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7 Ways Twitter Can Help Your Business

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Source:  http://www.thenextwomen.com/2013/07/30/7-ways-twitter-can-help-your-business

Author:  Guest Author

 

 Murthy Kaushik, named as one of the Top 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter & one of the Top 10 Most Influential Bloggers in India, shares seven ways in which Twitter can help small business owners.

Small business owners are today faced with several challenges as a part of their everyday business operations. First and most importantly, is the basic need to survive and break-even. Second, is the focus on top-line growth through new customer acquisition or new business from existing customers. Third, is the focus on cost reduction / optimization / rationalization. And last but not least is the focus on profits. Oh! I forgot to mention all the other additional aspects which running a business usually involves – like Positioning, Branding and Marketing, Innovation, Human Resource Management, Communication, Operations, Finance, Strategy, Compliance, etc.

With so many things that need to be done with limited resources and small teams, it can get really busy and overwhelming for small business owners. And it’s so easy to wonder if there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Well here’s the good news! Social Media can definitely help address some of these challenges. Not only is social media cost effective, ubiquitous, easy to learn and adopt; but if a well-integrated social media strategy is adopted, the probability of business success is significantly amplified!

In this article, I will list specific ways in which Twitter can be leveraged for the benefit of small business owners.

First and most important is to establish the BIG “WHY?” – “Why do you as a small business owner want to use Twitter?”

The question is very simple, albeit very important. But giving the right answer usually requires a lot of thought, introspection and clarity on your business goals and strategy. Once you have this answer, the Twitter journey is a lot more focused, useful, productive and enjoyable!

Small business owners could typically use Twitter for any of the following:

1) Connect and Interact with Customers (Existing / New)

The only pre-requisites for this are that you should know exactly who your customers are and whether they are active on Twitter.

Case-in-point: An entrepreneur I know who runs a high-end designer fashion label was working on the Social Media Strategy for her business. During discussions, it emerged that most of her customers are NOT on Twitter. And hence, it made limited sense for her to invest time and effort in building a Twitter presence exclusively for her customer interactions, or for lead generation / business development activities.

As a small business owner, if you’ve established that you’re customers are active on Twitter, the next step is to start active engagement with them. The purpose of customer interactions can vary from announcements of new products / services / offers / discounts, to sharing regular updates on information which is valued by your customer base.

Take-Away: Be clear on who your customers are, and whether they use Twitter. Then you can start connecting and interacting with them.

2) Create a Brand

Twitter can be an effective and powerful channel to establish your brand. The only pre-requisite is that you should be clear on what brand image you want to create, and ensure that you tweet in line with this brand image. This will determine your competitive differentiation, industry presence and positioning. For example, if you are a research firm who provides research services in technology areas, you should tweet snippets about your own research findings, or interesting data / facts and references on technology related research. This will enable you to create your own voice in the Twitter-verse. 

Take-Away: Clear, consistent and continuous communication in line with the brand is the key for brand creation and brand recall.

3) Business Networking

One of the keys to success for small business owners is the kind of business networks they are associated with. Twitter can be a very powerful medium to establish new business connections and strengthen existing ones. On many occasions these business networks can help directly / indirectly in new and upcoming opportunities. In addition to specific one-to-one networks / tweets / Direct Messages, active participation in Twitter chats can be a great source for building new business connections or the identification of new business opportunities.

Take-Away: Focus on building and strengthening business networks on Twitter.

4) Research

One of the most important back-end activities essential for most small business owners is continuous focus on research around specific focus areas. Twitter is a great platform to get real-time access to quality information on any topic. The two specific ways which are of great help in this regard are Hashtag search, and by following the Gurus (experts) in a specific area of interest.

The good news is that research time can be significantly reduced on Twitter. Sometimes an easy way to get answers is to ask a question on Twitter, or ask someone with a good Follower base to post the question. More often than not, this can be one source of primary research data, similar to an online real-time survey.

Take-Away: Be clear on the research objectives and use Twitter to get direct feedback, responses or hear from the experts.

5) Ideation

Twitter can be used as a great platform for ideation. Ideas around What next?, How to grow and improve your business?, etc. can occur several times during social conversations and interactions – especially when you engage in dialog on what would make customers happy or what are the current pain–areas which plague a specific customer segment. In addition, interacting with industry peers and in specialized forums / networks can often spark off those “Eureka moments”.

Take-Away: Look to Twitter to hear, discover and learn what others are doing. This is the first source of new ideas.

6) Continuous Learning and Knowledge Updates

Constantly learning and knowing what’s happening in your industry, within the market with your customers, partners, suppliers, competition, etc. is absolutely essential for small business owners. Twitter can be a very effective in helping you do this! The easiest way is to identify your key partners, competitors, customers, analysts, publications and experts in your specific line of business, and follow them on Twitter (provided they have a Twitter presence). You will be able to gather real-time data and insights into trends, views, opinions and perspectives.

Take-Away: Look to Twitter to hear, discover and learn what others are doing. This is the first source of new ideas.

7) Daily Dose of Inspiration/Motivation

The life of many a small business owner is filled with moments of uncertainty, doubt, questions and lows. And giving up is not an option. You have to move ahead! One of the best ways is to stay and feel positive, inspired and motivated through the storms and rainbows.

Again, Twitter can be of immense help in this department. Following Twitter handles which share inspirational quotes, positive thoughts and motivational words / links can sometimes make all the difference in changing our moods, approach, thoughts, perspectives and responses. So, try to start your day by reading something positive / inspirational / motivational – this can set the right tone for your day! And if you’re feeling blue, look up the tweets of someone who motivates / inspires, and that can help you sail through many a blue day!

