Intrepid Webinar – The Social Media Feeding Frenzy!

mediocrity-0905CLICK HERE to listen to my most recent webinar, The Social Media Feeding Frenzy. A nice simple intro into how social media can be an important part of your business marketing. Learn some key assumptions, some basic concepts to building and growing community, a few ideas on how to use social media to market your business, and what tools you might consider exploring for your business.

And lastly, learn the amazingly simple secret to social media success…

Enjoy!

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There Are No Shortcuts To Prospecting…

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The message behind this cartoon is that there are NO shortcuts when it comes to developing a list of qualified prospects for your business.

There are no automated tools to harvest LEGITIMATE prospects from the social media fields – no randomly picking names from the phone book – no cold-calling names from the local Chamber directory.

It still takes work, blood, sweat, and tears to build a community of serious, qualified prospects. Don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise…

Be Intrepid.

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An Unpopular Up-Selling Technique…

unpopular_up-sellingWikipedia defines up-selling as a sales technique whereby a salesperson attempts to have the customer purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.

So, the key here is this:

It is important to offer your customer’s additional goods and services that actually further help the customer be successful – or solve their problems.

If you attempt to push the envelope and up-sell items they don’t really need – OR – sell them items that should be part of the original solution – you will ultimately lose that customer.

Don’t be like Biff…

Be Intrepid.

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Social Media As Weed Wacker!

313768_gardener_toolOkay, so you got this pile of business cards.

Or you have a long list from your boss. Perhaps you are looking at the white pages.

Whatever form your list of prospects takes, you probably need to winnow that list down to the truly viable leads – the more qualified prospects.

But how?

Did you know that social media can be the weed wacker you need to cut through all the weeds – and allow you to narrow your focus build a list of the right prospects?

I was having coffee with friend Ron Davis a while back. He’s the one who put this concept of social media as a weed wacker into my head.

Here’s the scenario we talked about:

You identify a new prospect. You begin calling this person in the hopes that you can secure an audience to talk about your product or service.

You keep calling this prospect. Again and again. Finally, the prospect agrees to see you. Why? Who knows? You really haven’t spoken with this person yet.

So, you get in the car, drive half way across the state to visit with this prospect. After waiting for 30 minutes past the appointment time and after drinking a cup of lukewarm coffee made hours earlier, you finally get to sit down with your prospect.

And within seconds, you know he has ZERO interest in what you have to offer. You think to yourself, this guy took the meeting just to get me to stop calling…

Sigh…

Happens every day. It has happened to me. It has probably happened to you. How do you make it stop?

Bring out the weed wacker!

What if you could engage these same prospects through social media? Either by following them on Twitter, friending them on Facebook, following their blog, or connecting with them on LinkedIn?

Think of all the information you could gather by following them on these tools. Just by observing them, you could gain insights into their business, learn about their struggles, and through these observations – begin to see how you can position your product or service.

And taking it a step further, if you engage in actual e-dialog with this prospect, you begin to establish a relationship.  You begin to discuss and debate potential solutions and ideas on how that prospect could improve their business.

In this exchange, you aren’t selling your solution. You are being helpful and giving value. And over time, this prospect comes to trust you.

What will result from this exchange is the understanding that the two of you should meet. And when that meeting finally takes place, there is no awkwardness. A rapport is already developed. A trust is implicit. You can get right to the point and see if there is benefit from a more formal relationship between the two organizations.

Or…

Or as a result of your social media interaction, you will learn that this prospect isn’t a qualified prospect for you, someone who you cannot serve. Or more to the point, someone who just isn’t interested in what you have to offer. This saves you that long road trip, wasted time in the waiting room, and that bad coffee.

Social media can act as a weed wacker to remove the weeds from your garden. It can help shed light on the good prospects, the people who come to see value in what you do, and who you can serve and help.

This takes too much time, you might ask? So does wasting the day driving to and visiting with a prospect who has no interest in what you sell.

Social media, and all the tools of Web 2.0, are designed to foster better communication, stronger relationships, and two-way conversation. Use the tools as they are designed to help you weed out the bad prospects from your list.

[As originally written for GrowthANSWERS‘ eMerge! e-newsletter]

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CHAIRish The Future!

ctflogoCHAIRish 09! What a great night!

Great friends, new friends, good food and drink, and an important cause. It is evenings like this that make life worth living.

It’s hard to go wrong when you can have a lot of fun – and help people at the same time! (CHAIRish is the main fundraiser for the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta. We donate used furniture to families and individuals who have escaped homelessness, battle HIV, or have fled domestic violence.)

Last night’s event was great – but I have ambitious plans for 2010!

Working with the staff of Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta, we plan to make a big push to expand our presence in the social media space. We plan to explore and implement some innovative ideas to grow our fund raising base. And we will continually look for ways to improve our PR efforts.

We will need your help!

As a board member, I have the honor to serve this great organization. More importantly, this title allows me to reach out to my extended social media family, and ask for your help and ideas.

I now get the pleasure to solicit advice and counsel from friends like Melissa Galt and Stone Payton. (Pictured below – left to right – Todd Schnick, Christopher Muise, Melissa Galt, and Stone Payton) They and other friends, like my partners at GrowthANSWERS who were there in force last night, will be hearing from me, as I intend to solicit ideas, help and guidance from all of them to benefit our cause. I already have some great brainstorms just from many conversations last night at the event.chairish_group_pic2

And there is so much more to come. You’ve read on these pages my belief that giving back is good marketing. I believe that more than ever, and I believe that it is needed more than ever. We are living through difficult times, but it warms my heart to see people willing to give forward to help people in need.

