Monday July 23, 2012 0 commentsThe biggest dilemma for women entrepreneurs who are new to social media is that you don't know what you don't know.
Figuring out which social network is being used by your clients - also known as your tribe - is like feeling around in a dark cave. You think you're making progress but then stumble and commit a big faux pas or give up because it seems so overwhelming.
Don't give up - Here Are Two Reasons to Push Forward
You were born to do great things and there are women (and men) who need to hear your story so they can get inspired and commit to action daily until they, too, are leading their own tribes.
Your tribe is searching for someone like YOU to work with. There are probably hundreds, maybe thousands of subject matter experts, entrepreneurs, speakers, authors and business professionals who offer the SAME services that YOU do BUT no one is like YOU. You lived "it"; you struggled through "it" and kept going and achieved success in your own unique way. You tell about "it" in your own unique style, with or without the cuss words, with or without some sugarcoating. Just be real in the telling by being YOU.
People make choices based on emotion. When they feel the love and get that Social Crush™ on you, they want to work with YOU and no one else. So be yourself and flaunt it so you can ATTRACT your TRIBE with your VIBE™. Keep this in mind as you build relationships in all your networks, online and in person.
Which Social Network Is Right For Me and Other Women Entrepreneurs?
Well, before we explore that very important question, first you need to get clear on three very important things:
- Decide on the reason for doing this. Unless you are financially free and don't have to attract new clients in order to pay your bills and eventually become financially free, you probably want to learn how to use social media in order to amplify awareness of your brand. So, the goal is to raise brand awareness, without pitching and spamming people. Start attracting with your VIBE, not your elevator speech. Save that for later. Trust me: the opportunity WILL arise for that all-important pitch.
- Decide who your ideal clients are. Really get detailed and write down who she or he is, as though you're writing about a character in a novel. You have to be detailed or you'll always end up attracting the wrong people and be miserable.
- Write down what your clients' problems and challenges are. Then write down YOUR solutions. These are usually your services or your expert consultation that solves the problems and challenges for your clients.
Okay, now you're ready to attract your ideal clients (your tribe) because your "signal" is clear
Next, you're going to learn how to find out what each of the most popular social networks are like, plus their demographics, so you can easily pick out which network to invest time in first. Hint: It's going to be the one in which you have the most fun and get the best results. It's the one where your tribe is hanging out. If at first it doesn't seem like they're there, do a deeper dive into the site (I explain this below).
The biggest tip to help you avoid the biggest amateur mistake
THIS IMPORTANT TIP APPLIES TO ALL SOCIAL NETWORKS: in all your Tweets, Facebook posts and other status updates: don't pitch your services all the time. Instead, serve as a resource and/or connector so people know they can trust you. It's okay to promote yourself about 10 per cent of the time but if you do it the other way around and promote yourself 90% per cent of the time in all your networking, you'll be ignored and thought of as a spammer and a selfish person. Not good. Yes, it's true, girlfriend (and guyfriend): social networking is NOT about self-promotion. It's about being yourself and Attracting Your Tribe with Your Vibe™ by serving them, educating them, supporting them. You're building relationships and in the process, your business naturally grows as more people are attracted to your style, knowledge and results. There's no need to pitch: just be yourself and be helpful.
Identify the demographics of each social network
Before deciding WHICH social network to start learning about, it's critical to identify the demographics of each social network so you can determine where your ideal clients are hanging out and social networking. By the time you finish reading this blog post you will have the demographics, plus tips, plus strategy to begin with, so you clearly know which social network to consistently concentrate your precious time in and start cooking up some new friendships and attracting more clients. Note: In this post, I'm not going to go into great detail about HOW to properly network within these websites - I've written various articles/posts about this in the past and will continue to do so in the future (be sure to subscribe to my blog and eZine so you don't miss out). This post today is intended to provide you with enough information for you to make a choice about where to begin concentrating your social networking.
Here are the top social and business networks I recommend you start with. Pick one; get comfortable and consistent; then move on to your next choice. I start with LinkedIn because everyone should have a LinkedIn profile if you want to be found by decision makers like your future clients.
This is NOT a social network but a business network. Treat this like you would if you were an active member of your Chamber of Commerce - you know - join a Group or two in LinkedIn (just like joining a sub-committee in a Chamber of Commerce) and serve the group with your wisdom. Show your business personality. Share your knowledge in the Answers section and in Groups. Never do a drive-by promotion - where you only show up to the group to self-promote. Uh-uh! Be helpful and be trust-worthy. People are watching you. Very Important People who are the decision-makers, HR and job recruiters, marketing directors, CEO's and founders of companies. I have obtained some of the very best clients within my LinkedIn network simply by leveraging all the layers within LinkedIn on a consistent basis. (And there are lots of layers that most people don't take the time to learn about and use.)
