Ostersund, Sweden -August 3, 2014:  Linkedin website under a magI’m sure every small business owner, consultant and market savvy professional wants to get noticed as an expert or leader in their field.

It doesn’t just happen overnight, as we all know. It’s more like a “drip process.” Day by day, week by week.  You post, tweet, network and do your best to show up at the right place at the right time to connect with your target audience – or a qualified lead.

That’s all fine and good, and everything listed above does work.  But, I’d like to take a quantum leap with you to help promote your business and build your expert status.

Want to leap with me on LinkedIn?

9 Tried and True Ways to Build Your Expert Status on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is for the most part, tremendously underutilized for small business marketing. Rules are determined by the platform, but there’s so much wiggle room to promote your brand and stand out as an expert if you understand the ins and outs of the site and practice simple strategies.

Here are 9 Marketing Tips you can use today:

  1. Write your profile with heavy keywords so LinkedIn’s advanced search can pick you up, pronto.
  2. Vary status updates with articles, infographics, quotes, video, podcasts and your own comments by showing you’re an expert who shares valuable content. Use the 80/20 rule – and be respected as someone who is not always self-promoting.
  3. Link relevant articles you’ve written to targeted landing pages where potential customers can sign up for your freebies, get on your email list and hear what you’re up to, so they can buy.
  4. Use the publications area of your profile to promote your newsletter, blog or tips and (again) give readers a link to sign up on your landing page – where you’ll tell them exactly why they should sign up.
  5. Publish a longer article you’ve written at least twice a month and repost others mindfully. Use pictures and graphics to get attention and at the bottom of those articles, include links to other content you’ve written in similar categories.
  6. Reply to people who are checking YOU out on LinkedIn with a well-crafted note leading them to your landing page (again) to sign up. Use a macro key for easy copying.
  7. Include a similar message to people who want to be connected with you. Follow the same procedure.
  8. Join up to 40 groups on LinkedIn where you’ll find your ideal clients or professional colleagues.  Be active in at least 5 groups. Comment as an expert would and be helpful. Don’t sell. The advantage with groups is that most often, you can send emails within the group and cut the red tape. Mine for gold.
  9. OK, Here’s one. And Shhhhhhh. Snoop anonymously by changing your privacy setting to — anonymous — and see what groups your competitors, customers and clients are in.  Take your time and browse around.  Just remember to change your setting back to public, Dick Tracy, when you’re done.

It goes without saying that having a professional and up to date photo is key to your personal and professional brand.  Please don’t upload a photo of yourself with a cut off arm around your shoulder or a plant sticking out of your head.

Being an expert is an earned right.

Use these marketing and PR strategies to gain credibility, increase your leadership position and get noticed as an expert in your field.

And, build your email list, for free.

I’ll be the first to agree that event planning is a tough job.

Social media and online marketing can really push your event in front of your target audience, but there’s an enormous marketing opportunity that’s missing.

The number one mistake is that event organizers and speakers stop talking as soon as the event is over!

How’s that a mistake you ask?

It’s all in the follow up.

Thinking back about several recent events, I know it’s overwhelming to stay focused on what you did ‘last week’. Whether you’re a speaker like I am, or an attendee, following up and continuing the conversation is important to building relationships and opening doors of opportunity.

Let’s talk about the ‘why’ first.

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But you’ll learn more…

Steve Randazzo, on Spin Sucks, talks about different ways to keep the conversation going – after the event, if you’re the event organizer. You can read that here; ‘The Most Important Post-Event Engagement Tool’.

He says it’s easy to get so caught up in the pre-event social component that most of us forget about riding the social media train into the future.

[ctt title=”A little more than half of marketers use social media to connect with attendees after events versus three quarters using social media before events. ” tweet=”A little more than half of marketers use social media to connect with attendees after events versus three quarters using social media before events. ” coverup=”d72Jj”]

He suggests a best practice of continuing to use social media long after the event to increase engagement with customers and maximize ROI.

Here’s one more resource I’d like to share with you, ‘The Most Critical 50% of Event Marketing: 4 Tips to Maximize Event Impact’.

