Put YOUR Brand to Work for YOU in LinkedIn with a Company Page.

 Monday, November 21, 2011

LinkedIn recently announced their update to Company Pages that now helps companies and small businesses become more engaged on the network.  Having a Company page is a company’s profile of record on LinkedIn and is a powerful tool to speak to millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations with trusted testimonials. It is very similar to a LinkedIn Profile for a company.

If you’re already a LinkedIn Member, Company pages are a new great way to research companies you are interested in, follow what they have to say through their updates and shared information, and see what kind of people work there.  You can even review products and services you use on a Company Page.

Company Pages present a great opportunity to reveal the human side of your company by allowing others to peek at the individuals behind your brand and highlight how members use your products or services. A Company Page offers tools to bring your brand to life and truly engage your audience.

Until now, company pages existed in isolation.  Businesses are now able to update their individual company page to enable followers to receive updates and insights about company news, employee moves, job opportunities and much more.  This is a brand new opportunity to showcase your thought leadership and expand your business.

Want to post a company status update for your Company?  Any company page administrator can post a note in the status box on your company’s overview page.  Keep your followers thinking about your company by sharing updates, promotions, announcements, news articles or videos. Updates will appear on your followers’ home pages.  Followers can comment, like or share updates. This allows you to develop a unique conversation between your company and your followers. Best of all, these interactions can be seen by your followers’ networks exposing your company to a greater audience. You can also view the LinkedIn Metrics to see what followers found engaging to optimize the conversation.  Get your company conversation started today by setting up a company page on LinkedIn.

Brands can now have company pages, and users can 'follow' the company page for updates from those companies. The LinkedIn network has more of a business networking and career focus, and the way that users connect is much more formal.  Users in LinkedIn often have fewer, more intimate connections than they would on Facebook or Twitter. The content shared and discussions started to engage your audience are usually more industry and business-focused which makes LinkedIn a great source for B2B Marketing.

Want to find and follow your favorite Companies?  You can locate and find interesting companies in one of two ways:

  • From any Member’s LinkedIn Profile.
    You can click through to company pages from any LinkedIn Member’s profile. Just mouse-over any company on a LinkedIn profile page and on the resulting popup, click through to a company page or click the “Follow Company” link.  If a smaller company has not claimed their company page, you may not find them.

  • From the LinkedIn Header.
    One of the easiest ways to find a Company Page’s homepage is in the LinkedIn navigation bar at the top of any page. You can also search by using the search box in the box in the navigation bar for any company.

  • From the Company Page.
    If you’ve found a company page of interest that you like by searching for a specific company name or keyword, just click “Follow Company” to stay updated on that company.

Having the ability to follow companies helps you track developments at companies of interest to you, including job opportunities or other business developments.

Now that you know how to set up a Company Page and Search and Follow Other Company Pages, listed below are Tips to Engage your Audience Listeners.

Five tips to “turbo-charge” your LinkedIn company status updates:

1. Say “Hello” to Start a Relationship.

Introduce yourself first by describing who you are, why you and your business are here and don’t start off with the sales pitch. Truly engage your audience. Get to know your audience. For example, an IT services firm should tailor its messages differently to their tech-savvy followers than an audience of  marketing executives.

Remember - your followers are already interested in hearing what you have to say so be brief, authentic, honest and relevant.

3. Think Quality - Not Quantity.

Offer insightful news, tips and other relevant information about your industry or business. Engage your followers with what you have to say and build relationships. Don’t just blast yoru readers with sales pitches or promotional messages.

Develop friends first! If you build your LinkedIn Company Page based on relevant content, the business results will follow. A humorous, effective status update can go viral and expose you to a wider audience as your followers “like,” share, or comment on company-driven content with their own professional network of followers.

A great example is Dell’s update about rival HP that created lots of buzz recently.

2. Mix Up Your Content with Varying Your Status Updates.

Company Status Updates are posts made by a company to share anything from company news about product releases to promotions to relevant industry tips and articles. Company posts are visible on the company’s Overview tab by any LinkedIn member. Anyone who follows a company will see the posts directly on their homepage. All LinkedIn members are able to view posts, click on embedded links or view videos and are also able to comment, like, or share a post.

In one post, consider highlighting a new product release, share an article link to press coverage or industry news and in another post, highlight a new product release or a list of hot topics or hot jobs. Photos are great! Try posting a YouTube video, opinion pole or even an infographic - even better.

Here are some great examples of spicing up your content and engaging you readers:

The Harvard Business School Executive Education that posts video Q&As with faculty, online newsletters, podcasts, and other multimedia content to engage with users.

Intuit posts a weekly news video broadcast to keep their followers informed:

4. Participate in Conversations. 

Ask for feedback from your followers and find out what they want from your company. Start by asking questions and then watch how your followers respond and interact with other readers who are commenting.

Answer their questions timely and highlight insightful comments and show your followers that you’re actually listening to what they are saying.

5. Analyze Your Engagement Often.

How do you know if you’re doing well? Utilize the Free Analytics Tool in  LinkedIn and check the stats that appear on your posts within 24 hours after your status update goes live. This will allow you to see what types of information and links create the most comments, likes, and clicks. Use this data to understand who your followers are, refine your strategy and optimize the conversation.

Use your time wisely and effectively in your social media marketing efforts. Remember: just because a social network is "popular," doesn't make it necessarily right for your business or industry. Use analytics as your guideline for what steps to take next. Monitor the traffic and leads you're generating from your online presence on each individual social media site. Is the return on investment (ROI) significant enough based on the amount of time and effort you're spending there? Is one social networking site performing better for you than another? These are all important questions to adjust your strategy accordingly so you can focus more of your time on the social networks that work for you and your business, and less of your time on those that don't.

