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!
Do you remember who you were at your 20th birthday? I don’t. I was married and had a baby at age 20 but I’m SURE that I didn’t know much about ANYTHING!
How much have you learned since your 20th birthday? I was looking at how much I have learned since my 40th birthday (a little easier to remember). Before social media was … well… let’s just say 2003 was the year MySpace was founded. I was afraid of it. The iPhone was invented in 2007, when I was 43 so at 40 I’m sure I had a blackberry and I remember my sons wanted to carry around pagers.
I have another birthday coming and it’s always around this time that I look back and become more reflective. What have I learned this year? How have I grown? What have I done that is significant?
I can remember in my 20’s I was promoted to a branch manager position at a personnel company (a temp agency). I had major imposter syndrome. I always felt too young. Who would take me seriously? My teammates and peers were all older than me.
Then one day I looked around and realized everyone was suddenly younger than me, including my doctors, which is always really weird. I can remember thinking, “Am I now too old for people to take seriously in my line of work? Am I still relevant?” I think we have about 2 good years—between 39-41 when we feel we're just right!
I’ve never been the smartest one in school or on my jobs. I've also never been the one with the most experience. I can say those things were somewhat out of my control. Genetically, I didn’t have any rocket surgeons or brain scientists for parents and experience … well when you’re 22, you don’t have much control over that one. But what I did have in my control, was the desire to OUTLEARN and OUTWORK everyone. Maybe I was trying to prove to myself and others that I was smart enough to deserve the success I was experiencing.
Fortunately, what I didn’t have in degrees, I had in moxie…or scrappiness. I signed up for conferences and paid with my own money, at every chance I got. I went to Brian Tracey, Toni Robbins. I walked on fire and came home with bags of cassette tapes (that’s right… cassettes!). I have always spent lots of time letting the wisdom and experience from others pour into me through books, blog posts, podcasts, conferences, and face-to-face meetings.
When I speak to people who tell me they are stuck financially or in a negative space in their lives because they are in a bad relationship, or they are a single parent, or they lost their job, or they feel too old… I stop them and ask—What are you going to do about it? What is in your control?
Can you outlearn your competitor? Can you outwork that person who is up for the promotion you want? Do you have the guts and the desire to take the leap and start your own business and learn everything you need to so you feel you can at least dog-paddle your way instead of sinking? I love that scared feeling of being in over your head…just enough to get you moving. There is nothing like looking down and not seeing the bottom of the ocean to make you drop your weight belt (a SCUBA story I will have to share one day) and start kicking harder to get back to the surface.
If you’ve never had that feeling… it’s time. Let me push you out of your cushy but crappy spot you are in and get you kicking! If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I am gathering a group of women to go skydiving in a week and a half. I love these experiences that put us in a position to really feel what getting out of our comfort zones feels like. We need these times to remind us we can do hard things! We can do scary things!
Here are 3 things you can do to outwork and outlearn the rest:
Enjoy the Pursuit of Your Potential
You have so much potential. You just need to pursue it with a passion. Be in a crisis to be next best version of yourself. Learn to truly enjoy that hunger and that pursuit to reach your full potential.
What I love about this is, regardless of where you are, we are all starting this pursuit from the same place…our current state. There is no “too old” “too broke” or “too broken.” Just start the pursuit and give thanks each day for your journey and all that you are learning.
Sign up for a conference that will stretch you. One that will put you in the room, not just with your buddies and besties, but one that will put you in the room with people you will learn and grow from.
Schedule one hour a week for online learning—YouTube University! Our kids used Khan Academy for science and math homework help, but did you know there are sites that offer courses on everything from web development to character drawing courses. From photoshop courses to courses on neuroplasticity and rewiring your brain! You can take classes that are very inexpensive or free! Check out these resources to start:
LYNDA.com (which is now LinkedIn Learning)
2. Work with a Coach
I loved what Darcy Luoma said a couple weeks ago on our podcast when she said a coach will help you identify and fix your blindspots. She says we all have blind spots and a coach can help you improve in areas you may not even know you have. Whether you hire a life coach, an executive coach, or a business coach, working with one can help get you aligned in the right direction and they will hold you accountable for making the improvements or changes necessary!