LinkedIn Is the Number One Place to Attract Employers and Clients
As of March 31, 2012 (the end of the first quarter), professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of approximately two new members per second, according to LinkedIn's About page.
- Who's here: There are 43% women members and 57% men. Though there are more men than women here don't let that stop you from being here. There are plenty of groups that skew high for female members. At least 80% of companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.
- The tools: There are so many tools you can pick up and build your network with here. Besides optimizing your own profile with keywords so your profile shows up in searches and is seen by the right people (potential clients/employers), you can join groups where your ideal clients are members and you can start serving the group with your valuable tips (never pitch). Why not start your own group so you gain high visibility all the time? You can also position yourself as an expert in your subject matter by answering questions posed in the "Answers" section. That's just the very tip of the LinkedIn iceberg - there's a whole lot more. If you want to learn more, just give me a holler.
- Groups: "LinkedIn members are sharing insights and knowledge in more than one million LinkedIn Groups," according to LinkedIn. Remember earlier when I said that if you don't see your ideal network here to do a deeper dive? Do the dive into the Groups section. Use the search box in LinkedIn and type in "Women Entrepreneurs" or some other keywords that will reveal search results that you'll love. Go to the group of your choice and review its members and its protocol and decide if it's the right group for you. If it is, then join it or ask to join and mark it on your calendar to show up consistently every week or every morning and contribute and "like" and comment (positivly and thoughtfully) on other people's posts.
- Goal: Make it easy for future clients to find you by optimizing your profile with keywords in your job titles (current and past) and by presenting credibility and trust with at least 20 recommendations of you by past clients. Attract Your Tribe With Your Vibe™ by hanging out with them in appropriate Groups and serving them.
Twitter is what you make it be. I advise you, (the woman entrepreneur or man, wanting to build friendships and attract clients and gigs), to think of it as though you're in a cocktail party in which you make your way around the room, getting to know people whom you have rapport with. When you find your tribe, you'll know it. You'll come across a Twitter chat or a hashtag (a keyword with a pound symbol that describes a topic) that leads you to your tribe.
- Who's here: 59% of Twitter users are women, according to OnlineMBA.com. Something that's really interesting and a huge opportunity for you is this: only 5% of Twitter's 200 million users account for 75% of all activity. That means you have less competition in making yourself visible to your ideal clients. Just be sure to do this the right way.
- The tools: use the search box to find people who have keywords in their Tweets that match your search term and be sure to use the hashtag symbol: #. For example: type #womenentrepreneurs into the search box and you'll see the latest Tweets from people who have mentioned that hashtag in their Tweets. Follow the ones who interest you the most. Then see who THEY follow and who follows them - you'll find more people who may interest you. That's just one tool to pick up and build with in the beginning. For more information about how to use Twitter to grow your business (shameless self-promotion here) read my book: Become a Twitter Pro in 20 Days. It's an eBook, so you can purchase and download now and begin right away. Or just download the free chapter I give away on this page in my website: Become a Twitter Pro in 20 Days.
- No Groups here yet but there ARE TweetChats: Meet people in Twitter who are interested in discussing the same topic as you are (or maybe just lurk until you feel like jumping in.) You'll absolutely LOVE doing this for one hour per week (gotta be consistent) once you find the right Tweetchat for you. Use this Google Doc to find a Tweetchat that's right for you. Use TweetChat.com to make it much easier to participate in the chat.
- Goal: Your Tweets can be thought of as though you're a radio station that broadcasts the type of news and information that YOUR audience (your tribe) would find interesting and useful - stuff that will help them get great results. The "frequency" should be sharp and focused (not all over the place about every subject on the planet) and Tweet often - Tweet at least three to ten times a day. Share your thoughts to show your brains. Some of the people who follow you will be watching you to see how knowledgeable you are and how pleasant you are. They might be hiring you so be sure to be good, polite and timely.
- Who's here: 64% of Facebook users are women. The fastest growing group of members on Facebook is women aged 55-65 years old. And 78% of users trust the recommendations made by their friends than they do by the advertisers.
