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Archive for the category “marketing”

Do you really want to miss the train by not using social media in business-to-business?


Do you really want to miss the train by not using social media in business-to-business? Smaller FB

Consumer products and services have taken to the social media like a duck to water. Business-to-consumer makes a lot of sense as cause and effect lie so close and there is a lot instant gratification for either side. For the B2B world and especially capital equipment world this is still rarely true. Yet, if you plan, do, review and correct your path, the Internet and its entire social media outlets can provide you with a sustainable increase in business.

So how do you best use social media when you sell e.g. capital equipment to other original equipment manufacturers (OEM)? The answer revolves around one key element: Providing value as perceived by the OEM and the end user of the total package. Conventional sales focused on literally shot gun spraying of product and company info. The Web changed this for everybody – thankfully. Now you had better figure out what your brand’s core value preposition is and then delivering it. That is where social media has its place:

  1. The power of using YouTube in B2B is incredible. Here is where you can really set yourself apart from your competition. Show how-to content, how your product solves customer issues, shows your competitive edge, etc. The more content you provide the better. The sharable economy tsunami is finally hitting the C level suites of even smaller manufacturers. If you do not learn to share you will be run over by other folks who do this to show case their solutions.
  2. Use LinkendIn wherever you can. I have found it invaluable in finding new connections (watch my deliberate use of the word connections and not prospect/ customers) as well as new employees. Check out the interest group section and search for the interests of yours. There seems to be a group for everything. Follow groups and companies that are known for their leadership in the segment you would like to be active.
  3. Another great social media outlet for B2B has been Youtube. Create your own channel and fill it with value added material that delivers value. Make it no more than 5 minutes long if at all possible. Present a problem that you will solve, offer a solution and have a call for action available.
  4. Start your own blog as soon as you can. Either get your companies Internet folks to get you a spot on the company Web site. If worse comes to worse, create your own blog on e.g. WordPress. It is really easy to set up and fun to experiment with.
  5. I have found limited use for Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets that are much better suited for consumer goods. What you can and should do though is linking all your accounts to a social media management site like Hootsuite. This allows you to view all of the platforms with only one site and you can post to one or all of them at the same time. Now you can reach folks faster and you save time.

With a little gray matter and dedication of yours, you can easily manage social media for your B2B needs. Make sure to provide tangible value to your connections as seen from their point of view. Give it a try and like friend Kevin Ready always says make sure to measure your impact. Good luck!

Ralf

3 simple and quick ways of delivering social media content


3 simple and quick ways of delivering social media content Puzzled

Photo: Ralf Weiser. Hmm, how does that work again?

Anyone engaged on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, etc. at one point or another starts wondering how to consistently delivering great content and yet still save time. I get this set of questions all the time: “How do you find the time doing this and you still post all the time? Where and how do I start?” I have got 3 really easy and quick ways to do just that.

First of all relax if you have already started using most or all of the above mentioned social media platforms. You have already started to deliver content. What you will need now is a way how to deliver content to all of them.

  • BufferApp: You can get this for your smart phone or simply sign up via their web site. I use this site the most for collecting and sending out contents. Once installed you can put any site, photos, etc into the buffer storage (or simply post it right away) by simply clicking on the Buffer icon of your browser or smart phone share option. Connect the networks you want to distribute the content to and set a schedule when to do that. It is really simple and saves an incredible amount of time. Cool add on benefit is that the analytics tab shows you how many folks you have reached and how many clicks were recorded. You get a buffer storage of 10 at any given time. Check it out here: http://bufferapp.com/
  • Hootsuite: Another social media service that works much like Buffer is Hootsuite. It also lets you connect multiple platforms that you now can collect and deliver content with at a schedule set by you. Benefit is that you can also view your social media timelines. Discover more here: https://hootsuite.com/
  • Mailchimp: If you want to build a more meaningful reach to “your” tribe you may want to distribute your value added content by ways of using Mailchimp.com. This mail service lets you generate and then distribute your own electronic magazine. It is a great tool to keep in touch with folks who totally dig what you provide and it is just another great way for you to build up your followership.

