When we hear the word BRAND, images may pop into your head of the Starbucks mermaid, that Smiling “A” that means Amazon or the little Apple with a bite out of it. These are such recognizable brands, that there is no question what they are “known for.” How did they do it? How do we become “known” for something?
The first thing to realize is your brand is not necessarily what you say about yourself or your company–although you can absolutely help shape it. Just because you put something on your website or social media bio, doesn’t mean that others will believe you. You have to prove it… and have others share that same proof for you.
Your brand is what others say or feel about you. You may say you are an expert in the real estate arena, the animal photography industry or in Italian women’s shoes (in which case you and I should be best friends), but if you aren’t putting out some sort of content or product that people talk about, share or otherwise come in contact with, your desired brand will have a tough time becoming known.
WHO ARE YOU?
To begin crafting and influencing your personal or professional brand you have to start by identifying what you want to be known for. Notice I didn’t say what you are good at. Many of us have talents or skills that we don’t even want people to know about. My ability to train dogs to roll over and do the moonwalk is not a skill I am ever going to want to be “known for.”
Perhaps we don’t enjoy doing something, or we have “squiggled” or pivoted on to a new career track. We have to start by creating a list of skills and attributes that you want people to associate with you and your brand. When people are talking to their friends or co-workers and one of these topics come up, you want them to say, “I know who’s an expert at this” or “I know who you need to talk to.”
WHO or WHAT ARE YOU BECOMING?
Now, what are the skills you’d like to be known for but haven’t yet mastered? Is there an area you’re developing? This is important when you’re starting over, re-entering the workforce, or making a pivot in your career. Don’t minimize these skills and don’t wait until you have that proverbial 10,000 hours of expertise before you start to weave it into your branding plan. Finish this sentence:
I am becoming ___________.
Starbucks started out as a coffee roaster and BECAME the “third place” for people to come and hang out. Lululemon started out as a maker of surf and skateboard shorts and BECAME synonymous with yoga-pants. The Knot started by writing articles for unique and counter-culture wedding ideas and then BECAME the go-to planning site for all things “wedding!” What are you becoming?
START BEFORE YOU’VE ARRIVED
When you are working in a new area and BECOMING the expert or resource, you want to share this journey with the world. Jump into the conversation. Share what you are learning and doing. If you are launching a product, bring us along on your journey to involve us in your process. We love to come along when someone is learning, growing, and going somewhere we want to go as well. If I am on that same journey or wanting to begin, your content will inspire and educate me, even if you have not “arrived.”
I know you can’t get great until you get started, so the longer you wait to begin, the longer it will take for you to get great. Start. Learn all you can, and share the nuggets of learning along the way.
WHO WILL YOUR BRAND REACH?
The next step is to understand who your brand wants to reach. Who is that ideal person that will connect and “get you?” This is important because it will shape HOW you share your expertise and brand attributes. Go beyond the “what gender, age, and income level define my ideal client.” Dive into the psychographics as well. What is your ideal customer interested in? What do they hate? What are the things your ideal customer would be doing during the day? How about on weekends? What does he or she read or watch on television? Where do you think she shops? How about online? What problems does she have that you can help her with? What are her pain and frustration points?
This may seem unnecessary, but it is so important to get this right. If you try and create content for everyone, you will create content for no one. The more targeted you can be with your products, services, or content, the easier it is to attract the right audience and the greater loyalty someone will have for you.
WHAT WILL YOU CREATE AND SHARE?
Content comes in so many forms. Written articles, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, webinars. What will you create to solve a problem for that ideal person you identified earlier? If you need a starting point, simply write down the top FAQs your ideal customer would be asking Google, SIRI, or Alexa. Now take each of those questions and answer them in different formats—blog posts, articles on other websites, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, etc.
Be sure to stay focused on your overall goal for your brand. This doesn’t mean you can’t share any other content on your social sites or that you can’t be involved in other side projects, but if someone you don’t know, looks at your body of work, can they tell what your area of expertise is? If you suddenly post political rants or lots of information on other topics, it begins to dilute or pollute your brand. Do a self-audit. Scan down a page of your social media channels. What would someone say you were known for if they looked at it? Would YOU follow YOU?
WHERE WILL YOU SHARE IT?
