Lawyers, Networking, Personal Branding, Sales and Marketing, accountants, consultants, facebook, linkedin, real estate, sales professionals, self employed, small business, social media marketing, twitter

Twitter: Less is More

Mary Rosenbaum | September 29th, 2010

What is the relevance of having thousands of followers on Twitter? How many of these thousands read your tweets? How many of those would be driven to act on something you recommended?

Those who use Twitter and Facebook for marketing purposes believe that the more “eyeballs” that see their message the more likely they will sell their product or service.

Social media marketing cannot take the place of creating a product or service that is needed and wanted. Throwing mud at the wall and hoping it sticks is old school marketing. People today are bombarded by offerings, information, options for just about everything they need, want and use.

It’s not about the numbers. It’s about finding those followers who want what you have to sell or teach them. It’s quality, not quantity. Wouldn’t you rather have a 100 followers who read your messages and take an interest in what you say rather than a 1000 who either ignore or skim the content? I know I would.

I attended a talk on social media a few weeks ago and one of the attendees asked this question: “I send out a newsletter every two weeks with free give aways, free webinar offers, and free consultations. My email list is over 1000 people and I use Twitter and LinkedIn to deliver the same message. My response rate is single digits. What am I doing wrong?”

No one knows for sure but my guess would be that either he has the wrong target audience or is selling something nobody wants or needs. Additionally, his communications with his audience are all one way – out. The lack of connection, human contact, and relationship building – critical to growing a business – all contribute to this lack of response.

So how should you use social media?

- Make sure what you are offering is something people want or need.

- Use social media as tools, not as the only means of communicating your message.

- Relate, communicate, find out if you are hitting the right target.

- Modify your offerings as you learn from your active followers.

- Take your online contacts and turn them into real world relationships.

- Take your time.

What other advice do you have?

As an FYI, I read this great article in this week’s New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell, a favorite author of mine called Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted. It’s a great read.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru – it’s where I pass along articles I think might be interesting to you.


What do Three Cups of Tea and Relationship Building Have in Common?

Mary Rosenbaum | May 20th, 2010

Make building relationships an integral part of your personal brand.

I had two very different experiences that made me think about writing on the topic of relationship building. One was an article I read in the NYTimes magazine section this past Sunday. It focused on our fixation with statistics. Watching our stats on social media sites is becoming as ubiquitous for social media marketers as the Dow Jones Industrial Average is for Wall Street professionals. But what are they really measuring? Are they measuring commitment, professional curiosity, respect or search or exchange of knowledge? What they are not measuring is relationship building. And relationship building is a critical underpinning to building your career, your business, and your personal and professional life.

The other prompt to writing this was an event I attended in support of the American Place Theater (www.americanplacetheater.org) where Greg Mortenson, author of “3 Cups of Tea”, spoke. He told a story that clarified what the reference was for the title of his book. It all started when he found himself disoriented and physically weakened from his hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro in Pakistan. When he descended he was taken in by a village elder who offered him a cup of tea. Over time the village elder described what the offering of tea symbolizes:

The first time I offer you tea it is as a stranger.

The second time it is as an honored guest.

The third time it is as a friend.

Unlike major cities, relationships in these small villages develop with time moving at a glacial pace. When the shift from honored guest to friend finally occurred Mr. Mortenson understood the value he derived from the time he spent in building these relationships – personal and professional growth and satisfaction.

Relationship building takes time because it’s built on a foundation of mutual trust. And mutual trust develops through a shared spirit of generosity. And yes, relationships can be developed through social media online (and then nurtured offline whenever possible). But that takes time and what the village elder was saying, as was the NYTimes article, rushing through life adding up your numbers won’t get you what you want in life – friends and colleagues who support one another.

If you are out looking for a job or career change or seeking to grow your own business chances are that your first outreach is to people you know, rightly so. Those people can be considered your first degree of separation – you know them, they will pick up the phone when you call, and you can ask them for something. You have a relationship with them.

Now let’s take a look at our connections through social media. It’s easy to confuse large numbers of followers on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook as something more meaningful than what they really are: people who think you have something to say and they want to keep abreast of what you and perhaps thousands of others are saying. It’s all very flattering and makes us all feel good. And in some situations, these online connections can grow into real relationships, whether they remain online or move offline. But it’s important to keep your eye on the ball – creating more relationships that can fall into the category of first degree of separation – and not focus on just the stats.

