Social Media Workshops for Oldham County Chamber of Commerce

Over the last month and a half I’ve been doing a series of Social Media 101 workshops. Each workshop has been divided into 2 weeks with approximately 10 small business owners, freelancers, consultants or non profit directors. When I was initially contacted by the great folks at Oldham County Chamber they mentioned doing a hands on workshop one time for around 30 small business owners. The workshop evolved into 2 two-week sessions with different groups and it has been a great format.

The format has really worked because it allows me to give the participants the big picture in session one and get their buy in through some real life case studies.  The second session allows us to introduce some tools to make businesses more efficient at managing their inbound marketing. Too many businesses are “doing” social media because someone told them they should. In my experience you can’t do it, but you can commit to it over the long haul. You can’t get better at it if the only reason you’re testing the waters is because someone told you that you should.

So if I had to give those who haven’t been able to attend the cliff notes version- here it is in bullet form.

The concepts:

Inbound Marketing or Digital Marketing whatever you prefer. This includes social media, blogging, playing well with search engines (Google), and content marketing.

The key players:

Chris Brogan

Mitch Joel

Hubspot

Seth Godin

The books to read:

Trust Agents

Six Pixels of Separation

Linchpin

Tribes

Crush It

Rework

The spaces:

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIN

Youtube

The tools:

Google Reader

Google Alerts

Google External Adword Tool

WordPress or Hubspot CMS

Twitter Search

Hootsuite

Sorry no time to link all these up. Maybe in a follow up post. Just Google them all.

Keeping track of your contacts

In the past it was a daunting task to keep track of customers. This was true especially if you let it get away from you over the years. If you’re like most small businesses and busy professionals, you probably did.

That brings me to the good news. If you’d done a bad job of keeping tabs on your contacts in the past- you’d have had an uphill battle. Your company would be in for a laborious session using Google, Yellowbook, Whitebook and online directories to find each and every contact. Not anymore.

Here is a strategy I share with all my customers. Get a legal pad and allocate a few hours in several batches throughout a week. Write down those you’ve done business with, networked with and just befriended over the years. Now take said notebook and go to Google. Type in their names one by one. If they’re on the grid, then you’re leveraging the power of six degrees of separation or six pixels if you prefer.

Many will show up in your Google search on Facebook. From there you can find most of their friends. Bet they’re on your list as well. Not on Facebook? No problem. How about LinkedIn? Found someone on LinkedIn, scan their connections. See anyone else on your list? Not on Facebook or LinkedIn, but hey there’s still Twitter. Oh yeah and Flickr, WordPress, Blogger and a million others. Maybe they show up on a contact or about page of a website. Heck maybe they even own their own business now.

Now you are connected to them and their information is fresh because they updated it themselves. No directory guessed at it. So you can connect with them where they’re at or you can bring their info in to your CRM. Now the hard work starts- building relationships and staying top of mind.

Social Media Workshop

This post is mainly geared for a free workshop I did today. However, I think most folks who are new to social media will learn a lot.

Here is a quick summary of some bullet points from today’s talk:

LinkedIn is probably the most professional of the tools we discussed today, but also probably the most in depth. Within LinkedIn there are many directions you can go with your job search or networking. There are groups to join, connections to be made, recommendations to write and to seek out, and much more.

The biggest key is to first set up your account. Then set up your profile. From there you can get more acquainted with the site and tools over time. If you have at least created an account and set up a profile, then people can connect with you. Google can also index your results. Again this means that if someone Google’s your name (it’s become a verb), they can research you. Todd Doyle did a great job explaining LinkedIn and it’s value.

Twitter- is a great and simple tool that can help you to encourage others, promote others, contribute to discussions, plug yourself, and it’s also a lot of fun. Everything in Twitter is based on permission. People follow you based on the content of your tweets (posts). You choose to follow them back based on their content or by searching for people via (searchtwitter.com) Don’t forget to bookmark or favorite these links in your browsers. Another great way to find people to follow is by looking at the followers of your followers. For instance if you looked at my list you may see some people we know commonly. Then so on and so forth. Twitter followers are very faithful about reciprocating as long as you don’t over do it with a far too many posts or spam them with lots of unwanted solicitation type tweets. Mixing in the occasional plug, link, cause or promotion is not only expected but helpful to the entire community.