About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts

DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing .  She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies.  DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com  and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com.  Be sure to follow us!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

Maximizing LinkedIn to Build YOUR Business

 Monday, October 31, 2011

How many of you have asked yourself “I’m over 40 and I don’t understand this Social Media Stuff? Well, you are not alone as I have heard this statement so many times throughout my social media training workshops.

Try looking at social media as if a business cocktail reception party without restraints of time or space. Then ask yourself these questions before delving into Social Media without a strategic plan.

  1. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. Where do you want to go?
  3. Why do you want to go there?

Social engagement typically foals into three pillars

 Feedback = crowd sourcing ideas, innovation, marketing effectiveness, when you want to enhance customer experience. Decrease time to market for a new product or getting to market with a higher quality product or5 having better marketing effectiveness. Measurement or ROI in this space is very closely aligned with your business mission and if looking at general metrics, will not get to the ROI.

Advocacy = true word of mouth around an issue, an idea product or service. Measure things around brand consideration and brand preference and this is where conversions and sales may come in.

Support = when you have a peer to peer to peer support  model where you have one customer helping another to figure out the best way to use your product or service and in the support model you want to measure cost deflection for example.  This takes money out of the cost for providing support and you can totally socialize this function.

  1. Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation.

Participation is much more than just talking—that's what marketers and sales people have been doing for years. True participation is a mixture of:

  • Listening to current customers, prospects, industry experts and other influencers in the market space and internalizing what you hear to improve your business.
  • Speaking to the overall market conversation with quality, supportive and helpful content that people want to respond to, inquire about and pass on to others.
  • Caring about what is being said about your products, your company, your competitors and your industry, but more importantly, caring about helping your customers and prospects fulfill their wants and needs.
  • Sharing your experiences—positive and negative—and your insights as you grow your company and evolve your product lines.
  • Building relationships with market conversation Influencers, Participants and Listeners based on the mutual interest of the consumer problems that need to be solved with product innovation.
  1. Using LinkedIn to Develop a Customer Focused Culture with Extreme Focus.

The Three Key Questions

I am completely convinced that whoever “owns the voice of the customer” and uses that information to build an organizational culture of Extreme Customer Focus… will own the marketplace.

The following list I want you to ask yourself three incredibly important questions:

  • 1 What can I do with this?
  •  How can I make this work for my business?
  •  What can I do right away?
  • What is Extreme Customer Focus?
    • The family restaurant that has bathrooms cleaner than yours at home, with fresh flowers, free diapers, handy-wipes, lotion and mints.
    • The doctor’s office with a juice, coffee and fresh fruit while you wait (or better yet, that gets you in on time, every time).
    • The lawn care company that leaves a nicely arranged bouquet of fresh flowers from your yard every time they trim your plants.
    • The upper-end restaurant that gives you a hand-written thank you card with your check.
    • The drycleaner that simply sews on any missing buttons they find.
    • The downtown business that offers to “feed the meter” while you shop.
    • The restaurant that offers you a free dessert for taking 5 minutes to fill out an in-depth survey.

Listening and learning from and about the customer has taken on new dimensions with the advent of wide-scale use of social media. This concept has been added to questions on how your organization listens to customers.

  1. Why LinkedIn?

Have you ever Googled yourself?  If you are active in Social Media, your LinkedIn, Facebook and other Social Media Links will also show up which gives you more exposure in Google.

Check out the LinkedIn Stats and Who is actually using LinkedIn!

  1. Connecting  YOUR Way to Success Using LinkedIn.

Create a Compelling Prfoile and NOT a Resume rehash. I see many people list their Curriculum Vitae or a resume of information in Their Profile.  All I can say is Blah, Blah, Blah. 

Take Advantage of All of LinkedIn’s Features.

How many of you are comfortable with all the profile features?  Have you updated your profile 100%?  LinkedIn will keep the % for you so be sure to optimize and fill out all profile info.  Then SHARE your Profile when updated or make changes. See next to my photo what I have done in LinkedIn to optimize my profile.  I listed what I specialize in which is also optimized.

  1. Create Compelling Profile

In the summary is where you can really focus on optimized keywords.   See here I used

Trade show exhibits, trade show marketing, marketing, small business and also listed my credentials at bottom for certifications for the business.

Be sure to list Specialties with keywords as you can see on the top right here for what I did.  Yes, you can bullet the info to be easier to read.

Treat this area as your elevator speech with keywords that are searchable in your industry.

Did you know under the Skills area you can add your keywords here?  I listed 22 Skills to cover both companies.

Under my website I put keywords with Hyperlinks to the websites. Also see under interests w here I again listed Keywords

LinkedIn Is YOUR Online Rolodex so be sure to IMPORT your Email Addresses.

While researching LinkedIn and updating this Blog, I found this person who is a person well connected in LinkedIn that I found and I wanted to add him to my network.  I went through my 2nd degree connections and asked for an introduction as she was connected to Steve.  This is how you can really focus on growth.

It is just like referrals face to face but the new way on the internet.

  1. Manage YOUR Contacts Into Categories for Connecting with the Right Messages.

Ok, how many of you are over 500 connections???  Well, I am at 1820 and growing. I needed to organize my connections. 

How to do this?

You can purchase a program to do this for you called PROFILE ORGANIZER as an upgrade for Business Plan at $39.95/Mo at yearly contract or $49.95/Mo month to month or even an Executive Level for more money but you really do NOT need to.  Here is how to do it Free

Go to your Contacts tab at the top of YOUR LinkedIn Page.  Then go view your contacts and beside each name you will see Edit Tags.

Assign your categories for marketing.  As you can see from my connections, I have listed by groups, Out of State, NM, etc.  This will allow me to communicate more effectively with my network.

