Social Media and Social Networking Need to Be Part of the Strategy

152Social media and social networking are part of the 21st century market place. If your wish to thrive as a small business owner, C Level executive or independent sales professional, a successful marketing plan needs to include the social side that technology provides.

What I am observing is a lot of confusion between social media and social networking. The terms are used interchangeably by many even though they are different. This confusion is similar to the terms of marketing and selling with the overall sales process.

Social media is the big picture of how people use the Internet (media) to connect (social) in real time. There are hundreds if not thousands of Internet sites devoted to making these connections not to mention the millions of blogs. For example, Amazon was one of the first organizations to use social media by allowing people to write real time book reviews.

Now social networking is using those sites or blogs to actually connect with people through exchanges such as participating in LinkedIn groups, writing on Facebook walls, posting to blogs or even locally using the specific sites dedicated to connecting local business professionals.. However what I am observing with even greater frequency is the inability of people to understand how to make these connections authentic.

For example, every week I receive requests to connect from people I do not know or cannot currently remember. If they had invested the time to add a simple reminder such as “Nice to have spoken with you last night at the business networking event,” then this makes the invitation far more memorable. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Make sure you actually have met the person or interacted with him or her before requesting a connection.

How you utilize social media and social networking begins within your marketing action plan. Without aligning all marketing actions together, you are probably working harder not smarter. The objectives or steps for effective marketing are:

  1. To attract potential customers (prospects) and I probably should add a positive attraction
  2. To build a relationship

The goals within this phase of the sales process are:

  1. To make a friend
  2. To be asked back for that coveted one on one face to face private appointment or meeting

No matter what type of marketing strategies you are employing, the goals should always be the same. Unfortunately far too many people use these social networking sites from Twitter to LinkedIn in the same way they collect business cards. Collect as many business cards as you can, place them in a pot and then stir in some hope to increase sales.

Personally, I have found connecting with people using social media has been incredibly interesting and yes beneficial to my business. I believe it can be the same for yours provided you have invested the time to understand it and then integrate it within your own successful marketing plan.

Network Like a Boss on Social Media

6Wanna network like a boss on social media?

It’s totally possible and you can do it!

Social media is an effective way to network your business in front of the right customer base. You don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home, no matter where it is located. You definitely don’t need to get out of those yoga pants. And you can reach way more people, faster.

These are easy steps to make yourself a networking boss.

Follow.
Don’t be afraid to follow other people, even if they don’t follow you back. You need to have a plan of the types of accounts to follow. You don’t want to just follow anyone. Find these types of accounts to follow.

Competitors. You need to follow the competition. It’s great to see what they are doing. Sometimes the competition has some really great information that you could use. And it’s also great to support your community of colleagues. And you never know when you will get a referral.

Potential customers. Find your potential customers and start following their accounts. You will, get your business on their radar, find out more about their wants, interests and needs and have an opportunity to begin interacting with them. If you don’t know who your potential customer is yet, get my FREE buyer persona worksheet and get to business.

Interests. Find accounts that post about topics you are interested in. I’m a stationary fanatic. I love all things stationary. I go out of my way to find these accounts, follow them and interact with them. Do the same for whatever you are interested in. If you love unicorns, go find accounts on unicorns. This is an opportunity for you to network with people with similar interests. Once you start networking and building relationships, the sky is the limit.

Commenting on posts that you love.
When a post pops up in your feed that you love, don’t just click like, make a comment. Tell the account that you enjoy their feed, you can relate to the picture, whatever! Just make a comment that will cause a reaction. For instance, if someone is posting a picture doing yoga, ask what move it is, ask where it was taken. Comment about how long you have been doing yoga. Whatever you do, make it genuine. Do not just comment cute.

Make it original. You will start to get interaction to your comments. The more interactive you are, the more likely others are to start noticing your posts and interacting with them.

Keep a list of everyone that interacts with your posts.
These are your potential customers. They have noticed what you have posted and felt strong enough about it to make a comment. Now that you have a list of all these potential customers, make sure you are interacting on their feed. Go to their feed and like, comment and interact. This makes sure that you stay on their radar and are remembered.

