Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

3 Ways to Empower your Brand Advocates

August 10, 2011

I recently read social media guru Lisa Barone’s article 5 Reasons to Engage Brand Advocates. I thought I’d take the time to share some ideas about how to implement the sharing of your content among your online connections.

Lisa wrote that “[b]y connecting with [brand advocates] and empowering them to share your blog posts, your eBooks, Facebook content, etc, you strengthen their voice and get them excited about the opportunity to share insight from the front lines”. So, here are some ideas on how to implement this in practice:

1. Your Blog Posts

I use hootesuite and ping fm to distribute micro blog posts of 140 characters or less (Twitter requirement). My micro blog posts are distributed automatically to several social media pages. So, I ask folks to read, leave comments, and share my wordpress blog post. I also have my wordpress blog post tied to linkedin and it appears on my linkedin profile. In addition, I post my blog in my relevant linkedin and facebook groups. My next move is to join some yahoo groups.

2. Your Ebooks

Whenever I get a new facebook friend, linkedin connection, or twitter follower, I send them the url to our fan page where they can download a free ebook. Many ask me if they can share my the free ebook. I always encourage them to share the url. The goal is to increase traffic to our website.

I also send new connections two more calls to action. I ask them to LIKE our facebook business page; and to read and share our wordpress blog post.

3. Your Facebook Content

I am pretty engaged on Facebook. I usually read posts early in the morning. I share articles and famous quotes and tell folks what I have been up to. Folks have naturally clicked on their like button or posted feedback as a comment if they want to participate. So, I rarely have to ask folks to share the content. But, I have asked questions and that is a great way to stimulate the conversations. Also, on my firm’s Facebook business page, whenever I share web links to videos or articles, our fans can reshare the links with others. So, you can have a call to action to “Reshare”.

What strategies do you use?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

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5 Elements of a Sales System

August 2, 2011

via Google Images

I recently bought the book entitled “Harvard Business Review on Sales and Selling”. I just read the chapter called “Manage the Customer, not just the Sales Force” by Benson P. Shapiro. He wrote about a sales management team that decided to “step back and take a fresh look at the entire selling effort” when a dress line failed to increase in spite of know appeal.

Reading Shapiro motivated me to take a step back and reflected on my firm’s sales system. There are a lot of online sales options. I call it noise. It was high time to step back and get organized.

I am a very analytical, organized, task oriented task master! I believe in checklists and outlines.

So first, I drafted a sales system outline which included: (1) Product Policy and Pricing; (2) Distribution Channels for Online Training Content Sales; (3) Communication Methods; (4) Qualifying Prospects and (5) Managing Customers.

Distribution Channels include an ejunkie shopping cart on our firm’s website; a Facebook storefront; an Amazon store; a Scribd Store; Clickbank; Ebay; Lulu; Moontoast; Zazzle store; Blog for Pay via Media Bistro and the Examiner; and training videos for pay via Demand Media.

Communication methods include the 3-A’s – Advertising PULL; Appointments for personal selling PUSH; and Attending Networking Events.

Advertising PULL include Facebook ads; Google adwords; Youtube videos; direct mail marketing; email marketing; and social media posts via Hootesuite and Ping fm.  Our social media posts are distributed to Twitter, Facebook, Facebook business page, Linkedin, Myspace, Google Buzz, Tumblr, Friendfeed, Identi.ca, Brightkite, and Yahoo Profile.

Appointments can be set with Facebook friends, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Linkedin connections using online tools like Tungle.

Networking events include Meetups; professional trade organization meetings; vendor outreach sessions; and trade conferences.

Qualifying prospects involves having a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system that includes lead scoring.  Prospects get higher scores if they are warmly engaged with us open our newsletter; comment on our blog; LIKE us on Facebook; or otherwise communicate with us.

The Customer Management component includes Opening New Account Relationships; Closing Deals; Servicing Accounts; and Maintaining Account Relationships.                                              

Second, I created a e-file folder for each component of our sales system. The idea is to use this outline as our strategic plan.

Third, there is nothing left to do but to deploy. You have to be motivated to launch and consistently deploy!

What would you add to this system? What works for your organization?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

Five (5) ways to increase your business network

May 31, 2011

I network pretty extensively. I think it is more important than ever to do so during the down economy. When the economy improves and we get busier with work, the amount of time available to devote to networking may diminish. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer in daily marketing and networking.

