There are some CHANGES you should know about….

Changes

CHANGE – And Now For Something Different

Change signifies life and the movement through time we all take part in. The dual focus I have taken within this blog has been about things I have a long-time and deep abiding interest in AND the phenomenon we loosely and broadly call “social media” and the business and more human aspects of it.

As of this past few weeks my more business-focused writing will take place on the blog that is part of my new Social Sapiens site. Some of those will be cross-posted here (and vice versa…) as they have aspects of my passion for being human online or how what happens online impacts us in real life. I intend to continue to write for this blog in broader areas that include many of the things I’ve written about before, but that business owners and entrepreneurs may or may not find as directly pertinent to their bottom lines (although my hope is that the work published here will be valuable and thought-provoking to whomever takes the time to read and consider it…).

Please join me on my other blog soon, and keep your eye here for more articles too!

 

FOCUS: What About Customer Experience and Relationships?

Visitors Audience Customers Community

On the lookout for…?

“Relationships?! How do you do that when your business is all about selling boxes of widgets? Folks come to my site, order them and I ship them out…”

This is a common question. You have always viewed your company as one that makes something that others buy (hopefully more than once…), and then you make sure they get it. Pretty much the definition of “transactional”, and, especially if you operate an e-commerce site, you only know them by a name, address and order number. It doesn’t look like the opportunities to establish and grow a relationship, as you’re thinking of it, are that ripe.

…or are they?…

I’ve written before about a descriptive construct I call the VACC. It stands for Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community. There are different ways of looking at the people who interact with your business: The Customer Journey, the Sales Funnel, and so on. Viewing these people through the VACC lens focuses on the stage of the relationship they have with you business, and how you communicate and interact with them. Each stage is valuable and there is no hard line dividing them. Nonetheless, knowing, in greater depth, what each set of these people are looking for, how they act and react to you and your business, what their expectations are, and how you can communicate with them is vital to your business growth. Not knowing is the same as tossing your product out on to a virtual (or real…) sidewalk and hoping the right folks come by.

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Are You Really Thrilled With That Visit?

NPS Ranger greets visitors at the visitor cent...

NPS Ranger greets visitors at the visitor center front desk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think about when you hear the word “visitors?”

Context can provide you with different pictures…
If you are sitting in a meeting at work and your boss introduces a couple of people at the front with her as “visitors from headquarters,” your thoughts may turn to why someone from corporate came to visit your office in the hinterlands. They might be new managers acquainting themselves with the company, consultants that will be working with you, or the dreaded HR reps….

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5 Superior Social Media Posts to Drive Your Business!

You want “The Short List.”

This list gives you the best information for your business, and let’s you understand what will make your digital and social media marketing work so you can get back to work. I have collected these 5 articles from around the web as the best of the best for October. Read them all, then figure out how you can execute on them, based on your goals and resources.

Ultimate Blog Post list

Ultimate Blog Post list

You’ve got a blog or intend to start one, but are REALLY intimidated by the idea of having to come up with posts every week (or however frequently you have decided to publish…). I scan this list regularly to jog my creative juices and come up with new ideas. This article is by Russ Henneberry of DigitalMarketer.com.

Social Media Expectations

Social Media Expectations

There are still a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses that are guilty of “magical thinking” when it comes to what social media can accomplish for their businesses.
When you go searching around the web for ideas to improve your digital and social media marketing, you’re confronted with the same thing I am: a TON of information! You don’t have the time, the patience, or maybe even the depth of expertise or comfort in a lot of these areas to know who’s reliable or who’s just selling something. This article by Carol Stephen helps you stay grounded.

ROI cost-effectiveness

ROI cost-effectiveness

The acronym ROI (Return On Investment) is so easily bandied about that most of the time you think you know what it means, and you’re wrong. I learned so much by reading the works of K.D. Paine that I want you to become acquainted with her and her work. Most of the time, what you really want to know is the CEA (Cost-Effectiveness Analysis), which “compares the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of two or more courses of action.” This article will help you get the difference so you can figure it into your calculations for resources and costs.