Today there are so many channels to share your content. You can share your content on websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and Podcast channels and so many more. The question is often, “Do I need to be on all of them?” Absolutely not. I like to say, “Choose one and NAIL IT, before you decide to SCALE IT!” Select the social channels that you believe your audience is most active on. If you’re not sure, there are ways to do a bit of research first.
Look across the different social channels and search for your peers, competitors, and customers. Where do you find them hanging out? Are there groups they are participating in? Search industry and conference hashtags on each channel. This can pull up content that can help you discover where you might want to be found as well.
Start with one or two social channels and be consistent. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you can’t keep up with it. Sharing and participating on social media channels is more than just blasting your content out to the world. It requires you to participate in the community as well. Comment on the content of others. Ask questions in groups or share your expertise there when others ask questions. It’s the “social” part of social media.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO HAVE CONTENT OUT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?
This is another common question. There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but there is a direct correlation between frequency and the number of people who will be drawn to your content. Obviously, if the content is not good, people won’t share it or want to consume it, but even good content produced once ever 3-6 months is not going to do you much good if you are trying to establish a brand.
Many people want to be known like Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Marie Forleo, or Adam Grant, but they don’t want to do the work those people do when it comes to creating and sharing content. The people who are considered thought leaders in their industries are sharing video content, blog posts, writing books, newsletter content, podcasts, and everything in between.
Start with a goal to write or create one piece of good content per week. This can be you answering a question or giving your opinion on a topic that has come up at work or in the news. Work to create a habit to write or record something every day, even if it doesn’t get published or used. By doing this daily, you will begin to get better and you will end up sharing more content more often, and in turn, you will become known for this.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME?
I get it. We’re all busy and our time is more limited than ever. This is why it’s hard to become a “thought leader” or well-known brand. If it were easy, everyone would do it. To stand out requires sacrifice somewhere. You can hire someone to do the writing and sharing for you (hint hint…that’s what we do at SocialKNX), or you can put in an extra hour each morning or each evening to do what others won’t do.
You can sacrifice evening television time for writing time. You can trade a couple hours of sleeping in on the weekends and get up to work on your personal or professional brand. When someone asks, where they should spend their time, my answer is, “it depends.” I can tell you where NOT to spend your time. Don’t waste it watching television. Don’t waste it attending meetings you don’t have to be in (don’t even get me started on this one).
Become a high productivity content creator. While you are waiting in lines, at appointments, at soccer practice, pull out your phone or notebook and jot down ideas. I love using Evernote for this. I have notebooks in there for podcast guest ideas, blog post ideas, Alexa and Google Briefing tips to create. When I sit down to create I don’t have to waste time thinking of ideas.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Now it’s your turn. What will you create to begin crafting that brand? What are you BECOMING? I’d love to hear in the comments below or on any social channel. Connect with me –> @GinaSchreck on any social channel and tell me what you are becoming. I can’t wait to hear!
Everyone thinks they can “do social media.” If someone has a Facebook or Instagram account, they think they're suddenly qualified to be a social media marketer. Today, digital marketing requires a variety of skills just to survive in this ever-changing industry. To do more than survive, but to stand out and shine, these are 7 skills social media marketers need to master. You may have all these skills yourself, or you may team up or hire out for some of them.
Here are 7 skills that I feel every social media marketer needs to stand out:
1. Great writing skills
So, this one seems so obvious, and yet I still feel this is an area most of us are lacking. To write well online is very different from writing essays or text messages. I see horrifying grammar and spelling all over websites and social media posts. This shouldn’t be happening with all the auto-correct tools like Grammarly out there. By-the-way, Grammarly has a free tool that allows you to load your entire post or article to have it checked or you can add the Chrome extension to your browser and have the Grammar Police follow you EVERYWHERE on the web! Find them… use them…and start writing better!
The other side of that coin is the far-too-formal writing. Our English teachers must have beaten us all in school, because most people still write as if they are writing a research paper, instead of speaking to their ideal audience. On Social media or blog posts, it is best to write like you would speak… conversationally. Sit across from the table with a cup of coffee and talk to people through your writing. It’s a social channel, not a term paper. Check out HemingwayApp for tips on making your writing more readable.
