Posted on

ProPolish: Five Things Pros Do Right with Social Profiles

I just completed a big research project where I looked at hundreds of social media profiles. Want to know what I learned? Pros do five things right with social profiles:

  1. Pros fill out their entire profile and everything is in the right case. LinkedIn profiles almost double as a resume today. So make sure you list your current job title and everything is in the right case (meaning you know that your name is a proper noun and so is the place you work).
  2. Pro social profiles have a professional headshot. I was shocked at the number of people with 500+ connections who didn’t have a photo. I was also a little surprised at the number of “interesting” photos.Pro Tip: Get a professional photo taken every year or two to use in social media profiles.
  3. Pros have a headline that grabs attention and makes sense. Each social media network has its own “way” to present your “what you do” statement. LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to describe your experience and what you’re looking to do. Use this to your advantage.Walking the Walk: My LinkedIn profile headline is “Pro writer, editor, marketing consultant and founder of Pro Polish.” I’m a professional writer first and foremost, but I do A LOT of editing and marketing consulting. And I’m trying to promote my Pro Polish service. That tells you what I do and how I can help you. That’s the ultimate goal of every social media profile headline: what you do. Get this right!
  4. Pros link up their social profiles. One of the cool features of LinkedIn is the ability to link to your Twitter account. Not everyone is a Twitter master, but it’s nice to check it out. It’s a simple profile update that connects your online presence.
  5. Pros are always updating their social profiles. I don’t do it every week, but I do try to look at my LinkedIn profile at least every couple of weeks and make updates. This is my primary sales tool for my business, so it better be sharp and up-to-date. It also helps your searchability to share content and to add sections to your LinkedIn profile. The same is true for your Twitter bio. I use my Facebook and Instagram profiles for a different purpose than my professional writing and marketing business, but I update my bio all the time.Pro Tip: Sharing your “what you do” is effective and important. Don’t neglect this part of your professional life.

Need help with your professional social profiles? Check out my Pro Polish service where you can get a pro look at how you can improve your resume, LinkedIn profile and online presence – whether you’re looking for a job or to expand your sales.

Posted on

Why What You Do Matters

what-you-doI just got off the phone with a potential client and he was thanking me for my help and expertise. We are in a serious negotiation over a potential project and I’m really excited about working with him if we can get everything aligned.

The reason I’m excited about the project isn’t the money. Yeah, money is nice and it pays for things, but I don’t really work just to get a check. I could do a lot less putting myself out there if I wanted to just earn a paycheck.

My work is an extension of who I am. It’s what I do to help others become better. A marketing project isn’t just a way to get the phone to ring. It’s about investing in people and in their lives – to make them better.

And that’s why what you do matters – your “what you do” is an investment in the lives of other people.

Someone once asked me if I loved what I do enough to do it for free. At the time, my focus was on making a living for my family. So, at the time, it seemed like a silly question. But today with a little more life experience and some time off for my family, I’d wholeheartedly agree that I love my work enough to do it for free.

I’m so grateful I get the opportunity to do what I love to help my clients create a better life for the people they love and serve.

So, yes, what you do matters to someone else. That’s the thought I want to keep in my head and heart for today and every day.

Interested in discovering how your “what you do” can help others more effectively? Check out my service called Pro Polish, which is designed to help you make the most of “what you do.” Find out how you can get better results with your resume, LinkedIn profile and business correspondence.

Posted on

Is Your Content Content?

content?I love homonyms. At first glance, the title of this post looks like I made a mistake, but I didn’t. The post is all about getting content with our content.

When you become content (i.e. happy, laid back) with your content (info up for discussion/sharing with your audience), you’re walking on thin ice. Sure, formulaic blogging is a great starting point, but we really need to make sure content is fresh, fierce and fetching.

Content contentment can take away from that fresh, fierce and fetching approach to producing content. So, how do you know when you’re becoming a little too content with your content? Here are a few indicators:

Too much focus on the search words

Yes, content marketers are looking to gain search engine traffic, but your content has a higher purpose – to be engaging and educational. And it’s purpose is to etch credibility and trust into your audience’s minds. When your content becomes resourceful, they come back. And that’s the secret to content marketing.

Too narrow a focus or too much repetition

Some blogs are geared toward providing tips and tricks on how to use a product. That’s all great, but it’s important to pepper in some benefits to all the features. It’s important to make connections to what’s happening in the industry or your space. Look at your category list for a little inspiration. If there’s a content gap in a category or two, and the blog is getting traffic to those categories…maybe it’s time to beef them up a bit. Adding some customer case studies or a tie-in to something cool in the news is a great way to harness attention from both your audience and the search bots.

Too much focus on product info

I make my living writing for a number of blogs and companies who know the value of content strategy. However, sometimes a theme is weak or the topic is just losing its luster. When you reach this hurdle, looking at the search terms, what the competition is doing and outside your industry spark fresh, fierce and fetching ideas.

Too little focus on your audiences’ needs

The reason someone found your content in the first place is because they have a need – a need to solve a problem, a need to learn how to do something or a need to be entertained. They searched or heard about you from someone else and need you to help them. If your content is content with only addressing audience needs once in a while, you’re missing the point of content creation and missing out on opportunities to help people. That’s why we should be in business – to help others and get paid for doing a good job. Does your content do that?