[ctt title=”Besides a detailed outline of all your marketing activities, pre-show promotion and your on-site presence should make up only about 50% of your event strategy. The other 50%, which is often overlooked and most critical, should be in the post-show follow up.” tweet=”Besides a detailed outline of all your marketing activities, pre-show promotion and your on-site presence should make up only about 50% of your event strategy. The other 50%, which is often overlooked and most critical, should be in the post-show follow up.” coverup=”eD7kh”]

If you’ve neglected this post event follow up, now’s your chance to plan for your next event.

Make sure you add all of these suggestions to your to-do list and I’m sure you’ll see a huge return on investment on time spend strategizing beforehand.

 

Want to know more about events?  Check out these other articles I’ve written; How to Work a Room without Being There8 Great Way to Promote an Event and Grow Your Business and 5 Ways Businesses Can Use Promotional Products to Boost Profits

After the longest winter I can remember, I’m thrilled to say summer is here! And, school is (almost) out.  Many business owners and entrepreneurs take time to relax and slow down a bit in June, July and August, but there are other smart and savvy pros who do the same, plus step up their game and create their own summer school to beef up on news, update their skills or take a class.

If you’d like to expand your horizon, here are several ideas to get you started – but as you know, the sky’s the limit!

1. Learn how to write

Yes, really!

In The Art of the Handwritten Note we’re reminded of how important a personal written note is in business. You might have grown up writing ‘thank you’ notes, but there’s a whole generation of younger people who feel challenged with this kind of writing. There’s no better time than now to get (re)started! What’s stopping you? If your handwriting is terrible, take a calligraphy class or better yet – slow down and write ‘like you mean it’. Your message will be heard loud and clear!

2. Learn video marketing/editing

You don’t have to become an expert and I’m certainly not suggesting that you have to edit your own videos. But, understanding the process of editing and learning about video marketing will help you plan better shoots and b-roll to create the best possible content to share with  your audience. It’s fun too, if the first subjects of your video class are your own family members!

Check out workshops in your local area to see if there’s a summer program you can attend or take classes or workshops online.

3. Learn how get the most out of your Smartphone

You think you know it all? You may be pretty app-savvy, but there’s so much more in the Smartphone world to learn!  I’ve read that most people use only 5% of their phone’s ability and just 10% of our brain! Ask a teenager in your life or neighbor to sit with you and show you the tricks they’ve learned on their phone. You can also take a class in most stores (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T) depending on what carrier you have. And of course, online learning about Smartphone is great, too.

Whatever new skill you decide to learn this summer, have fun!

You know what happens when news becomes NEWS. People talk about it. Then they share. “Watch this” they quickly post and soon, everyone has an opinion. It’s pretty powerful when news goes viral or when a news story gets picked up – almost as if it takes a life of its own. Web traffic spikes and someone, somewhere is getting their 15 minutes of fame.

Big and little brands would do just about anything for the opportunity to be in front of so many viewers/eyeballs/prospects. Who wouldn’t want traffic like that to their website? Not to inform of course, but to promote their products or services (aka sell).

So, what’s a business — small or large — to do?

Why, Newsjack!

I’m sure you’ve seen it and bet you have your own thoughts.  You either hate it or love it. Opinions are divided, and often it’s about the subject material.

Here’s a recent article on newsjacking that’s more positive than negative, which is a nice change from what I’ve been reading lately.

In How To Boost Your Content Creation Strategy With Newsjacking, author Amanda Webb of Agora Pulse describes one major benefit of newsjacking:

“Newsjacking is a gift to content marketers. Events and news can give us the trigger we need to create good interesting, on topic content.”

She goes on to list 10 examples of recent newsjacking that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Next up is ‘Newsjacking Gone Wrong’ by SpinSucks. It’s a ‘caution up ahead’ article by Gina Dietrich and provides links to newsjacking which in fact, has gone wrong. Gina quotes the ‘daddy of newsjacking’, Meerman Scott by going over his four rules.

Meerman Scott’s four simple rules (of newsjacking):

  1. Be dignified and statesmanlike.
  2. Be upbeat and positive, never mean or vindictive.
  3. Write articulate text in full sentences, without chatty slang, industry jargon, corporate gobbledgook or social media shorthand.
  4. Don’t get too cute or clever—especially where human suffering is involved.

Last but not least, here’s one more direct link to an article with three additional (not so well thought out) examples. 3 Newsjacking Fails That’ll Make You Facepalm

Use these to understand what went wrong and why audiences became so upset. Use this to set your own standard and ‘rules’ for newsjacking if you decide to use this technique for content creation.