  1. Connect YOUR Way to Success with Status Updates.
  • 1 – 3 times per week
  • Start with a Lower Case Action Verb
  • Share What You Are Working On
  • Include Links to Articles, Presentations
  • Update Status – Strictly Business

  1. Recommendations.
  • Give Them
  • Ask for Them
  • Don’t Forget to Return the Favor!

  1. Tips for using LinkedIn.

  • Answer Questions to Highlight Your Subject Expertise
  • Communicate. Show Interest. Look for Ways to Help.
  • Be Yourself. Be Real. Spend Time Being YOU.
  • Don’t Always be in Selling Mode.
  • Have Fun!

  1. Promote YOUR Events.

Start with Individual, Community, National and then Global.

Businesses are increasingly adopting customer-focused processes to gain competitive advantage. But for building a business around customers, companies need to understand them. They need to engage in regular dialogue and conversations and keep people informed of what you are doing and planning.

Step 1: Adding an Event

Anyone can add an event and have it appear on their profile. To enter in a new event:

Go to the More menu at the top of your home page and then click Events.

Click the Add an Event tab.

Enter any information you have about the event.

If you want the event to appear on your profile, click I'm attending and then select Attendee, Presenter, or Exhibitor.

Click Publish Event.

A network update will be generated to your connections if you indicate you will be attending the event.

Event Attendance Display

Each event displays three buttons to select from to reveal your level of interest in that event:

"Attending" - This button offers dropdown options to select if you plan on attending, presenting or exhibiting at the event.

"Interested" - This button can be selected if you are interested in the event but have not yet decided.

"Not Interested" - This button can be selected if you are not planning on attending or are not interested in the event.

A network update will be sent out to your connections after you have clicked on one of the possible actions. Attendee names will appear publicly on the Events "Overview" and "Attendees" tabs.

NOTIFYING Your Network about an Event.

If you find an event you want to share, you can notify your network by clicking the Share link under the event summary on the event's Overview tab. This allows you to send a LinkedIn message to any of your 1st degree connections.

You can also let your fellow group members know of an upcoming event that may interest them by posting it as a discussion.

  1. Find the Value of LinkedIn Groups.
    1. Choose a Target Market
    2. Join Groups for those Markets
    3. Can Join Up to 50 Groups
    4. Actively Participate in a Meaningful Way
    5. Set Communications to Weekly

Here is an example of my KeepitQUERQUE Group.  I am President and I needed some volunteers for an event so I went in there to post a comment.

Here you can do your own search for groups to check out and request to Join.  Some are automatic when you join and others have to be on an approval system and you wait for the response for approval or not.

On the right you can see many of the groups I am involved in.  I am also in the WBC one.

Search by Industry, Key Words.                      

 Get Involved Within YOUR Groups.

  1. How to Listen – Start with Setting up Alerts!

Google Alerts = www.google.com/alerts

Yahoo Alerts:  alerts.yahoo.com
Technorati Alerts = www.technorati.com/watchlist - Powerful Social media Seawrchenging watches for your terms and updates you

RSS Feed Subscriptions to Search results Technorati, Feedster, Yahoo & Google News, Blog Pulse
Social Media tags: tabbulb.com, tagfetch.com, keotag.com

  1. Manage LinkedIn with LIMITED Resources and LinkedIn Profile Stats.

Go to the Profile Stats and view your connections and View the Stats

I hope you learned a lot about truly optimizing your LinkedIn Profile and will start updating your Profile today, start listening, engaging and joining groups.

About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts

DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing  .  She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies.  DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com  and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com.  Be sure to follow us!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

6 Ways to Promote Your Brand, Drive Online Traffic, and Give Great Customer Service

 Monday, July 25, 2011

Learn six ways to promote your brand and drive online traffic through providing great Customer Service? In this article, we will show you just how to do that! Have you ever noticed that people are more likely to participate in things if they are given an incentive?  Well, if you haven’t, just know it is true.  People like rewards, it is that simple.   

What Does This Mean to You?

Because social media is such a huge deal nowadays, everyone wants to be a part of it, and they all want the same thing out of it: more business!  So how on earth are you supposed to stand out when everyone, including your competition, is doing the exact same thing for the exact same reason?

In this endless frenzy of businesses jumping on the social media bandwagon, it is very easy to lose sight of certain things.  One thing no one should lose sight of though is customer service.  You may be thinking, “Customer service on Facebook?”  Well, yes!  Anytime you are representing your brand, customers and customer service must be what we never lose focus on.

So, how do you drive business, get people onto your website, and have more loyal followers/customers than your competition?  Offer great customer service, and offer rewards.  Rewards are an amazing way to inspire people to visit your pages. 

Let’s check out a few examples so you can see what I mean… 

Available ONLINE ONLY!

Everyone loves a good discount.  But clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper is quickly falling out of fashion.  What is the fad now? Online coupons!  Discount websites, such as Groupon, are exploding in popularity.  People just cannot get enough, and have come to not only love, but expect a certain percent off.

Now What?

Well, if you are looking to drive traffic onto your website, this is a wonderful way to do that.  Offer things that are only available online, and people will not be able to resist.

There are many different ways to go about this, so use your creativity.  You could print codes out on receipts, send out a newsletter with discounts or reach out through social media; sign up with Groupon or other sites that offer similar services.

There are many ways to reach your customer base when offering discounts online.  Just be sure to remember, as with everything online, you must be able to reach your audience the way that they want to be reached, so do not just use one avenue. 

Make it Into a Game.

We all play games, every last one of us-- especially games we can win. So give your fans and followers something to go for!

