danniewriter

Tell your story with enthusiasm

No one “just” runs his own business or “just” leads a community non-profit organization.

Use the word “just,” and suddenly you are saying that who you are, and what you do is ordinary.

I’d be willing to bet it isn’t.

The story of your business/organization is unique. You’d probably be surprised to learn how interested your customers/supporters are to hear those stories.

Business/organizational leaders who wear multiple hats and direct small staffs don’t have much time for brainstorming, or what I sometimes refer to as “bellybutton gazing.” That’s why I really like Tami Brehse‘s approach to storytelling as marketing. Brehse, a former television news anchor, runs her own marketing and public relations consultancy in Florida.

A column she wrote about how to use storytelling to develop your company’s brand was distilled nicely into this infographic:

She also provides a free worksheet that will help you clarify your thoughts. From these simple tools you can develop the story of your company/organization that your audience is itching to hear.

If you need assistance in telling that story, don’t hesitate to contact me. The initial consultation is free.

Some habits aren’t tough to break

Woman is getting bored on date while her boyfriend is typing sms

I ran across a wonderful article from HootSuite recently. As a rule, I try, often without success, to avoid writing and using negative headlines, but in this case, the content of the piece is too valuable to write off simply because it is written in a negative voice. The author, Sam Milbrath, knows her stuff.

Were I a betting woman, I’d wager the most frequent reason that businesses/organizations repeat themselves, often ad nauseam, on Facebook, Twitter, etc., is that they’re fresh out of anything new to say. As someone who struggles with this myself, I err on the side of deafening silence rather than the drone of repetition. The former is bad news, but the latter will get you unfollowed much more quickly.

In Milbrath’s first point, she mentions a previous post about the social media “rule of thirds,” that’s also worth your time. Here’s the breakdown:

  • One-third social content that promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.
  • One-third social content that surfaces ideas and shares stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.
  • One-third social content based on personal interactions and building your brand.

Regarding bullet point two, a great place to find those ideas and stories is from your own Twitter and Facebook feeds. Every business or organization has its own trade publications, online communities, accrediting/oversight boards, and industry big hitters you should be following.

When you share content from other sources, be sure you give them appropriate credit. Often you will find a blog post or article that is framed around another article, such as the one you are reading right now. If there are no fresh insights and it essentially just links to another article, make sure you use the original piece in your blog. There’s no need to separate the content with another “generation” of social media unless it provides some unique, helpful insights, something I hope my posts provide.

Every few months, I review who I’m following on Facebook and Twitter. I drop those whose content I’m not reading or sharing, for whatever reason, and find a new source to follow for a while. It’s worth your time to do the same.

I can’t encourage you enough to take to heart the author’s suggestion to develop contests, giveaways and other ideas for user-generated content. Not only does it give you original material, it broadens your base of followers, and thus, customers and donors.

Take stock of your social media habits as you read point five. If you are new to social media, it’s possible you are creating spam and don’t even know it!

Finally, don’t forget, every reader/customer/donor interaction is an opportunity. Always put your best face forward. Be polite. Own up to mistakes. Accept constructive criticism, and even rude complaints, with grace. Social media is here to stay. Develop tactics for the long haul.

Need assistance or ideas for getting started or moving to the next level? Give me a call. Initial consultations are free of charge.

 

Tendons, social media engagement; it’s about bridging gaps

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For nearly nine weeks, one of my digits has been in a splint, which is why the blog has been on a bit of a hiatus. It’s a case of mallet finger, which isn’t terribly painful, but at my last checkup, the ruptured tendon in question still had some mending to do. I certainly hope the splint is effective, otherwise I’ll need surgery. Based on the one YouTube video I dared watch, the procedure may involve hammering a piece of what looks to be the world’s thinnest rebar through the top of my finger.

Now that I’ve given each of us the willies, I’ll let you know what mallet finger has to do with marketing.

The splint forces the ruptured ends of the tendon together and promotes healing. If the splint doesn’t keep the joint fixed in the extended position, in comes the rebar to bridge the gap.

Take heart, dear reader, let me assure you that bridging the gap between your business or non-profit and your audience is must less painful!

You’ve probably read, repeatedly, that social media is about relationships and “engaging” with your core audience of customers, donors and other “stakeholders.” Here’s a quick recap on the concept from Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

Just like bridging the gap between two pieces of torn tendon, dialogue is needed to connect you to your stakeholders. This is achieved by inviting feedback from your audience and then responding to what they share.

Sometimes it’s as simple as asking questions via your Facebook or Twitter feed. Remember, you’re looking for useful feedback that will help you better connect with your core audience. Phrase questions so you get more detail than a “yes” or “no” response. Questions that begin with the words “how” and “why” should stimulate conversation.

Ishita Ganguly penned a great post for Social Media Examiner that should give you several good ideas. Like so many efforts, follow through is key. Make sure your social media account is set up to notify you when someone has commented. You can have notifications pushed to your cell phone so you won’t miss an interaction. Thank the commenter and see if you can keep the conversation going. Chances are other followers will chime in.

If you’re nervous that your effort won’t yield results, enlist a few of your most faithful customers or donors and ask them to share their thoughts to get the thread moving. The more time and effort you put into your first interaction, the more steam you’ll have to develop an online environment that embraces dialogue and responds to stakeholders’ questions, concerns and opinions.

Need more assistance? Consider giving me a call. There’s no charge for an initial consultation.