Once you have started to build relationships, send a few private messages.
Are you having a sale on an item that someone commented on? Try sending a note to the person that commented on the item letting them know it’s on sale and you noticed that they liked it. Private messages are becoming spammy so make sure you have a relationship with this person before just asking them to buy. Make the message as personal as possible. If your message gets ignored, don’t worry about it. Sometimes there is just so much private messages (spam) that real messages get ignored. Just make sure you are using good etiquette and not spamming someone.

Join some groups and meet like-minded professionals.
Make sure you are participating and reacting to other people’s posts. Ask questions and post answers. This is a great way to meet others, become social media friends and position yourself as an expert. Make sure you are using names and making your posts personal. This is a great way to create a bond with someone you haven’t met face to face.

There it is, easy steps to network like a boss on social media.

Remember, nothing happens overnight. You need to work at this every day. It could take weeks or even months. But the relationships you build will be stronger and more productive.

How to Create a Social Media Friendly Business Logo

5In today’s market, social media is an undeniably important part of any business’s marketing strategy. It is important to create a business logo that works well across different social platforms. There are many logo generators available online these days that allow you to create a professional looking logo design but it doesn’t end with just a good looking logo, you have to consider a lot more while finalizing on a business logo. It should be captivating enough to look sharp and attractive on different social mediums.

We have listed out some tips below to help you make the most out of social media platforms through your business logo:

Be Mindful of Your Aspect Ratio:

Aspect ratios are important when it comes to images on social media. Your logo shouldn’t be too short or too long. There are different aspect ratios for every social platforms and it is important that your image is scaled accordingly. Most social media sites show your images or logos into a square. Your logo should be optimized to look good in a square beforehand because if it isn’t then the image will be compressed, chipped or reduced to fit into one.

Keeping Different Versions of Your Logo:

There are chances that every logo gets used in many different ways. Some change it up a little according to different season or events while some make shortened version with just the image or an initial. You really can’t tell how your business logo may be used so you need it to be versatile and adaptable. You might need to rearrange or use just a portion of your logo to fit into different sizes and shapes. In some cases, it is almost impossible to use your full logo which is why you have to settle for a different version of your logo for social media applications. It is important that your text and graphics don’t lose their meanings when used separately.

Simplicity is the Key:

Avoiding detailed elements in your logo is also very important. We are not saying that you should go so simple that you risk being forgettable but bear in mind that your logo will be reproduced in different sizes and it should lose its meaning or impact when reduced in size. Thin lines, detailed graphics, and too many words are to be avoided. Try to keep it simple because a noisy business logo can confuse your consumers and often fails to communicate your message in a social media thumbnail.

Consistency:

Consistency strengthens your brand power and its visibility. People recognize you better when you have the same image everywhere for your business. The majority of brands create one simplified version of their business logo and use the same image across every social media platform.

These are few of the things you should bear in mind so that your business logo does well across the most powerful form of marketing these days i.e. Social Media Marketing.

Of Social Media and Friendships

151Weeks ago, I had lunch with one of my best friends at McDonald’s. We talked about many things to catch up since we were both busy from work. We talked about our other friends. How are they? What are they up to? Do we still communicate with them? Sadly, the answer relies on social media. We are updated because of what they post. From time to time my best friend and I would check our phones. At some point, we were quiet and not talk with each other because of the other people online that we are also connected at the moment. By the time I was done, I put down my phone but she wasn’t. So I just ate my fries and looked around. And there they are – all the same. A father holding her daughter while talking to someone on the phone. A group of girls who seemed to not know each other after taking one too many selfies, now editing photos and picking which will get more likes on Facebook and those oldies who kept talking and laughing loudly about something funny in the past. At that moment, I remembered Gary Turks’s poem entitled “Look Up”.

I took a step back, and opened my eyes,
I looked around, and the realized
That this media we call social, is anything but
When we open our computers, and it’s our doors we shut.

Turk pointed out the negative effects of social media in a very creative way. But he made it clear in his YouTube channel that he have nothing against it, “this film is about the times we choose it over real connections and experiences.”

As of January 2016, about 2.2 Billion people all over the world are active social media users, conducted by Global Web Index. In this plugged-in world, having friends is just a click away. The question is, are they really your friends? And if so, how are you guys? Social media made us easy for us to connect and reconnect with our family, relatives and friends. But the quality of relationships is at risk. A study done by Robin Dunbar, a psychology professor at Oxford University, shows that you can count on only a few online friends during hardships (4.1%) while the other so-called friends (13.6%) only send their compassion through texts and other messaging flatforms. He also coined the term Dunbar’s number. It is a theory in which states that a person can only maintain 150 stable relationship in his lifetime.