2. Customer Service Skills
Someone just asked me today, what skill is hardest to hire for. It is definitely customer service. Everyone is a “people person” in an interview until they have to deal with PEOPLE. In social media marketing, you have to be prepared to take the hits online from people who are hiding behind a keyboard and want to vent. If you work in an agency, you will also have to take the hits from the customers who don’t like something you wrote or the color of the image you’ve used.
When you own a business, you are willing to go further for customers to solve a problem, versus someone who is “just working” on that job. I get it. You have to find people who want the best for clients to be managing your social media. It can get ugly online.
3. Basic SEO Understanding
While you may not know how to optimize your website using tools like SMRush or MOZ, but you should know the basics of SEO as a social media marketer. There are lots of blog posts out there that give more information on this. A great one is Keyword Research for SEO, by Yoast, but there are some basics that you should know if you are writing content for your website or writing any social media content. Know what ALT tags and keywords are. You need to be tagging your images on blog and website content.
You should know what your main keywords and phrases are that you want to be found with. What are the top questions people are typing into Google or other search engines for your industry? What content do you need to write so it comes up as a match to those questions? These are keywords and keyword phrases. You not only want to learn how search engines match your content, to the questions people are typing, but you also should start considering the questions people are SPEAKING into search (Google, Alexa, and Siri).
As you write content always keep your reader or searcher in mind. How are you providing valuable content to answer their questions? What clues are you giving Google on what your content is about? ALT tags give clues in every image, as does the title of that image.
4. An Eye for Design
With all content, we want to make sure it is visually appealing and able to capture someone’s attention in a matter of seconds. People don’t read anymore…they scroll. As social media posts go by, it’s the images that stop the eye traffic. When your images are boring, corny, not sized right, or missing altogether, your content will get fewer eyeballs on it.
There are lots of beautiful photo sites and ways to manipulate them to make them POP. We now have tools like Canva that make creating beautiful graphics a snap. If you don’t have an eye for design, you might be trying to stick 150 words in yellow font across a dark blue square. Stab me in the eyes already! The good news is, there are hundreds of great templates, and you can even take free mini-courses on design right from Canva.
5. An Eye for Details
With so many platforms and so much going on at once, it can be easy to slip up and schedule the wrong content on the wrong platform. Without an eye for detail, you may not catch the misspelling of the company owner's name on a very important blog post. YIKES… it happens. Too many companies still throw the job of social media management to someone who already has 47 tasks to do each day. Most people think social marketing is easy. You might be the person trying to do it all. You know, it can be a full-time job!
Social marketing is about putting your brand out there in front of the world…quickly. You don't have time to have an editing committee review every social post (and I do know for a fact there are such things). Social moves too fast and the posts have a short life span, but you need to have a keen attention to detail.
If you're a person who moves fast and doesn't pause before hitting that send, or post button, you'll hear about it from your readers. How do I know this? Well… let's just say with social media, it is going to happen to the best of us. Everyone turns into an editor as soon as they read anyone else’s content, so be sure to re-reads posts, even out loud, one more time before publishing. It will at least cut down the number of times you find that goofy typo right after you hit, SEND.
Details also come in the form of schedules in this industry. There is usually a lot of content going out on different platforms and you may be waiting on graphics or webinar dates and links. Things are best when planned in advance and put on a scheduler with reminders. Using content calendars or team tools like Asana or Trello is almost essential today.
6. Willingness … NO … A BURNING DESIRE to Learn
This skill is probably the most important in social media marketing. Because there are always new tools, platforms, and techniques, you will always have to be learning. It's one thing to be willing to learn, but you must WANT to learn. You must LOVE the process of learning. Don't sit back and wait for someone to spoon-feed you new information. As a marketer today, you must have an insatiable appetite for learning and experimenting.
When I meet someone in this industry, I ask, “what are some of your favorite blogs or podcasts?” If they don’t have an answer, it tells me they won't last long or go very far. It's an industry like few others in that it changes daily and the only way to keep up is to be in a constant learning mode.
A common question is, “What book can I pick up to learn social media?” By the time a digital marketing book is published and sits on the shelf of a bookstore, it's outdated! I was the technical editor for the Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media and as we would finish one chapter, the one prior already needed changes. Conferences, podcasts, videos, classes, and blog posts are the way to keep up in this industry. Stay thirsty my friend!