Sites such as GowallaGetGlue and Foursquare, they entice users by making “checking-in” a game.  They will reward you every time you “check-in” by giving you a badge or medal of sorts.  Foursquare has a leader board which shows how many points you have collected compared to your friends and other connections.  So every time you log on, you will see where you rank, and will probably do what you can to make sure you rank at least in the top three.

Now What?

Easy!  Start your own competition! 

How you design the game is up to you, depending on your particular business and customer base.  But give the people who visit your page or site a reason to come back—offer stickers or stamps (preferably branded) to reward your loyal visitors.  Put some creative thought into this so you can make it as interesting as possible.

This method works very well for businesses that survive on their customers making frequent purchases.  I am sure you have all experienced going to a place of business, typically restaurants and the like, and they hand you a card and say that if you get a certain amount of stamps your next burger is free.  It is a similar concept, and it works very well.

For smaller companies, it may be easier to associate with a large brand with an established reputation for this type of reward system, like Foursquare.

Always keep in mind that the end goal is to creative a positive experience for customers, or potential customers.  Be creative and engaging to stand out in their mind as the website that is the most fun, and rewarding, to visit.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

This is a really fun way to promote your brand: include your customers in your advertising!

I know, the idea sounds a little wacky, but it really does work.  Doritos did it by creating a campaign called Make an Ad, Make a Fortune, where customers made commercials for Doritos.  The most popular commercial was broadcast on prime-time television! 

Now What?

Regardless of what form of advertising you use, offering people their moment in the limelight is always going to work.

Give clear instructions so everyone knows what is expected, and encourage everyone to get involved!  That way you are not only promoting the brand, but building a customer base.  Also, if you are still looking for ways to build your online traffic, have the vote take place on your website or social media site.

And the Grand Prize Goes To…

Contests, specifically content-creation contests, are an incredible way of promoting your brand. It’s a method that digitally involves customers, or potential customers, and gets businesses free publicity.  Nothing bad about that!

A recent demonstration of this came in the form of Microsoft’s Cannes 2011 competitionwhich asked students to create a film showing the usefulness of a Windows 7 PC in a student’s life. 

Now What?

First you have to come up with a great incentive—a prize.  Many people are very creative, but it takes a lot to bring that creativity out.  So what you offer must be very tempting.  For example, the Microsoft Cannes competition offered $8,000, a trip to Cannes for two, parties, and the works.  Needless to say it got people off their couches and behind their cameras.

Granted, very few companies can compete with Microsoft as far as cash prizes go, but giving away free products or services will work well also.  Get your team together and brainstorm!  What do you want to ask people to create, what is the content, and what is their reward?

Areas for Improvement

What is the first brand that comes to mind when it comes to listening to customer feedback?  Starbucks.

Starbucks designed a campaign to make the voices of the customers heard, called “My Starbucks Idea”.  They do this by collecting ideas from their existing customers and allow others to vote on which they would most like to see implemented, and the most popular suggestions are.

Dell also has a similar campaign going called Dell’s Idea Storm, where, like Starbucks, they encourage customer input and actually use their ideas.


It’s So Simple

Have you ever noticed that sometimes we get going so fast, that every once and a while we forget about the niceties?  Well, that should simply no longer be overlooked!  One of the best customer rewards systems is to simply say, “Thank you!”

This reward system is meant to go, not only on its own, but with every other method of rewarding your customers we have discussed here today.  The person who films the winning commercial should get a thank-you, as should the one who had the winning idea that brought more business into your establishment, and so on.  A thank-you can even be as modest as sending a thank-you note.  You want to leave the customer feeling as if they are appreciated—and they most certainly are.

Now what?

After using one, or all, of these methods to drive your online customer base, what is next?

Get feedback.  Feedback forms work very well.  A great way to get the feedback and gathering more online followers at the same time is to put those feedback forms on your website or social media sites.  But, whatever you do, do not forget to listen to these comments—they are no use to anyone as just air.

Your customers will know when you have listened, and feel more valued as a result.  And that is what it is all about after all, is it not?  Customer service! 

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

Social media is used as a marketing tool

 Monday, March 21, 2011
Social media is used as a marketing tool to establish a presence and build relationships online with potential customers and maintain existing relationships with customers in a timely and consistent manner. Social media has opened the door to social media marketing (what I like to refer to as interactive media marketing). Interactive media marketing is the method of using social media to draw traffic to your business or face-to-face event. Rather than pushing your message into a potential customer’s space (as traditional marketing does), social media marketing focuses on relationship building and development to attract your target market to learn more about you and your company. 

Social media can be a great tool to use when preparing to exhibit in a trade show for targeting potential customers to come visit you at the show. Before doing that, search both yourself and your company name and see if people are talking about you. Are they mentioning you in passing? It allows companies to get ahead of an angry blog, social media site, or e-mail and handle customer service issues. That little bit of communication can build a rapport online for others to see. It allows people to build personal relationships that may have nothing to do with a company, but that little bit of empathic communication can lead to more business referrals. 

After you have listened for awhile, now try getting involved in communication with groups and to the community you have already built in the social media space. Some great best practices that I would like to share with you: 

1. Offers - What are you offering at the show? Try posting a video online and start building a buzz and tweet about the video to build awareness about your show and educate people about the show. 

2. Tweeting - Be sure to send out tweets of what you are offering and send out “sound bites” of why they would want to visit you at the show. What is in it for them? 

3. Retweets - Post retweets to your Linked In and Facebook pages with driving overall traffic back to the landing page where our videos are. This can create attention for an offer you may have. 

4. Blogging - While at the show blog and use social media while live on the show floor. Ask exhibitors if you can interview them and post online how the show is going or attendees’ comments about your booth and activities. Always get permission first, but you would be surprised how many people love the camera interview. 