– See more at: http://www.thenextwomen.com/2013/07/30/7-ways-twitter-can-help-your-business#sthash.Xu6fLNcV.dpuf

8 Ways to Win at Marketing by Being Useful

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Source:  http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/07/11/8-ways-to-win-at-marketing-by-being-useful/

Author:  Jay Baer

Marketers are competing in a vast sea of messages from other companies, friends and family of their clients and prospective clients. Today’s marketers need to be smart and be HELPFUL with their social media marketing and not bombard a sales message over and over again.

8 Ways to Win at Marketing by Being Useful In my new book “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype” the premise is that if you create marketing that people genuinely want, you can dispense with the “shock,” “awe,” and “viral” and focus on solving problems, answering questions, and creating long-lasting customer relationships by doing so.

Your company is being forced to compete for your customers’ attention against those customers’ family members and best friends. If you’re useful enough, and if you commit to inform rather than promote, customers will reward you with trust and loyalty.
I’d like to share some of my top tips for smart marketing with Youtility:

1. Be a resource

Today’s consumers besieged with every company of every type, size, and description jostling for attention, making pleas to friend, follow, subscribe, read, watch, and click. Unimaginative marketers attempt to stand out with message frequency, or by exchanging bribes for attention (resulting in an explosion of Facebook contests and giveaways, among other tactics).
But sending messages too often can have unintended consequences. Instead, be helpful and provide information that people need such as directions

2. Be inquisitive

You have to understand what your prospective customers need to make better decisions, and how you can improve their lives by providing it. The best way to understand customer needs is to ask real customers. You have to understand not just what your customers need, but how and where they prefer to access information.

3. Be a listener

Nothing reveals real-time customer queries like social media. In my first book, The NOW Revolution, I wrote about the “anyone know” phenomenon in social media, particularly Twitter. Every second of every day consumers are seeking answers and solutions, often phrasing those queries as “Anyone know . . .” Go to Twitter and type “Anyone know” into the search box right now, and you’ll see a river of inquiry flowing by.
In practice, that type of research is better suited for companies looking to provide solutions at the point of need, which is one form of Youtility (@HiltonSuggests does this, for instance). However, for most companies looking to make their marketing more useful, examining social chatter more broadly will be a better way to surface consumer desires.

4. Be radically transparent

Provide online answers to nearly every question a customer could conceivably ask—before they think to ask it.

5. Be patient

That doesn’t mean it will, or should, take you multiple years to start seeing a return on your useful marketing, but recognize that you are planting seeds that will bloom in time, not necessarily overnight.

6. Be wise

To succeed, your prospective customers must consider you a friend. And if, like their friends, you provide them real value, if you practice Youtility rather than simply offer a series of coupons and come-ons, they will reward your company with loyalty and advocacy, the same ways we reward our friends.

7. Be trustworthy

“Trust has never been more important as a corporate asset, and it needs to be managed for people to believe the information you’re putting out,” says Amy Treanor, executive vice president of Edelman Square, the division of the firm responsible for the annual Trust Barometer.

“To really be a trusted enterprise,” Treanor says, “you need to focus on the more societal and engagement activities: transparency, employee engagement, listening to your customers, and putting them ahead of profits.”

8. Market your marketing

You know what happens when most companies launch a new, branded mobile application or other content-rich marketing program intended to effectively combine information and promotion? Nothing. You’ve heard the saying “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

The same logic works in these scenarios: “If you create Youtility and don’t tell anyone about it, does it even exist?”
When you launch the app, or commence blogging, or begin answering questions, you have not reached the finish line; you have reached the starting line. Too many businesses break out the champagne just because something new was created. Remember, Youtility is all about being useful, which literally means “full of use.”

Do these and you’ll create a customer for life

You know that expression “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”? Well, the same is true for marketing: If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.
I call this Youtility. Not “utility,” because a utility is a faceless commodity. Youtility is marketing upside down. Instead of marketing that’s needed by companies, Youtility is marketing that’s wanted by customers. Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long term trust and kinship between your company and your customers
The difference between helping and selling is just two letters. But those two letters now make all the difference.

Inspired by the New York Times best sellerYoutility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype by Jay Baer. See YoutilityBook.com for other resources.

 

 

 

Ten digital marketing trends emerging across APAC

Author: Claire Brinkley

Source: Click here

The digital scene across the Asia-Pacific region is already booming, but industry experts are also predicting that APAC businesses will begin to rethink their current digital plans this year, finding alternative ways to enhance their online offerings to better appeal to consumers.

But what else is expected to happen across the region this year?

There has been a lot of speculation about what will and won’t be big in digital this year, however, IMS APAC recently compiled a specific list of what they believe will be the top 10 digital trends in APAC in 2013: Read more

Secrets of Engagement Marketing: 3 Elements of Building Audience Relationships

Author: Danny Iny

Source: Click here

At its core, marketing is very simple. You have a great product or service, and you communicate that to the people who really need it. Simple. But not necessarily easy.

To prosper in today’s competitive marketplace, you must know how to build relationships that will multiply your audience, sell your product, and turn engagement into profits.

In working with many small business owners and entrepreneurs, I have found that they sometimes confuse marketing tactics and strategy. You may think that the tactics you’ve adopted are a strategy – but they aren’t. Tactics, in isolation, are what I call “small” marketing.

Small marketing is an add-on to Read more