Message Mapping: Why Your Business Needs It

Message-mapping-book-Soulati.jpgThat word “messaging?” It’s been around a really long time, born in traditional marketing and public relations. And, you know what? It remains as important today as before, perhaps even more so.

Technology has disrupted how business markets to customers and how sales teams build relationships, too. It’s ever more critical to ensure your messaging is tight to inform your business story to everyone outside your company.

I am a message mapping master.

For 20 years, I have been standing in front of businesses of all sizes to help them fine tune messages to position the company with authority.

Not much has changed with the process I use to facilitate a message mapping session. What has changed is the clutter. Companies, solopreneurs, small firms, business units, sales teams, and corporations are struggling to deliver a clear and simple message. [Read more...]

What’s Happening With @Soulati?

Jon-Buscall.jpgHas anyone missed me? I know a few have and thanks for the well wishes. But, guess what? I’ve not been sick; thank my fortunate stars.

Where I have been is under a rock in the dark trying to muddle through an intense time at my blogging house and for my brand. It’s what every company must experience. You can call it transformation, and it’s a journey that takes awhile…a long while, with lots of introspection and grappling with the demons of the past that form you into today’s persona.
Message-Mapping-Book.jpg
As a result of this experience, my blog has been basically dark since prior to January. I can’t say I’ve missed worrying about what to write on a near-daily basis, but I’m feeling the absence of expressing myself and communing with you, too.

Today, I can honestly say, I see the light. It’s just around the bend, but
having brand new digs is making the light waves brighter.

I need to give my second child (to be born in my next life) to one astonishing businessman, friend, colleague, and partner by name of Dr. Jon Buscall of Jontus Media. Jon is the consummate digital marketer, a brutal editor, and a whiz at website design. His team, anchored by an adorable man named Juanjo, made my new website and me simply gorgeous.

Hire Jon Buscall of Jontus Media

Please hire Jon Buscall for ALL your digital marketing needs and to assess your future journey with digital. Better yet, hit this landing page and schedule a free Marketing Intensive with him!

Essentially, long story short, the lights are back on.

  • I have a new website — it’s all mobile, responsive and built for conversions.
  • I am doing digital marketing the right way because I hired Jon Buscall.
  • I have a project manager on my team who is also the consummate writer and knows my fears and challenges about failure in Jenn Whinnem. Tweet Jenn @TheJenn, but don’t hire her, she’s mine.
  • I give a mega shout out to Cathy Tetrick for spending a Saturday as my photographer.
  • I have a new auto-responder series I wrote all by myself, and you can sign up for it via my blog page right here in the sidebar. (That was an astonishing feat, mind you!)
  • I am building my email list because the experts said I have to; so, if you don’t mind, sign up and see how it’s done!

I’m so happy in my new house that just launched not even 24 hours ago!!

Find any kinks? Please do share. It’s always great to have fresh eyes on a labor of love. And speaking of love, I have missed you and love you to pieces.

In gratitude…

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Are Google+ Communities A Thing Of The Past?

English: Google+ wordmark

English: Google+ wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the day I pull the plug on Bloggers Unite, the Google+ community I so eagerly and quickly established to build a place for we bloggers to qvetch, klatch, and ‘raderie.

It worked. For a bit.

In the beginning, as with most things new on the Interwebz, the sharing and energy around Google+ was #RockHot. Everyone wanted in on the action, and my community became a friendly place for peeps to read new material and cascade a few plusses around the sphere.

After that, the invasion of the non-English bloggers happened overnight. One day, we all knew one another, and the next folks from Latin America, Europe, and South America joined and posted blogs in their native tongues.

As owner of this community, it became challenging to support and share blogs I couldn’t read. Yes, someone did inform me to use Google Translation; however, my time is limited.

Segue.

It’s All About Time

What did Google+ communities offer beyond a Facebook group or LinkedIn group? The chatter wasn’t different (in my community, at least). We who jumped in together were already connected on other social channels.

Although I did try to jump start the conversation, it seemed bloggers posted something and took off to greater confines where the engagement was more robust. I get it, so did I!

Amber-Lee Dibble, kindly accepted the role as co-manager of the community, and then she got swamped on a wild horse adventure (no kidding, she lives in the Alaska interior).

Are Other Google+ Communities Thriving?

