Category Archives: Marketing

Using Social Media To Grow Your Influence

I have a nice little series going on here concerning the topic of influence. I started out asking how influential we were online, and followed that up with what is influence and how can we use it. It’s time to go in a slightly different direction, that being how to grow influence, and since I’m trying to turn myself into the social media marketing guy, I’m going to use that as my premise for how I could possibly grow my influence. By the way, part of using social media marketing is also to grow your local influence, so I’m going to be considering that as well. I’ve been assuming this is all a part of marketing and branding myself at the same time; I hope you’re thinking along the same lines.

Before I go any further, I have to give credit where credit is due. Though I’ve been thinking about the subject for awhile, it never really hit my mind to start writing about it until this young lady named Mandee Widrick kind of started making it her business to grow her influence. Oddly enough, she’s trying to become what I’m trying to become, but I don’t see it as a sense of competition, hence I’m not afraid to talk about her. Anyway, she wrote a blog post titled Fast Company’s Influence Project, where a site is doing a project trying to help people figure out just how influential they are. You sign up, get a link, then you send your link out, trying to get people to click on it so that you can find out just how influential you are. I thought about it for a brief minute, then my mind said it was a lot like the Alexa Toolbar used to be considered, only I’d have to work at it. And I figured if I was going to work on something I’d rather work on my own stuff. Still, her site is good reading; so says I.

Back to the subject at hand; just how am I going to use social media to grow my influence? This time I’m going to start with talking about Facebook. Last Friday my business page finally hit 100 members, and I’m proud of that fact. I want it to continue growing, but I really worked on promoting that bad boy on Twitter and on Facebook itself. I’ve talked about it here, but not on my other blog, and I’ve totally forgotten to mention it on LinkedIn, so that’s coming as well. I’m going to begin using the fact that I’m up to 100 members as a promotional tool to get even more folks to join. Of course, I need to keep updating it with my information, which is mainly my blog postings, but I also need to occasionally pop something in there that touches upon a topic I discuss for business, which I try to do.

Next, I’m going to use this blog. Remember last week I said this blog was linked to around 14,000 other sites? Well, when I was going through that list a bit I saw I was on sites I knew nothing about. So I’m going to check those sites out, and if there’s a possibility to do so, I’m going to post a comment on those posts, and I’m going to then link some of them here so folks can see that I’m elsewhere in the blogosphere. I just hope they’re not scraped sites. lol Overall, however, I believe the mix of both business and personal topics has worked well with this blog.

I’ve already started a Twitter strategy, and I’m going to keep it going. This blog has a lot of topics on things such as SEO, blogging, and writing, some of them a couple of years old, and people have missed them. So, I’m going back, looking at them, and the better ones I’m popping on Twitter every once in a while. I’m doing the same thing for my business blog. I figure I have nearly 15,000 links between the two blogs, so why not use them? I’ve also popped an occasional oldie but goodie from my business blog onto my Facebook page; I just remembered that. And I’m posting links to articles I’ve written on other sites as well to Twitter; trying to show I’m a well rounded guy.

Here’s the thing about Twitter, if I may. It’s my best chance for growing my influence with the local people, who really don’t know what I’m all about. I talk to more of them all the time, and if in some fashion I can get them talking about me more, and not just because of the potential Syracuse wiki project, it can only turn out good.

As for LinkedIn, well, the best I can do is keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is going in every 3 or 4 days and posting something, anything to keep it live, and now I can post the thing about my Facebook business page; whew! And I’ve been trying to be a bit more active in some of the LinkedIn groups, which can be difficult because often there’s really nothing I’m in the mood to comment on. But it has to get done, as I work on this influence campaign.

Oh, there’s one final piece. One thing I haven’t really done is create a business profile of sorts. I have a bio page on my main site, and an about page on my second business site, but I need something a bit more business professional and direct that I can either print up or send as a pdf to potential clients. I need to work on that, with an image, and get that going, hoping to circumvent calls for a CV for interim projects. I hate producing a CV; I’m an incorporated business person after all, with a business license. But in this case we do what we have to do. But I’m not going to give up my humanity either; no, that’s not my daughter. 🙂

Have I covered everything? Probably not, but it’s a process that I’m going to begin. And though it’s going to be ongoing, I’m going to see if I can figure out a way to track progress over the next two months. This could be a great case study and could turn into a seminar of some type; let’s see what happens.

