When I started charging people for my time, I found a much better level of conversation and connection – and referrals went through the roof. Why? The person writing the check VALUED MY EXPERTISE, paid attention, took notes, implemented the strategy we outlined and saw results (read: real ROI).
A recent (well, a few weeks ago) post by Chris Brogan was sent to me by my good friend, Barbara Talisman and we had a nice email exchange about the post and the topics covered. Brogan discusses strategies for asking for the sale and being a salesman (not the pushy and old-fashioned or the always-be-closing mentality) over giving everything away for free.
The article took me for a few reads to fully understand not only the message but how the message relates to myself. One paragraph in particular hit a cord (or whatever you want to say):
A few years ago, I was getting taken out to a lot of “free lunches” so that others could “pick my brain.” One day, it dawned on me: this lunch isn’t free. It’s costing me time. My information isn’t free. It’s taken me years to get it, and the people using this information are making material gain from the advice I give.
Those of you who know me, know my almost inability to say no. Trust me, it’s not as good of a quality as you might think.
Now I do think there is a huge difference between having lunch to connect or network versus a lunch where somebody meets to ask how they can use social media to brand their service or product. In fact, I do love both instances but did tend to feel used after a pick-your-brain lunch (funny how those people turn up later using your strategies but never give you credit). Ok, that parenthesis sounded bitter – sorry!
So here I sit. One part of me says to share the knowledge and information and heck, it will educate more of the world on the proper way (yes, I do think there are too many “consultants” doing it incorrectly) to use the internet to market, engage with their customers, and brand themselves (not just build followers on Facebook). The other part that just paid a lawyer for advice says heck no.
I know quite a few people who constantly operate at the first mentioned, thinking the more information they give away the more power and success they will obtain. However, I also hear on the side from the grapevine that those same people are not respected from either side of the table.
I am not claiming Holy Mary here; I used to be a free consultant years ago. I admit it.
So what’s the difference here, you ask. Not sure but would you take advice on a financial strategy from a free consultant over one who charges what they are worth (because they have proved they are worth money)?
I frequently receive requests from the twitter world on how I know when somebody stops following me and/or when somebody adds me to a twitter list. A few thought I constantly monitor and search twitter; though I wish I was that ambitious, I use two tools that monitor and notify me:
TwUnfollow: “Notifies you about Twitter followers that are not following you any longer. At the moment we check the followers about four to five times a day” says their website.
I receive one email a day with a [usually] short list with links to the followers who decided to stop following. Use the information as part of your strategy. I know when I follow somebody it’s because I like the information they are posting and NOT because I simply want them to follow me back. A lot of the unfollows I receive are from accounts who have followed me, then when I do not follow back they decide to unfollow (which, I think is bogus – follow me because you like what I say, not to get more followers).
List Watcher: “It sends you a DM when: Someone adds you to a list, Someone deletes you from a list, A list with you is made private or deleted, and/or A list containing you is renamed” says the website.
If you follow @listwatcher they will do the rest! I absolutely love these DM’s; they keep me on top of lists that followers have added me to, directly view the list, and I can find new people to follow!
Hope these help! As always, if you have a question about Twitter, feel free to ask in the comments!
Justin G. Roy
So far, I have learned and/or heard the following this week:
Case of the Monday’s
Today is Thursday, so tomorrow is Friday!
My favorite – What the heck is blogging?
I notice there is no word for Tuesday. Any suggestions?
Recently, I came across a post by Celeste Wroblewski, vice president of external relations at Donors Forum in Illinois on Getting Attention blog titled Less Is More! – Uncommon Advice from a Nonprofit Social Media Enthusiast.
Wroblewski brings up some very valid points for the use of time in social media but does focus a bit more on the traditional billboard marketing strategy rather than stepping out of your comfort zone, realizing and understanding that today’s consumer is demanding a much different experience with your brand (yes, a nonprofit is a brand). It goes without saying that social media (online branding and marketing) is not a fad, it’s here to stay, and the delay in acceptance only puts your competitors that much further ahead.
Moving into a more donor-based brand, isn’t the purpose to share your mission, open your arms, and educate your different constituents? You do not have to share that you recently got a coffee or saw a plane, but what about opening your gates a little to let folks know what goes on in your office on a daily basis? If something funny happened that day, share it. Let your current and [just as important] potential future donors get to know you as a human.
Let’s not forget (and I am not going to explore it today) the additional search results that come from participation on social networking sites. Can your brand afford not to create additional pages of search results?
I wanted to share my response to the article and ask for your opinion:
There are some great points brought up in the post above, in regards to sometimes flooding the online waves and I wanted to thank, Celeste for posting!
