I want to talk to…

In the UK there are 689,890 companies[1], 190,978 of them meet the EU definition of an SME and so, theoretically, they could be my target market, bearing in mind my company name.

In reality the vast majority of them I will not be able to help. This is why you will rarely hear the word “anyone” uttered when I’m networking or asking clients for referrals. Why is it, therefore, that so many business owners believe they can sell their services to anyone?

The problem with anyone is that it is simply too wide a scope and what happens is that you end up with no-one being referred to you.

A chiropractor said to me, at a networking event recently, I can help anyone with a spine. Whilst this may be true, it doesn’t help me help them. I’m not going to mention them to everyone I know with a spine.

I need, and so will all your clients and connections, a little more to go on. Have you seen the latest eHarmony advert where they show a man on a couch with a camel? The advert goes on to say they were matched because of two matching criteria, but eHarmony uses more to ensure a good match.

You should use the same approach when asking for referrals. After all if 438 couples get married every day after being matched on eHarmony, they must be getting something right.

Whilst I am not suggesting you have 29 levels of compatibility with your clients, you must make it easier for people to refer you. Give them more information: industry sector, geography, company size, job title and, most definitely, reasons why.

The good thing about getting this pinned down is it also helps you work out what marketing to do, but I’ll talk about that next time!

 

[1] LinkedIn; as of 13/1/15

Tracking isn’t just for rednecks

  • A broken twig
  • fresh footprints
  • Frightened birds
  • Canddi return trigger!?!

All are signs a tracker will use when hunting their prey.  Knowing where their prey is through tracking is key for the hunter if they want to eat tonight.

The same goes for the your business (with the last one on the list only really for businesses).  Knowing who is looking at you and your online presence can really help you to grow your business. It’s key to be tracking your marketing

Let’s split this into two: you and your business.

Who’s looking at you?

As the owner or director of the business, you are a figurehead for the business.  People will look at you as an indicator of what the business is all about. There’s a few places people will go to in order to look at you:

LinkedIn

Both your personal and company profiles are likely to be looked at.  Are you happy they portray you well?  The good thing about LinkedIn is that you know who is looking at you and when they looked.  This means you can return the favour and then make a decision about what to do next.  Are they a potential client, a possible supplier or simply someone who could be a useful person to network with.

Twitter

To an extent, this depends on whether you tweet as you or as the business, but they’re still going to look. Keep it consistent and interesting. Most of all make sure you’re interacting.

Who’s looking at your business?

There are many tools you can use to check out your website’s performance, starting with good old Google.

Google Analytics

An oldy but a goody.  At the most basic level, you can see how many unique views you get, where they came from, how many pages are being looked at and what pages are liked/disliked (check out the bounce rate).  At the other end of the scale, you can see whether viewers are following the path you expect them to, what they are spending and what your demographics look like.

Check out Audience/technology/network as well.  You can see the names of some of the companies checking you out!

Canddi

No, I haven’t mis-spelt it, there are 2 d’s.  There are a number of more advance web analytics tools out there, including Trovus, Lead Forensics and IDFingerprint.  My favourite at the moment is Canddi.  Not only have they agreed to a free trial for all my clients, they won’t tie you in for a long-term contract and you can set it up to tell you when people return to your website.  Would you like the next conversation you have with a prospect to be timely and absolutely relevant?

I could go on forever about the various tools you can use to track who’s watching you online, but let’s save the 1984 bit for another time.   The simple truth of the matter is that keeping an eye on who is looking at you means you get a chance to interact with them, you know what they are interested in and you can have both a highly relevant conversation and one at the right time.

I wonder if your competition are doing the same thing?

Need a hand tracking your marketing performance? Call us on 020 8634 5911 or click here and we’ll call you.

 

 

Key social media tips

There are nearly 12 million people in the UK on LinkedIn, 37 million Facebook Pages worldwide and nearly 40 million UK Twitter accounts. To be noticed amongst all these and to develop quality sales opportunities, here are a few social media tips that either I know to work or are tips that I have been given by people I trust who use them everyday. I hope they prove useful for you.

Social media is about helping people, it is not simply about broadcasting your sales messages.

  • There is a clue in the name in what you have to do to be successful – be socialable.
  • Build relationships so you know what interests your connections and what they are looking for in business terms
  • Provide useful and interesting material that shows you know what you are talking about
  • Be consistent so that you maintain the relationship and maintain your position in their minds for when someone needs your services.

Don’t sell – help

  • We have media recording devices at home in order to avoid most of the adverts. Your connections on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook will simply disconnect to avoid your adverts.
  • If you help people by making useful connections for them, they will return the favour – think Givers Gain.
  • Provide evidence on how you’ve helped others so your connections start to trust you.

Automate and outsource sensibly

  • Social media tools such as hootsuite or tweetdeck are useful but they cannot build relationships for you. Use them for scheduling some activity but remember that you have to interact to build relationships
  • There are lots of companies that will do your social media for you but they will never know your business as well as you do. Outsourcing does not mean letting go!
  • Use tools such as Tweriod to find out when your followers are online. Be active when your connections are active so that there is a greater chance they will see you.

Volume is only sometimes useful

  • 50 connections with good relationships on LinkedIn is better than 1,000 people who you know nothing about.
  • You won’t generate interested followers simply by following 1,000’s of others. They will only follow you if you can be useful to them.

Personal and business are different

  • Don’t set up a business using a personal profile on Facebook. There is a good chance they will find it and then simply delete it as it breaks their terms of service.
  • Personal profiles are about you. Talk about you and do it in the first person.
  • Business profiles/pages are about your business so use appropriate language and images.

 

I hope these prove useful for you and I will endeavour to update this when I find other useful snippets.

