This week, I had the pleasure of acting as co-host on a brilliant online event called ‘Cracking the Social Media Code: The Masters Speak!’ This three-day telesummit was organised by myself and my client Melonie Dodaro to celebrate the release of her new book The LinkedIn Code, which is having its big Amazon launch this coming Tuesday, June 3rd. Over those three days, Melonie and I were joined by nine world-renowned experts on using social media for business. Just for the record, here’s the complete speaker line-up:
- MELONIE DODARO – Founder of Top Dog Social Media, LinkedIn and social-selling expert, author of The LinkedIn Code
- LYNN SERAFINN – Founder of 7 Graces Project CIC, marketer, coach, author of The 7 Graces of Marketing, Tweep-e-licious
- JASON MILLER – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, corporate marketing manager for many companies
- JOEL COMM – Entrepreneur, NY Times bestselling author, new media innovator
- EKATERINA WALTER – CMO of Branderati, speaker, author of Think Like Zuck, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling
- MICHAEL STELZNER – Founder/CEO of Social Media Examiner, host of Social Media Marketing podcast, author of Launch, Writing White Papers and others
- JOHN JANTSCH – Marketing consultant, business strategist, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, author of Duct Tape Marketing and others
- PATTY FARMER – Marketing and social media strategist, speaker, trainer, radio host and author
- KIM GARST – CEO of Boom! Social, social media marketing strategist, entrepreneur, speaker, author
- ALLISON MASLAN – CEO of Blast Off, business mentor, entrepreneur, author of Blast Off!
- JILL ROWLEY – Marketing expert, social-selling ‘evangelist’, entrepreneur
The three days were divided into different subject areas. On Day 1, we discussed ‘Building Your Personal Brand’. On Day 2, the topic was ‘Building Your Online Community’. And then finally, on Day 3, we looked at ‘Monetising Social Media’. Even though the event is over, you can still register to listen to the replays through Monday, June 2nd,2014, at http://topdogsocialmedia.com/book-launch/pages/telesummit.php.
I felt very privileged to be able to interview these guests, and I thoroughly enjoyed my role as co-host. All through the event, I was jotting down many of the witty one-liners and pearls of wisdom our speakers shared. At the time, I did this to help me keep track of where I wanted to take the conversation, but after it was over, I realised I had a fantastic list of tips and inspirations from some of the leading experts in using social media for marketing and business growth.
So, of course, when it came time for me to sit down and write my Friday blog for you, I thought, ‘What better, more useful content could I share with our 7 Graces readers than the words of the marketing “masters” themselves?’
And so, in no particular order, I present to you the top 20 takeaways I gleaned from our brilliant speakers over the past three days. I’m sure they’ll give you lots of things to think about over the weekend.
WISE WORDS #1: It’s not B2B or B2C – It’s P2P and H2H
Although Melonie brought up this concept on Day 1, it continued to be part of the conversation throughout the event. Many people think of their businesses as being either B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-customer). However, the new-paradigm entrepreneur is turning away from these abstractions and bringing back the human element. Businesses are made of people; our customers are human beings. Thus, it’s time to change the way we look at our business and see that it’s all about communicating person-to-person (P2P) and human-to-human (H2H) – WHO we are, rather than WHAT we are.
WISE WORDS #2: Serve, Don’t Sell
Patty Farmer first brought this ‘motto’ to the table, and she says she uses it in just about every talk she gives on this subject. While we cannot have a business without ‘selling’ something, our focus and objective should be to ask how we can best SERVE our audience, clients and customers. Social media is all about serving these people, not selling to them.
WISE WORDS #3: Content is Currency
How do you serve your audience through social media? By creating great CONTENT. While content was something everyone on the calls spoke about, it was Jill Rowley who said “Content is currency.” When we talk about content, we’re referring to articles, audios, videos, resources and other things that are of particular interest to your audience – most of which you give away for free. ‘But if you’re giving all your information for free, how can it be currency?’ you might ask. All of our speakers asserted that having great content on your website IS what brings business to your door. Great content is like gold. Content is king (we’ll come back to that one in a minute).