5. Facebook - Is your Business Fan Facebook page customized and do you have a tab to set appointments with you at the show? This is a great way to personalize your meetings at a local show or even at a regional or national show if you have your target audience list and can invite people to set appointments with you during the show floor online. 

6. Social Media Branding - Build your brand both on your website and in Facebook and customize your tabs to meet the needs of your audience and make it personal with your brand.  

7. Educational Tips - Do you post tips in your LinkedIn or Facebook pages and use Twitter as a billboard to create awareness for people to visit your tips pages? 

8. Scavenger Hunt - Try creating a Scavenger Hunt like we did here to list exhibitor tips and have visitors look for the hints and go to your website to learn more about you and develop interest. Be sure to have a prize at the end that is valuable for the viewers: http://www.facebook.com/TradeShowExperts?v=app_11007063052 

Are you posting valuable content for readers to be perceived as an expert? If so, they will want more information from you when at the show. 

Social media opens the door for communication with almost anyone. You can reach out to complete strangers, get advice, or even share your advice online to create a following. These conversations are often stored digitally and made available over time for others to read or participate in. Each of us has probably received or given advice but it may be forgotten after a week or so. Now you can connect with others online and save this information indefinitely. The switch to social media marketing allows us to communicate more effectively, efficiently and timely. 

Social media enables users to build relationships in an easier, faster manner. You can also use social media to draw people to face-to-face events such as conferences and trade shows. Many conference attendees “tweet” or mini blog about the event during the presentation, creating chatter and relationships that may be built upon long after the event is over. At EXHIB-IT! , we blog at events and shows and report how the event or trade show is going and work on delivering content that others may want to hear. You can upload a video, images at the show, or interview attendees and post the video and images online and blog about them. Just be sure you have their permission! 

Before you go into the social media environment and start blasting away with information about you, your business and start promoting your product or service, listen first. Get involved n groups and community areas so you can hear what is being said and respond to build your confidence.

Want to Make YOUR Brand Social?

 Monday, January 17, 2011
It is impossible to have a social brand unless you become a social business. So you may be asking, why and how? 

There are two tiers that fit into each other for the social business part 

1. External information where you get bloggers to talk about you, monitor the things done on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social marketing and getting advocates to talk about you. 

2. Internal information which tend to be the things that get neglected such as the information that is being posted, the culture change in your company, and how to get out in the open without hurting your brand. 

 Here are some tips on how to prepare your business for social media: 

  • Create a social media policy 
  • Train your employees on what is acceptable and what is not for a common goal 
  • Create an open corporate culture 
  • Think high level strategy 
Here are some reasons why you should start with small projects on social media: 

  • Using small projects is a way to test the waters, to see where your target marketing is at in social media. 
  • Using social media for sharing customer experiences to build a know, like, trust community. 
Many view social media ROI as an excuse for inaction not to do things. People think that social media is not measurable when, in reality, it is but just in a different way than before. 

How to identify more economic metrics other than sales: 

  • Everyone is focused on sales and sales is not the only economic metric in social media. 
  • What are people saying about you in social media? You can measure if you influenced a behavior – is someone saying positive things about you versus negative? 
  • Communicating via social media versus making so many calls or sending so many emails that go unread. You can share how you shifted money in social media strategy and streamlined by making less calls and send out less emails by using social channels and share how this was measured. 
  • Measure how many times something was shared in the social media circles. Example: how many times did something get tweeted and did the information get carried in other blogs and posts? 
  • Another economic metric is sharing how you prevented a crisis and how much did you save? 
It’s all about the Quality of your posts and not the Quantity of your posts. 

What success is for businesses on social media: 

  • Creating a social experience creates an emotional response from people and can in turn create customer loyalty. o It’s not just about being entertaining, it’s about being helpful and creating an emotional bond with clients. 
  • Having the ability to create fresh and relevant content everyday. o In the future social media may incorporate into customer service becoming a social experience. 
  • We may be going back to a new way to handle customer service with a customer’s experience.
  • Create ambassadors for your social media output for developing customer experiences. 
Why is it critical to have the ability to create a social experience? 

  • Customer service will become a social experience. 
  • The ability to engage in public will become key to a company’s success. o Everyone will have to become a spokesperson. 
DJ Heckes, CEO & Author 
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts 
Full BRAIN Marketing 

The Powerful Match: Content Marketing and Social Media

 Monday, November 22, 2010
If you are tuned in to social media, then you are smarter than most people looking to market online. 

But, you don’t have to be an Albert Einstein to learn how to effectively create marketing content in the social media space. It is all about developing a systematic and simple way to give you a good grasp of the power of effective online marketing. 

You may be thinking your business needs help and want to react fast! Maybe your Website is not getting the traffic you need or you are not converting the traffic to sales. All these are considerations when deciding what to do for developing great content. 

Coming up with ways to create stellar content for your marketing strategy is great, but this stellar content doesn’t distribute itself. You need vehicles for people to pass your content along, converse over its controversies, discuss its merits, tweet it, blog it, delicious bookmark it, mash it, or even digg it. All of this is where social media comes to play. 

While social media did not create content marketing, there is no question that it is an unsurpassed tool for getting content distributed. However, great content boosts social media life by giving people something interesting to chat about than what they’re ordering right now at Starbucks or some other trusted source. 

Social media breeds smart, savvy online entrepreneurs that are creatures of social web. Social interaction places like forums, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are pulling social media tribes together. Many of us have been using social media for a long time while others are just getting started. 

Social media has explosively grown as a “connection” source and connecting with others is probably the deepest drive we have as individuals. The social media tribes that awe develop give us a place to share information about our day, a forum to air out the social media tribe’s differences, and a place for all to consider new and better ways to build larger tribes. 

Smart marketers are participating in social media because this is where the people are! Social media marketing requires you to be daring, innovative and most of all – effective. 