Like you, I joined some really robust communities back in the day. When I was publishing my first book a year ago, Writing With Verve on the Blogging Journey, (if anyone wants a free copy in exchange for jumping onto my list, let me know!), I joined APE The Book managed by Peggy Fitzpatrick for Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. With 3,400 members, it’s easy to get lost and lurk.

After I gleaned all I could (it was crazy with information), I had to turn off notifications as it became too much sensory overload.

Viveka von Rosen owns a community of 600 members about LinkedIn, her specialty, and I still see those notices rolling in my in box.

Maybe that’s the ticket to success for a G+ community? Specialty topics everyone wants to learn about?

Could be! And, what do you think? Are you still involved in any #RockHot Google+ communities?

Please list them here and tell us why as I’m now seeking a new home to visit!

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10 Steps Using Social Media For Business Development

Institute of Technology and Business Development

Institute of Technology and Business Development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all need new business, right? Doesn’t matter if you’re a solo professional, small business of five or larger, everyone has to keep the pipeline full and the leads rolling in.

Digital marketing is absolutely the tier-one method, and I recently met an incredible expert who does it every day exceptionally well. And, the process is highly strategic requiring expertise learned over time and years of testing the methods.

Social media provides another business development methodology that everyone can do and probably does do without knowing it.

The other day, I tweeted, “If you ignore Twitter, it ignores you.” Indeed. When you fall off the ladder into the rabbit hole, it’s hard to jump out. There are a variety of reasons making that hole feel comfortable and safe and most of it has to do with being challenged and trying what’s new and different. While it’s easy to tweet and reshare everyone’s posts all day, what’s the gain besides burn out?

Let’s be more strategic and help fuel your lead generation. And, I’m not talking about inbound marketing right now; I’m talking about good old-fashioned networking.

10 Steps to Fuel Business Development

Step 1: Set Goals

There are four simple goals for using social media for business development:
1. Identify your target list
2. Elevate your personal brand
3. Ask for a meeting
4. Earn the business

Step 2: Track With a Spreadsheet or CRM System

If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a CRM system, then use your QuickBooks or Excel to track lead generation and prospecting. If you’re really on a budget, then perhaps index cards?

Step 3: Develop a Tier-One Target List

Everyone has a wish list of a company with which they’d like to work. Put your list of five or so together. Maybe you select a few out of each category that are different sizes.

For sales teams, this works, too. Select the company with which you most want to do business and get that target list active on a CRM system (but then I don’t need to inform sales how to prospect, right?).

Step 4: Who is the buyer of your services or product?

During the time I was in HubSpot school (I made a major investment in this platform to learn inbound marketing from the big guns), the words “buyer persona” appeared on my radar.

I had to think about the audience most likely to purchase my services and describe them – age, gender, expertise, values they appreciate, and more.

From the list in step one, select the title/role of the person most likely to buy your services or products. Get that title/role into your tracking system.

Step 5: Audit The Company

Here’s where social media comes to play. Using your tiered target list, begin exploring social media activity by the company. Record on your tracking system/CRM each of the channels and which is more powerful for shares and content.

LinkedIn (example). Does the company have a company page? How about a group? Who are the folks who work there? Can you find the title of the person most likely to buy from you? Better yet, take a look at your network; who in your network knows someone at that company to send an introduction on your behalf?

Step 6: Social Sharing

  • Google+. Similar to LinkedIn, check out the business page for your target company on Google+. Perhaps you’ll also find the folks who work there and you can do a search. (Not to mention, you can also do a name search on Google itself, of course!) Begin to +1 posts on Google+ by the company and also reshare it if you think it’s worthy.
  • Twitter. Companies tweet, obviously. Star the company into your Faves List and begin retweeting posts you like from that company. Pay attention to who’s tweeting; it may be an agency and there may also be initials on the posts indicating someone on a team.
  • Blog. Here’s where you can really influence and elevate your identity and brand. Visit the company blog frequently; in fact, subscribe and never miss a post. Read for a week or two (depending on the frequency of blog posts) and get a feel for the topics the company is writing on. All the while, you’re preparing to comment on the blog while resharing it on social media channels.While the blogger for the company may not be on your target list, you can still use the fact that you commented and shared that company’s blog post in your eventual pitch.
  • Your Blog. If you really want to make an impact and impression, invite the person you’re targeting to do a Q&A with you, write a guest post or to link. You can also follow them on the Interwebz; but, do not be a stalker! Use discretion and caution, please!

