Social media network broadcasting: No sales pitch please!

twitterbroadcaster
One of the advantages of using social media networks for creating new business opportunities is the ability to share great information without having to rely solely on the traditional sales pitch approach. Absent the hard sell, “social media network broadcasting” allows for the opportunity to engage with people on a number of levels, from personal interaction to thought leadership. Broadcasting includes sharing your own original content/information, re-sharing other information and content (via your colleagues, friends or media sources), or having a conversation about a specific topic.

So, rather than looking at using your posts in social media networks as just another overt sales pitch method, try deploying a personal “broadcasting” campaign to encourage the people in your networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and so forth) to look forward to hearing from you. That will only add to your new business development process. The more frequently the people in your networks (or your “audiences”) read about you and all the interesting things you have to say or share in their various social media network newsfeeds, the more “buzz” you can create for yourself and/or your law firm.

With the right strategy and a consistent tactical plan, your social and other online media (blogs, groups/forums) network audiences will eventually start to share, like and even comment on your broadcasted content (original articles, shared content, or back-and-forth conversations, etc.). During this process, audiences will also share your content with their audiences, who may also then share with their audiences and so on. It’s a viral process (and it doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time to build up) that will eventually add to your online public reputation and increase your online publicity, which in turn will support your traditional sales and business development processes.

That’s a win-win situation, no matter how you look at it. Rather than simply telling your public what you offer and how valuable it is, social media broadcasting allows you to demonstrate – over time and in a very direct way – why you and your product or service is of benefit and why people should believe the person (you) or the company behind it. Reading what is being shared by others in your social media network newsfeeds can also give you insight into what’s on the minds of your clients or potential clients: what they like, what they don’t like, and what they’re saying about you and your competitors.

Good information is the lifeblood of social media networking. While it’s important to create a robust profile in a variety of networks, these no longer can remain static. The more you broadcast (on any level), the better your reach-out to your audience will be. This generates publicity and enhances your public reputation, and develops web- or blogsite traffic, direct email inquiries or calls. Social media broadcasting success also benefits from the sharing of non-competitor information through your various channels, from featuring guest bloggers to recommending the products and/or services of others to your audiences.

You can easily measure the effectiveness of social media broadcast efforts to gauge the level of impact it’s having on your business. Here are some typical social media measures I look at:

-Number of new followers and connections, such as “new likes” on Facebook, followers on Twitter, connections on LinkedIn, etc.

-Traffic to your website or blog measurement from social media sources such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

-Number of new email (newsletter) list or blog subscriptions compared to your old rates before ramping up your social media efforts.

-The “reach” of your social media broadcasting efforts (how many people beyond your own network channels read/see your posts).

-Level of audience engagement (number of comments, questions, etc.).

-Number of people buying your product or service as a result of a social media network referral.

-Physical sales numbers before and after starting your social media campaign.

What else?

Know your audience: Your audience cares much less about you than about themselves, so stop making your content about you. Understand what motivates your audience, and cater to that.

Entertain: If you’re asking people to invest time into your content, the least you can do is make it worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to use humor or drama to make your message that much more interesting to read. Bonus: Being entertaining helps make you memorable.

Inform: The worst reaction you can get from your audience is a collective “So what?” Write about current events, give your opinion on trending issues or add insight to popular topics. Anything you can do to educate your audience will help show your value.

Inspire: Getting people to read a piece of content is one thing, but provoking your audience to take action is something else altogether. Great content can turn your efforts into real-world results. For example, charities often find ways to tell emotionally powerful stories of their constituents as a way to inspire viewers to donate.

Engage: What’s more interesting, a lecture or a group discussion? Most people would probably agree that the latter keeps their attention longer. Think about ways you can interweave the comments and feedback of your audience into your content. Hosting guest blogs and curating third-party and social media content can be a great way to turn your one-way channel into a two-way street.

The bottom line: If you want to get results (or ROI) out of your social media participation (investment) effort, you must you engage in social media network broadcasting. Just as traditional advertising and sales approaches remain critical components of your marketing and branding toolbox, social media network broadcasting is also becoming more and more necessary. Surprisingly, even with numerous social media networking success stories and case studies there are to learn from, many attorneys and law firms are quick to brush these off as “fluff” or gratuitous. If done well, strategically and tactically – with the right mix of solid information, social media channels, audience engagement and tangible measurements – social media network broadcasting is a proven publicity and lead-generation strategy that can get and keep you in front of your target markets and set you apart from the competition. Interestingly enough, everyone who is part of this pay-it-forward process will also benefit!

Originally published for the Jaffe Blog.


Storytelling Tips to Make Your Brand More Relatable

By Richard Brownell | PR News Online 02/11/2014

The ability to tell a story is a fundamental skill that all good brand communicators should possess. Storytelling not only shares information, it makes that information relatable to the audience, humanizing complex ideas and offering fresh perspectives.

Christopher Hammond, senior vice president of corporate communications for Wells Fargo, shares some tips here on how to enhance your brand’s message through storytelling.

#1. Take it to your audience!
Read the full article here


How to fashion a successful digital content strategy

Originally posted in Smart Blogs
By Sarah Lynch on January 21st, 2014

Choosing the right content to post on social media is a bit like picking the right outfit each morning. To be successful you need to have a strategy, shop around for the best quality pieces and accumulate a tidy collection.