WISE WORDS #4: Ask Yourself How You Can Create Value
A lot of new online business owners are at a loss to know WHAT to create when it comes to content. Melonie (and many of our other speakers) offered a personal enquiry that can open up that channel for us: ‘Ask yourself how you can create value for your audience.’ What kinds of information do they want or need? How can you help enable, inform and empower them? If you’re in an industry – such as the creative arts or entertainment industry – creating value could mean creating avenues for your audience’s creative expression or experience. There are a million and one ways to create value, and none of them will look the same.
WISE WORDS #5: Make Sure Your Content Is Close to Your Offer
Allison Maslan said this, but I have to say that it’s something I say again and again to my clients. There is absolutely no point in creating blog content or free downloads that have no relevance to what you are offering through your business. It’s not only a waste of your time, but it confuses your audience. They need to know what you’re about and how you can help them. In writing this blog article, for example, I am keenly aware that my readers are business owners who are interested in innovative and ETHICAL ways to market themselves and/or develop their businesses. Therefore, the content I create is made with them in mind, and I always try to ensure they get something useful from that content.
WISE WORDS #6: ASK Your Audience What THEY Want and Need
Of course, if you’re still clueless about how you can create value for your audience, the easiest thing you can do is ASK THEM. Again, Allison Maslan said this last night, but Melonie also brought it up when she was talking about LinkedIn groups. ASK your community what they want. Get their input. You’ll discover a deep wellspring of ideas for content creation that will SERVE (not sell to) your audience.
WISE WORDS #7: Be a Content Curator
Melonie discussed this at length with Mike Stelzner (CEO of Social Media Examiner) on Day 2. Providing content and giving value to your audience does NOT mean that you have to be the actual creator of your content. Being the curator of great content is just as valuable to your audience. Being the curator could mean getting great guest bloggers to write for your site. It could also mean ReTweeting and sharing great resources and relevant articles by other people with your own community. When I have a client who is just starting out building their platform, I often encourage them to share other people’s content until they have a good body of their own. And even after you do have lots of your own content, sharing other people’s is a great way to increase your network, demonstrate generosity and continue to focus on serving rather than selling.
WISE WORDS #8: Use ‘Fire Starters’ to Get Your Online Content Going
Melonie asked Mike Stelzner to tell us how he got Social Media Examiner up and running when he had no content for it at all. He shared the story of how he asked four high-profile social media personalities (I can only remember he mentioned Mari Smith) to write for him for a few months. He called these people his ‘fire starters’. Now, I have no idea what kind of professional arrangement he had with them, but the point is, these four people already had audiences of precisely the same kinds of readers he was seeking for his new site. As a result, the readers got great value, his fire starters got a lot of coverage and back-links, and his website got a lot of content – and traffic. All this happened MUCH more quickly than if he had tried to go it on his own.
WISE WORDS #9: Content May Be King, but Distribution Is Queen
I believe it was John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing who said this. Creating great content is only half of the task – if you aren’t distributing it effectively, there will be no fruits from all your labour. Good distribution includes many elements, from good SEO to effective social media sharing. It would take pages and pages to cover all the technical aspects of distribution, so I won’t go more deeply into it here (although I WILL be covering this in great detail in my upcoming book, The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging), but suffice it to say that if you want the ‘progeny’ that King Content can produce, you need Queen Distribution at his side. And social media is a big part of distribution.
WISE WORDS #10: Aim to Increase Your Audience’s Readiness to Buy
This is also something I’ve written about on this site (see especially my article from May 23rd, 2014), if perhaps not in these exact words. If I remember correctly, this pearl of wisdom was shared by Jill Rowley. She expressed that one of the aims of your content should be to educate your audience, so they know when they are ready to buy from you. I know from personal experience that when we are continually educating our audience, we don’t have to ‘sell’ anything. What a relief, yes?
WISE WORDS #11: Your Relationships Are Your Assets
I believe Mike Stelzner said this on Day 2. He said, ‘Building a business is about building assets’, and in the world of online business, your relationships ARE your assets. Your mailing list, your blog subscribers, your social media followers, your joint venture partners – all of these are your assets. It’s not just about money in the bank. It’s about people and your relationships with them.
WISE WORDS #12: Your Best Partners Are Those Who Serve Your Ideal Clients in a Different Way
Patty Farmer first brought this idea to our round-table. We were talking about building our online communities and then got on the subject of developing alliances with partners. She said that, rather than seeing others in our field as ‘competitors’, we can do great things when we partner with those who serve the SAME audience we serve, but who serve them in a slightly different way. By partnering with such kinds of business owners, we can amplify our marketing message, lighten the workload AND serve a wider audience.