Twitter can help you connect and develop relationships when you genuinly become interested in others and when they reciprocate. Often people share information, job opportunities, new promotions, referrals and much more on Twitter. After you create your account and set up your profile, you will start to tweet. You only have 140 characters. Once you’ve went over that limit you’ll start to see the screen change colors. It’s a good idea to make your thoughts as concise as possible. Over time you will see many of the tricks and hacks that people use to get the most out of the 140 character limit. It’s simply brilliant and brilliantly simple in the way this works. Don’t forget to add a picture, a bio and a link to somewhere online that you have a presence. LinkedIn or Facebook profiles work well.

I’ll leave you with a few tips that will save you time and energy. I learned these the hard way by watching and by trial and error.

  1. If you want to link to someone else on Twitter in your tweet- @username is the format. You can look up their user name on their profile page or through a search.
  2. If you want to add a link then this website can help you shorten the link so it takes up less characters. You simply copy the url (the address in the bar up top) and paste it into the box on the website I’ve linked to above. Then you click make tiny and copy the new link and paste it into your tweet box. It sounds a little complicated but it’s really not. If you use a mouse then highlighting and right clicking will let you copy and paste easily. If you prefer using your keyboard – On a PC -Ctr button + C = copy while Ctr button + V = paste. On a MAC Command button + C = copy while Command button + V = paste.
  3. If you like what someone else says you can copy it and paste it into your twitter box and put the letters RT in front of it. This is called a retweet. It is the highest compliment to retweet someone elses tweet (post). You can make it easier for someone to retweet your material by making your tweets 120 characters instead of 140- don’t try and understand that one yet, just trust me. Here is the magic in the retweet. If someone has 15,000 followers and you say or link to someone interesting, many of their followers may quickly follow you. Viral marketing at it’s best.
  4. Don’t tweet too much and don’t tweet too little. A couple times in the morning, at lunch and around dinner is plenty to start with. At least try it once a day if that’s not possible.

Next week we’ll talk more about blogging, facebook and Ning. Also we can have a Q&A for those who have jumped in sideways into Twitter or LinkedIn.

The race to build tribes

It seems like with this down economy we are all in a race to build the most connected tribes in the quickest possible fashion.

It reminds me of twitter. I know a secret way to get 8 million followers in 30 days. It’s not a secret but simply a concession. Anyone who has 25,000 followers can look at me and say he only has 180 followers. How can he tell anyone how to use social media? When I started using Twitter I decided that I would wait a while to start seeking out people to follow. Those who were interested in me for what I was tweeting about could follow me and I would evaluate them to see what we had in common. Then I would follow. Now I’m more proactive but still let things happen more often than not. I set limits because I don’t know that I can have relationships with thousands of followers.

If I would have went mad with Twitter like most everyone else, I could have 20,000 followers by now. Most people or at least a high percentage will follow you back because it’s all about ego. So if you follow enough they will follow you back. What is so big about that trick?

Who can get the most followers? I’m not interested in that as much as I’m interested in finding people who share my likes, then taking time to connect with them and build meaningful personal and business relationships.

I’m into conservative/libertarian politics, organization, productivity, sports-especially golf, Christian faith, WordPress, Social Media tools, communication, chiropractic care, natural healthcare and supplements to name a few. If you are interested in these things I’d love to see what you’re posting and I’d love to interact. If not then I’d probably just be trying to sell you something- wouldn’t I?

I live in Louisville KY so those on Twitter locally interest me as well.

I have some other social networks I’m involved with like Tumblr, Ning and Facebook. I have an interest in finding people on Twitter who are also in these spheres.

I like to learn about new things and so sometimes I like to follow people on Twitter to gain knowledge or insights.

Building your tribe is a great idea and a worthy goal. If you are a small business, non profit or ministry; why don’t you start by pointing your customers to these social media tools? You already have a pretty cool tribe- they just didn’t get directions to the new meeting place. Twitter or Ning or Stumble Upon or Tumblr or Vimeo or Facebook or Flickr.