Social Media and Competitors

Social Media and Competitors

If there really is “nothing new under the sun,” then it makes particular sense to check out what your competitors are doing (successfully and unsuccessfully…) on social media. This article by Matt Walker, CEO of Main Path Marketing, outlines some great tips and a good starting methodology to figure out how other companies’ social media strategies, altered to fit your business, can help you. Competitor research is something that a lot of small and medium businesses miss, and it can be a real gold mine.

Networks and Communities

Networks and Communities

Networks connect; communities care.” In this Harvard Business Review article, Henry Mintzberg, a professor of management studies at McGill University in Montreal, touches upon the roles of each kind of construct. In my business I work with clients to understand the opportunity and value of each kind of construct (network, audience, and community) and ensure that businesses approach them in ways that drive the greatest value. If you want to get a handle on the differences and challenges, this is a great place to start.

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Will You Compare the Truth About Audience vs. Community?

My Audience

My Audience

My Community

My Community

How you interact with your customers and prospects can show you (and them…) how you think of them. Without resorting to standard definitions, I visualize the difference this way:

AUDIENCE: I am in front of a group of people who are facing me. I’m speaking and they’re listening (or at least I HOPE they are….). I look into their faces and watch their body language, but it is difficult to get a real assessment of whether I’m connecting with them or not. Having been in audiences before I know how easy it is to “look engaged”. I also notice how many are working their smart phones, tablets and laptops….I hope they’re taking notes, but probably not. At the end of the talk, there are a few questions that I answer, but many more of the audience arise and leave. There is a little bit of chatter between a few of them as they head out the door, but I have no idea what it could be about. Unless I’ve given them some sort of meaningful survey or method of valid feedback to learn what their experience was, I really don’t know.

COMMUNITY: I am moving amongst several groups of people that are part of a larger group of people meeting here. There are discussions going on in each of them, some about the bigger group, some about the smaller groups, some about processes and business, and some about their lives outside of the groups. People move easily between the smaller groups as they become interested in them. I get to move through each of the groups, listen and take part in the discussions. There is a much stronger sense of “belonging” and being invested in what’s going on. Fewer people have their phones out, except to check their calendars in order to set up personal meetings with other members of the community outside of this larger meeting. Some members stay in one small group the whole time, but they seem very engrossed in the conversation while not taking it over. Each member of the community can build a more authentic relationship with another (according to what they are comfortable with…), resulting in trust and, when the time comes, that crucial recommendation, referral, or sale. While the relevance of the overall community experience may be still somewhat hidden from me, I can learn a lot by listening, observing and asking appropriate questions.

Community is harder…is it worth it?
How do you communicate and reach out to your customers and visitors?

What’s the difference to your business?

Do you care enough about your business to figure out how this might work for you and your customers?

Good questions.

What are your answers?

Do You Know The Truth About Connection and Appearance?

Connect Four

Connect Four (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I belong to a few business and networking groups, as well as a service organization. Only at one of them do I have the luxury of spending time with the members (about 25) on a weekly basis and the ongoing encouragement to get together with a couple of them every week to really get to know them, their businesses and their lives. I am able to connect and as a result I feel almost as invested in their work as they are (I’m still working on birthdays and favorite foods, but, hey, we’ll get there!). I am fans of them and their work and actively seek out ways to promote and assist each one, if I can.

How can the Silent Majority Unlock your Bottom Line?

Silent Majority

The Silent Majority


Do you remember “The Silent Majority”? While the phrase has been around for a very long time, it was popularized by Richard Nixon in 1969 in a speech, and also referred to by journalist Theodore White as the “mute masses.” In a different context, this phrase also represents the voices you hear (or don’t…) on social media. Research shows that almost 90% of what you hear there comes from less than 30% of the most vocal users….and they are different from the the quieter folks that make up the bulk of your online audience.

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