound = Identity, sales opportunities, loyalty

  • Emails
  • Webinars
  • Events
  • White papers
  • Offers
  • AdsPobalist ativities

Inbound = Socialprise

  • More information
  • Participation invites
  • Feedback loops
  • Harneess group intel, activity (PM)
  • User-generated content

Social media is just about communicating with people. It doesn’t have to be sales and marketing. You can use it to create a give mindset rather than just a single-track silo. At least add the social URLs to your old-school marketing materials.

New-School Examples

  • Twestival
  • Copyblogger’s simple blog design – affiliate sales, content marketing, e-mail and RSS sign-up
  • LOLCatz – busy but delivering with lots of calls to action, ugly but it works
  • B2B Example – AccountingWeb.com

See the slide presentation here.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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SOBCon09 Day 2, Session 2 With Kali Evans-Raoul #SOBCon

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I’m at SOBCon09 in Chicago with @lizstrauss and @starbucker. I’m taking notes as people talk, so there will be typos; deal with it. Kali Evans-Raoul on being seen, heard, and understood.

Eighty percent of our success is attributable to presence and exposure, because we are programmed to think that what we see is what we get. Performance will keep you in the game, but it doesn’t make you win. What separates the winners from the players is the speed of information transfer. People buy the messenger first, the message second, and the product third.

The consultant dilemma is that you do the work and people are buying you. But what happens when you need to grow and scale and you are no longer doing all the work. Who are you? What is your brand? What is the essence of you? Identify 3-5 attributes that capture the essence of you and your brand, whether yourself or your business. Liz’s are authentic, creative, irresistible, loving, and one more I can’t remember. Sorry!

How do you make sure you look, sound, and behave in line with your attributes? Living the brand is the challenge. Ideally, your personal brand and your professional or company brand should have some overlap. If they’re dramatically different, the business needs to change. Unless you are a spy, it does you no good to walk into a room and go unnoticed. It’s better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you’re not. But the real tragedy is to not give people the choice of whether to love or hate by not being your true self.

The purpose of the attributes is to define core values. Everything else is the manifestation of those values. Without the articulation of the core values, it’s nearly impossible to know what direction to go in. Be aware when you’re blocking yourself. We’re afraid of playing big. If I really looked like and sounded like and acted like I say I am online, it’s the “Holy sh**” factor. What would happen if I were out there actually being who I say I am online?

“Impostor syndrome” is normal and how we grow. It’s how you let the world grow you.

TIPS

  • Have a firm handshake – Don’t be wishy-washy, don’t hurt them, don’t linger too long.
  • Biz card etiquette – If you want to stay in touch, ask for THEIR card. Don’t give them yours unless they ask for it.
  • Edit your phone email signature – Let people know that you’re sending e-mails from your phone like “Sent from my handheld; please forgive brevity and potential typos.”
  • Have an enrolling 10-second elevator pitch.
  • Get a steamer because it’s easier than ironing.
  • Love your outbound voicemail greeting.
  • Make sure your personal and professional space articulate your brand values.

When you’re not using the physical you when you’re out in the world, you cannot count the loss of that.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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SOBCon09 Day 2, Session 1 Q&A Panel #SOBCon

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I’m at SOBCon09 in Chicago with @lizstrauss and @starbucker. I’m taking notes as people talk, so there will be typos; deal with it. First on Saturday, discussion panel. But I’m tired and it’s hard to keep keep track of who’s talking, so I kind of gave up about 10 minutes in. But basically, this was the gist of it. Honest.

Chris Garrett — Uber ProBlogger / author

Lucretia Pruitt – Social Media Strategist

Jason Falls — Social Media Explorer

Zena Weist — Brand Strategist

The better you are at the traditional stuff, you can translate it over to this othrer medium but you still have to do this traditional stuff. There’s a lot more behind this than just doing it, than just learning the lingo. You still have to get the business part of it right.

Social Media’s Value Targets

  • Keep my faith in humanity
  • Make me laugh (or sing)
  • Inform me
  • Teach me
  • Inspire and challenge me
  • Sell me

Most people should start more or less from the outside and work their way in.

Jason: Your central goal should be whatever your organization is trying to accomplish. “I don’t think Twitter is a marketing platform. I don’t think people should market on Twitter.”

Lucretia: Twitter can’t be a primary marketing tool, but if you’re building a long-term relationship with someone, there’s the repeat sale. It’s soft-skill marketing.

Chris: It’s marketing in a wider sense, of market creation. It’s not a direct sales tool. It’s a really good free focus group; people give ou opinions whether you ask for it or not.

Zena: It’s customer service, product research, continuing to build on that relationship. It’s more of a covnersation.

Jason: Conversational marketing is really what social media is. It’s a fantastic customer service platform.

Chris: Social media adds to the funnel you already have. “I have to pay a mortgage. I have to feed my kid.” Social media is addictive, fun, and chatty, but it does not replace good business.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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SOBCon09 Session 5, With Terry Starbucker and Jeff Willinger

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I’m at SOBCon09 in Chicago with @lizstrauss and @starbucker. I’m taking notes as people talk, so there will be typos; deal with it. Now I’m checking out Terry Starbucker (@starbucker) and Jeff Willinger (Right Point Consulting), who are helping us out with the back end of online businesses. Administration, bookkeeping, general business knowhow. Finally — the balance between the creative side and the back office side.

