Yes, Social Media is Media As Well

After listening to my Media episode yesterday I decided I could talk more about using social media to get your message to your market.

I discuss the main benefits and pitfalls of Social media.

How to harness the power of images for marketing (and be cool)

The Local Socail Business ShowImages have long been used for communication of ideas since the dawn of human societies, well before any forms of written language.

We are hardwired to process our world visually, to judge threats, opportunities and make fast decisions.

A few thousand years later, images began being used in advertising and marketing. As soon as people worked out how powerful they are at communicating desires and emotions. You know the saying – ‘a picture says a thousand words’.

And now, with our ability to publish content to the world at will, in just a few seconds, the majority of sharing and interaction on Facebook and the other large Social networks are images. So much so that I would suggest that Images are the currency of the social web.

As Web and Graphic designers, we are essentially dealing in images constantly. Whether they are photos, logos, advertisements. Almost everything we do has a visual aspect to it.

We get a lot of requests from clients or potential clients to ‘just get an image from Google images’.

This is something that except for a very few (legal) circumstances we won’t do. Images on Google images ARE NOT FREE. They are not there for anyone to use as they wish. Somebody has taken that photo of created that image (in the case of graphics), and they own the copyright.

One more thing… an image from Google Images, isn’t your business. It isn’t helping you relate anything about you and your company to your website visitors, or readers of your brochure.

Be cool.

My opinion is you should whenever possible, create and use your own images from your own business, your products, your customers, your staff and your events. Make them authentic… People can tell.

If you have some important images you need to showcase your business for branding purposes, use a professional photographer.

If you need some shots for your social media efforts – take your own. Get into the habit of taking photos just for the sake of it. If you’re developing a new product – take some photos; running a workshop or seminar – take some photos; attending an event – you get the picture (sorry).

While most of them won’t be great, you’ll be amazed how often some shots you took will come in handy.

Want more about the power of images in marketing

One of the recent episodes of our podcast ‘The Local Social Business Show’ covered a broad range of uses of images to promote your business online. From Blog posts, to Facebook and Pinterest, we cover it all.

Jump over and have a listen to the episode here, and subscribe to the show in iTunes to listen to all of our marketing tips for free every fortnight.

Is This First Impression Ruining Your Facebook Reputation

Here is how NOT to get new fans on Facebook:

I recorded this after a business spammed one of my Facebook Pages wall with a blatant sales message. After a bit of investigation, I found they were posting the same message on the walls of a large number of other business pages.

I outline what they did, and what they should be doing instead.

If you find this helpful, jump over and like our Facebook page for more helpful tips like this.

How to tag People and Pages in Facebook posts

Tagging others in your Facebook posts creates a link direct from your post or comment to the tagged Persons profile or the Facebook Page. It is a great way to promote others, stay connected and at the same time, increase the exposure of your Facebook Page.

In this short (3:46sec) video I show exactly:

  • How to you how to tag your friends and pages
  • I explain how it increases the visibility of you or your Page
  • A sneaky way of tagging People as your Facebook Page (hint: your Page can’t tag people)

As always, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

How to put your word-of-mouth marketing on steroids

Everybody in business knows that word of mouth is the absolute best form of marketing for their business.

Having a third party recommend your business is more credible in the eyes of the potential customers. Numerous studies have shown that recommendations from friends and even complete strangers have much higher levels of trust than advertising.

The problem with word of mouth marketing is that it is really hard to instigate, encourage or control. For someone to recommend your business, you need to be top of their mind when they happen to be having a conversation with someone who needs your products or services. Basically the right person needs to be in the right place at the right time, having the right conversation to make the referral.

Enter social media

Social media removes some of the barriers of word-of-mouth referrals and makes it easier for your customers to refer or recommend your services. In fact, it makes it so easy, often times, people don’t even realise they are doing it.

Staying Top of mind

Social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or even email, allows you regular contact with the fans and customers of your business. That regular contact is critical to reminding your fans that you exist.

Here’s the thing… The contact doesn’t have to be anything heavy. It doesn’t have to be a sales call, a product offer or any form of ‘marketing message’. In fact, it is better if it isn’t (of course there is a place for promoting sales from time to time).

The point is purely to let them know you are still here. Doing your thing. Helping people.

Make it easy to share and promote your business

Before social media, contacting people was slow and expensive. But now, taking 10 minutes to post a photo or a tip on Facebook, and you’ve made contact with all of your fans who are interested enough to follow you.

The trick is posting something interesting that inspires your fans and followers to want to have their say. To share it with their friends.

It only takes 2 seconds to click the ‘like’ button or send a retweet on Twitter, or a minute to compose a comment. On Facebook, every interaction with your content spreads your idea and the visibility of your business further, to reach a larger audience. Effectively removing the barriers of referring your business.

How to make this work for your business

If you haven’t already, set up your presence on these platforms.

Think about what sort of content would be useful or interesting for your customers, and plan some cool content. Remember, content, can be short text tips, long articles, photos or video.

Get some fans. Spread the word with your staff, friend and customers, and give them all a reason to follow you on these services.

Get publishing. Be cool.

Speaking of being cool. If you found this article helpful, I’d appreciate it if you took a moment to write a comment below or share this article on Facebook.

How to help your customers, leverage your time and create valuable content

I recently made this quick video.

Inside the video I explain how I answered a clients question using video, which meant rather than just explaining them the answer (it was slightly technical), I could show them exactly what they needed to do to fix their problem.

Using video to communicate with the client had three further benefits:

  1. The client can refer to the video if they need reminded again
  2. I can share the same video with anyone else with the same question
  3. I just created some valuable content I can share via Social media

People LOVE video

Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine on the internet, and the lion’s share of the videos watched are How-to in nature.