7. Adventurous Spirit
While this last one isn’t necessarily a SKILL, it is a required attribute for a successful social media marketer. Be willing to pick up and try new things. As you hear of a new platform or tool, jump in and start playing with it. Create accounts to check out how others are using it and what is going on in there. They don’t all pan out, but you will always learn something and you will meet interesting people along the way.
In 2009, I was working with teams at IBM who were meeting in a virtual space called, Second Life. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. It was amazing and creative. I would log in as an avatar and we could share slides, speak to one another and learn in incredible virtual environments. I met people in there that I still interact with regularly, and have even done business with a few of them. Never hesitate to jump in to take a look at different tools. Be adventurous.
Ok, these are the 7 skills that I have identified. I'd love to hear from you. What other skills do you feel are necessary to be successful in digital marketing? Which of these skills do you need to work on the most? I’d love to know.
As a social media marketing agency in Colorado, we employ a variety of people that possess these skills. If you need to augment your own skillset, give us a call…or a tweet! If you’re interested in learning—jump into our DIYsocial Community where we share regular tips, tools, and resources to help you stay ahead in this social media marketing space.
I got into sales in 1989 selling temporary and regular staffing, or placement services, to large and mid-sized businesses. I had no formal sales training but I knew that I could connect with people, getting to know them, allowing them to get to know me, and somehow that always led to business.
I have always been curious about the quality we call, “Likeability.” It’s an elusive X-factor that I assumed you either had or you didn’t. Some call it charm. Some call it persuasiveness. I just always considered it likeability…or unlikeability. That quality someone had that immediately made you like or dislike them.
I wondered if it was teachable? What made someone more likable than others? If I could break it down into activities or behaviors, then surely it could be teachable. While it may take considerable effort for some, for others these qualities come more natural.
Qualities of Likeability
The ability to really listen to another person.
Not a faked listening activity in sales where you know someone is going down their list just checking off the questions but not paying attention to your answers.
To show interest in others and be curious about them and their work.
To really want to know more about them. To want to learn something.
To have a sense of humor…even a dry one.
It’s just harder to like someone who is intense or too serious.
To be confident in conversations…not awkward.
Confidence is a deep quality that encompasses so much, but when you know your industry, products or services, and a little bit of knowledge about everything else, it goes a long way in being able to confidently jump into conversations and find connecting tissue with others. I call this the USA Today Confidence.
The hardest nuts for me to crack back in my sales days were the impersonal ones that wouldn’t allow me to set that needed appointment where I could learn enough about them and then charm them into that next lunch appointment. There I would listen to them pour out their frustrations about their jobs and life, and then I would explain how I was going to help make those frustrations go away with our staffing solutions.
Trust was then built through proving ourselves. Sure in big proposals we submitted case studies and references, but only a few would call and check references. For the most part, people were trusting us based on the relationships we established. Based on our likeability.
The world is much different today. Google allows people to research your products and services before they ever contact you to buy. They can get to know you and like you, or dislike you, online. Trust can still be established through testimonials, on your website or social platforms. You can show social proof of your trustworthiness through the number of people who engage or share your content, whether you are asked to share your knowledge on larger platforms and if you have enough content out there that shows you are indeed an expert in your field.
[bctt tweet=”Google allows people to research you & your brand before they ever contact you. They get to know, like, trust you online.” username=”@GinaSchreck”]
If you take the four qualities or characteristics from our face-to-face sales skills and apply them to today’s online sales and marketing environment, pretty much, the same activities or behaviors apply.
Here's how to be more likeable online:
The ability to really listen to another person.
Are you taking time to read someone’s bio and perhaps the things they have taken the time to write on their social media profiles. You can learn a lot by checking out someone’s LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook profiles. I love when I find a prospective client on Instagram, because there can be something very intimate about the images people share there. What can people learn about you from your profiles? Are you sharing things that make you LIKEABLE? Do you have content that proves your trustworthiness or expertise?
To show interest in others and be curious about them and their work.