You can count on us at Intrepid to keep doing our part to help the community. Your help and support is always welcome too. Just get in touch with us through this website. If you want to help the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta directly, you can help in three ways:

Donate money. Volunteer your time. Donate much needed furniture.

In the meantime, look to these pages as we do some fun and creative things to build our community, help our community, and serve our community! Thanks to everyone who made last night a success!

Be Intrepid.

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The Social Media Train Has Left The Station

[Here is an article I wrote for eMerge!, the online journal for GrowthANSWERS]

If you are seriously playing in the 21st Century sandbox of marketing, you are probably engaged in social media.  If not, you had better incorporate social media into your overall marketing strategy. And now.

The train has definitely left the station. If you are not on board – you are missing out on a major marketing tactic to bring in new prospects to your business.

The train is pulling out. Here are ten ways you can jump on board…

1. BLOGGING – Blogging is a great way to find and read educational content, and a better way to distribute content and build an interactive following with your online community. If you blog, you should increase traffic by “blogging by thirds.” This strategy involves spending one-third of your time writing content for your blog, spending one-third of your time finding other good blogs in your market space, and then one-third of your time commenting on those new found blogs. Contributing is an important way to build a friendship with that blogger who will likely return the favor, but the act of commenting and linking back to your own blog is magic when it comes to improved SEO scoring.

2. TWITTER – The hottest ticket in the online world, Twitter is revolutionizing how online business is getting done. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so you are forced to offer simple, concise messages to your following. Stripped down to just offering simple communications, Twitter enables you make contact with literally thousands of people with one message. But don’t join just to promote yourself. Like all other social media, Twitter is meant to build community and provide value by giving forward. But it remains the largest driver of traffic to my blog…

3. FACEBOOK – Facebook remains the most popular social media tool out there, although Twitter is catching up. Facebook is a much more social medium than LinkedIn or Twitter, because it enables you to share a lot more about whom you are and what interests you. Facebook allows you to synch your blog posts and Twitter messages to your Facebook page, meaning you can spend time at one source and update multiple social mediums at once. But to me, the real value of Facebook is that it enables you to see your clients and prospects in a non-working environment – allowing you to better know who they are. This allows you to connect on a more personal level down the road.

4. LinkedIn – Don’t just create a LinkedIn profile and devote energy to adding new connections. All this does is make you feel good about a raw number. Instead, spend time looking at your friends connections – find people you want to connect with – and ask your friend to introduce you. Join groups in your market – and when you see questions that you can answer – answer them and provide value to the whole community. You will become recognized as someone who provides value and that will increase connections and drive traffic to both your profile and website.

5. SEO – Don’t shortchange your SEO efforts. Engaging in all of these tools suggested here does help your overall SEO score. Unless you have had your head buried in the sand, online is the wave of the future. I predict a day in the not too distant future when the hardcopy yellow pages will be a thing of the past. If you and your business can’t be found online, you will miss the train…

6. If it makes sense, shift from a static website to a blog, or at least add a blog to your site presence. It doesn’t make sense for everybody, but where appropriate, switching your web strategy from a static presence to a blog can be a real benefit. Blogs are great for improved SEO scoring, but also provide wonderful opportunities to drive fresh content, solicit and propose new ideas, push client engagement, and provide real time handling of customer service scenarios and questions.

7. NETWORKING – If networking is a major piece of your marketing strategy, social media is for you. But you must change the paradigm of your thinking, and recognize that social media is just like networking, it is just done online. It is still about building relationships, helping new friends, making referrals, and providing value. No different than what you do at the Chamber mixer…

8. PODCASTING – Podcasting is big business on the internet. Spend a few minutes with Google, and you can find podcasts on virtually every topic. Downloading podcasts are a great way to learn new things when stuck in a car or on an airplane. Creating podcasts of value are great tools to demonstrate your expertise, and they can help drive traffic to your website.

9. YouTube/FLICKr – You mustn’t forget that YouTube and Flickr are social networking tools too. They are not just storage places for videos and digital photos. You can invite friends to view your content, and build more social community with these tools too. The value here is that you can provide specific content that helps your community AND further cements your brand.

10. Won’t all this take too much time? It can, if you let it. But how much time do you spend networking at an event anyway? If you know 250 people personally, do you really communicate with every one of them each day? No. So, recognize that with social media you will only engage a handful of people each day anyway – and that’s ok! As long as you are strengthening the relationship and providing value, you are doing the right thing. I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour a day with social media…

Need some coaching about how to do some strategic thinking and unsure where and how to launch your social media program? Or don’t see how this leads to more qualified prospects for your business? Email me at todd@intrepid-llc.com and you can buy me some coffee to discuss face-to-face.

But what I can promise is this: if you get on board and engage with social media, you will build a larger referral network, become known in the market place as an expert in your field, and you will become known as someone of real value, an influencer.

And I don’t have to tell you how those things will get prospects knocking on your door…

Note: Let me be clear, there are other social media tools out there – I am just naming a handful. Get out there and explore other options that are right for you…

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