3. Build habits and rituals to prevent laziness.
Make the commitment to get up earlier—even 30-minutes will give you that time to outwork and outlearn others. Make this a time to meditate, read, or plan your day. Incorporate listening to podcasts and audiobooks during your drive time or instead of watching lame television shows that do nothing to help you get ahead (unless you are writing scripts for lame television shows, then it makes sense). Incorporate one day or 30-minutes each day to learning. Whether that is attending a webinar, taking one of the classes you committed to or simply reading articles and filling your brain with the life lessons of others. Build these into daily and weekly habits to keep you out of the laziness trap.
4. Harness the Power of YES
Sometimes it's in the serendipitous times that our path is forever changed. Saying “YES” to new experiences, new people, new opportunities will open us up to information or people that expand and enrich our networks and our lives. Start paying attention and listen for those invitations that you would typically say, “No” to. Those things you never make time for or that you have always been afraid to try (like skydiving or dance lessons).
That obscure concert that is free in the park. That invitation to a lecture series downtown. The invitation to join a new group of people for a luncheon. When you open yourself up to new experiences, you will be opening yourself up to new opportunities as well. By putting yourself in new situations—surrounding yourself with people who are where you want to be, you will learn and grow.
So when you feel discouraged and feel as if things are just too hard, stop and take a look back. Look at how far you've come and how much you have changed and grown. You're not the same person you once were and thank goodness you're not the same person you were when you were 20!
I tend to get restless and easily bored. That’s probably not the greatest trait as an entrepreneur, but in the 23 years I have had my business, I have “shifted” many times as my industry has changed or as I saw an opportunity to disrupt my own business and grow it.
There are times I felt restless and wanted to totally disrupt my business to follow a new idea (like an app that I still have on the back-burner) but I was either too busy with the current business to chase the idea too far, or my very wise husband put his “blanket of reality” on the idea. He would remind me of the high cost and time commitment of app development. He’s been involved with several start-ups and knows first-hand so I returned it to the back-burner for now.
Sometimes we sit too long, and our industry or other outside factors disrupt us. Like anyone selling fax machines or portable GPS devices for our cars knows all too well. There are far too many examples of businesses that go under because they didn’t disrupt themselves early enough to keep up with changes happening and the outside forces came and disrupted them.
We often hear the story of Blockbuster Video who sat too long and was disrupted by outside forces, but what about Netflix? Netflix disrupted their own video business. They were rockin' the DVD mail service, but then soon realized they needed to disrupt themselves when they saw where digital media was going. They squiggled a bit to go from the mail back and forth video DVDs, to the hottest online video content company out there. We aren’t wasting our nights binge-watching Blockbuster shows.
We have to know when it’s time to disrupt ourselves and when we may need to sit a while longer. Sometimes we need to realize our restlessness may be causing us to chase something new and shiny. Persistence and perseverance are hard when we are restless or when things aren’t going as well as we’d like. Sometimes we see things changing around us and we hunker down, hoping the storm will pass. I see this with many people when it comes to digital and social marketing.
So how do we know when it’s time to move, even just a little? How do we know when it’s time to completely disrupt our current path and squiggle onto another? Since I tend to use the word “squiggle” a lot, I thought PASTA was a good word to help us when we feel that urge to DISRUPT or SQUIGGLE:
P- pause before you disrupt.
When we feel that urge to jump ship and dive into something completely new, we need to pause. Take time to reflect on what is working, what is not. Sometimes we want to change or squiggle out of sheer restlessness or current difficulties. Spend some time observing. Draw out your customer journey. What is working for them? What could be improved? Perhaps you will discover a new product or service offering is really a better move over a complete shift.