Too many businesses fail because the best idea people are not good on the back end. If you can afford to hire an accountant, hire one. If you can afford to hire a lawyer, hire one. There’s more to it than just the creative side and the product; you have to have those other bases covered.

“I love rollercoasters, but I don’t want to be on one as a business owner.” – Jeff Willinger.

“At the end of the day, if you can get those P’s and Q’s together, you’ll find that you will have time.” – Terry Starbucker. You have to keep records. You have to keep books. Even just the simple thing of having a bank account. Do you have one? You can’t be so focused on the thing itself that you don’t think about the other stuff that HAS to be right to the point that the top side won’t matter if you don’t do it.

QuickBooks Pro actually changed Jeff’s life. So did TweetDeck. He goes to a lot of networking events, but thinks that if you use TweetDeck and social media in general properly, it’s scary how much business you can get. A Twitter conversation can lead to an old-fashioned e-mail, which leads to an even older-fashioned phone conversation. His thing is SharePoint, so he tracks SP conversations using Twitter Search via TD and starts conversations.”You have to comb it; you have to be religious about it.” Be a hunter.

This stuff is all about discipline.

“In life, you go for the lowest-hanging fruit. What is the easiest thing for me to do, and go for that. Two things: It’s gotta be fun, and it’s gotta add to the W2 at the end of the year.” – Jeff

“If you don’t know what’s in your bank account to the penny at least every other day, you’re not managing your business very well.” – Terry

Put together a budget: projected revenues versus projected expenses. What do you have to bring in? Most people are focused on the revenue, but on the other hand, you have to sit down and really honestly take a look and ask what this is really going to cost you.

In the startups, it’s the classic thing. These conceptual people get things going and it gets wildly out of control, and they have to bring in “the business people” to be the CEO and make it sustainable. Learn from othe rpeople’s experiences and mistakes. There are a lot of books and ohter materials out there. You can’t learn enough about the ins and outs of running a business. Especially if you’re a creative business person, know what you’re getting into and protect what you’re creating as voraciously as you possibly can.

Advice from the audience: Keep a list of everything you do. Anything you don’t absolutely love, outsource it.

Business plans have become something of a cliche, but they really do help. And they’re a necessity if you want to raise funds for your business. What is your product, who’s your audience, what assets you’ll need, and what kind of deficit you’ll run. For Jeff, it was like a new level of clarity for him when he wrote his business plan.

Audience question: How do you quantify the time you spend THINKING about things? Audience answer: Take your billable hours. Find a percentage. Tack it on automatically to cover your thinking-in-the-shower-or-while-driving time that you may not necessarily have dedicated to that client officially. It will help you go from losing money to being profitable because so many people forget about that gap and don’t compensate them for their admin or creative thinking time.

Sometimes you just need some kind of assistant. Not all of us can be that organized or stay on task or stay on schedule. Identify your weak point, and just be honest with yourself. Whatever you put off, that’s what you should outsource. Admit what you hate to do, and find someone who LOVES to do it.

Consultancies are so tough because it’s hard to value your time. How many clients is enough? How many clients is too many? How much is your time worth? The problem is when the quality of your work and your product declines because you say yes too much. When that client calls and you don’t get back to them for 24 hours because you’re putting out so many other fires, man, you’re burning some bridges there.

Don’t go too low. Don’t cheapen yourself. Your fee is your fee. Preparing an ROI for the client will make a big difference, and you need to know how to speak the client’s language. Part of discipline is doing exhaustive research on your clients and your potential clients.(Jeff recommends Jigsaw.) Be where people will value you, and be confident about what you have.

It all comes back down to discipline and preparation. Good advice: Time up front is time saved in the end.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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SOBCon09 Session 4, With Stephen Smith and Brad Shorr #SOBCon

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I’m at SOBCon09 in Chicago with @lizstrauss and @starbucker. I’m taking notes as people talk, so there will be typos; deal with it. Now I’m checking out Stephen Smith (@hdbbstephen) and Brad Shorr (@bradshorr), who are giving us some tips on Writing for the Web Inside and Out: Tips and Tactics for your Readers and for Search Engines. Woohoo!

There are two types of web readers: human readers and search engines. Appeal to the people who want to buy your stuff while also helping your content to rank higher in search results.

Keywords and key phrases are not the same thing. Think general search terms versus specific groups of words. Not sure? Check out the competition. Pull up their page source and check out their metatags. Do detailed and regular keyword research. Also, use Google Analytics or another tracking program to see how people are finding your site. And see what things people are talking about or asking you in comments and e-mail, because those may yield excellent search terms. Misspelled words are good examples as well. (My favorite tool to see where I currently rank for my target keywords is at SitemapDoc.)