I do agree on the “rules” or accepted numbers challenge above; there really is not any “proven” magic number on how many blogs, posts, comments, tweets, or what-have-you. When you see interesting posts or information that you think your followers would like to read – post it. If you don’t then do not retweet something or post just to cross it off your list. Everybody’s following and their habits are different than another’s, so experiment and find out what works best for you in regards to building your followers/friends/readers/etc.
I am curious, however, why a nonprofit would go out onto any of these social networks if they are not going to be active? Simply being present is not enough for any online branding and marketing (aka social media) strategy. Would you attend a networking event and sit in the corner, choosing one person (based on the numbers), walk up to them and announce your good news, then walk away?
Any good strategy/plan would understand and touch upon the importance of building your audience (your target market), engaging your audience, building links and traffic to your site, and having a call to action. It’s time to throw away the billboard mentality and truly understand what online marketing and branding (social media) really is.
Time (free or spent) is absolutely an ongoing challenge for any brand (yes, nonprofits are brands too), adding in the question of who is responsible for social media. Some larger brands have resources to assign and most small(er) businesses don’t. When I speak to small business owners, I often remind them that it is just as important to “work” for your own business and don’t loose sight of that. If you allocate 10 hours a week to marketing then fit social media and engagement strategy in there.
I am really curious to hear others thoughts on this, knowing that I may be standing alone in left field. However, just as we embrace the ability to say what we feel we also need to embrace the possibility of standing alone.
What are your thoughts?
Last week I posted about being approached by Barbara Talisman from Talisman Associates to comment and contribute on her blog, Talisman Thinking Out loud, to a blog post she was at the time writing on social media connections. A wonderful (I might be biased) post came out of our conversations and interviews and was divided into two parts; it was pretty long as one and I think Barbara forgot how much I like to talk and how difficult it is to interrupt/cut me off when I get going.
The two major questions we talked about for Part 2 of the post, included:
- What does looking at someone’s website or blog tell you about them?
- Does it matter if they represent a company v. personal brand?
Remember with whatever web (2.0 or have we decided on 3.0 yet) era we are in it’s important to remember that our main source of information is the world wide web. World Wide.
How do you, or your brand, want to be portrayed? As somebody who understands the need to claim their space online and engage with their visitors or somebody who half-you-know-what their strategy?
Honestly, it’s 2010 and if you do not have a URL for me to browse to you have lost me. You do not need to be a technical genius to build your own website on Go Daddy (or any of the others) or a blog-website combo on WordPress. If you really cannot build one, ask your network and barter with your strengths – somebody once offered me a home cooked meal (with her family) in exchange for help setting up a WordPress site (the meal/deal was amazing).
I was recently approached by Barbara Talisman from Talisman Associates to comment and contribute on her blog, Talisman Thinking Out loud, to a blog post she [was at the time] recently wrote on evaluating your social media connections.
The first three questions we addressed (the next set will be posted next week):
- What makes a good person to follow on Twitter or how to determine who to follow v. block?
- How can you tell if someone on Twitter is legit – coming from a place of honesty, truth or knowledge?
- Does having a lot of followers and tweeting a lot mean you have something to say?
In today’s follow me – watch me – please engage with me world it’s important for everybody (regardless of industry) to understand their strategy, understand who and what their brand is, and communicate properly. Insert integrated communications.
Rather than repost the entire article, please visit the blog: Click here to read the post!
Could I be any more behind? Sorry!
So back in March the Worcester Business Journal published a very nice article highlighting yours truly on my position with Nichols College as their Director of Social Media.
Trust me, it’s more than being on Facebook all day. It’s online branding, online marketing, digital communications, digital applications, and social networking. I am responsible for making sure the college is found online and dominates the competition. Though I am aware my outlook and strategy here is more inline with the corporate world I truly belive higher education needs to think of themselves more as a brand.
How do we brand ourselves? Who is our competition?
Well, I will say this – the concentration is filling the first three pages of search engines with at least 18 keywords and key phrases in 18 months. (I think my favorite numbers are 3 and 18)
How will I do this? Oh, a number of ways. Subscribe to this blog (look to the right on the sidebar – or scroll up and look to the right) by email or simply use the RSS feed to find out.
What? Give away my secrets?
If you just thought that (or said it out loud) prepare to rethink 2010. It’s not the internet age anymore, it’s the age of open source, open communication, and sharing. I’ll let you know what I am doing, where I am positing and going. Mimic it if you want. Contact me with any questions (hint – click contact tab)
Oh, wait, I veered way off subject here. So here is the link to the Worcester Business Journal (WBJ) article.
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