The Superman Syndrome — The Magic of Myth in the Pursuit of Power: The Positive Mental Moxie of Myth for Personal Growth








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What Is Influence?

On Saturday I wrote a post titled How Influential Are You Online, and I ended that post with this: “what is influence anyway, and how does one use it?” I said I would tackle that question this week; this is me tackling it.

influence
Sean MacEntee via Compfight

In general, influence is the power to make an effect of some kind. It can be positive or negative, which of course isn’t good, but that’s just how it goes.

If you think about Star Wars for a quick minute, Emperor Palpatine is a great example of influence. He’s a bad guy who does good things and gets people to believe in him and want him to become supreme chancellor. At the same time, he’s the most evil thing in the universe, the emperor who can get Darth Vader to do anything he wants him to do. In essence, he’s leading the same people he’s fighting against; how’s that for real power?

Reigning it back in, since none of us are going to be either of those things (thank goodness), we’re left to look at ourselves to first determine if we have any real influence over others, and if we do how are we using it. Parents, we’re keeping the discussion of children out of this one for now, so I don’t want to hear any “I’m a parent and I influence my children” stuff. Trust me, for the most part it’s not true anyway (yeah, I said it).

Let’s go back a bit to my previous post on the subject. I mentioned this thing about social media and the question that was asked about people locally. No one mentioned my name, yet I just did that workshop. What’s funny is that two days before, I went on Twitter and said I knew everyone already knew about it, but I just wanted to put it out there one more time. Two people actually wrote me to say they didn’t know I was doing it. I mean, I posted it every day at least once a day, mixed up the times, and wrote 4 blog posts about it, and still people didn’t know? And, to be truthful, not a single person I talk to locally on Twitter came, or said they were coming. Influential; I think not.

Last year when I did the webinar on social media and SEO, the product of which is sitting there at the top left, I actually had a little bit of influence, as a couple of people paid to sit in on that conversation. One I drove there because of this blog, the other because of email. Renée drove people because of her association with the Liverpool Chamber. Neither of us drove tons, but we got enough people there to make putting the event on worthwhile.

This leads us to the next part of my question, which is how do we use influence? For me, I’m looking to use my influence to get people to sign up for my workshop, at least locally. Online, I’m looking to drive people to buy or at least look at the few products I’ve created so far.

I’m also trying to use my influence to drive traffic to my blogs and some of my websites; after all, what I really want to do is to continue growing my influence as much as I can for my ultimate goal as a professional presenter, traveling the country talking to people about a host of things. I actually love doing that; standing in front of people is a rush that I know a lot of folks hate. For me, getting paid, and paid well, to talk to people would be just great.

So, I need to increase my influence so I can use it when I get there. And how am I going to do that? Well, I’m not quite sure, but I have a plan. I’ll talk about that next time.
 

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Social Media Marketing Strategy, Phase III

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m going to be doing this social media marketing workshop on July 22nd locally, which is next Thursday. My friend Renée Scherer of Presentations Plus! and I have been working this thing both online and offline, although she’s much better offline than I am either online or offline. I initially brought up this subject in a post talking about my social media marketing goal, which was to put bodies in the seats at Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland, and wrote a follow up post on how I was applying the social media strategy early on. I’d like to progress from that point to tell you where things are now as far as the marketing efforts.

Hope Lake Lodge

You might want to know why I’m talking about it. Whether it’s a great success or not, when I do the workshop next week, I’d like to talk about the online strategy I undertook in trying to promote this event. My goal, of course, is to put bodies in seats. My other goal, however, is to make sure that there’s not a single local person who I’m in contact with online who can say that they didn’t know I was doing this thing. If people can’t come, that’s one thing; after all, it’s summer, vacations and the like. It’s another if someone who would have wanted to come said “You were doing that; man, I’d have loved to come to that.”