I am not connected to tens of thousands of people. But, I like to think that the folks I am connected to are real people. When you pay for followers or connect with just anyone, they will likely be fake people or market researchers. I have a small but influential network. I am often asked how I consistently make new connections.

The answer is that I put time into it. It is really that simple. Here are three things I do routinely to increase my business network:

1. Meetings – I invite business people that I meet and dialogue with to join my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin networks. I send the invitations out as soon as possible. I usually try to get to it within a week of meeting each person. I may meet these connections at trade organization luncheons, trade conferences, training programs, or meetings I coordinated to pitch a service offering.
2. Trade Articles – I let article writers know when I enjoyed an article they wrote. I then invited them to join my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin networks. I subscribe to Black Enterprise, the Atlanta Tribune, Home Business and Entrepreneurs magazines. I also subscribe to several free electronic news services for business articles. I am particularly interested in business strategy and government contracting. When these news emails arrive, I put them in a folder called Read Me Later. When I have down time, I go through the lists of articles and pdf the ones that I want to read. I then read through them once a week. If I enjoy an article, I immediately go online and post a comment; and I also search for the author on Facebook and try to connect with them.
3. Winners’ Circles – I like to connect with small business owners that win awards and contracts. I learn a great deal from the winners. They obviously have a winning strategy. I find them on Facebook and I congratulate them. I then introduce myself and tell them about my company and that I teach government contracting for the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center. I connect with a lot of great minority owned and women owned small business leaders with this strategy.
4. Alum – I also connect with folks I went to elementary school, high school, college, and graduate school with. I use my old year books. I also peek at each of their online connections to see if there is anyone I remember. You never know where a referral will come from. I think my relationship with school chums is that we will always have that shared experience – i.e. the old neighborhoods, the campuses, and the faculty. These folks are a true extension of my family.
5. Past Colleagues – I worked primarily as a government civil servant for more than 25 years at the federal, state and local government levels. Over the years, I have come to know quite a few really cool folks and have stayed in touch with them. I seek pass co-workers out online and send them invitations to connect.

What about the competition? I have also been asked why I allow competitors into my network. I learn from some competitors and I hope they learn from the information I share online. I realize that some competitors will try to get at your customers via Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. So, to be honest with you, I am not connected to my core customers online to prevent that from happening. I stay in touch with my core customers with email, direct mail, and visits.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Do you Tweet? Part Two.

May 15, 2011

This time last year, I wrote an article called Do you Tweet? I completed two Social Media classes in 2009 and decided to use social media online marketing as an affordable way to build my network. It’s working. My network has steadily grown. I went to a trade conference recently and folks recognized me when in many cases, I did not recognize them. Online marketing increases your visibility and helps you achieve “presence of mind” when it comes to getting referrals. This article serves to update you the new tools and techniques I am trying.
Last year I wrote how I spend a minimum (and usually maximum) of 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night each day. Now, I spend more time. I usually devote a few hours on Saturday or Sunday. Here’s what I do with Twitter now:
You get followers by following others. If someone does not follow me in about a week or so, I stop following them.
How do I find followers and get folks to follow me?
1) I still get great twitter connections from my linkedin and facebook groups.
2) I upload a *.csv (comma separated value) file from linkedin into twitter to make sure I am following my Linkedin connections out on Twitter – and to encourage them to follow me back.
3) I look at every new Facebook connections’ information page to find out if they have a twitter account – if so, I follow them and email them to request that they follow me back. I also check out their website. I always do my due diligence to find out whether a Facebook invite or recommended connection is a good fit in my circle or space.
Why do I love Twitter?
1) It helps me direct traffic to my website. We have had an increase of website visitors as per our Google Analytics reports. I review our analytics monthly.
a. With each twitter follow, I use the Twitter Direct mail feature to send them an email:
i. thanks 4 the follow! I look forward to getting to know u! Free ebook gift for u: 25 Small Biz Tips: http://tinyurl.com/35rtl7e
ii. please support our Facebook biz page by clicking on the Like link & Join My List link – http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o
b. Each week I usually post a blog post and convert the post into articles. I then tweet the new arrival of a blog post and use auto notifiers to post the articles. This helps drive traffic to my website.
c. I have begun to post videos via YouTube, and photos using Twitpic.
How do I save time?

