Tag Archives: LinkedIn

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours

By Stephen Rhodes

Back scratching is at core of social media. That is, mutual back scratching.

Most small businesses that I have met are still scratching their head over the use of social media. Many are there because they feel they need to be but haven’t yet figured out that these tools – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn- are not just billboards to advertise their wares.

Three Happy Polar Bears with Santa's and Captain's hat

Eventually people will tire of your self promotion and stop reading your posts. To be effective in any of the social media platforms, you must share not only your own content but also that of people following or liking you. It’s about dialogue and not monologue- providing people an opportunity to talk to each other over shared values, emerging trends, business opportunities, even quality of service.

Online reviews, and referrals can carry enormous weight.  So, be sure to acknowledge praise when you get it and  most importantly, respond quickly and efficiently to any customer concerns or problems.

To do that you need to be scratching a few backs.



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Filed under Content marketing, Customer Service, social media

Lost in the new world of advertising

By Stephen Rhodes

More and more, I hear clients talk about being lost when it comes to the latest trends in marketing, meaning, of course, social media.

It reminds me of the mid 90s when many small businesses migrated to the Internet because…well because they thought they had to be hip. Many jumped on board without much consideration for why they were among the newly converted or how it would help their business. “We gotta be there,” was the mantra in many boardrooms. Some are still trying to figure it out.

The same thing is happening today with social media. Businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Flickr and even YouTube accounts without so much as a …how will this help our business grow?  “We gotta be there” is still the clarion call.

Advertising hasn’t changed much in 100 years. It’s still about  attracting attention, engaging minds, triggering  emotions, and changing the way people think. If you can do that you will generate sales.

What has changed is the delivery methodology.

If you want to influence behavior there is a spectrum of tools including direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, commercial websites, radio and TV, and, of course, social media – the new darling of marketing.

The key is knowing which tool(s) works best for you. And not all tools will be effective for your business. I have a client who can track new sales every time we deliver a direct mail piece to a group of targeted clients. The key word here is targeted, often lost among the “I gotta be hip” crowd. But the point is, direct mail works for him, and he can see (measure) the return on his investment.

First and foremost is understanding your customers. Who are they and how can you reach them is the pivotal question. What do you have that they want. (the what’s in it for me question) Can I build an ongoing relationship and how can I capitalize on that to build an even bigger customer base.

These are questions you should ask every day.

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is the future of marketing and communications. Building your own group of followers, a community of customers, all engaged and part of your business is a powerful opportunity to communicate a targeted message.

But take a measured approach. Who is your customer, what message do you want to deliver and what is the best way to get it there? Some things never change.

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Filed under advertising, Stephen Rhodes

Face time and the whites of their eyes

By Stephen Rhodes

It’s easy to get caught up in the hurley burley of Web 2.0, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

When sitting at your desk,  looking for creative ways to invade the online world with your message, it’s sometimes easy to forget that these great tools can’t replace good old-fashion face time when it comes to generating business.

Wikepedia actually has a definition for Face time:

an interaction or contact between two or more people at the same time and physical location. Face time therefore occurs in real life and contrasts primarily with interaction or contact which occurs over distance (eg. via telephone) and/or electronically (eg. via email, instant messaging, e-commerce or some other computer communication.”

Wow, a little clinical, but a good reminder that it involves people in close proximity. Face time has in fact entered the vernacular because there are an increasing number of people who don’t do it, relying instead on some electronic engagement for business communications.

So, if you build your business around the Web, Twitter and Facebook and never actually see another human being, is it still a business? I guess that depends on your standard of measurement. I have never met anyone at Amazon or Chapters-Indigo but I buy lots of products. I buy on the strength of referrals from friends I do trust. “There’s a great book you should read….”

However,  I can’t imagine buying professional services without first meeting someone face to face.

For me, spinning messages online to 1100 followers is not  the same as pitching someone in person.  Did their eyes flicker, did they bite their lip, are their arms crossed? Did they look happy, sad, or  indifferent?

Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I still like to see the whites of their eyes.

What do you think?

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Build the right network

By Stephen Rhodes

For some in the social networking circus, success is all about numbers – followers on Twitter, fans on your Facebook page or contacts on LinkedIn.

It’s a myth that you need a large network to succeed. What you need is a smart network.

More than 1,000 people without influence isn’t nearly as important as 50 who can connect you with your target audience.

So, think about how you network in the real world and online. Target the most influential people in your business world and determine how to reach them.  Check Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to see if they use these services. Are they members of the local Chamber of Commerce or some other business association?

Find a way to be where they are, or to reach out to them, and build a network of people with influence.

The right network will make a difference.

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Filed under Networking, Stephen Rhodes

Eating elephant morsels 140 characters at a time

By Stephen Rhodes

To build on yesterday’s post about the changing world of marketing , I want to say that most business people I talk with are afraid of Social Media because it seems complex and involved. And it may seem a little daunting to someone with minimum online skills.

There has been so much written about Social Media over the last 12 months and it’s easy to feel uneasy and out of touch. I can’t keep track of the daily how tos on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube and Flickr.

Think of it as an  elephant, and we all know how to eat an elephant.

Amber Naslund at Altitude Branding has an excellent primer called The Social Media Starter Kit. Download it and use it as a starter and a refresher. Follow Amber on Twitter and subscribe to her blog. She can teach you a lot.

In the beginning you want to listen and observe. Build your own community by following or subscribing to people who speak to you. When you feel comfortable, talk back, share and contribute. Find your own voice.

Let me know what you think of Amber’s starter kit? Or let Amber know.

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Filed under blogging, Communications, Facebook, social media, Stephen Rhodes, twitter