We all know how to make friends – get to know them, share some laughs and good times and generally support each other. Building relationships around business is pretty much the same. You want to:

1. Maintain a spirit of generosity. Give without thinking about how you can personally profit from it – whether it’s information, time, assistance. I have always talked about the Law of Reciprocity. Whenever I give to others I know that whenever possible that person will try to give back when they can. It’s not always a quid pro quo but it never fails to result in a positive experience.

2. Take time away from the computer and make sure you are meeting up with people in the real world. Transactions usually take place in real time and in the real world, whether face to face or on the phone. There is nothing that can replace the connection you make when you can personally shake hands and look them in the eye or hear the tone in their voice during a conversation.

One way to take your online friends offline – create a meet-up in your own town. Out of town? Let your contacts know and make time for some face to face.

3. Call even when you are not selling or asking for anything. In fact, call because you don’t want anything from them. By continuing to maintain contact you are gaining more insight into the other person, learning more about their business, and understanding their needs. Sharing information when you are not looking to gain something helps build a level of trust over time. And trust is what relationships and friendships are based on.

So take the time and move toward that third cup of tea and enjoy the status of friend.

What other pointers do you have for taking relationships into the real world?

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru


Blog Your Way to Success

Mary Rosenbaum | March 13th, 2010

In my last post on Social Media Marketing I discussed the importance of using a blog in your business whether you are an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, a small business owner or a professional interested in career management. In addition to increasing the penetration in your particular market, the benefits of blogging are many and include developing brand recognition, exhibiting expertise, creating greater inbound traffic to your website and business, and learning about the needs of your target audience (see an earlier post To Blog or Not to Blog for more insights).

According to Hubspot, companies that blog get 55% more visitors and 97% more inbound links. So if you want to grow your business and create greater credibility the time you spend on this endeavor will be well worth it.

Here are some typical questions, and hopefully some answers, on how to get started building a blog.

1. How can I develop the content?

Research and Read- You can’t get into the conversation if you don’t know what it’s about.

-         Join those groups on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook whose members are people you want to reach – potential clients, customers, employers, and those who influence the decision makers.

-        Read the postings on these sites and learn about the issues, needs and wants of this community. What questions are being asked? What is being addressed? What is missing from the conversation that you believe would add  value to this audience? Which topics are over-exposed?

-    Which links are being resent and retweeted? What information and type of format resonate with your particular audience?

The research stage will provide you with ample opportunity to read and learn more about the community you want to join.

2. Once I have the content, then what?

Make it relevant.

-     Write as if you were having a conversation with someone.

-     Be authentic – write about what you know and what you believe.

-     Write about something you are excited about – excitement is contagious.

-     Be generous with information.

-     Always be on brand and on topic in every post.

-     Always edit, edit, edit and then proof read your work.

3. How often should I write?

Put reading, research and writing into your daily or weekly calendar in the same way you schedule other appointments or meetings.

-     Be consistent – write as often as you can, weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly.

4. How should I deliver the message?

By now you have seen many examples of ways to structure your blog postings. Although this is far from exhaustive, here are some ideas for structuring your content:

-         Articles on how-to in your area of expertise.

-         Provide resources and links that can help your readers.

-         Provide your expert opinion along with the opinion of others on current news and events of the day.

-         Discuss case studies or client issues you have successfully dealt with that might resonate   with your audience.

-         Connect your readers to articles, blogs, reports published by others.

-         If applicable, write about aspects of your personal journey and how you got to here from there.

-         Use video to deliver your message.

-         Interview a thought leader in the industry.

-         Use some combination of all of the above.

5. How do I get people to read what I write?

-    Participate in your community of groups – comment on other postings, answer questions generously, establish credibility and visibility.

-    Once you have gained credibility and trust, inform your groups whenever you publish a new post.

-     Learn from each posting which subjects and styles resonate with your audience based on comments they provide, number of visitors to your blog, and retweets.

I know these lists are far from exhaustive. I welcome any additional ideas you have for creating a blog that is interesting, well read, and delivers the message of who you are and what your personal brand is all about.

Follow me on Twitter @careersguru

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps entrepreneurs and careerists position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead


Social Media Marketing is Here to Stay

Mary Rosenbaum | March 5th, 2010

When I started up my executive recruitment business in the early 80’s the only way to expand and develop my business was through real world marketing and by extension, word of mouth marketing. Much time was spent meeting with prospective clients, candidates, and those who influenced the decision makers. My marketing plan was centered almost exclusively on in-person meetings and presentations. Although my business grew over the 20 years I spent building it, I can only imagine the growth I could have achieved had social media marketing been around in those early years.