Just remember to be ‘tasteful, on time, different and relevant’.

Today, I’ll be the keynote speaker at Fresno State in California to kick off #GoBrandYourself week. I’m excited to teach personal branding tips and strategies to a college audience who are eager to jump in, get experience and find a job in the communications industry.

With unemployment in Fresno hovering near 9%, my goal is to help these students stand out from a crowd, define their personal brand, use social media platforms powerfully and expand their networks. So they can ROCK IT!

At some point after the keynote, I’ll share my talk. But, before that happens, I wanted to give you a few personal branding tips you can implement right now.

Before you do anything else, I encourage you to create a personal brand statement. This article by Jörgen Sundberg explains that first, you need to know the answers to these three questions:

• What value you provide (what problem do you solve)
• How you do it uniquely (your USPs – unique selling points)
• Whom you do it for (your target audience)

In our second article, Jim Joseph states for Entrepreneur magazine that “each of our personal brands began at birth. When Mom and Dad gave us a name, they unknowingly launched a new brand, the first of a lifetime of personal decisions that makes us each uniquely our own being — or brand. From that day forward, we spend our lives living up to our given name.” I’ve really never thought of it this way – but it is so true!

Jim says (and I couldn’t agree more): “A personal brand, like any good brand, needs to be consciously managed and controlled throughout our lives.

Once you know what it means to have and create a personal brand, and you know what you stand for, take a look at our third article from Inc Magazine that walks you through 7 steps to build an awesome personal brand. By looking at each of these steps, you can take the appropriate action to #GoBrandYourself.

I hope you will #GoBrandYourself by being who you really are, not who you think you should be.

Believe me, it’s a work in progress! Tweak, Tweet and Retweet!

As my clients have expanded into greater speaking roles, so have I, and it’s an exciting process to learn and share tips and processes to make a more dynamic presentation.

It’s a given that you have a message to deliver that’s powerful and targeted to your audience. But I’d like to make a few key suggestions to help you go from good to great – so you can deliver a talk that has impact.

These marketing tips can be used for a keynote speech, like the one I’m delivering for #GoBrandYourself week at Fresno State, but also in talks that aren’t designated to kick off an event or end a conference.

Speaking to a group can influence an audience to take action, up-level your branding and create a PR trail that you can’t get engaging one on one.

3 Keys to a Better Keynote (or speech):

  • Do you have a list of questions to ask the organizer or the person that’s hiring you? Get clear on  who your audience really is, what their challenges are and how you’ll share solutions. Questions can be as simple as, “who’s the greatest success story in the room,” or (yikes) “will someone try to undermine me (ie, is there a trouble maker in the room that I need to be aware of)?” There are about 30 questions on my pre-event questionnaire and knowing the answers to most of these in advance of your stage debut will help you – beyond words.  Trust me. Take the time to do your homework.
  • Have you asked if you’ll have your own dedicated A/V technician or are you running solo? From experience, don’t go solo if you have a choice! Ask who your A/V technician will be and an hour before your presentation meet him/her. Bring your presentation on your laptop or other device, plus have it on a flash drive as a safety factor. Also, consider tipping your A/V person $10 before you begin. Tipping doesn’t always work to ensure better service, but in my world it does.  I like to have someone in my corner who has my back (and mic) before I go on stage.  You?
  • If you’re mic’d/miked , be aware that your microphone is always on, until you shut it off. I’ve heard horror stories of toilets flushing and conversations which should have been private while someone was miked.  To ask — will you be using a hand held microphone which is a little more difficult if it’s a long speech, or a lavalier? Ladies, FYI, if you’re using a lavalier, make sure you’re comfortable with your under layers (or jacket off) while you’re getting ‘hooked up’.  No wink intended.

There are multiple platforms for you to share your message.  Speaking is just one avenue, compounded by social media and other targeted marketing.

What’s most important is that you share your brilliance, in any way you can.

Find your target audience, speak from your heart and rock it!

Here’s to your success,

Branding today doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  In fact, one of my greatest pleasures is teaching clients how to promote themselves using low-cost and often free tips, tricks and tools for high impact publicity and social media exposure.

One critically important element of branding is your avatar or photo – the consistent image you’ll use on all of your social media platforms. Your avatar is a representation of who you are on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, You Tube and anywhere online where you post comments or questions.