A- ask others for input.
When we are feeling restless and like disruption is needed, make some time to talk to others. Whether you have a business coach, a mastermind group or other colleagues, invite them to coffee or lunch and open up to them about your ideas and feelings to get their input. Listen to what they have to say
S- search for confirmation.
Now it’s time to do some homework on your ideas. Search the internet and see who else, and what else is out there, that can give you the confirmation or simply, more information to help you make the decision. Do you need to mystery shop some other companies doing something similar? Can you find information that proves there is an audience for your new idea?
T- test all ideas.
It's time to test your idea. Before you quit your day job or tell your current team members that you are closing the doors to start a new venture, throw your idea out and see if you get some takers. If your idea is in alignment with what you are currently doing, ask current customers for their input. Would they buy this product or service? Ask your social media audience. You need to know if your idea meets the needs of your current audience or if you need to find new people to connect with. You won't know until you do a few tests. Success often comes after many tests and failures.
A- alter your plan.
After you have tested your idea(s), and you’ve decided to incorporate some of the changes, you will need to alter your plans. This might be your current offerings or the copy that is on your current website, or it might mean it will alter your entire business plan. Know that you will always be testing, squiggling and altering. That’s just part of growing and staying on top of what is happening in your industry.
In business we don’t want to be on either extreme: Sitting too long and waiting to be disrupted by outside forces or disrupting ourselves too often and not sitting still long enough to see if we just need to persevere through some tough times or times when shiny objects are in our way.
Which side have you found yourself on in the past? I’d love to hear from you.
Leave me a comment below or connect with me on any social channel and let’s continue the discussion…hurry there is surely a shiny object in my view soon.
My days are too full. They're noisy. Filled with notifications from email, team Slack messages, social media and my phone. They're too fast. I can't get caught up on most days and therefore I stay up too late and get too little sleep. My days are filled with HUSTLE. (I have a love-hate relationship with that word. I think we need the hustle attitude and drive but that doesn't have to mean 22-hours a day.)
image from Deposit Photos
I have not really had quiet alone time for … well, forever. I've had kids for 35 years and my own business for 23 years. I've been blissfully married (the second time) for 28 years and I'm never really alone. I'm not complaining at all. I love my family and my life more than I ever dreamed I could, but recently it hit me that my days were just too full and too loud to think. Too loud to create and to plan. So I decided I needed some Monk Time.
Do you find your days so busy with business that you can't think beyond the next urgent client request or deadline? Do you have weekly intentions to take a day to just get things done or caught up and yet the days get filled with everyone else's requests? As an entrepreneur and business owner, we must make the time to continue innovating, evolving, creating and yes, even taking care of ourselves.
I was listening to a podcast recently with Tim Ferriss and Cat Hoke (one that blew my mind, broke my heart, and moved me to take action) and in the podcast, Cat talked about scheduling regular “Monk Time” to take care of herself and have time to think. I don't know why that struck me differently than the 87,000 other people who have said you can't take care of everything else if you don't take care of yourself, but it did.
Monk Time is not the same as a “digital detox,” which I have only done once, when in Africa for two weeks with very sketchy internet and a solar charger, so it wasn't intentional…it was just a self-imposed detox from electronics. Monk Time is not a vacation or a yoga retreat, although I could use both of those as well. I have not done any chanting and I don't have any bells (note to self- get some wind chimes or soothing yoga bowls or bells…that would have been perfect). Monk Time is quiet-be-with-myself time. It's a time to think, to create, to plan, and to do nothing if I want. It can be a day, a week, or even a couple hours.
image from Deposit Photos
We recently bought a second home in Arizona as a winter escape and my husband, some friends, and I came down at the end of January from Colorado to hang out for a few days. I decided to stay on an extra week or so to do some business planning for 2018 that never got to happen in November or December because my days were too packed. I decided to take some Monk Time.