Take the time to connect and ask a question or two after reading their profiles. What connecting tissues do you see? Is it where they live or grew up? Is there something in their work history that you are curious about? Now look at your own profiles. Do they cause someone to want to know more? Do they draw people in and show an interesting side of you that causes them to want to connect? If you are posting about how fabulously perfect and glamorous your life is, people may not be able to connect or relate. Be sure you are sharing your true you. To use an OVERUSED phrase, “Be authentic.” (That sounds so much like an American Idol saying, but it's true.)
To have a sense of humor…even a dry one.
Remember, it’s harder to connect with someone who is intense or overly serious. I am not talking about sharing corny or potentially inappropriate jokes or comics on your profile. I’m talking about your unique observations or take on things. The way you reply to someone or what is shared in your content. Don’t leave your personality at the door.
To be confident in conversations.
Social media allows you to shine here since there is so much information that you can subscribe to and read. Be sure you are following and regularly reading blogs and social media posts from the industry experts in your space. Be sure to set up lists and follow industry news for your clients and potential clients. And be sure to follow the USA Today on Twitter.
Today I was asking my brilliant (and all very likeable) contacts on Facebook about this topic and what other qualities they felt made someone likeable. Ray Williams said Mike Rowe was a great example of someone who is likeable online. He said being personable and not over the top (corny) makes someone likeable. Kristin Crocket said when someone is more interested in you than in themselves, they are instantly more likeable, and Thom Reagan said people who are encouragers are also seen as more likeable, and Barb Tomlin reminded us all that a smile is a very easy way to become more likeable! These are a few comments from our Facebook Live event. You can watch the replay below!
I’d love to hear from you. What qualities do you feel make a person more LIKEABLE or UNLIKEABLE? Share in the comments below!
Do you remember when you first learned the power of storytelling? I can still remember the excitement in preschool, as we would grab our little mats and sit on the floor to hear Miss Maria spin her storytelling magic. Leaning forward on our little elbows we were pulled into the story and when she was finished we got milk and graham crackers (this is probably why I really loved story time). Everyone loves a great story. A story can transport us to faraway places, or a story can help us find the common ground we share with someone, allowing us to like them or trust them a little more.
I’ve spent the past four days in Sonoma County with a group of friends, touring the wine country. We visited three vineyards and tasting rooms per day, each offering a very different experience. At the end of each day, our group of 7 would discuss our favorite wines, our favorite locations, and which wines we purchased. We talked about what made each our favorite and we found there was a definite connection between the experience that was created during the tasting and the amount of wine purchased. It came down to the power of storytelling. The stories that were shared pulled us in, causing us to feel connected to the family or person that started the winery. The stories brought a familiar feeling and likeability factor.
Here are a few examples:
Storytelling at Christopher Creek
Liam's storytelling style was like that of an old friend. Comfortable. Easy to listen to. Like a soft flannel shirt (which he happened to have on) He told us the stories of the Italian families that he grew up with and eventually partnered with at Christopher Creek. We learned about how they snuck wine out to families during the prohibition by having their 12-year-old son drive the wine into town because no one would suspect a 12-year-old of smuggling wine to others. Liam told us about his 8th-grade girlfriend (of two weeks) that he now gets grapes from in the valley. He was funny and drew us into his stories of wine making and even his dream of owning an Irish Pub someday.
Storytelling at Toad Hallow
At Toad Hollow, we heard a different type of storytelling. This was not so much the actual stories of the families who started Toad Hollow, but of Dr. and Mrs. Toad and their friend Mr. Badger who decided to make great wine together. We did learn that Robin Williams was the founder’s half-brother, and Ricardo, the storyteller in the wine-tasting room, told us the story of two French toads through wonderfully illustrated paintings that are illustrated on each label. That was when we got a little biology lesson, learning the meaning of AMPLEXUS, the name of one of their sparkling wines.
Storytelling at Ferrari-Carano
Jessica was one of our favorites. She told us stories of the owners at Ferrari-Carano (who also happen to own hotels in Vegas and Reno and Vegas, she taught us about each of the wines and how the drought affected each of them, and she had us laughing and having a great time.