A few comments on Avatars:

  • An avatar is a very small photo or representation of you. Not sure how to create one? Check out  www.Gravatar.com.
  • Unless you’re a big company (think Coca-Cola, Zappos) don’t use a logo. Use a photo of yourself that doesn’t include a plant sticking out of your head, someone’s arm cut off around your shoulder, or with your favorite can of brew.
  • Remember that you are your brand wherever you go. Please make your image professional, consistent with your reputation and where you’re going in your career.
  • Photos last a lifetime on the internet and they’re dragged up often unexpectedly and to your surprise.
  • You may think it’s funny (today) to post a ‘joke of a photo or picture’ as your avatar, but unless you think you’re a joke, think twice. Not only are you your brand wherever you go, that’s how you’ll be remembered on line – like it or not.
  • Avatars help people be recognized. More than a handful of times I’ve been noticed in a crowd based on the photo (avatar) someone recognized online and offline promoting my brand.

And oh, did I mention, your avatar should  look like you? Not 20 years ago, or 50 pounds ago. An avatar represents you, in real life.

Your best self.

Love your best self,it’s the only one you’ve got!

From my avatar to yours, all the best!

If you’re like me and don’t care for the same old same old on Valentine’s Day, you might appreciate a few new ways your sweetheart could say ‘I Love You’.

Is that a yes, or at least a maybe? Then take a look at PhotoFunia.com where you can create a personalized message and ‘name drop’ for fun, marketing or just because.

Want to see your photo in a cup of frothy cappuccino? Your headshot in a museum gallery? Or your logo in the spotlight of Times Square? Ask and you will receive!

Take a few minutes to explore the hundreds of almost instant graphics to choose from and customize your ‘I Love You’ this weekend or message any day in a fun, playful way.

For my kids, sweetheart and readers, Happy Valentine’s Day!

ILoveYou

And, to the New England Patriots and Football Fans everywhere,

Love-Football

Wishing you love in ‘every zone’ — with no timeouts.

I admit it. I’m a little behind the times not using Uber, until today when I used my first free ride to get to Logan airport. At the tap of an app, my driver showed up and off I went. No driving. No hassles. And without spending a dime!

I love this promotion because you can try Uber for free and then share it with your friends. Plus, it’s brilliant marketing with a built in reward system.

If you’re new to the service and would like to test it out, please use Uber as my guest and enjoy the ride. You can use it for business or pleasure, or as I plan to, for both.

Wishing you happy travels, wherever you go.

Happy New Year!

If you’re like me, you’re back at work thinking bigger and bolder, looking ahead to a New Year filled with opportunity and promise. And, staying on top of everything, right? Who doesn’t want to be on top of their game?  Truth is, it’s never easy with so much information out there!  I’d like to help with that and share three articles about changes (and updates) happening as of January 1, 2015 about marketing and how it might affect your outreach.

The first platform we’ll look at is Facebook. In a nutshell, Facebook has always been about sharing the best content at the most optimum time to the most targeted audience. None of that has changed. But, Facebook has updated some of their Terms of Service.  Here’s an article that spells it out best from Andrea Vahl for Social Media Examiner; “New Facebook Terms: What Marketers Need to Know.” It’s the best article I’ve read so far explaining how to understand the terms and why it’s important.

Next up, Pinterest. If you’re an active Pinterest marketer, take note. Pinterest released a new feature in December allowing you to move groups of pins from one board to another. This feature works for web only, and isn’t available on mobile. Moving large number of pins comes in handy as your boards get overcrowded or if you’ve decided to dedicate a new board to a previous subcategory. Online marketers have welcomed this feature with open arms to clean up their boards.  You can read about it here ‘A new way to edit pins on the web’ via the Pinterest blog.

The last platform we’ll talk about is Twitter. Back in November, Twitter announced their 2015 plans and changes. Here’s a glimpse of their updates:

“We’re experimenting with better ways to give you what you come to Twitter for, a snapshot of what’s happening. We can use information like who you follow and what you engage with to surface highlights of what you missed and show those to you as soon as you log back in or come back to the app.”

Twitter is also working on ideas such as an instant, personalized timeline for new users who don’t have the time to cultivate one on their own, and updates to make a public conversation private.

A good marketer stays informed about changes to the platforms they’re using.

A great marketer implements them.
Cheers to 2015!