So far I have taken my crazy dogs (so it's not totally quiet) on walks every day and I've spent time stretching. I've listened to the audiobooks, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown (I should have listened to this years ago!), Building a Story Brand, by Donald Miller and a multitude of podcasts…all at my leisure. I have hiked, swam and even spent some time in my little art studio here, as I'm sure all good Monks would do. I've not watched the news but instead listened to lots of Kitaro, David Lanz, and even Yanni (I know…I'm not ashamed to admit it).
In our hyper-connected, overly-scheduled, hustle 24/7 world, we must make time to just be still. We cannot create or even plan ways to fit new things into our business or new ways to help our clients if we can't make time for quiet reflection that allows for brain-stimulating innovation.
So what is needed to plan YOUR Monk Time? Here are 4 tips to get you started:
Create a vacation response message for your email.
You don't have to say you are gone, just not able to respond as quickly. Give yourself that time during your Monk Time to not be bound to your devices. Tell people that you are taking time to plan or create new products and services. Let them know you will get back to them within 48 hours and perhaps who they can contact in “urgent” situations. It's not that you won't check email, it's that you won't leave your email open all day or check it 5 times during the day.
Prepare your team.
Let your team know you are available in emergency situations (that means there must be blood or protruding bones in our household…and the bone has to be larger than a finger), but that you will not be scheduling meetings, calls, or answering the questions that someone else on the team can answer. Hey, this sounds like it could possibly carry over way beyond Monk Time!
Don't watch television.
Unless the Olympic Opening Ceremonies are on, or the final episode of This is Us and you have to find out what happened to Jack. But other than that… don't turn it on.
Schedule nurture time.
This might be a massage, leisurely walks, working out, or just sitting in a quiet park, breathing deeply to clear your head. Do the things you always say you should do to take care of yourself, but never do.
When was the last time you took time for yourself? Time to plan and think about what you want to be doing in your business? I'd love to hear from you. What did you do? What went well? What would you do differently next time? Let's chat here in the comments or on any of our social channels.
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!
My son called me last week to tell me he is thinking of striking out on his own to start his own business. I was so excited for him. He has been an electrician for 13 years working for large and small companies. He asked for my advice on what to do first. I get asked that question a lot but when you are telling your son, you pause and think about it perhaps a bit longer. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, so there is a lot of information I need to pour in this vessel.
Many startups ask, Should I market my business before I open the doors or do I wait until I actually have the business up and running? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The marketing comes first, that’ s which one. You must build your network BEFORE YOU NEED IT. Get out early and connect with people. Provide your expertize early and show that you are here to be a valuable member of the community not just ask people to support your new business.
When you consider what marketing is, it’s communicating and building relationships with your ideal customers. So, if you just take that concept, when should you start communicating and building relationships? As soon as you can. You want to start identifying, connecting with, and building trust and likeability with people, sometimes even before you have an actual idea for your business.
Here is the advice and help I’m giving my son on how to start and market his new business:
Let Us Get to Know YOU:
People want to learn about YOU. Not just your promotions and sales material. They want to get to know and like you through the content you share. Don’t be afraid to share a little personality with your helpful content. Being likeable is huge when it comes to converting prospects to customers and with the use of today’s tools (blogs, social posts, video content) you can easily do this.
[READ MORE ON STORYTELLING IN YOUR BUSINESS HERE: Stories of Wine and Marketing: Storytelling In Your Business]
Show us a photo of you geeking out over new tools. Snap a photo of the pet duck you find in someone’s yard when you go to a job. Share a pic of your kids holding their tools wanting to go to work with you. (Hearts start melting all over the place)
If you are a consultant or you work mostly from home, you can share a photo of your favorite writing spot or a beautiful view on your morning walk as you get centered and ready to take on a big project. This tells us something about YOU! It makes you LIKEABLE.