A couple places we visited had lovely gardens, wonderful wine tasting rooms, and some even had good wine, but what was missing was great storytelling. No story time…no drawing us in to feel a kinship. These folks missed a huge opportunity. We didn’t learn about the family that ran the vineyard or what made them unique from the hundreds of others in the valley. The folks at these stops didn’t educate us on the different wines or entertain us with even a single story, and at De La Montanya Winery, the young lady didn’t even ask for a sale. I left craving graham crackers!
So how can you share more of your stories with your audience? Do you have photos of the “early days” or can you perhaps interview one of your early clients or a team member who has been with you since the beginning? Find ways to share stories that help educate your clients or customers, and don’t underestimate the power of those stories in your marketing. They cause people to lean in wanting to know more about you. They help your potential customers find that common ground that trust and likeability are built on.
I'd love to hear your STORY! Tell us how you use stories in your marketing or if you have a great example of a brand that uses storytelling brilliantly in their marketing…do share. We'll have graham crackers and milk after!
Need some help developing your stories? Download the “What’s Your Story” worksheet to work on crafting your own marketing stories.
Kim told me last week that she has been blogging for almost a year and has never had one person share her posts or comment on them. YIKES, I thought, there must be something wrong here. I asked her if perhaps she gets her comments via social media or email, instead of on the blog. I get at least 2 or 3 email questions a week from people who read a blog post or watch a video and then they go to our contact page to email me or contact me via Twitter. Some people don't want their comments living in public for all the world to see. Kim said she did not receive any messages from anywhere, so I wanted to use this as a case study and hopefully, all of us can learn a thing or two.
Keep in mind, there is no QUICK and EASY PILL for any of this. If you are in the same spot as Kim, you will have to be willing to do a bit of work, but once you do, it is easy to maintain.
A little background: Kim is a personal coach and offers individual and group coaching. She has always gotten new clients through referrals but would love it if her website and blog would help drive new client traffic as well.
After a quick audit of her blog and social media channels, here is a list of what I found and the suggestions I gave her. You can apply these to your blog and social media posts as well for BIG RESULTS:
Posts not focused and not highlighting expertise.
The blog posts were more observations or random thoughts by her. Some had nothing to do with working with a coach or providing helpful tips or information for people wanting to make changes in their lives. Scan your most recent posts. Can a stranger tell what you are an expert in or how you could help them?
- Easy fix. Design a content calendar and fill it with ideas and topics that potential coaching clients might be searching for on Google. Start writing one post per week that is focused and relevant to those interested in making changes in their life—personal and professionally. Answer a question, provide steps and tips, showcase her expertise in this space while helping readers to start liking and trusting her through her posts. Video would be really helpful to build trust and rapport.
Auto-sharing blog posts through a blog…ONCE.
Many people have this set up on their website and blog. When a post is published, a Tweet or other social channel post is pushed out automatically. Kim's was pushing out a generic tweet and Facebook post when her posts went live and that was the end of her promotion. They looked generic and there was not a call to action in the posts.
- First can the auto-push tools on your blog. While they are convenient for you, they do not allow you to personalize or change up what gets shared on each social channel. On Twitter, you have 140 characters plus an image. Your link has to fit in here so you really only have about 115 characters give or take. Facebook and LinkedIn offer more room so you can ask a question and then put the blog title or headline with an image. If you are pinning to Pinterest you can change the image to be longer and add more hashtags. So for your first few posts on social channels, do it manually or at least schedule them using a tool like Buffer.
- Create a sharing machine and add clear calls to action on each post—blog and social. I recommended that Kim go through every one of her past blog posts and create an inventory of each. She needed to list the title of the post, the link to it, and two other possible headlines to promote it. Perhaps one is “3 Myths People Have About Working with a Personal Coach.” Another option might be, “Why You Still Can’t Reach Those Goals: 3 Myths You need to Bust” and third can be “Would You REALLY Do ANYTHING to Reach Those Goals? Shake these 3 myths and you’ll be on your way.” Now when the inventory is complete upload these in a tool like SocialJukebox or MeetEdgar.Once your posts are in one of these tools, you can set a schedule to repost your content once a week or once every couple of weeks to keep it in circulation at different times and on different days of the week. Too many bloggers use the one and done approach to promoting their content. If someone wasn’t logged into that social channel at the time you posted your blog post, they may never see it. If the topic is still relevant and helpful (not tied to a holiday or event that has passed) you can promote it again and again. The more content you have in your scheduler, the more spread out you can set your schedule so perhaps each post is only reposted every 3 or 4 weeks.