- Time: Be here morning, noon and night or find some other time periods in which YOUR peeps hangout in Facebook. Use both your own personal profile to do "water cooler" posts about general topics and use your business page (fan page) to post helpful information relating to your subject matter. It's perfectly fine to link to your latest blog posts, eZine, video or article from your business page. But do talk about your personal life, too (on your business page). People love to get glimpses of your "behind-the-scenes" life, just don't be too personal. Whatever you'd announce to a group of people at a social gathering, is what you should announce on Facebook (and that advice goes for all your social networking and online activities).
- Groups: These are extremely valuable in so many ways: they are great for building deeper relationships more quickly. Find a Group where your ideal clients hang out AND find a group where your mentors hang out. You can find people to do JV's (Joint Ventures) with or collaborate in other ways. When you find the right group for you, ask to join and start serving up some valuable advice; connect people to helpful blog posts and other articles you find online and share some fun personal stuff, too, so the group members get to know your personality. Spend at least five minutes per day in your group and increase your time as you become more comfortable and start bonding with group members.
- For business: create a business page, also known as a fan page, where you're allowed to talk about your business. Facebook frowns upon talking about your business from your personal page, though, in my opinion, it's okay to mention what's going on, of course, just like you would in a face-to-face meeting with a friend. Just don't do it all the time. Read my blog post about the strategy of a business page, which I wrote when Facebook switched over to "Timeline." (Still valid information). One more tip: Facebook strongly recommends using photos in posts. Here's what Facebook says: "User sentiment research has shown that the emotions triggered by images of real people, real situations, and real objects are more lasting and more compelling than those that include words or text."
- Goal: To raise brand awareness by staying in TOMA: Top Of Mind Awareness with your fans so that when they need your services they'll remember you. And when their friends need someone with your services, you'll be the one who gets recommended. Also, consistency is key. Give a good reason for fans to keep coming back: share tips, link them to helpful articles, show pictures of your work, your pet, your lunch with fun, one-sentence captions ("water cooler" conversations bond people together) and ask questions that start with "would" ("We're thinking lunch in the park or hunker down and eat at the desk. What would you do today?" If you've had some engagement with your fans around lunchtime before, then you could possibly get some comments like "Life is short, go to the park!"). This type of talking on your page makes people like you. Once they like you, they begin to trust you. Winning the trust of your fans is HUGE. Now all you need to do is stay in TOMA so that when they need you, you get remembered.
- Who's here: 97% of Pinterest users are women. If this is your tribe, you gotta be here. And if you're a crafter, a foodie, a designer or do anything that can be seen in a picture or summed up in a picture (bloggers, too) and your audience is women, then Pinterest is a place you want to invest some time in. It's kind of like a boutique.
- Time: I like to go in and get out quickly, within 10 minutes once per week. If I were a craftswoman or chef or photographer or designer of clothing, jewelry, etc., I'd be here every day, perhaps three times a day.
- The tools: After creating your free Pinterest page, grab the "Pin" button and add it to your browser's toolbar (Pinterest gives you easy instructions to follow). Then, as you come across interesting blog posts and articles online, "pin" a picture to your Pinterest board. You choose an image from the page of the website you found an interesting article or photo and then, just like cutting out a picture or article from your favorite magazine and pinning it to your refrigerator, you pin it to your virtual board. Make pins searchable with descriptive names that are keywords. More tips coming up in a future blog post next week.
- For business: you're really not supposed to promote yourself, as that would be perceived as spamming. But it's okay to promote sometimes. Times to promote yourself: when you've got a new blog post; new video; new product; or pictures of you and your friends at a conference. Get creative. I've got a Blog post board in which I pin my latest blog posts. And I have a board where my products are pinned. For the most part, I pin other people's content and it's always valuable information that's visually appealing. I also pin personal things that show the many facets of me and some of my interests. This strategy works well to attract your tribe. Check out my Pinterest boards here.
- Goal: Brand awareness. Be found by your tribe by posting things they would enjoy and find useful. Stay in TOMA (Top Of Mind Awareness).
YouTube and Vlogging: Broadcast Yourself
- Who's here: it's only the second most popular search engine (that's right: it's a search engine but with videos) in the world. 71% of both women and men use YouTube, according to this Mashable article.
- Time: Your branding is like a candy wrapper. But nobody knows what you taste like until they can bite into you. And that's what the power of video marketing does for you. Your tribe can connect with you more accurately and more quickly when they see you and hear you on video. If you do nothing else other than video marketing, properly and consistently, you will attract your ideal clients.
