Monthly Archives: January 2011

Enough with the negative

From the archives of last year (April 2010), and still true today. Had a conversation yesterday with someone that reminded me of just how true it is, especially the collaboration part.

Maybe it’s the changing jet steam, spring allergies or something in the water, because I’ve met more than the usual number of negative business owners in the last few weeks.

They complain how their competitors bad mouth them to steal business.

They think that people who want to collaborate with them are only “in it for themselves.”

In reality, those same business owners look petty and mean.

Enough with the negative already!

Why not see the benefit in collaborating? We’re all better when we work together toward a common good!

Start blasting YOUR good news instead! The truth will out.

When you help your business partners – by talking about them in your newsletter, by linking to their sites from your own, by telling the world the positive results you get from working with them on your social media sites – everyone benefits. They’ll help you in return.

Thanks, and I’ll get off of my soapbox now.

Social Media Q&A Redux

So many great questions, so little space! I received more great questions about getting your business’ message out than could fit in the last post. Here’s the remainder.

Q: Please discuss the importance of the subject line in an e-mail or memo. From Hannah.

 

A: Subject lines are critical in enticing people to open your email or read your memo. I had several folks reply to an email with the subject line, “Whoops! I did it again.” They were intrigued by it and wanted to know what was up. Then again, Hannah was annoyed by the subject line and told me so. She did open the email, though.

Q: I know that there are several so-called free services for distributing press releases. Is that is the best path to take? From Richard Rice of AlbuquerqueNightOut.com
A: Using a free electronic distribution service works when you want to reach beyond your local area. But if local is your market, then do the research (or find someone who already has) on what your local media outlets are – newspapers, radio, social media sites, magazines. A little up front investigation will tell you which distribution methods will work best.

Q: I want to enhance my online presence. Should I create a website or a blog first? From Curious, but wishes to remain anonymous.

A: Here’s another “it depends” answer because a blog IS a website! Many company websites are actually set up on blogging platforms because of their ease in updating. (My own website is a WordPress.com blog – check it out). A traditional website is static, and though you can change content as often as you want, you usually do it when your product or service changes. My advice? Whichever you choose, make sure your content is current and that people can easily find the site.

Thanks again, everyone, for your questions! And remember, regular, consistent and POSITIVE communication is the key to getting your message out and noticed.

Why I Love Press Releases

Call me old fashioned, but I love press releases – that stalwart method of letting the media know about you, your company and your service. Whether you’re used to naming them media releases, news releases, or press releases, they are a tried and true way to get to  reporters, editors, bloggers. And if you incorporate them onto your website, blog site, Facebook or Twitter, your friends and followers, too.

Press releases done correctly – with all the right information – often find themselves plopped right down in a newspaper, website or social media account verbatim. Yes, word for word. That’s why it’s so important that all the right information, and no fluff, gets into them in the first place. Also helpful? A well-written, concise message. More than one idea confuses the purpose.

See, with press releases, you control the message. Only the details you want to send into the world are sent. Ideally, a reporter or blogger will contact you for an in depth interview. But more likely than not, they’ll simply cut and paste your words into their publication or site – online or print.

The key is to send only good stuff – don’t try to sell anyone. It’s not an advertisement. Simply and clearly (no jargon!) explain the happening – you’ve moved location, you’ve hired someone, you’ve won an award, you’re celebrating a milestone, you’ve debuted a new website.

Consistently let people – and reporters are just people who get paid for their words – know about the great things happening in your business. This includes your current and potential clients, too! They’ll pay attention when your information is reliable, truthful and best of all, short and to the point.

Social Media Q&A

Social Media Q&A Mania!

Back in January of 2010, I asked people their questions about getting their business’ message out. The questions are still really good, and bear repeating now.

Q: How do I combine or cross promote through different forms of social media? From Ron Patel of Just Dine In.

A: There are two ways to cross promote your business through the different forms of social media. One way is link your social media accounts together so that a post on one automatically feeds the other. The other way is to use a multiple posting service that allows you to send one post to all your social media sites at the same time.

Q: What do you recommend as good media channels to get your message out? From Kristelle Siarza, late of the Greater ABQ Chamber of Commerce and now with Associated General Contractors of New Mexico.

A: What media you target depends on what media your customers pay attention to. There’s a lot of research about which demographic groups read newspapers, listen to radio and get their information from online media, including social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A little upfront investigation will tell you which methods are good for you.

Q: When doing social media for your business or organization, how much is “too much” communication or how much is “too little?” From Brian Morris of the Downtown Action Team.

A: This is a tough one! The answer is, it depends. The key is to communicate regularly and consistently, but only useful information. Your business’ fans and followers don’t care about your latest Scramble score, but they do want to know if you’re running a special, or when your next event is. See the next question for a good rule of thumb.

Q: How much time does it really take to do social networking effectively? From Lori Shaw of Xtra Mark.

A: Here’s another “it depends” answer. You need to keep up with your social networking sites so that your friends, followers and fans feel like their questions and comments have been heard and answered. For some businesses, especially service ones, that could be checking in for a few minutes a couple of times a day. For others, it could be an hour a day. A good rule of thumb is to never go longer than 48 hours without posting something of interest on your social media sites.

And not a question, but a great comment from Guy Berger of Palms Trading Company:

“I think some of the things we struggle with is the constant media attention to who’s breaking the law instead of who is a champion for honesty and ethical business practices.”

Guy’s absolutely right – it’s hard to be heard over the negative noise. That’s why regular, consistent and POSITIVE communication is the key to getting your message out and noticed.

Slow down there, pardner

It’s okay to start slow when venturing into the land of social media. Pick one site – Facebook is particularly easy – and create an account and profile. Then give yourself a few weeks to play around. You’ll figure out quickly if this site is the place for you.

Psst…Wanna Know A Secret?

You know you do – it’s the secret to increasing name recognition of your business, to increasing the number of people who talk about your business (in a positive way, of course), and the number of customers who want what you offer.

It’s really not a secret, but it’s something that many small business people don’t do. Are you ready. Write this down:

Regular. Consistent. Communication.

Sounds simple, right? Are you doing it? When was the last time you emailed a client to say thanks? Sent them a newsletter with an offer? Lauded them on your Facebook page or via Twitter?

I don’t mean advertising. I mean letting the media and your customers know what you’re up to. Could be as simple as an email. Could be announcing an anniversary or new hire. Could be as outrageous as offering them something just for calling you, walking in the door or visiting your website.

Regular. Consistent. Communication. Are you doing it?