We are all looking for places to bicker and malice as much as for building community and inspiration. Without a connecting place or a central spot to bring us all together for conversation, there is no social media tribe. 

Great Content is Our Saga and Story. 

It really doesn’t matter if you are talking about a controversial global issue or friends at a cookout in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Anywhere people gather around social space, stories are going to be told. 

Developing high-quality content trains your readers to keep opening your stuff. It rewards the readers for doing what you want them to do. This means that every piece of written content has to either solve a problem that your audience cares about or it must entertain them and – preferably both! 

Everything the readers receive from you should make them feel good. Every piece of content is a cookie that rewards your audience for consuming it. Doing this consistently becomes an appealing habit for your readers. When the readers see your name in their email box or a Twitter retweet, they know, like and trust that there will be something they like on the other side. They will then click through. 

Most people who take on content marketing get this wrong. They train their readers to look away by producing content that the readers perceive as fluff, overselling or that doesn’t benefit them. 

Develop am Online Position 

If you are looking to find more customers, then you need to be someone that is worth doing business with. 

Is is about developing authority and not about being a guru who can never admit to any weaknesses. Your audience wants a smart, cool friend that understands how stuff works. They want someone to share experiences with and that leads by example. They want a trustworthy person whose words mean something to them. 

When in doubt about your content, remember Paul Newman and his axiom - “Always take your work seriously; never take yourself seriously.” You can do this by showing that you know your stuff, but this doesn’t mean that your readers want a college lecture. 

Be Smart; Sell Smart. 

Build a content net that supports a sale and many sales long after. Use content to address underlying objections that may keep someone from buying a particular product or service. Use your content to tell an interesting story about how others have benefitted from the offer. Use proven persuasion techniques to show your readers how much they need your product or service. 

Successful salespeople know that a customer needs to know, like and trust you before they will buy. This is exactly why content marketing is so effective. Developing great content buys you the time to build a trusting relationship so be sure to use this time wisely. After you have developed strong content you still want to ask for the order with a strong call top action. Be sure to keep the balance right. Use your content to build desire for your product or service and to create a strong relationship with your audience – then ask for the sale.

Enhance Your Twitter Marketing Efforts With 3 Effective Tools

 Monday, November 15, 2010
While Twitter may be a powerful marketing tool in itself, you can get lost on the noise. Have you considered taking the next step and use the power of twitter to enhance your marketing efforts? 

Most people refer to Twitter as getting to “know” people, building lists and using followers to do this. But marketers and business owners know this is jus the start! 

Twitter Laser Focus 

 Many prefer twitter over Facebook as twitter is much more focused and much more business oriented. You only have 140 characters so there is a dire need to “get to the point” quickly. 

As opposed to Facebook, you can socially interact or business interact and you are separated by pages and profiles. Twitter combines all this together in an easy-to-follow format which occurs in real time. This means you can achieve instant results if done correctly. 

 Why is this so important and what does all this mean? Imagine waking up every day to a room full of fans, associates and peers. What would you do and how would you react? What if these followers were waiting for you to say something to them? What would you say? Would you talk about current events, the weather or say something more meaningful? 

If this were a daily occurrence, you would most likely plan what you wanted to say and be sure you captivate your audience with little effort so that you could influence them to take action. 

This is the same approach you should take when using Twitter. Essentially you have an audience from a few dozen to a few thousand active listeners ready to listen to what you have to say. The real trick is to determine how to say something in a way you want the listeners to respond to. 

Each tweet that is sent out is chance for you to hone your words and approach to your audience in an effective way that increases your Return on both your investment of time and your effort. By using analytic features for most url shortening services, you can use thee analytics to track what people are clicking. 

Twitter Analysis Tools 

 1. Add a Plus sign “+” to Bit.ly Links. If you are already using a Twitter service that lets you use bit.ly links, then you are already on your way. Bo through your twitter timeline and locate all the bit.ly links and paste them into your browser. Now add a “+” on the end of the pasted link. This automatically sends you to the bit.ly stats page for that link to provide you a conversation history, clicks and more regional analysis data. 

This is a quick and easy way to retrieve and measure the effectiveness of your tweet history and also gives you an opportunity to analyze your competitors! If you want to know what someone else’s tweets are faring, then pull out the “+” and you are in business! 

 2. Test Your Tweet Headlines. Pull out some of your old tweet headlines and test them against some new ones. Review what did not work and develop a strategy of playing with the existing content to create a new headline. 

With only 140 characters to work with, you need to be concise. Think of your headline the same way as AdWords does for developing headlines. Analyze the click rate from the first post to the new post with the new headline. Develop an insight to best market your business in the social media space and continue to test against winning headlines. 

 3. Test Your Time Zones. This will allow you to approach your followers in a way to encourage them to respond in different time zones. Use the Twitter Scheduling Service feature to learn when the tweets are most effective. Try scheduling the same tweet using different links throughout different parts of the day. Test this every 4-6 hours and evaluate the data as it comes in. Adjust your tweet posts to the data. 

This will allow you to adjust your online interaction posts when you have the greatest impact. You may find that even though you are tweeting in the US, your biggest response may come from the UK. You can then adjust your tweet posts to repeat throughout the day with the greatest impact. 

Developing Your Plan! 

Be sure to use your most powerful headlines when it counts! Even though a c ustomer replies, it may not necessitate a powerful call to action, but linking to a new product or blog post should. 

When others are retweeting your content, find out how you can get them to do this more often. Now apply this information to your overall content strategy. This same approach for tweets should also work for releasing blog posts, newsletters, email blasts or podcasts. 

Start now by copying headlines, schedule your broadcasts and release the posts when people respond most rather than waiting for when you feel it is convenient. Track the data. This type of procedure separates the amateurs from the pros. It also allows you to know for sure what your social media investment and efforts are bringing in. 