 

LinkedIn – a real problem solver

Ever been dealing with a company when things just don’t seem to be moving forward?

You find yourself constantly talking to call centres or customer services, but to no avail, as you are always talking to someone different and they don’t have a full understanding of your situation, so there is no big picture thinking. LinkedIn may be able to help.  Let me explain:

I’ve blogged recently about my house being burgled and how the loss of my technology seriously impacted my work for a week or so, and so you may already be aware of the fun and games I’ve had recently. There was an added complication that they stole my car keys and my car during the burglary and my car insurance company have been less than helpful.

I’m not going to name names but suffice to say things were going neither smoothly or quickly and I was rapidly approaching the end of my tether. Finally I thought it was about time to go around the call centre so I used the world’s biggest business social media tool: LinkedIn.

I found one of the UK’s senior directors and simply made them aware of what I had been experiencing. That was less than a week ago and now everything has been resolved.

It isn’t quite the case of “who you know”, but LinkedIn makes it the next best thing.

Networking – quality or quantity?

There are many approaches to networking  and plenty of articles written about it.  A google search whilst writing this blog identified 341,000,000 in 0.33 seconds – that should keep you busy for a little while.

Broadly speaking there are two camps when it comes to, particularly, online networking: collecting as many people as possible or, know the people you network with.  I fall firmly into the latter.

Right now I have 388 connections on LinkedIn.  Fifteen minutes ago I had 445.  Although I spend a good amount of time trying to maintain the relationships I have developed I looked through my connections and found that I had 57 in there where I couldn’t remember what they did or why I was connected to them.  If I cannot remember what they do, what is the chance that I am going to introduce them to other people I meet?

What does this mean to me?  I have roughly 15% more time to maintain the relationships I have built up on LinkedIn, further improving the quality of them

What does it mean to the 57? Absolutely nothing at a guess, as they don’t seem to be worried about maintaining the relationship either or they would have been in contact recently and I would know what they did.

What’s my point?  Simple, invest your time in developing your network and ensuring it is mutually beneficial.  If there is “dead wood” in your connections, a little light pruning is a good thing

How to find a credible LinkedIn© (and other social media) trainer

If you wanted to find a LinkedIn© expert to develop your expertise how would you do it? Ask your friends? Do a quick Google search (and find over 25 million LinkedIn© trainers)? Or search LinkedIn?

Ok, you have lots of options but how do you find a good one? With LinkedIn© it is easy …

  • Review their profile; does it look good, better than the others?
  • Does their personal profile have recommendations from people and how many?
  • Do they have a company profile or company page?
  • Do they have a full company page with video, banners and recommendations on LinkedIn?
  • Do their recommendations read well? From people like you?
  • Does their web page look and feel good to you?
  • Do they know their subject? Does it have the right numbers on it for total users and accurate statistics?
  • Do they only do the platform you want to learn about?
  • Do they offer to do LinkedIn© for you? How? How can they know the people you know?
  • Does their course content cover what you need? Does it sound sensible to you? For example if many say half a day and someone says an hour ask why.
  • Do they want to look good or make you look good?

Then talk to them, yes old fashioned I know, but talk to them, are they human, do they come across well and could you work with them?

It’s amazing how many “social media experts” follow each other to see what they do on LinkedIn© and Twitter, if they are an expert why follow each other? Is it to get material they can use or simply to keep an eye on the competition?

If you want an expert on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter I will happily introduce you to some really good people.

Social Media can help disgruntled employees damage your brand

Social Media can do wonderful things for your brand image in a very short space of time. You are able to get your brand in front of the people you want to see it in a few short steps.

Twitter means that your followers’ followers get to see your tweets. Facebook business pages can consolidate various feeds to generate brand visibility and LinkedIn has a multitude of ways to promote your business: Answers, Company pages, Groups etc.

The problem is that anyone can post anything about your brand and that includes employees.

Take for example, your Company page on LinkedIn.  The company page is visible from the profile of every employee listed on the platform and so gives your business lots of marketing moments.  A problem can arise if you haven’t been careful about controlling the management of your company page.  Unless you have set it so only authorised users can make changes, anyone within your company can write anything they want.  If they write something that isn’t nice, is untrue or is simply spiteful, it can be seen from everybody’s profile until you are made aware and correct the changes.  How much damage to your brand reputation could that cause?

What do you do to stop this?

  1. Go to your Company page  and click Edit
  2. alter the standard setting shown in the image above so it reads “designated users only”
  3. Add the people you want to allow to make changes
  4. Hit “Save”
  5. Remember to alter if any of the people allowed to make changes resigns

I hope this helps and goes a little way to protecting the brand you have worked long and hard to build

Know who your friends are

Keeping an eye on your LinkedIn connections

How do you make sure that the people you are connecting to on social networks are connecting for the right reasons?  Do you automatically connect on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn?  Why?

There are many tales, particularly within LinkedIn, of people asking to connect and then spamming your connections with something along the lines of: “I see you and I share Bob as a connection. He said I should get in contact with you as there is something I can do to help your business”.

Would you share a client list with a member of your network before you had a good idea of what they are all about as I know I wouldn’t.  All I’m saying is don’t automatically connect to everyone who invites you to.  Ask them how you can help each other and what they are looking for.  The chances are they won’t reply at which point, simply delete the invitation.

When they do reply, keep an eye out for the sales pitch. For large numbers of people, the first response they get from that person is a sales pitch. They try to circumvent the process of getting to know the connection, build trust and then get to the point where leads and referrals happen.

If you do find that someone isn’t interested in connecting with you for the right reasons, there is a very simple solution. You can simply remove the connection. It doesn’t tell them and you can simply fade away, protect yourself from the incessant sales pitches and protect your network from the same.