Now the only thing left to do is to find suitable content. Set aside 15 to 20 minutes every other day to scour your favorite social media sites for your favorite topics. That is really all you need. Posting more than twice a day defeats the purpose of you trying to deliver content that people will actually pay attention to. Have fun trying one or all services out.

Ralf

Fun and business do go together


Fun and business do go together Ralf a

Whether at the height of a recession or even regular days at the office can be a stressful drab and drain the energy right out of you. Some people keep droning on and on about goals, strategy, profits and issues and problems all day and every day – yikes! I remember eons ago someone mentioning to me that where there is laughter, there is no work taking place. Are you kidding me? It is no wonder that the majority of today’s work force is not happy with their careers.

No doubt, corporate culture has the biggest impact on happiness at work, but a close second is the fun you have while you are on the job. Laughter relieves tension and stress. If you are a leader-manager you cannot do anything better than tapping into the power of humor in the work place. If you and your fellow employees do not have leadership that is thinking about or not providing it, take matters into your own hands and initiate it. Last but not least, get out of there if is there is nothing at all to laugh about at work. Happier employees make for a better morale not to forget happier customers as well.

When you really think about, the work place comes richly prepared with some solid fodder for fun. You need not be the real version of the TV show “The Office” and look far for fun. Customers, co-workers, meetings, memos, e-mails, and so much more bring forth barrels of laughs sometimes. Then you may have some gregarious team members on board who initiate fun situations. I can only invite you thinking about becoming the one inducing a bit of tension relief – especially if you are part of leadership.

What are some ways to have fun? Below a few real life examples that I am hoping will pique your curiosity and perhaps you can kick off boosting morale yourself soon. Make sure that you are around when you initiate this, otherwise fun can turn into stress too when people no longer think what you have done is funny. The whole point is to include people and having fun together. You are to laugh with, but not at people.

When my colleague goes on vacation we have often “improved” his office for him while he was out. One time we mirror imaged the whole room including his furniture (we stopped at rearranging the pictures on the wall though). Another time we blocked the door with card board boxes stacked up to the ceiling. Then one time we filled part of the room with shipping peanuts. Quite a long time ago he did not want to see anyone drop anything off into his in-bin, and so we took twine and bound up a nifty package of all the paperwork and suspended it from the ceiling. Thus there was truly nothing IN the in-bin.

With the next one you need to be careful not to damage any equipment. One time my co-workers glued my head set to the base. I forget what kind of glue it was, but it was strong enough to pick up the whole phone with the receiver and yet I was eventually able to separate the two again. I was totally surprised when a call came in and the whole phone was stuck in my hand.

Next thing I did was to take one phone out of their area and I substituted it with a string and a coffee can. The one who laughs last, laughs best….

Calling in and pretending to be a customer is sometimes the most hilarious thing to do. I called our service scheduler once pretending to be a customer who needed a technician in an absolute ridiculous time frame and with even more ridiculous scope of work. I told her that I would call her back in a while to see what could be done about this. Oh, my! I could hear the comments dealing with confusion about what job and customer this could be about. Key here is to letting people off the hook quickly and so I walked over and asked about the mystery customer’s name. We had a good laugh when they figured out it had been me putting them on.

A classic is turning the desktop screen upside down. I have done this a few times when co-workers are away from their desk and then I go to the desktop view and right click on Graphics options, Screen rotation and then pick 90 or 180 degrees. Wait and watch what happens. Make sure you are close so you can help out if need be. You do not want IT having to come around fixing this.

In a fairly recent team work event one group was supposed to report out their results and one team member missed it. When he came back, the rest of the team told him that the event had been postponed and he had been chosen to provide the report out in a public speaking event in a close city to us. The event coordinator had been clued into this and the team member then started to mentally prepare himself for this – in utter disbelieve. I have never seen anyone turn pale like this in a while.