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts 
Full BRAIN Marketing 

6 Great Tips for LinkedIn Users

 Monday, September 20, 2010
1. Boost your SEO 

There are three areas to add web site links to your LinkedIn profile. Instead of displaying “My Blog” and “My Website” click on Edit link and click on other. Type in a keyword phrase that describes how people can search to find your business. Example: See what I did below to change “My Blog” to say Small Business Marketing with the link going to my book Website page www.fullbrainmarketng.com. I used the keywords versus putting in the Website Link. 

 2. Promoting your Blog Feed 

It is possible to import your Wordpress blog feed into your profile by searching for the WordPress application This is quick for others to scan your blog content at a glance. There is another blog app on LinkedIn-Blog Link – that supports TypePad, Movable Type, Vox, Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org, Blogger, LiveJournal and many more.

3. Create LinkedIn Ad Campaigns 

I had no clue that Linked In has its own Direct Ads Campaign targeted to professionals. This is a hidden treasurer at the bottom of a huge sea! Linked in is a professional site and there is less likelihood of views from random people. This is something I will be using in the near future.

4. Utilize Events to Engage Clients 

Use LinkedIn’s Event Features to plan an event. An event can be created if you have an interest in going to an event or will be an attendee. Invitations can be sent to your LinkedIn Network and give you an opportunity to meet face to face if they decide to attend. Best feature: View at a glance feature to promote your network’s upcoming events. At our annual EXHIB-IT! B2B Event held the first Thursday of June each year, we use this feature for advertisement and invitations. We actually had over 419 RSVPs using this feature last year!

5. Using Groups to connect with people 

Most people join groups and never come back to participate in them. Starting a group is a way to have access to email and stay in touch with your group as it grows.

6. Getting Recommendations to attract more clients. 

Recommendations are a unique feature of LinkedIn that sets it apart from other social media networks. What better way to market your business than by having your colleagues and clients share your expertise.

7 Tips for Facebook Users from Top Social Media Experts

 Monday, September 13, 2010
While doing some research over the weekend on social media to prepare for one of my presentations, I came across a very informational site called www.socialmediaexaminer.com.  They have many great social media articles that I often review and share with my audience.  I would definitely check this site out if you want to be in the know and be updated in social media.

Facebook is still the most popular social network on the planet.  With over 500 million active users, Facebook represents a great opportunity for smart businesses.
Take your Facebook marketing to a new level by using these hot Facebook marketing tips direct from top industry pros.  These ideas are priceless!
To become the best is to model after the best.  Find out who’s doing it right and getting real results and then model their strategies.  See below 7 ideas from top authorities in Facebook marketing. 

1.    Bring Your Facebook Page to Your Website

“The number-one thing you can do is to bring Facebook into you own turf.  It can be done with a few simple lines of code.  This can be one of your most powerful tools for improving your brand awareness,” says Jesse Stay, author of multiple Facebook books, including FBML Essentials.

By using the Facebook Like Box as a social plugin, it will enable your Facebook page to attract and gain Likes from their own website.  The Like Box enables users to see your page and decide if they like the page and which of their friends like it too.  You can also read recent posts from the page and Like the page with one click, without needing to visit the page.

2.     Try Advertising in Facebook with some Inexpensive Facebook Ads

“The best ‘bang for the buck’ in internet marketing today is Facebook advertising.  The targeting options are limitless and surprisingly inexpensive for businesses of all sizes.  Facebook advertising can help marketers of all kinds get insights into how different demographic groups respond – and for a fraction of the cost of other alternatives,” says Chris Treadaway, co-author of Facebook Marketing.  An Hour a Day.
To set up an ad on Facebook is very easy.  Just go to Facebook Ads section and click “Create an Ad” button.

3.    Leverage Friends of Connections
After you have created your Facebook ad, this tip can supercharge your ad
“Imaging watching your favorite TV show. The commercials come on, but instead of fast-forwarding through them (as you likely usually do these days), you notice a picture of YOUR friend in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.  You friend is pointing to the business in the commercial saying. ‘Hey, I like these guys.  Check them out!’”

“Facebook’s ‘Friends of Connections’ ad targeting allows your fans to be featured in your ads,” noted Dave Kerpen, author of Likeable Social Media Marketing to Win in a Facebook World.
See below how to use this option.  When you set up your new ad, look under ‘Targeting’ and you will see an option to display more detail.  You will also see the connection on Facebook choices.

4.    Give your Fans Some Fun Reasons to Connect with You.

“People love a reason to get together. Why not have the equivalent of a happy hour on your Facebook wall?  Rather than serving up drinks and party favors, ask folks to bring t heir favorite link.  Consider offering networking opportunities by asking folks to share something about themselves. You could also lure people in once in a while with an expert who will answer their most pressing questions,” says Michael Steizner, founder of Social Media Examiner.

5.     Use Video as your Secret Weapon to Gain Fans.

“Videos seem to be a preferred medium not only by the fans, but by the news feed algorithm as well.  Whenever a non-fan watches your videos, a button pops up in the top left corner suggesting he/she ‘Like’ your Facebook page.  To take advantage of this feature though, you’ll have to upload the video file into the Video Tab inside Facebook (not into a YouTube video),” said Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist for Intel.

6.     Turn your Facebook Page into a Lead Generator.

Facebook as a lead capture source? “You bet!” says renowned Facebook expert Mari Smith.

“One of the first apps to add to your Facebook Fan Page is ‘Static FBML’ (Facebook Markup Language), which allows you to add your own custom content, including an opt-in box. You can add multiple iterations of the FBML app, and try out various lead-capture systems – ezine signup, give away, ask campaign, etc.  Each opt-in box can appear on a separate tab, each of which has its own unique URL, allowing you to accurately split test results,” noted Mari Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.