Well, last year I was using ping fim to post each morning. Now I use Hootesuite and schedule about 50 posts each week. I post about 7 times per day. I set up 2 or 3 posts in the morning, noon, and night. I use the ping fm feature in Hootesuite to distribute my posts to a number of social media outlets – myspace, linkedin, my personal facebook page, my company’s facebook like page, and other pages. I love the schedule ahead feature in Hootesuite.
Last year, in my Do you Tweet article I listed a number of news outlets that I subscribe to in order to read and cull out content to share online. This year, I have finally graduated to using Twitterfeed to share posts from my favorite blogs. At first I used their default of posting every 30 minutes. One of my cousins advised me that it seemed like I was posting on Twitter every minute and that was annoying. I went from about 7 posts per day to who knows what. So, I had to go back into Twitterfeed and adjust the settings.
I signed up for Gist and have begun to see dossiers on folks in my network. This helps me decide who to conversate with. But, I honestly lean more toward the Hootesuite mention feature to see who retweets my post or asks me questions. I can then easily respond. Gist is more comprehensive since it will show me my online connections’ posts in several outlets. But I will have to hire someone to help me make the most of that. It would be neat if all of this could be rolled into Hootesuite so that I could see everything on one website. If you know of a way, please let me know.
The key is to continue to try new marketing tactics. Post diverse things and use a variety of tools to stay fresh and interesting. No matter how much we small business owners do, we can always do more. You cannot get frustrated and quit. You simply build the empire one stone at a time with patience and persistence.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Year End Gift Giving: Knowledge is love and light and vision!

December 16, 2010

Helen Keller

One of my favorite quotes is “Knowledge is love and light and vision” by Helen Keller. This time of year, we put out Christmas lights to let our Santas know we were good all year and deserve a gift. Well, for business owners, the best gifts are the gifts of great advice. This advice and knowledge gives us love, light and vision – if we let it.

For many business owners, stretching ourselves into new arenas can be uncomfortable. Most folks resist change and fear the unknown. Years ago, having a more engaging website worried me. Next, social media networking seemed to be a chore that would drain all of my time. But, once I became more open to getting the advice and knowledge from others that were doing these things, I realized it was not so bad.

Let me give you two examples. First, about three years ago, I participated in the Georgia Governor’s Mentor Protégé program. Heery International was my mentor firm. It was a blessing. One thing they encouraged me to do was to take my one page simple website to another level. Their marketing staff urged me to create a website that was more engaging. They explained to me that nowadays folks want to learn more about businesses behind the scenes. They want to know more about the history, mission, purpose, services, founders, etc. For me personally, I did not care about that when I visited other folks’ websites. I felt that I did not have time to peruse a lot of web pages. I actually found that to be annoying. I just wanted to get at the information I needed and that was that. But, now I am realizing that taking the time to learn as much as possible about prospects and potential teaming partners is simply plain ole good for business. So when other business owners complain that they do not have time for web browsing, I tell them it is not about them. It is about doing what is best for their business.

To grow my firm Lemongrass Consulting, I have been working on a revenue model that incorporates social media. First, I took Heery’s advice and assistance and revamped my plain one page website to a more interactive one. We now have thirteen (13) pages that include a blog, fan page, and archived newsletters.

Next, I took a few social media classes offered through trade organizations; and read business articles on the subjects. I learned about ping, facebook, linkedin, twitter, constant contact, and blogging. I created a flow chart that I call a Revenue Model. The model begins with identifying our target market of ideal customers based on their service offerings and revenues and geographic locations; and whether we have other synergies and things in common (our race, gender, experiences). I then target these folks and try to connect with them online. I have done well as a newbie. I now have more than 1,000 connects on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Outlook. I now use gist to capture all of these connections. The total is more than 4,000.

My revenue model includes daily microblogging by posting a few things about what I have going on, the importance of strategic planning, famous quotes, and words of encouragement. I also have a wordpress blog that I try to write weekly; converting the weekly blogs to articles; posting the blogs in social media groups to get market penetration; and a monthly constant contact newsletter with more than 1,000 subscribers. I also give my new connections a free ebook that I wrote which are business development tips. These are all great marketing tools. It keeps my firm present in folks’ minds and I am building a community. I use google analytics and I can see that I get about 100 visitors a month to our website.