I guess you get the gist of this exercise. Fun lurks at every corner of your business. It is so wonderful when I hear folks laugh at work. It relaxes the work place and personal tension. Business mutually benefits from it too. For one employee morale has been proven to increase. Then think about how relaxed minds turn creative so much easier. A lot of creative thoughts linger around events like this that turned into neat business ideas and concepts. One Mexican food chain called Chipotle even makes the presence of smiles in interviews a hiring criterion, because they feel that a smiling fun loving employee makes for happier customers.

A word of caution though, laughter can turn around and turn into stress really easy if you let it get out of hand and people feel offended, teased, or picked on. Fun is interpreted quite differently depending on many factors. On the other side you also want to make sure business is still kept to a professional level and no financial harm comes of it. Other than that, load up the barrel and fire away at some creative fun. Share your creative funny stories in the comment section.

Ralf

 

10 really irritating ways to use LinkedIn


10 really irritating ways to use LinkedIn Ralf a

There is rarely a week that goes by in which I do not get asked LinkedIn related questions. Most folks are confused about if and how to use it for business purposes. There are a few annoying ways in which some folks use it now. Below is my list of ways that will irritate most folks to the point of unfriending you in a heartbeat:

  • You tell me you want to connect, but you do not tell me why. You are likely not going to get connected because you either use the standard invitation format, or you customize your approach slightly but still do not make a compelling introduction as to why we should connect. This is not Facebook! Everyone you connect with should have a deeper and thus more meaningful connection with you. How else are you going to provide an endorsement or recommendation?
  • You connect but immediately start ask for something. Well, what can I say? You NEVER ask for anything. You provide value first and foremost and make sure that your connections get their cup filled first. Key is goodwill – provide for others such that they may provide for you. You want people to trust you and trust takes time to build.
  • Asking for recommendations from people who do not know your work. As per Jeffrey Gitomer (Google that name or click on the link in the last bullet item) recommendations and testimonials should be always volunteered. If you must ask for one, please make sure you ask the right people for the right reasons. It’s meaningless otherwise.
  • You endorse people just to get their attention. Be careful with this one. Not only is this a great trustbuster for the people you are endorsing. It is also silly. This scheme for attention is very obvious to anyone who watches your activities on LinkedIn.
  • You use a photo that is not you or just looks way too good to be true. The Internet and businesses like attractive people. They like REAL people even better. A fake avatar or photo is just a really bad idea that will backfire.
  • You are connected but you are really not connected at all. You have all sorts of connections that show up impressively on your account, but when asked for connecting you with a “contact” it turns out you do not know them personally.
  • Having multiple LinkedIn accounts under identical or similar names. Nothing breeds confusion and distrust more than having more than one account and when you do a Google name search your name pops up in all sorts of places. If you are wondering why no one is connecting with you, reconsider having multiple accounts.
  • Thinking that endorsements are more important than recommendations. Endorsements are great, but nothing – nothing – beats unsolicited recommendations from one of your contacts. The best recommendations are to the point and are also recent. Endorsements can provide an insight on a tendency/ trend and perhaps even point out your activity level on LinkedIn. It does not provide depth and breadth to what you are really all about.
  • No contributions to the LinkedIn community. Stasis on your account turns also into stasis of your contact list and how many folks you can connect with, or stay connected to. Deliver valuable content!
  • Using updates for cheap product or service plugs. So now you are using the updates, but you have nothing better to do than to plug your stuff. Do not be surprised if folks start blocking you to the left and right. Become an avid reader of Gitomer’s blog to make sure you turn this tactic around.

Developing your career and your business can be a breeze when you start using LinkedIn according to the Golden Rule: Treat people like they would like to be treated. Take yourself out of this equation and you will make invaluable connections and advance your career and business.

Ralf

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