Step 7: Engage and Build Relationship

We who have been on social media longer than five years know how to build relationships with total strangers. It’s what the channels were built on. Today, that ‘raderie is next to nil; yet, people appreciate genuine authenticity with real professionals and people.

Use that concept to build upon the relationship you started. Of course, your goal is to get a meeting and perhaps earn some new business; however, there should be a common interest you can draw upon to build a true and solid foundation.

Step 8: Ask for a Meeting

If you’ve done a great job making small talk, sharing content and following your target list, then it’s time to ask for a meeting. Make it casual under the guise of networking because that’s what it is. No one wants a hard sell, and the recipient of your attention is smart enough to know a sales shakedown when it happens!

Essentially, be you and be real.

Step 9. Stay in Touch

If the meeting doesn’t product the result you wanted, do not fret. Sales pipelines sometimes take months to fill and business also takes time to close. If you drop off the radar, what happens when your prospect wants to find your name and number and can’t because you fell back into the comfy rabbit hole?

Step 10. Smile and Show Me Some Personality

I needed a step 10 to round this out, and maybe it’s the most important step in the bunch. Think about when you get a cold pitch; how’s your demeanor on the phone? Abrupt and impatient, right? Now think about paving the way to a prospect with smiles, laughs, personality, kudos and more. How do you think that person will feel about you with all that in front of the ask? Selling with heart couldn’t be more important, and think of it this way – if you get a “no thank you,” then move on to the next one and pretty soon it’s like riding a bike.

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7 Social Media Tools Reviews Via @TomPick

As the use of social media marketing tactics have expanded and matured, two consistent challenges that remain are 1) finding enough time for all the tasks that need to be done, and 2) measuring the impact of social media marketing activities.

Into these voids have stepped all manner of developers and entrepreneurs with tools for social media monitoring, management, measurement, and more.

Need to find out how widely one of your links was shared on Twitter? Identify your most influential fans and followers for outreach efforts? Automate repetitive social marketing tasks? Find new industry influencers to engage with to help optimize your overall web presence?

Social Media Tools

Here are helpful reviews of tools to assist with all of those tasks and many more from half a dozen social media experts.

  • Nicole HarrisonNicole Harrison is “adamant” that, properly managed and executed, will deliver measurable financial results to a business, and provides brief reviews of 11 free social measurement tools including Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and TweetReach, which she calls “a great tool for tracking a campaign or conversation on Twitter.”

Douglas KarrDouglas Karr shares an infographic which showcases 25 helpful social media marketing tools across five categories: social listening, social conversation, social marketing, social analytics, and social influencer identification. The infographic also identifies high-profile customers, strong points, and ideal users for each tool, as well as whether it is free or fee-based.

Nicholas ScaliceNicholas Scalice highlights his favorite social tools across eight categories, such as Social Report for analytics, Klout for Business for identifying “your most influential fans and followers,” and Bitly for link shortening.

Sheye Griffin reviews three social media management toolsóHootSuite, Agency Platform, and Sproutófor their value across three areas: ability to capture streams from multiple social networks; keyword search and geographical/trend analysis; and ease of engagement with followers.

Ian ClearyAsking “Do you struggle to get all your social media tasks done every day? Do you find that you perform repetitive tasks?,” (questions likely to elicit two “yeses” from many social media marketers), Ian Cleary reviews more than half a dozen time-saving social tools, including Social Oomph and Zapier (a tool similar to IFTTT).

Priit KallasPriit Kallas reviews 69 free social media tools, divided into two groups: “the services that I use regularly or seem interesting to check out immediately” and “an alphabetical list of tools for you to play with.” Included in the first group are popular tools like SocialBro, TwitterCounter and Klout.

About The Author

Tom-Pick.jpgTom Pick is a digital marketing consultant who helps clients increase their visibility, credibility, and business success online. His expertise in web presence optimization, SEO, search marketing, social media, content marketing and social PR has helped b2b technology clients ranging from single-person businesses to $1 billion+ corporations. Tom is managing editor of the Webbiquity b2b marketing blog, and a co-founder of: WPOinc, a provider of web presence optimization metrics; the B2BMarketingZone.com portal for B2B blogs; and the Social Media Informer social media content aggregation site. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and .

Blog Owner’s Note: Here’s a perfect example that guest blogging is NOT dead! Thanks, Tom!

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