No strong call to action questions or requests at the end of blog posts.
- Don't leave your readers wanting more. Many times a reader gets to the end and would click on another link or go somewhere else on your site if you offered it, but they are left with the option of searching or closing out the session.
- Ask for what you want! Like we used to tell our daughters when they were little, “Use your big girl words.” We often assume just because we wrote a great piece of content and shared it, that people will feel compelled to comment. Most people are still consumers when it comes to content. We grew up reading newspapers and magazines. No one asked us for our opinions or comments on those posts. You must ask people to share their thoughts or ideas in the comments’ area.
- Start with very direct and closed-ended questions, “Tell us one thing you can do today to start making changes.” “Let me know in the comment section below, which number above would create the greatest change for you?” These don’t require your readers to think too hard or write an essay for an answer. If you ask, “Tell us about a time you have found this to be difficult…” your reader may opt out.
- Ask people to connect with you on your social media channels. Make it easy by hyperlinking to your account. Don’t make people go to Twitter or LinkedIn and have to search for you. Say something like, “I’d love to connect with you on Twitter or LinkedIn to continue this conversation. Come over and let me know what your thoughts were.” (See what I did there?)
Needing to “Prime the Pump” to get a few comments flowing.
- Sometimes we have to get a few staged comments on our posts to get the water flowing. Just like an old rusty pump, you want to give it a few pumps, up and down to bring the water to the spout so when someone else comes, they can easily get the water flowing. Email a few friends or peers and ask for their opinions or thoughts on one of your posts. Find a few contacts on social media who may have a great opinion on your topic and ask if they wouldn’t mind reading your post and offering their thoughts. You can’t ask the same people over and over to comment on your posts, but if you spread it out, you may be able to get one or two on a few of your best posts. Most people who comment will then share the post with their social network.
If you try these 4 steps and still get no response from people, you will need to find someone to give you honest feedback and perhaps coaching. You will need someone who can be brutally honest. Someone who can look for these possible writing diseases:
- If your writing style is not clear and concise it can be hard for readers to stay with you, let alone want to share it with their audience.
- You may need more white space, bullets, and photos to break up heavy text paragraphs. Remember we are a society used to videos, shiny photos and 140 character tweets.
- You may have a topic that not many people are interested in. It’s like that 90’s movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” This is a hard pill to swallow, but it may be that you need to assess the relevancy of your blog, your topic or just your writing style. If you are using dated examples or write in a manner that is not compelling, it could just be your readers are yawning and moving on.
- Try hiring a professional writer to convey your message. You can go to sites like Writers Access and find someone who might be able to write for your industry and topic.
- If you have a topic that can be covered through video or beautiful images, you may just need to shift the format of your posts. It’s like trying to write about art and what inspires you without showing it. Many bloggers do a beautiful job of moving you through photos and fewer words.
- Try auditing a few blogs from others in your industry or an outside industry (although you will get more applicable examples if they are in your industry). Look at the format of their posts. Are they long or short? Do they write in a conversational tone or more formal? What do you like about the set up? What might be missing as far as types of content (You might want to address what is missing on your blog)?
Okay, it’s your turn. What other tips would you give Kim? How are you getting more comments and shares to your content? Are there other blog diseases you have seen? We need your expertise here. Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.
If you are stuck coming up with content ideas, sign up for our 15-Day Content Creation Challenge Here:
Most new bloggers worry that no one will see their posts when they first start blogging and many on social media feel the same way when starting out. “Why should I post anything when no one is following me yet?” Then when people finally comment or retweet something there is no response. It takes a little more effort to build your blog audience than just writing great content.
The goal on any social channel, including your blog, is to build a relationship with people, one at a time. If you look at most social channels, it as if the goal is to broadcast how awesome the brand is or how great their lifestyle is. Not a whole lot of personal connecting going on.
While one-on-one connecting may seem counter to what most think of when using social media, you will build your blog audience and a larger following on any channel if you focus on relationships….one at a time. Most of the time brands are only focused on pushing out content and they forget the all important role of community management and growth activities.