Use title tags. Make sure that your page titles incorporate your main keywords or key phrases. Don’t forget about metadescriptions, either. That’s the chunk of text that shows up beneath the page title in search results. If you’re good at Twitter, a metadescription should be no problem. It’s the mini sales pitch for that page. Include a key benefit or a key point of resistance to make that link stand out to the person doing the search. A lot of people blow this off, so if you take the time to write a good one, it will make your link stand out and you’ll get more people coming to your site.

Every post should have only one category. (Did you hear that, people? ONE CATEGORY.) Categories are really broad. Tags are where you get super specific. Stephen recommends tag clouds because they appeal to readers and draw them in effectively.

Make your webpage easy on the eye so you can draw your readers in. People look at pages in a F-shaped pattern: across the page left to right, then down and left to right again but not as far, and then straight down. Place your content in ways that support an F-shaped reading pattern. What’s good for human readers is good for search engines, too. Put your key words or phrases in bold text to make them stand out to readers and show engines that they’re more important.

Lists are useful because they’re user friendly and memorable, and they’re also great for breaking up text. Narrative posts have their place but don’t get crazy with paragraph length. Keep columns narrow, too, for easier on-screen reading.

Internal links help both readers and search engines by pulling both of them deeper into your site and keeping them there. It raises the authority of your whole site if you use your key phrases as your anchor text to your internal links. If you’re on WordPress, use the Related Posts Plugin. That internal linking is really key to blowing away your competition.

Ideal paragraph length is 3-7 lines, and ideal page length is about 300 words because it gives the reader a worthwhile reason to visit the page without overwhelming him or taking up too much time. Structurewise, use paragraph headings with title tags. Do NOT, however, use H1 tags in your post content because you will be penalized by search engines. Stephen recommends H3 as standard paragraph headings.

When using photos, RENAME THEM DESCRIPTIVELY with search-friendly titles and alt tags. The title is keyword or key phrase text. The alt is a descriptor for the image itself.

(Great general overview of blogging dos and don’ts.)

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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SOBCon09 Session 3, With David Bullock #SOBCon

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I’m at SOBCon09 in Chicago with @lizstrauss and @starbucker. I’m taking notes as people talk, so there will be typos; deal with it. Now up is @davidbullock who elicited a marriage proposal from me last year because he was so unbelievably awesome (never mind that we’re both married). I am also tweeting throughout sessions, so make sure you follow me so you don’t miss anything.

This is about how to make money online using your blog and everything else you have at your disposal. If you’re not using this stuff to make money, it’s a moot point. Remember what we talked about last year: Strategy, Tactics, Action, Results, Testing/Tracking – START.

Last year, David Bullock wondered why he was here. Then, he worked with an old friend to create Barack 2.0 as a case study and demonstrated that you can translate rising stories and trends into successful models using blogs and information products to create income streams. His goal was to create a business model that was sustainable for the next 20 years.

When he tracked Barack Obama’s use of social media during the presidential campaign, he was nothing more than a citizen journalist. That is something all of us can do. It cost $154 for the whole year. They started with a blog post. Then a webinar. Then a podcast. Plus tags and comments. He turned a 17-post blog, transcribed blog posts, and created a 134-page book. We can all do that in any given industry in any given time.

“Now, this is where it gets interesting.” (I love this guy.) “We reported on something that was a rising story in the marketplace. You all have that available to you at this time right now.” The question is are you going to become the expert or look at the stories go by you like a tickertape. You all saw Barack Obama using social media. You watched him do it, and what did you DO with that? Nothing. We captured it and turned it into something. And some amazing thing started happening. Links from Fast Company, LA Times. Interviews with Black Enterprise.

This is about making money. They put their book on Lulu.com. So he added, “If you want to interactive online addendum, you will give me your e-mail address.” Lulu wasn’t giving him people’s names because they don’t track this stuff for authors. He used the PDF as an extra for the $39.95 book. At 200 books sold, 75 people had registered for the PDF. He had to learn about ecommerce, got 1ShoppingCart.

Radio, television, links, news coverage — it’s all happening simply because he documented something that was happening that all of us had access to. We’ve got it through newspapers, Twitter, CNN’s iReport… There is money to be made in trends. Find out what people are talking about and turn it into income.

The Two Lessons

1 – If you say you’re going to do something, do it.

2 – If you’re going to do something, make sure it makes sense.

The key is to write interesting content that people are interested in. The blog was the platform that created the book which is the platform for the consulting he wants to do. If you take the get-it-done, pragmatic, get-it-done-because-tomorrow-I-must-eat to the people who have to spend money because of their corporate budget, it’s a match made in heaven. Those two worlds don’t coexist typically. The person who can bridge the gap between those two worlds, who stands in that gap, that person has a lot of money to make. When you bring to the table real, hands-on experience, all of the sudden there’s a different respect.

Enter a market by making a product, and maintain control of all your intellectual property. It’s all positioning, storytelling, and getting the thing right. Once you control something that people want, then you have latitude in the marketplace.

This is the big takeaway: “I did this, these are the numbers.”

(We ran out of time way too early… Pout, pout, pout.)

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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