Case in point: maintaining friendships over so many medium is challenging. But this may be a test of friendship after all. If you are in turmoil of the status of your friendship with anyone in particular. It may help to take time to think it over because ending relationship is messy. Since friendship is mostly based on communication, here are some questions you need to ask yourself before breaking up with your friends.

1. Do I get excited or irritated on my friends postings?
This could be a sign that both of you have drifted apart. The things you once liked or shared together no longer interest both of you. And even if you see each other again, it is just not the same.

2. Do I secretly rant over our friendship?
If you are doing this, you are not communicating well with each other. Misunderstanding can happen anytime. Do not let it spoil your relationship. If your friend keeps posting and tagging to make you feel humiliated or betrayed, talk it over.

3. Do we see each other face-to-face?
Staying connected online is not the same with having conversations in person. You can detect if a friend is sincere or not when you are together.

4. Am I the only one in this friendship who is trying to make it work?
Friendship is between people and not a relationship with yourself. If you tried communicating with no response or worse, seenzoned, maybe he/she ended it before you even realized.

To get my best friend’s attention, I sarcastically told her in a higher tone than my usual to stop it. She stopped and we continued talking. We didn’t take any pictures of how our day went or posted anything online for the world to see that we are very good friends and had fun together that day. We keep the balance of the use of social media and our friendship. And if you are considering to end things with your BFF, you might want to think it through. Break ups are not easy after investing a lot of yourself for your friendship. Remember, social media and friendship is a perfect combination to revive relationships before it dies out.

Business Social Networks

150Business social networks, it seems that everywhere we turn we hear people talking about them. Almost everything you read on and off line has the words social media, social networking, social platforms, social something in the copy. You know they, the social platforms, are “out there” yet what are they and what do they mean to you? Despite their varied and often very strange names, they all have one thing in common.

What they have in common is a way for people to connect; it’s that simple. Ever since the first humans started walking on earth, they wanted to connect and communicate with each other. Social media and social networking are the current evolution.

Think about it. If you go back in time, you read about villages, tribes and communities; celebrities have fans, leaders have followers and we have friends. The online social revolution merely moved those entities online. This may be the digital age yet, more than ever, it is the relationship age.

On Facebook you have “friends” for people and “fans” for business pages while on twitter you have followers. Depending on the network, there are groups, lists, communities and other such terms. While personal and business Blogs tie it all together. These social structures exist because of common interests.

Back in 1990 John Guare wrote a play popularizing the long held theory of “Six Degrees of Separation” first developed in 1929 by Frigyes Karkinthy. This theory held that everybody on this planet is separated by only six people. Today, I venture to say, that six degrees is probably closer to the three degrees that Milgram postulated for the population of the United States.

In fact, LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site launched in 2003, is all about connections. It operates on the concept of how many connections you are away from the person you want to communicate with thus it encourages people to pass messages via first degree connections to first degree connections. And it further encourages all its user to reach out the the 2nd and 3rd degree connections to expand the network.

On twitter, according to a study released in April, 2010, by the social media monitoring firm Sysomos, the average distance is 4.67.

Facebook’s numbers fit squarely within the six degrees before the application was removed in 2009. Though it only measured 5.8 million users who chose to participate, nonetheless the average was 5.73 degrees.

Enough of the statistics, let’s get to the Why.

Business Social Networks, Social Media and Social Networking are today’s fabric of connection. More than ever before, people are reaching out to connect with people-no matter the age. From young children to great, great, great grandparents people want to connect with others. Why are they there? They are asking advice (78% of people trust peer recommendations vs. 14% advertisements), easing loneliness, reconnecting with family and friends, seeking employment, looking for business partners, doing research, educating themselves, learning a new skill or hobby and the list is endless.

Traditional business bureaucrats are have a difficult time embracing online business social networks as the real deal. Yet, they are beginning to throw millions of dollars at the social media platforms in hopes that it is. Social media marketing is in its infancy and as more serious networkers and responsible affiliates get into the game the growth is going to be unbelievable.

Social Media marketing is bringing the world to you wherever you may be. What a way to live. Will you open the door?