Using Technology to Gain Market Share

 Monday, December 12, 2011
 

A good thing to realize is that we use technology and technology does not use us. One does not have to use Twitter as discussed above, and there is no reason to jump in and do everything at once. It is best to start with listening. What are people saying about you? What conversations can you be a part of? What types of proactive reach can you do and what do you need to be reactive to? For you and for your company, be sure to choose how to use the technology.

If a commitment is made to become part of an online community and conversations, commit to taking the feedback to the company and asking what you can do to change and actually make the company change. Determine what the customers want and figure out a way to get back to the company mission and values. 

Benchmark your social media efforts and see if they are creating any return on investment on organic search engines through relevant content and information. Use a trend graph when trying to benchmark your social media and Internet strategy efforts. (A trend graph provides information at a glance through graphing out ups, downs, and horizontals [growth stalls] to provide metrics of valuable information needed in the study being performed.)

Message boards and forums are important ways for companies to brand. Think about why a person joins a forum; it is based on similar interests and commonalities. Online communities become trusted resources to ask advice about things not related to the same online forum or online community. However, relationships have been developed and trust is gained.

According to http://www.big-boards.com, the most active message boards and forums on the Web, they list out and rate different blog posts. When visiting this Web site, it is easy to sort and filter by different blog posts, memberships, page views, traffic, online users, Alexa ranking (a relative measurement of how popular a Web site is among the Internet community), and much more.

Knowing blogs are becoming a relevant communication tool, this is something you may want to consider doing for your own exposure, as long as you have relevant content that people will want to follow.

We are experiencing an explosion in social media participation around the world. It is becoming harder and harder to run a business without using social media. It is time to figure out how your business fits into this social media world and how to develop a strategic market place online. Social media is much different than Internet marketing. Once you understand the mind-set of social media, the core of all your social ability, and heart of your search engine optimization (SEO), the rankings will be paid off through more visibility, more leads, and potentially more sales.

Learn about these online communities and how to engage in them. With a Web presence, active social media usage, and search engine optimization strategies, you can deliver a content strategy designed to sell your products and services online. I have found social media to be very beneficial both personally and professionally. Social media content I am personally using are LinkedIn, Twitter, Squidoo, Facebook, Google+, WordPress and lots of widgets for measuring my time and efforts in Social Media. 

Spread links, contents, and messages to the far reaches of the social sphere. Tie all of this into a constant web of influence while gaining higher search engine ability. Integrated social media initiatives will increase Web presence and grow your business strategies.

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
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com




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
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



Google Analytics Rolls Out its New Flow Visualization Feature!

 Monday, October 24, 2011
 Google Analytics updated a new feature on October 19th called Flow Visualization, which allows you to analyze a website’s insights graphically and instantly understand how the visitors flow across pages on your site. Starting this week, Google Analytics “Visitors Flow” and “Goal Flow” will be rolling out to all accounts. They will also be coming out over the next few months.



The new Visitors Flow view provides a graphical representation of the visitors’ flow through your website by traffic source (or any other dimensions) so you will be able to see their journey as well as where they dropped off on your site.
What I like best about this is that Google Analytics is working hard to meet our needs. 
The new Goal Flow is a graphical representation of the paths a visitor took to successfully complete a conversion on your site from the source through your funnel pages and where along the path they dropped off.



This new Goal Flow visualization lets you see the following:
 
Relative volume of visits to your website through traffic source, campaign, browser or whatever dimension you select)


Relative volume of page views per goal step


Relative volume of traffic rate of abandonment from step to step


Where visitors backtracked along the goal path


Conversion rates for each source (in the table column for your goal)


Specific metrics for connections, nodes, and node exits when you hover over them


You can find the Goal Flow under Standard Reporting | Conversions | Goals.  To be able to see this data, you need to have already defined goals in your Google Analytics Account.  
You can also apply any advanced segments to this new Flow Visualizer. You can see how visitors arrive at a page or pages of interest.  You can start by selecting ?backward” to see reverse paths which helps identify suboptimal placement of your content or you can select “forward” paths from a page or pages to understand most visited pages or to see the visitor leakages.


If you do not have goals set up or goal funnels, don’t worry. You can create a new goal or goal funnel from your profile settings. This works backwards on your historical data for metrics.
Having access to this new visual information is a real game changer for Google.  I look forward to seeing more visual analytics rolling out soon too.


DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



How to Get The Most from LinkedIn

 Monday, September 12, 2011
 

What Can LinkedIn Do for Me?

LinkedIn has been around since 2003, and many people use it differently.  The question of what it can do for people seems to be a very popular question.  In short, LinkedIn is a professional networking site with an executive representation of Fortune 500 companies.  It is a great way to find people and is a great way to read someone's business history in a single screen. The site also helps you to understand who they know and network with.

Some interesting facts you probably did not know about LinkedIn:

- The average number of LinkedIn connections for people who work at Google is forty-seven.

- The average number for Harvard Business School grads is fifty-eight, so you could skip the MBA, work at Google, and probably get most of the connections you need. Later, you can hire Harvard MBAs to prepare your income taxes.

- People with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.

- All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. In fact, 499 of them are represented by director-level and above employees.

Top Reasons to Use LinkedIn

 1. Building your Reputation. LinkedIn is a great tool for people to outline their experience, accomplishment, organizations and network. Too often I have seen incomplete profiles. A crucial element to get LinkedIn to work for you is to make sure your profile is 100% complete. Include all your previous employers, groups you belong to, your "advertisement", websites and other important information. LinkedIn is also becoming a place where employers find candidates, so if you are job hunting, this may be the place for you.