Have a watch of the video and let me know what you think in the comments.

How to use Facebook places to market your local business

Facebook Places just went live here in New Zealand yesterday.

I just posted this Cinchcast which covers, what Location services are, how they work, and why they are important in marketing your local business online.

Heres what you need to do now.

1. Go and make sure you are listed on Facebook places (and Foursquare for that matter)
(Beg or borrow a smart phone from a friend if you don’t have one yourself…. or go buy an iphone because you should have one anyway.

If your business isn’t listed, then add it.

2. Go to and claim your listing
(just follow along with the instructions)

3. Encourage people to check in to your business. Put up a sign, ask customers as part of your sales process. Especially customers playing with their nice new iPhone in the queue.

Could you do me a favour and leave a comment below. Tell me if you found it helpful or if you have any other questions.

My Forehead-slappingly obvious lesson in Marketing

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was a Strawberry Farmer.

As with most horticulture businesses, I had a hand in every part of the operation, which was great for understanding the whole picture of running a business.

Some parts of the business I am glad to be finished with, such as getting up and starting work at 6am (and finishing at 6pm). But I really enjoyed the grass roots marketing of the berries.

Talking to customers, working out pricing (which changes daily in the fruit and vege game), and coming up with marketing strategies and promotions. this was the interesting stuff for me.

I recently got a lesson in PR from Mary and Ian who are now running the Farm

It is funny how when you are busy running around in your business sometimes you miss the “slap myself in the head” obvious stuff.

The beginning of last season, the strawberry packing team weighed in a monster Strawberry at 78 grams. That’s a pretty big strawberry… Three of those and you’ve filled an average punnet.

Super impressed with their 78g berry, Mary mentioned it to a local reporter… And just like that, they had a story run in the local Newspaper.

How is that for publicity?

But it gets even better… The local newspaper is part of the Fairfax media group here in New Zealand, and it must have been a slow News week because before you new it, Fairfax papers republished the story throughout the country.

Seriously… National exposure of their strawberries, just because they grew a large strawberry.

Funny thing is, Monster strawberries are pain in the arse… I know because, here’s the kicker, when I was running the show, our record was 105 grams!!!!

That’s about the size of a small apple.

But here’s the thing. When we weighed our mega-berry, we thought, that’s cool, we showed it to a handful of customers, and then gave it away (or ate it, I can’t remember). That was it!

What’s the lesson?

If you find something in your business that you think is cool, somebody else probably does as well. Don’t assume that no-one else cares. Ask them to find out.

Ok, sure, if I had told a friendly reporter about our 105g strawberry, it’s possible they would have said, “so what”. And obviously you won’t necessarily get massive exposure – but you might!

When it comes to marketing and publicity, sometimes it is hard to know what will strike a cord and take off. Take the “double rainbow” guy on YouTube… Who would have thought that would get 24.7 million views?

With Social media, you can publish things with a couple of clicks

Publishing news (or stories and quirks) about your business online is as simple as a few clicks, and while it might not make you front page news, they might just get you front of mind with some potential customers. And what can be more valuable than that?

3 things all top influencers do on Twitter

Twitter continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. And still the mainstream struggles to get it. Meanwhile others are building huge audiences and loyal fans all targeted to their particular industry or niche.

Twitter becomes more interesting the more followers you have. While engagement is the goal, more followers increase the readership of each update you post.

Over the years I’ve been on Twitter I have noticed some common characteristics of popular tweeters.

Here are 3 characteristics of top influencers on twitter that you should be emulating

1. Tweet more than average

By tweeting a lot, you increase your visibility. If I only log in to twitter a few minutes per day, I’m more likely to see your tweets than others. BUT before you run out and start tweeting like mad, influencers don’t tweet a lot purely for the visibility, their volume is related to spending the time on the points below.

2. Engage in conversations with others

Conversing with others shows you to be a real person with real opinions. It shows you are listening to and willing to engage with the community. The best tweeters really do build and maintain valuable relationships, which often lead into ‘real life’ relationships and opportunities.

On twitter, conversations has the added bonus of being public – you are sharing your audience with those you’re talking to, again increasing your exposure to new and wider audiences.

3. They promote others

Reciprocity is valuable on twitter as with all networks whether online or off. Nothing gains loyalty from someone faster than promoting them or their cause. Hailing someone as an expert or someone worth listening to is a huge compliment. And it is as simple as passing on their content or mentioning them in a tweet.

Two bonus tips:

4. Have a core message

Aside from the conversation and promotion of others, influencers have a core message. They specialise in one or two topics and become a hub of information and discussion around these topics. While they may make up less than 25% of their tweets these topics are consistent themes. It is much better to be a specialist rather than a generalist on Twitter (until you get at least 30 thousand followers).

5. Produce valuable content outside of Twitter or Facebook

Whether it is a blog, video on youtube, or photos on Flickr, consistently producing great content that people can use is the number one way to gain credibility in a field. It reinforces a core message and gains links and notoriety as it gets passed around Twitter and the wider web.

The most influential tweeters have most if not all of these factors in their twitter profiles.

How many of these characteristics apply to you?

Finding Great ideas

I came across this great video yesterday. It is a great analysis of the process of coming up with great ideas.

The take away for me, is that we need to share and discuss our ideas with others to allow them to incubate and grow and evolve… To let them become Great.

Keeping ideas hidden away from others is most likely to have them shrivel and die. they need to see the light of day to create something real and tangible.

Get out and network, connect with people in Social media – Talk about your ideas