Like matching a good shirt with the right pants, pairing the best piece of content with the most fitting social platform hangs on three important factors:

-Where you are headed as a brand
-What you want to achieve
-The needs of your audience

Shop around
Dressing your social channels with the right content necessitates careful planning and coordination. The ease and efficiency of sharing across multiple platforms has resulted in many brands slipping into the classic social fallacy: If it works well on one platform it will work well on every platform.

Repurposing content across all your social profiles is the fastest way for your brand to experience a plateau in customer engagement and a significant drop in conversion rates.

What to wear
Social platforms have been purpose-built to attract users for very different reasons. Content that is well-liked on Facebook, for example, could be a total disaster on Twitter. Tailoring the right content to the appropriate platform is essential to your brand’s success on social media.

Twitter
The little black dress of your marketing cache, Twitter is the most versatile item in your social wardrobe. Twitter audiences are notoriously fickle and demand targeted, varied and engaging branding. In order to keep your audience pinned to your brand’s page, it is critical to style tweets that are:

-Clear and concise
-Simple
-Varied
-Powerful
-Reflective of your brand identity

Combine fun business tweets with tips and tricks, links to interesting sites or articles, inspirational quotes, and links to original blogs posts.

Avoid posting the same tweets too often. You wouldn’t wear the same outfit two days in a row, so don’t expect your audience to be thrilled about seeing the same content recycled regularly.

Facebook
The eye-catching summer dress of your social ensemble, Facebook is an inherently visual tool. To delight Facebook audiences, cloak posts in high-resolution pictures and videos. Maintaining high audience engagement is as simple as:

-Raising the hemline on posts by keeping them between 100-250 characters long. This approach garners 60% more engagement from audiences than longer posts.

-Clothe images and videos with a clever tagline or hashtag

-Fold opinion-based questions and fill-in-the-blank updates into your daily strategy

Package posts with an interactive-fashion focus of fun-over-form. Competitions and giveaways are the main reasons why Facebook audiences follow brand pages, so keep your content light and entertaining.

Google+
The dress suit that rounds out your brand’s social media collection, Google+ audiences favor quality content over quantity. Where Twitter followers appreciate short-form instant gratification and Facebook fans enjoy visual stimulation, the Google+ community has shown a strong preference for informative and helpful content.

More than any other platform, keeping your Google+ community engaged requires:
Donning unique, novel and informative content to your brand page that avoids pushing a covert marketing agenda. Google+ users react strongly to brands they believe are inauthentic.
Adorning your brand’s Google+ page with 5-second GIFS as a snapshot of what your brand can do. Google+ is the only major social media channel that allows GIFS to be placed directly into your audience’s stream.

The perfect post
These days the biggest digital fashion faux pas is to repurpose the same content across other brand platforms. If your customers follow you on more than one channel, they will quickly tire of your content and, by proxy, the product or service your brand represents.

For dynamic businesses it is critical to tailor all online interaction to the personality of the audience who occupies each social space. This approach will not only gratify customers on multiple levels, but also leave them hanging out for more.

Sarah Lynch is a freelance writer and content manager based in Sydney, Australia. To hear more musings from Sarah, you can follow her on Twitter.


Social Media and ROI: What Should You Expect? It depends.

Gaining ground within social media and digital/Web channels has to do with content and thought leadership. The more quality content you can generate, the more you (or your company) will be seen, heard, and followed. Add to this a high “engagement factor” (the amount of responding, sharing, that you and your followers engage in) then you are most likely on your way to a good Return on Investment (“ROI”).

That said, if you were to outright ask me, “What’s my return on investment going to look like?” I would be hard pressed to give you a number. Every client and every situation is different, from the industry or niche you operate in, to your reasons for wanting to engage in social media, to how involved and active you can or want to be.

Many of my clients come to me because they . . .

• Have little experience in social media, other than the occasional Facebook post or like, and simply don’t know where or how to start
• Don’t feel they have the time necessary to dedicate to beefing up their social media and digital presence
• Don’t know what’s reasonable to expect in return for their efforts.

Getting started and making the time are easy to address. Social media (at least how we know it as today) has been around in a big way since 2007. There’s history, there’s precedent, and there are clear do’s and don’ts. As for what’s reasonable to expect for a return on your investment . . . it depends.

With Social Media, ROI doesn’t show up as easily it does with direct marketing or advertising, where there’s a clear target and a beginning, middle, and end to a campaign. Measuring Social Media ROI is more complex, especially when Social Media is done in concert with other, more-traditional marketing efforts.

While I can clearly measure the exposure my clients get through various Social Media and Web channels—such as the number of tweets, LinkedIn shares, or Facebook posts; the number of new followers or connections; or an uptick in likes, Web traffic, and new subscribes—I can’t for certain quantify if Social Media alone is generating more sales. It’s simply impossible for me to link every client’s sale/new client acquisition to what ultimately influenced a customer to buy (unless I do a customer survey, of course, but that’s a whole other topic!). Most likely, there is no one thing that made it happen. Most likely, it’s a combination of various efforts made by my clients, including Social Media.

Social Media can go a long way to getting customers interested and to the “table,” but sealing the deal also relies on your customer/prospect’s emotional connection to your product or service, together with pricing and delivery. Is your product or service what the prospect wants? Is it what the prospect thinks he or she needs? And are you the one to provide it?

Ultimately, TV, Radio, Print, Social Media, the Web, and what you get out of your efforts with each of these mediums, is all about communication and approach. Just as most people wouldn’t produce their own TV or radio spots to sell a product or service, Social Media really should be viewed no differently—especially by busy executives and business owners who are running their companies and don’t have the time, the inclination, or the experience to optimize Social Media as a branding and messaging tool.