No matter how much you do, you can always do more. Next year, I want to peer more into my connections’ web pages and take the time to have more engaging dialogue with them. I also want to be sure to thank folks for connecting with me and take our conversations offline by scheduling teleconferences and face to face meetings.

But, let’s get back to the importance of being open to good advice. I mentioned having two examples. Here is the second. When I first revamped the website, I posted online that it was finally done. Well, one of my connections told me to do more than just have a Contact Us link that enables folks to email you. She said, “Clovia, I hope you don’t mind me giving you this constructive criticism”. I replied that I did not mind. But, it took me years to become open to changing that feature. I do know if it was ego, ignorance, or what. But, this year, I finally revamped the Contact Us link to capture more information about our website visitors. We also ask them to share their planning needs and choose services they may be interested in investing in.

The bottom line is that we need to view constructive criticism and business advice as a loving gift. For me, as Helen Keller put it, knowledge is the gift of light and vision. This holiday, give and accept light and vision!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

How to go Grassroots with Sales: Sure we can Talk!

August 8, 2010

All year, I have been connecting with like business minds out on Twitter, Linked and Facebook. I know there are folks out there with 5 to 10,000 followers. I am proud of approaching 1,000 out on each platform. It takes work.

Usually when folks ask me to talk by phone, I immediately think I don’t have time for that and I will limit my correspondence to email. I also assume that they are going to try to sell me something that I do not need or want.  However, this week when someone asked I thought “why not? What would be the harm?”

(c) Pamela Perry. Pamsclipart.

Sure we can Talk!

Most of my connections are in the business of selling products and services.  So am I.  So, why not find out more about each connection that is willing to share.  If I do not want to buy from them, I don’t have to. There’s no gun to my head.

I can check them out and tell others in my network about what they are selling.  I can ask my new friend to do the same for me.

To survive this down economy, we need to make time to get back to grass roots. In 1912, Senator Albert Jeremiah Beveridge of Indiana, was quoted stating that the Progressive Party had “come from the grass roots. It has grown from the soil of people’s hard necessities.”(Posted on Wikipedia courtesy of Eigen’s Political & Historical Quotations “Beveridge, Albert J.”. 2006-05-20).

We need to plant seeds and grow roots in the soil of our hard necessities. These are tough times we live in!

I like the term “Lemongrassroots”. Lemongrass because it’s an herb that used to relieve stress, stimulate, refresh, invigorate, energize and relax. Combine that approach with good old fashion grassroots tactics, and you are cooking with steam!

Here are some good old school grassroots movement tactics used by activists and political campaigners that are trying to sell others on ideas…trying to convince, persuade, influence, organize, lobby:
1. mobilize letter-writing, phone-calling, and emailing campaigns (…hmm sales campaigns)
2. host meetings or parties
3. put up posters (we do this online now with our Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin profiles)
4. talk to folks on the street (get out into coffee houses, trade meetings)
5. gather signatures for petitions (akin to getting followers on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin)
6. set up information tables (have exhibits at trade shows)
7. raise money from many small donors for political advertising or campaigns (why not sell online and rsise your revenue?)
8. organize large demonstrations (demonstrate what you can do by giving away free articles and ebooks)
9. ask individuals to submit opinions to media outlets and government officials (ask for testimonials and comments)
10. hold get out the vote activities (this reminds me of simply asking your followers to tell others about you)

With respect to sales, I have bought services that were not originally on my shopping list.  For example, I saw a Facebook ad by Moriah Diamond for a tweetimage and facebook badge.  I checked out my connection’s website, liked what I saw, and placed an order. It turns out, she is a great graphics designer and I have a new graphics design supplier to turn to.

Here are two (2) more important reasons to take the conversation offline:
1. This person could be a great teaming partner.
2. This person could need to buy your services or products.

If you do not carve out the time “offline” to talk to folks you meet “online”, you will miss out on some great opportunities.  Here are some time management tips:

1. When you are a solo or small operation, market during the day and work on your client’s tasks in the afternoon and evening.
2. Set parameters on phone calls with prospects. Set certain days, certain time blocks – and always schedule the calls.