 2. Find Qualified Candidates. You want to find the best candidate because it will benefit the company, but weeding through all the applicants can be exhausting. Well, how about using your network to find employees? LinkedIn has a great job posting board, which is also very inexpensive. Even if you don't want to field unknown candidates, you can send out an email to all your connections.

 3. Find New Connections. Have you ever felt like sometimes you see the same people at the networking events? Would you like to meet new people? Use LinkedIn and do a search. For example, let's say you want to meet Architects. I just go to LinkedIn and type “Architects” in the search box. LinkedIn will search your contact's contacts and return the results. The best part is it shows you how you are connected to the person, which can then be used for introductions. LinkedIn also provides results of what they call 3rd degree friends. Essentially, your contact has a contact that knows the architect. It seems complicated, but it is a great way to expand your network and your friend's network. Try a search, see what happens. LinkedIn also has introductions, a tool they offer to give you an introduction to a person you want to meet.

 4. Increase your Google Ranking. Ever wondered how people's names come up so high up on Google searches? I don’t have the secret Google formula, but can tell you a well written LinkedIn profile earns a high rank on the page. The more information you have on LinkedIn (or Blog articles), the better your Google ranking.

5. Scope out Competition, Customers & Partners.  Most people use Google or another search engine to see what information they can find out about their market. The market includes your customers, competitors and partners. LinkedIn is a great tool for research.  Another key advantage is to see what groups your customers or potential customers belong to.

 6. Groups. LinkedIn just added a new tool to search groups. The groups range from networking groups to Alumni groups to Company groups. Groups can be a great tool for networking. There are many different ways to use the groups and their members as leads into conversations. As a plus, when you join a group you can show the group on your profile. The benefit could be others see the group and find they have a common thread with you.

7. Recommendations. LinkedIn has created a system where your contacts can recommend you. Leverage the power of LinkedIn to get recommendations and be sure to give them as well.

8. Help Others. Use LinkedIn to introduce people you think would be a good match. You can easily do introductions to the people with LinkedIn's inMail. The nice thing about giving a contact more connections on LinkedIn is that no one wants to be the person with the least contacts....so help out a friend and send them a contact or two that makes sense for them. Part of helping others can be helping them use LinkedIn.

9. Use it on the go. LinkedIn is configured to be able to use it on your handheld device. While you waiting at the airport, doctor's office or another waiting area, log into LinkedIn and network from anywhere. Just go to linkedin.com.

10. Get answers to tough business questions with a little help from your real friends. Small business owners deal with challenging questions on a slew of topics each day. LinkedIn Answers and Groups let you find answers to those vexing questions quickly by tapping into the wisdom of your network (LinkedIn tells me there are over 200 different categories on Answers including one dedicated to small business and over 2000 groups on small business related topics). Wondering whether your recent office purchase is tax deductible? Check out hundreds of questions on related topicshere.

I hope this helps you take LinkedIn beyond the usual uses and makes you and your business even more successful.



Button, Button, Who’s got the Button? What’s New in Social Media

 Monday, July 18, 2011
 

Does it ever seem as if every time you blink, social media is completely different?  Social media changes so fast and so often, it can be easy to get left in the dust!  So just in case you have been out of the loop, here are some recently new things that are good to know.  Be sure to keep reading as each week we post new social media tips to help you learn more for your own business.

What’s New?

Twitter has a new way to make it easy to follow and be followed!  This wonderful little button not only makes it so you can follow all of your “favorites” just by clicking on the bird, but you can add it to your own website, too! How handy is that?


*Follow Twitter accounts direct from their website or blog in just one click!

Google has a new button!  Google +1 is similar in concept the “Like” button on Facebook.  When you click on it, it shares your recommendation with all your Google contacts!  Now this is so new that Google considers it an experiment, so you must opt in to be able to use it.  To learn a little bit more about the button and get it on your site, you can do so here.     

See example of using Google +1 below.

The Google +1 Button is initially rolling out through a selected number of publishers.

‘Google Offers’:  Oh, yes.  Google is starting their coupon program!  Starting in Portland, OR, Google is working with local businesses to help promote by offering discounts to those who opted in to use it.  Google Offers is also looking for businesses who want to sign up with it so they can team up with you, providing you more business and getting your name out there, while you in turn help spread the word!  They eventually intend on teaming with Google Walleta crazy new app that offers a new way to pay.

*See example video below:


See embedded code here:  <object width="640" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/CjDA_mbkZjE&rel=0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CjDA_mbkZjE&rel=0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="390"></embed></object>

Twitter Search offers more: As Twitter puts it, Twitter brings the most meaningful information in the world right to your pocket. And, we're constantly working on ways to make that even better.”  Starting soon, when you search on Twitter or click on a topic, you will be provided with not only more relevant results, but you will also be shown photos and videos related to your search topic.  “It's never been easier to get a sense of what's happening right now, wherever your curiosity takes you.” Click on the picture below to learn details about what is new in the Twitter world.

     

And if that wasn’t enough, here are some awesome new tools:

Shoutomatic:  I must admit, this one really blew me away.  Have you ever noticed that when you type in status updates on Facebook and Twitter, conveying your emotions is very difficult in text.  Well, Shoutomatic has solved that problem for us all.  It is an app you can sign up for through Twitter or Facebook that allows you to record your voice and post status updates that way.  What will they come up with next?  Keep reading…

BO.LT:  BO.LT is an interesting new site that allows you to completely alter (or customize) and web page you choose to share with your fans or followers. To try, just go to the site, type in your email address and it will let you experiment a little.  It is fascinating, to say the least, and I recommend you try it. 

Crowdbooster This new dashboard allows you to keep track of your followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook.  You can see just about everything that has to do with your admiring public on both sites in one place.


Were there any new social media releases that caught your eye?  Please share, because like I said, it can be really hard to keep up!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com




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