Spreading your content in too many directions

Content marketing is as much about the medium as it is about the words you use. However, I learned something from a great former boss – sometimes the medium is the problem. Let me give you a couple of real-world examples.

Email bombardment

I’m on quite a few email lists because I need to know what’s going on in the industries I write about. However, this past week I’ve been bombarded with emails for whitepapers, industry reports and other promos I don’t care to read. So, I unsubscribed from the email list of a publication I respect. But the unsubscribe didn’t work (big no-no). I’m still getting emails with content I could care less about. I’ve filed a complaint with the director of online marketing. Hopefully, this will be fixed soon.

Spinning your wheels in the wrong space

Some mediums are filled with people just like you looking for an audience. Twitter is a great example. In some cases, Twitter is a great place to converse and spread the word. But for some companies, it’s not the right place to be spending your time. I’ve witnessed recently that a client has gotten response from Twitter, but the response has not been from the right people. If the audience isn’t right, why spin your wheels?

Is your content suffering from contentment? Contact me to help you develop a strategy for getting it out of its comfort zone.

Posted on

How Not to Connect on Twitter or LinkedIn

I received a mention on Twitter recently where a guy was recommending that I buy an e-book to get more Twitter followers. First of all, I’m not on Twitter to simply amass a huge following of people I don’t know. I’m on Twitter to help my clients communicate better with their industry or customers.

I tweet about stuff that’s going on with my company and my clients’ companies. I use Twitter to research topics for blog posts, to learn about what’s hot in an industry for email marketing and to give my clients ideas for engaging with their customers.

How to Connect on Twitter

So, here’s my advice for connecting with people on Twitter the right way:

  • Don’t throw out blatant @mentions. These mentions should be reserved for people you know, a kind remark (no product push) or a response for someone publicly calling for a solution, vendor or recommendation.
  • Find someone to introduce you. You know – someone you know who knows your target someone.
  • Follow them and see if they follow back. Then send a kind direct message to gauge interest in connecting further.

How Not to Connect on LinkedIn

Last week, another guy took advantage of social media to send me a bogus affiliate marketing website – complete with music and no explanation of what the product was. But, what’s worse is he asked to connect with me on LinkedIn. He said we were friends. I clicked his link to see if he was someone I’d worked with in a past job. Nope, we’ve never met. Think he made it to my connections list? No way, Jose.

The Right Way to Connect on LinkedIn

  • Connect with people through LinkedIn Groups. It’s a cool way to determine if you have something in common. And, a lot less creepy.
  • Find someone to introduce you. They even have a feature for this called “Get Introduced!” Love that tool!
  • Send an InMail. This gives your target introduction the ability to screen you and it gives you a chance to provide a professional introduction to what you do.
Twitter and LinkedIn are awesome networking tools if you use them correctly. They have certainly helped my business. What’s your favorite Twitter or LinkedIn use?
Posted on

The Intern Files: Rules All Marketing Communications Should Follow

Cierra Washington, a graduate of Belhaven University, has joined us this summer to learn how to always communicate brilliantly. One of her assignments is to blog about the work she is doing and the lessons she is learning. Today, Cierra blogs on the seven top rules all marketers should know.

Good marketing communications always puts the customer’s wants and needs first. So far this summer, I’ve learned many ways to plan, write and communicate this value for businesses looking to reach their existing and future customers.

Here are the seven rules all marketing communications should follow that I learned in my time as an intern:

  1. Know your audience. Whether you are hired to write press releases, blogs or whatever, always know your audience.  When writing, you are having a conversation with the person you are writing to. It’s easier to write when you know how to talk to the person you are writing to.
  2. Listen.  Always! Even though we have ideas and love to talk in this business, listen to your clients. When you listen to your clients, you can communicate what is needed so there won’t be any confusion.
  3. Ask questions. You always want to be clear on what you have to do for your clients.  Asking questions helps you get your clients’ message out the way they want.
  4. Work harder.  We should always work hard for our clients. But, the messages we make should work harder to promote our clients and their business.
  5. Build relationships. Knowing who your customers are and their interests makes you a better communicator. If you can relate to your clients, you know what they expect, and your clients gets better results.
  6. Be involved.  Do your homework, and know what your clients are selling or promoting.  Reach out to the community, or industry in putting out your clients’ message.
  7. Have fun! All communications should be fun. If you’re not having fun in your communications, why are you doing it? Enjoy your clients, and be creative!
So…what rules do you have for marketing communications?
Posted on

Does Your Thank You Page Have Value?

I just signed up for email updates from a website. I got the standard issue thank you page delivered by the mail service provider and shook my head.

Your thank you page is a brilliant opportunity to share your brand and value with someone who just gave up a piece of themselves (their contact info) and shared their interest in hearing more about you.

The thank you page is there for a reason beyond “Thank you for signing up.” It’s there to build trust. People sign up for so much online, it’s better to be crystal clear on what they’re getting.