WISE WORDS #13: Building a Community Is Not Rocket Science
Mike Stelzner said this on Day 2. For many new business owners, social media and online marketing can seem like great mysteries. However, ‘cracking’ the code is down to having a system. It’s not magic or luck. Nor is it so difficult that only techno-wizards and entrepreneurial high-flyers can master it.
WISE WORDS #14: We All Have to Start Somewhere
And on that same note, Mike also reminded us that we ALL start at the bottom and build our way up. Social Media Examiner didn’t get their quarter-of-a-million daily readership overnight. They started at nought just like everyone else.
WISE WORDS #15: There’s a Difference Between Broadcasting and Engagement
These wise words came from Patty Farmer on Day 2. ‘Broadcasting’ is one-way messaging. It’s like old-school advertising where you send a message to your audience and they either listen or they don’t. While broadcasting still has its place in marketing, social media is all about engagement. It’s about getting people talking on your blog. It’s about having conversations in LinkedIn and Facebook groups. It’s about ‘hashtag cafes’ on Twitter. Engagement is what makes social media different from broadcast types of marketing. If you try to use social media solely as a broadcasting platform, you will not reap its benefits.
WISE WORDS #16: There’s a Difference Between an Audience and a Community
Following on from Wise Words #15, when we broadcast, we are speaking to an audience. At this level, our audience is unengaged. When we introduce engagement, we are creating the foundation of a community. A community, however, is more than just a bunch of people talking to one another. A community is a group of people joined by a common vision or interest. As leaders in our fields, it is our responsibility to hold the containers for our communities, so they can form, evolve and each become an expressive force.
WISE WORDS #17: A Good Community Leader Identifies Other Leaders
I wish I could remember who said this (I’d have to listen back to the recording). If we are aiming to cultivate community as part of our businesses, we need to be on the lookout for leaders who will naturally emerge from our communities. How can we bring them into the vision? How can they add to it, amplify it? How does our vision help them achieve their dreams? What can these leaders bring to the community? Clearly, the new paradigm means shifting away from ‘management’ and towards leadership.
WISE WORDS #18: You Don’t GET Followers – You EARN Them
I believe it was John Jantsch who said this. Building a genuine following isn’t a mechanical process, nor is such a following something that can be bought. If you want a REAL following, you have to work for it. You have to create value, deliver content, engage with your audience, build trust and show consistency. Anyone trying to take the shortcut to gaining numbers is missing the point. It’s not all about quantity. It’s far more about quality.
WISE WORDS #19: Take Your Relationships Offline
Both Patty and Melonie shared these wise words many times during the conference. If you want to develop strong relationships with people, you need to get OFF social media and take the relationship offline. That means meeting them for coffee or calling them on the phone (or Skype…which is technically online, but you get what I mean). Only when you speak to people in real time, hear their voices, see their faces (and hopefully shake their hands) have you really established relationships with them.
WISE WORDS #20: “If You Suck Offline, You’ll Suck Online.”
Thank you, Jill Rowley, for saying it like it is. I don’t need to comment on this!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these Wise Words from these masters of using social media for business. I’ve really only scratched the surface of the wisdom that was shared over those three days. I haven’t even mentioned all the gems about developing your personal brand that were discussed on Day 1. AND if I haven’t quoted every person on the panel, that doesn’t mean they didn’t share some very Wise Words with us. It just means that I can’t read my handwriting in my scribbled notes!
Again, if you’d like to listen to the telesummit, access to the audio replays will be available through Monday, June 2nd, at http://topdogsocialmedia.com/book-launch/pages/telesummit.php.
And if you’ve listened to them and heard any Wise Words that I’ve missed (or if you just want to comment on the ones I’ve listed here), please do leave a comment below, and let’s continue the dialogue!
Then, on Tuesday, June 3rd, do check out Melonie Dodaro’s great new book The LinkedIn Code. If you buy it on the day of the launch, you’ll get the MP3s from this great telesummit, plus dozens of other business-building bonus gifts. You can see Melonie’s book trailer and find out more about the book and bonus gifts at http://topdogsocialmedia.com/book-launch/pages/pre-launch.php.
30 May 2014
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)