How have we progressed since the last post on the subject? First, I finally went down to see the place, and I have to admit that I was amazed. You know, you get impressions about places, and knowing that it’s originally a ski lodge, and I don’t ski, my imagination was running wild. It’s an amazing facility overall, and it’s much bigger and more spread out than I’d known it would be. The lodge is pretty big also and they’ve laid it out so that you can get either basic accommodations, which are fairly nice, or really soup it up and go luxury, which will include kitchens, multiple bathrooms, fireplaces… the works! The indoor water park wasn’t what I was expecting either, and it’s neat because the outdoor pool actually works like a hot tub when it’s cold, and a regular pool when it’s warm, as it’s always 84 degrees. Just an amazing place overall.

That visit ended up prompting this video that Renée shot, though she shot it up this way in front of the sign highlighting the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, which we’re both members of, since they’re helping us promote by sending an email blast in support of our putting this thing on. Here’s the video:

Not bad, eh? Anyway, this allowed us to add the link to the video in the latest email blast, and of course to pop the video link on both Twitter and Facebook. I’m going to pop it on LinkedIn as well, and in my last email blast I’ll make sure it goes out. This was actually pretty important because I now know how to help people set up a YouTube account, although for whatever reason it wouldn’t let us upload an image last night; these things can be hinky sometimes.

Of course email blasts are important for us to do, and Renée has been using Constant Contact to sign up for your Free trial, which is offering a free trial, to send her email out. She’s going to be teaching that portion of the workshop, as it’s something I still haven’t tried out, but I really need to one of these days.

indoor water park

Meanwhile, you’ve probably seen the sticky post, and for others who come into the blog they’ll see it as well. I’m going to be leaving it up after next week, but changing the date to August 19th, as that’s the date of our second presentation. I also finally wrote about it on my other two blogs, so that made it a 3-pronged attack on Twitter, since every blog post shows up there.

The rest? I’m making sure I post the link to the registration page at least once a day on Twitter. I’m probably going to step that up over this last week, since I seem to always be up, to make sure I hit both the morning crowd and the evening crowd. I have a lot of local folks following me, so I’m taking no chances. One more email from me and that’ll be that. And get this; we were able to get the people at Hope Lake Lodge to send an email blast to their mailing list, which was around 20,000 people; neat! Renée can talk people into doing some very interesting things, I must say.

Also, I realized that I needed to create an event on my Facebook business page. I was under the initial assumption that creating an event the normal way would move over to my business page since I was the guy creating it, but it doesn’t work that way. So I created the event and popped it onto my business page there, and I helped Renée pop a link on her Facebook page as well. I didn’t have her create a new event because it would have read the same way as mine, and I figured that since we have many of the same people on both of our pages that would be a bit redundant.

Right now, I can say that we have enough bodies so that we can do this thing, and that was the initial goal. Of course we want more bodies, so it’s time for the final push. How will it all end up? Stay tuned!

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SMM Strategy, Phase II

Last Monday I posted about my first social media marketing goal. I had said that I was going to have a sticky post for 10 days before the event. Well, give me a few days before that, as in 6 more days. It just didn’t make sense not to advertise this as soon as possible. So, starting tomorrow, there will be a sticky post through the first workshop date, then I’ll slightly modify it and leave it up through the second one. The first date is July 22nd, the second August 19th.

What’s been the next stage of marketing this event? First, I finally created my version of the advertising & registration page and put it on my other site. In the last post I was sending you to Renée’s calendar page, and I decided that I wanted to create a marketing and sales page that looked more like our flyer and finally put a biography of sorts online so people who didn’t know who I really was could learn something about me, and of course Renée as well. Oh yeah, the image you see here is on the flyer, as the title of the presentation is “Make A Splash With Social Media Marketing”. 🙂

Second, Renée has sent out the first notifications to her email list. I’m waiting until later tonight to send out my first blast, but this time I’m going to be a bit more circumspect in who I send the notices to. I’ve decided that it’s not worth it to me to send the notice out to people who I don’t know, even if I have their email addresses. My thought is that if I send it to people who don’t know me that well that they not only won’t necessarily be happy, but they won’t forward it to others who might find the topic interesting. I could be wrong on that front, but so be it. If I didn’t learn anything from the last workshop I tried to market, then I need to get out of the game.