Here are the three keys to a better thank you page:

Tell them who you are and what they are getting. What did they sign up for? Yes, it’s redundant, but it builds trust. Give your prospect a screen shot of your newsletter or info product and add a clear description of what to expect from you.

Reveal your time frame and expectations. Providing your prospect a specific time frame builds anticipation and lets them know what you expect from them.

Give them a next step or more value. Attracting prospects through content marketing requires much more focus on “What’s in it for me?” Adding a free report link or reminder to subscribe to your blog or RSS feed shows them this value. Plus, people like to be told what to do (nicely) online.

What does your thank you page look like?

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to NewsvineAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

Posted on

Beach Vendors – The Best Salepeople in the World?

I recently took a cruise to the Virgin Islands. We made stops at St. Thomas, St. John and St. Martin (or is it Maarten?).

Today’s story comes from the French half of the island of St. Martin (Orient Beach – the clothed side). This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. However, it’s home to some of the best salespeople in the world.

Seriously, the beach vendors are some of the most skilled salespeople I’ve ever seen. They fall into a few categories – ware sellers, hair braiders and musicians. Here’s a quick roundup of what we can learn from them.

Begin with a compliment or suggestion.

I saw this happen every single time. They begin with making a connection. “This necklace would look lovely on you.” or “You have the face to pull off braids.” (Used on yours truly.) It plants a simple question in the prospects mind, “Really?” When they see that look of interest, they move to the next step.

Providing a bonus or sample.

The vendor picks up on your interest and begins the process of showing the value of their product or service. Most often, I heard: “We’ll give you the beads at no charge,” or “Listen to my jams (complete with 30 seconds of ‘free’ listening.)”

Focusing on the benefits for the close.

This happened to me with a hair braider. I asked for $10 worth of braids. As she was braiding, the lovely lady said, “You’d look gorgeous with your whole crown.”

She talked me into it with the ease of care, the lovely look, etc. I ended up spending $85 on 46 braids.

I had a little buyer’s remorse afterward because I like to see what I’m getting, but it was one of those things you do on vacation. I also got to interview this lady on her culture and profession. This is where I learned their most valuable sales strategy.

Selling like their life depends on it. 

The people of the islands have little industry or choice of professions, so they take their skills and put them to work. Yes, it’s a little annoying to sit on the beach and be asked to buy this or that. However, it’s an interesting study of how effective they are at sales. They do it because their livelihood lies in their drive to hit the beach and close the sale.

Posted on

Why Ignoring People Hurts Your Business

ignoring youI’m a writer and a business person. And, I’m one of the busiest people I know. However, there’s something I try really hard to do. I try to respond to every message (email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) or phone call directed to me. I’m not talking about automatic marketing emails. I’m talking about a professional or personal contact directed to me.

Sometimes it’s asking for a meeting or to pitch a service or if I know of any jobs. I’ll always read the request and try to at least get a quick note out that I am not interested or available at this time. Especially on LinkedIn or Twitter.

I think this strategy works for a few reasons and can teach an important lesson:

You never know where your next deal or idea will appear. Often, the best sales or connections we make are by chance encounters or “I was wondering emails.” Maybe you’ve heard the story of how Bill Gates and Warren Buffett met? Gates’ mom asked him to meet Buffett. We tend to ignore the requests of our mother’s or family members. Not this writer. I’ll always give someone five minutes. Maybe it’s the way my Momma raised me.

Business is about collaborating on ideas, ventures and opportunities. Opportunities don’t create themselves. People do. That’s why it’s wise to return phone calls, emails and other messages. Opportunities await when you least expect it and that person on the other end of the line may be the opportunity starter.

It defines your character. If you avoid people, you will gain a closed-off reputation. I’m not saying to spread yourself thin. It’s more about giving brief attention to each and every person that requests your time. You have the choice to say no. But it says something about you when you get back to people. It’s classy.

What are your thoughts on ignoring emails, phone calls or social media correspondence? Ever had a bad experience with this?

Posted on

Five Tips for Trade Show Success

As we all know trade shows and events are expensive but a necessary marketing expense in many cases. However, as a trade show exhibiting, reporting and foll0w-up veteran, I’ve learned a few things that can help you maximize your spend.

Here are my five top tips for trade show success.

  1. Use some sort of lead capture form, either on your iPad or a clipboard. Grab all the contact information you can – name (first and last), title, company, address, city, state, zip, phone number and email address. You’ll also want to brainstorm 3-5 pain point questions to gauge their place in the buying process.
  2. Don’t jump into a product demo right off the bat. Engage in a conversation about their needs. Very little of the conversation should be about you. Don’t be afraid to hang up the conversation if it’s going nowhere. You’re there to connect with as many prospects as you can.
  3. Watch the posture of your staff. You’re not approachable if you’re slouching, talking on the phone or hiding behind a laptop. I’ve always stood out in front of the booth.
  4. Consider that many people are just looking for free giveaways. Get them out of the booth as quickly as possible if there is no real interest in what you do. Remember, you are paying an extraordinary cost when you break your investment down to the minute.
  5. Follow up within a week of the show. If you wait longer than this, those lead sheets, business cards, or other notes are going to get dusty and so is your mind. You won’t remember all the details that matter for effective follow-up.