[READ MORE: 10 Tips on Using Instagram in Your Business]
If you are an expert in something, be sure you are sharing regular helpful tips to draw me in and show me that expertize. Just because someone claims to be an “expert” most people will want to see proof. And today that means through content you are sharing—blog posts, social media posts, email messages, videos, etc. Share helpful tips that help me and I will appreciate you and most likely come to you when I am ready to spend money.
If you are a relationship coach or expert and we meet at a dinner party, I might end up asking you about how to deal with a coworker who sits near me and smells bad. “How would you handle that type of situation?” These tips build trust, credibility and, depending on how you answer this question, possibly likeability. Share Q&A posts like this on social or your blog.
If you are an electrician and we meet at this same dinner party, I might ask you, “How hard is it to install the new outlets that have USB ports in them? Is this something I can do on my own?” Share these answers via short Q&A videos.
Stay Mobile and Use Tools:
To do what you have to get done each day, you either need to buy some roll-over minutes to expand your 24-hours, or learn to use your smartphone to stay productive in the “slivers of time.” Whether you are waiting for kids to finish soccer practice, or standing in line at the grocery store, you can get a lot of your marketing and follow up work done when you have a mobile phone with the right tools loaded on it. You can take payments, check on invoices, answer emails and so much more. A good mobile device is your office on-the-go, and what entrepreneur is not always on-the-go?
Using a social dashboard tool like Hootsuite App on your mobile, you can respond to comments or questions on the go. Having your email app on your phone allows you to be more responsive. There is no reason you should have to wait until you are home at night to respond to get back to people. If you add in MailChimp, Canva, and Quickbooks, you may never have to go back to the office again!
When it comes to marketing your business, new or old, consistency is key. You cannot just market when you “have time.” If that were the case, it would NEVER HAPPEN! You have to make time to plan out your marketing content. For some reason when we get busy marketing seems to go by the wayside and then shortly we are not busy at all and we panic. Keeping the marketing train going will help keep your business consistent.
Use tools like Buffer to plan your marketing content and schedule it. Spend a 2-3 hours on the weekend scheduling out photos, Q&A posts answering different customer questions and links to interesting articles you have so you don’t have to worry about it while you are busy with your business. You can respond to others and add in spontaneous content as you find it or as things occur, but you will have consistent content out there even if nothing new pops up.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of people who do what you do. It is the person that keeps doing it day after day, month after month, year after year, that stays in business. Everyone knows what to do but very few actually show up every day and do it. Be consistent and show up (physically and virtually) every day and 22 years later, you’ll be telling others how to start their business!
[bctt tweet=”Everyone knows what to do but very few actually show up every day and do it. #Consistency #Marketing” username=”@GinaSchreck”]
Mistakes I Made and Things I Wish I Had Done Differently:
Build Your Email List
You will likely hear this one from any entrepreneur you meet, and it’s true, start building an email list from the beginning. Don’t keep random email addresses in your Gmail or on business cards. Sign up for an email service like MailChimp. I like Mailchimp because it is free until you have 2,000 contacts and it has free automation features to set up a sequence of emails to go out without you having to do much, once it’s set up. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing in the beginning, just sign up for this and put everyone you meet into this database. You will be happy you did.
Market When You’re Busy
Another thing I had to learn the hard way is you need to market your business even when you are so busy with current customers that you don’t think you need to. Your marketing is relationship building for the future as well as for the present. When you turn that off, you will feel it in 6 months. If you have blog posts or videos you have created, add them into a tool like SocialJukebox to put them into an ongoing post schedule. This tool will help you keep your existing, and even old content, in front of a new audience as long as you’d like. It is different from tools like Hootsuite, as this tool puts your posts into a “jukebox” and puts it on auto-replay forever. It will mix them up and play them on different days and different times. You can adjust the schedule to ensure they don’t replay too often.
I’d love to hear your challenges or fears of starting and growing your own business. Throw them in the comments area and we will chime in with some ideas for you. If you want regular tips and tools for marketing and growing your business, be sure to join us in our DIYsocial Facebook Group—It’s FREE!