- The tools: Get a webcam or Kodak video camera; start a WordPress blog and and create your own YouTube channel. Then study how the very best do their videos, like Marie Forleo. Find other people you admire and see how they do video. Find the best and create your own style but always be yourself; be upbeat; and don't be boring. Don't worry about "homemade" videos at first. That's how I've started out. I'm getting ready to evolve to better lighting and sound but I didn't let that stop me from creating my own first videos. Yes, I'm still learning how to be better on video. But I'm not letting that stop me in the meantime. We learn as we grow. And we grow as we learn. Hey, by the way, you can see my videos here.
- For business: tag your videos with keywords to attract your tribe who's looking for someone like you to work with. Customize your YouTube channel with your own branded design. Start passionately sharing your advice. Review this infographic over at Mashable for a quick overview of YouTube statistics.
- Goal: Be sure your energy level is high and your message is succinct in your videos. Follow video gurus like Lou Bortone and Sandra Dee Robinson for expert advice on how to present yourself in videos and how creative you can get with videos. Remember: your videos capture YOU, the "candy bar" underneath the "wrapper" of your branding, and convey how you "taste" -- so be tasty! Be yum-i-licious!
Blogging: Like Having Your Own Newspaper Column Except Your Audience is National Instead of Only Local
- Who's here: If you're a subject matter expert, you must, must, MUST blog about your topic. It's one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field, whether local or national or global. I am an original blogger who blogged in the late 1990's and then when my son was born, I let blogging go until about four years ago. I've always enjoyed writing but if you'd rather share your wisdom in a video, have a Vlog - a Video log (or do both).
- Time: If you keep your posts short (two or three paragraphs) you can blog more frequently. My blog posts tend to be pretty long (like this one) so I devote about five or six hours a week. My challenge is to be more consistent, on a weekly basis, with both my blog and my eZine. So I've renewed those goals.
- The tools: WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Movable Type - there are quite a few tools to start blogging with. Or you can be part of a blogging community like IHaveaTeenager.com or Latina Lifestyle Bloggers or BlogFrog or BlogHer or Blogalicious. There are tons of social networks made up of women who blog. Google "women blogging communities" or "bloggers" or "blogging" and you'll find lots of resources.
- Goal: Credibility. Position yourself as an expert in your subject matter so that when your readers need your services they remember you. As they grow to trust you more and more, some may end up purchasing your products or services. Write about topics that are relevant to your expertise and helpful in getting your future clients results as they apply your advice. Blog at least once per week. Ideally, three times a week if you're wanting to build your audience quickly. You can re-purpose your content in your eZine, videos, and presentations. You can also pitch to appropriate popular blogs of your genre and ask to be a guest blogger. Study their style, then create your pitch and go for it. The higher visibility of a hugely popular blog can be a major turning point for your career so be ready before it happens.
- Who's here: It's, roughly, about one quarter women and three quarters men. You should be here to leverage the power of the +1 which is much more powerful than a Facebook "like" because people go to Google to search for products or services and when they see their personal search results from their Google+ network of friends recommending your website with their +1's, you're going to grow your business.
- Time: Realistically: you could get by with three times per week, as of this writing, because there are not a lot of people here yet, and so, you have an advantage to attract those who ARE here. There's less "noise" (less posting) because there are less people. But don't let that stop you from starting to find your favorites and building a community here, too.
- The tools: Oh my gosh! Google+ has some great tools for finding and networking with your ideal clients and future friends because, after all, it IS Google. So go searching for your peeps with the keywords they'd use. Other tools: Google+ uses hashtags like Twitter; Google+ has a video meeting tool called a "Hangout" so you can easily Hangout with people. Why not start having a weekly Hangout with local people you already know and take their questions as though you're at a free seminar? Then invite others outside your local area. Great way to build business and help people at the same time. More tools to be talked about in my future blog posts (or go ask me now on my Facebook page).
- Goal: Right now, while Google+ is still so wide open with low numbers of people (compared to the millions and millions of Facebook and Twitter users) you can stake out your territory and start building a community of fans here. Apply the same tactics as I wrote about in the "Goal" section for Facebook (above). No: Facebook and Google+ are not really the same kind of social network but you CAN use the same tactic. Getting people to click on the +1 button of your posts will get you valuable search results in the personalized search results that Google now includes. Google says search is about people and relationships.
Whew! That's a lot to review, huh? Just remember to start with one thing. Be consistent in your showing up so people can rely on you and start to get a social crush™ on you. You could start getting a return on your investment within weeks when you do social networking the right way and do it consistently. What do YOU think? Would you please connect with me in any way you're comfortable with and let me know how it goes for you after you read this and start applying some or all of my advice? I truly hope I've helped you become more successful, efficient and profitable in your business and in your life.
Find out more about Lori Gama by visiting this cool page all about her.