Real world marketing is still vital to growing your business and making those sales. However, in today’s world you must incorporate social media marketing in order to obtain many of the in person meetings and presentations that help you close the deal. Because consumers are inundated with messaging coming at them from all directions, they have developed screening mechanisms preventing old world marketing tools from being as effective as they once were.

What are the benefits of social media marketing?

-         Build trust, credibility and relationships in the virtual world in far less time than in the real world.

-         Reinforce your personal brand in ways that demonstrate your expertise – build brand recognition.

-         Find and build a like minded community that enables you to learn new tools and share ideas.

-         Engage your target audience across geographic borders without leaving the comfort of your keyboard.

-         Convert virtual relationships into real world contacts easier than through cold calling or other previously relied upon methods of spreading the word – they already know you and what you can provide.

-         Gain visibility in a more focused targeted way.

How do you start participating in the social media world?

-         Create a blog that reinforces your brand and demonstrates your expertise – this is where you give away information that your potential clients/customers WANT to know about. Crafting your blog so it markets your expertise rather than sells your service is the key to success.

-         Join Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter to engage and communicate with your target audience as well as your like minded community. Use these networks as a way to disseminate your blog postings, share ideas with others in your field, and respond to questions in your area of expertise. This will help you will increase your universe of potential clients, get the word out and create word of mouth buzz.

-         Participate and comment on other blogs that relate to your area of interest and expertise – demonstrate generosity as this often results in reciprocity.

What social media tools do you use to get the most visibility in your target market? Please share your ideas and comments with all of us.

My next posting will focus on how to write a blog that helps expand your following and your business.


Spread Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 16th, 2009

Are your family and friends good ambassadors for letting others know what you do professionally, what your goals are, or what you are trying to achieve? It is important to define your brand to those who are close to you as well as to those who can more directly further your professional goals.

This was driven home for me this past weekend. I was visiting with some friends and inquired about someone they had known for years who had recently gone into consulting. It took them many attempts to try to identify what specialty their friend provided and finally gave up and admitted that they really didn’t know.

In providing your friends and family with information, it would be beneficial to:

§         Give them a detailed description of the type of work you do, the skills you employ in your work, the companies or industry you have worked for or the type of projects you have completed.

§         Provide them with an understanding of what you need – if it’s a job then be specific as to what you want to do (not only the title you want),  if it’s clients you want then what type of clients would be suitable.

§         Let them know what your qualifications are so they can more easily convey your expertise to others.

If this sounds a lot like your elevator pitch, it’s because it incorporates the same information. You need to let them know what you are good at, what makes you good at it (your validation), who you work with or for, and what you want or need. Don’t overlook the value of this type of “word of mouth” advertising. So go ahead, ask your friends if they can describe you in a way that conveys your expertise as well as your needs and wants. If not, get to work and spread the word.


The Entrepreneurial Quiz

Mary Rosenbaum | September 1st, 2009

With the unemployment rate hovering near 10% there is no surprise that many people are looking into starting their own business. Being your own boss sounds enticing – no more threats of being laid off, no one in control of your destiny but you. But are you prepared for taking on the role of an entrepreneur? The following Entrepreneurial Quiz was prepared by Career Coach Institute and I have found it helps weed out those that want to from those that can do. Although this does not address the “what will I do” of starting up your own business, it will help you in deciding the “whether or not” question.

Entrepreneurial Quiz

Do You Have the Entrepreneurial Personality?

Question Yes No
Is it important to you to accomplish something meaningful with your life?
Do you typically set both short- and long-term goals for yourself?
Do you usually achieve your goals?
Do you enjoy working on your own?
Do you like to perform a variety of tasks in your job?
Are you self-disciplined?
Do you like to be in control of your working environment?
Do you take full responsibility for your successes and failures?
Can you place the needs of your business above your family when necessary?
Are you in excellent physical, mental and emotional health?
Do you have the drive and energy to achieve your goals?
Do you have work experience in the type of business you wish to start?
Have you ever been so engrossed in your work that time passed unnoticed?
Do you consider “failures” as opportunities to learn and grow?
Can you hold to your ideas and goals even when others disagree with you?
Are you willing to take moderate risks to achieve your goals?
Can you afford to lose the money you invest in your business?
When the need arises, are you willing to do a job that may not interest you?
Are you willing to work hard to acquire new skills?
Do you usually stick with a project until it is completed?

Your answers to at least 15 of these questions should be yes if you are to be successful as a business owner.  While it is not necessary to answer all of these questions yes, but if you answer no to some of them, you will want to evaluate what that means to you and how significantly it may impact your ability to run your own business.

My next topic will be about the “how and what” of starting your own business.