Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Watch your P's and Q's!

In an article by Asher Moses  this week, it was revealed that Facebook has a dirty secret- they track your every movement on the web, even when you've logged out of the website. Which poses the question what do you have to hide about your online activity? What sort of digital footprint have you created and how could it effect your business?

Did you know that everything you have ever done on the web is preserved in archives that
are easy to access with tools like The Wayback Machine. Most people don't have cookie tracking software like Facebook does, however should your audience or customers Google you, they can find out all sorts of things; not only about you, but your business and gain an insight into who you are.

Have you been negative about a competitor? Sworn and vented  in a status update on a bad day?  Joined and been active on pages, groups and forums that may once have been totally appropriate, but now are completely opposed to the image and business you are trying to build? It's all there in archives and its what makes up your digital footprint for all too see.

When your trying to conduct or promote business online its important to remember that if your customers are savvy enough to find you online, they're savvy enough to Google you. The web isn't a private place, so make sure you have a distinct demarcation line in your own mind between the use of your personal persona and the use of your business persona.

What you can do

Have separate log-ins and usernames that are completely different for each persona. And for your private persona utilise as many privacy settings and options as you can, so that meaningless stuff doesn't end up offending people that were never meant to read it. Don't post negativity on your business pages, or your personal opinions, save that for your personal pages.

Facebook has now agreed to stop tracking their users. However their actions generated masses of negative publicity. They're a big enough 'business' to be able to survive, but if in a situation where bad press or word of mouth got out about you or your business, would you survive?

Think Nike using child labour, McDonalds using beef fat to fry their 'vegetarian' fries. Can you think of any others? How do you feel about what Facebook has done? How would you deal with it if it were you?

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Ballyhoo..

We all have talents, gifts and abilities that are interesting to others and marketable. Whether its a blog written in your spare time or a product that you lovingly make.

Not everyone can afford to hire Sales Reps to peddle their wares, or the over heads of a shop front . Rotary, Toastmaster, Lodges of different sorts and sporting groups and womens auxiliries were once the social network through which connections were made and businesses were promoted. less and less do we have the time to attend traders association meetings, join clubs and community groups to promote ourselves through  and likewise, customers don't have time in which to seek you or your services out on the net. This is why a social media marketing strategy is a must for modern business. Network marketing or marketing yourself through a network has been the first step to a successful business since business began.

But how do you separate yourself from the rest of the information out there? How do you make yourself stand out so you don't become more of the whitenoise and static? 

Effective promotion via social networking can be tricky...and word of mouth is still arguably the most effective means of promotion around. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to combine the two. A customer has more faith in the opinions of their friends than they do in you or your product. So lets make that work for you. Lets earn their trust and let them convert their friends for you.

There are so many hints and tips sheets on how to effectively social network on the web, that you could spend hours researching what works best for your audience and still not find what you're after. Especially if you're not exactly sure who your audience is or what your goals are. 

 I'll save you time and effort by putting down what I have learnt by doing the hard yards myself, so you can learn from my experiences. I can't  teach you to convince those that aren't in your target audience to buy from you, but I can help you learn to target your actual audience more effectively. I can show you how to ballyhoo.

You may not be able to please all the people all the time, but you sure can social network effectively with a little thought.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Ballyhoo?

One day I decided it was time to expand my audience and get my products out to the world. The internet was there so why not use it as a resource. I thought it would be as simple as putting the photos and descriptions out there and people would flock to my wares. Right? Wrong.

I set up pages and started trying to build a network and to get people to buy from me. I joined every WAHM (Work at home mum) website and forum, 'liked' and joined pages
for pages similar to mine and began posting, tweeting and updating
statuses driven by the want to succeed.
And- nothing happened.

I got some followers, but it didn't translate into sales. I tried to find out how other running pages like mine were promoting themselves to no avail. I acknowledged every comment or like on my pages, and again nothing. Unsure what I was doing wrong, I began to cross promote each of my pages through my other pages. I didn't even realise I was spamming my potential marketing network.

One day I got a message from a friend “Don't be offended but I'm removing your pages from my news feed. I love your stuff, but there are just too many messages. If anything happens or you make something new you think I need to know about email me the info!”

This led to an epiphany, which was that I didn't know what I was doing. I was exhausted from all the tweeting, updating and posting, friend requesting, joining and liking and it had gotten me nowhere. The networking forums and sites did nothing but get people to 'like' my page with no further interactions.

Confused, I closed my pages temporarily and observed. How often people posted. What they posted. The things that my friends and I took notice of and the things we got rid of from our news feeds, notifications and messages without reading.

I re-opened my page and applied everything I had observed and it worked! Patience is key.

I want to use those observations to help others avoid the frustration and self doubt I went through. Social media marketing is not as easy as you think it will be, but it doesn't have to be hard either.