When someone at a brand reaches out to you, comments on something that is not necessarily related to them, or they respond to something you said or a question you asked, you may just feel compelled to draw closer or take a second look at them. They show interest in you which immediately makes you more interested in them. The folks at Olive and Cocoa do this exceptionally well. They will comment or like one of my Instagram posts that has nothing to do with gifts or their brand. Each time they do, it adds a little affinity credit to their brand in my mind. I usually pop over to drool over all the fabulous gifts they have on their site and I lust after their Delancy Champagne Flutes one more time whispering, “one day you'll be mine!” And yes I have made purchases from them because of this relationship-building.
Here are 5 ways to build your blog audience and your following on social media channels. This will go beyond just numbers, but will build relationships:
Further the Conversation
When someone takes the time to comment on your blog or social media channel, don’t just LIKE their comment or say “Thanks” for the comment. Further the conversation. Ask them a question. What specifically did they take away from your post or how have they seen it work elsewhere? Be sure it doesn’t sound like you are challenging them. I have had people ask me why I liked their social post or why I commented on a blog post. That's just weird! It's like being trapped at a party with the awkward person in the corner. I want to take it back and say, “Never mind…I don't like it now.” Your goal is to continue the conversation, not interrogate them.
Make a Great First Impression
Before blindly connecting with someone that requests to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook, look at their profile and find something to comment on or start a conversation with. Start the relationship off with more than a blank connection that just throws them into your mix of connections.
If someone follows you on Twitter and they look interesting enough to follow back, go through a page of their posts first and retweet or comment back to them letting them know you find something helpful or interesting. Then when you follow them back, it will be more meaningful. You can add Twitter connections to a list and be sure to watch their posts a bit more closely for a while which will allow you to comment and share their content more readily.
HOW TO CREATE OR ADD SOMEONE TO A TWITTER LIST:
WHERE TO FIND YOUR LISTS ON YOUR OWN PROFILE:
If someone asks a question on your blog post or makes a comment letting you know that the content helped them, follow up in a couple of weeks (you most likely have their email from their comment) with an email asking if they have been able to implement the changes or new information you shared. See if there is anything else you can help them with, without throwing in an offer or mentioning anything promotional. If you have another blog post that you think could offer more insight or helpful information, definitely include that, but DO NOT try to promote your business here. You will go from strange and helpful blogger to spammy creeper faster than you can hit the delete key!This simple and quick act will most likely catch people off guard, after all, how often does a blogger take the time to email someone that commented on their posts? By showing you care and that you are actually interested in them, they will most likely come back and revisit your site.
Buy Them a Virtual Coffee
Do you have someone or a group of someone’s who share your content regularly or comment often on your blog? Why not let them know how much you appreciate them. Send a $5 eGiftcard from Starbucks or somewhere else letting them know you appreciate them or if you engage back and forth often, let them know you enjoy the virtual coffee chat time. Perhaps you have something of value, like an ebook or something else non-promotional that you could send them just to say THANKS!
Thank people for sharing your content through fun, personalized, and super simple images or gifs. Why not take a selfie holding a sign thanking the person by name or find a great gif at Giphy.com that says thank you better than just a simple LIKE on a post. I have a collection of fun THANKS FOR SHARING images or YOU ROCK photos that I like to send anytime someone shares one of my posts. It only takes a couple of seconds but sets you apart from the crowd.
Remember, people will repeat behaviors that get recognized and rewarded. Rewards can be monetary or sentimental. The smallest gesture showing gratitude or care can blossom into a life-long friendship. Don't overlook these opportunities to build relationships that grow and turn mere readers into fans that will help drive people to your site!
If you are saying to yourself, “I wish I could just get someone to actually comment on my posts” be sure to read next week’s post— “How to Kick the Crickets From Your Blog and Get Readers and Comments” a case study and EXTREME MAKEOVER!
If you'd like some help on coming up with topics to blog about, be sure to sign up for the 15-Day Content Creation Challenge. Get a prompt for your blog or social media posts each day for 15 days sent to your inbox.
I appreciate you and hope you found some helpful tips to form greater relationships with your readers and social media connections. I know if you implement them you will see these relationships blossom and your numbers RISE!