Third, you know the Twitter “blast” is coming. Actually, it’s not going to be all that much of a blast, but this week will have 3 different posts, of a sort. Yesterday I put out the new link to register for the event. Today is this post, which also has the link to the post. Tomorrow is the sticky post; 3 notifications in a row with a slightly different message talking about the same thing.

Fourth, I’ve put it out on Facebook. I first put it into my FB business page as a link. Then I added an event mentioning the workshop, but only for July 22nd. I’ll create a new one for the August presentation; I actually think I could create it now for August, but I think it’s way too early to do. I already have one person saying she’s coming to the event, and 3 saying they won’t be able to make it. Hey, it’s on a Thursday, and it’s not right in the city, which means participants living in Syracuse will have to drive at least 40 minutes. Still, and not because I’m putting it on, but I think this event is so worth it, which is why I’m taking part in it.

Fifth, I’ll start mentioning it more often on LinkedIn. I don’t have a place to advertise it a lot, but it will get mentioned enough times to that the message will get out, such that no one should have the opportunity to say “I didn’t know you were doing that.” Nope, not buying it.

That’s where things are going at the present time. I don’t know if there will be another update on this bad boy or not, at least until it’s over. Then again, I probably need to have at least one more beforehand, the last push for success. So, I make no promises either way. By the way, if you see my wife today, wish her a happy birthday; just don’t tell her I told you.
 

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Zac Johnson’s Six Figure Affiliate Blogging – A Review

Back in May, I decided to download the free ebook by Zac Johnson called Six Figure Affiliate Blogging. I’ve been following Zac’s blog for almost 2 years and have enjoyed checking out his posts. I figured that it can’t hurt following a guy who has almost 14,000 subscribers, and I might even learn something some day. So, when I saw that he had an ebook, and that it was free, well, I figured I’d have to be an idiot not to download it. So, now I’m going to review the book for you.

It’s actually two books in one. The first 2/3rds of the book are Zac’s ideas on how one could possibly make money in blogging. The last 1/3rd of the book are interviews he conducted with some of the top earning bloggers out there, such as John Chow & Jeremy Shoemaker. It’s actually pretty neat reading, but of course that part won’t make you any money. However, I always find it intriguing seeing how other people got started in the business and achieved success, which is why I run interviews on two of my blogs.

Back to this book. You start off with a little history of Zac, and let’s just say he’s learned how to make money online. Then there’s a brief tutorial on what affiliate marketing is, what blogging is, selecting niches, hosting, etc. If you have any knowledge of this sort of thing already, as I did, you’re probably going to skim it and move on.

Something big that he talks about is branding, and one of his recommendations is paying someone to create a unique blog for you. It’s an interesting concept, something I can’t totally say I agree or disagree with overall, but I will say that having a unique design might pull in those people who first visit your site and entertain them for a short while. Long term I’m not so sure, but I guess it’s the idea of making a good first impression.

Then we have the concept of getting traffic to one’s blog, and of course he shares a lot of ideas there as well. I knew all of the ideas, but I have to admit that I haven’t put them all into place, so this is an area where some folks might gain something positive from reading it.

After that, and before the interviews, he gives you a lot of different types of ideas on how to make money on your blog, and he gives examples of what he and some other people have done in the past. There’s a lot here for novices, and even if you’ve been doing it for awhile if you’re not making a lot of money you might find something here. Of course Zac subscribes to the idea of creating email lists and using autoresponders, and indeed signing up for this ebook will put you on a mailing list and you’ll start getting some stuff for awhile. Still, it’s a free ebook, so one really can’t complain about it.

Had I written this review in May, I could have qualified for a contest he was running, but I decided to write it now so that it wouldn’t look like I was doing it just to enter a contest. If you’re new to the game, and you want to find out what it’s all about, this is an easy recommendation. If you’re someone who’s looking for ideas to kick start stuff, it’s worth reading as well. And even if you’re more experienced, if you’re not making lots of money with affiliate marketing, and trust me I’m not, then it’s worth reading to see if you can pick up a thing or two to use. I’m going to have to interview him one of these days, if he’s up to it.

Wimbledon-Record Breakers Video








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