7.     Turn Your Facebook Page into a Thriving Community.

“Your Facebook presence can serve as a meeting place for like-minded individuals. Make it a point to involve your customers as much as possible. As questions and suggest items for them to share on your wall. As yourself more than “What should WE share?” –ask, “What would our fans like to share with us and one another?” –and build your strategy around those answers. Allow them to connect with  others who share the same interests by encouraging them to use your Facebook presence as a platform for sharing, says Robert Birgfeld, director of Digital Strategy at Smart Brief.

With all the experts’ advice above, your new Facebook marketing campaign should be very successful.  I wish you the best of luck.

EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

The Top 6 Twitter Tools

 Tuesday, September 07, 2010
What do you think is more valuable - the quantity of your Twitter followers or the depth of the relationships with your Twitter followers?  The Answer:  BOTH!

Establishing hundreds of thousands of followers would be nice, BUT we also know that the depth of the relationships you maintain with your Twitter followers is paramount.
See below 6 great Twitter tools that will help you identify, find and engage quality Twitter followers.
Even though I said “depth,” there must also be “reach.”  If you want to have “reach” on Twitter (for example: getting 10+ retweets) on a consistent basis, then you will need a large number of followers.
Discussed below are examples of how to generate new followers, manage your newly found abundance followers, and turn those shallow relationships into deep relationships by using the top 6 most Twitter tools.

1.    Blast Follow
Note:  This tool, if abused, will get you temporarily banned from using Twitter.  Be sure not to follow multiple hash tags at once or large groups (1,000 or more).   Many people when first using this tool have found themselves banned because they “over used” this tool.
Blast Follow is essential for finding people in your niche (and beyond) and then auto-follow them with a single click.
You may ask-How does this help YOU create more followers? Think of this as the Law of Reciprocity.

Take advantage of this feature and blast follow hundreds of Twitter users with a single click and build your following in kind.
One reason Twitter may be so popular is that the human urge to reciprocate is a strong driving force behind our intentional actions. Twitter can be used as a Law of Reciprocity platform. If you follow me-it’s only fair that I will follow you back.
Many of the social media experts (Chris Brogan , Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki) recommend a mutual-follow policy in the Twitter world.  Even though Chris Brogan may have changed his own policy due to spam, the basic idea still stands.

2.  Tweepi
This Tweepi feature allows you to “unfollow” those who do not reciprocate.

This is a great tool to shake off the people who do not follow you back. Tweepi enables you to “unfollow” those who do not follow you back, 40 at a time. Be careful not to unfollow someone you want to continue to follow.
Why would you follow someone who doesn’t follow you back?  One reason may be that their tweets are super-interesting. The strategy for using Blast Follow and Tweepi is to have the ability to blast follow 100-200 people now and give them a week or so to follow back and if they do not reciprocate, clean them out with Tweepi. Then repeat.

3.    TwAitter
This tool is a great way to maintain a presence on Twitter and allows you to schedule your tweets in advance. Even though there are many tools allow you to schedule your tweets in advance, this tool is easy and efficient.

twAitter will soon be renamed to Gremln; the ability to schedule, rotate and repeat your tweets will remain unchanged.
twAitter is unique in that it allows us to rotate and repeat our tweets. Social Oomph allows for a similar functionality (and a lot more), but it’s a premium service for which you’d have to pay. twAitter, on the other hand, is free. Many businesses are discovering the enormous potential that Twitter provides to market products and have more personal contact with customers. 
Why would you repeat your tweets?  Think of Twitter as a drive-by platform.  Most Twitter users login for about 10-20 minutes at a time and, unless they see your tweet in that time, chances are they may never see your tweet unless you repeat it yourself!  However, many people abuse this systematic repeat approach.

A great example is Guy Kawasaki – he repeats his tweets four times with several hours in between his repeats. 

4.      TweetDeck
Now that you have learned to create thousands of followers, you will want to organize them and keep an eye on the really interesting ones. One tool is TweetDeck.

TweetDeck allows you the ability to create panels based on the lists you create, retweet now or in the future, keep an eye on your favorite tweeps and much more.

TweetDeck also allows you to create visual panels based on your Twitter lists. I have created lists/panels for  my social media people, friends, interesting and RT-worthy tweeps, and my customers, etc , which makes it easy to follow their timelines.
Without TweetDeck, this process can be an overwhelming and time-consuming prospect database.

5.    TweetChat
TweetChat allows you to isolate a conversation based on the hashtag. This tool is one of a kind.

In this sea of tweets, it is easy to lose track of your favorite hastags.  TweetChat then comes to the rescue.  This tool not only helps you generate followers, but it does this by creating a familiarity and depth before the follow itself occurs.
Hastags are an unknown secret to many new twitter users.  Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding more content and metadata to your tweets.  They can be looked at like tags on Flickr.  You can create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol:  #hastag.   Hashtags.org is a real-time tracking of Twitter hashtags.  You can opt-in by following @hashtags to have your hastags tracked. 

Using hashtags allows other participants to see you as interesting and decide to follow you.  The right thing to do is also reciprocate.

6.     Twitter Tools
Twitter Tools is a plugin that integrates your WordPress Blog and your Twitter Account. Also Ping.fm is a free service that is simple to use and makes updating your tweets super easy.  It can update ayour status on twitter while also updating MySpace, FriendFeed, LInkiedin, Facebook and many other social bookmarking sites.  Check it out at www.Ping.fm.com

While in Twitter and using these unique and easy to use tools discussed above, be sure to be useful, be interesting and be compelling when in Twitterland.
DJ Heckes, Author & CEO

EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

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