Here is a neat example of time management and meeting parameter setting that I received from a small business liaison at a military base:

“If you would like to meet with me or set-up a telephonic conference call please provide two dates and times of your choosing beginning with the week of 09 Aug 10 based on the following guidelines:

(1) No meetings/conference calls on Friday
(2) All meetings/conference calls will be one hour in duration beginning in the morning at 9 and ending at 11
(3) Afternoon meetings/conference calls begin at 1:30 and end at 3.”

Use the Linkedin or Facebook email features and request phone conversations or accept offers to talk offline. Of course this example will not fit in a 140 character Twitter message. So, in the Twitter instance, get the prospect’s email address and send this type of response by email.

Let’s get our very own “lemongrassroots movements” going and prosper!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Do you Tweet?

June 14, 2010

I completed two Social Media classes a year or so ago. My first thought was: “who has time for this?” I also, thought that if you are always on the web, when will you have time to do your work?

Well, I decided to try Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. I had accounts since 2005, but never put them to any real use.

When the economy took a nose dive, I had to get out “there” and market my services to try to earn a living. Online marketing can be free and it’s a great way to stay present on the minds of potential buyers or to stay well connected to achieve “presence of mind” when it comes to getting referrals.

I spend a minimum (and usually maximum) of 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night each day. Here’s what I do with Twitter:

You get followers by following others. If someone does not follow you in about a week or so, then stop following them.

How to find followers:

1) ask your linkedin and facebook groups: “Do you tweet? If so, what is your twitter address”
a. then use the search tool in twitter to find them
i. be careful – don’t click on any links because they could be a dangerous to infiltrate your computer with worms, viruses, trojans, etc…
ii. instead type it into twitter search and if the link shows up, click on it and then click follow
b. then follow them (click Follow)
2) type keywords for topics that interest you in the twitter search box
a. then check out folks’ profile pages
b. if you like their tweets, then click follow to follow them
3) use twellow to search for folks to follow using keywords for topics that interest you
4) follow other folks’ followers if you have similar interests – eg find the coaches that follow me and follow them

How to get folks to follow you:

1) usually folks will follow folks that follow them (reciprocal following)
2) you need to have a balance of followers (ie your followers number) and folks you follow (ie your following number) – or you will be viewed as a spammer
a. so be sure to check weekly or monthly if the folks you follow are following you back
b. if they are not following you back, then stop following them
c. but bare in mind that trade orgs and news outlets may not follow you back. Nevertheless, I keep these because I want their content

What to do if someone follows you:

1) you’ll get an email
2) use the Direct Messages feature in your twitter Home page (off the right) to thank the person who is following you …be careful about not posting your personal messages for everyone to see …I love Direct messaging because only that one person will see it
a. usually if you reply and acknowledge a follower, that will solidify your relationship and they wont stop following you
b. I post “Thank you for the follow (or follow back)! I look forward to your tweets! You can learn more about me at http://www.lemongrassplanning.com
c. Always try to get them to visit your website …you can also direct them to a free gift or a blog post on your website

What and How to post:

1) Each post can only be 140 characters
2) DON’T post hard sales “buy this” or “hire us”
3) DO try to get folks to your website
a. Send a notice when your constant contact newsletter is available
b. Send a notice with each new blog post on your website
c. Send notices about videos on youtube
d. Send notices about freebies
e. Send notices about events
4) I use ping fm (http://ping.fm/) to post once each morning to twitter, linkedin, and facebook by email
a. Ping fm will give you an email address
b. You email your message to the ping fm email address and the message will get posted wherever you want it to
5) You can preset posts to automatically go out using tweetdeck or hootsuite
6) Share content – go for just one main topic
a. Famous quotes
i. just google “famous quotes” for websites
ii. search with keywords
iii. collect into a word document
b. events
c. awards
d. Articles
i. If you post articles, use tiny url (http://tinyurl.com/) to convert the longer url where folks can find the article
ii. Sources of articles – sign up to get articles emailed to you
1. NAWBO (and other trade organizations)
2. forbes and forbes woman
3. Entrepreneur.com Small Business News and Updates
4. Inc mag
5. Smartbrief on Social Media
6. Smartbrief on Entrepreneurs
7. Smartbrief on Leadership
8. NFIB Smartbrief
9. Businessweek’s Small Biz Insider

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o